Disney 2012: The Cruise

Sometime mid-summer Scott and I got a wild hair to plan a trip to WDW over the Thanksgiving holidays since it had been four years since our last full visit but this time we really shook things up by adding a three day cruise into the mix.

It was a great decision. Truly. I support it fully.

Years ago (like party like it's 1999 ago) Scott and I took a Carnival cruise and loved it but we are now whole hearted Disney cruise converts. Once you go Disney you don't go back.

We drank the Kool-Aid. Is what I'm saying.
We boarded the Disney Dream Sunday mid-morningish and kept ourselves busy exploring the ship, exploring the lunch buffet and eventually exploring our room.
I think we somehow stumbled onto a handicap accessible room because it was actually quite roomy (I was prepared for a cracker box) with a roomy bathroom (I was thinking like a RV sized bath), sofa/bed for Annelise, a desk area and two nicely sized porthole windows to avoid that pesky claustrophobic feeling.
We finally set sail after the mandatory safety drill (I did feel twinges of claustrophobia and heatstroke while wedged shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of strangers, but thankfully the drill didn't last too long) while enjoying a deck dance party/celebration with Mickey and his friends.

See that habi-trail tube looking thing going all around the deck? That's a water raft coaster thing. Crazy cool, huh? 
Here are a few photo highlights from our at sea adventures...
We loved the ship, it was incredible. Tons of family friendly activities all.the.time, so much so that you have to pick and choose and we regretted missing out on some things (with only two full days the time flies).

The first night we enjoyed one of the live shows (wonderful!) then went to dinner (we had the late seating, 8:15, which was nice but we're not used to four course meals which made for late nights and the fact that we had to sit with another family threw Annelise for a loop, but she persevered) then Scott and I went to see the 10:30 showing of Lincoln while Annelise went to the Kids' Club (which was a highly popular feature for what seemed like most of the parents on board but we only did it that first night).

A little side activity that Annelise (and we did too) had major fun with was collecting clues and solving two interactive mysteries throughout the ship, like a scavenger hunt, one was finding lost dalmatian puppies (what a coincidence, right?) and the other was helping Mickey recover stolen paintings from a cast of possible Disney villains.
Monday we docked in Nassau and I'd like to tell y'all we had amazing adventures exploring the island but...we didn't leave the ship.

Maybe that makes us duds but there weren't any excursions that really interested us, the ones that did (spending the day at Atlantis or swimming with the dolphins) were CRAZY expensive and we felt like since it was such a short cruise we'd miss out on enjoying the ship, for which we'd already paid. Plus the fact that our cruise letter kept warning us of all the possible dangers to tourists awaiting us did not motivate us at all to disembark.

Annelise had a BLAST at the pool (both of them!) and she especially loved the water slide and making friends along the way. I enjoyed reading my book and catching rays all from my comfy lounge chair, Scott enjoyed the classic Disney movies they played on the jumbotron (well, we all did) and who can resist unlimited soft serve ice cream? Not us!

Tuesday was our day at Castaway Cay which is Disney's private island. We rented snorkeling gear, floats and bikes. I don't know what the shortest record for snorkeling is but Annelise probably came close to breaking it. Not a fan. At all.

I liked the floating.

Annelise got nibbled on by a crab.

That went well.

I loved sitting in my beach chair reading (you're not surprised I'm sure).

Scott and Annelise took a short bike ride after lunch then she declared she'd much rather swim in the pools on board so we packed up (about an hour before everyone was supposed to re-board anyway) and were soon happily back on the pool deck swimming (A.), reading (me), and watching the Jungle Book (S.), everyone was content.
Our towel animals. Such cheesy fun.

(Totally random side note: Given the multi-cultural aspect of 98% of the crew I couldn't help but worry about human trafficking and harsh (possibly) working conditions and feel vaguely guilty for three and a half days.)

The next morning (Wednesday, for those of you still reading this) we toted our bags to our last breakfast buffet bright and early (8:00! Gasp! Isn't this a vacation?) and soon cleared customs and were on board the Disney Magic Express on our way to begin the next phase of our vacation, the parks.


