The Essentials #DisneyBound Packing List!

Heading to Walt Disney World Soon. Pack more fun and print this Essential Walt Disney World Packing List!

In just a few short days, I will be packing my bags jetting off to Walt Disney World (a.k.a. my “happy” place)! I created my Essential #DisneyBound Packing List which I am sharing with you today. And truthfully, no Disney vacation should be without these items!

#1 – Your Mickey Mouse or Minni Mouse Ears

#2 – A Magic Band

Unlock all the enchantment of Walt Disney World Resort wearing your own personal MagicBand 2. With a simple touch, redeem FastPass+ selections, enter parks, charge purchases to your room, and more!

#3 – Your Favorite Disney T-shirts

#4 – A Mickey Mouse Fanny Pack 

Disney TAG Canvas Crossbody Hip Pack

Mickey Mouse stars on our stylish convertible carryall for use as a crossbody bag or comfy hip pack. Part of the new Travel•Accessories•Gear collection, this pack is perfect for toting all your essentials with ease.

#5 – Don’t Forget Shoes

#6 – A Hidden Mickeys Guide Book 

Bonus Item – Your Favorite Disney Coloring Book  


Check out the Disney Store for all your Disney Essentials

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Truly A Tale as Old as Time

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.


Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a live-action adaptation on of the studio’s animated classic featured an extraordinary ensemble cast, including: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu MbathaRaw, Hattie Morahan and Nathan Mack with Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

~ Film Facts ~

  • Over 8,700 candles (or 104,400 inches of wax) were used as set decoration during production.
  • The ballroom floor in the Beast’s castle is made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble and its design is based on a pattern found on the ceiling of the Benedictine Abbey in Braunau, Germany. The 10 glass chandeliers in the ballroom – each measuring 14 feet by 7 feet – are based on actual chandeliers from Versailles which were then frosted, covered in fabric and candlelit.
  • Approximately 1,500 red roses were grown or purchased during production for use as research or set decoration.
  • The enchanted forest which surrounds the Beast’s castle and features real trees, hedges, a frozen lake and 20,000 icicles, took 15 weeks to complete.
  • Approximately 180 feet of feather light satin organza was used to create Belle’s yellow dress. The dress, which required 3,000 feet of thread and took over 12,000 hours to create, was accentuated with 2,160 Swarovski crystals.
  • During production, the costume department challenged itself to design and create ethical and sustainable costumes made from fair-trade fabrics (meaning the use of organic materials from suppliers that pay their employees a fair wage and are considerate of the environment), which they achieved. Working in tandem with Eco Age and the Green Carpet Challenge, the department used natural and low impact dyes, carefully disposing of any waste water, and printed with traditional wood blocks.
  • A production crew comprised of more than 1,000 people worked around the clock to design, build and decorate the film’s mammoth sets.
  • Philippe, Belle (Emma Watson) and Maurice’s (Kevin Kline) horse, is played by three different horses, two of which had to be painted on a daily basis.
  • Emma Watson (Belle), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Nathan Mack (Chip) all share the same birthday, April 14, which was also the date of the cast read through.
  • Froufrou, the dog belonging to Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), is played by Gizmo, a rescue from one of the U.K.’s oldest and most famous animal rescue centers.
  • The coat of arms in the Beast’s castle is a lion and a boar with a WD anagram (the WD is meant to represent a fictional character, William Devereaux, but could also stand for Walt Disney).
  • Some of the original lyrics written by Howard Ashman for the songs “Gaston” and “Beauty and the Beast” that were not used in the animated film have been added to the live-action adaptation.

Michelle Wins the Outie Champion Award!

The “Outies” were awarded at the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016. I’m so excited to announce that my mother Michelle Smith won the Champion Award!

“The Champion Award recognizes any LGBT person or Ally who has made a significant contribution to advancing workplace equality. The champion award winner will have shown a unique commitment to LGBT workplace rights and will have used his or her talents to further that cause, even at some risk.”

It's a tie! This year's Champion Awards go to Michelle Smith and Tom Vilsack– True advocates. Congrats to all our nominees! #oesummit

— Out & Equal (@OutandEqual) October 5, 2016

I am so proud of my Mother Michelle Smith for wining an Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Outie Award! She is an amazing role model and advocate to the LGBT community.



To learn more about the 2016 Out & Equal Workplace Summit, click here.

Who is behind Just Keep Swimming?

14192130_10154234828215219_214218750602059772_nHello, my name is Matthew.  I’m a Social Media Consultant, Graphic Designer, Web Developer, Photography, Selfie Queen, Disney Geek, ΑΦΩ Brother, LGBT Activist, and Foodie.

When I moved to Chicago in 2011, I would never realize what an impact it would have on my life. I had the opportunity to live and learn in the heart of Chicago. Being just a few blocks away from public transportation the city is at my fingertips. I have always been passionate about photography, whether I’m pulling out me digital SLR or just my iPhone these days. I’m just trying to share just a little of my WORLD.  And anyone who knows me knows that I love a good #selfie. Besides Photography I am an avid Social Media user just hanging out and being social. But I’m not just a user I enjoy sharing my social media knowledge.

Outside of the digital world I’m an explorer, always looking for something new to discover and experience. I have been lucky in life to have had a few once in a lifetime experiences. So I’m always on the lookout for new experiences. As result each morning I remind myself to live each day to the fullest and not to pass up any opportunities that may come my way. To keep myself open to new experiences and always try something at least once because you never know what you may like.

A little about me, I have a background in marketing, social media, graphic and web design. By day I’m an onboarding specialist/front end developer for a template based website company. Outside of my day job I freelance work under my personal business M85 Digital Media. I’m always looking for opportunities to use my creative capabilities, especially as they relate to today’s digital world.

When it comes to my spare time I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, cooking, shopping and watching Netflix.

I’m looking forward to bring you the latest things going on in my world as I Just Keep Swimming!


Introducing Just Keep Swimming ~ My New Blog

Introducing my new blog Just Keep Swimming. When contemplating what to name my new blog, I wanted something that reflected how I live life. This motto can apply to the young and old. We all have times when life gets you down, and what do you do? Well for me I Just keep swimming ahead and enjoying life. I have always been a person who loves to live in the moment. I’m an explorer, always looking for something new to discover and experience. You can expect me to bring you the latest things going on in my world as I Just Keep Swimming!

Disney’s Cinderella

CINDERELLALast Tuesday night I went to see Disney’s Cinderella and the animated short, Frozen Fever featuring the characters from Frozen. The movie was really well done and had an excellent message about Kindness. This movie was a fine updating of the Cinderella story with a great message. Visually it was a beautiful film with amazing sets and costumes. I also enjoyed the digital short, Frozen Fever. This was a cute short about Elsa creating the perfect birthday for Anna while she (Elsa) was battling a cold.

@mjsmith0523 ~ Who am I?


Hello I’m Matthew. I’m a recent college graduate living in Chicago. I attended Roosevelt University in the heart of the Chicago Loop. When I moved to Chicago four years ago, I would never realized what an impact it would have on my life. I have had the opportunity to live and learn in the heart of Chicago. Being just a few blocks away from public transportation the city was at my finger tips. One hobby that I am passionate about has been photography, whether I’m puling out me digitalSLR or  just my iphone. I try to share just a little of my WORLD with my followers. My friends would also tell you that I love a good #selfie. Besides Photography I am an avid Social Media User, a Disney Geek, an ΑΦΩ Brother, a LGBT Activist, and Foodie.

Each morning I remind myself to live each day to the fullest and not to pass up any opportunities that may come my way. To keep myself open to any new experiences and always be willing to try any thing at least once Because you never know what you may like.