Packing time again!

LogoIt’s packing time again! I seem to spend a lot of my life packing and unpacking, but I’m definitely not complaining. The gypsy in me can hardly wait to be on the road again!

This time I’m preparing for six weeks in our 24 foot trailer. Much of our time will be spent exploring remote and wilderness areas, but we also have a wedding to attend. We’ll be travelling in Alberta, BC and the Yukon, so weather will likely be quite variable. Closet space is limited and opportunities to do laundry may be few and far between. So, what do I pack? 

First of all, I need to think about what we’re going to be doing. In addition to the wedding, there will probably be a couple of social evenings out when we’re in urban areas. For those, I’ll need outfits that are dressy casual. Much of our time will be spent hiking, kayaking, and sitting around campfires though. Those are times when comfort is of utmost importance and I’m less concerned about what I look like. We might not have many opportunities to use them, but our golf clubs are going with us, so I also need to pack appropriate golfing attire. Our final week will be spent at our church’s district wide family camp, a time of fun and fellowship where I’ll be doing lots of socializing, attending worship services and listening to speakers. The camp is located in a rustic, forested setting on the banks of Alberta’s Little Red Deer River. I don’t want to be overdressed, but I do want to look well put together.

Fellow fashion blogger, Jennifer Connolly, of A Well Styled Life is also spending an extended period of time in her RV right now and she recently wrote this post which contains some great tips. As she points out, layering is always an important key to coping with varying temperatures. I’ll definitely want to be able to add or subtract layers as the days warm up or cool off. I’ll also be following Jennifer’s advice and packing a variety of accessories. They take up very little space and easily add polish to an outfit when that’s what’s needed.

A change of shoes can also give an outfit a lift. That’s one area where I can indulge myself on a trip like this one. When we fly, the number of pairs of shoes I can take is limited by suitcase space, but when we travel with our SUV and trailer, I can fit in many more! I’ll need dressy shoes for the wedding, of course. I was thinking of wearing heels, but after looking at the venue online, I’m guessing that the ceremony will be held on the lawn. If that’s the case, I’ll want to wear flats. There’s nothing worse than sinking in and feeling like you’re aerating the grass with every step! In either case, I’ll be taking a pair of dressy flats as well as a couple of casual pairs. I’ll also pack my rubber boots, my hiking shoes, my golf shoes, one or two pairs of sandals, and some flip flops.

Hats are another important item. I even bought a couple of new ones for this trip, but perhaps I’ll tell you about those in another post.

For much of the time that we’re away, we’ll be without internet access. In the past, I’ve discovered that even when a campground or RV park advertises that it has wifi, service can be extremely unpredictable. As a result, I don’t expect to be able to post very regularly and Fashion Friday may not appear every week. I’ll do my best to share some travel posts, however, and hopefully I can also do as Jennifer did and share a little of what I wear along the way.

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Retail therapy

LogoI’ve never indulged in retail therapy. I don’t shop because I’m feeling lonely, stressed, depressed, or bored. I confess that the fact that I live 85 km (53 miles) from the closest mall might have something to do with that! On Tuesday, I travelled that 85 km to spend two hours sitting in a dentist’s chair. On the way, I stopped to have several vials of blood taken for post treatment testing. No one could blame a girl for adding a bit of shopping to a day like that, could they?

Just before I left home that morning, I checked my emails and discovered that Payless ShoeSource had a BOGO (buy one pair, get a second pair half price) sale starting that day. Of course, I had to stop in and check it out!

In my world, there are two kinds of shoe shopping. If I’m looking for shoes (or boots) that I’ll be doing a lot of walking or hiking in, I want quality, support and comfort. I’m willing to pay for that and Payless isn’t the place I usually go looking. If, on the other hand, I’m looking for something fun and I don’t want to spend a lot, it’s definitely my go to. I’ve actually been surprised, however, to discover that most of my Payless purchases have stood up well and have been very comfortable. Hopefully that’s true of Tuesday’s purchase! Here they are, the Fiona Pointed Toe Ghillie Shoes by Brash.

