Friday, December 19, 2014

SeaWorld

Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins. Lots 'o dolphins at SeaWorld. In shows, in nurseries, in underground viewing centers, swimming next to turtles ("I like turtles"), and splashing Brazilians who always wear soccer tees. Yeah, that last part was a huge generalization.

So hubby and I hit the road around 10am last Saturday to make a noon company luncheon at SeaWorld. On the car ride over, I found out my husband has never been to SeaWorld. Disney and Epcot - yeah. But that's about it. I was a little nervous leaving the pets with a new sitter after the fiasco at the vet over the summer. Oh, I don't think I shared that with y'all cause I was taking a blogging break then. So real quick - hubby and I visited his family in South Dakota over 4th of July week and we boarded the two dogs and asked my sister to watch the two bastard cats. I paid over $400 to board my dogs in two private suites.

Cookie was fine. However Woozie came out with a torn ACL. I was a wreck but after talking with the head vet and nursing her back to health, she is much better. She's 12 so those knees are just deteriorating. Not sure how much longer we have with her but her spirits are still good, she's still eating, she doesn't look like she's in pain, and she acts like an older, happy Chihuahua. Well, except she asks me daily when all the animals will be leaving and tries to intimidate them with her ferocious teeth.

So we have a home sitter now for the pets and I couldn't be happier. She left me detailed notes, sent me text messages when she got to the house, and loves our animals. She's a keeper! And she's fairly inexpensive. Four visits, four pets - $90. Plus my pets were able to stay in their own environment.

When we got to SeaWorld, we paid the $20 to park (preferred parking $20, regular parking $17), which only got us slightly closer to the gate. We ended up going through Christmas Village, which didn't open until 6pm (I think) and headed into a private pavilion. It was actually really cool cause we got to take some pictures w/out crowds. My husband and I don't really like theme parks or crowds. Lunch was hamburgers or chicken sandwiches and lasted about an hour. Some guy got up, made a short 5 minute speech, handed out an award, and then we were off to enjoy our day.

We walked all around the park and got a recent art grad to paint caricatures of us - it turned out really cute - doesn't my husband look like Don Johnson? People have told him that before and I never saw it until the drawing was done. We tried to get into to see the penguins as I'll often walk around the house shuffling like a penguin and making little penguin noises (I also imitate baby piggies - oh the talent), but it was an hour wait. No thank you. I think my waiting in line days are over. We caught a pretty cute dolphin show and were hoping the macaws wouldn't poop on us as they flew over. Hungry and pooped ourselves, we headed out around 6:00pm and went to Bahama Breeze for dinner. Sitting outside under the large heaters sharing a bottle of wine and just being away - that was pretty nice. We both agreed that we needed to reconnect more often. Life just gets in the way sometimes and takes over.

Our hotel was the Hawthorn Suites. It was actually bigger than some NYC apartments with a sitting area, bedroom, kitchenette, etc. It was a mediocre, "this will do for one night" type of hotel. Certainly not as bad as the $100/night Carter Hotel in NYC that we stayed in a couple of times. It was a flea hole! But it was super cheap for Manhattan. Our Orlando hotel was clean but had a very strong perfume odor and I have a super sensitive smeller. I mainly booked it for the free hot breakfast. Should have just had some Egg White Delights at McDonald's down the road. Breakfast was no beuno. And somehow I convinced my husband to stop at Orlando Premium Outlets for a couple of hours after we checked out. I drooled over a pair of Prada oxfords and ended up buying a small Kate Spade cross body.

It was a really nice weekend getaway and I'm glad we went. Would I recommend SeaWord - eh. I'd tell ya to go to Discovery Cove (I've never been but who wouldn't want to swim with dolphins?!) or Epcot during the Food and Wine Fest before I would recommend SeaWorld. Of course if you don't want to shell out the money for theme parks, you could just enjoy Downtown Disney and the abundance of restaurants, etc. along International Drive (I-Drive) in Orlando. Downtown Orlando is also pretty cool!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





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Friday, December 12, 2014

It's a Wrap!

I always feel like such a nube wearing scarves. They're not really a necessity in Florida, although it was 40 degrees here this morning so I donned my fancy Tarjay Marc Jacobs scarf over my hoodie. Classy!

I've been looking at this Zara scarf for awhile now. Not sure if it was necessary; not sure I could tie it so it looked right. And then Black Friday hit and Zara had their one-day online sale - I scored this puppy for $20. And man is it comfy. I wore it to our Wednesday trivia date night - we play trivia with a group of people once a week. We won last night cause my husband is a freggin' brainiac! Anyone else think that smart = sexy? I do! This scarf kept me nice and toasty last night but it is quite fuzzy and I kept inhaling the fuzz and having to pick it off my husband's black shirt.

