2016, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, myblog, travel

St Louis Weekend

It’d be neat if Columbus had an icon like the Gateway Arch
Our hotel lobby, from the 8th floor

Somehow, I woke up at 5am. Fiona came to my room to help encourage me to get out of bed but it was still a struggle. Mom drove us to the airport and we caught our flight out at 6:40am. We had a layover in Chicago but stayed on the plane so it was easy.

We arrived in St. Louis around 10:30am and picked up our rental car. On the shuttle bus to the rental car area, we got off the bus and I thought my dad had grabbed my backpack but he didn’t. I raced back to the shuttle bus. The driver held my purple backpack and said, “Yeah I saw someone left this, you look pretty panicked so I assume it’s yours.”

It was too early to check into our hotel so we met up with my aunt and uncle in the Lumiere casino, downtown. We ate breakfast at the casino sports bar where the coffee was lukewarm, service was lousy and the homefries were greasy.

To kill some time, we decided to go to the Budweiser Brewery. It’s great because it’s a free tour. They walk you through the Clydesdale stable, the brew house and you get two free samples.

Trying my dad’s Oktoberfest beer and the Hoegaarden
All of the Budweiser

Uncle Steve, Me, my dad, and Aunt Diane 

After the tour, I took a glorious nap and got ready for the wedding.

The wedding and reception took place at Bissinger’s  which is a chocolate factory in downtown St. Louis. 
The ceremony was inside due to the rain but was still very nice. 
At the cocktail hour, there was of course, chocolates, and many yummy snacks.

The dinner at the reception featured a salad with a caramel dressing, chicken in a chocolate glaze sauce and Ted Drewes chocolate frozen custard. There was not a cake, however later on in the night, there were S’mores.  The s’more S’mores the better!

We wanted a better breakfast than the casino sports bar so we went across the street to the Four Seasons hotel restaurant. It was incredibly fancy. Like so fancy they had a beverage server and a food server. I treated myself to the smoked salmon and sincerely enjoyed it. 

I’d like to have this for breakfast every day, please

We went over to my cousin’s Stephanie house for a family get together in the afternoon. She has such nice decorating tastes so I tried to take notes on home decorating tips I could use in my own place. I tried some St. Louis ribs that were quite yummy. 

Around 4pm, we drove to the airport and headed back to Columbus 
disney, disneyworld, tips, travel

Hidden Mickeys: Oh look, there’s one!

If you’ve gone to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you’ve perhaps noticed the Hidden Mickey phenomenon. A Hidden Mickey is a Mickey Mouse shaped three-circle design that is somewhere disguised in an attraction or around the park. Some are more obvious than others. Entire books have been written about finding these Hidden Mickeys. Once you find one, you continue to see it every time you return. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite Hidden Mickeys and funny signs that I always notice at Walt Disney World.

In Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger spin, look at the planet that seems like Earth. Notice the Mickey?

In Mickey’s Phillarmagic (in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom) look at the right side of the stage to notice this Hidden Mickey in the French Horn.

If you stay at a Disney Resort, look around your room for Hidden Mickeys like in this lamp. 

At the Boardwalk resort, Mickey is in the carpet riding a roller coaster. 

Note the pink Mickey heads in the left and right side. 

Okay this isn’t a Hidden Mickey, but in Monsters Inc. Laughfloor in Tomorrowland of Magic Kingdom, read the notes in the pre-show room. 

A funny note from the Laughfloor waiting area

A funny sign from Rock n Roller Coaster

Another funny sign from Jungle Cruise

The Jungle Cruise is hilarious. Look for this sign before you get on the boat. 

2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, disney, disneyworld, gillum, packing, tips, travel

Pack with me

Make little clothes people on your bed to plan outfits

Tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney World! We go there every year so I’m an experienced Disney traveler. For tips about Disney World see this post. For tips about how I pack for my adventure, read on. (Note that some of these packing tips are specific to females.)
How to pack:

  1.    Do laundry. This way you can see all of the clothes you have to work with and so you don’t come home to smelly clothes. You’ll be shocked at how many clothes you actually own. If not, immediately go on a wild shopping spree with your dad’s credit card. 
  2. Try on the clothes you’re thinking of taking. I find that a top that sometimes looks great on the hanger, doesn’t look as good on me. (Meaning, I probably shouldn’t have bough it in the first place. Oh well.) Or I’ll find that my weight has changed and pants fit differently. (If only cookies were healthy for you…) Put on the clothes you’re thinking of bringing and look in the mirror. 
  3. Lay them out on your bed. Make piles for each day you’ll be away. This helps you visually check you’re packing shirts, pants, underwear, socks, shoes, bras, camisoles, etc for each day. Plus then it will look like you have six stylish friends laying on your bed. 
  4. Be sure you pack pajamas or comfy clothes you can also sleep in. Do not forget your pajamas. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything. Puh-lease. What kind of idiot would forget jammy jams? Psh. 
  5. Put socks and underwear inside shoes to help the shoes keep their shape and to save room. Ain’t nobody want their shoes to get crushed in their luggage. That sucks. This also makes it easy to find your socks and underwear when you arrive. No more pawing through your luggage for clean undies. 
  6. Figure out what you’re wearing the day you leave, on the plane. Wear your heaviest clothes and layer to save room in your luggage. If it turns out to be hot in the airport, be sure to make a spectacle of slowly and sexily stripping off your excess layers.  
  7. Roll up pants tightly and fold shirts. Use rubber bands to keep them rolled up. Pack pants first in the bottom of your suitcase.  Carefully place clothes in suitcase. Don’t just throw them in there. How would you like to be thrown into a suitcase? 
    Cram your socks and undies in shoes

