international · travel

Cruise 2018: Ports of Call

Happy Monday friends! If you reside anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region, you may be digging yourself out of the snow that fell over the weekend. Here in central Virginia, we didn’t get that much snow: we did however get a good amount of slushy rain. We are expecting some more snow and ice in the upcoming days, so stay warm and dry if you can!

With all of this cold, wintry weather, it’s only natural that I might look back on some warmer days. Specifically, I’m thinking about my last vacation to the Caribbean. If you all recall, I went on a Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. I posted about the ship itself, and I also wrote about the exquisite cuisine that I enjoyed on board. The ports of call for this cruise were Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya, Mexico. I’ve been to most of these ports before ( Honduras being the only exception), so I was already familiar with the locations. That being said, I still enjoyed being somewhere warm and sunny for a change.

I don’t have much to say about the locations: because I only spent a few hours at each port of call, it’s hard to distinguish between them. As a result, this post will be mostly pictures. I always get so excited to see the beauty of the Caribbean. The crystal clear water, the striking buildings, the unrelenting sunshine … There’s nothing quite like an

island vacation. Enjoy!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Ship in Nassau

Views from Cozumel

Sights in Roatan

Costa Maya views

More Costa Maya

international · travel

Fall Vacation Part 1 – Cruise Overview

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post will be an abbreviated one, because I’m going to flesh out some more of the details over the next week or so.

As you all recall, I just returned from a cruise. I’ve cruised many times before: please don’t ask me to count them, because I can’t LOL! It’s something that my family enjoys doing, so I participate because I enjoy spending time with them. We have done several Caribbean cruises and this most recent cruise also took us back to the Caribbean.

cruise

This isn’t a photo from our ship, but the sunset looks so much like the ones that I saw!

We cruised with Royal Caribbean on the ship, Allure of the Seas. The ship is large, beautiful and has lot of activities for all age ranges. Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do on the ship was get cotton candy on the boardwalk area. There are several videos you can view, if you want to see the ship and its features.

We visited Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya, Mexico. We cruised for 7 days, and we sailed out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My family has found it prudent to arrive one day prior to sailing and leave one day after arriving back, just to have a bit of a travel “cushion” in case there are any unexpected delays. So, I also have a post reviewing the hotel where we stayed coming up pretty soon.

I tried to stick with my IF eating plan but I gave up two days into my vacation! There were so many great dining options that I have to discuss those in a separate post.

 

international · travel

I’m Back!!!

cruise

Yes, I’m back from my cruise and I have SO many photos and stories to tell! I knew I wouldn’t be able to give “real time” updates while I was on the ship (I go on the cruise to disconnect, not to maintain my regular routine!) so I made sure that I scheduled some posts for you while I was away.

I always love my time on the water, and I’m really excited to share this experience with you all. Today, however, I’m winding down and catching up on my emails and all the things that happened while I was away. I hope you all have been doing well!

Enjoy your Monday, and I’ll be back tomorrow. Adios!

 

life curation

Dealing with Emotional Lows

Happy Friday! I hope you all are gearing up for a fantastic weekend full of friends, family or whatever brings you tremendous joy!

I’ve been feeling very content but also reflective. Recently, I spent some time sorting through some of my emotions. I’ve had a lot of “highs” this year: travel, new friends, good times at work, etc.,. But I think that most people underestimate how bad a “low” can feel when you’ve been flying high for a period of time. It’s easy to assume that lots of “highs” = more immune to the “lows”.

emotion

But it isn’t true sometimes. Sometimes, a “low” can hit you out of nowhere and really bring your vibe down. I’ve had a few of them over the past month or two. The source of these “lows” were one person in particular. This isn’t blaming the person, just acknowledging that the “lows” were connected to interactions that I had with this individual. The “lows” didn’t feel good but I knew that these things were happening for a reason and I had to figure out – quickly – how I would handle these emotions.

The best thing that I could do was ride it out. I decided to explore whatever the “low” is was trying to teach me, because there was definitely a lesson in there somewhere. In this case, I got a new level of understanding about my triggers, boundaries and expectations. I got a chance to express my dissatisfaction and unhappiness in a healthy, productive way. I had the chance to allow someone to self-express then ask for another chance to do better. And this “low” gave me a chance to practice forgiveness and starting over in a manner that felt comfortable for me.

It’s still too early to see if this individual will do better. But I’m open to whatever this next few weeks brings: whether it’s improved interactions or a clear sign that distancing will need to be employed. I wish I had a “all’s well that ends well” way to wrap this up, but, just like everything in life, the story continues to unfold in front of me.

And so it is.

I hope that you all know that emotional lows don’t have to sidetrack your joy completely. Continue to take care of yourselves, and, before you make any rash decisions, get into a quiet space and listen – really listen – to your inner guidance. It always knows the right way.

