Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

January 27, 2017

Lake Life Lately: Adiós Winter

I'm starting a new series: every Friday I'm planning to get a little personal and share a snippet of life on the lake.  I'm going to keep the format really relaxed and casual. 


As you know, I've been on a mission to embrace all four seasons - as opposed to complaining my way through Fall and Winter, like I normally do.  When the temperatures really plummeted in December, it was a challenge!  The biting cold definitely sidelined my plans for snowshoeing and other outdoor winter fun.  Mostly we got cozy by the fire under a blanket.  With snacks.  There may or may not have been one day, after the snowblower broke and I got stuck trying to power my way out of the driveway in four wheel drive, that I beat a metal post at the end of our driveway with a shovel, screaming "I hate this f*%$ing snow" before flinging my shovel into the woods.

But all in all, I've been pretty good at living in the snowy moment and appreciating just how beautiful winter can be.  I've barely complained, I swear.

It helped that I discovered the trick to enjoying winter when you live somewhere really, really cold: book a trip somewhere really, really warm.  There are actually direct flights from my one-horse town to Punta Cana!  That says a lot about how people here handle the winter.  Hubby and I have never been anywhere warm in the winter - we've only been on one beach vacation (Portugal, seven years ago this May).  So when, on a particularly blustery day in December, friends invited us to Punta Cana with them, we said yes!  Ironically, there goes my new snowblower money...   

Of course, since then the weather warmed up considerably and temperatures have actually been above freezing - the snow even melted in places.  The bay opened up and one particularly glowy sunset even had me thinking that spring was on its way.


I could really get on board with winter if it was this mild all of the time.  It hardly feels like winter at all!  Still, I'm counting down the days until I'm sprawled on a beach. 


We've never stayed at an all-inclusive resort.  The adults only (yes!) one we booked has something like 700 rooms, which is so nutty to me!  We usually vacation very differently: coming home from vacations more exhausted than when we left because we tried to cram in as much sightseeing as possible.  This will be different, that's for sure.  Packing has been a real challenge because after my weight loss, I never really dealt with my too-big wardrobe and so I'm doing this unintentional extreme capsule wardrobe thing, meaning only a handful of things fit and I wear them over and over again.  I recently bought some new swim suits, a floppy brim straw hat, and I'm on the hunt for cute summer dresses.


In my bathing suit shopping haul, I bought mostly two piece tankinis (my favorite) in different turquoise designs (literally nothing but turquoise) and paired them with high waisted bottoms.  I also got a cute turquoise bottom that's a little skirt plus I bought an adorable one piece with the cutest vintage styling.  The funniest thing is that I was so wowed with the selection at a local shop, I brought my Mom there the next day because she's had her bathing suit since I was in the second grade.  She ended up finding only ONE that fit her, and it fit her perfectly.  Want to guess which one?  The one piece I had bought the day before!  She was reluctant to buy it, but I am cracking up picturing us swimming in them this summer and the neighbors spying across the bay with binoculars like, "what the...?"


Although we have a house/Szuka-sitter all lined up, I'm not sharing the dates we leave.  Any would-be robbers would know from the blog that I've spent all my money on Pyrex anyway, lol, but I always cringe when bloggers blast their trip dates all over the internet.  It just seems unsafe!  But I'll be sure to share some photos - and what I ended up packing - when we get back, all sunburned and blissed out.   

Does anyone have any tips for packing for a beach vacation?  I'm all ears!
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22 comments

  1. I stayed at a 21+ all inclusive last summer, with my husband and another couple, and it was WONDERFUL. You're going to love it! It took about a day to adjust to it... no schedule? no need to carry money? I can order literally everything on the menu?... but once we settled in, it was fantastic.

    I also find that I must have a vacation booked to help me power through winter, this year I treated myself to 2. I've got New Orleans in March and Vegas in April! ow ow!!

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    1. Am I EVER looking forward to the all-you-can-eat, lol. I'm so happy to hear you had a blast, you've alleviated my nervousness.
      And your trips sound awesome!! I hope you have a ton of fun :)

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  2. Love the suits. I need a new one this year. I never say when we're going to be away and never post while I'm gone. We too have a house/pet sitter and good neighbors.

