Magical Monday Feature – Amanda (@TheHydesDoDisney)

It’s so weird to think that not that long ago when the internet was just becoming part of our normal world and more and more social media platforms started to be created, that most parents would say “be careful who you talk to. The friends you make over the internet could be dangerous. Don’t share too much about yourself and under no circumstances should you meet them in person!” Yet nowadays, meeting people over the internet is probably just as popular as meeting people the “old fashioned” way.

One of the most amazing, and totally not dangerous, people I have ever met over the internet is my friend, Amanda! We have a storied past seeing as she started as one of my loyal customers of my small shop, Brand By You, and even though she still is one of my biggest fans, now we have a beautiful friendship where we DO share too much about ourselves and constantly text back and forth. It’s almost odd that we have such a strong bond seeing as we actually have never met in person.

But for all the support she has given me, it’s time that I support her back by honoring her with this Magical Monday blog to feature her Disney vlog, The Hydes Do Disney! Her and her husband, Mike, host the vlog and talk about all things Disney, both inside and outside of the parks. You can even meet their three year old son, Josiah (JP,) in some of the videos as he tries to help mom and dad make their vlogs.

Although they stream from New Hampshire, that never stops them from making as many trips as they can to Walt Disney World, or add a little extra Disney magic into their day to day life. Originally they started the vlog to document their Disney trips to have “home videos” to show JP in the future. But after their first trip as annual passholders in January 2019, they were hooked!

Even though they’re “just an average family and their Disney adventures”, they have started to gain more and more traction on their YouTube channel. With growing viewers and subscribers, Amanda and Mike wanted to be sure to they could still bring magic to their viewers during this current COVID-19 world that we are living in. So they modified their channel to not just be vlogs inside the parks, but more of a sit-down and chat with each other, to talk about Disney tips or tricks, how to Disney with a toddler, or with guests (like me!). But if you were asking me, their most entertaining vlogs are the ones where they try to cook/bake and perfect the different foods found at Disney because more often than not, it’s a hot (and hilarious) mess! “While we still will do more ‘home movie’ style vlogs in the parks when we are able to get back, but also will have more informative parts of our videos as well now.”

Now that they are seeing an increasing amount of engagement with their page, they said the biggest difference between how their vlog was when they first started to right now is honestly the content itself! “When we first started our youtube/instagram, we had 0 idea what we were doing when it came to posting/filming. We’d just kind of film and see what happened when we edited it poorly together. I cringe a little bit looking back on our first trips vlogs compared to our most recent trip, but it’s also really cool to see the growth! And really the biggest difference now is I recognize when I’m filming sometimes that I need to rerecord something if I said it incorrectly, rather than just pushing through. It’s definitely helped me feel like the videos look better!

Although they haven’t been able to take a trip to Walt Disney World in six months (but check out their Instagram because they are on their first trip back RIGHT NOW!), they are getting a lot of inspiration to vlog from other content creators. There are a lot of pin tags, Q&A’s, as well as box swaps that they have been a part of. But because it has been so long since their last trip, they really had a craving for the food that you can only get at Disney, which is what sparked the inspiration to do the cooking videos!

With all the fun they are having and all the collaborations they are doing with other creators, it seems almost appropriate that the biggest highlight of the vlog is all the amazing people that they have got to meet over the past year. They have been able to connect and learn with their community to keep bringing great content to their page and to make that content better and better. But more personal to them, they love that they are also able to see JP grow up in the parks and their whole growth as a family.

And speaking of growth, that happens to be one of their biggest challenges that they are learning to overcome in terms of growing their page. “It’s hard to see other channels growing quicker than your own and not wonder ‘what am I doing wrong?’. Or even to think you should be growing faster but haven’t. The content is there, it’s posted regularly, everything on paper shows you should be able to have a larger following, but you don’t. Then you start doubting yourself and your channel.” But Amanda and Mike have thus changed their way of thinking about this topic because it was never about fame – it was about FUN! By not worrying about what their numbers mean or where they “should” be, they have been able to connect on a genuine level with their followers and getting to know what they want to see from their channel.

Overall, Amanda talks of having hope – and not just with their channel, but with life in general. “With life literally being upside down, we have to have hope. There’s going to be an end to this some day. Things will reopen completely someday. We’ll be in the parks ‘normally’ some day. But for right now, we need to just do the best we can. For some, that’s learning how to do new crafts, create a side hustle, or workout every day. For others (me) it’s waking up each morning with a smile and surviving the day. There’s no winners during this. No one is perfect, however ‘perfect’ they make their lives out to be. We’re all human.