No Wednesday night trivia next week, though. My work is hosting a holiday dinner. Let's hope I don't get bronchitis this year as it sucks being treated like a leper and discouraged from coming to the holiday lunch while watching others with the same sickness go. Yeah, I'm still bitter over that.


However.... my husband's work has been very generous this year. Mr. FedEx dropped off two all-day passes to SeaWorld with lunch included. Hubby and I have arranged for a pet sitter for Cookie, Woozie, and the Bastard Cats so that we can have a little overnight getaway. I think I'm more excited about the getting away part than the theme park. Unless you are a die-hard Mickey fan with your annual mouse ears pass glued to your car or the mouse-eared stick family lined up perfectly on your back windshield, theme parks aren't that big of a deal to Floridians. They're expensive - $100 each just to get in the park. Parking gouges you for another $10-20. Sure we go when we can get in free or have visitors in town and can get in cheaper as Florida residents, etc. Do we go during the summer? Oh heck no! Are you out of your mind? Florida theme parks in July, August, and September are heat strokes waiting to happen. Let me stand in line for an hour with a bunch of hot, sweaty adults and their on-the-verge meltdown mini me(s) in 90+ degree sauna temps. Orrrrr, let me grab a float, a cold adult bevvie, and lounge around in our pool all day (or until the afternoon rains come, which they do every day in the summer) while cooking some yummies on the grill. Door 2, please.


If you do come to Florida and just have to go to a theme park, I suggest you come during our winter season. The crowds are not as large and the weather is fantastic! Most winter days in Florida are 60-80 degrees. Doesn't that sound nice? Good. Well for those that can't get to SeaWorld, I'm taking you with me virtually. I'm bringing the fancy pants camera so stay tuned for whales, palm trees, and a random sunburned European.






{Scarf: Zara | Tee: Target | Jeans: Old Navy Straight (Droit) | Shoes: Tom's | Lips: Covergirl 305 Hot}




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Monday, December 8, 2014

Pinstripe

This blazer is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S....Republic. Yeah, scratch that. Very lame attempt at a joke in my Nyquil coma. Are you sick, Niki? Nope. I take a little 1950s remedy some nights just to fall asleep so that I can get up before farm animals. And as I look at the Nyquil bottle, I just noticed the following: "PARENTS: Learn about teen medicine abuse." Is Nyquil big with the kids these days?

So I'm trying something new. It's called the "Let's see if my sister, Rachel, can guess which building I'm using for my backdrop." I decided that I'd bring my camera to work (not the same as bring your child to work) and head out on my lunch break some days to snap blog pics. I knew this was a high traffic area but the building is empty. Still had people driving by and cutting through the parking lot looking at me like I was B-A-N... oh just stop!

 


 
{Blazer: Banana Republic | Jeans: Mossimo Boyfriend - Target | Shoes: Nine West | Tee: J. Crew | Sunglasses: Mosley Tribes}




 
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Camo

Man, all I see in these pictures are sleep deprivation, wacky lady cycle (hello almost 43), and too many work snacks. Been awhile since I've been in front of the camera and it was a bit uncomfortable. And all I could think about was the Thanksgiving commercial with Progressive Flo and her "fashion blogger" sister sitting around the dinner table. "Where's your wife?" "Vacation." And although it's been warm this week, I just had to break out the D&G boots. And you know what? Hubby and I play trivia on Wednesday nights with a Meetup group and one of tonight's questions was, "what does "D&G" stand for in the fashion world?" So there you go.

These are one of the pairs of Gap jeans I talked about in my post on Monday. Very comfortable for us plus sized gals. Plus sized. Right. Who came up with those words? It's fat. It just means fat. I gotta tell ya, when I was in front of the camera on a daily basis, I stayed accountable to myself and my weight. Weight will always be a struggle for me. At what point do we say, "Fuck it. I'm tired of dieting. Just let me be." vs. "Gurl, you is big. Of course you is smart, important, and kind. But gurl, you is big." Time to do something about it. After Christmas cookie baking weekend of course.

 


 


 
 
(Outfit: Gap | Boots: Dolce and Gabbana | Bag: Kate Spade}


 
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Marble Slab

Ever since I got this Sur la Table pastry slab, no even before that, I've been in love with the idea of marble in my kitchen. Specifically, carrara marble. I just love the timeless, classy look. I even convinced my mom, who was showing me pics of black countertops, that marble would look much classier. After seeing a couple of kitchen islands in Williams Sonoma ($3600!), she relented and was sold.

