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Alaska – Kayaking

Alaska – Kayaking

One of the most exciting things we did during our Alaska adventure was kayaking on Prince William Sound!  WHAT??  I had never once thought about kayaking in Alaska, but as I was planning our trip I ran across kayaking tours offered by Sound Paddler.  I mentioned them to Gene, and he said, “BOOK IT!”  So I did!

We took the 8:30 AM tunnel to Whittier, and Sound Paddler greeted us at the shop as soon as we got there.  Turns out, we were their first paddlers of 2017!  They had all of our equipment ready and waiting for us.  They provided rubber boots, waterproof jackets, life vests, pogies (mittens for kayaking), and of course our kayak and paddles.  They had two kayaks set up for us, foot rests already adjusted for our heights.  They tried us in one but my hips just didn’t fit comfortably in it, so they quickly (and without making me feel bad at all) tried us in the second one they had set up.  It was a perfect fit for both Gene AND me.  Yay!  These were fiberglass, ocean kayaks, much different from our sit-on kayaks we have at home.

I was worried about getting wet and being miserable (the temperature was only 45 degrees), but they fitted us out with skirts that fastened onto the kayaks, keeping us nice and dry from the waist down.  Our waterproof jackets kept us dry from the waist up!

Michael was our guide (check out his awesome photography on Instagram at @michael_bowyer). He gave us a thorough safety briefing, and then we hit the water.  Michael did a great job answering our questions and telling us interesting information about the area.  At one rest stop he guided us on a short hike up the hill to a beautiful waterfall!

 

Sound Paddler included a picnic lunch as part of our package.  Michael set it up for us, and an inquisitive little seal kept an eye on us from the water.  Pretty cool!  (No picture of said seal, sadly.  Ha! #alliteration)

 

 

This was a gorgeous paddle!

 

As we were paddling across the bay, a pod of Dall’s porpoises swam past us!  Michael snagged this quick shot.  I was too busy gawking!  (And my brain was trying to determine if they were orcas!)

We were worn out after paddling 8 miles, but BOY was it worth the effort!  What a crazy, wonderful day!

 

More about our Alaska adventure:

Glacier Cruise

Whittier

The Alaskan Pipeline

Alaska – Glacier Cruise

Alaska – Glacier Cruise

A few days ago I told you about the tiny town of Whittier, Alaska.  We went there to take a glacier cruise, and I’m SO excited to tell you all about it!

We took the 26 Glacier Cruise with Phillips Cruises & Tours.  It.  Was.  Amazing.  Truly!  This was a splurge, and it was worth every penny.  We spent 5 hours exploring the beautiful Prince William Sound.

Glaciers!  We saw LOTS of glaciers,  and the captain got us within 1000 feet of 2 of them.

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Springerize Your Wardrobe

Springerize Your Wardrobe

Spring is officially here, and I’m pretty excited about it!  Autumn fashion rocks my world.  It rocks my world for MONTHS since I live in Coastal Georgia.  (No winter here!)

Now it’s time to change things up.  We’ll have highs in the 80s all week, so it’s DEFINITELY time to change things up in a springtime direction!

My spring wardrobe could benefit from just a little updating.  Know what I mean?  I finally got a good handle on my wardrobe a couple of years ago with the Get Your Pretty On Style Challenges.  I learned how to shop wisely and how to put together multiple outfits from just a few pieces of clothing.  And it was FUN, y’all! 

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What I Read – December 2016

What I Read – December 2016

December is a perfect month for some fun, lighthearted reading, am I right?  Of course, right!  And what a bonus if the books are ALSO powerful, funny, well-written, and clean.  I recently discovered new-to-me author Chautona Havig, and I’m just loving her stuff.

She summarizes her writing as “Christian fiction without apology or pretense — lived, not preached.”  That PERFECTLY describes her books!  Check out her bio and blog here.

I’ve been binge reading her Christmas stories.  So far I’ve read Carol and the Belles, 31 Kisses, and Christmas Stalkings.  The first of her books that I read was Corner Booth.  That one’s not a Christmas story, but it’s a good one!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them!  I posted a review of Corner Booth here.