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    1. It's probably overkill to worry about it (we have a security alarm, too) but I just can't help but be overly cautious. You read one newspaper article about someone's house getting broken into after they announced a trip on Facebook and that's it! Kinda like how I'm also super terrified of sharks, lol. Unlikely, but the danger is there... Happy to hear you're safe about it - and that I'm not weird!

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  3. love that floral swimsuit. my stepsister had a destination wedding in punta cana and i loved it there. give me a palapa, beautiful blue water, and soft sand any day! everyone at home is always shocked that i'm a beach person on vacation b/c i'm not at home, but the caribbean is vastly different than the jersey shore! we went to antigua in december (highly recommend) and i made sure to bring magazines and books and snorkel gear! enjoy!
    b

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    1. Isn't it the cutest? I *might* work up the courage to share some bathing suit photos on the blog. Maybe. I'm working up to that level of confidence, yikes. Ooo yes, snorkel gear. Some people say it's a must, because renting is gross. I'll have to add some to my Amazon cart, lol. You're really getting me excited for the trip! And thanks for the recommendation about Antigua.

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  4. Where did you buy your hat...love it!!!

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    1. La vie en rose (lingerie shop) of all places! They had a small section of swimsuits and ONE hat - it's the only one I could find in my whole city. The little polka dot band can be removed and a new one can be threaded through, which is fun. I linked to a sorta similar one on Amazon in the post.

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  5. Enjoy your vacation! Hurray for vitamin D :D

    And I'd travel across continents to Szuka sit lol.. Our beat-the-winter-forever tip may be to get a doggie of our own, we shall know in a month!

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    1. Thanks! YES, I need some D, lol.
      Awww, I wish Szuka could know someone would be willing to do that! I am so excited to hear you might get a pup - that is really the best medicine for whatever ails ya: including winter. Do you have any thoughts on what kind?

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    2. It will most likely be a Beagle rescued from a laboratory. And you're the only one apart from my husband who has the news!

      Safe travels, and maybe we can swap some puppy pictures when you get back :)

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    3. Awwww, that little pup is going to be so lucky! I am so naive, I didn't even realize Beagles were used in laboratories. I'd LOVE some puppy pictures :)

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  6. Great swimsuits! I feel your pain about the wardrobe issues that come with weight loss. Just a couple of months ago, I donated several huge black trash bags full of too-big clothes to a women's shelter, and I have another two in the garage right now, waiting to be dropped off. I feel great, but my wallet is taking a beating.

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    1. That is amazing! Congratulations! Not just on the weight loss (which is SO difficult) but also on the commitment to getting rid of the clothes. I am definitely getting stuck on the "but it cost money" thing and my closet is packed but totally useless. I have donated maybe a small bag, sold a few bigger ticket items, and started an insane "I can take this in" pile. I wish I had the mental strength to just purge in one big decluttering effort. But yes, I agree with the wallet taking a beating. Ooof. I wish I knew more women who would be game for some kind of clothing swap...in my dreams that's the perfect solution.

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    2. Having to give clothes away must be the only bad part of a healthy weight loss! The clothing swap is a great idea. Why don't you try it on instagram? If it doesn't work, AND you can't take them in, there's always Goodwills...

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    3. I hadn't thought about doing a clothing swap online. Hmmm. That's a fun idea! I normally have no qualms about donating stuff because I sure as heck FIND enough cute stuff at the thrift shops so it only seems fair to give back, lol. But I am just struggling with the money part, I don't know why. Maybe because it's a big batch of stuff at once, and normally I donate stuff in smaller quantities? I need someone to give me a nudge and make do a big purge, lol.

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  7. What allowed me to let go of my clothing as I am losing weight is a great used store in our town. It's run by a bunch of retired folks and 100% of the proceeds go to local charities, charities that I feel good about supporting. The first time i took a big load, they were so excited.