So the cruise was short, in fact it was a bit of a whirlwind, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely and would definitely do a Disney cruise again, it's the perfect environment for families. I highly recommend it!

I'll leave you with one final picture.
Yes she's smiling, but she was miserable. It still makes me giggle.

Stay tuned for the next riveting phase of our Disney 2012 adventure, including but not limited to, our park visits, my birthday, Thanksgiving and my confrontation with a crazy lady.


My Style: What I Wore {Disney Edition}

First things first, I should tell you a few things:

1.) We just got back from a week long visit with The Mouse & Friends.

2.) I'm not a fan of wearing Disney themed merchandise from head to toe (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not me), a little Mickey goes a long way.

3.) That said, I think a touch of Mickey can be fun.

As I demonstrate below.

Even though it's rather a big Mickey.

(Random sidenote: I actually bought the graphic T on clearance at a Target in Oklahoma while on a road trip with my girlfriends in September.)
Mickey T, maxi skirt, cardi & shoes: Target
chunky red necklace & bracelet: Kohl's
silver bracelets: Twisted Silver & J Jill

 (I wore that Sunday to church, not on vacation, just fyi.)

For our trip, both for the cruise and visiting the parks, I kept things simple, casual and comfortable. 
For the cruise I mainly wore my tankini swimsuit with a maxi dress for a cover up and then for dinners I wore two different maxi skirts, tanks, the denim shirt as a jacket/cover up, my Yellow Box flips and varied my jewelry (Twisted Silver pieces). 

For the parks I wore cuffed boyfriend jeans, 3/4 sleeve t-shirts with a tank, a hoodie for the cooler evenings, my Vera saddle bag and green Keen Toyah mary janes which were comfy like sneakers but not, you know, sneakers. My goal was to be stylishly casual and comfy but not schlumpy.

That's walking a fine line, people.

This time of year the weather was mild during the day, even warmish, so light layers with a jacket for night time would be perfect. I saw a lot of people sporting scarves which was both cute and warm but would have been too toasty for me during the day. Another look I saw a lot and liked was the pulled together sporty look, a la coordinated active attire with running shoes . I was confused though by the popular trend, mostly among the younger womenses crowd of running shorts and hoodies or short denim shorts and boots. They had to be cold at night, is what I'm saying.

And, once again, I feel the need to remind JoAnn Q. Public that leggings are not real pants. Cover your nethers, ladies. At least mostly. Please. Also? Double check your cleavage (from a few different angles, ahem) before heading out to the happiest place on earth that has a family friendly atmosphere. Add a tank or cami, hey even add a bra (don't ask) (but seriously, how are you going to control those things on Space Mountain, is all I'm wondering).

(Okay, deep breath. I guess I got fired up. Sorry.)

In other news, I did cave and bring a bit of Mickey home with me.
They're Crocs (I know!) so they are super comfy and are something of a canvas Toms/Sperry/house shoe hybrid.

I kind of like them. A lot.

However, I worry I may have crossed over that fine line into schlumpyville.

I'm linking up with Lindsey's blog again  this week, be sure to pop over there for tons more fashion inspiration!

pleated poppy

Happy Wednesday, y'all!


Home Again, Home Again...

(Please tell me you said jiggity-jig, at least in your head.)

We're home.


And I could not resist bringing a little Mickey home with me.

As you do.

(I also brought home cankles, but that's another story.)

Overall, our trip was fabulous (seriously) but it was just as fabulous to be back home (seriously) Saturday evening. 

We made a beeline for Tex-Mex soon after hauling our bags into the house.
As you do.

Seven days is far too long to go without chips and salsa.

And today I'll be tackling this.

A post vacation harsh reality.

(But I know it's not that big of a deal since we are only a family of three.)

