Celebrating My Sister’s Wedding with a Family Cruise

12 Dec


We had the BEST time last week on our amazing cruise! I’ve actually been putting off writing this post because I’ve just been savoring it and don’t want to admit that it’s over.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a year of weddings. My brother (Jason) got married in September, my sister (Kelsey) is getting married in May and my other sister (Katie) got married last week… in St. Thomas.

For Katie’s wedding, she decided to have an amazing cruise vacation on the Oasis of the Seas with 60 of her closest friends and family. The ship cruised out of Florida and then had three stops – Nassau, Bahamas, St.Thomas, and St. Martin – as well as a few days at sea. While on the ship we had her bachelorette party, an amazing rehearsal dinner, a cocktail hour, group dinners in the dining room, etc. The actual wedding was held on St. Thomas at Villa Botanica, their botanical gardens.

I could go through the entire week day-by-day, but I thought it would be more fun to just hit some of the highlights!

What I read:

I was super excited to turn off my phone (and all social media) for the duration of the trip. I had asked you all for some book recommendations before I left and you certainly delivered! Many of the suggestions are on my ‘to be requested at my local library list’, but I did download a bunch of books to my Kindle (mostly free) and got some reading done.

  • The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines
  • Match Making for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson
  • The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang

I loved all three of the books and highly recommend all of them. The first two books were free on Kindle Unlimited and The Kiss Quotient cost $10 to download (but you could probably reserve it at your library if you are patient).

What we did on the ship:

The Oasis of the Seas was an amazingly huge ship… much bigger than any ship I’ve cruised on before. In fact, the balcony in our room overlooked Central Park… an actual PARK with living greenery in the center of the ship. There were tons of places to eat, as well as lots of different activities like the kid’s camp, zip lining, and rock climbing. There was even an ice skating rink and an aqua stage.

 Jack loved the kid’s camp, especially when they offered science lab and art studio activities. We also all tried rock climbing, and Travis and I both did the zip line across the ship. Travis and I also took a sushi making class where we learned how to make our own sushi!

We also saw a bunch of shows… our favorites being a diving show at the aqua theater, Fly With Me (a show with aerial acrobatics), and Frozen in Time (an ice skating show).

We also ate ALL the food. The rehearsal dinner was at 150 Central Park and it knocked our socks off!

{In this photo from left to right is: Jack, me, Katie (the bride), Kelsey (her twin), and Jaclyn (my new sister, by way of my brother’s marriage). Me, Kelsey and Jaclyn are all about the same height within an inch or so… Jaclyn is just wearing super tall heels. And yes, we all kind of look alike!}

What we did off the ship:

Nassau: For our Nassau, Bahamas stop we decided to book an excursion which took us by ferry to the Blue Lagoon Island and included a Stingray Encounter. Upon arrival, we spent the first portion of the day sipping fruity drinks and floating around the ocean.

At the end of the day, we walked over to the animal area to learn about and touch the stingrays. Jack wanted NOTHING to do with them, but both Travis and I were able to pet the stingray, kiss it, and even put our fingers in its mouth to feel its teeth.

Yeah, that’s right. I put my finger IN a stingray.

And I totally love that photo of my husband cracking up!

 St. Martin: I’ve been to St. Martin a few times before and it is one of my favorite islands. I spent a week there about 15 years ago with my friend Annie and have re-visited the island a couple more times on cruises. Once we got off the Oasis, we walked a bit, grabbed a taxi, and then rode the scenic route over to Mullet Bay.

The water was perfect. The beach was perfect. I basically never wanted to leave.

The wedding:

St. Thomas: Due to an emergency on board the ship, we ended up getting to St. Thomas later than planned. However, even with a little delay the wedding was fantastic. Our uncle officiated the wedding, I was honored to serve as Matron of Honor, Kelsey was Maid of Honor, my new sister was a Bridesmaid, and my brother was a Groomsman. It was quite the family affair.

And yes, there were tears.

After the ceremony my sister and her new husband, Craig, did the sweetest choreographed dance for their First Dance. And then the rum punches happened… so many rum punches. And SO MUCH dancing. It was an amazing night!

I probably have a million stories I could tell from the cruise. I know I certainly have a ton more photos… but didn’t want to spam you with them all. I can’t wait to see all the professional photos from the wedding and may share some more at some point, maybe with my rehearsal dinner speech…

All in all, it was a wonderful way to celebrate my sister and her new husband. He’s been with us for 11 years, but now he has been formally welcomed into the family! It was such a great way to spend the week and it made it even more special that I had my parents, siblings, their spouses/fiancé, and a ton of their friends on the vacation with us.

Oh, and we also got a pretty fantastic Christmas card picture by the full sized Christmas tree in the Promenade. ON THE SHIP.

So I guess I should probably start thinking about Christmas now. And ordering those Christmas cards. Oh yeah, and Christmas gift shopping. Um… and cookie making.

Sigh… I think I want to go back on vacation…

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Reviewing Color Street Nail Polish Strips

10 Dec

In my imagination, I’m one of those people with beautify painted nails. However, in reality… I never really bother with making them pretty. My toenails are painted year-round, but my fingernails are typically just trimmed short without polish.

I got a gel manicure in September for my brother’s wedding and it looked fantastic, which made me want to be one of those pretty nail girls again. A long, long time ago I tried Jamberry. I liked them fine, but found the removal process tedious. Which brings us to Color Street.

Color Street nail polish strips are actually made out of 100% real nail polish, just in thin strip form. You apply them to your nails much like I did the Jamberry strips, but when it comes time to remove them you just use normal old nail polish.

