Friday Friends: Katie Naughton & LuLaRoe

Happy Friday, Friends! I started interviewing authors, bloggers and creative entrepreneurs on Fridays as I was so inspired when the creative community welcomed me, back when I published my first book. This year we are featuring creative entrepreneurs. I know you will enjoy meeting my friend, Katie Naughton. She’s fun, friendly, and sells fabulous clothes. Katie has a knack for pattern-mixing, too! “What is that?” you ask? Read on, LuLaFriends!

Welcome, Katie!

1. So, can you tell us about your business? 
I own a retail clothing boutique of LuLaRoe brand clothing. I sell the clothing from my home, in-person and online, and have been in the business almost 3 years. LuLaRoe brand is known for its fun patterns, comfy fabrics, and styles that flatter all shapes and sizes. I carry tops, dresses, cardigans and kimonos, skirts, and children’s clothing. I became a customer, got hooked on the cute, comfy clothes, and the rest is history.
2. Do you have a favorite style or pattern?
The two LuLaRoe styles that I first fell in love with were the Madison skirt, a pleated skirt with pockets, and the Perfect tee, a swingy tee with slits on the side. I love the combination of florals with stripes, as well as fun novelty prints, like raccoons. #patternmixing Have fun with your clothes! I am looking forward to LuLaRoe adding jeans to our brand in the coming months.
3. How do you balance work and family?
Since I make my own schedule and work from home I can usually plan my business activities around our family schedule. I do a lot of my work (i.e. photographing inventory, shipping, live sales) while my kids are at school or after they go to bed. Since my inventory is in my home I can have sales whenever our family is home and it’s convenient for us. It means my customers occasionally see my family life in action, but I’m comfortable sharing some of that. 
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I love watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends and family, trying new places to eat, and going on adventures, big and small. I recently joined a book club and have started reading for fun again, after a very long hiatus.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I don’t have my ears pierced. I never did it as a kid and once I got older it just didn’t seem that important. I considered having them pierced for my 40th birthday, but that came and went and my ears remain intact.
6. What music inspires you?
Depends on the moment. I’m a wanna-be 90s grunge groupie, raised on Motown and MTV music videos, who married a rock drummer/engineer. Bjork’s greatest hits are currently playing on my Amazon Echo. A few albums that come to mind that I’ve listened to on repeat are the “Singles” movie soundtrack, Muse “Black Holes and Revelations”, Alice in Chains “Jar of Flies”, Perfect Circle “Mer de Noms”, and Toad the Wet Sprocket “Dulcinea”. Whatever is playing, I’m definitely singing along.
7.Which ethnic restaurants have you visited?
Lots, I’ll try anything at least once! Locally I’m a repeat customer at Southern Comfort Kitchen(Cajun), Aroma Cuisine of India, King Kong Chinese Restaurant, Pho Play, and Pokeatery.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese, no doubt about it. Ranch ranks very low on my cravings list.
9. What instrument did you play in marching band?
Clarinet (bassoon in symphonic band and orchestra). High school marching band is where I met my husband.
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days? 
I just finished binge watching the 2nd season of “Westworld”. I’m currently watching the new seasons of “Barry” and “Documentary Now” and looking forward to the return of “Game of Thrones”. The last movie I saw in the theater was “Captain Marvel”. 
11. Do you have a theme song?
No theme song, but I’ve typically got a soundtrack going in my head.
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self? 
Take some risks, nothing too outrageous but color outside of the lines a tad. 
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Travels! Our family loves traveling, near and far. We will occasionally take off on little day trips or overnights around the Bay Area. We are lucky to live near so many amazing places! But we are also up for an adventure farther from home. My husband and I have visited 33 US states together, including a few Western states with the kids. We also borrowed an idea from friends, to celebrate each 5th anniversary abroad. For our 5th anniversary, pre-kids, we meandered around Munich, Hallstat (Austria), Venice, Florence, Rome, and Paris. For our 10th we took our boys (aged 4 and 2 at the time) to Edinburgh, London, and Dublin. For our 15th our family visited friends in Valencia, Spain, then went to Barcelona, Lyon (FR) and Paris. Our 20th isn’t decided yet….Tokyo? Costa Rica? Macchu Pichu?
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View select inventory at goshopkatie.com

Thanks for being here, Katie!