  8. What jewelry wil you wear? Place earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets in baggies. Then pray to God that they don’t become a tangled mess when you arrive at your destination. 
  9. Pack toiletries. If you’re flying and checking a bag, put all your liquids in that bag. If you’re not checking a bag, put liquids into a baggie and keep them under 3 oz. My dermatologist and dentist give out tiny samples that are perfectly travel size.  Be sure to reminisce on the days before Sept. 11 when you could carry on any liquids you wanted. 
  10. Pack stuff to do. Airports are treacherous boring hellholes. So, I packed two books, my ipad and my journal to keep my occupied. I used to bring my Gameboy with me, but I’m “too old” for that now 😉 I’d encourage you to bring whatever Gameboy, Pokemon, Walkman, Tamigotchi, Furby or other 90s toy you have. Don’t bother bringing headphones, your neighbors will immensely enjoy hearing whatever you’re doing. 
  11. Play liquid Tetris inside a Ziploc baggie. New high score!

  12. Make sure there aren’t any liquids in your purse or backpack. I’ll never forget when TSA confiscated a bottle of apple juice I forgot was in my backpack. I cried for weeks. Be sure to take out your hand sanitizer, dump out your water bottle and move liquids into your little liquid baggie. Heck, even empty the liquid in your bladder, unless it’s less than 3oz. 
    Tightly roll pants and shirts while humming “Roll up”

Be sure each day you have what you need to wear. Or else.
 What I usually Pack aka Packing list for female Dummies: 


  • Facial Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Foundation
  • Loofa in a ziploc bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Razor
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Comb
  • Trial sizes of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel


  • Walking Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Jacket or Cardigan
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear
  • Bras 
  • Socks
  • Shorts 
  • Jeans
  • Pajamas


  • Purse/ bag 
  • Books
  • iPad
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera (plus charger)
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal
  • iPod (charger)
All photos taken by me. Admire my awesome point and shoot photography skills. 
2014, debbie, deborahgillum, hacks, informative, life, lifehacks, tips, travel

My Life Hacks

Life Hacks that I’ve learned and used over the years. These will help you stay organized and pack more efficiently. 
To best keep old headphones organized, take bits of cardboard and cut them into small pieces. Make a cut on the top and bottom then wrap the headphones around the cardboard. You can also keep them in small plastic containers. 
When packing earrings for a trip, pin them onto an old tie. I did this when I went to Denmark for four months. I borrowed my dad’s old tie, chose my earrings, folded it up carefully in my luggage and when I arrived, all I had to do was tie it up somewhere so I could see the earrings. Easy!

With your earrings on a tie, you can easily pack them, see all of your earrings and you can fit a lot. 

To display bracelets, use old toiler paper roll holders. I wrapped them in blue wrapping paper so they looked nicer. 
Buy one of these cheap toothbrush holders. I found this at Wal-Mart for $2. It sticks to your mirror with suction cups and you can use it to hold toothpaste, toothbrushes, teaser combs and other combs. I have one at home and school. 

Clip your hair clippies onto your hairbrush holder. This way, you can easily see them and access them for styling your hair. 

For a cute way to diaplay stuffed animals like Beanie Babies, build them a a beanie ark. My uncle built this for me when I was little. You can fit tons of Beanie Babies on this. However, make sure to include two of every animal!

When travelling, save room in your suitcase by stuffing your shoes with socks, underwear, t-shirts, tank tops, etc. This is a big help. Let’s hope you have pretty big shoes to fill. haha

In this box, I squished a pair of pants, two long sleeve shirts and a sweatshirt. This is what packing looks like when you don’t fold or roll up your clothes. Don’t do this. 

Much better! To save room when packing, tightly roll up your clothes. You can even use rubber bands to make sure they stay tightly rolled. You’ll be amazed how much space this saves. 
The cheapest and best lip moisturizer around is petroleum jelly. My dermatologist recommended this to me in middle school and I’ve been using it ever since. Put some on before you go to bed and wake up with softer lips. It’s better than any chap stick or lip gloss.
A fun way to display rings is on a mannequin hand. I got this off eBay a few years ago. Bonus: You can practice manicures on this hand. It also comes in handy around Halloween or for pranks.

To remember which cord goes with what device, use a matching sticker. I put a blue sticker on the device and the cord. I also put a sticky note on it. You can also use a bread tab thing to mark the cord.
More Life Hacks:
Photos taken by Debbie.