A GREAT WEEK

Hello friends.  I am back after taking a little break to host my annual Cousin Camp. If you don’t know what Cousin Camp is, you can read about it in the post from last year.

Cousin Camp is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It is exhausting, but so much fun. This year I had seven children, ages 3 to 10 at my house from Wednesday through Saturday; actually they were here until Sunday afternoon because most of the parents ( who are my children,nieces,and nephews) came on Sunday for a family reunion and took their kids home with them when they left….except for two, who will be here for two more weeks. 🙂

How can I describe this experience to you? It is full of love and laughter, and crafts and games, water balloons, and field trips. It is full of chicken nuggets and peanut butter sandwiches…not one vegetable crosses anyone’s lips, unless you count the tomatoes in the spaghetti sauce. It is noisy, it is messy. Kids get homesick sometimes. There are little spats here and there. Paint is spilled. Juice is spilled. Cereal is spilled. We have “pool baths” and popcorn picnics.

Kids dress themselves, and the only requirement is that you have to wear shoes if we leave the house.

The theme this year was Animal Kingdom, so I thought it would be a good idea to go to the zoo one day. Here is what that entailed:

  • Had to hire a college student to help drive since my car will no longer hold all the kids
  • Left later than we planned, because we could not find everyone’s shoes, even though they were all supposed to be in a pile by the door

  • Got stuck in a super heavy traffic, which made the less-than-one-hour drive almost a two-hour drive
  • Got stopped by the longest, slowest train ever after we got off the interstate
  • Could not find a place to park when we got there
  • Finally figured out there was another parking lot a few blocks away, with  a “shortcut” to the zoo
  • Every day-camper in the city  was at the zoo
  • Every mom with multiple children was at the zoo
  • One child wet her pants on the way down….I had not packed any changes of clothing
  • One child had a nose bleed as soon as we got there, and had to sit in first-aid for twenty minutes
  • The child with the wet pants was tricked into wearing a clean “pull-up” which was actually a diaper from the gift shop
  • Everyone was starving, so I spent $80 on hot dogs and french fries
  • The starving children ate about $5 worth of food and the rest went in the trash
  • It was 98 degrees in the shade
  • We split into 3 groups, and I had the youngest kids, so I let them ride the carousel (@$3 a pop) since there were only two of them
  • They ratted me out and told everyone else as soon as they saw them, so I shelled out another $15 for a 2-minute carousel ride
  • Kids did not notice any problems and had a great time 🙂

After going to the zoo, we used my extensive Beanie Baby collection from back in the day to classify animals, and later play zookeeper:

You will notice that I got smart and had all the activities in the basement. Oh yes, and all the meals too. Easy to hose down!

Besides zoo day, we had museum day, and a day of crafts and games, plus 2 other half days, so you can see why I need a 6 day nap.

My featured photo looks nothing like what I looked like this week, but don’t want to scare you with what I really looked like. My helper did take one picture of me, but I looked like a 90 year old bag lady who hadn’t showered for days, so you will not be seeing that on on the internet. HAHA

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon with more of my usual fashion experimenting.

SCOTLAND AND IRELAND

Hello! I think I have mostly recovered from jet lag and bus riding, so thought I would share a few observations and photos from our trip.

It was a most wonderful trip! The scenery was spectacular,

and the people were warm and welcoming…the weather not so much, but the cool rainy weather just made the tea, coffee, Guinness, whisky, and whiskey even better!

I mentioned whisky twice because one thing I learned on this trip is that Scottish whisky is w-h-i-s-k-y and Irish whiskey is w-h-i-s-k-e-y. We learned this because we visited several distilleries. Now we don’t normally drink whisky (or whiskey) but when in Rome….. 😉

  

We also visited the Guinness Storehouse, which is the number one tourist attraction in Europe. Yup…it beats out the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Venice canals, etc!   Hmm.

We also visited a small brewing company where we were told we could take a tour; when we got there, the door was open, but not a soul in sight.

We waited a bit, and then inquired at the pub next door, and they told us that the Brewmaster was out of town and wouldn’t be back until the next day.  That did not deter us! Our new bus friends just happened to be home brewers and knew a lot about the process, so Doug took the script (which just happened to be lying on the desk), read it, and explained everything. Awesome!

Then we went next door and had a few samples….had to wait our turn at the bar, but all went well, and we left knowing so much more about beer and the deliciousness of it. 😉

We really did not drink that much, but you wouldn’t know it from this post. HAHA

A few words about being on a bus tour… It is touristy. It is tiring. People get on your nerves. You are on a bus… a lot. BUT….it is a wonderful way to get a good overview of a country. Our guides were PHENOMENAL–extremely well-educated and knowledgeable–and we learned so much about the culture, the people, and the sites. The hotels were first-rate, at least two meals a day were provided, and the food was good.  If we ever had any kind of problem (which we didn’t), all we needed to do was let our guide know, and he would take care of it, all of which adds up to a stress-free vacation.

We had experiences we would never had had on our own (like not getting killed by driving on the opposite side of the road HAHA). Some things might have been touristy, but hey, we were tourists! We had dinner and music at an Irish pub,

we saw Scottish bagpipers and dancers,

and we had dinner in a castle built in the 1200’s.