And although I'm not ready to do the kitchen countertops this year, even though my stained porcelain sink drives me insane, I'm actually redoing our Ikea Stenstorp kitchen island right now. We bought it when we lived in Connecticut and have had it approximately 5-6 years. It's been through three moves and the legs were getting pretty banged up. So I sanded, primed, and painted it this past weekend! I've been going back and forth on replacing it or keeping it. Below are a couple of options, but it came down to storage (and price).





I like that my kitchen island has a place for barstools and a back so no one can see the stuff I store on the other side. And although I loved the kitchen island from Crate and Barrel in person, I would be giving up a shelf and possibly, no definitely, giving the puppy and kitties an opportunity to get all up in my kitchen island junk. Both islands above are just too open. And up until I painted my Stenstorp, I liked the butcher block. Until I saw this:




Isn't it gorgeous? She used milk paint to paint over her basic $60 Ikea Bekvam kitchen cart. She had the towel rack modified to fit and added a marble top. I'm in love! So this past weekend, I grabbed some Zinsser Shellac primer from Lowe's (I read this was a good primer for shiny Ikea furniture) and the best paint (Valspar Reserve) Lowe's carries. I didn't want to mess with milk paint or chalk paint as I didn't have much luck with it when trying to paint the laminate kitchen bar table I passed on to my sister. 

With one coat of primer and two coats of paint, my husband was amazed at how well Mr. Stenstorp came back to life. I even did my own version of the towel rack with my existing $2.99 Bygel rail that I've had for years. I called and visited a couple of granite and marble yards and found a remnant carrara slab that I've ordered. So in about two weeks, I'll be able to show you the finished product. So excited! I think it's what my all white kitchen needed and man, has it classed up the place.


 
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Jeans for Curvy Gals

I typically buy my jeans at Gap and Old Navy. Why? Convenience and sizing. It's pretty convenient to pop on over to gap.com and look at jeans at two different stores on one site, read honest reviews, and take advantage of sales and free shipping. The other reason is size. I'm curvy. I'm plus sized. I can't just walk into a store, pull the size 8s off the shelf and whamo! perfect fit! Ain't happening and hasn't happened in many, many years. And it doesn't matter how much I exercise. I could lose 30lbs and still be in the plus sizes. When I weighed my lowest (129lbs), I was still a size 10 in regular pants and 12 in jeans. Most women who weigh 129lbs are looking at low single digit sizes. Not curvalicious here. No, no, I was made freakishly curvy. Well, not abnormal Kardashian champagne-ass curvy, but still curvy.

And since I mostly order my jeans online, I thought I would share which ones seem to work best for me at Gap and Old Navy.

My latest order included a couple of pairs of distressed jeans. Word of advice, curvies - stay away from "skimmer" pants. They are no bueno for us plus sized gals. They typically don't have any give and are tight as hell. If you have a stomach pooch like moi, kiss eating and sitting goodbye in these jeans. However, their Always Skinny cousin have Always Worked for me. They have give, plenty of room in the stomach, thighs, and waist.



Next up - my favorite, favorite jean from Old Navy. I actually stopped buying jeans from Old Navy for awhile because they all seemed to fit like the Rockstars. I can't stand those jeans. I owned a pair of red ones that weren't so bad at the time but now I just look like a sausage in them and I'm playing the constant tug-up game with every move. It's like they have barbell weights in the ankles. 

So these are the Boyfriend Straight jeans and I'm in love. Very hard to find in stores and I actually had to size down one size (most likely because they are boyfriend jeans). They are so comfortable and very cute. The inside label on the waist is very minimalist with the words "Straight" and "Droit." They aren't much to look at online but you will be pleasantly surprised when they arrive in the mail. I have them in the Emerald Lake dark wash color. Again, I sized down one size.



I own another style from Old Navy. It's my first time buying gray jeans but I love them. I wear these Flirt jeans all the time. I find that they run a bit big in the crotch region and waist but I don't tuck in my shirts and a belt helps with the waist issue. Mine actually look lighter in person than the jeans on the website.



I also own two pairs of the Mid-rise Skinny Boyfriend jeans from Target that I love. Bought one pair and headed to another Tarjay the next day for another pair. And although I would love to buy more distressed jeans with lots of frays and holes, it's not work appropriate. These jeans don't have any holes and very light distressing.




Remember to take advantage of the 40% off Cyber Monday specials at Gap/Old Navy and BOGO 60% off at Target.







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