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Anita Latte

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  1. Welcome back Melody! That dress is stunning! Love the flowers in your hair! Kind of a rough way to end the trip...but sounds like you rolled with it. Would love to hear more details and see more photos! After you rest up of course... Well...DH and I booked a last minute cruise. We've been looking and looking to see if there was anything around Thanksgiving...since that is such a long weekend. There were two sailings we were debating...but ultimately, we booked the little 3-nighter out of PC on Mariner. It leaves the day after Thanksgiving and returns Monday. DH will just go into work a little later than normal on Monday. DS's first term ends the day after Thanksgiving. So no kiddo...Mom and Dad are flying on Thanksgiving Day to board a ship on the day after to begin a series of B2Bs. DH's family isn't having a get together for Thanksgiving...it's the year for the siblings to be spending it with the spouse's families...so we are free for Thanksgiving. We decided that for our first empty nest Thanksgiving...the best thing for us to do is getaway. We booked an inside stateroom for the first time. I'm not worried at all about it. DH lived for a bit with his sister in GA before DS and I joined him. He stayed in her basement in a windowless bedroom. When we joined him, it took us a while to find a rental, so we all were in the basement for about a month I think. Anyway, sleeping there let me know that an inside cabin could be okay. Mariner was the ship we sailed for my 40th bday celebration cruise...but she has been "amped up" since then...so very different now. This will be our first repeat ship! We're going to the Royal private island CocoCay and Nassau. We leave in 7 weeks!
  2. We were right by the Round Pond...which has so many different birds...but especially SWANS. So pretty. It was grooming time...and these swans...right by the water's edge were just grooming away...and they didn't care that you got close to them. I don't recall if swans are as mean as Canadian geese...which are MEAN hisser birds...but the swans were very busy and didn't care. They were fascinating to watch...and the closest one started flapping it's wings and the SOUND...lovely...I tried to get the wings in motion spread toward the back but couldn't get it. This was my best shot of that... Isn't funny how much we all think of each other? The swans on the water were also busy...IDK if they were feeding on something or what in the world they were doing but at one point there were so many of them head down and tail feathers up...I was more busy watching but I did manage to grab two with their tails in the air...totally reminded me of Kim's rear end photos in Africa...this one's for you Kim: I enjoy watching the birds...but time to move on... The Albert Memorial is kind of like Cinderella's castle in Magic Kingdom...you can see the top in the distance... This wide expanse of lawn...this is what the open areas in Kensington Gardens is like...just wide open space. There is a lot of natural areas as well...looking like a bit of prairie in the middle of the park...tall grasses with the potential for wildflowers...none were blooming when we were there...but I could imagine it. The walking paths through the park are wide and partly shaded depending on the angle of the sun... We were wandering along...hoping to run into the Peter Pan statue...but we found the statue "Physical Energy"...it's hard to see but the statue is at the end of the visible path in the picture. The plaque for Physical Energy reads: 'Physical Energy' is GF Watts's sculptural masterpiece; a universal embodiment of the dynamic force of ambition. The artist himself described it as, "a symbol of that restless Physical impulse to seek the still unachieved in the domain of material things." Three bronzes were cast of this sculpture, of which this is the second, the other two are in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The full size model for this sculpture in on display at Watts Gallery, Compton Surrey. The sculpture appears to have been created 1882-1904. This bronze cast was place in Kensington Gardens in 1907. Not easy to capture the sculpture with the way the light was shining...I was trying to make shade for my camera...but I thought this photo captured the spirit of the sculpture. The horse raring to go and has an almost crazed expression being reined in and held back while the rider is looking forward...seeming to scout out what is ahead to determine which way to go... I liked this very much. The people in the picture give a sense of perspective...you can see how the sculpture is like the center of a wheel with spokes...many different paths converging here. Were we to walk down the middle path toward the horizon in this picture...we would end up back at the Albert Memorial. I think it was here that DH ended up having a work phone call...not entirely sure...but judging from all the photos I have of this sculpture...I believe that he got caught up on the phone and I entertained myself with my camera. Here was also where DS caught up with us...texting that is. Saying he was headed back to his room and now would be a good time to meet. And so we began our walk over to his room...which wasn't so very far away. It was a good meet up with him. We took care of the monitor...and gave him a bag of 20 pence coins. DH and I had gone to a bank to get some 20 pence coins for DS to use in the coffee machine in his cafeteria. It is the same machine that the Residence