Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fall-To Layout #234

Happy Easter!: I went to spin class this morning, and Janice the instructor gave me some bunny ears.  While Easter is not a holiday that I celebrate (unless you count eating Easter candy), I appreciated the gesture.  :)  I didn't wear it during class because it'd be flopping around and I didn't want to get it all sweaty.
Fall-To Layout #234: I got some new chipboard pieces from Michaels yesterday from the Studio18 brand ($1.50 for 20 pieces + 30% off coupon), and I was inspired to use one of the pieces in this card today.  I took a card base that I was going to use for one of the office cards and repurposed it for this card.  The kraft embossed piece coordinated well with the frame.  I filled in the space around the sentiment with some yellow liquid pearl to match the patterned paper that I used.

Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Blackbird
Stamp:  Hero Arts- You and Me
Paper: American Crafts - Botanique
Embossing folder: Basic Grey- Dots Set #2
Chipboard: Studio18 from Michaels
Other: Liquid Pearl in Buttercup, ribbon from Michaels

Recipe #4 of 2013: After spin class today, I went grocery shopping and bought some chicken and mushrooms that were on sale.  I had initial thoughts of making chicken marsala, I decided to branch out and make some lemon chicken with a mushroom sauce.  I was inspired by this recipe, but I made some modifications.  I used a skillet instead of baking.  I added some garlic to the mushroom sauce.  I marinated the chicken with lemon and olive oil for about 1.5 hours before cooking.  It was super easy and quick and yummy!
Zzzzzzzzzzz. I won't lie, I took a long nap today too.  The weather was rainy outside, and I didn't have to be anywhere.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Shopping Deals

Yard sale/Goodwill Finds: My yard sale find today was a meow frame for $0.50 cents. This was good timing because I used my 50 free prints offer on Shutterfly last night and ordered some prints, some of them being RJ.  Shocking, I know.

Later on this afternoon, I went to Goodwill and found a few good deals. I can't believe someone would donate a perfectly good 24 oz. Tervis tumbler. I got it for $0.56 and it retails for $15 (!).  This might become my office water glass.  It'll be more environmentally friendly since I've been using the paper ones.  I am wary of using the office kitchen items given our recent mouse scare.  Anyway, that's the best deal that I've gotten in a while!! I also got a large basket ($2.96) to put in my linen closet to keep my extra toiletries contained. With the basket, I don't have to worry that they will fall all over the place. I got a frame for $0.96 to use for something work-related.
Bam, organized!
More Shopping: I was very lucky at Ulta today. Their Freeman face masks were Buy 1, Get 1 free and I had $1 off coupon for a full size product. I have the lemon/mint clay mask, which I've been using recently and love!  I ended up getting the cucumber peel-off one and the Dead Sea Minerals and Sea Salts one, and even the cashier was surprised how good of a deal I got. "It's like getting it for free!!" she says as she's giving me my change. Mmmhm, you got it.  The coupon was attached to a trial size of the cucumber one...what a great marketing idea!

Mirrors exist for a reason: I wondered why the librarian gave me a funny look today. I later realized in the car that it was because I had chocolate on my face from when I went to my parents' house earlier and ate a piece of chocolate almond bark.  Oops.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Running Shoes

At the office: My office mate informed me around lunch time that people were setting up food downstairs in the lobby.  Whoa, what?  That's exciting!  Not long after that, we got emails saying something about a "spring fling."  We all jumped out of our seats to get to the elevator.  Other colleagues beat us to it and were already waiting for the elevator when we got there.  We were greeted with colorful leis (I got a pink one) and lots of food: burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, chips, popcorn, sodas, and cookies.  I got a veggie burger and a thing of cookies (that I ended up giving away to some friends in the other building).  Another non-food related thing that I got was a hula hoop, which I tried when I got home.  It has beads inside that made noise, so RJ zoomed under the table.  I can't say that I'm the best hula hooper, but practice makes perfect!