Christmas Stalkings is one of the four novellas in Christmas Lights: A Collection of Inspiring Christmas Novellas.  The other three stories in this collection are:

  • The Heart of Joy by Vikki Kestell.  This one reminded me of a Grace Livingston Hill book; a little old fashioned but nice.
  • Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson.  A great story that begins with a misunderstanding and good intentions.
  • Trip the Light Fantastic by April Hayman.  What’s not to love about a clumsy FBI agent with a big heart?!?

Chautona JUST released her new book, New Year’s Revolutions, and it’s a joy to read as well.  One thing I love about her books is that each book is unique.  No formulaic stories for her!

I did read some non-Chautona books too!  Here they are:

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry.  Oh my goodness, this one is FUNNY!  I dare you to try to read it out loud to your family!  I read this one every December and chortle every time.

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien.  My daughter and I listened to the audiobook, and we recommend it in print!  The letters are great, but the music on the audiobook bugged us.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I read this years ago when I was growing up and didn’t like it at all.  I recently decided to give it another go, listened to the audiobook, and loved it. It’s painful in some spots, but boy is it good.  Sissy Spacek narrated this book and  gave a great performance.  Looking back,  I bet the book must have shocked me when I originally read it; I think I would have appreciated it more if I had discussed it with my parents.

Do you have any reading goals for 2017?  Have you ever revisited a book that just wasn’t right for you the first time you read it?  Do you like Christmas books?!?  Leave a comment and let me know!  I love talking about books!

 

 

 

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – December 2016

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – December 2016

With all the visual and written media flying around these days, it can be hard to decide what to choose, what might be worth a little of our precious time.  Behold!  The Read::Watch::Listen::Follow link up!  My friend Sheila hosts this every month, and the linked posts are chock full of great recommendations.  Here are mine for this month.

booth

READ:  I’ve read some GREAT books over the last few weeks!  I plan to post my “Books Read in November” list tomorrow, but today I want to give a shout out to Corner Booth by  Chautona Havig.  This is a fun story of a professor and the woman who invades his corner booth of a restaurant in order to skip the line at the door.  He’s recently been convicted that he talks way too much, so he determines to LISTEN to the woman; no talking (on his part), just listening.  And thus begins a sweet yet powerful story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I finished it last night, and I was a little sad when I woke up this morning because I wasn’t going to get to hang out with all my new friends from this book today.  (Y’all know that feeling, right?!?)

WATCH:  My pastor shared this video with our church leadership team earlier this week, and I watched it this morning.  Wow.  Just WOW!  Francis Chan delivers a powerful challenge to all believers to  “climb the mountain” ourselves to spend time with God and not be satisfied with “hanging out with Moses” and hearing from God second hand.  Let’s just say I might have needed a tissue or two by the end of the message, and I’ve determined to lace up my spiritual hiking boots and start climbing.

stillalice

LISTEN:  Last week I listened to the audiobook Still Alice, written and narrated by Lisa Genova.  This book is inspiring, heart breaking, and very well written.  It’s a novel that reads like a memoir and tells the story of a 50-year-old, wife/mother, Harvard professor who is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  I don’t want to say much more than that, but the construction of the book–how she tells the story–is amazing.  If someone close to you is dealing with this disease, this may not be the book for you right now.  And then again, maybe it is.  Note:  This isn’t the most dynamic audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I don’t think it’s meant to be.  Since the author is also the narrator, she can read it just the way she wrote it.  It’s a straightforward book with a straightforward narration.  The genius is that a story written without excess, hyped-up drama is so very dramatic and powerful.

koa

FOLLOW:  I started following Kampgrounds of America (KOA) on Instagram, and now I want to go camping every single day!  I’m a KOA girl.  I grew up camping at KOAs, and Gene and I have been known to plan trips around KOA locations!  The photos are fun, and they definitely inspire me to plan another trip SOON!  (I’m on Instagram as outandback.live if you’d like to follow my adventures there as well as here.)

What are YOU reading, watching, listening to, and following?  Link up at Making the Most of Every Day and/or leave some comments for me!  This is always a fun discussion.  I enjoy your recommendations.

Plan To Eat – HALF PRICE!

Plan To Eat – HALF PRICE!