Inn has 3 of...except that you need the coin to get an espresso drink at the hall. The bank teller asked how much in coins we wanted...and I asked how much a roll would be? She asked me what a roll was? Ok. We picked 10 pounds...and she pulled out a little plastic baggie of coins...and weighed it for us to see that it was 10 pounds. So...if you want a US roll of coins...ask for a bag. We had just a bit of hang out time where he caught us up on how things were going. And things were going well. It was such a happy meet...that we decided to call this the official goodbye. Big hugs. It is not fun to be the ones to walk away... It was time for us to eat again...and we definitely were feeling like some beer...may have had a few trying to not to cry tears that needed those beers...LOL. We hit up the Pride of Paddington near Paddington Station... There's a sign by the door advertising accommodation from 19 pound per night. I looked it up...it's hostel accommodation. I've never stayed at a hostel...it's not like a burning desire I have to do so...but wow...cheap overnight. You'd think you'd get tired of pub food...but no. Each pub has a character of their own. The Pride of Paddington had different country flags hanging on the ceiling...no idea how they picked which flags...quite a few South American countries...I wonder if it was associated with football? (soccer)... Man vs Food! I watched that show for the first time with my SIL here in Florida...it's painful... While it was super tempting to order The Texan burger...I just couldn't bring myself to order it in London...just. couldn't. do. it. DH couldn't not order the Fish and Chips...with mushy peas. Which you may think sounds awful...but is really really good. This fish and chips was pretty good...better than Fountain Abbeys: But my dish was better...I had the Shepherds Pie... For the tears... LOVED the name of DH's...Proper Job. Both brews are England brews. Past the tears and on to cheers... Sadly...DH's second round didn't have the identifying glass...and I don't recall what it was. But it was time to head back to the hotel...lose the backpack that had been carrying the monitor clamp stand thing...relax a bit before our evening performance. And then...soon enough it was time for the evening performance...DH put on a button down shirt. I continued wearing what I had on. We took the bus again. This was the one we went to: https://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/proms/bbc-proms-2019/prom-69-smetana-shostakovich-and-tchaikovsky/ There are numbered doors all around Lord Albert Hall and your ticket will specify which door to enter. I posted this photo on a different thread here on the fashion board...I've zoomed in the photo to highlight the shoes of two of the ladies in this picture. The one lady is wearing a dress and the other a suit (skirt and matching jacket) and both are wearing sneakers. Just wanting to point out how practical the dressing can be in London. It's like everyone makes allowances for the fact that you are walking a lot...especially with the prevalence of taking public transportation. There was a bar at our door and you are allowed to take drinks into the concert hall...so we did. The concert hall is stunning. The quality of my indoor photos isn't so very good...but still. Here you can see the standing room only floor space in front of the stage. Most of the people would sit down once they had scoped out their space. All ages. We tried hard to see if we could locate DS...but weren't successful. We found out later that he and his friends got there early enough to get up front and center. And one of his friends had brought along the score for the Shostakovich piece so they could all follow along. More of the hall...the ceiling was covered in these blue orbs... The taller arches way up there is the other area for standing room only...so there is really A LOT of space available for standing room only. But the seats were nice... The performance was powerful. The soprano had a rich voice...so enjoyable to hear. We didn't realize it at the time...but DS names Shostakovich as one of his greatest influences. We could hear that. Live music is just wonderful. You can FEEL it. Love it. If I were to be around for Proms, I think I would definitely give the standing room tickets a try. It was completely acceptable to sit on the floor right up until the performance and during the interval. You'd have to dress appropriately...but for the price. I totally get why some people do it. It's like lawn seats for an amphitheater concert...except it's opposite world because you get closer to the stage with the standing room tickets. These seats were fine...but often...it can be more comfortable to stand for a bit than sit. The applause at the end of the concert was kind of mind blowing...so many extra bows...and so many people stayed for all the applause. I've become quite used to seeing great numbers of people exit as quickly as possible from concerts...so sad. But this did go on for an really long time... There were so many people around...it didn't feel unsafe walking around in the dark. DH and I were the only ones to get off at our stop and walk in our direction to our hotel. It was a bit unnerving to do so because this was one of the few times when we were actually walking without other people in sight while we were in London. But we were fine. Back at the hotel we had a bit of a nosh...we had a stash of food and beverages from grocery shopping. We packed up and went to bed knowing that we would be waking up and heading to the airport after breakfast.