New Running Shoes: With the weather warming up slightly this week, I thought it'd be a great time to get my running legs back in gear.  The first step is to get some new running shoes.  The last time I got new running shoes was back in 2011, and the Mizunos are so comfortable that yes, I used them for running, but lately, they are my go-to sneakers.  I went to DSW after spin class tonight, armed with a $10 off coupon.  They had a larger selection of Mizunos but none of them were "support" running shoes, which I need because my feet are rather flat than arched.  I went with my friend Meg's brand, which is Brooks.  I looked up which ones would be support shoes on my phone and saw that DSW had one of them in two colors: yellow/grey or white/periwinkle (Ravenna 3).  I went with the yellow/grey.
Recipe #3 of 2013: I was inspired by this recipe for Guiltless Banana Ice Cream. I took the 7 frozen bananas, chunky peanut butter, and some chocolate chips and ran everything in the food processor.  I was a little skeptical before, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was so yummy!  Now I have something to satisfy my sweet tooth without feeling guilty later. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Nails

Puzzling Puzzle: Meg gave me a puzzle for my birthday, but after completing it, I realized that I was missing a piece.  I contacted the puzzle company to send me a new puzzle, per their 100% satisfaction guarantee.  There was a box waiting for me at the door when I came home from work.  I was so confused since I hadn't bought anything online, and then when I opened the package, I saw that it was my new puzzle.  The thing was that they sent me a 550 piece puzzle, but the one that I got for my birthday was a 1000 piece one.  BLAH.  I guess it wasn't meant to be.

New Nails: I decided to take off my spring flower nail polish and go with a new color that I bought over the weekend.  This is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Pink Blink (2 coats).

During my trip to Ulta today, I hit the nail care jackpot.  I got the Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat on clearance for $5.99 and Seche Vite Quick Dry Top Coat on sale for $5.99 (regular price $9.95), I had a $3.50 off a $10 purchase coupon.  :D  Anyway, I have never used a base coat, but I'm hoping that this one will help with the staining when I use more pigmented colors.  As for the top coat, I've heard so many good things about Seche Vite, such as its shininess and quick drying time.  Yep, after trying it out tonight, I can say that both those things are true. Maybe I should have jumped on the Seche Vite bandwagon a long time ago.  Can you tell that I'm ready for spring?
Spinning: Word on the street is that the Wednesday night spin instructor stopped coming to class.  That totally boggles my mind.  You didn't even have the decency to just quit?  I don't get it.  Anyway, SUN morning/TH night Nancy has taken over his classes, so I went tonight.  ::pats self on the back::  From what I heard about the slacker instructor, I didn't think that I would like his class so I never went.  I'm glad that at least for the time being, WED night spin class is an option for me now since the dude's gone.  I also like that the WED class starts at 6 so I get out 30 minutes earlier (the other night classes that I go to start at 6:30, which is fine too).  When I left, it was still light out...yay!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Office Kitchen Guest

At the office: I come back from a walk outside (ok ok, to CVS and DSW) and my office mate says that I missed the commotion in the kitchen.  "Oh, was it because of the edible arrangements in there?  I saw the email."  Our office always gets excited when there's free yummy food.  "No.  There was a mouse in the dishwasher."


"Was it alive?"


Yuck.  The building maintenance people were here to fix the problem.  By fixing, I mean running the dishwasher.  I guess they are hoping to drown it?  I'm not sure how they'd get the dead mouse out.  I won't be using any office silverware or plate for a while.  That's for sure.

Hair Dyeing: My mission at CVS was to buy some hair dye.  I got a box from Revlon in black, and I had a coupon too.  ~$3 and an hour later, buh-bye gray hairs.  :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Snowing in Spring

Mother Nature clearly didn't get the memo about how it's spring, which means we should be having spring time weather.  Instead, we were greeted this morning with a bunch of snow!  I sent a telework request to my boss in the morning and went outside to shovel the snow on the walkway.  Whew, what a workout, since the snow was on the wet and heavy side.  My lower back was definitely feeling it afterwards. Good thing my neighbor was outside to help me. 

Around lunch time it was still snowing! Ok, can we have spring NOW?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Pink Polish

Recipe #2 of 2013: Instead of going to spin this morning (Janice the spin instructor is in Madrid anyway, so I didn't feel a strong urge to go), I did some cooking.  Ground beef was on sale at Safeway, so I picked up a package of 93% yesterday.  I was inspired to make some of the meatloaf that Meg made me for my birthday potluck.  The recipe was very similar to the Pioneer Woman's recipe.  I used 2% milk instead of whole, wheat bread instead of white and no parsley.  This is the first time that I've made meatloaf and I think it turned out pretty good.  I shared half of it with my cousin and my parents, so I might have to go back to Safeway for more beef so that I can make this again soon.  I also made some string beans as a vegetable.  I'm pretty much set for dinner for a few days!  I also made some dal nirvana to bring over to my parents.

