Happy weekend, everyone! I am excited to be back to blogging regularly, beginning with a new Seven for Saturday post.
1 ~ Home From Our Dream Trip
We returned home from our dream trip to Europe the day before Thanksgiving. Since then, we’ve been recovering from jet lag and trying to get back to normal life.
I can’t wait to tell you all about our cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer! I still pinch myself that we had such an incredible time. It could not have gone better!
I brought home thousands of photos that I have been picking away at and soon, I will share with you highlights from each port in a series of blog posts.
Our cruise experience didn’t just live up to our expectations, it far exceeded them. We are looking forward to making cruising part of our travel plans from now on.
2 ~ Faking It
I was once told by a doctor specializing in allergies that I am the least allergic person he had ever treated. Lucky me! Apparently I am only allergic to one thing: pine pollen.
Pine pollen makes me sneeze, gives me itchy eyes and a runny nose – the usual hay fever type reaction. It’s not unbearable but who likes sniffling and rubbing your eyes all the time? Not me! For the last several holiday seasons, Bill and I have discussed getting an artificial Christmas tree but never pulled the trigger until now.
While watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, we saw a float by Balsam Hill, an artificial holiday tree company. I quickly looked them up online and a few days later, after perusing their collection, we decided on our tree. We picked this one because it most closely resembles the fresh Noble Firs we usually buy.
Our tree arrived earlier this week and now it’s up and decorated. Ours has tiny LED lights on it so we no longer need to string lights. We also don’t need to water it, vacuum up pine needles or worry about it drying out too soon.
We bought a cute wreath for the front door too, which is also pre-lit.
If you decorate for the holidays, do you choose a fresh cut tree or artificial?
3 ~ Favorite Cashmere Wrap
I celebrated my 51st birthday toward the end of October. A dear friend sent me this gorgeous cashmere wrap from Heidi Wynne as a birthday gift.
I wore it nearly every day during our trip including on all my flights and while we were in Tuscany, visiting Pisa and going to the Vatican. Since we were traveling in mid November, the weather was just beginning to turn chilly. We didn’t have coat weather until we got to Rome at the end of our trip. Until then, I only needed this wrap and perhaps a light jacket.
I love the quality and luxuriousness of this wrap and am thinking about treating myself to a black one, although I do find that the burgundy shade goes with nearly all my outfits.
4 ~ Getting Back Into a Routine
We are slowly getting back into a routine. The first thing we did when arriving back in California, before we even went home, is go to the market to buy groceries including lots of fresh vegetables. I spent the next couple days cooking when I had the energy. The food on the ship was excellent but I still miss home cooked meals by the time I get home from a long trip, don’t you?
I’ve also gotten back on my exercise regimen. I am focusing mostly on Pilates on my reformer as well as cardio on the treadmill. I try to workout about 5 or 6 days a week, even if it’s just 20 minutes on each machine.
Once I am 100% over this cold, we want to go for some long hikes around Sonoma County. I miss hiking and love it the most this time of year. The cool weather, green and lush landscape and rushing creeks make hiking so pleasant!
5 ~ Mirror, Mirror
Our gorgeous suite on the cruise ship had a makeup table next to the bed that I used a couple times a day to makeup my face, pluck my eyebrows, and style my hair. The mirror on the table was such great quality. It had two sides – a regular mirror, then another that was 10xs magnified and it was lighted. I loved that the lighting was just bright enough to see but not too bright to wash me out.
I snapped a photo so I would have the brand name (apologies for the not great quality or styling) and decided to see if the manufacturer makes a wall mount version. They do! So I am asking my Santa Claus to gift me one of these for Christmas.
6 ~ A Different Christmas
With Bill retired, his father no longer with us and the kids all living on their own, Christmas sure feels different this year. No work holiday parties, no French Fry Candy night – a family tradition we celebrated for 16 years – and no big family get togethers. It’s our first Christmas as empty nesters. While it is kind of a downer, we aren’t letting these changes put a damper on our holiday spirit.
We are very much looking forward to Tori and her boyfriend visiting from Oregon for Christmas and, although Bill’s eldest daughter works Christmas, we are sure to spend time with her and her husband during the holidays as well.
Decking out our home with holiday decor helps make our home feel festive. And we’re hoping, with all these new beginnings and endings, a fresh new holiday tradition of our own will develop.
7 ~ My Daisy Girl
Our 14-year-old dog, Daisy, has been diagnosed with kidney disease which is irreversible. It’s understandable that a dog her age would develop health problems but that knowledge isn’t making it any easier to accept.
She is such a sweet dog – the best dog I have ever known – and I find it difficult to imagine life without her by my side. She started on some medications today to help with protein absorption. I am also going to be changing her diet so she gets more hydration and a balance of nutrition that works better for her condition. Hopefully, these changes will prolong her life and make her feel a bit better too.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!