The road to relaxation is paved with stress

When we decided to take a cruise, we prepared for the new adventure by educating ourselves through lots of internet research. We gleaned everything we could from the cruise line’s website and travel message boards. However, even with all that information, I still didn’t feel knowledgeable as the date for the cruise approached. I had some anxiety mixed with a little trepidation. I don’t like surprises, which is code for, “I like to be in control.” Yep, I admit to being a little bit of a control-freak.

You can’t control what you don’t know, so I decided to have a facial. One has nothing to do with the other, but somehow I felt more confident after visiting my favorite esthetician, Leslie at Cosmetic Laser Advantage. Her lasers are amazing. Although the visit did nothing to add to my knowledge about cruising, it did help me to control my slightly sagging middle-aged face. If you can afford to have your hair cut and colored in a salon, or get a professional manicure and pedicure, you can afford laser treatments, and it’s worth it. Speaking of manicures and pedicures, I had those done, as well. At least I was prepared for the cruise physically, if not mentally.

I’d left one important detail undone. The day before the cruise, I still hadn’t booked transportation from LAX to the cruise terminal. There are multiple shuttle services, but the horror stories regarding shuttles are almost as bad as those regarding taxi service. I called numerous car service companies, but found it difficult to get details about the charges. If I couldn’t get a straight answer, I crossed that company off my list. If I had to press one, two or three to reach a person, I crossed that company off my list. I called A-1 Express and no one answered the phone. You’d think that wasn’t a good sign, but my phone call to the next company on the list was interrupted with A-1 trying to return my call (even though I hadn’t left a message).

I answered and spoke to Elaine, the owner of A-1 Express. She told me she’d been on 17 cruises and was very helpful with answering every question about the transportation charge between the airport and cruise terminal. She also provided valuable information about cruise embarkation and disembarkation. This lady wanted my business, and she got it!

The afternoon before our trip, I laid out clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and doubted every choice. I packed, unpacked and repacked. I packed the husband’s bag hoping he’d have extra room for my things that wouldn’t fit in my carry-on. No such luck. There was no way I could take my workout clothes/shoes. I figured I’d just watch what I ate and my scales would never know the difference (yeah, that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped!).

The husband and I finished every item on our vacation to-do-list that was possible to complete that evening, and setting the alarm clock for an ungodly hour, headed to bed. Surprisingly I slept fairly well, which was good. I needed that rest to get though the hurry up and wait and unsettling uncertainty of the travel day ahead.

(Next: From PDX to LAX to cruise ship terminal – whew!)

Extending that manicure!

For me, living with *finesse is enjoying the little extras as inexpensively as possible. One of the little pleasures I gift to myself is the occasional manicure and pedicure, and if I can enjoy them through the use of Groupon or Sharing Spree all the better. However, I deserve to splurge even if I don’t have a coupon.

What I don’t enjoy is when the manicure starts looking ragged, the color chipping, etc. Thankfully that’s a thing of the past with Shellac manicures, which have been on the market for about two years. I love that the color dries so quickly (no more messing up the manicure the minute you walk out the door) and lasts about two weeks. However, being the frugal gal that I am, I take action to extend that period out to three weeks or more.

First of all, I go with a French manicure so that grow out is less noticeable. Secondly, I apply Solar Oil to the nails daily. I purchased the very small bottle from my manicurist for about $3, which seemed insanely expensive, but it LASTS a long time and is well worth the money. Finally, when I can see the edge of the shellac above my cuticle or notice any “lift,” I gently file the edges or lift down and begin “sealing” the nail with a shiny top coat daily. If you can’t file down the lift, go to your manicurist and have the Shellac removed. You don’t want water getting between your nail and the Shellac and growing icky stuff!

You are advised to have the Shellac removed professionally. I have never had to do that as it peels off my nails easily, sometimes without me even noticing. My nails are very thin and pliable, so that may be the reason.

Let me know if these tips work for you, or how you’ve extended your manicure!

My thrifty finesse level: 
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What’s your thrifty finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)