With the long weekend coming up I am grateful for what a chill month August has been. September has a lot going on and in life I feel like you need both busy periods and chill periods to appreciate each for what they are, you know what I mean?
This week was particularly fun since I was able to catch up with several old friends and do some online shopping. There are so many looks I have been lusting after that I finally looked up bucket bags and found one that is just right for me. A look that I also have been rocking a lot are dresses with sneakers. With sales blowing up my inbox, I thought I would share with you what is in my bag and what all is on sale this weekend.
Ah Alaska, the last frontier as they say and our nation’s largest state (almost three times bigger than Texas)! At some point or another curiosity to travel to this truly unique state occurs to almost everyone. Maybe it’s the diversity in terrain, the majestic mountains, the glaciers, or the unique wildlife that draws people in. Similarly for my family in June of 2008 we visited Alaska by road and drove through the state covering nearly 4000 miles in ten days. The experience was incredible, walking through Denali National Park and catching up on cultural sites along the way was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
So, this year when Sonia offered for me to join her and a few friends on an Alaska cruise, I wanted to share the sights and sounds of Alaska with my husband and kids and quickly signed up to join them. We boarded the Disney Wonder and left from Vancouver last month on a mission to see whales, eagles, glaciers, and mountains. Alaska is so big, and after looking at several cruise routes, it is NOT uncommon for cruise liners to not wander too far north due to weather and other considerations. Nonetheless, I was optimistic about what we would experience.
Alaska By Sea
The cruise line route, shown below, just barely touches Alaska – somehow I felt as though I had short changed the largest state of our union by touring its Southern most islands. The passages were beautiful and we did see a few orcas along the oceans surface along with a glacier. We went into Edicott Arm (which was not our intended stop which was Tracy Arm) but the hours of passage between the majestic mountains really made this cruise the experience what it was. Unlike Caribbean cruises, there is so much to take in and see in Alaska on the days at sea.
Alaska By Road
Below is the route we drove starting in Edmonton, Canada and making our way all the way to Anchorage (see our stops on the map below indicated in yellow). The sights and sounds along the way were incredible. Caribou and black bears roamed the streets freely along the Alaskan Highway. We even stopped at Liard Hot Springs and took a dip in the natural hot spring! We then spent an entire day roaming through Denali National Park, which is home to Mt. Mickley – North Americas highest peak at 20,320 feet (15th highest in the world).
Images from our road trip in 2008:
There was so much to be seen and experienced by land that after that trip I truly felt as though I had experience Alaska for what it was: the final frontier.
That being said the convenience of being on a cruise liner and of course having all the amenities of a Disney cruise at our finger tips did not hurt. However, I did feel as though the cruise route somehow did not do Alaska justice. On our five day cruise we had only one port stop in Ketchikan which is a quaint Alaskan town built entirely around cruise tourism. It was nice to get off the boat and we were fortunate to have participated in an awesome port excursion that shared native culture with us. The tour guide was an incredible spirit who was able to spot bald eagles from miles away; we saw several up-close too which was really cool!
Check out our Alaska Recap Video Here:
Also our Bald Eagle Encounter Was Incredible too!
Depending on what you are looking for and who you are travelling with, Alaska by water and Alaska by land offer two very different types of vacations. On one hand you have the convenience of prepared meals, an entertainment itinerary and let’s face it an on board “Kids Club.” By car you have the spontaneity of adventure on every turn without the guarantee of a three to five start hotel at each stop. As my kids get older, I crave a more ‘boots on the ground’ type of experience but with friends, there is nothing quite like the relaxing experience of a cruise.
Tip #1: Having gone to Alaska in both June AND July before, I can confidently say that the weather is amazing during this time of the year. On both trips I had packed winter coats and on both I did not need them. Just plan on layering up and you will be just fine! Here are our favorite pieces to layer up with:
Tip #2: For traveling with fragile items and/or medical supplies (my daughter has Type 1 Diabetes) we count on our Andiamo Luggage to get everything there safely, check them out here.
I hope you found this helpful, thanks for checking out my post.
I recently watched an interview with Priyanka Chopra (side note: I’m a HUGE fan). She was talking about what she was wearing to an upcoming red carpet event. She spoke on how when you wear something that you are comfortable in you will exude confidence. Duh! It’s seems so simple, but I know I’ve been guilty of wearing something that might not fit just right and I’m pulling and tugging and it affects the way I carry myself.
Confidence comes in so many forms. In fashion, it’s truly in how you carry yourself and it starts with wearing something that fits your body type. Fashion is so fun, there is no one size fits all approach. There are a few things I look out for when shopping for what’s right for me. Let me start with my body type. I’m 5’8”, 140lbs and an on again off again gym goer. I don’t have a super models body and have what I would consider to be a curvy build. As with many women, there are certain parts of my body I am more comfortable with than others. I don’t love my legs from the knee up so I try to go for midi-length dresses, maxis, capris, jeans or midi skirts. The high waisted trend suits my frame because it gives me the tuck I need while accentuating my waist.
As women we can often fall prey to what we are “supposed” to look or dress like. If we let go of the expectations and just dressed and acted in the way that was authentic to ourselves we would not only carry ourselves with confidence, but would also inspire others to do the same.
On a hot summer day in Chicago, five friends set out for a picture perfect lunch on Lake Michigan. Honestly, it felt like that kind of day…storybook or movie perfect. Sonia and I have been long time Chicago girls, but we have met many people who come and go that never made their way onto the iconic Odyssey on Navy Pier. It is not uncommon to take things down the street for granted and think that you will eventually do them. In the spirit of having a #MomsOffDuty moment, we checked out a beautiful lunch cruise aboard the Odyssey on Lake Michigan and boy did we luck out!
We enjoyed all the ship had to offer including, three chic climate-controlled decks with LED lighting and a lit dance floor, a premium bar menu, vegetarian friendly menu items, and a relaxing rooftop lounge with modern deck furniture. The staff was attentive and courteous (S/O to our server Nick for finding us no matter where we were on the boat).
Rina’s Floral Wrap Skirt is On Sale for $43 here | Sonia’s Floral Dress is $25 (She is wearing a Medium and it is TTS)! and linked here | Rina’s Tie Front Tank is here (size down) | Rina’s Favorite Summer Shoes are True To Size (TTS) and linked here
Sonia’s Black Fox Crossbody is $46 and linked here | Rina’s White Rina Bag comes in all colors and is $42 and is linked here
All in all, we were so grateful to take in the skyline on a day like this and enjoyed the time that we got to spend with some of our closest friends (being #MomsOffDuty of course). We ended our cruise experience on the dance floor where we really let loose!
What is something in your town that you have been meaning to check out?