Brace yourselves for what I'm sure will be a flurry of Disney posts over the next several days, that is, once I get my thoughts together (or at least attempt doing so), although I didn't take nearly as many photos this time as our first trip in 2008 (you're welcome). Speaking of photos, I debated (fiercely, with myself and with Scott who was thrilled) about taking my big Canon DSLR or just my point and shoot (but also a Canon) and laziness and convenience won out. In all honesty, I'm kicking myself a bit because I know my photos would have been better but I just could not wrap my brain around hauling (wearing) my big camera along for a cruise and four parks plus worry about how to ride rides with it and worry about it getting damaged or stolen. Every time I saw people wielding theirs (and I saw a lot) I was glad that I wasn't, but...now I'm not so smug. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20.


It felt crazy wonderful to do TurboFire yesterday morning, drink tons of water and eat, well, normally again.

Vacations are great, but it's probably a good thing that they come to an end.


So Here's the Thing...

Y'all may have picked up on the clues I've laid down over the years that I'm an insecure avoider, a lazy perfectionist, a terrible procrastinator and control freak all rolled up into one highly imperfect human.

Hi there.

Instead of doing the things on my list that I should be doing right now, I'm choosing to blog.

In fact, I don't even have a list.

I only have a few general suggestions of things I'm telling myself I should do rumbling around in the disarray of my brain. But. I'm not listening to myself. I'm blogging instead.

See here's the thing, whenever something big(ish) is looming on the horizon I tend to want to shut down and then cram everything on my (imaginary) to-do list in right before the big(ish) thing instead of doing things in a timely (and um, mature) manner.


Have I not told y'all the big(ish) thing yet?


We're going on a Disney cruise and going to Disney World over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I know!


This year Thanksgiving Day falls right smack dab on my birthday. Or vice versa. Whichever.

So I'll be spending my special day with my two favorite people at Magic Kingdom along with thousands of strangers.

I'm excited, of course, but I'm also, um...not packed.

Of course.

I am, however, already driving Scott crazy talking about the packing.

Which is normal.

So Happy Thanksgiving a little early y'all! Hope your holiday overflows with family, friends and food.


p.s. Even though I will not be blogging next week (though technically I can blog from my phone, yes, there's an app for that) I'm sure I'll be posting pics on Instagram, I'm marathonbird, if y'all want to join me there.

p.s.p.s. Whenever I drop off Scott's dry cleaning I always feel a little bit Betty Draperish (back when she was Betty Draper and not Mrs. Henry Francis) and I always wonder what might be going on behind the huge industrial washer a la Breaking Bad. And speaking of TV, we are so happy that Dish Network resolved its differences with AMC and Scott and I can once again get our zombie fix regularly. What? Watching The Walking Dead with your spouse isn't romantic?


My Style: What I Wore Wednesday

 a lot of this week's outfits were my ode to donny & marie, I guess I was feeling a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

or I'm quite possibly having a mid-life crisis
(my 44th birthday is next week and I keep battling between the voice in my head telling me I am too old to dress this way and the other one saying, "you go, girl!")

so without further ado...
holiday luncheon with friends

cardigan & dress: target
boots: old gringo (christmas gift)
bracelets & necklaces: twisted silver
matinee movie date with scott & dinner & high school football game that night with friends

(and honestly, yes, I feel like a dork smiling directly at the camera and like an artsy dork looking away)
(just thought you should know that)

skinny jeans: banana republic
cardigan: target
DIY distressed t-shirt: goodwill
flats: payless
jewelry: twisted silver
a little mother daughter #ootd after mugs & muffins at church saturday morning (it's a monthly breakfast & devotional for the ladies)

maxi skirt: target
shirt: kohl's
flips: yellow box
necklace & bracelet: twisted silver

and my new favorite no-heat curls!

annelise is sporting a mix of justice, old navy and converse
after church sunday
pattern with a pop of color

dress & flats: target
mustard rose statement necklace: allora handmade
hobo bag: tj maxx
(that's my everyday bag)

there you have it, a hodge podge of edgy rocker meets country girl with a tagalong of pattern, color and comfort.

I guess that's just me.

be sure to pop over to lyndsey's blog for more fashion inspiration!
pleated poppy

happy wednesday, y'all!