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I knew they were going home with me the minute I tried them on! They’re perfect for wearing with summer’s shorter pants. Here, I’ve styled them with a pair of capris that I bought off a sales rack in the middle of winter and the white sateen crop pants that you’ve seen several times before. You first saw the black lace top here.

Shopping Payless, especially their BOGO sales, is a bit like thrift store shopping in that they don’t always have a particular shoe in the size you wear. I was lucky to find this pair in my size, but I couldn’t find a second pair I wanted, so I bought a package of socks to take advantage of the BOGO savings. I can always use more socks, especially at half price. The shoes themselves were a fantastic buy. Marked down from $49.99 to $16, they actually rang in at $13! Bonus!

I’ll be back to town for more dental work next Tuesday and the Tuesday after. Hopefully retail therapy doesn’t become a bad habit!

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Butterflies on your boots

logoSince I mentioned my new rubber boots in a recent post, an ad for patterned combat boots from Goby has been showing up on my Facebook newsfeed quite frequently. Available from Amazon, they come in several different designs, but these ones are my favourites.

 

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Ivory & Blue Watercolor Butterflies

I have a very narrow foot, so I don’t order shoes or boots online, but if I saw these in a store I would definitely try them on. I have no need for combat boots, but they appeal to my sense of whimsy! I can’t attest to their quality, but the online reviews are favourable.

Perhaps combat boots aren’t your style either, but what about rocking a monochromatic outfit or a little black dress by adding a patterned pair of heels? These ones are also from Goby, but there are many other options available.

What about you? Do you wear patterned shoes? Would you wear butterflies on your boots?

I’m a Barbarian!

logoI’m fortunate not to have to leave the house to exercise. We have a treadmill, two weight benches and more free weights than I’ll ever be able to lift in our basement. As a result, thinking about what to wear to the gym isn’t an issue for me. I usually work out in a pair of yoga pants or leggings and an old t-shirt. As long as I look presentable enough to answer the door if someone rings the bell unexpectedly, that’s good enough for me. There are, however, three items that I do consider essential parts of my weightlifting wardrobe.

1.  Shoes

If I was a competitive lifter, I would want a pair of shoes with low compression soles designed specifically for the sport, but for someone like myself, a good pair of cross-trainers is an excellent choice. The soles, which are wider than the upper part of the shoe, provide excellent stability and support.

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2.  Gloves

Padded weightlifting gloves improve my grip and keep me from getting callouses on my hands.

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3.  Belt

Though there is some debate in the weightlifting world about whether or not a belt should be worn, I have always worn one and will continue to do so. The main reason is to stabilize and reduce pressure on my spine, hopefully avoiding back injury. Wearing a belt also forces a lifter to use their legs more than their back which is precisely what you want to do when lifting anything heavy.

Though it’s possible to purchase a pink or purple weightlifting belt specifically for women,  I’m not concerned about looking feminine when I’m working out. As I said, I do it in the privacy of my own basement where only my husband sees me. Besides, a girly belt wouldn’t say that I’m a Barbarian!

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Keeping my promise

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3It was Norman Vincent Peale who penned the words, “Promises are like crying babies in a theatre, they should be carried out at once.”

This week, I carried out a promise that I made here on the blog just three weeks ago. It was then that I wrote about the New Missions Give Sneakers campaign to provide new shoes for each of the 10 000 children who attend New Missions schools in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. I promised that if I bought myself any new shoes during the drive I would make a matching donation to the Give Sneakers campaign.

So what did I buy?

In a recent post, fashion blogger Susan Street of Fifty, Not Frumpy, wore this pair of strappy sandals.

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As she often does, Susan, who loves wearing heels, included an alternate shoe that might appeal to those of us who prefer flats.