  3. Love the photos Kim. I have been to so many of those places. Really good to see them again. DH has a lot of family in Wyoming...and he lived there briefly as a child. His mom was born and raised around Montana...and that whole area of the country is where they lived for several years. When DH and I lived in Colorado, we made several trips up there. When I was in 5th grade? my entire family on Dad's side spent the holidays in Jackson Hole...I have photos of me on that long boardwalk around the springs...I remember the smell...
  4. Back in London... It's Tuesday...our last full day in London. Our flight leaves Wednesday morning... We still need to help DS set up the monitor. We actually ended up in his room Monday night...it wasn't good. It was late...DS was wanting to get to bed...we brought the monitor over and had issues attaching it to the arm. We had left thinking the two weren't compatible but then back at the hotel, DH figured out how it was supposed to work...so we hoped to meet DS in his room sometime this day. So we were going to stay in the area again...DS should have some time after his official enrollment session for "international undergraduate students" concluded. He would let us know...DH would walk around with that monitor arm desk clamp thing in a backpack so we'd be ready. With no real plans for the day...we had a leisurely morning. After breakfast, we headed over to Lord Albert Hall. It was totally possible to purchase tickets online...but the website was such that if I KNEW what I was looking at...I'd be fine. But since I was completely ignorant of the venue...I really wanted to be talking to someone and making comparisons between the different seats available...which was just too difficult to do online. There is a main road just up the way from our hotel. Easy walking distance. There are any number of bus routes that stop at the two stops near us. I had downloaded the app "Bus London" which I found helpful, but it doesn't work at all offline. And it doesn't explicitly tell you that you could take more than one bus route to get where you are going. It is trying to be more real time...this bus coming at this time, etc....but if you look down the list, you can see that there might be different bus routes listed. Routes often overlap for several stops so if your stop is in the overlapping zone...you can just hop on whichever bus arrives first. I only noticed this because DH was using Maps. With the transit option on Maps, it would list the two different routes as two different options...with buses every X minutes listed for each route. Thus, I'm not sure that Bus London was more helpful than Maps. It was easier to read though... Anyway, we could take the 9 or the 21, IIRC. You can pay for the bus with the same Oyster Card that you use on the Tube. You enter the bus near the driver...and only use the card when you get on the bus. When you exit, you leave through the doors midway on the side of the bus. Buses will generally get you very close to where you want to go. Our bus stop was actually called Lord Albert Hall and we stopped almost directly across the street. Like so many other buildings and landmarks in London, the exterior of Lord Albert Hall is undergoing refurbishment. There were construction related trailers in front. My first glimpse of the hall: The box office is around to the other side of the building...away from the street. It faces a large courtyard type square. More construction here. Interesting screen to cover the area...the left side of this photo is a construction screen...the squared off building look-a-like complete with faux hedge and faux stone railing. This is the entrance for the box office, the cafe, the store, and the place to meet if you are taking a tour of the hall. The square is completely surrounded with tall residential buildings...you get a hint of that with the buildings on the right in this photo: These stone railings? are really tall..see the woman walking?...this building is really tall...the square feels like it's in a building canyon: At the end of the square, opposite the Lord Albert Hall is the Royal College of Music. I didn't take a photo of that one...is that odd? I remember feeling like I didn't want to take a photo of our "rival" but I have no idea if the Academy and the College feel that way...or if the culture of the schools feel that way. I think this is left over from different places I have lived...There was always a big rivalry between University of Kansas and Kansas State University. People would have these signs in their