So last week I went through the highlights of my trip to Victoria, B.C., which was AWESOME, but wasn't the end of my vacation: it was actually just the beginning! On Tuesday, I rented a car (a super cool 2o14 Ford Mustang convertible!!!), and drove across the state of Washington, stopping in some old hometowns along the way to my high school reunion. Hop in, and come along for the ride!
1. Seeing the old stomping grounds. I was a little scared that I would get terribly emotional seeing all the places I used to live, seeing how they may have changed, but in the end, I felt kinda meh about it. Cle Elum and Ronald were mostly the same, though there has been a little growth, mostly in Ronald where a previously wide open meadow with a few scattered homes (my childhood Bigfoot hunting grounds) is now covered in houses, fenced property, and gravel roads, and I was kinda sad to see that our house on the hill - which my parents had built new in the early 70s - looked a little junky. Colfax was pretty much exactly as I remembered it despite a few businesses having changed things up (Fonk's Drugs is a coffee shop?!?) or closed up altogether.
(#1: The beautiful Palouse Hills as seen from Colfax Cemetery. #2: The formerly-vacant field in Ronald, WA where I used to look for Bigfoot. #3: The view of Peoh Point from the street in front of our house on the hill, Cle Elum, WA. #4: Downtown Ellensburg, WA.)
2. Seeing my Original BFF. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend some time visiting with the woman I call my "Original BFF", Kelly. We first met when my family moved to Cle Elum and I started second grade at the elementary school there. Kelly was my very first friend and remained my best friend and pen pal after I moved at the end of the fourth grade. When it came time to go to college, we both chose to attend Central Washington University in Ellensburg, and decided to be roommates. We roomed together all four years - the first two with just us, then added a couple other roommates in our Junior and Senior years. We've continued being pen pals ever since, and I was the Maid of Honour at her wedding. We had a wonderful lunch and chat at the Village Cafe in Ellensburg, and it was great to catch up with her!
3. Hanging out with my classmates. It was a lot of fun to see all these people again, even if I didn't recognize many of them at first. (I'm sure many of them didn't recognize me at first, either!) We took a sunset dinner cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene and had great food, drink, music, and company!
4. The 5K Colour Run. Easily the loudest and brightest of the highlights! It was my third 5K this year, and came just two weeks after the Wild Run in Atascadero on July 4th. This was one of those colour runs where they pelt you with a variety of brightly coloured powders at various points throughout the race. I don't know if they took any official times (I didn't see any anyone with a stopwatch and no one yelled out times when I crossed the line), but I did glance down at my phone when I crossed the line, and it was 56 minutes after I'd started, so I'm calling it and even 56 minutes. It was very hot, sweaty, and messy, but a lot of fun! Check out my before and after:
5. Visiting other cities. Although the main purpose of my trip was to vacation in Victoria with DeeDee and Pammie Sue, and visit my old stomping grounds throughout Washington state before hitting my class reunion, I did get to spend some time in Seattle and Coeur d'Alene, ID. In Seattle I got to stroll around the pathways in and around the Seattle Center, visit the Public Market, jump on the monorail for a quick jaunt downtown, and had some really wonderful meals and drinks. It was outrageously hot and I was a nasty, sweaty mess, but it was still fun! Coeur D'Alene was the end location for our high school reunion where we had a lovely sunset dinner cruise on the lake. The next day I took for myself and since it was cooler and cloudy (and even sprinkled a little) I didn't get to lounge by the pool as originally planned, but had to settle for wandering around the quaint little shopping district, and simply enjoying my lovely room and view.
(#1: Fountain in Seattle Center. #2: Sonic Bloom solar flower sculpture in Seattle Center. #3 . Tini Bigs - best martinis in Seattle, WA! #4: The view from our room at the Mediterranean Inn, Seattle, WA.)
