The Belle Dress

For my daughter’s 3rd birthday and trip to Walt Disney World (our favorite) she asked me to make the two different dresses Belle wears in Beauty and The Beast. I love to sew but this is a major project for any seamstress. I try to make her something for every trip to Disney but this was a bit extreme. Through Etsy I found two different pattern makers to make (what I call) Belle’s Blue Dress and Belle’s Yellow Dress.

Gianna & Mama
Model & Dressmaker

The Blue Dress I purchased was just the pattern with written instructions which was somewhat difficult. It’s a wonderful pattern with good instructions. The dress is finely tailored and absolutely beautiful. It was designed by PaperScissorsFrocks who makes amazing costumes and turned out exactly like the film.


The Yellow Dress (a lifetime sewing goal for me) was designed by Marina at Frocks And Frolics who has not only a great pattern and written instructions but an academy as well online with broken down instructional videos for each section. It was so much fun to watch and make. I honestly can’t wait to make my next one with her.  Even the Epcot Akershus Princesses and everyone at the Be Our Guest restaurant at Magic Kingdom complimented her dress and she was so proud. The finished product was exactly what she dreamed of and we couldn’t be happier!


I even ended up making a matching bib from another pattern (Yuzu & Pear that I altered) so we didn’t ruin her beautiful dress while eating all her birthday treats at Walt Disney World for our Be Our Guest dinner at Beast’s Castle & our Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Princess lunch at Epcot.

Birthday Cake
Birthday Princess Bib

Both dresses and bib were made on a Brother SE625 and many of the items I made them with were bought locally in The Bahamas or on Amazon. See the photos and video of our trip to Walt Disney World and her beautiful dream dresses and let me know in the comments if you decide to make either of these. I would love to see them! Send me your ideas of what we should make next. 💖




The Minnie Van

Before I had a baby I wasn’t too excited about a Minivan. Recently at Walt Disney World that all changed.  Together with Lyft Disney has created a very fun ride called the “Minnie Van”. It is a collaboration with the ride share service and available for guests of the resorts around the parks. You can arrange a ride in a private Disney car right from your phone. A Disney cast member drives you, so you know you’re in good hands, and they can take you anywhere around Walt Disney World Resort. The service holds up to 6 guest with two available car seats (versatile car seats that can be either forward or rear facing or even a booster seat) for little guests.

Minnie Van
The Minnie Van on our most recent WDW trip

On our last two trips to Walt Disney World we have had the opportunity to try the Minnie Van. One time from the Caribbean Beach Resort and once from the Polynesian. If you currently use Lyft you probably know how it works but additionally we had to ask for an activation code at the front desk to use the Minnie Van service.

WDW Minnie Van
Gianna loving the Minnie Van at WDW

On both trips the Disney cast member drivers were wonderful and so helpful and accompanying. The ride is $25 flat for a one way trip. Although this seems a bit high compared to normal ride sharing apps or the free transportation options WDW offers, when you are pressed for time or don’t want to deal with the bus service or other options it is a great time saver! Also being provided by Disney there is a feeling of additional safety and the provided car seats make it great for families.

The Minnie Van drops you off right where you need to be at the parks!

For us, we had a half day after travel to spend at the park so the time saved was well worth it. Disney music was playing during the trip which my daughter loved and it was so much fun to see her light up as she recognized a song. Both of our drivers have been so helpful and knew answers to any questions we have had.

On each trip, our Minnie Van was equipped with Graco 4ever car seats and Gianna loved them so much that we ended up getting one ourselves as her new “big girl” car seat!

Graco 4ever
Her new “Big Girl” car seat at home

If you are staying at a WDW property and are looking for a way to add a little special touch to shorten your trip to the park or ease to your day, make sure you try a Minnie Van. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from our adventures at Walt Disney World in upcoming posts and follow us on Instagram @ATinySuitcase!




Tru Tru Bahamian Festival

While in the Bahamas we have been trying to see more than the normal tourist things you might see on a day in Nassau from a cruise stop. Doing this has been really fun because it’s forced me to think outside of what Trip Advisor (although great) offers and find other events and places you may only hear about from locals.

Our family recently went to the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival at the John Watlings Distillery  in Nassau.  It is an annual event put on by the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association in Partnership with the Ministry of Tourism.

Tru Tru
Tru Tru Bahamian Festival – Nassau Bahamas

It was a great event with something for the whole family! Food, music, crafts, games for kids, information about local events and museums and even a “History of the Bahamas Runway Show” featuring some of the local pirates who once lived here. We purchased both conch and cod fritters, local Bahamian Limeade and candied nuts from The Nutty Bavarian (they were really wonderful!).


