Cruise Outfit and Packing Strategy

Thursday, June 27, 2013

For your viewing pleasure: a few looks from dinners, a few from post-dinner hanging out with our table mates, a few from playing around in port during the days.

I will mention, though, that taking clothing was a royal waste of space in my suitcase. I packed over 9 tee and top options and only wore 5. I had two pairs of shorts and only wore one (mostly because all of our time on deck and on shore during the days were spent in a swimsuit and coverup. Why would I bother getting dressed to go to a beach if I can just drape and cover to go to a beach?).

MVP's for the week:
- Ankle/skinny white jeans- wore them almost every evening to hang out with a simple t-shirt and necklace or t-shirt and scarf combo.
- That floral scarf. I only took one with lots of color and was able to match it with a citron tee, a grey tee, my blue flowy dress, my tailored cream sheath dress, coral tank, etc, etc, etc. Incredibly versatile.
- Coral anything. It was the accidental theme color of vacation.
- Peeptoe neutral pumps, which looked rockin' with every dinner outfit, even if I opted for the cognac sandals instead (some choppy water during a few evenings).
- The absurdly bright batik'ed green and orange sarong coverup. I wore this draped across my back with two corners criss-crossed around my neck to make a modest dress. I felt perfectly tropical and a little bit foxy without showing my boobs to everyone.
- One darling vintage clutch, which gave a nice chic vibe to my formal dinner looks, and a kicky bit of personality to my white skinnies and a tee ensembles at night.
- SPF. No burns, only tans to show for our week away.

Big wastes of space:
- Tennis Shoes. Working out was a pain in the butt with so many suburban moms around and all my walking and hiking was done in my moulded rubber footbed Chacos.
- 2nd pair of shorts, too many extra tops, jacket.
- Too many jewelry options. I knew I'd choose simple or choose a scarf, so why did I bother?


The Do-Nothing Floating Vacation

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We're baaaack.

Rob and I were given the unwarranted and completely appreciated gift of a cruise vacation by my sweet mom and dad in celebration of his degree, new jobs, and making it through the last few years. I'm so grateful for the chance to really unwind (something it usually takes 2-3 full days to do when I'm working) and enjoy my husband's company.

Cruise highlights:
- Reading (sporadic and with a background 90's pop soundtrack blaring through the ship's speakers)
- Lounging in shady areas during bright days, both on and off the ship
- A 75/25 ratio of swimsuit and coverup to real clothing
- Choice beach lounging locations as a reward for getting our buns out of bed early during days in port in Roatan and Cozumel\
- Awesome dinner tablemates- we spent every evening together at the piano bar or pub, singing our guts out
- Being the only person in the lounge (including a few 40-60 folks) who knew the words to the Cheeseburger in Paradise "rap"
- Comedy shows
- Watching numerous children in the midst of a sugar-induced meltdown since there was 24-hour access to soft serve ice cream
- Accidental 5-course meals at dinner upon requests to "try just a little of XXXX"
- Holy Blue Water, Batman
- SPF 30 reapplied a thousand times and no sunburn to show for it
- Saw a pair of monkeys on the beach and held an iguana, who felt like a heavy sequined purse
- Shallow water snorkeling with our own equipment- no expensive tour guide necessary

If you ever get a chance to cruise, I highly recommend it. We had a lot of fun people watching and gorging ourselves on the ship, explored new countries as we got to port on the cheap by just hiring a taxi for the day, took borrowed snorkel gear from my family, and bargained like crazy whenever we could.

I'll share my dinner looks later on in the week, it was really fun to have an excuse to get dolled up each evening!

Up on the "Adults Only" deck of the cruise, sipping on unlimited sodas and reading

Overlook on the ridge roadway in Roatan, Honduras. I spent literally half of my waking hours in a swimsuit and that coverup wrap.

Reading on the beach on Roatan, Honduras

Windy departure from port

Pina Colada, private cabana with hammocks, and loud waves in Cozumel.

Nerd. I love him.

No joke. Water that perfectly blue.

I was so grateful for a table full of cheerful, chatty, and low key couples. We had so much fun with this crew all week!

