Seven for Saturday is back! At least this week it is. I can’t promise a weekly Seven for Saturday posts but I will do them when time allows. They are such fun posts to put together!
Here’s what has been going on around here lately:
1 ~ Cruise Planning
These days I spend most of my free time dreaming about our upcoming cruise, researching our destinations, making lists of things to do and see, shopping for clothes, planning my travel wardrobe and imagining all the fun adventures we will have.
Friends and followers have been so very helpful with tips about cruising, suggestions for what to see and do at our ports and more. I am so grateful for the information!
I hope you don’t mind my indulgence in showing you our over-the-top gorgeous and opulent ship, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer. I am just so excited about it, I want to tell everyone!
I found this video yesterday from Cruise Critic that shows some of the highlights Explorer has to offer. I have to pinch myself often. It’s hard to believe that we are spending 10 nights on this beauty!
2 ~ New Luggage
After we booked our cruise we knew we needed to replace our worn out luggage. From broken zippers to frayed trim, battered wheels, and even frames that were starting to sag, these suitcases were beyond help and ready to be tossed. I could not imagine boarding a luxury cruise ship dragging these sad bags behind me.
So I went about doing my luggage research to find a new set for us. Things to consider were price point, color, size, quality, material and durability. We thought we might like to try the hard sided suitcases but the brands we preferred were out of our price range.
Ultimately we decided to stick with soft sided luggage and bought four pieces of Hartmann on sale at Macy’s for about 65% off (I checked and they’re still on sale!).
We bought 2 medium (25″) and 2 large (29″). The suitcase pictured is the medium.
We are pleased with the appearance and quality of our suitcases. They are very lightweight too. We think they will last us a good long time.
Since they are black, I had to do something to set them apart from all the other millions of black bags you see at the airport. I looked at straps, plastic luggage tags, even tying a brightly colored scarf around the handle and then I found these clever little things.
Not only are they ID tags but they help make your bag stand out in a crowd and they provide a little extra padding on your suitcase’s handle. The velcro is super strong so I think they will survive the tossing around and they look cute!
3 ~ Broken Toe
Ugh! I am almost certain I broke my pinky toe Thursday morning. I was stripping the bed to wash sheets and I rammed into the corner of the bed frame. The pain was intense and long-lasting. A few hours in and it started to turn black and blue. I iced it a few times with frozen peas which seemed to help a bit. I also taped that toe to its neighbor but now, with the swelling, that isn’t tolerable.
So I guess I will be hobbling around for awhile but if I had to pick a bone to break it would be my pinky toe. It should heal in time for the cruise if I can stop re-stubbing it on things (that is the worst!!). There will be no close-toed shoes for me for awhile. I am bound to the only shoes that fit – my super comfortable Gizah Birkenstocks – until it heals. Good thing it’s not the middle of winter!
Have you ever broken a toe?
4 ~ Retirement Update
We are almost six months into Bill’s retirement and we’re finally getting used to it. It’s actually feeling normal!
Bill is 90% complete with the interior paint project, vowing to never do it himself again. When he’s not painting or working on some yard project, he and his brothers are busy clearing out their father’s home, about an hour away. What a long, hard process that has been for them.
While Bill is busy with his numerous endeavors, I have been using our home gym 5 to 7 times per week. I love my reformer and have gotten quite good at Pilates. I joke that I have a six-pack now, you just can’t see it because it’s under many layers of menopause fat. I am stronger and more flexible than I have been since my 30s. I very rarely have lower back pain and that has been such a gift as I suffered for many years. The reformer has truly been a life and body changer for me.
We love the freedom retirement has given us. Not having to wake up at a certain time every day, making travel plans without using up vacation time or asking for permission, and being more spontaneous are just a few of the aspects of retirement I love. We are grateful daily!
Since we are still young, as retirees go – I am almost 51 and Bill is 53 – we suspect we will want to have new careers in the future. Maybe that venture will be something we do as a couple or maybe Bill will find his own post-retirement career as I continue to blog and freelance write. I also toss around the idea of becoming a certified Pilates instructor. Who knows? We aren’t making decisions on any of that until 2019. Instead we’re allowing ourselves to travel, sleep in if we want to and just enjoy life!
5 ~ Checking the Beauty Boxes
Getting ready for a dream trip, at least for me, means getting beautified. My hair appointment pre-cruise is booked. I will get a manicure and a pedicure just before we leave and I am making sure I have the right makeup and plenty of of my skin care products. I also got a Botox treatment, timed to last through the duration of the cruise and beyond.
I went back for two more treatments, then life got busy and I went without for a few months. When my friends at PSA contacted me about visiting their new Novato location for a Botox treatment, I leapt at the chance. It was already on my beauty to-do list.
I missed getting Botox but perhaps not for the reasons you would expect. When I didn’t do it for a few months I didn’t really miss looking younger and having fewer wrinkles on my forehead. What I missed was not furrowing my brow all the time and frowning. Bill often asks me why I am upset when nothing whatsoever is wrong.
I also love how Botox, when injected in the right places, evens out my eyebrows and gives me better symmetry. My left brow is naturally higher than my right. By adding Botox just above the lower brow, it lifts up.
It takes 3 to 10 days for Botox to start doing its thing. I will be sure to take an “after” photo so you can see the difference but this was me yesterday moments after getting the injections. You can see how high that brow is 🤔
Melinda, a Nurse Practitioner, did my injections at the Novato location. She also sees clients/patients in Santa Rosa as well. She is fantastic! I highly recommend her and Kirsty, who I went to for my previous injections in Santa Rosa, too.
6 ~ Autumn is here in Wine Country
For the first time in several years, October feels and looks like October should feel and look around here! During our drought, we would have awful dry, hot, windy weather in October. In fact, October 8th is when last year’s fires began. Fall wouldn’t really show up until November and by early October you would be hard pressed to find a cluster of grapes still on the vines.
This year, however, we’ve had cool and crisp weather, some decent amounts of rain, and there are lots of grapes still hanging on the vines! Everything is so lush and green.
Last weekend we went with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law – Rob and Debbie – to a wine pick-up party at Beltane Ranch.
It took place in Beltane’s garden and was such fun! We got to pick our own produce while sipping wine and chatting with fellow wine club members.
It was a treat to dress in fall clothes for a change. Debbie and I wore some wool hats of mine that are water resistant so we were fine during the brief rainfall that we had during the party.
Fall really is here and I couldn’t be happier about it!
7 ~ Channel Islands Bound!
Next week Bill and I will be headed down south to the Channel Islands to stay on a boat with some longtime friends.
I have never been to the Channel Islands and can’t wait to visit Catalina! Bill bought a new dive suit and is planning to SCUBA dive and look for lobsters.
Depending on my toe situation, I am going to try paddle boarding and hopefully go on some kayaking adventures. I plan to eat lots of seafood, take photos, maybe read a couple books and hang out with our good friends.
The night before we board the ferry to Avalon, we are staying at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Our autumn is becoming all about boats!
Have you been to the Channel Islands or visited the Queen Mary?
Have a great weekend!
Disclaimer: My Botox treatment at Plastic Surgery Associates was complimentary in exchange for social media posts. My opinions about Plastic Surgery Associates and Botox are 100% my own (love them both!).