My Style: No-Heat Curls (They Are Not An Urban Myth)

I took a break from watching the election returns Tuesday night to do a little research.

You know, about no-heat curl techniques.

Because that's important.

Thanks to my good friend Pinterest I quickly discovered three different methods I wanted to try, the twisted (Bantu) knot method, the sock bun and the low headband wrap.

I tried the twisted knot (like pin curls) first. Not only was it rather awkward to sleep on, I woke up with a 'fro.


So I sported a messy low pony-bun for most of the day.
The next one I tried was the sock bun (shout out to Scott for sacrificing up one of his old dress socks for my whim). Unfortunately, I do not have enough hair (at least not yet) to roll my pony into a sleek puffy bun. I only got like one and a half turns down, and it was all spiky and embarrassed, so I'll have to wait a while to try the sock bun technique again.

After two strikes I feared I was almost out, so all my no-heat curl hopes rested upon the low headband wrap method (cue suspenseful music).

Here I am all wrapped up:
Am I stylin' or what?


But lookit here at the after:
It's crazy isn't it?

I can't believe that it works but it does! Tons of bouncy curls that slowly relax into loose, beachy waves.

Here's a side view of another day.
A few things:

The first time I tried the low headband wrap my hair was dry and I slept on it (first photo).

The next time I blew dry my hair until it was 95% dry, worked a bit of shine product and Moroccan argan oil through it and wrapped it around the low headband, leaving it wrapped for about an hour and a half (we were headed to a matinee). These curls were a bit looser but there were still plenty of them and they lasted the rest of the day, even through a football game that night.

I've only had to touch up a few pieces of my bangs either to smooth them out (that's where my hair is heavily highlighted to cover my grey patch and that section can be unruly) or fix the swooshy curl there.

I don't brush my hair after taking the headband off, just fluff through with my fingers to separate the curls.

It's super quick and easy to do.

Sleeping with the headband on is NBD.

The curls last y'all, for reals.

I'm hooked!

Y'all might be too if you give it a whirl.

(Be sure to let me know if you try it. Good luck!)


Six for Saturday

01.) I started the LEAN phase of CLX this week and immediately noticed a few things, as in, I'm definitely getting stronger but I definitely need to strengthen my core (and, by the way, owww) and it's very challenging to work upper body and lower body at the same time with heavy weights.

But I like it.
And I sweat a lot (snapped after TurboFire yesterday).
And it's totally okay to make duck face in a self-portrait to off set the sweat.
02.) Scott and I had a movie date Friday to see Argo, and to say that I loved it is an understatement. 
Who da man?

Ben Affleck.

He da man!
(That might only make sense if you are a West Wing fan dweeb like me.)

Plus? Not only is it based on real events, it's chock full of excellent actors (including but certainly not limited to Kyle Chandler/Coach Eric Taylor with a bushy 70s do) and the drama, well...let's just say it's intense.

I love America. And Canada.
And movie dates while Annelise is at school.

03.) We went to the last football game of the regular season last night which was a lot of fun (mainly the chatting with friends part) even though we lost (but Creek is still going to the playoffs).
During halftime, while the other team's band was performing, some punk kid--from the other school, so he was totally dissing his own school--busted out onto the field and ran around a la The Streak.


Except he was clothed.

Thank goodness.

You know, for Ethel.

And us.

(Tell me you know what I'm talking about, m'kay?)

It was quite exciting.

Especially when the three sheriffs tackled him and hauled him away in handcuffs.

04.) Annelise and I got up bright and early for Mugs and Muffins (monthly devotional for the ladies) this morning at church.
Which was rather hard to manage after a later night, but it was good (of course!) so I'm really glad we went.

05.) Annelise's soccer team had their last game (tied 2-2) this afternoon followed by a pizza party. Well, they ate pizza and assorted sweet treats at the pavilion there at the sports complex, so it was kind of a party. 

One of the families gave each of the players a basket of treats, which was really nice and thoughtful, and there was this pair of glasses in Annelise's basket, but she might have been the only one that got them (I heard a cry of "that's not fair, why'd you get those" go up) (the family that gave the favors has triplets and one of them is a little sweet on Annelise, so I think he expressed his feelings with crazy googley eye glasses) (as you do) (are you following any of this?).

