A Family Outing: Luray Caverns

The Luray Caverns (near Luray, Virginia) were discovered in 1878, and they are a Registered Natural Landmark. The Friday before Labor Day, we visited the Luray Caverns in Virginia. We attempted to go in 2015 (the same weekend), but the caverns were packed. That time, we drove by and saw the overflow parking lots were filled. So this year we went early and arrived right when the caverns were open. There was already a tour bus there, so we didn’t make it on the first tour, but we did make it on the second! The tours leave every 20 minutes, and each tour does have a guide.

The caverns aren’t super cheap to visit. Right now, the general admission cost is $27 for adults and $14 for children (6-12). If you’re a military family, you can visit your base’s Leisure Travel Services for discounted tickets. If you don’t have tickets when you get there, you have to go through one line to buy the tickets and then a second line to actually get into the caverns, so I’d recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, so you only have to worry about one line. Tickets can be purchased online.

The walkways within the caverns are paved, which was a good thing! The tour is over a mile long (in a loop), so we brought the stroller. I figured Little J would be tired, bored and crabby after 30 minutes or so, and the tour takes about an hour. Parts of the walkway were still bumpy, and there are a lot of hills, but it really wasn’t too bad for the stroller. There are about 70 steps to get down into and then out of the caverns. We had to close up the stroller for that part and carry it.

Tips: Don’t touch anything!!!!! If you touch any of the stalactites or stalagmites, you will get yelled at. You can take as many as photos as you’d like, so that’s a plus! Also, it’s cold in the caverns, so bring a light jacket! And don’t leave your tour guide. They don’t like that.

Your ticket purchase also includes a self-guided tour of the Car and Carriage Caravan museum, and the Luray Valley Museum. I actually really enjoyed the car museum. It had old Cadillacs, Benzs, Fords, and more. I love history, so it was neat to read the plaques and see the vehicles that other generations grew up with.

Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to Luray, and we would do it again. If you’re ever in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I recommend checking out Luray Caverns.

Have you been to Luray Caverns? If not these caverns, have you been to other caverns? Which ones?

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(Unsponsored) LuLaRoe Review: What’s the deal?

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated for this post, and I am not a LuLaRoe consultant. I just like the clothes!

I heard about LuLaRoe in 2014 soon after it launched. A Facebook acquaintance was a consultant, and I did scan the photos of clothes she posted, but I didn’t really understand the concept. By the winter of 2015, I heard more and more people talking about LuLaRoe, and during the spring of 2016, it seemed like the company just exploded. I was intrigued, and the more I researched, the more intrigued I grew, so I bought a top and a pair of leggings.

Now I own several pairs of their leggings (two of which I’ve won in online giveaways), Irma tunics, a Perfect Tee, an Azure skirt, a Cassie skirt, Ana dress, and a Julia dress. The skirts and dresses are great to wear to work, and I may buy one of the Nicole dresses soon because I think it would also be great for work. You can see the current LuLaRoe clothing collection here.

The Irma tunic and the TC (tall & curvy) leggings are a great fit if you’re tall! I have trouble finding tops that cover my bum because I’m 5’10.”

So what is LuLaRoe really about? Why is it so popular? LuLaRoe is a direct sales company (so like Jamberry, Mary Kay, etc.), and consultants sell their clothes online, or in person at parties, or at “pop-up boutiques” or live sales on social media sites. If you attend an online social media party or live sale and you see something you like, you have to be the first person to type “sold” under the photo of that item in order to buy it. The really popular prints go fast, in a matter of seconds.

My favorite print! I loved these leggings so much that when I saw a Julia dress in the same print (different colors), I had to get it!
I wore my LuLaRoe leggings camping because why not? They’re comfy!

I’ve read various statistics about how many pieces are made in each print, but I haven’t found an official number. What I’ve seen is that somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 pieces in a particular fabric. I’ve noticed that some of the really crazy prints (that I usually actually think are really ugly) are the most popular, and they sell fast. If you go on eBay right now, you’ll find LuLaRoe clothes for sale, and the popular prints are selling for twice or more what they should be sold for.

As far as the costs, the prices from consultant to consultant should be consistent. Sometimes a consultant may offer a slight discount or free shipping. The Azure skirt and Cassie skirt are both $35. The Irma shirt is $35, and the Perfect Tee is $36. The OS and TC leggings are $25 a pair. I like to buy things on sale, so it was a while of window shopping before I was willing to pay $35 for a skirt. Normally I’d try to buy a skirt less than $20. I do feel like LuLaRoe clothes are a little overpriced ($60 for a maxi dress!) except for the leggings. It’s hard for me to find leggings that are long enough, so the fact that I can, and they are so comfortable…I definitely feel like the $25 is worth it. Also, I love the Julia dress! I’ll post about that dress later, but I’m willing to pay $45 for it because it’s comfortable and amazing for work, and I can’t find anything else like it! I’ve found some cheaper tops ($15) on Amazon that work well with leggings, even if you’re tall, but to be honest, I don’t like them as well as LuLaRoe’s Perfect Tee and Irma. :/

Anyway, so I think the clothes are pricey but worth it.

The sizes on LuLaRoe clothes are weird, so if you’re able to get your hands on any of the styles in person and try them on before purchasing, that’s probably your best bet. I’m 5’10” and about 160 pounds. I usually wear a size medium or a size 8 or 10 in most brands. My Irma a size small, which is supposed to fit regular size 8-10, and it is REALLY baggy on me though, so if I buy an Irma again, I’ll buy an XS.

