How to Recover from Vacation

Yesterday I posted about our recent trip to Florida and the Bahamas, but I didn’t recap the rest of the weekend, which was occupied by a stark return to reality.

While it’s awesome to go on a trip, returning is usually a big drag. 

Here are a few ways to smooth out the transition:

  • If possible, do laundry on the trip. Coming home with a suitcase of clean clothes is so much nicer than one jammed with dirty stuff. A surprising number of resorts have laundry facilities and they often have industrial (read: fast) washers and driers. A one hour investment of your vacation time will pay big dividends.
  • If you can’t do laundry, at least organize your dirty clothes into distinct loads. On our recent trip, I did laundry mid-way through but still had about three new loads by the end. I used plastic bags to keep lights, darks and colors separated so that when I got home, I could just empty each bag into the washing machine without additional sorting time.
  • Have bulky souvenirs shipped to your house. This saves valuable suitcase space and will likely be safer transport for fragile items. A lot of places will even ship for free. Alternate plan: see if any souvenirs you like can be ordered online once you’re home.
  • Try to come home on a Friday or Saturday. Nothing is worse than getting home at 9 PM on Sunday night with a full week looming ahead.
  • Unpack right away. Tripping over half-filled suitcases for a week just prolongs the misery.
  • Caveat: Consider not unpacking everything. I have a toiletries case that just about always stays fully packed, ready to go at a moment’s notice. I replenish anything that gets low, but I never fully unpack the bag in between trips. This requires buying an extra toothbrush, deodorant, etc, but it’s worth it.
  • If possible, arrange to come home to a clean house. We have cleaners that come once a week, and they came while we were gone. Spouse stayed behind this time, so the house was also warm when we arrived. If you have a friend or neighbor watching the house, ask them to turn up the heat a few hours before your expected return.
  • Have some healthy food waiting for you, even if it’s frozen. Let’s face it: vacation is often about dietary derailment, so being able to eat something nutritious (Veggie soup?) avoids reflexive pizza ordering.
  • On the front end, snap a picture of where you parked your car. Wandering around the parking garage at the airport for a lost car is a particular kind of misery I don’t want to experience.
  • Make your bed before you leave. It’s so much nicer to come home to a fresh dressed bed than a pile of twisted sheets. It’s a small thing but makes a difference.

Big Adventure Recap

We’re back!

Recently I posted that my sister and I were heading out on a two-part trip with my kiddos.

And I’m happy to report that there were no major mishaps and she still seems to be speaking to me, so I’ll chalk that up in the win column.

Trixie (now 6) decided to pack her own bag:


Contents of one furry pink backpack:

  • Miscellaneous alphabet blocks
  • Two sticker books
  • A cardboard stove from a home-made dollhouse
  • Three small packs of Sweet Tarts
  • One American Girl doll
  • Blanket and pillow for said A.G. doll
  • Small white stuffed dog

I vetoed all of this.

We arrived in Orlando on February 19th and checked into the Swan Hotel. We had a newly renovated room and there were balloons, a card and a birthday button for Trixie waiting for us. She was so excited.

I was planning to run a series of races that started on Saturday with a 10k, a half marathon on Sunday and then finished with a 5k on Wednesday.

Total distance: 22.4 miles.

There was a cold snap in Florida last week and Saturday’s race started with temps in the 40s. This was the second year for this 10k race, and the course is awesome, winding through EPCOT and the Boardwalk hotel area. The cold temps made for fast conditions. I felt great.

Sunday was slightly warmer (50s) and not as humid as last year. The miles zipped by, and while I didn’t set a PR, I felt good the whole time and finished strong.

I was tired but we decided to hit the Magic Kingdom on Sunday afternoon.

Both kids tried to pull the sword from the stone in front of the carousel in Fantasyland.

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Neither succeeded. 

We also went to a great new attraction called “Enchanted Tales with Belle.” This was actually a very interesting experience (detailed in this Slate article from late last year), and Trixie got to play Belle’s jailed father and meet Belle.


On Monday we boarded the Disney Dream for a four night cruise to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

With any cruise that stops at Castaway Cay, there’s always a 5k race in the morning. Anyone can participate and there is no entry fee, and while you get a finisher’s medal, it’s not fancy.

This race was different; in order to participate in the Castaway Challenge, you had to have run at least one of the other Disney races the prior weekend and the race was capped at 400 runners.

All of the runners met at 5:45 AM and got to be the first passengers off the ship.