yards...A House Divided...and showing support for both. The box office area is like a hotel reception desk...a U-shaped counter with a couple stations. One was dedicated to Will Call and we waited to talk to the other. She was extremely friendly and helpful. Maybe repeating myself...but on the day of performance, there is a queue that forms for the standing room tickets. We learned that there are many, many "seniors" that will ONLY do the standing room only. Not because of price alone...just something they like to do. The conversation went there because we were talking about how our DS and his Uni friends were going to do the standing room tickets...and we were asking if that was the norm, I guess. Lots of students...oh no, she said... At floor level, but on the angle...what you would expect to be called "Orchestra Seating" are "The Stalls". Then there are different Loge tickets for the different levels above the floor...but the stalls were actually the best price. We wanted a seat...so we purchased two tickets in The Stalls...and bonus...no service fee for the purchase. DH was concerned because I had expressed such interest in going to the Tower of London...but really I was quite happy to explore Kensington Gardens. It was a gorgeous day...a perfect day for being outside and enjoying a beautiful area. We walked around the other side of the building...toward the Gardens. Always so difficult to capture the feeling of an area with photos. This area is so congested with tall brick residences. At my college, Trinity in San Antonio...there was always talk of Trinity Red Brick because just about every building was built with the same red brick...it was brick buildings all over...and that's what this area is like. Tall red brick buildings all over...creating "canyon" streets...like this one: Kensington Gardens is directly across the street from Lord Albert Hall...which is the round dome in the lower middle of the picture. There's a red circle You Are Here above that. And you can see the Albert Memorial above the red circle: It's not easy to see...but Hyde Park is on the other side of The Serpentine River. We didn't have a plan...except the plan to just wander about...first stop on the wander was the memorial across the street. This thing is TALL. Look to the people standing in front of the fence in front of the memorial for perspective... So much detail...I stood at the base of one of the groupings of statues...and looked up: It's very easy to wander in Kensington Gardens...we wandered around the statue Saw someone go through a tiny gate...and so we followed him...down a small path... and ended up joining the wide walking path that is the South Flower Walk. A beautiful promenade with flowers and butterflies and pigeons and squirrels...and not too many people...so that taking a photo here would be like taking a photo of specific people...weird...so no photos... Coffee near Palace Gate...we took our flat whites down the Broad Walk and found a bench to sip and people and dog watch. This promenade is very like the bench lined one in Central Park... We saw several people sitting on the benches while their dogs roamed around free. The areas on either side of the Broad Walk are vast lawns with trees. We could totally tell whose dog was whose...who was paying attention to which pooch. I found it fascinating to watch these happy dogs running around the park...entertaining themselves...meeting up with their dog friends...and in every way being good dogs...even though they weren't on leads. Moving on... We continued walking up toward Kensington Palace. We approached from a non-main entrance side where there is a statue of King William III. Walking down the path toward the ticket entrance...and around and up to the sunken gardens... The paths bordering the sunken garden are all covered. Poor posture isn't doing me any favors with this full shirt...but I love this combo. My new Anthropologie pants and what I think of as a peasant style blouse in corals and browns with lace appliqués with metallic accents around the collar (very hard to see)...and my go to bun on this trip: Continuing around and looking back toward Kensington Palace: If you notice the unplanted areas...and the gardening supplies and tools...this is a replanting month for the Sunken Gardens. So we weren't able to walk around in the Sunken Gardens: One last look at Kensington Palace from the statue of Queen Victoria...the Sunken Gardens are to the right...the tallest line of greenery is a covered path: This is a really photo heavy post so I'll break here...