And it was hope that helped her get to where she is now in both her personal life as well as with this vlog. A lot of people think that when they start creating content for others that they need to be the person that people WANT to see. But instead, Amanda encourages those who want to start vlogging to (in Genie’s voice) “Beeeee yourself!” “Being yourself is what’s going to make you stand out from other channels.” Although, they have done similar videos to other people, whether it was a cooking video or answering Disney Q&A, they have always been unique about their approach. Mike and Amanda continually laugh, are silly, flub their words, and because that is their style, Amanda usually doesn’t edit those bloopers out! Amanda also advises that if you want to start vlogging to start with something that makes you happy: “If you like to get packages and unbox them, do that! If you have a large collection of something, show that off! If you are traveling, vlog it! There’s so many places creatively to start.” And you can start it all from your phone! You don’t need fancy equipment to start and phone’s have come such a long way to shoot and edit amazing content. Mike and Amanda now use a Canon G7x Mark II that they use for filming, and edit using iMovie.

If you want to see how the Hydes do Disney, you can find them on YouTube as well as Facebook and Instagram at @TheHydesDoDisney! Amanda and Mike try to keep themselves on a regular schedule to create their own content. They will usually record a week in advance of when they want to post, with their “normal” video being released on Monday at 7am EST, and Thursdays 7am EST for food videos! And you’re going to want to be tuned in because they are doing a giveaway of Word of Disney goodies from their recent trip to Walt Disney World!

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Learning more about the creator of Sew Dough Co

Magical Monday Feature – Lucy (@TheSewDoughCo)

There are some small shops that when you first see their work, you are astounded. You’re in love. You immediately follow, you like as many pictures as you can, and you start saving everything you want to buy. For me, that was my experience when I found @TheSewDoughCo!

Lucy, the one-woman show behind The Sew Dough Co, makes beautiful hand-sewn mouse shaped doughnut ears, keychains, and pillows! If you didn’t think doughnuts were an obsession before, Lucy has taken it to the next level and I could not be more blown away by her work. Although she does all the work of sewing herself, she does entrust her husband to help with the postage labels occasionally. And the story of her getting to this point in her success is actually really wild! “In June 2017, I completed my PhD in behavioural ecology, whilst I was writing up papers and applying for grants my sister started a Disney blog, and she asked me to edit her work. With the extra time I had on my hands I took over her Instagram account, learning how to grow it naturally. We had a trip booked to Disneyland Paris in October and with my new exposure to a lot of Disney Instagrammers I noticed a lot of people making and selling handmade ears and decided to make some for us. The ears got so many compliments over the duration of our trip that it gave me the confidence to open a shop. I decided what little income it generated would keep me afloat and meant that I could work hours of my choosing and continue searching for a job in academia. Looking back the ears are absolutely dreadful, but I’ve kept them as a mark of how far I’ve come!

With a start like that, it’s actually incredible to see how far Lucy has come and even more incredible to see the continual progress she has had with her products. But at the time of her starting, her future with this career path wasn’t always so optimistic. At the time, she was still balancing her science-based work with Sew Dough Co work. A lot of times she would find herself responding to questions from potential customers letting them know that it was possible she wouldn’t be making products for very much longer. She was still in the mindset of viewing Sew Dough as more of a hobby and looked optimistically towards her work in science.

But her outlook on Sew Dough started to change with the help of all the amazing friends she made along the way and the people who looked at her work and believed in the talent that she had! Slowly she changed her attitude on the so called “small shop life” by looking at other small shop owners living and working from home and sharing similar success and struggle stories. Soon Lucy started being proud of the unique skillset she had instead of embarrassed about working from home and making “stuff from sequins”. “For once in my life I am comfortable with my choices and actually proud of what I’ve managed to achieve – even if this wasn’t the path I set out on 13 years ago when I started university!

And Lucy has a lot to be proud of. It started with a simple trip to her local fabric store to buy some Jack Skellington fabric so that she could make a pair of ears for her sister that she would like. She also purchased shirts off of Primark to make into ears. Soon she had an Etsy shop, making everything made-to-order with a 2-day turn around. She figured that the faster she could get orders out, the better chance she would have to make an impression in such a saturated environment. The other thing she wanted to do to stand out was to have a niche, so after a week long binge of watching DisneyFoodBlog, she created a pair of ears that were half hamburger and half doughnut. But she also quickly found that these were poorly received by her followers. After Lucy reached out to her followers for feedback, she found that an important thing for them was to produce something that was symmetrical – and so the doughnut ears were born! “They had slowly been gaining popularity and I had to increase my dispatch times to keep up with demand. The real change in the way I operated my shop was when I released the decorative plush pumpkins, demand was so high I had to switch to monthly openings over a matter of weeks. This is how I have kept my shop since then, it’s a concept a lot of people struggle with, but I think if you’re a successful business that wants to keep a certain level of quality, you have to cap orders somehow to allow yourself the time to make items and also keep evolving and trying new things.