It was still dark and we got to see some great views of the boat.

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By the time the race started, there was plenty of daylight:


A major highlight was that Super Running Guru, Jeff Galloway, participated in the race and gave an inspirational speech at the starting line:


I was pretty starstruck.

My original plan was to just slowly jog the 5k, but once it started, I felt like I was ready to push myself.

Although there weren’t official results, I was #17 overall with a time of about 25 minutes, which was ok with me.

The island was still quiet as the runners headed back to the ship:

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And here’s the end result:



The medals, from left to right:

  • Enchanted 10k
  • Princess Half Marathon
  • Glass Slipper Challenge (combination of 10K + Half)
  • Castaway Cay Challenge medal
  • Regular Castaway Cay 5k finisher’s medal (they gave us both)

A close-up of the Glass Slipper medal:


And while I don’t usually like to post pics of myself here, this is a selfie (no make-up!) from the starting line of the Castaway Cay challenge:


I was super happy in this shot.

Here are a few other random snaps from the boat:

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We came home to some stark winter reality with temps in the single digits, but it was totally worth it.
















Big Adventure

Today we’re taking off to a big adventure: I’m running three races over the course of five days as part of the Disney Princess Half-Marathon series.

Accompanying me this year will be my sister (Spouse is busy with work and she was game to go!) and my kids. Today’s also Trixie’s sixth birthday, so that’s a bonus to celebrate.

Schedule for the weekend is to fly to Florida today and pick up my race stuff tomorrow, then run a 10k on Saturday and half-marathon on Sunday.

But that’s just part one: on Monday, the four of us are getting on the Disney Dream for a short (four night) cruise to the Bahamas.  The kids have spring break next week, so the timing is perfect.

While we’re on the boat, there’s a third race that I’m running, the Castaway Cay Challenge.

Billed as From Parks to Paradise, join the first-ever Disney Castaway Cay Challenge,” this is a 5k race on Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

I can’t wait! 



Sriracha Ketchup

Gross confession: I love condiments.

If I’m eating, say, chips and guacamole, I’ll recklessly pile so much avocado goodness on that tortilla chip that it’ll break in the bowl.

And while I rarely eat the fried foods that it’s usually associated with, I’m still a big fan of ketchup, which is why I freaked out when I learned about the launch of Sriracha Ketchup from Heinz.


I’ve got to get my hands on this! A website search shows that it doesn’t seem to be available locally, but I’m not giving up.

Sriracha fries will be mine.


Stitch Fix #4

It was a great surprise when Stitch Fix #4 showed up, since I’d basically forgotten it would be on its way.


I could tell when I opened the box that I was going to be happy.


This Skies Are Blue shirt was the first item I pulled out. Here’s a close up of the print:


This is really more of a blouse than a casual plaid shirt, but that makes it good for work.

It also matches this J. Crew necklace well:


The next piece was an Olive and Oak sweater that I had posted here on the blog, so I was thrilled to see it in my Fix!


Next up: a light gray vest with a subtle herringbone print:


It also looks good layered with the blouse or the sweater:


I haven’t received jewelry in a Fix before, but I got a quartz bangle this time:


The bangle’s pretty, but at $78 it was the most expensive item in the box and the wire it’s made from isn’t very sturdy, which makes me nervous that I’ll break it sooner rather than later.

The last item in the Fix was a pair of chocolate brown Kut from the Kloth cords. It didn’t seem like they’d photograph well, so I didn’t include them here. Sorry! They fit well and worked with everything else, so I was happy.

In the end, I kept it all and I’ve already been getting a lot of wear from every single item. Great fix!





Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar

My little daughter, Trixie (5), would love this Unicorn Horn bubble bar from LUSH.

unicorn horn

We haven’t tried them before, but the instructions are to crumble under running water to create a bubbly, fun mess.

At only $7.95, I think this is worth picking up this weekend as I buy gifts for her sixth birthday next week.

I hope our nearby LUSH store has them, because it looks like they’re out of stock online.

Another thing I plan to pick up is Tenzi, a dice game that seems easy to learn and adaptable to multiple players of different ages.


The kids and I are going on a vacation with my sister next week, and this seems like it might be a fun way to spend some down time.

And, since it’s Trixie and I love her in a way that makes my thinking about money even more irrational than the usual state, I predict another painful trip to the American Girl store to spend my hard-earned dollars buying things like a $68 baking set. For dolls.