(#1: Sunset view from the Lakeside Lounge at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. #2: A little park downtown Coeur d'Alene, ID. #3. My view of Lake Coeur d'Alene from my room. #4. Art display downtown Coeur d'Alene, ID. )
It was truly a wonderful vacation, and I enjoyed basically ALL of it. I do, however, have a few regrets and disappointments, which will be the topic of next week's Friday Five. Until then, cheers!
So a couple weeks ago I spent the weekend in Victoria, B.C. with a couple girlfriends, and we had a blast! Here are my top five highlights of the trip:
1. High Tea at the Empress Hotel. I didn't remember there was so much food at this tea (I did this with my mom manymanymany years ago), but it easily took the place of our lunch on Saturday! There were three tiers of treats: sandwiches, scones, and desserts. And, of course, the famous Empress Hotel blend tea - so yummy!
2. The Buchart Gardens. We toured these beautiful gardens in the late afternoon Saturday and stayed for the fireworks that evening. It was as great decision, as it was outrageously hot during the day! We got to see pretty much all of the gardens before darkness fell and the fireworks started. I think we only missed the Italian garden which featured the Star Pond.
3. Charlie's Angels and the Double Decker Bus Tour. Sunday we spent most of our day on a double decker bus touring around Victoria and the surrounding villages. When our bus driver approached us he declared, "Here are my angels!" So, naturally, we had to reply with, "Hi, Charlie!" His real name is, I believe, John Roberts, but that day, all day, he was Charlie - at least to us! We took the whole 90 minute tour the first time around, seeing the sights in town and the along the coast. The second time we took a different bus (Charlie was taking a well-deserved break!) and stopped at The Penny Farthing Pub in Oak Bay Village (at Charlie's recommendation) and had a quick drink before catching Charlie's bus back into town. It was a great time! Charlie was charming and adorable, and we got to see some great stuff from the top of that bus!
4. The Viking Exhibit at the B.C. Museum. This touring exhibit is on loan from Sweden, so no photography was allowed inside. It was fascinating, though! There were bones and beads and rusty old metal swords, bits of belts and combs and jewelry and stuff that had been found in excavated burial mounds. They showed the kinds of clothing the Vikings wore, what the class system was like, how they farmed the land and built boats. We did this during the heat of the day on Saturday (Victoria, and much of the Pacific Northwest, was suffering from some unseasonably hot weather making outdoor activities uncomfortable to put it nicely!), and it worked out perfectly!
5. Hanging out with friends I don't get to see very often.
This year's IGIGI fashion event at Weetacon was simply amazing! For the past several years IGIGI has provided some of us with one garment of our choice off the website to model at the Weetacon IGIGI Fashion Show. It's a really fun event, and we get to keep the item provided to us in exchange for posting photos of ourselves wearing the garment, as well as our honest review of it. This year, IGIGI upped the ante and gave us not one but TWO items to wear and review! Also this year, we did things a bit differently: instead of having one big fashion show, we wore our garments during several key points during the weekend, and had a couple really fun fashion shoots! Photos were posted to Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets using the tags #IGIGIWeetacon, #IGIGIbyYuliaRaquel and #IGIGI.
Okay, enough introduction, on to the reviews, but ... first things first:
DISCLAIMER: Both dresses discussed in this entry were provided to me for review purposes by IGIGI. The content of this entry was not dictated by IGIGI and I get to keep the dresses for my personal use.
The first dress I wore was the Isadora. I loved this dress the moment I saw it on the IGIGI.com website and I was thrilled it would be one of the two dresses I would get to model. The Isadora is just as lovely in person as it is online, and it fit me pretty well. I got it in size 14/16, as I'm usually a size 14 or XL on top and size 18 on the bottom (a Triangle according to the website). The stretchy jersey fabric on the top made it easy to get on and off, and it packs wonderfully! Very little pressing required. It was a little big in the bust, but fit my larger arms perfectly. The full chiffon skirt is very flattering on me; I liked that it was a bit longer than most dresses - about calf-length - since I'm not very comfortable showing off my legs, and it's lined, so I didn't need a slip. The bright red rose pattern is very pretty, and was one of the selling points for me. The Isadora dress has a fairly deep V-neckline, and when I wear it to work I will add a lace chemise under it, but the evening I wore it out to the Black and Tan, I decided not to be so modest. The neckline has some added elastic in it (Elastane, according to the website), so I was able to adjust it to show just enough cleavage with out being uncomfortable or feeling too exposed. I paired the Isadora dress with a pair of black wedge heels, a faux-jet purse and crystal cross necklace. It retails fro $140.00, and I feel that is a very fair price for such a beautiful, flattering, comfortable dress.