  5. Thank you for posting. I'm not normally a vegan or vegetarian...but often eat such meals to mix it up. We are currently doing a vegan reset eating plan. Only 28 days...but it's been really good. Thinking about a lifestyle that leans more vegan as we move forward...but not sure what we're going to do on our cruise in Feb 2020. I appreciate your assessment...most helpful for future decisions.
  6. I've edited this photo...but it is so perfect to share here. I apologize if I've said this too many times, but I went to London with the family to take DS to college. We went to Lord Albert Hall to see Prom 69...put on BBC, they call Proms the "greatest classical music festival in the world." Anyway...a performance to Lord Albert Hall to the Czech Symphony Orchestra perform. I took this picture because we were going through Door 9...and it is only after I was looking at my photos later that I could see the woman in the photo. Notice the shoes with the dress. If you zoom in on the shoes...they are gold sneakers, maybe some mesh in there. And if you look further through the door, there is a woman wearing a suit...skirt and matching jacket also with sneakers. What I observed repeatedly in London was an allowance made for practicality. Granted...London involves a lot of walking, and so such shoes make even more sense. But any travel can involve a lot of walking...and also...as someone with a deficient knee...I am very particular about my shoes. I do try to make choices that pay homage to the situation and my outfit. Sort of. In Alaska, I wore my Birks on formal night. Not special metallic Birks...just normal black birks. I like this thread...I hope it doesn't deteriorate! I am a minimalist person at heart...but I consider myself such in the true sense of the word...having what you need and no more. What you need is the challenge...it isn't what you can deal with or survive with. It's what you need. Sometimes, you need more than other times...sometimes, less. The fun in planning travel wardrobes if figuring out the answer to that question with each trip. I was thinking I was going with 2 pairs for this 2-night trip to Fort Walton Beach I'm taking next week...a newer pair of Birks I just bought on that London trip and a pair of flip flops for the beach. But the rain in the forecast is throwing me for a loop...I don't wear Birks in the rain.
  7. The gulf was much cooler than either DH or I expected. I took a look at the ocean temperatures map and there is an odd section of much cooler temps right where we were...so I'm expecting the water at Fort Walton Beach to be warmer, if the map I found is accurate. I'm wondering how light I can pack for a 2-night stay. DH will have to pack normally because he will have business meetings. Our plane is really small though...so it will be a light pack for him too. We have this dinky little roller bag...not quite as small as an under the seat...like a mini-roller bag. DH used to take it on his Canada trips because that plane was always a small one too and they would end up gate checking most roller bags. I read a blog post about a woman that did quite a long trip visiting family and friends (easy free laundry) and she only packed in what is the equivalent of a bag I have...that purple eBag handbag with PacSafe features. She did the ultimate minimalist packing and had the most freedom and ease with all her traveling because she basically had a huge purse. Ever since reading that article...I've wanted to try that...so I'm going to on this little "weekend trip" that is during the week. Nice cardigan Margaret. It'll be interesting to hear how your wardrobe changes. I have rearranged the furniture in the apartment. And gotten more photos and pictures on the walls. Kitty approves...she's hanging out in the living room a lot more now and what used to be her favorite chair in Winston has become a regular part of her rotation again. I think it will be a good set up for Christmas when DS and Mom and Dad will all be here. Time flies so fast...DS will be back here in less than 60 days. If you don't already us the WhatsApp with international people in your life...may I recommend it? It's been great for us. Mom and I have been using it as well...they are currently in Italy. I'm hoping she taking pictures...she was in Pompeii two days ago.