It is an annual event so if you are lucky enough to be visiting Nassau when it is going on make sure to check it out and learn about real Bahamian culture and local fun!



A Model Baby

When Gianna was just over one year old (exactly a year ago actually) she shot her first product packaging and print job as a model for the company Lulyboo. She had a great time doing it and enjoyed her first day in front of the camera at a professional photo studio.

I have worked as a model since I was a teenager and it was amazing to see her so comfortable on her first photo shoot (I know I wasn’t!). The whole team was so wonderful and knew just how to work with a baby and make her feel at ease. We shot in San Diego, California and she had a great day.

Here is her ad for their Shopping Cart & Highchair cover. It is perfect for travel and even has a place for a tablet or phone to keep kids busy while you shop or dine if you choose to. You can purchase it on the Lulyboo website, at Amazon, ToysRus, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby, Bed Bath and Beyond and many more retailers.

(Photos from Lulyboo’s website)

 Since then she has done more shoots and enjoys playing to the cameras (and all of the attention) but this was her first professional modeling job and we will never forget it and the wonderful crew she worked with at Lulyboo.



Santa Baby

Look who’s taking a Bahamas holiday before the big night! 🎄🏝🇧🇸🎅 The kids here loved it and enjoyed hot cocoa and treats after their personal meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Sending lots of holiday love from us here at A Tiny Suitcase.  Follow us on Instagram for more about the holiday season here in The Bahamas!




Merry Christmas from The Bahamas!

Island Life

Our family recently relocated to The Bahamas for my husband’s work. Although our extended family lived here and we have visited often, nothing compares to the new adventure we are on. Traveling (and moving) with a toddler is always challenging.

Being based in California, London and Las Vegas previously, the island life is something you see in movies and photos on social media or are lucky enough to experience on a vacation or cruise (my previous experiences).  Although we will be back and forth, we will be spending quite a bit of time here and it is truly like a dream.  Spending the Winter in a tropical location adds a very fun twist to the normal cold holiday season.

Within a day of arriving Gianna found a coconut that had fallen from a tree, cracked it open and we drank the water.  One of her favorite movies is Moana so you can imagine how excited she was!

If you want to escape the cold Winter this is the place to do it!  Check back often for more about our adventures in The Bahamas here or on our social media InstagramTwitterFacebook, & Pinterest




A Tiny Suitcase is Moving!

It’s been awhile since a post at ATS but we have been having lots of changes around here! We are moving to Nassau in The Bahamas.

We are moving in the next two weeks! A Tiny Suitcase will still be based around family travel but now include much more about our Island life and travel based from there.

We hope you follow along with us on our next A Tiny Suitcase adventure and check our social media for photo and video updates.

Lots of love,



Roses And Candles

Sometimes as a Mom you need something special just for you. For me, it’s flowers and candles. They make me happy and the smell can be an instant mood lifter.  I’m a sucker for anything with roses & the new essential oil candles from Bath & Body Works are fantastic.  🥀🌹 If you like the smell of roses, this candle is for you! It smells AMAZING! They have other scents, but I love the one below. You can get it in store or click the photo. It smells like fresh cut roses and is perfect for a bedroom, bathroom or to use when taking a bubble bath. I use it when I’m doing my makeup and hair to go out somewhere and it always lifts my mood instantly!

Little Pim

My daughter has loved Little Pim since she was born. She is now almost two and asks me to watch the dvds and use the app on my iPad and phone. If you haven’t heard of Little Pim, it is amazing. It is a wonderful language program for children from birth to age 6. It was created by Julia Pimsleur.  Her father, Dr. Paul Pimsleur created the Pimsleur Method of language learning.

Little Pim is a panda bear who teaches children many different language lessons through fun activities and songs. You choose the language you are looking to teach your children and there is a set for each. The videos have cartoons and live children and songs that she loves. In one video they whistle a song and through watching, she taught herself to do it before she was even 18 months old! She has been learning French and loves it. The program is from birth to age 6 (which is said to be the optimum time to learn new languages) and repetition is key.

With such a global world nowadays I’m so happy there is something to teach children to have an ear for languages and to learn about other cultures. There are 12 choices of languages and truly something for everyone from everywhere. Perfect for a bilingual family or a family wanting to be. It can be worked into your normal day and it’s fun for everyone in the family to learn something new.

Below is the cd of songs in French we started off with but you can get all of the dvds for every language they make.

Amusez-vous à apprendre !

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