Tune in in two weeks for our next community interview with author Sarah Boucher.

Catch our other #FridayFriends interviews with Your Writer Big Sister , MeganReneePlans, Dolce Planner, Tomi & Cleo, Yancy Lael and Jenipher Lyn.

Wednesday Wellness: Journaling

Welcome, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesday’s as I noted many of my friends an creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey as I explore mental health and self care, stumbling along the way!

Even before I was an author, I was a writer. I vividly remember when I was six years old, I insisted that my dad drive me downtown to buy a diary. I have always written in one form or another: journals, stories, blogs. (If you write a blog post and nobody reads it, is it a journal?) Did you have a pen pal when you were a kid? I had several. Some of those letters were epic, let me tell you! It was a form of journaling.

Currently I am journaling in no less than five journals. And that’s not even all of them! I can think of two more which I have only temporarily abandoned, and one more which I would like to replace. (Then there’s a really fun one I might want to start up again!) Let me explain.

Each journal has its own function and purpose. I can keep five journals simultaneously because each has its own design and intention. First, I’ll start with my daily planner. Sure, I use it to organize my future plans. But I also use it to keep track of what I do from day to day. See my posts on creative, decorative journaling and how it helps me manage my anxiety. #PlanforMagic Journal No. 1.

Journal No.2. This is my work notebook. Similarly, it is my list collection of daily activities, but at work. This is something i reference often something when I have a similar instance, and want to recall how i processed something. Recently, I changed the way I use it. I now refer to it as my Success Log. See my post here on how to keep a success log. Basically I now track what I did, instead of listing what I have to do. I find this mindset helps keep anxiety at bay. Of course, I till need to track my To Do items, so I write them on Post it’s and stick them on the facing page. This practice reminds me of the Word Banks that we used in creative writing in school. Use these words. Do these things. But it’s okay to keep moving them to the next day, accordingly.

Journal. No. 3. At my birthday brunch a couple of months ago, everybody gave me a journal. How delightful! My besties know me so well. Here is one of them. Isn’t it gorgeous? This one reminds me of Lucy’s journal in the TV series Timeless. I am using this one for traditional journaling, by this i mean recording feelings and processing difficult subjects. Like what, you ask. Oh just the basics, you know, inspiration and mortality…

Journal No. 4 is my book journal. This is a entralized place dedicated to my book writing. It is part organization, part freewriting, part collage. I cut and paste in images, doodle, list, the like. I have some larger worksheets that I fold and insert in the back. I may list questions that I have for further research. I may list websites which have been helpful to reference.

Journal No 5. I received this one as a gift. With my success with my work journal and my personal daily planner, I decided to try this one. It is basically an interactive goal-setting workbook. I appreciate how it guides you. This one is designed for career and professional goals, but I think I am using it more for personal goals. It is like having a personal coach in your back pocket. In the past, I have used Leonie Dawson’s guides for this purpose. Here is a link to the Acheivement Journal I am using now. Here is a link to the Life Goals workbook I have used before.

Not pictured: Gratitude Journal. Last year I used a guided gratitude journal that was in almanac style. I realized quickly that my daily planner (journal no 1) was the source and reference for completing my gratitude journal. Although you can use a gratitude journal daily, I found that I would often have Gratitude Sessions, in which I would sit in a cafe and open my daily planner to where I’d left off in my gratitude journal. I’d review the planner, taking one thing per day to write about in my gratitude journal. I found it to be a great way to savor my memories, as well as my coffee or tea! I began to look forward to my practice of self care in this way.