Although this was her driving force of inspiration, Lucy also gets inspirations from movies, Pinterest, Instagram, but most importantly her friends that also own magical businesses! Specifically Karina from Chasing Childhood that I had the opportunity to interview last week has given her a lot of direction when it comes to an opinion on how to execute a new product or to give her an extra boost of confidence when she feels below average.

But it seems to me that she continually does above average after every opening! And it’s been a pleasure to continue to follow her with success after success. In fact, one of the biggest highlights of her shop was when she first reopened her shop for pumpkin orders after closing due to high demand. The number of orders she received blew her away! “It made me feel like I was good at something again. I can’t state enough how hard it was trying to find a place for myself in the academic world – and failing. This shop really has shown me that as long as you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t matter that your life plan has taken a different tangent.

But that wasn’t always her outlook on her current career path. It actually took her awhile to get over the fact that this shop was her life now and she needed to embrace it and give it her all to succeed. “It definitely wasn’t what I set out to do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve the success or can achieve it.

And now Lucy has a thriving full time job as a small shop owner! However, she still holds a place in her heart for her love of science and will often dabble in it during slower months. In fact, this past month she took time off from Sew Dough to get some data analysis done because science has now become her “hobby” instead of sewing! Which is weird for Lucy to think about since two years ago it was actually the opposite!

Through it all though, Lucy has remained all the more positive. Even now with dealing with a quarantined lifestyle, she is still trying to find her own balance to continue to remain positive. She has found that regular exercise has helped to clear her mind as well as help her sleep better and get her daily dose of endorphins! Although she does admit that “90% is just me dancing about my living room like a madwoman – but if that’s what I need to get me through the day then so be it.” Even before lock-down, her and her family would always have weekend gatherings. Now that they can’t do that, they still have a routine for scheduling catch-ups with one another over the internet. “Even when no one had any news it was just good to see everyone’s faces and we talk about what we’ve been doing to pass the time, be it baking or jigsaws! Keeping connected to family and close friends has really helped me feel much less isolated.

Since I have been following Lucy for what seems like forever, it seems almost weird to think that I started following her when she had less followers than what she has now. To me she has always been a raging success! So I wanted to ask her what advice she had for others who might be interested in opening their own small shop. Lucy said, “Find your niche, if you search for an item that you make, do 20 other shops pop up with extremely similar items? Don’t try to undercut others to get the sale, try to think outside the box and create something that is uniquely you. Success doesn’t happen overnight, I’m coming up to three years of owning my own business and I don’t think I’ve gone a day without working in some respect – be it making or just being on Instagram and engaging with customers. Make sure you have a good sounding board around you, if you have a table full of ‘yes men’, you’ll continue to coast along creating product that are uninspired or fall short in some respect. Being told ‘no, that’s not good enough’ is good for your business!

So if you want to follow Lucy and all the creative and amazing products at The Sew Dough Co, her Instagram handle is @TheSewDoughCo (she has up-to-date information about sales in her bio and a sale countdown on her stories), and her website is (be sure to subscribe for the latest information on shop openings!). But keep an eye out because Lucy is having a Ready to Ship Sale that will take place on July 31st at 19:30 British Summer Time (2:30pm ET / 11:30am PT). And the following day, Saturday August 1st, she will open her order book and have the items listed that day dispatched in 4-6 weeks! And honestly, I can’t WAIT to place my first order with Lucy!!

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A blog featuring Tiffany Alva, a Disney influencer on Instagram

Magical Monday Feature – Tiffany (@TomorrowlandTiff)

Welcome back to another Magical Monday feature! These posts are to showcase some people and small shops who are bringing the best doses of pixie dust to your feed. Today, the feature goes to Tiffany (you might know her as Tomorrowland Tiff!). She is an influencer whose main focus is Disney and brings a lot of positivity and life to her posts. I had the pleasure of interviewing her to learn more about her, her page, and her life outside of Instagram!

Tiffany started her Instagram back in 2017. She remembers the time vividly because around the same time she was about to get married and she was also following a bunch of Disney accounts. When seeing these accounts, she couldn’t help but be envious of the lives they were living and she wanted to be just like them! However, a few things got in her way: “I didn’t think I had enough friends, I didn’t think I was outgoing enough, I didn’t take pretty enough photos, and frankly I just didn’t think I could do it.

But then one day, she asked herself “Why CAN’T I do this?” And from there magic unraveled!

