Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vacation Recap Day #7 – Victoria, BC

Incase you missed them, check out the following recaps:

Day before the cruise – Seattle, WA
Day #1 onboard the Norwegian Pearl
Day #2 “At Sea” day
Day #3 – Juneau, Alaska
Day #4 – Skagyway, Alaska
Day #5 – Glacier Bay
Day #6 – Ketchikan, Alaska

Saturday morning, we woke up to a very special day….my 29th birthday!!!!

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I kept the Birthday decorations up all week because I wanted to celebrate on my actual birthday!

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We slept in that morning because we had until 7 p.m. before we docked in Victora, BC! 

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We ate breakfast outside and this little old man was playing his guitar. I like little old men…they are too cute!

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I got to pick our restaurant for lunch because it was my birthday. I chose the beautiful Summer Palace, the restaurant my mom said reminds her of the Titanic!

Let me also add that NCL has many other “out of pocket” restaurants to eat lunch/dinner. We chose not to visit any of these restaurants – I’m sure the menus and food were awesome, but we decided we already paid for our food in the price of the cruise, so we ate at only the main dining rooms/buffet. I was satisfied with going between all three! We felt like there were plenty of options and the food was great! :0)

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Dessert!

After lunch, we walked around the ship and took pictures. We stopped by the Spinaker Lounge because my dad wanted to watch a Q&A seminar by some of the cruise ship entertainment.  This Q&A session was given by 2 guys who were with Barnum & Bailey at one point – they are called Sharkbait. Hilarious guys – they put on an awesome show!

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I know this is random, but I noticed that NCL loves velvet bed/couch/seat looking things.  They had a few in the Spinaker Lounge – but oh my gosh the Bliss Lounge was insane!  I felt kind of dirty in the Bliss Lounge!!  Haha!

Right after the Q&A, we went straight for the Stardust theater to watch a final performance by Sharkbait and the 4 Seasons tribute group!  As expected, they put on a great show!

After all our morning/afternoon fun, we ate dinner at the buffet and watched the ship dock into Victoria!

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I just HAD to try this “Gumbo Sauce”.  Not my kind of “Gumbo”, for sure.  FYI Norwegian, it’s not “Gumbo Sauce”, it’s GUMBO and you eat it over RICE, not fish. Thanks.

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We made it!

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When it was time to disembark, we went straight for the elevator. My purse and dress matched – not on purpose!!

Our excursion for Victoria included a tour of the town and a visit to a castle!  My parents were on a completely separate excursion that included a visit to the Butchart Gardens. 

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A view of the Pearl from our bus!

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Victoria was such a CUTE little town!! I loved all of the homes and flowers everywhere! 

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Reminded me of a Hollywood movie set!

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We made it to Craigdarroch Castle!

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We had to laugh because they said if you were wearing a booksack, you had to turn it to the front of your body!  My poor husband!

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This is the view once you pass through the parlor….looking up through the staircase!  Pretty neat!

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Living room

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Outside view from one of the turrets

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Piano room

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I could totally live in this house and sit right here and stare out of these windows all day!

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Beautiful view!

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Dining Room

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We signed our names in the guestbook, then we shopped around for a little while in the gift shop!

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I just HAD to buy some REAL Cadbury chocolate!! In the States, we only get Cadbury for Easter in the form of Cadbury Eggs!  The Caramilk was probably my favorite but the Wunderbar was pretty good, too!

After the Castle, we got back on the bus and our driver took us downtown. He gave the option of staying on the bus and going back to port OR getting off the bus and staying downtown with a ticket to return to port later.

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We chose the option of staying downtown!

Even though it was dark, we had a really good time!  The weather was perfect…not too cold but cool and breezy!  I loved it!

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Parliament!

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Another shot of the Parliament building

Seriously, this little town was (is) awesome!  There were (are)  flower beds and flower baskets EVERYWHERE!! It was beautiful!

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We stopped by the Empress hotel and walked around inside for a long time!  REALLY nice hotel!  The tea room was all abuzz with activity!  

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We also walked by the Empress Room……….

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……………..where “Princess Elizabeth” received a gift in 1951! :0)

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After leaving The Empress Hotel, we found a statue of Captain Cook!  I can’t exactly tell you why he has an orange cone on his head, but I found it amusing!

Disney fans will know where to associate Captain Cook with! :0)

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The Tulip Peace garden :0)

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Totem poles were abundant in Vitoria, too!

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The thing that struck me about this little Marina is the shops/entertainment/people around at night! It was awesome and reminded me of the downtown development that they are attempting to do in my town here at home! I loved it!

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We also watched these guys for a little while before going back to the ship!

That’s it for our last night onboard!  Stay tuned---just one more day to go! :0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DetermiNation

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I received my DetermiNation packet in the mail last week!  That means I’m officially official!! 