Travel Journal: I always encourage my children to keep a journal when we are on vacation, just as my parents did for me, when I was a kid. Last summer my daughter and I each created our own travel journals: smaller booklets with diary entries, weather tracking, memorabilia and photos. This is a good, first activity if you are overwhelmed by the idea of journalling, because it is contained and limited in scope. Read my post “Dear Diary” about how special it was to read my friend’s travel journal after she died.

Training journals: I keep a notebook for professional trainings I attend. I keep a separate notebook for personal development sessions- coaching, podcasts, or webinars.

Collage Journal: This was a favorite activity I started in 2011. The memorabilia and paraphernalia is what makes the collage journal magic. Here is a sample of my collage journal spread.

Bullet Journal: this is a modern minimalistic journal practice. It is very trendy now. I have seen examples that are simplistic habit trackers and goals/ lists, and others with ornate doodles and drawings. Usually done with a small journal with grids, you make a table of contents and may use a code. Bullet Journaling/ Bujo also has a cult following. This is another good introduction into journaling. This can be an “everything” journal, in which case you may need to replace it every month. Try it for 30 days. See if it works for you!

Do you journal? What kind of journalling do you practice?

Wednesday Wellness: Success Log

Greetings, Friends!

I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I noted how many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my quest for wellness as I stumble along the way– literally!

Accidental Planner

If you are reading this you likely already know that I am sort of the Accidental Planner, as a creative spontaneous type I eschewed formal list-making and such, until I became a mom.  I happened upon the Planning Community only two years ago and it really has changed my life.  Now I enjoy planning!  There are so many creative tools available to personalize your planning experience.  There are so many etsy shops with creative and functional stickers. There are Facebook groups and instagram for sharing layouts and ideas. It has taken me a little while to get into the groove, but now I know how to really USE my planner- in a way that works for me.

good_vibes

Good Vibes

 

What Works for Me:

I use a vertical weekly planner with 3 sections and no time stamps.  I like to list and use color, and of course, sticker! This was working very well for my life and life/work management.  I wanted to keep work details separate, so I keep a work-only notebook on my desk.  I used to keep To Do lists, but I found that to be somewhat anxiety-producing, so now I keep a Success Log.

I keep a running list of what I do all day, as I do it. This allows me to feel more accomplished.  Instead of getting stressed about what I need to do, I feel satisfaction at having completed it.  At the end of the day, it looks like a To Do list, only it’s all Done.

success_log

Success Log

When I Stumble

Recently I took a bad fall and had to recover at home for a week.  My planner was a great tool for me during this time, as I had previously decorated it with inspiring stickers for the week. I also used some stickers that said “Over It” “Survived Today” and “Let myself rest.”   And my daily list became Reminders: Rest, Meds, Ice, Repeat.

got_ice

Got Ice

But What About Deadlines?

I do keep deadlines & priorities in the forefront of my mind by using the weekly sidebar on my life planner.  For my Success Log at work, I use a project management spiral notebook which has a blank sidebar, and numbered lines.  I also use the reminders feature in Outlook to keep my digital work calendar up to date.

Memory Keeper & Gratitude Journal

My life planner weekly spreads are so fun to create and decorate!  I often write in what we actually did, and even name the shows we watched and food we ate (or the amusement park rides we rode!).  It then becomes a memory keeper, which I can reference as I write in my separate Gratitude Journal. This is a good practice to keep staying positive.

Quotes of the Month

There is a blank page following the last week of each month in my planner.  I use this area to write funny or significant quotes that my family members say.  I found this was a really neat way to memory keep, as well.  Each member of my family has a different color for their events and quotes in my book.  My daughter is pink, and my son is orange.  So I can tell at a glance who said what.

How do YOU stay organized?

Please let us know in the comments!

Read about my Plan to Have Fun philosophy here.

Read about my 15 -year Historical Spreadsheet for Holiday Gift-Giving here.

Wellness Wednesday: Organized Chaos and Magic Words

My friends, I started writing about Wellness on Wednesdays, as I noticed so many creative souls struggle with balance, as do I.  Join me on my journey to wellness as I follow the yellow brick road, marching to the beat of my own drum, stumbling along the way.