By the end of the party those glasses had mysteriously disappeared from her favor basket and another girl was sporting them on her way out.

Or maybe there was more than one pair and I made this whole drama up in my head (it's been known to happen).
06.) And in late breaking book news, I am finishing up A Storm of Swords, which is the third book in the Fire & Ice series by George R. R. Martin and have learned a few things, like, I guess I am something of a science fiction nerd after all (but this is mainly knights and kings and wolves and, oh yeah, the undead) and I shouldn't get too attached to certain characters because, well...heads will roll. Literally.

Seen any good movies lately?
Seen any pseudo-streakers lately?
Whatcha reading lately?


My Style: What I Wore Wednesday

Hey y'all!

(waves, raises coffee mug in greeting)

I know, I know, it's been a sweet forever since I've done a WIWW post.

Don't worry, I'm still getting dressed every day, but it certainly hasn't been, um...inspiring or anything. I tend to wear the same things all the time, not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just, um...yawn inducing. 

I've recently decided I am past ready to shake things up a bit, at least fashion wise.

So Sunday I did.

(Thanks to inspiration from Nicole's #ootd on Instagram I'd spied earlier last week and shamelessly copied ;) xoxo.)
Chevron stripes, layers, color, denim and funky jewelry = all of my favorites.

Except I added a belt, much to my chagrin.

I keep trying to like belts on the outside of things because I know they not only add definition they add pizazz, but I still felt all kinds of awkward.
skirt: nest on main (facebook offer $16)
denim shirt: stein mart
coral pink tank: ann taylor loft
belt: sam moon
green modern rose statement necklace: allora handmade
bracelet & earrings: twisted silver (y'all, I need an intervention!)
shoes: target
nails: smokin' hot by essie (my current fave)
I must give a shout out to my favorite little nine year old photog, Annelise, who begged to take some WIWW shots and did a great job (the last photo of me pretending to be artsy by looking down was snapped by her). Thanks sweetie!

There you have it, short and sweet.

I'm linking up with Lindsey @The Pleated Poppy for WIWW, be sure to pop over there for tons of fashion ideas and fun.
pleated poppy

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are shaking things up in your closet too!


This & That Tuesday

Is anyone else feeling as jacked up by the whole fallback time change as I am? Pffft. Whoever started that whole let's play with the clocks nonsense clearly never suffered from insomnia. Again, pffft. I felt draggy and just not myself most of yesterday, especially by the afternoon and have been waking up at odd hours and having a hard time getting back to sleep (which does happen to me fairly often anyway but I'm blaming the time change just the same).

I think this is cup number two. And yes, I'm aware it's quite a large cup of coffee, so it's more like cup number four in regular size world. Hush.
Yesterday was so great (at least until I started feeling all draggy) in an almost spontaneous way (which is sometimes the best thing). Last year, the girls and I went to a holiday luncheon at a local church that was not only festive and fun but very encouraging and inspiring too (I tried to link to the post and couldn't find it, so maybe I never blogged about it) and had a wonderful time. This year, we were on a very long waiting list for tickets (it always sells out the first day) and didn't think it was going to happen for us (cue sad faces).

Sunday evening we found out that Robyn's mom was able to get tickets after all--and we could sit at the same table--(cue happy faces!) but only three of us were able to go because of, well, circumstances (cue sad faces again).

There were more than 100 tables decorated to the nines in all sorts of Christmas, holiday, winter-esque themes, so there was a LOT to see and ooh and ah over, then there was a tri-salad lunch and dessert (lemon cake and red-velvet cake balls, oh my!) followed by a highly entertaining musical program and finally the key note speaker, who was Elizabeth George.
She spoke on Romans 8:28 and I must tell you I see that passage in a whole new light now.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I wish I had taken notes, but I didn't, so it's all sort of a blur now, but a good blur just the same.