  8. Beautiful setting! Good to hear from you Melody...so glad that you are having a great vacay!!
  9. Quick beach tip for everyone... Went to Madeira Beach today with SIL and her DH and her DS (10 months) OMG so cute. Gulf coast beach! Nothing spectacular...just a nice local kind of beach near St Pete where this SIL family lives. Anyway...this morning I had a brilliant idea...BRILLIANT I tell you...and it WORKED. And I thought I'd share it. We always appreciate when a beach has one of those shower stations...especially at foot level...for trying to clean off your feet when you leave the beach. But still...the water pools and it's exceedingly difficult to position your flip flops in the most perfect way so that you can keep your feet cleaned off...we always inevitably end up with some sand still stuck to our feet. Today...I brought my BODY BRUSH. Those oval flat brushes with the hand strap across the back? Usually a wooden brush with no handle? (The ones with the handle are to brush your own back...) and this was the PERFECT tool...back at the car...brush off the dried off sand and voila! clean feet! I'm keeping a body brush in my beach kit. I think it would even be handy on any beach day on a cruise. I can imagine standing at the entrance to Nochi...waiting for my taxi...and just give my feet a good brush so that I'm not so gritty for the ride back to the ship and walking in the ship. Etc etc.
  10. Please do. So I found Altra Shoes a couple years ago. I’d never heard of them before and they have been really good for me. You might check them out for casual and athletic shoes: https://www.altrarunning.com/why-altra.html
  11. OMG slidergirl...those are so FUN! Love them. A review said they had a big toe box and they look like a nice wide toe box. I've gotten used to wearing Altra running shoes which have a foot shaped shoe...meaning that the big toe area is straight and not curved inward in any way. How do you find the fit on these? Is the big toe room more straight or is there a curve? I could use a pair of light hikers...my current pair is wonderful and I love them (had them for YEARS) but they are very heavy, old school full leather. Still going strong because I don't hike too much...but I've had them for 20 years. I have trail runners that I usually use now...but I wouldn't mind a bit more ankle support. And I love the look of these. I've had Merrell sandals that I loved in the past.
  12. It is definitely. We're paying for my airfare...but DH's work is paying for the hotel. The town is small and the hotel has direct beach access. This is something DH and I have been looking forward to with DS going off to college this year. First time that I am getting to go along on a business trip!
  13. I love people watching too. I notice everything...I find people fascinating and I often glean useful info from observing people...
  14. Laurie...DS had high bilirubin and jaundice as a new born. I have this awful picture of DH, DS and I...I was WHITE, anemic...DS was YELLOW...and DH was all pink and healthy. Not wonderful. I had to take iron pills for a while. IDK if they still have recommendations for the baby to hang out in some sunlight. IIRC we had instructions from our doctor regarding how to do it safely...DS was fine. I'm sure your GS will be too...prayers that he will be.
  15. I don't think the use of hand sanitizer should be required...I have issues with major skin irritation when using such stuff and so I avoid it. I wash my hands...and it never fails that I am usually the only one during my bathroom experience that washes their hands properly. Good old normal soap is a very effective cleaning agent when used properly. I wonder if people really understand how soap works? There's a reason why you have to rub your hands for 20 seconds minimum...I have heard that you are supposed to sing Happy Birthday to yourself or the ABC song...let the soap relax the tension between the surface of your hands and whatever (dirt, bacteria, viruses, etc) is on your hands (this is what a surfactant does)...scrub your hands ALL OVER...in-between your fingers, etc...like picture a surgeon washing their hands...and then rinse with purpose thinking about how the soap is carrying away everything that is now loosened. Things to think about in a public restroom...is the faucet touchless? Is the paper towel dispenser touchless? If not, get a paper towel FIRST...use a paper towel to shut off the water...and to open the door to leave the restroom if necessary. Based on what I see in bathrooms...people barely get their hands wet...they barely spend any time with the soap, if they use it at all and yet they make a big deal out of not touching doors, etc., which is slightly ridiculous considering that they didn't wash properly to begin with. I appreciated the video above. I think everyone could stay a whole lot healthier if everyone washed their hands properly.
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