I reached a milestone this year, and something has happened.  People are asking me what I think and I realized I have something to say.  Truth is, glimmers of whispers have been brewing, like quiet storms in the back of my mind- for some time.  And that’s part of what I want to share with you today.

I haven’t always been a planner. In fact, as an Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver (INFP on the Myer-s Briggs Type Indicator), I often eschewed organization, preferring spontaneity and the freedom I perceived.  But in college, grad school, and then being a working mom, I began to see the benefits of planning.  I developed my own way of planning- that is Plan, to Have Fun.  Research and mapping activities sure helped get things done! When we go on a family trip, I know exactly what we need and when we hope to do things. There’s a lot of planning in advance, as well as some down time and flexibility. So, I’ve come to recognize planning as an important step. Otherwise, you are wandering a theme park not getting on any rides like the Heck family on the tv show The Middle. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Holiday Collage

Planning for Chaos (Tis the Season)

It was only a couple of years ago that I finally discovered the magic of using a personal planner.  I have to say, finding the right one that works for you is everything.  I had used a Bloom planner, then the Shining Year (before it was discontinued) and now I use the Erin Condren Life Planner (vertical).  Michael’s Recollections line is very similar, and Happy Planner is another planners’ favorite.  There is also Passion Planner. All of these planners can be used quite creatively, you’ll see.

The magic is in writing it down.

I started using the spaces in a vertical planner for timed activities, but then I had these long lists that didn’t fit at the bottom.   So I learned to use the boxes for checklists and inspiring quotes. I use the lines for weekly focus, daily water tracking, goals and interests.  The thing about writing it down is that it makes it more concrete.  Our lives are so digital these days, we’ve literally lost touch.  But once we dare to write things down, we can see that more things are possible.  It’s visual. It’s real. Even long term goals and dreams become less intimidating once we break them down into steps. Successful athletes are known for practicing visualization to better their sports performance. Commedienne Ellen DeGeneres visualized her first Tonight Show monologue to the detail of crossing the stage to shake Johnny Carson’s hand. Envisioning success helps achieve success.

The trick is to find the words that motivate or inspire you.  Which word means more to you:  Motivation or Inspiration?  I am an inspiration girl working in a “motivation” world.  When I start to hear too many buzzwords, jargon, and “productivity-ness”, part of me shuts down and I actually get de-motivated.  You know the sounds that the teachers make in Peanuts?  Wah wah, wah wah, wah.

NOTIFICATION

NOTIFICATION

The kinds of words that means so much more to me (personally) are words like personal growth, inspiration, creativity.

Carriehqdefault

“Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.” – Carrie Fisher, When Harry Met Sally, 1989.

Writers and speakers know the importance of the adage Know Your Audience. Well, my friends, YOU are your audience. Plan accordingly. Use the right words for you: motivational or inspirational. And use your tools. Maybe all you need is black pen and the occasional highlighter.

Or MAYBE you are like me and you like COLOR! and STICKERS! and WASHI TAPE!

coffee

Focus on the Good Coffee (weekly spread)


I cannot tell you the joy I have found in discovering the creative planning community. I buy hand-drawn embellishment stickers and kits via Etsy. And I decorate, that is, pre-plan my week. My young daughter is doing this with me now, too. We are looking forward to using our planners. We fill them in and make check marks with pride. If I had forgotten to list something that we did, I will go back and add it. Then, my planner becomes a memory keeper, as well, which I reference when I complete my separate Gratitude Journal. I also write down funny/significant things my family and friends say. #quoteofthemonth

My life has changed since I started planning creatively. Sure there are things I haven’t quite got control of, yet. But I keep listing my tasks and dreams. Since I started planning creatively, I have written and self- published a book, earned a promotion at work, saved money by reducing bills and trading books/cds, made investments, and attended webinar trainings for work and personal growth. I’ve achieved a kind of work-life balance as I’ve learned to prioritize some things over others, at certain times, and then maybe getting back to them or just letting them go! If you haven’t watched 19 episodes of that show on the DVR, then maybe you are not really watching that show, are you? Time to let it go. Overall, I am much happier, and way less anxious.