I hadn't read any of her books before but I will be soon. I left with A Woman After God's Own Heart , A Girl After God's Own Heart: A Tween Adventure with Jesus for Annelise (both of those autographed) and another one for me, A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus, because, hello, that's a pretty good goal to have. My problem (one of many mind you) is that I start out all fired up to read these devotional type books and fizzle out halfway through. Sigh.

In other news, Annelise can hardly handle the fact that her school's first home basketball game is this afternoon and has only reminded me eleventy hundred times. She even wanted me to pick her up early, by fifteen minutes, from her after school art class so she could see the entire game. Um, no. I told her she could finish art and still see plenty of the game, but I'm not sure she believed me.

I think their team is a conglomeration of fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade boys, I'm a little unclear on that, however I do know that ONCE YOU'RE IN FOURTH GRADE YOU CAN BE A CHEERLEADER.


Annelise has always expressed nothing but disdain for all things related to cheerleading, since she'd rather be the one playing said sport, but it seems that there was a pep rally yesterday and her little friend in fourth grade (who hung the moon apparently) cheered, and well...Annelise's opinion regarding cheerleaders suddenly changed.

And finally, in other, other news, I'm glad I voted early and all, but I feel a little left out today for some reason. And I'm still a little bitter about not getting an I Voted Today sticker (but I'm sure I'll get over it, eventually).

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

And make sure you go vote today (I hope you get a sticker)!



Is there a better way to kick off the weekend than with a trip to Sonic for happy hour after school?
Well, if there is, don't tell me.

We were also celebrating Annelise's report card, all As and one B (an 89!!)--in math of all things, which is her favorite subject. But, she was kind of expecting it because she'd had a few assignments where she had either rushed or didn't follow the directions (kind of goes hand in hand with the whole rushing thing) and well...there you go.

I'd had a headache most of Friday (whee!) and was therefore useless most of the day and ended up spending the late afternoon and evening cleaning (whee!) but it actually ended up being highly satisfying because I finally tackled a few areas that were plaguing my conscience. I tried this floor cleaning solution (although I just poured and didn't measure, I like to live on the edge) that I'd seen on Pinterest and it not only worked well, it made everything smell fresh and clean, but not at all like, oh my goodness someone likes PineSol a little too much, which is a good thing.

I got up early(ish) to do my workout Saturday morning and was all dressed and ready (except for wet hair pulled back in a clip, but we can't have it all, can we?) much earlier than my Saturday norm because Annelise was having a friend come over to play.

Say what?

The weekend before she was invited for a sleepover and we all know that we (and by we, I mean me) are not ready for her to do that, so I politely declined but said I'd love to have the girls get together for a play date sometime.

The thing is though, I actually followed through with this one because I can totally get behind Annelise forging a friendship with this particular girl. Sidenote: Why is it that the kids that are always begging for playmates are the ones you don't want your kid spending extra time with? Truth be told, I'm highly selective of who Annelise spends time with and a smidge (okay, more) over protective so she hasn't had many (okay, hardly any) play dates at homes with school friends (but we've done birthday parties, get togethers with parents too, McDonald's lunch & play, etc), but she's 9 now and I am (finally) trying to loosen my white knuckles just a bit.

I said a bit. On my terms.

Anyway. Needless to say, Annelise was beside herself with glee to have E. come over and play! They power winged and rip-sticked...
and trampolined...(I sneaked a photo on one of their breaks from inside, I didn't want E. to think I was weird.)
They took indoor breaks for some serious Lego construction and Super Mario competition.
I pretended to be Fun Cool Mom and served them a muffin tin lunch followed by warm brownies fresh from the oven. Hey, I have my moments, people.
We finished up Saturday with Annelise's soccer game. 
She played strong and gave it her best, even taking a couple of tumbles as she was racing  toward the goal.
Her team had another victory, this time 4-0.
We celebrated at Fuddruckers.

As you do.

Then we all enjoyed an extra hour of sleep (except I couldn't sleep) and we still managed to be almost late to church. That takes skill, y'all, what with the extra hour and only one child that basically gets herself together and all.

How was your weekend?
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