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Anita Latte

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  1. I'm enjoying reading your report. There's a double post early on...and Travel Day 1 is a repeat, so missing on Travel Day 2, it took a bit to make some connections but I think I figured out the different people you were referring to. We didn't make it out to Homer on our Kenai Peninsula land tour...but definitely have it in mind for a future AK trip. Really enjoyed reading about your experiences there.
  2. And the heavens parted and shone down on our family and today, finally, we got word regarding DS' Student Visa and got his passport back in our hot little hands!!! HUGE *sigh of relief* Here's the deal...like DH says...they have built this situation to be STRESSFUL. For those that don't know...you have to MAIL away your passport to the US location for processing UK Visas...it's in NY. And they permanently affix an entry clearance to your passport. The entry clearance is only good for 30 days! So you can't get it too soon! It's like you HAVE to do this at the last minute almost. So...it's like we're right on time at the 14 day mark...14 DAYS PEOPLE...for receiving this thing. Then DS has 10 days upon arrival in the UK to pick up his ACTUAL Visa, which they call a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP...the thing we all call the VISA). I think it's going to be a card like a DL. Anyway...that was the last big piece of work that needed to be done. SO HAPPY. IDK what all other people are taking to college Margaret. DS is pretty streamlined...go figure. Overseas travel...very different from car travel. There are things above and beyond BUT it all relates to being a music major? I figured out how to connect my sweet (vintage! LOL) Boston Acoustic speakers to DS' computer. Very good for when he is listening to the play back of recordings, etc...good for listening to Spotify too, LOL, but the motivation was related to the work he does. They are small indoor outdoor speakers. He's taking an acoustic guitar... Nice find on the pants Melody...and super exciting to be leaving in 30 days for the long anticipated Hawaii cruise!! I got my order of Crazy Compression socks in yesterday. They had a huge sale, 55% off, and I stocked up. I have serious wool compression socks, but this brand is one step down in compression but still graduated...nylon and cotton, not wool...so a bit nicer for everyday. I learned from our last trip...I good really use the help of the knee high compression socks everyday with all the walking around life in London requires. I find that the support on my lower leg really helps me feel more stable with my knee. And the compression is a flat out MUST DO for long sitting-heavy travel days for me. Now I can start to feel excited about heading out to London. Much less stress from here on out.
  3. Somehow...I missed that those frames were for sunglasses...everything you said makes total sense. You'll have them for Florida? I'll get to see them! We're humming right along over here...DS brought up a question about wardrobes yesterday. He asked, how many clothes do people normally have? And I thought to myself...isn't that the big question? I'm glad that he has started thinking about this and that he is open to constructing a wardrobe. He has some thoughts of his own after we talked. College rooms are notoriously small...and I can say that over in London the wardrobes are very small. And they are wardrobes...not a closet. The wardrobe looks about as big as a typical stateroom cabinet...MAYBE there is 18" of hanging space? Some things are for sure...he shouldn't necessarily need summer clothing. He has never been a fan of wearing shorts... And the weather in London seems pretty consistent...not huge fluctuations...so he shouldn't need a big variety, especially for the first 3 months. pacruise...you leave Friday? I still have the photos we took of my Dad looking at the truck of his car filled my stuff with a look that says, how are we going to fit all of this?
  4. Last summer we went on an AK cruise in honor of our 21st wedding anniversary...brought along our 17 year old...and we all stayed in an oversized OV cabin. People can talk about romance all they want but the fact is that if you are active in the ports...then you may not actually be in the mood for too much romance. You could be more tired and just ready for more sleep. Get your groove before and after the cruise... I've never had issue with DS17 and PJs etc. We have a system for our stateroom...on Celebrity anyway where we can leave the bathroom and one wardrobe door open to create a changing room. Also, DS sleeps late. I don't have issue getting ready rather quickly and so often I don't worry about it too much...and we are out of the cabin for DS to deal with himself. Because of sleeping habits, we generally don't have bathroom conflicts. I will say...if your DS15 is an only child...and this is speaking as an only child myself...and also as the mother of an only...he may or may not appreciate the alone time in the moment...but sometimes, the chats in bed while rehashing the day and/or discussing the up and coming day...good times. I wouldn't trade some of that chill time with my DS for anything. And as I am about to take DS overseas to go to college...I can tell you...very glad that we traveled in the togetherness of family more often than isolating ourselves from each other. But that's the way my family is. YMMV.