Finally, I wanted to share the importance of remembering what’s in your wheelhouse. I keep a lot of what some people may call clutter, but I know these ideas and things will have usefulness. You never know when something you did long ago or kept will become needed. This has happened to me so many times, personally. I had saved a vinyl tablecloth, which I used again as a picnic blanket. My sister’s wedding singer cancelled last minute, thank God I studied church music and could literally just step up and SING the whole Mass including Schubert’s Ave Maria (with no rehearsal). (I’m still waiting for that opportunity where someone says, Denise, I will pay you a thousand dollars to sing a Karen Carpenter song! Alas, that has not happened yet.)

Having access to your own personal toolkit invites serendipitous synchronicity, which is when you are uniquely qualified and prepared for something, like when I got to sing for my sister’s wedding. Or when I used my experience training volunteer choirs to sing diphthongs to help teach my young child to correctly say the letter Y.

Or writing this post.

How do you plan? Are you organized? Do you like inspirational or motivational words? Let us know below.

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Back to School

My friends, I started writing on wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I noted many of my artist and creative type friends struggled with wellness, as do I. 

I have never been a morning person.  In fact, I am a known night owl.  But my firstborn started high school two weeks ago, and he has Zero Period beginning at 7:05am.  So now we wake up at 6:00am.

dreamstimefree_170903

Sunrise (c) Alexander Briel Perez via Dreamstime

 

Waking early with a focus is changing me.  Somehow it is easier to do more extra curricular activities at night, now, too.  I think it is because I am getting to work earlier, so I am also leaving work earlier.  I go to sleep earlier.

But I am also happier.  I am no longer so obsessed with some of those dark, unhappy thoughts.  I am not finding a lot of time to write, read, or watch TV. But I am considering volunteering- both at church and with marching band.

My daughter and I watched her brother’s marching band practice for an hour yesterday.  They’ve got great music and remarkable skill.    I remember my own days in marching band quite fondly. Some of the deepest friendships I have had were born in marching band.    Even today, there is not a day that goes by that I am not in contact with one of my marching band friends, usually in social media and online games.  I just know that my dear son is forming some life-long friendships right now!

As I lay down to sleep last night, I reflected on all that is going on in our lives, and how content I was.  I did some deep breathing and practiced gratitude.  I was so ready to sleep, I was astonished that I didn’t even have any of my anxiety remedies deployed!  (Lavender sleep mask, crystals, hematite worry stone, collagen under-eye treatments…)  I didn’t need them!  I said a prayer for the missing girl from my small town, that she is found and returned safely.

God is great.  Life is good.

Wednesday Wellness- Wait, What?

Happy Wellness Wednesday!  I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noted so many of my creative artist friends struggle with balance, as do I.  I hope that in writing about it, we can start a conversation and  wake up to wellness!

It’s Wednesday, again. Wait, what?

I’m still juggling everything on my journey.  Sometimes the best I can do for my own wellness is to look at everything I am juggling, and just stop. I need to work on giving myself permission to stop.  That is the harder part for me, truthfully.  I can stop for a second and tune out, but then I seem to get overwhelmed again and even berate myself for having had stopped in the first place.  Does this happen to anyone else?

I’m learning to strain the stressors and seek strength from within.  It is a process for me.  I’m actually naturally flexible, it is society and responsibility that is seemingly inflexible, sometimes.  Am I right?

Watching a movie or reading a book can do wonders for me.  It takes me out of my own mind for a bit.  But, be careful what you are reading/watching.  After watching the recent release of  Batman vs. Superman, I experienced a cinematic PTSD.  But after watching the earthquake movie San Andreas, I felt inspired.  I read the Harry Potter & the Cursed Child script,  somehow finding three hours yesterday.   But that did not bring me the peace I had hoped for.  After finishing, I was tempted to return to my Star Wars books I’d been reading.  But something told me I needed a little bit of a break.