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

style · travel

Cruise Ready – How I Pack for a Seven-Day Trip

As I look ahead to my Caribbean cruise, my mind comes down to the one question that matters most of all:

What will I wear?

Now, I’ve packed for many (MANY!) trips over the years so I’m a bit of a packing pro. However, I don’t think I’ve ever written down my luggage logic. Until today.

luggage

I’m going to break down exactly what I pack for 8 days. Warning: there are some pieces that will be worn more than once. Fortunately, the ship has a laundry room, as does the hotel that I’m staying in when I return from the cruise. Also, the ship has laundry and dry cleaning service, so you can leave the washing to someone else, if you’d like.

The outfits I’m packing are as follows:

  • 2 “anytime” dresses
  • 1 formal/semi-formal dress
  • 3 tops
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 skirt or 1 pair of capris (haven’t decided which one will make the cut yet)
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 2 sarongs/pareos
  • 10 sets of undergarments (bras and panties); 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 workout ensemble
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of heels

It’s important to remember that I’m wearing an outfit onto the ship, so I’m not counting that ensemble in the items above. For my 1st day/boarding the ship ensemble, I’ll be wearing:

  • long pants
  • blouse
  • ballet flats
  • small scarf

I want to keep it simple, but the truth is, it’s easy to run out of things to wear when you are doing a capsule wardrobe. Just because I’m keeping it simple doesn’t mean I want to be bored when I get dressed. I also don’t want to have to wear the same exact outfit 4+ times before I get home . . .

I’ve usually consulted The Vivienne Files for help with planning my travel wardrobe. I found a cruise-specific capsule wardrobe that may be of interest to someone. While I wouldn’t wear the colors and pieces specifically included, it still provides a good visual of what kind of items would give you the most versatility when packing for a cruise.

That’s my list for now. I’m actively trying to see if I can pare it down even more. If I can, I’ll let you all know! How do you all pack for travel? Let me know in the comments below!

travel

Another Trip Delayed

I’m so frustrated: with this week’s increased work activities, I had to postpone my Charlotte trip once again! I’m almost concerned that I won’t be able to get down there before November, which is unacceptable – I’ve been wanting to do this trip since the middle of the summer!

I’m reminding myself – constantly – that everything is working out just as it should. I believe that any perceived “delays” are generally for the best of all involved, and nothing good comes from “forcing” anything. So, while I’m frustrated, I’m also remaining optimistic. After all, there are several things that have worked out in my favor thus far, and I’m grateful for them.

frustration

Embracing the frustration and moving forward in due time

First off, I haven’t lost any money on reservations, so it’s not like this has cost me anything financially. Also, forcing a trip right now would leave me exhausted, which is no good, considering the fact that my mind has to be especially sharp at the end of the fiscal year. I mean, it needs to be sharp every day, but this is not the time where I want errors or issues to “slip by me” . . . When I travel to Charlotte, I drive myself, and spending 10 – 12 hours on the road is not exactly the kind of trip I want to “squeeze in” during stressful times at work.

So, tentatively, the travel dates have been pushed to the first or second weekend in October, after work has calmed down a bit and I’ve caught up on my sleep. It’s not what I wanted, but it’ll be okay. I’ll make the best of it!

travel

Upcoming Travel Plans – September and October 2018

You all may recall a few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I was planning a trip to Charlotte to visit my family. However, that trip was supposed to happen this past weekend . . . the same weekend that Florence decided to pay the Carolinas a visit. As a result, I had to cancel my plans and reschedule. It looks like I am all set to travel to Charlotte at the end of the month, which works better for my overall schedule.

However, that is going to be a small trip, and it’s not the trip that I’m most excited about (though I’m always excited to spend time with family!) No, what I’m really excited about is that I’m going on a cruise in October! I generally go on a family cruise every other year, and this is the year that we’re due for another family vacay. So we’ll be cruising to the Caribbean and spending 7 days on the water together with a few thousand strangers LOL!

cruise

I’m usually not too excited about cruises, because I’ve done a lot of them and they tend to become indistinguishable from one another. But I’m more excited about it this time for a few reasons. Firstly, we’re going to Honduras, which I’ve never been to before. I’m always more excited about visiting a new country than I am about cruising in general. Secondly, this is the first cruise I’ve been on with my favorite cousin in about 4 years (she skipped the cruise we took in 2016). Finally, there’s something so soothing about being on the water: I can really think clearly when I’m sailing. So, I know that this cruise won’t be any different: I’m looking forward to using that time to relax and think through some things.

Those are the trips I have planned for the next 6 weeks. I’ll post travel updates as the dates get nearer: there’s always so much prep involved with these things (though that part is always fun to me!).