  5. I haven't eaten in so many specialty restaurants...but I ate in Giovanni's (pretty all sure) on Allure with my parents. We ordered an appetizer for the table to share. An antipasto plate thing? Possibly salads. And I distinctly remember ordering the mushroom risotto entree for the table as a kind of side...too rich to have as an entree. I don't recall what my entree was...but that risotto was outstanding and I was happy to have bites of it. An easy way to manipulate the menu to have a fun meal...
  6. Condolences for your loss. I agree with all the postings here...day time is very casual on board and a lot will depend on what you are doing during the day. I don't recall anyone mentioning anything more about cover ups? Often times you will see people in their swim suits with something layered over their suit for going into the buffet or to partake in an activity (like trivia). I've found that I like to have one or two different things that are really specifically for covering up. I've used something as simple as a huge scarf tied up sarong style for just going to and from the stateroom and the pool/hot tubs...but I've also used an easy pullover dress style cover up to feel more comfortable (personal choice) in the buffet or elsewhere on ship.
  7. Layers are the key...and to clarify the layers...generally, this is the advice you can find. 1. Base layer. This is the layer that is closest to your skin. Some places call this the comfort layer. This is what you would wear under ideal conditions with the temperature. Could be a tee shirt, short sleeved or long. Could be normal cotton, could be smart wool. 2. Warmth layer. This is what you add to combat the early morning or late evening chill. Or wind chill. Or shade chill. Fleece. Sweatshirt. Sweater. Pullover. Vest. Puffy jacket. Whatever works for you keeping in mind what you have for your base layer. Depending on your style and cold tolerance, you may bring one or two warmth layers. Maybe a long sleeved one and a vest style. Or maybe a really warm one (puffy jacket) and a sort of warm one. 3. Protection layer. This is the waterPROOF and/or windproof layer. The layer you need to protect you from inclement weather. You don't necessarily want your warmth layer and your protection layer to be an all in one. There are times when the temperature is fine but it's raining... Your day in AK could be like this...you wake up and it's foggy, but not raining. There's a chill in the air. Supposed to be a high of 70 but it's only in the 50s. You wear a tee shirt and a fleece pullover. You take your rain coat in a daypack because it's a RAIN FOREST. You're walking around, going in and out of shops, or headed down Nugget Falls trail...your getting warm, so you ditch the fleece. You made it to Nugget Falls and just standing around...the wind picks up and the sun goes behind a cloud...you put your fleece back on. It starts raining on the way back to the visitor center...out comes the rain coat. You get to the visitor center and it's plenty warm inside...take off fleece and rain coat. Walk around in tee. It's still raining outside but the wind has died down a bit...so you forget the fleece and just put on the rain coat for the ride back to the ship. The layer dance is what you do in AK. Fortunately, as someone else said...you pick a lot of base layers...one or two warmth layers...and likely one protection layer. Anything on the water will have a real feel that is cooler than the temperature...the wind chill is real on land too because it generally comes from the water or the direction of ice fields and glaciers, so either way...wind chill can be quite cool...and various areas can be extremely windy (Skagway...read about what that name means).