Last month I was working on letting things go. I had consulted Coach Reba Linker with regards to decluttering, and soon after, as it happened, we had scheduled an appointment with an appraiser.  How’s that for inspiring?  I returned borrowed items and donated or sold a bunch more. I also started looking deeply within and began to acknowledge what else might be let go of.  I had a couple of strained “friendships” and  finally started letting them go.  To be honest the relationships had already dissipated, it was time that I recognized it as such, and let them go with my blessing.  Make no mistake, this is not easy.  And I still have more to ponder.

This month I am working on letting love in. I am focusing on gratefulness and recognizing that which is good. There is a lot of good out there. I recognize that we live in turbulent times, but I am confident there is an awakening and people are starting to come around.  I think I will work on writing a new short prayer for my children to add to their evening prayers rotation.

My car overheated on a hot day, and required a bunch of repairs, including fixing the air conditioner.  Then, our air conditioner in our house stopped working, on one of the hottest nights of the year.  I called 27 service providers on Saturday morning, and only one was available to come to our home that day.  I’m certain there is a message in there somewhere.  Like, maybe- regular maintenance is required for living comfortably. It wouldn’t be the first time the Universe has spoken to me through my car.

Something else I have been awakened unto- my cruise/ vacation wellness practice has been leaking into my daily life.  I noticed that much of my wardrobe is now cruise friendly, iron free and wrinkle free. I’m perfecting my minimalist beauty routine, using only what I would travel with. Planning, to have fun- and making time for self-love.

My post on Cruisin’ 101 was featured on Wellness Warrior.  My book earned another 5-star review on Amazon.  The book containing my Harry Potter & Autism essay went on sale.   Teaching with Harry Potter  is now $9.99 on Kindle! My music publisher mailed royalty checks on Monday- crossing my fingers that I made the minimum for them to actually cut me a check this time, LOL. Just when I was wondering how I might make a little more money, my children’s lessons were cancelled for the weekend, and I got called in to play piano for church.

It’s like God is telling me: You already have the tools,  Just open your eyes.

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Cruisin’ 101

Happy Wednesday!  Today I am going to do something a little different for Wednesday Wellness- I am going to talk about how to cruise.  I had never been on a cruise until last year, now I’ve sailed on three.  There’s always a bit of stress when planning and packing and travelling- but with a little preparation,  you can manage the challenges and even practice self-care. Here are some tips I’ve found. 

Cruising 101– choose your destination and your cruise line wisely.  There’s nothing wrong with Princess, but they don’t have a surf simulator like Royal Caribbean, for instance. If you are travelling with kids and multi-generations, make sure there is something for everybody.

The staterooms are small. NO, really.  Even if you have researched and studied Pinterest, as I did, you will not pre prepared for the minuteness of the bathroom and the army barracks of  bunkbeds.  If you pack light and smart, you can deal.  We pack for 4 days, wearing our bulkiest jeans and tennis shoes on the plane.  Plan to do a load of laundry on the ship.  There is not a self-service laundry in every ship- so do your research.  Otherwise you may be spending $30-45 a bag for wash & fold service, but it is a 48 hour turnaround, and what are you going to wear while you are waiting for your laundry?  You can also bring detergent and hand-wash in the tub.  If you have a bathtub, that is.

Hanging Shoe Organizer is a necessity.  Hang this over your bathroom door to increase counter space for your toiletries.  I got mine at Walmart for $3.  Such a space saver.

Travel Surge Protector is another must-have item.  There’s only two plugs in the stateroom, and so this little gizmo increases your ability to charge all your family’s devices.  This one has two usb ports in addition to three American plugs.  If you are travelling internationally, bring a converter, as well.

LED Tea light(s) are important as the rooms get pitch dark.  You don’t want to waste a plug for your kid’s favorite nightlight.  Just bring these.

Hand Wipes my family is never without these.  Cruise ships don’t have toilet seat covers.  Use a wipe to clean the toilet seat before use.

Sticky Notes are great for leaving notes for each other, or for your stateroom attendant.