A few weeks ago I talked about how much I love Plan To Eat, a program that allows me to easily capture and file recipes I find online.  It’s also a fantastic meal planning and shopping tool.  Here’s some big news!  PLAN TO EAT IS AVAILABLE AT HALF PRICE THIS WEEKEND!  This is the only time you can save on this amazing tool.

plantoeat4

Read my post about it here.

Then click HERE to check it all out!  This is a WONDERFUL deal!

Isn’t it fun to support smaller businesses!

(If you’re curious, yes, this is an affiliate link.)  Happy shopping!

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – November

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – November

It’s time for a fun link up with Sheila at Making the Most of Every Day to share what we’re reading, watching, listening to, and following!

 

pettigrew

READ:  Right now I’m reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.  Well, I’m listening to the audio book, so I’m going to count that as reading.  It’s a great book!  It tells the story of  ever-so-British Major (Retired) Ernest Pettigrew and his budding friendship with Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman who runs a shop in their village.  Major Pettigrew makes me laugh because he is so careful in everything he does.  One MUST follow the rules.  Mustn’t offend.  Must honor the old ways of doing things.  Right?

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Fall Fashion Find: A Casual Dress

Fall Fashion Find: A Casual Dress

Fall fashion is my favorite!  And the weather here in Coastal Georgia is FINALLY cooperating with the calendar!  Hooray!  Today I’m sharing a great fall fashion find, an affordable, comfortable dress from Old Navy.

I’m 5’6″, and a lot of Old Navy’s dresses are too short for me to wear as a dress.  I have to wear them as a tunic instead.  But this dress is JUST the right length for me!  PLUS it’s an A-line swing dress!  That means it’s forgiving and works well for multiple body shapes.

Fall Dress

With the wine colored dress I’m wearing a Land’s End scarf, Target tights, and Payless boots.  This outfit is perfect for

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What I Read in October 2016

What I Read in October 2016

I can’t believe how FEW books I read last month!  October was just nuts.  It started with a FANTASTIC friends reunion and then moved immediately to Hurricane Matthew.  Life froze for a week or two as we anticipated, rode out, and then recovered from that.  THEN the catch-up frenzy began.  Add a Write 31 Days blogging challenge into the mix, and let’s just say that I did not read my usual number of books in October, and the books I did read looked a lot different from my usual genres!  Here’s a summary of what I read!

 

charmedlife
Photo from Amazon.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by  Susan Meissner.  I met Susan at Read Savannah, a special reader/author event, in September.  She intrigued me immediately when she shared that part of this story involves a mom struggling to decide whether to send her kids out of World War II London to live with strangers in the hope of keeping them safe.  I first heard about the evacuation of children at an exhibit at the Imperial War Museum in London, and it broke my heart!  (Can you image having to make that kind of decision?!?)  This story actually begins years after World War II, but the bulk of the story plays out in the midst of the war.

Special Note:  Susan wrote THE best hook I’ve ever read!  I nearly came out of my chair (and may have yelled WHAT?!?), and the very same thing happened when my daughter read it.  (I got QUITE the text from her!)  Start reading the book.  You’ll know when you get there!  (I’ll hear you yelling WHAT?!?)

Secrets of a Charmed Life sits squarely in my wheelhouse of preferred book genres.  I love historical fiction, mysteries, police procedurals, and some thrillers, but after Hurricane Matthew I found myself craving gentler stories.  I remembered a review my friend Karla shared recently, and I quickly turned in that direction.

 

glh
Photo from Amazon.

The Grace Livingstone Hill Collection by Grace Livingston Hill.  This is a collection of 16 books, and I’ve read 3 of them so far.  Grace Livingston Hill wrote her books in the early 1900s, so she employs a beautiful, older style of writing and language.  These stories are gentle and inspirational while still being exciting and suspenseful.  Just what my storm-weary heart needed!

The Enchanted Barn is the story of family is desperate need who makes a barn into a home, and gets blessed in some pretty special ways.

Exit Betty is the story of a wealthy, runaway bride who is forced to take refuge with a not-wealthy family she doesn’t know.

Marcia Schuyler brings a whole new level of “taking one for the team!”  She marries a man after her no-account sister jilts him at the altar.

 

Did YOU read any great books in October?  Please share your recommendations in the comments!  I’m always looking for more books to read!