(And, for the record, no, I'm not pregnant, it's just an unfortunate hand placement on my part!)
My next dress is the gorgeous Francesca dress in dark currant. This colour is really beautiful, and the fit, again, was great! The stretchy poly fabric draped perfectly over my curves, and the mid-calf-length full skirt is very flattering. Like the Isadora, the Francesca has the 3/4 length sleeves, V-neck with Elastane, so it can be worn with or without a chemise, and is fully lined - all pluses in my book! I wore this dress (also in size 14/16) out to dinner at Hinterland, but unfortunately the setting wasn't photo-friendly, so I wore it again during the Weetacon Closing Ceremonies Sunday morning, and was able to get some great pictures from Wendy. The Francesca dress in dark currant retails for $160. 00, which I think is a fair price for this very beautiful, versatle, and comfortable dress. I can easily wear this dress to the office, out to dinner or even dancing!
So, there are my reviews, and I hope you enjoyed them! But,wait, don't go yet! As in previous years, there's a CONTEST!! And you, yes YOU, could win!
How to participate in the IGIGI Weetacon Giveaway: Go to the IGIGI website and pick out your ideal dress for a special occasion, important business meeting, date night or what have you. Then leave a comment on this review, telling us which garment YOU want and where you plan on wearing it. You can increase your chances of winning an IGIGI gift certificate by leaving comments on each of the other Weetacon IGIGI reviews at this page. Comments must be received by April 20 at midnight PST. Winners will be notified and announced on this page and the IGIGI at Weetacon 2014 page by April 25th.
What I'm Writing: Nothing. Too busy packing and planning.
What I'm Reading: The Shape-Changer's Wife by Sharon Shinn.
What Inspires Me: I've been too busy to be inspired this week.
What Else I've Been Up To: As I mentioned above I've been packing and planning. I'm heading to Green Bay, WI a week from today, and will likely pack, unpack, and repack several times before then. I've taken this trip several times over the past ten years; you'd think I'd have the packing thing down by now. You would, however, be very, very wrong. As for the planning, that's for this summer's trip to Victoria, B.C., Washington state, and Coeur d'Alene, ID. I'll be putting a lot of miles on some poor rental car, I fear!
What I'm Writing: Gah, not a damn thing! I just can't seem to get my act together with this novel. I know at this point I should just abandon it for another project (because God knows I have dozens to choose from!), but I'm just stubborn enough to battle it out a little longer before waving that white flag.
What I'm Reading: I started reading Allegiant this week. It's pretty good, but it's been a hard transition from Kaj Johnson's gorgeous voice in the stories in At the Mouth of the River of Bees to Veronica Roth's. (Not that her voice isn't gorgeous, it's just vastly different.)
What Inspires Me: I am still not terribly inspired by much of anything, but I am starting to look forward to Christmas, which might bring a certain magic with it, so who knows?
What Else I've Been Up To: Because I've decided to attend my High School reunion next July, I've abandoned my original idea of taking a photo tour of Ireland or Scandinavia. Instead, I'll spend a few days in Seattle and Victoria B.C., then drive across the state, stopping by my alma mater (CWU) and hopefully visiting a friend or two, before heading to Colfax.
I finally got around to printing out some of the pictures I took during my vacation to Avila Beach in July and posted them on my Art Wall. That was such a nice little vacay, and even though it was only a weekend getaway, it was relaxing and rejuvenating!