Trial and Travel size toiletries.  Save money by not paying extra to stow your baggage on the plane. You won’t have too much room in the cabin for all your big bottles of your favorite shampoos, etc., anyway.   These little gems will fit nicely in your shoe organizer.  In addition to shampoo and conditioner (which ships may not provide)remember sunblock, lotion, Clearasil, medications, etc.  If you have curly/ frizzy hair like me, you’ll like this  gem I picked up in Vegas: Frizz-Ease touch up crème.  Though in a pinch, a little hand lotion will also help calm the frizzies. Don’t forget you will be in stale air on the boat for hours at a time.  I recommend eye drops, hand lotion, hair serum, and collagen under-eye treatments.

Now we get to the fun part.  I love travel clothing.  Multi-purpose clothing, skirts with pockets, sundresses that can be worn on formal night, reversible jewelry, mary janes which are great for casual and formal.  Today I am wearing my Essential Dress (2014)from Royal Robbin- works great for casual or even more formal with some sparkly jewelry.  I brought this awesome dress for my recent cruise and wore it for both formal nights- once with my hair down and the green necklace, once with my hair up and the reverse side of the necklace showing.  All clothing should be able to be rolled, for packing.  There are no irons in your room.  But who wants to be ironing anyway?  I brought a wrinkle release spray, but we never used it. My husband and son wore khaki’s and polo shirts to dinner for formal night.  No sweat.  My young daughter wanted to bring 7 dresses,  I let her bring 4 (one of which was reversible).  Pack a maximum of 3 pairs of shoes per person: sneakers (wear on plane and excursions), crocs (for swimming and late night snack breaks), and flats (mary janes for formal and casual dinners).  There is no reason to bring heels when you are on a boat which may be rocking in 100 nautical mile winds. (My son has black tennis shoes, so those also worked for formal night.)  You just need a light sweater/jacket for being on deck, and something water resistant for your excursions.

shipalaska

Backpacks and totes:  I didn’t bring a purse. I carried a backpack on the plane, as did each of my kids.  I packed collapsible daypacks (drawstring backpacks) for our excursions. At night, I wore a phone purse which also held my cruise card,  lip gloss, and a pack of wipes. My daughter carried her own little purse which also held our Mio (water flavoring)  I also had a passport holder that hangs from one’s neck, and this waterproof phone lanyard which has come in handy while zip-lining on Guam last year!

Kid stuff: my kids pack their own backbacks with activities and books and headphones.  My daughter also brings art supplies. Journals and pens are essential.  I also brought lanyards for each of them for their cruise cards.   A mobile phone/ tablet comes in handy for “down times” but also the cruise selfie scavenger hunt challenge activity.  For excursions in crowded cities last summer, I had them wear brightly colored neon clothing.

Save Money: We didn’t pay extra for beverage plans.  Rather, I paid for a couple of coffee drinks or sodas at random.  I did prepay for the surf-only internet plan for one device.  I would log off and share the code with my husband when he needed to log on for work.  That’s all you need and it was pretty reasonable.  We never dined in the specialty restaurants, which have a $25-40 cover charge (last summer my young daughter proudly ordered alphabet soup at the fancy shi-shi cruise restaurant).  I did order a filet mignon in the main dining room for $16.95 (9 oz.)  (The filet mignon was actually more expensive and only 6 oz in the specialty restaurant.)

Wellness practice There is a gym on board, and we often took the stairs over the elevator.  I had saved money beforehand for a Swedish Massage, which would be my little treat.  I listened to music and meditations if I wanted to tune out.  I brought along books and ebooks. Watercoloring with my daughter was also a highlight of the trip for me.  It is a wonderful way to connect (we honor my dear friend who passed away by continuing her tradition) and preserve memories of the astonishingly beauteous sea- and landscapes.  There are glaciers and whales just off your balcony, and this glorious view from the top. It’s not too hard to be grateful. ❤

dizzy_lounge

How do you stay well when travelling?

Stay tuned for my travel journal from this Alaskan cruise!