I think LuLaRoe is most well known for its leggings, which people describe as “buttery” soft. They ARE really soft! LEGGINGS PHOTO HERE OS (one size) leggings fit about size 2-12. TC (tall & curvy) leggings fit size 10-22, and they’re a little longer. I’m usually a size 8 or 10 in pants (I fluctuate), so I can fit either OS and TC. That makes it easier for me to find prints that I like! Because I’m 5’10,” I like the length on the TC (tall & curvy) leggings, but the OS (one size) have a snugger fit, which is nice too. They feel like they’re “holding me in” more. The TC are on the loose side, but they haven’t fallen down on me, so I’m fine wearing them too.

My Cassie skirt is a medium (10-12), and my Azure skirt is a large (size 14-16). They both fit me, but I’d say the medium is a little snugger but still with plenty of stretch. I tried on a friend’s maxi skirt in a medium (size 10-12), and that seemed to fit fine too. So I think in skirts, I can do either a medium or a large. They’re both very comfortable skirts with a thick waistband. I’d like to wear the waist band on my hips instead of at my natural waist, but when I pull the waist band down, the skirts keep riding up while I’m walking, until the band is at my natural waist. So that’s a bummer for me.

Azure at work
Different work look

Wide waistband

I recently purchased a medium Ana, which is LuLaRoe’s maxi dress. I knew it was going to be an awkward length on me because I’m tall, so I purposely picked a pattern that would go well with my black booties, so I could show those off.  I also have a large Julia, which is a form-fitting dress, and I love, love, love it. Rather than let this blog post get insanely long, I will write additional posts with photos about the Ana and Julia.

That’s it for now!

Do you have any LuLaRoe clothes? Do you love them or think they’re overrated?

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Kid’s DIY Dr. Who costume for Halloween

This year Little J wanted to go trick or treating as the 10th doctor from Dr. Who. I tried to persuade him to go as the 11th doctor, the Matt Smith version, but no, he wanted to be the 10 doctor, David Tennant. I don’t have anything against Tennant, but the Smith costume would have looked soooooo cute with the bowtie and boots! Tennant is still awesome though, so I was thrilled to put together this kid’s Dr. Who Halloween costume for Little J. I’ve had a few people ask where we got his costume from, so I thought I’d break down all the pieces. I bought almost everything on Amazon, and please note, I’m using affiliate links below.

The coat:

I looked around for a kid’s trench coat, but it was hard to find one that was brown and for a boy. The coats meant for girls weren’t cut the way I needed. They were shorter and flowed out like an empire waist. So on the advice of a friend, I bought a kid’s lab coat on Amazon with the plan to dye it tan. I bought the Aeromax Jr. Lab Coat in 3/4 length in the Child, 4-6 size. Little J is on the smaller size for a 4 year old, so I figured it would be a bit big for him (it was), but I needed the coat to be long since that’s part of the entire Dr. Who look.

When it arrived, the length was perfect for Dr. Who, but the sleeves were too long, and the coat was a little wide. I cut the ends of the sleeves off by a couple of inches and sewed a new hem on them to make the sleeves shorter. I also gathered in the sides of the coat a little bit under the arms and sewed a new inside seam just for a few inches under the arms. This probably didn’t need to be done though; I don’t think anyone would have noticed one way or another. I used a sewing machine for all of that, but really it was such little sewing that it could have easily been done by hand. I also replaced the white buttons on the coat with brown buttons (the fabric dye didn’t affect the white button color at all, so they had to change).

Finally, I dyed the lab coat with Rit Liquid Dye. I tried the Camel color first, and that really wasn’t dark enough, so I dyed it again with a Rit Dye Powder in Dark Brown. This was the first time I’d ever dyed fabric, but it was pretty easy. You can find the dye at Walmart, Harris Teeter and Amazon. I bought a large plastic bucket from Lowe’s to dye the coat in and just followed the directions. The end result wasn’t a perfect color match for Dr. Who, but we were happy with it. More importantly, Little J was happy!

The suit:

I spent a lot of time online looking at a brown pinstriped suit and a blue pinstriped suit. The 10th Doctor wore both. This brown pinstriped suit looked amazing, but the size we needed wasn’t available for Amazon Prime shipping. I was worried we wouldn’t get it in time, so I started focusing on a blue pinstriped 3-piece suit and a 2-piece version of the same blue suit. Because of the cost, I ended up getting the Spring Notion 2-piece version, and it worked out well. Although the 2-piece had a vest, not a suit jacket, I don’t think the overall Dr. Who look suffered because of it, especially with a coat over all of the costume.

I bought Little J this French Toast boy’s long sleeved white shirt and this French Toast adjustable tie in burgundy (size 4-7). At this point, you can probably tell this wasn’t a cheap costume, and that’s true. One of my justifications though is that he now has a nice church outfit! He’ll be wearing his “costume” minus the coat on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

The shoes:

This part was easy. We had a pair of orange Chucks for him that we’d bought earlier this year at a Converse outlet store. They were still a little big as he’s meant to grow into them, but he fit them well enough that we could pull them out for this costume. Dr. Who actually wears cream or red Converse shoes, but the orange still really did the trick.

The accessories:

The 10th Doctor would not be the 10th Doctor without his sonic screwdriver, so that’s what we bought. Last of all, the Doctor needs his TARDIS, so I bought Little J a TARDIS tote bag to haul his candy in.

The hair:

For the hair, I literally just let my son grow his hair out for two months and used lots of gel in it and messed it up! If he had different color hair or it were shorter, I probably would have bought him a wig. And that was it! We had a few people who had no idea who Little J was dressed up like. We got Harry Potter, a lawyer, and vague “little gentleman.” But for the dozen or so times someone recognized him as Dr. Who? Totally worth the effort!!!

kids dr who collage

Did you make your little one’s costume this year? Did you make your own?

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