  8. I think this would be in part because HOTS needs to hit up the dry dock for her 5 year...
  9. Have you checked out the Alaska forum? Clothing is a hot topic over there...you might be interested in reading some of the threads. We went last June and we used gloves, hats (beanie and ball cap with brim), rain coats, fleece. I brought a scarf but didn't use it. Things will depend on what you have planned for excursions. Any time out on the water will feel colder than the actual temperature. The water will have a definite cooling affect and especially if there is a breeze or wind...it will be cold. You can be in the sun and feeling okay and then get into some shade and feel chilled...you can turn the corner and hit a wind tunnel effect and freeze...you can have rain and then it wears off and then it's sunny and comfortable. Layers are the key to Alaska and it goes like this: 1. Base layer. What is close to your skin. Also called a comfort layer. Depending on the temperature outside, this could be a tee shirt, short sleeved...or it could be long sleeved. 2. Warmth layer. This is what you wear to...duh...be warm. Fleece, sweatshirt, Smartwool, vest, puffy jacket, pullover, etc etc. 3. Protection layer. This is the waterPROOF layer. It isn't necessarily recommended that your waterproof layer be anything more than a typical single layer rain coat as it may be decent weather and rainy. You may not need to have a warmth layer AND a protective layer. For gloves, wind proof can be more important that simply warm. On our Hubbard viewing day, I was wearing almost every layer I had. I had a smart wool long sleeved shirt, a thinner fleece pullover will hood, a fuzzy fleece style vest, and my raincoat with hood. I had my beanie on AND both hoods...tightened up around my face. DS went back to the room to add his long johns under his pants...and this was June. I know my current location is Florida but we traveled from North Carolina where we were living until this past June. We aren't necessarily cold wimps...LOL. Glacier day was COLD. COLD. COLD. It doesn't help that you are just STANDING there. Rain pants are a debate. Personally, we all brought tech fabric type pants...the kind that are quick drying. And these were sufficient for us. Our rain coats generally cover our behinds...our legs might have gotten wet but it wasn't anything that we felt like we should have had rain pants for. Definitely have a pair of waterproof shoes. Many people just use their regular athletic shoes or walking shoes and do some waterproofing to them. We took hiking boots because we did a lot of hiking (we went camping after the cruise) but generally, the thought is that any waterproof shoe is generally good. Again...some of this will be dependent on your plans. IDK how rainy September is...but all of SE AK is a rainforest...so generally, lots of rain. You want happy feet. I recommend Smartwool socks.
  10. Ooo both are nice Margaret...I'm leaning toward the blue for you? I'm wondering how well the brown would go if your hair were tending more toward your red coloring. I like them both though... SO. We went shopping today. I am seriously pants challenged. I have issues. I found a great pair...I'm really excited. They go with just about every single top that I could call a blouse in my closet. And one that they don't go well with is a style issue, not color. I think these pants are Anthropologies answer to "Sugar Almond." https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/pilcro-patch-pocket-bootcut-jeans?category=new-pants&color=026&type=STANDARD I am LOVING the high waist flare!!! Works really well for me!! I'm so sick of the skinny pant look...which doesn't work well for me AT ALL. So yeah...YAY! Meanwhile...I did also pick up a pair of ultra stretch denim jeggings from Uniqlo. Fake button, no zipper, no front pockets. https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-ultra-stretch-denim-leggings-pants-415217.html?dwvar_415217_color=COL67&cgid=women-leggings-pants#start=5&cgid=women-leggings-pants And I grabbed these as well...they are pull on pants with belt loops and an elastic waist. No button or zipper. https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-ezy-glen-check-ankle-length-pants-421754.html?dwvar_421754_color=COL06&cgid=women-pants-ezy-ankle-pants#start=4&cgid=women-pants-ezy-ankle-pants The colors offered in this style doesn't hit the warm tones at all. I think there was a brown pattern, but it had a color running through it that kind of wrecked it for me when thinking about how it would fit into my other clothes. Especially because I'm thinking about my new shoes...and the color in the brown pattern wouldn't have gone with my new shoes at all. I like pattern. What I'm thinking is that these will be the thing to wear with the few solid shirts I have...and maybe even concert tees? They say thick fabric in the description but I thought the fabric was lightweight. Maybe they call it thick because it is bottom weight fabric...but it is lightweight bottom weight fabric...so IDK. Patterns are more forgiving of potential mishaps and so are supposed to be better for travel...I think I'll be taking these to London. I'll probably take all my new pants to London. So now I finally have some real pants. Pants that aren't activewear in any way. I have one other pair of non activewear pants. The one pair of jeans I have that fit are really kind of awful...they aren't high waisted and I'm sorry...they aren't that comfortable on me at this time. So I'm feeling good about these additions to my wardrobe.