SOLD!

They were running a buy 3, get 1 free special, so I ordered: Penny Lane, El Dorado, Only in Vegas and Rio Red. They cost $12 per pack for 16 strips. Penny Lane not included in the photo, because I ripped that one open to try.

Once they arrived, I googled around and found this application video. I wiped each nail with the provided alcohol wipe, lined up the polish strip and applied it just like the video. I was able to get two nails out of each strip. So, since there are 16 strips in the pack I can get 2 full manicures and also use the leftovers for accent nails. Which brings the cost per use down to less than $6 for a manicure… not too shabby.

I found that the strips go on quite easy and look A LOT nicer than when I attempt to paint my own nails. Here is it after my very first try of doing a full set:

 

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By the way, it is REALLY hard to take a good fingernail photo. I even looked up a couple nail polish hashtags to figure out how those ladies do it. This is the Penny Lane color, and I actually really like how it’s kind of subtle with a little shimmer.

Here are my nails exactly one week later:

I totally copied this ‘fingernails on a phone case’ pose from Instagram people… Anyways, as you can see, there was some wear on the tips but no huge chipping issues. Many people say they get 2 – 3 weeks out of their set, but I went ahead and removed them after a 1 ½ weeks. The removal process was just like removing normal nail polish and my cheapo no-name polish remover did a great job.

I was planning to use these before my sister’s wedding on the cruise, but when I went in for a pedicure I splurged and did a gel manicure as well. However, once I rip the gel manicure off (no, I don’t pay to get it removed and yes, I know it ruins your nails to rip it off) I’ll stick some Color Street on my nails until they look pretty again.

Have you tried Color Street nail polish strips? What do you think of them?

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored review. I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.

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Out of Office

3 Dec

I am currently out of the office. I will not be available at all. Not by phone, or email, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or carrier pigeon. I’m turning off my phone and sticking it in a safe for an entire week. It’s going to be weird, but it is a MUCH NEEDED social media (and life in general) break.

Instead of working, blogging, or staring at my phone, I will be having so much fun on an amazing cruise with my family to celebrate the wedding of my sister, Katie.

I’ll be back on Monday, December 10th.

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Clothing Purge Report: October & November

29 Nov

It’s bimonthly Clothing Purge Report time! Rather than just showing you what I purchase, I also like to show you what items leave my house and how I sell or donate them. I also like to do a purge round-up to keep myself thinking about what else can be purged from my closet!

You can find my previous Clothing Purge Reports here:
Clothing Purge Report: August & September
Clothing Purge Report: June & July
Clothing Purge Report: April & May

Here’s my criteria for where I sell:

  • Poshmark/eBay: items that are in perfect condition.
  • My Instagram page: items that are in perfect or near perfect condition. I’ll typically post a collage of what I’ve listed elsewhere.
  • Facebook Sale Groups: items that are in perfect or near perfect condition in specific brands, such as Anthropologie, Boden, and Stitch Fix.
  • ThredUp Clean Out Bag: items in very good condition, but not perfect enough for me to sell on my own.
  • Donate to Thrift Stores: items in good condition or showing wear.

Poshmark
I had the majority of my sales on Poshmark, with 8 items selling:

I thrifted both green sweaters and decided that I no longer loved them, so I sold them for a profit. The sparkly heels are gorgeous, but I’m at the point where ALL my heels have to go. I bought these at TJMaxx and broke even on the sale. I was going to donate the black flats (I have a replacement pair that I like better), but decided to list them and see what happens. Boom, $12 is better than nothing!

The spotted tote was from Causebox and I knew I’d never use it… so it was nice to get a little of my money back for that (Causebox costs $50 per quarter for the whole box). I’ve had the Fossil organizer for ages and it never met my needs, so that got listed and sold too. I bought the Anthropologie sweater skirt a couple years ago and wore it a handful of times, but it always made me super warm, so I listed and sold that one too.

Now, let’s talk about the bridesmaid dress. It can be so hard to sell items with feelings attached to them. I wore this dress at my brother’s wedding in September and I knew I’d never wear it again… so typically I’d stick it in the back of a closet for a decade before finally getting rid of it. This time, I forced myself to list it ASAP because I figured that since the color is still selling on the David’s Bridal website, there may be another thrifty bridesmaid that could use one at a discount! This dress was originally $180 but I’m pretty sure I got it on sale for 20% off or something. I listed it on Poshmark for $85 and accepted an offer within a week for $75. MUCH better than letting it sit in my closet and take up space!

I ended up making 8 sales and my total earnings were $250 before Poshmark fees (20%).

Facebook Sale Groups
I belong to some brand-specific Facebook groups: Boden Mamas B/S/T, Anthropologie BST, Non Crap Mama Clothes, Rothy’s BST, Stitch Fix b/s/t Large and Stitch Fix B/S/T. If you are interested in joining any of them, you need to submit to join and then the administrator will approve each person (I am not the administrator of any of these groups).

Items sold on Facebook groups:

  • Stitch Fix top – wore a few times last year and no longer love, sold for $29
  • Stitch Fix funnel neck sweater – bought a few years ago and no longer wear, sold for $38

My total earnings for my Facebook sales were $67. I love selling through Facebook Groups because I don’t have to pay any Poshmark or eBay fees, just a small PayPal fee for the sale (usually a couple bucks). So all I have to subtract out is postage costs and the rest is MINE ALL MINE!

How did you like my bi-monthly ‘what I sold’ posts? Did you find them helpful? Do you have any clothes selling tips?

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