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I immediately fell in love with her suggestion, Cob Hill’s ‘Gabby’ lace up sandal featured on the Nordstrom website, but frugal shopper that I am, I did not love the price! I added the look to my fashion wish list, however, and when I was in Edmonton last week, I found these at Payless ShoeSource.

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True, the uppers are not genuine leather, but at approximately one-third the price, I’m delighted with the ‘Zoey’ ghillie low wedge by Brash.

I wasn’t really looking for a second pair of shoes on this particular shopping trip, but there was a BOGO (buy one, get a second pair at half price) sale happening at Payless! How could I leave with just one pair? I couldn’t, of course! I had in mind a pair of casual flats in a neutral colour and when I tried on the ‘Clover’ skimmer with its cushiony memory foam insole, I knew I’d found what I was looking for. They are so comfortable that they will, without a doubt, become a go to shoe this summer!

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Whether you’re in the market for new shoes or not, why not join me in covering the feet of children who might otherwise have to walk to school barefoot? You can make your donation at givesneakers.com. You’ll be glad you did. I promise!

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Sneaker love

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Do you call them running shoes or sneakers? Here in western Canada, we use the terms interchangeably.

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Here’s a fun pair that I’ve had for years. I love wearing them, but I neither run nor sneak in them! In fact, even if I’m just going to do a lot of walking, I want a higher quality shoe that provides better support. For that, I depend on my trusty Merrells, pictured below on the steps leading up to the Jaffa gate in Jerusalem. The dried mud that’s clinging to them is a reminder of the previous day’s climb to Herod the Great’s hilltop palace, the Herodian. That’s just one of the amazing places they’ve taken me since I purchased them in the spring of 2011. They’ve hiked trails on the Pacific island of Saipan, walked the streets of Tokyo, climbed the Great Wall of China and explored many interesting places closer to home.

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After five years of wandering the world, I know that they’re going to give out on me one of these days, so I picked up a new pair during December’s Boxing week sales. They’re still sitting in their box in the bottom of my closet. I wonder what wonderful adventures they’ll take me on?

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If you’re looking to hit the trails in a durable, supportive hiking shoe, I would definitely recommend a pair of Merrells.

For working out, I wear this pair of Avia cross-trainers. The wider sole on this style of sneaker gives me more stability and support when I’m lifting weights.

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While I have sneakers for various purposes as well as some that are just for fun, not everyone enjoys the luxury of having any shoes at all. New Missions, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization, has been establishing churches and schools in Haiti for over 30 years and the Dominican Republic since the year 2000. Through child sponsorship, New Missions provides children with quality education, a daily meal and regular medical care. Today, approximately 10 000 children attend New Missions schools; 10 000 children who need shoes to walk to school. Through the New Missions Give Sneakers campaign, you can help cover all those little feet with brand new sneakers! Visit givesneakers.com to find out how to get involved. The campaign started on April 1 and continues until June 30. While you’re welcome to purchase sneakers and send them to the collection point in Orlando, Florida, postage is expensive, so making an online donation is also an option. I have determined that if I buy myself any shoes between now and the end of June, I will make a matching donation to the Give Sneakers campaign. Why not join me?

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Shoes of hope

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Sometimes a pair of golf shoes is just that, a pair of shoes designed to provide comfort and stability while playing the game of golf. The pair I bought today, however, are much more than that. These shoes, purchased to replace a very old pair that are literally falling apart, are a symbol of hope. Hope that the ugly weather that has been giving us below average temperatures, rain and even snow far into what is normally spring, will someday come to an end but also, hope that the surgery that I’ll be having the day after tomorrow will go well and that I’ll soon be able to get on with life!

I really have no idea how long it will take to recover from the operation to remove a cancerous tumour from my salivary gland. That will depend on how difficult the procedure is to perform, something that even the surgeon can’t determine ahead of time. Regardless of whether I’m only in the hospital overnight or have to stay much longer, I expect to be swathed in bandages for awhile afterward. If you’re out on the Sedgewick golf course and see someone who looks a bit like a mummy wearing shiny new golf shoes, that will be me!