  11. I love packing cubes! I agree that the cubes don't necessarily let you take more clothing. BUT, they can help you to compress things that are compressible so that you can get all the air out and have those things take up less space while at the same time, allowing things that you DO want to be packed loosely and with more air space be packed that way. For instance, I will CRAM my underwear and socks and activewear and swim suits and anything else that I don't care how creased it gets into my packing cubes. And I will lightly fold and pack my shirts and dresses. Most of my clothing is folded and put in my dresser. I have gone through the KonMari method with my wardrobe...the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. My drawers all look like little files of clothing...everything is in one layer and "filed" so that I can see all my tee shirts, etc. And this is the way that I pack my packing cubes...they look like little files so that I can see everything that is in the cube. Most times anyway...sometimes, I lay a larger item, like a scarf across the top of the cube with all the files of clothing under. The beauty of cubes is in the way you can selectively choose to pack your clothing tighter or looser as well as organizing your suitcase. For my AK cruise last summer, we stayed 2 nights in Vancouver, then the 7 day cruise, then 4 nights in AK. I didn't need access to everything I was taking in Vancouver, so I had one or two cubes that had what I needed in Vancouver. Packing and unpacking with cubes is very easy so this made the arriving and leaving in Vancouver much less time consuming and changes the whole digging through a suitcase dynamic. IIWY, I would have a cube or two for your pre cruise days in San Juan. Whether or not you will wear those clothes on the cruise...just separate them out for easy access in San Juan, even if that clothing is a part of your overall wardrobe scheme. eBags is a good source for seeing different brands and thus sizes of packing cubes. I have eBag brand cubes, the classics. I use the longer thinner ones for things like underwear and socks. The small cubes work well for shirts. The medium cubes work well for bottoms. That's just me. What I appreciate, is knowing how the cubes fit in my luggage. It's not a bad idea to measure your luggage and then buy cubes that work well with your dimensions. I have found though, that packing cubes and luggage is a bit like 3D Tetris with each trip...and the cubes make great use of the cubic space in different bags with each trip. Remember that once the cubes are packed, you can lay them flat, turn them on their sides...just easily organize all your stuff. They also help to alleviate any concerns about things like shoes next to clothes, etc.
  12. Fun pictures Laurie! I really like that shirt with the denim...IDK if it's the lighting or if you have tried a different hair color? I really like the way it looks in those pictures. Kinda coppery. pacruise...forgetting something is exactly what my concern is all about because the implications of us forgetting something could be very impactful! Melody...we were expecting the email to come by the end of this week and it did arrive yesterday. The deposit is down. Now we just need to request the early arrival. I guess most of UL doesn't begin until a week later or more? They have a beginning contract date that is one week after DS' first obligation...so we need to request to move in at least 8-10 days earlier than the contract. Fun fact for you...for those that don't know...UK beds and USA beds are NOT the same sizes. It's more than having a different name...it's having a different dimension. Fortunately, maybe, the UK single bed is 3" narrower than the USA twin bed. I'm hoping that won't be too much of a pain on the fitted sheet. DS started sleeping on a twin bed at about 14 months? And switched to a queen in Kindergarten? We still have that twin...but have gotten new sheets for it over the years. I know many people buy new for the kids going off to college but I'm wanting DS to take pieces of home with him. He has ended up sleeping on that twin at various times over the years when we have had visitors, etc...so he should still have an affinity for the current sheets, even though they aren't from HIS bed. DH got up to a medallion status with Delta which means that we should be able to check extra baggage with no fee. This will be very helpful.I have to call Delta to see but since DH and I are on the same ticket, we each may get to check 2 or 3 bags. Woot woot. Very helpful as we will likely need all the carry on luggage to be full of things that can't be checked...like most computer equipment and many electronics...such an adventure. I'll be feeling much better when we get that visa in our hands... Looking forward to seeing more photos and hearing more about your trip Laurie! Oh. I received my new shoes today. I ordered these: https://www.altrarunning.com/shop/lifestyle-shop-women-shoes-lifestyle/womens-wahweap-alw1963p?variationId=025#hero=2 In Rose. Great earth color. This brand is pretty outstanding for me. The room in the toe box with the foot shaped foot bed is just the best thing ever. I've been waiting for a shoe that reads more street, more athleisure and less full on athletic. These fit the bill. I wrote a dissertation for Mom on why I thought she should give them a try... I submitted a review which is currently being reviewed before being published. I took photos of the shoes for the review. I'm going to keep my eye on them and see if a sale or coupon code comes up...I'd like to get the blue ones too.