We visited St. Andrews golf course and had lunch in the public dining room,

we took a couple of ferry rides and a boat trip on Loch Lomond

and we visited a working sheep farm and saw the most amazing demonstration. Hard to describe, but this man’s 12 dogs each respond to a set of personalized whistle commands such as go left, right, in, out, far away, stop, come back, cut sheep out of the flock, etc. He knows each dog and all the commands for each one, and trains them all from puppies.  AMAZING!

My husband even got to try his hand at shearing:

And I got some puppy time:

Some people on the bus might have been a tad annoying, but we also met wonderful people whom we hope to keep in touch with forever. We came home with wonderful memories, quite a few souvenirs, and new friends. We also learned so much about the countries we visited, and will never forget the people or the places that we saw.

If you have gotten this far, thanks for looking at my vacation photos! Hope I didn’t post too many, but there are a lot more where those came from, and it was so hard to narrow it down to a “few”.

Since a couple of you asked about my outfits, I will tell you that it is kind of hard to look put-together and fresh on a bus tour..in fact, it is pretty much impossible, but honestly, I didn’t worry too much about clothes…just had a great time enjoying everything. And as you see, I wore my jacket most of the time. I did find a couple of shots without the jacket:

And this outfit gets the booby prize, and will never see the light of day again! What was I thinking?

Thank you so much for stopping by. I wish you had all been on the bus with me!

I might be taking a small blogging break, since I will have grandchildren here for a few weeks, but I will do my best to post something if I can. In the meantime, I will miss you, and thanks again for taking time out of your day to look at my vacation pictures! You are the best.

HOW NOT TO PACK FOR A BUS TOUR

Hello! I have returned from a most wonderful vacation to Scotland and Ireland, and I can’t wait to share some pictures with you, but before I do that, I thought I would do some post-trip analysis on what I packed and what I wore. Before I left, I showed you what I was taking and how I packed.

In the hopes that I might help someone else who is packing for a similar trip, and in the hopes that I myself will do it differently next time, here are some thoughts about what worked and what didn’t.

What didn’t work:

  • Like most people, I overpacked. I did not need a different outfit for each day. Most days I was wearing a jacket, and no one even saw what I had on.
  • I packed too many shoes, even though it was only four pairs. Next time I will pack one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of flats.
  • I packed too many accessories. I wore one belt one time, and could have gotten by without it.
  • Packed too much jewelry…only wore my gold necklace and earrings.
  • Packed too many dresses….one would have been plenty.
  • Packed too many sweaters. I never once wore any outfit that included a belt and a sweater.
  • Did not need capris at all. Summer in Scotland and Ireland is not what we call warm 😉

What I should have done:

  • Packed my travel vests, and worn them most days
  • Planned simple outfits consisting of a pair of jeans or pants, and one top, with maybe something underneath or on top (like a vest)
  • Stuck with one basic color scheme, instead of two… pack everything to go with either black or navy, not both
  • Taken my basic black dress and several colorful scarves

What I did right:

  • Took layers and a good rain jacket
  • Packed my down puffy coat
  • Packed leggings to wear with my dress
  • Packed comfortable shoes
  • Took my long black thin cardigan
  • Took red and black large cashmere scarves
  • Took colorful chevron scarves
  • Packed Skinny Shirts and camis to wear under tops
  • Took small cross-body black leather purse to wear for dinners out

I’m sure I will think of some more things after I finish unpacking, but I know that the next time we go on a lengthy trip that includes bus touring, I will pack differently.

Having said that I thought I would show you what some of the other people on the bus were wearing, and you will see another reason why I would pack a bit more simply.  Let me just say this:  There were some days that I looked better than others, but I am proud to tell you that I won the BEST DRESSED ON THE BUS AWARD!  This prestigious award was presented on behalf of the three distinguished judges, Me, Myself, and I, after careful consideration and analysis of TOURIST BUS FASHION. Totally tongue-in-cheek, but I hope you will represent the USA better than this if you go on a bus tour:

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You know what…just don’t wear capris. You will be safer that way. Especially if it is cold. And you know what else?  Just don’t wear big white sneakers. I have told you that before.

While we’re on the subject of don’ts, just don’t do any of these:

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Well, that’s all for today. I will be back next time with some beautiful scenic shots, and you will see several more pictures of my lovely blue rain jacket. 🙂

WHITE PANTS #3

This is the third and final post in a series of trying to make some outfits with white pants. My first attempt was because I wanted to wear some new earrings, and the second post was about putting together some navy and white combinations. Speaking of that, the feature photo is of a navy/white outfit I came up with when I was photographing some of my “finalists”, so there is no before picture. Just took a chance, and I liked it. 🙂

Today, I am going to show you the rest of my experiments.

These are really try-ons. No makeup, hair not washed, bra showing, blurry, etc. I also apologize for the line across the bottom. Have not had time to get my camera repaired.

  

I didn’t really like this one enough to take a final photo. It is okay, but I can probably do better.

Here is a trendy little item that is going back to the store. Luckily, the tag is still on it:

I do like black and white though, so tried again:

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Here’s the one that made the final cut:

To recap, here are all the final versions:

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Which one do you like best? Are there any you don’t like? Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Your comments are always helpful and greatly appreciated. 🙂

If  you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.