Wrapping Up

Friday, June 14, 2013

Skirt: Target...Tee: J Crew Factory...Scarf: TJ Maxx...Belt: Target...Shoes: Naturalizer...Bag: Longchamp knockoff

It's been so. darn. cold in our office the last month. AC is my nemesis. My fingers are literally freezing after having them exposed and elevated to work on the computer. Solution? Dress like it's early spring: lighter, happy colors, worn in pretty extreme layers (there's totally two long sleeved shirts going on up there), along with an oversized scarf. Oh, yeah, and then die of heat stroke once you step out into Houston's 96 F, 80% humidity afternoon weather.

Guys, it's my very last day at work today. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, and I'm definitely glad to be trotting off to China soon.

I won't say I'm not a little sad. This job has had its challenges- grants writing (but mostly grants reporting on Education and programs which I know nothing about) is hard. And diving into it with no prior experience and being given very little training made it tougher. But, I was surrounded by really good people, extraordinary work being accomplished, and, if nothing else, I was part of a shift in the the energy of the office after a few years of tricky office dynamics and leadership. If nothing else, I contributed to creating a cheerful and positive culture and working relationships. Was the position itself my best fit? Probably not. The Gala, streamlined branding and templates, and positive energy are things I'm proud to put my name on, though.

But, as of today at 5:00, I'm unemployed. Rather, I'm officially on vacation. Rob and I are going on a cruise to Belize, Isla Roatan, and Cozumel. And then we get one final week to soak up friend time and finish painting and cleaning this apartment that's been home for four years.

And then three weeks stuffed full of family time! I just saw my family during my brother's HS graduation a few short weeks ago, but I'm beyond excited for this.

And then we're getting onto a plane to move halfway across the world.

Move. Across the world.


Playing Catch-Up

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hits and misses from the last little while:

Bri Marie of Work Clothes, I Suppose was in town briefly for a work trip. You'd better believe I snatched her up and took her to a favorite local place for cocktail. And it was awesome. Beyond words kind of awesome. She's every bit as sweet and charming in person as she seems on the blog. 

Our friend Erika left town. I sobbed like a weenie. 

MY BROTHER GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL. Which officially makes me an old fart. He's going to have so many awesome adventures at college next year and I can't wait to hear about all of them.

Which also meant that I spent over two days with my whole family. (Well, not Rob, but we did add on my sissy's fiance) Thems girls know how to make dipping sauces. 

I gorged myself on all the grilled meats.

We recreated a childhood photo of the four of us kids on the front stoop with our childhood babysitter. She was an arm-flapping madwoman getting hands at just the right angle and arms overlapping just so. We laughed our butts off. 

I got back into town for a nice 4 day workweek.

Surprise! We turned it into Dog Week at work.

It shortened to a 3 day workweek because I spent Thursday barfy and achy. Note to self: no more crappy Chinese food. I think it was the culprit. It was the absolute pits- stuck at home, tired beyond words, wanting to do something helpful for the move, but all I could muster was telling Rob a few prices for things that went into our yard sale. I slept most of the day away and hurt the whole time doing it.

Woke up early (and I mean around 4-4:30ish) on Saturday to the sound of a drippy shower. Dangit. Couldn't turn it off and went back to bed annoyed. A little later, I heard a commotion in the tub and squawked at Miles to quit being a turd and getting into things. He licked me on my face to prove his innocence. 

As it turns out, it was a slow drip from our upstairs neighbor's faucet  that finally crumbled through our ceiling. Don't worry, our landlord got the sweet maintenance guy here to help us repair it by about 6:30. Gotta love it when management companies really do a good job for their tenants.

Neighbors hosted a yard sale and we got rid of lots of good stuff! Not the tall table and chairs or media center, but lots of good stuff. 

And a crap ton of cleaning, sorting, packing, and preparing on Sunday. 

Ohmygosh, packing, sorting, and cleaning. It's really getting tricky to be sure we've planned ahead well so we don't send something in boxes to China that we'll want for the summer. And on top of that, there's a range of summertime events from my sister's shower, rehearsal, and wedding to baseball games and bbq's to family dinners with grandparents. It's all getting wild!

I'm also getting started on thiiiis for you guys. As we get closer to the move, I'll keep writing about things we've learned along the way and tidbits we swipe from my sister since she moved back to the US from Beijing and Hong Kong. And once we're there, I'll start to fill it with tales of all the most adorable pockets of town.

How did you all spend your weekends?
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