Ice Castles 2018 (and tips for visiting yourself)

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We made our annual trip up to NH to see the Ice Castle this past weekend. I get so excited for this trip every year! P was really little when we went last year, but she was able to understand and enjoy it more this year which was so ridiculously cute. She loves snow, and the little mini ice slides were a hit!

Every year when I post our pictures (see 2015-2017 here), I get a few questions about it. So I thought I'd share a few tips if anyone else decides to visit for themselves! I think there may only be a couple weeks left in the season for NH, but you could always plan ahead for next year, too!

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The ice castle we visit is in Lincoln NH, but there are other locations in Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, and Canada (visit there website for info). Our experience is only at the NH location, but I'm sure a lot of my tips apply to the others, as well. 

The biggest thing, that is pretty deceiving from all of my photos, is that it actually gets VERY busy and crowded. SO...

  • Buy your tickets online ahead of time. Standby tickets aren't always available. 
  • Try to get your tickets for the earliest timeslot of the day (this year on a Saturday it was 11am). AND get there early. We were 20 min early and lucked out because they opened the gate early. This is how I get most of the good pictures. We try to be some of the first people in there and get most of the picture taking out of the way before the wave of people start pouring in.
  • UNLESS you want to see it lit up at night, which is a whole other experience. We never do this so I don't really have any tips. #sorryguys
  • If you're a stickler like me about not wanting a million people in your photos, you just got to have a lot of patience. It takes a lot of strategic framing and cropping, waiting your turn for the most photogenic spots, and a little photoshop to remove the random strangers ;) 
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  • Wear good boots. The ground is all snow and can be a little difficult to walk on without proper footwear.
  • Dress the kids in full snowsuits/snowpants. And warm gloves. They'll want to crawl through the tunnels and go down the ice slides and sit on the ice throwns!
  • Speaking of kids, don't bring a stroller. You'll never make it on the snowy ground. Bring a sled with a string to pull them around. And wear small babies in carriers. 
  • I think they may list appearances on the website, or you may just get lucky and be there when Elsa and Anna and Olaf make a visit!
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  • This isn't about the ice castle itself, but every year we head to lunch at Gypsy Cafe after we're done there. It's our favorite spot! Try the grilled cheese fondue and cranberry mac and cheese. 

P.S - this is not sponsored at all. I just love this place and thought I'd share what I've learned over the years! Now scroll and enjoy some more photos. I think this year's photos may rival 2015 as my favorite set.

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Mama & her Little

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Sometimes the bathroom just gets the best light ;).

So you know how me and P adore Mama & Little. Well now they have paci clips that match all your favorite teething necklaces and bracelets! Which is perfect because P just so happened to lose her clip recently, and you know she can't go anywhere without that thing nearby. Oh, and these tees are available, too! I'm completely obsessed matching with my little. My little Mama heart could just burst when we wear these together. 

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handmade wardrobe// axel & darling

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I saw this agate print scuba knit and immediately kneeeeew I needed to make an Axel mini out it. I could make a million of these skirts (here's another), they whip up so fast and are so comfy. I also made a simple sleeveless, dartless Darling Ranges blouse to go with it. Another one of those versatile patterns that I always go back to. I've been working with Megan on updating all of the Darling Ranges sew-a-long posts (stay tuned later this week!), and it just renewed my love for this old favorite. 

P.S - boots are from Target!

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Holiday Shopping Deals For Littles

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Obviously, I have a great deal to share with you for Nelly Lou! Have a baby or toddler on your shopping list? I have some cute tee's for both boys and girls, turban hats, and headbands (and a few items for adults, too!). Today through Monday, 11/24-11/27, use the code HOLIDAY20 for 20% off your order. 

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Remember Bookroo? They're a children's book subscription box, and Penny is in love with it! They have board book boxes for the littlest ones, and picture book boxes for toddlers. They even have a new junior box for ages 7-10. From today, 11/24, through Monday, 11/27, you can get 25% off with the code HOLLYGIFT. It's their biggest sale of the year!

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And lastly, our favorite diaper bag company, PacaPod, has a rally great deal! They have up to 40% off select styles today through Friday, 11/24-11/27

Twistshake

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In collaboration with Twistshake.

P was such a ham while taking these photos, I couldn't stop snapping. Waving and laughing at the daycare kids out for their walk, taking sips of her water and saying "MMMmmm" with the funniest face. This kid, man. And she was loving her water so much because it tastes like strawberries! Have you heard about Twistshake? They make sippy cups in different sizes with a "fruit mixer" to infuse fruit into their water or milk. They also make bottles with a mixer net to catch and dissolve clumps. 

If you want to try one out, you can use discount code hollyjollydolly20 for 20% off.

P's outfit:

dress: Old Navy

turban: Nelly Lou

Moccs: Freshly Picked

Cup: c/o Twistshake

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Nelly Lou

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If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then this isn't new. But I realized I forgot to post here. My new shop  - Nelly Lou - is now open! I've switched gears and have decided to venture into baby and toddler nothing and accessories. I've started this first collection with just two style t-shirts in 5 available prints. There are also turban hats and headbands for your little girls! Aerated I still have a few things for women, including sleep masks and hair ties. My hope in the future is to also add matching turbans and headbands for women, too!

I'd love for you to check it out:

shop on Etsy

find us on Instagram and Facebook under @shopnellylou

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