    What I struggle with is buying the proper size. I was trying on things at JJill (get for the capsule method) and the clerk straight out told me I was buying the wrong size and fetched me the next size down. She was right.

    We have taken several AI vacations, one to Punta Cana and four to Mexico. Ladies seem to enjoy dressing up a bit at night so summer dresses and sandals are a great choice for easy packing. I spent the days in a bathing suit and cover up. The resorts can be very spread out so take comfy sandals/flip flops for the day because you may do a lot of walking.

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    1. I think you're right about the right place making the difference. Here the thrift shops are kind of swamped with clothes and they pile up outside the doors, it's nutty. Maybe I'll pick my favorite Sally Anne and just do it!

      I am with you about the proper size thing - and style! I still gravitate toward really loose stuff that will hide things and allow my weight to change. I loved big blousey tops because I could gain and loose weight and still wear them. I have been pushing myself to try on new styles - ones that actually fit properly! - and the corresponding correct sizes and realizing I can fit a shape that used to be wrong (like a shift - I used to wear fit and flare dresses only because I could never get my rump into a shift style). It's been a weird adjustment.

      You seem to have a much better handle on this than me, lol. You're clearly purging old stuff and getting good replacements. I have the patchiest, mostly useless wardrobe. But then, I did have to invest in a new parka this year along with new winter boots so that really blew my clothing budget. New bathing suits just totally did me in. The PRICES on stuff! I think it had been a while since I really bought clothes, other than picking up things mindlessly from the clearance rack.

      Good tip about the comfy sandals - thank you! I've been curious how much to dress up, but I love dresses so I'll just stick to my favorites. I appreciate the advice, it's helping me plan for packing.

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  8. How dressed upwoman were ran the gamut. There were European ladies in DRESSES and heels with full hair and make up to other women in a nice sundress and little sandals (I was in this camp). I would wear the same dress to breakfast as well. I was happy and comfy with a few cotton or linen dresses and "fancy" flip flops for evening. Everything I took was loose and tropic appropriate.

    I hear you on the fit and flair dresses! That was a staple of my wardrobe. I am gradually embracing more shift styles. Bowden has a lot of nice stretch fabrics with a closer yet forgiving cut, check them out.

    I yearned for a new winter coat this year but didn't get one. (My climate isn't as cold as yours.). I am trying to only buy what I love, which is hard for me because I was raised to buy lots of cheap as opposed to one of something great.

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    1. I will also not be in the full hair and make up camp. I've ordered a few summery dresses online, hoping they can be flexible between beach and dinner. Although a really fancy turquoise one was irresistible. I'm happy to know it's flexible. I like your tip to just dress up casual dresses with nicer sandals - I'll be sure to pack some.

      I bought my holiday party dress from Boden! It was a gold lace fit and flare with 3/4 sleeves. It was a bit big in the bust, but it fit so well otherwise. I had never ordered from them before but I'm feeling encouraged to try again. A bit pricey, I find! But there's a stretch cotton shirt dress that might be worth the splurge. I check the price every few days, lol.

      I am trying to buy what I love too. I used to shop when stuff was on sale or a good deal and so I ended up with cute clothes but I wore a lot of stuff that was a "good deal". I buy quality with sweaters but somehow spring/summer is when I get cheap. Trying to fight that urge, like you! I have been hooked on eBay, buying NWT deadstock from expensive shops like Anthro for a fraction of the price. I am hoping I find the magic combo of love it/good quality/great price. Yup, it's hard to fight that "try to get a good deal" urge... But I hear you: now that I've lost weight, I want a smaller wardrobe of all awesome things.

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  9. Keep stalking Bodens sale page, it will pay off.

    I love that dress! I just can't do 3/4 sleeves, too many negative feelings associated with being the too tall little girl whose sleeves were always too short.

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    1. Haha, I get that! I think I swung the other way: I always pushed them up my lengthy limbs and now I cannot handle short sleeved shirts or wrist length ones. Sweaters I'll do long sleeve, but every other shirt I like has 3/4 sleeves or I push them up throughout the day.

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