She converted her personal account into primarily a Disney account and started sharing park tips, tricks, and her personal style. Soon after, she started gaining some traction in this hobby she created so she invested in a beginner camera and began meeting friends in the Disney community. However, it became apparent to her that this wasn’t just a hobby anymore!

Tiffany’s collab with Smashmallow

Over the past three years, her page has changed quite a bit. From sharing park tips, occasion Disney fashion, and working with small shops, her page started evolving into her sharing more about her personal life and style. Although she loves every aspect about her page thus far and she still loves posting about Disney tips and style, she now has started feeling more comfortable sharing other aspects of her life!

She’s even had her fair share of trial and error to bring new types of magic to her followers: “I had a couple different failed blogs in the beginning. I had a random blog by myself. [Then] I remember starting a blog with a friend that didn’t work out and I was devastated at the time. [Also] I remember starting my first podcast ‘Tomorrowland Talks’ which had an accompanying blog. I started by interviewing my friends which was fun at first, but I quickly ran out of inspiration. Then almost a year ago I began working with my friend Carolyn on our podcast, The Disney Download, which has been so much fun. I’ve been able to share our work through my page while still sharing my personal style and the things I enjoy. Working on the podcast has been an amazing experience because although it took a few fails to get me here, I have found what’s working for me. It’s also motivated me to have new experiences that I will always remember. Even though some of the things I tried didn’t work out, I learned so many valuable lessons from it. I’ve also learned what I do and don’t like doing.

As she has navigated through the ups and downs of her page, she still draws a ton of inspiration from one of the founding aspects of her page – Disney! “I love creating magical looks because it makes me happy and I hope that from time to time it inspires others.” She also makes sure that when she creates content, that she puts a lot of planning into her posts. Whenever she takes pictures in the park, she brings multiple outfits and tries to keep finding new spots to take pictures or new poses to try. From there she can plan content out as far as 5-6 weeks in advance, with 4-5 different posts a week prepared! It may seem like a lot of work, but to her it’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle to figure out how to plan to post her content.

Tffay’s collab with Danielle Nicole Handbags

Clearly, Tiffany puts a lot of work into her page and she has seen so many rewarding things come out of running her page like working with top brand names like Smashmallow, Toms, Aldo Shoes, Petunia Picklebottom, Papyrus, Danielle Nicole Handbags, and Couture Kingdom. But none of those compare to the real highlight of her page – creating genuine friendships! “I am so grateful for the people I have been able to connect with because of my account. Going to events has been such a highlight for me because I get to meet familiar faces that I see on Instagram. Dapper Day is one of the ones that come to mind because it’s an opportunity to meet up with new/old friends and see everyone’s creativity shine!

With all this work though, Tiffany does admit that sometimes finding a balance can be a challenge for her. “When I created my account I jumped right in with both feet. Sometimes I need to give myself space to relax and not force myself to go to the parks or take photos. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on an opportunity if I don’t show up, but in reality, I need to give myself the chance to rest. I just love what I am doing so much, but I need to remember to take a break, too.

Especially when running her page isn’t her only priority! Tiffany also works as a Marketing Director, is a wife of three years, and is a loving dog mom. She takes the time to foster all of these relationships, and you can regularly see this part of her life in her Insta-stories. Trust me when I say that her dog, Tofu, makes frequent appearances and she is adorable! Since her and her husband live in San Diego, they are also able to do a lot of fun things together outside of the parks like going to different dog parks, scoping out wineries, and hanging out with friends.

Tiffany’s collab with Aldo Shoes

Obviously a lot of those regular activities have been put on hold since quarantine has started. But from what I have seen, Tiffany has always remained a ray of sunshine on her feed and she gives her own input on how she goes about her daily life: “I know it can be hard to stay positive! As someone who has struggled with anxiety forever, I have a tough time staying positive. One thing I have learned lately is that there are so many things we can’t control. It’s important to let go of those things and focus on what you can do. From there, just know you have done your very best and that is amazing!

It’s no surprise that Tiffany has become so successful at running her page and has been able to work with such recognizable brands in the Disney community. So of course, I just had to ask her what advice she would give to someone else who wanted to follow in her footsteps and start their journey towards being an influencer. “Just take the plunge! You will always come up with reasons why you ‘can’t’. But the reality is that you CAN. You don’t have to have it all figured out. I didn’t have ANYTHING figured out when I started, and sometimes I still don’t feel like I do. I just started doing it and I learned a lot as I went. Follow other accounts that inspire you and learn from them!

Tiffany is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. Her posts are always at the top of my feed every morning and I love seeing the new outfits she puts together or reading the posts she has written. If you want to follow along too, you can find her on Instagram at @TomorrowlandTiff. And if you want to listen to her podcast, The Disney Download, you can find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.