  13. Have you signed up for the M&M? I think we are really close on the roll call to getting the minimum required to have one! There's been some chatter on our roll call...still a ways out...but it feels like it'll become a bit more active as we get closer:
  14. I am not surprised to read about this in any way... I recently booked an NCL cruise that had a beverage package as a perk and, like PP have mentioned, I had to pay the gratuity % of the beverage package perk...I was a surprised by this because Celebrity didn't do that. But I think of it as one of those things, like checked baggage...as soon as it becomes standard practice by one airline, many other airlines jump onboard. I get that this is a perk...Disney did a similar thing with their "free dining" programs...once upon a time ago, gratuities and taxes were included in the perk of a meal credit...until they weren't...and you get a "free meal" but whatever you have chosen for "free" will affect the gratuities and taxes that you pay to eat your "free meal". I appreciate the heads up...it's doubtful that Celebrity will make an announcement of such a thing...it's likely to just be something that everyone will find as they make their bookings after Sept 1.
  15. The way I approach a cruise wardrobe is to break down the one cruise wardrobe into a few different wardrobes...each with a purpose based on time of day and activity. SOOO...what I mean by that is...I plan my evening MDR wardrobe...I plan my excursion/day wardrobe. For evenings...especially during the summer, or a typical beach centric, or water centric type days where the day clothing is completely inappropriate for evening clothing...I will plan a capsule to cover what I will wear for dinner plus on the ship. Getting ready for dinner generally involves a bit of a shower, and generally my evenings are not strenuous so I really don't have issue wearing my evening clothing multiple times. This is the type of thing where you plan to wear a dress however many times (there's really nothing like just being able to put on a dress for the evening...the one and done without fuss is quite convenient and comfortable and generally looks very nice even when casual). It's up to you to decide how many times you are comfortable wearing a dress between washings. I typically wear sleeveless dresses...and I also find that those tend to weather wearings by an average of at least once longer than any sleeved version (unless it is one of those flutter sleeves that is basically a sleeveless with a little extra fabric over the shoulder but not at the arm pit). Patterns are your friend for disguising any mishaps...but I would venture to say that over the course of two weeks...you could probably wear it 3 times. Maybe spray a little vodka water on the armpits if necessary (a stage hand trick I learned about here on the boards)...and definitely allow to air out between. If you were a dresses in the evening type person...you could pack 4-5 dresses and call your evening wardrobe done. I would add a "warmth layer" to battle over aggressive air conditioning... If you want to add bottoms/tops and not have dresses only...then you decide how many times you are willing to rewear your clothing...both tops and bottoms. Part of that will depend on how unique your items are IMO...I find that if I have a very unique shirt, I may only want to wear it once...but something like a solid tee, I will happily rewear. Some of it is fabric dependent too...IDK, but this is what you plan for yourself. Many try to coordinate one bottom with two tops...but then you have to decide if you would rewear those tops or not? And would you wear the same bottom four times? Or would you rewear the tops if they also coordinated with another bottom...each bottom worn twice, each top worn twice. That would account for 4 nights out 10 on the cruise...bring along 2-3 dresses to cover the remaining 6? So...for an evening capsule wardrobe...I might have 2-3 dresses, one maxi skirt and one pair of capris that each coordinate with two tops, and a pashmina scarf or cardigan type topper. 7-8 items for my evening capsule. I do the same thing for the days. Generally, I begin with my port activities and plan for those first. Caribbean is usually beach days and catamarans...so swim suits and cover ups. I like activewear on sea days...as well as more swim suits and cover ups. I would have at least 2 swim suits...and a variety of coverups. I usually like to have a dress type cover up that I feel comfortable wearing around port...as well as the kind that I might just throw on to relief from the sun. So my day time capsule looks like: swim wear, rash guard(s), loose shirt style cover up(s), dress style cover up(s), 2-3 pairs of activewear bottoms, 2-3 activewear tops. Pre cruise plans generally resemble the same as a port day for me. I would likely have what I want for walking all around and may want to change for dinner. I'm not offering any specifics here, but hopefully my process helps! LOL.
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