I am SO excited about running the Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon (Full Marathon this time) with the American Cancer Society!  I had an AMAZING time last year from the Singlet decoration party to the Pasta Dinner to the Race itself – ACS really knows how to celebrate!!!  I think one of my most favorite parts of the race was the course support. Every few miles or so, groups of cheerleaders were there with cowbells and noisemakers and they really did a fantastic job of cheering us on! 

I’m also excited because this will be my first year to run the Full Marathon in New Orleans. I’ve run the Half the past two years but never the full so this should be interesting!

This race is in dedication and memory of my Great Uncle Buddy. How more perfect could it be that this race is in New Orleans – he was a resident of New Orleans for a lot of his life (as long as I can remember).  He lived there with his wife and she passed away a few years ago. They went through a lot in their lives together - they were survivors of Hurricane Katrina – their house had 8 feet of water in it - however, they gutted out their home, rebuilt, and continued living there.  Uncle Buddy passed away from carcinoma of the head/neck while on Hospice in that very home.  A few years back, he went through complete treatments of chemo/radiation.  His tumor returned early this past year and he passed away just a few months ago.

As I listened to his son speak at his funeral, I became angry - angry at this terrible disease, angry that it’s taken the lives of so many of my loved ones, angry that it destroys and tears apart families. 

Sitting at his funeral, I came to a decision - I decided to run the Rock and Roll New Orleans Full Marathon in memory of my Uncle Buddy.

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Even if I can’t find a cure on my own, I know I can do my part!  Raising money for cancer research helps with early detection and early prevention – finding cancer at an early stage makes a WORLD of difference in the course of cancer treatment/survival.  It also aids in helping to find a cure.

So, will you join me?  Will you help me create a world with LESS cancer and MORE birthdays?

Check out my fundraising page at:
http://main.acsevents.org/goto/KarenSeal

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Please consider a donation to my cause?  Every little bit helps!  Every mile has a meaning, every step a purpose. Thank you for your support!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saying goodbye is a hard thing to do!

A week ago, I had to say goodbye to my Zoom Zoom.  This car was my baby – it was my college graduation present from my parents. I had it for six years and I had NO clue it would be THAT hard to say goodbye!

Here’s a few scrapbook pictures of me when I first received my Zoom Zoom!

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My dad lied to me and told me that the car wouldn’t be ready in time for my college graduation day. Well, at my party as I was opening gifts, he handed me a key. I walked around the corner and saw my new car, a Mazda 6 parked in the grass with a giant red bow on top of it! I couldn’t stop laughing!  He tricked me!!!

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Once the laughter stopped, I shed a few tears. Apparently I’m an emotional person. I cried when I got my car and I cried when I got rid of it! HAH!

Anyway, here’s pictures of my Zoom Zoom right before I traded it in!

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I need a 26.2 sticker for my new vehicle!

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My last pictures with my car…..

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Yes, I really did cry. Isn’t that sad?! How on earth did I ever get so attached to an inanimate object?

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Even my puppies didn’t want to say goodbye!  Last “car ride” in Zoom Zoom!

Yes, I was sad to get rid of my car – but it was six years old, had 110,000 miles on it, and was starting to have major things wrong with it. Instead of putting a ton of money into fixing it, we decided to purchase a new vehicle.

When we began our car hunt, I couldn’t find anything that really stuck out to me. I had my heart set on a Honda CRV, but after test driving it, I decided that I liked the Chevy Equinox instead! They didn’t have any on the lot that I wanted, so I custom ordered my vehicle a few weeks before our Alaska trip (in August). What’s nice about Chevy is that my husband received “preferred pricing” through his employer, so we received a pretty good discount on the vehicle!

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I got to test drive my new car a few days before we bought it.  Only 3 miles and still wrapped up like a Christmas present! :0)

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I won’t lie, I was very excited to receive my vehicle, but as I watched our sales lady drive off with my Mazda, I broke down.  I cried all the way home (a 20 minute drive).  Yes, I was crying as I was driving my new vehicle.  My mom saw me at a red light and called me to make sure I was ok!  Pitiful, I know. I just had to grieve!  I’m totally ok now…and I was fine the next day, but saying goodbye is hard to do!! 

Here it is!!!!!

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We didn’t get home until that night – we drove all over town to show my new vehicle off to my family!  It took about 8 weeks for my vehicle to come in so my family was anxious to see it!

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Excited about our new toy!

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One of my favorite things is the sunroof!  I’ve used it a lot so far with our nice cool fall days!

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The interior!  I didn’t get to see the two-tone leather before we bought it and I was kind of nervous about it, but I really do love it!!!

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Here’s a look at all sides!

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My Chevy Equinox LTZ!  Isn’t it pretty? :0)

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And it glows at night!  So fun!!! :0)

Have you ever had a hard time letting go of a vehicle or am I the only crazy one?!

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