Shopping: This past weekend I've acquired 5 new nail polishes (4 colors and 1 new top coat).  Heh.  That's what happens when CVS and Target has deals on them!  On Saturday, I got the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat since my Sally Hansen Mega Shine one got too goopy to use and Flashy Fuchsia.  My Revlon white nail polish doesn't have a smooth application for the whole nail, so I'll reserve it for my French manicures.  As a substitute, I bought a Sally Hansen one called "White On." We'll see how it fairs.  Target had it for $1.99, so it's not like it's a huge investment.  Target had the Insta-Dri polishes for $3.83 so I picked up 2 of them: Pink Blink and Fuchsia Flare.  Just when I think that I have pretty much every color under the sun, I can always find more...or at least an excuse to buy another color. Tee hee.
L to R: Sally Hansen, XtremeWear- White On, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Flashy Fuchsia, Pink Blink and Fuchsia Flare

RJ wanted to cuddle tonight while watching Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter Decorating at Meg's

I went over to Meg's place tonight and hung out with Meg and Robyn and celebrated Meg's birthday for the 2nd time.  This time with presents.  Her birthday was while we were on the cruise, but I didn't want her to lug her present around during the trip.  I went with a hot pink picture frame and a $25 gift certificate to Shutterfly since I know that she loves making those photo books.  I did it strategically so that she could make a book out of the cruise pictures.

We got carry out from the Burger Joint, and I went with the veggie one.  On the cruise, I read a book called Food Rules and the basic premise of the book was "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."  That stuck with me so this past week, I ate mostly salads, fruit, yogurt and nuts.  I did stray a little bit though- the trail mix did have some chocolate in it, the cheesecake at Mom's birthday, and the leftovers at the office did include chicken.  Anyway, the veggie burger was really good and so were the sweet potato fries.

We reminisced about the trip and at the office antics that happened this past week.  Meg talked about having to get communion bread for church, which resulted in Robyn and me asking lots of questions about the bread since neither one of us goes to church.  Then the conversation veered into Easter.  Robyn asked Meg if she was going to decorate for Easter and I can't remember what she said in response, but somehow it got to Meg taking out her box of Easter decorations from the closet and the 3 of us on the floor and unboxing everything.  There were quite a few lambs, chicks, and rabbits after all that unboxing.  "I don't have that many Easter decorations."-Meg.  Mmmhm.  Well, that's true, in comparison to her Christmas decorations.  My favorite would have to be the large squirrel next to Robyn's feet.

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Nails

Even though Mother Nature needs to get with the program and give us warmer spring weather, at least my nails are ready for spring! Base coat: Revlon in White on White (2 coats).  Pink: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Presto Pink. Bundle Monster plate #224.

I don't even know what to say about this except that it looks uncomfortable.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today was the final day of Employee Appreciation week at the office, and the event today was bowling!  Around 1:30 PM, I finished my last conference call for the week and my officemate and I set off to go to the bowling alley in Bethesda.  I was hoping we could be fashionably late, but we were the first ones there (aside from the HR director who was there to make sure that all the arrangements were right).  The food was pretty good (spinach/artichoke dip, mini tacos, tater tots), and the bowling was fun...not that I was any good at it.  My score was 66 at the end of the game. :P  Oh well, it was fun to socialize outside the office.  The Marketing director went on a Bahamas cruise the week before I did, and she went to see the flamingos and the Hemingway cats too!

After the office event, I went home to get the strawberry cheesecake that I made to bring to my uncle/aunt's house for my mom's birthday dinner.  Blueberries and strawberries were not on sale when I went to Safeway on Wednesday, but I went with the strawberries because you could buy more for less.  Why are blueberries so expensive?!  Anyway, I made a plain cheesecake and strawberry topping.  The topping was a little watery for my taste, but everyone liked it.  Whew!  Clearly, I'm too critical of my own food.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Office Card Order

While I was on vacation, I got an email from the new Human Resources staff person who wanted to place an order for 30 anniversary cards and 40 birthday cards.  I like having a project already to work on right after vacation.  Here are the cards that I came up with for this order.  I might change the colors in the 2nd card, but you get the idea.
Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Charcoal, Prussian Blue, Pumpkin Spice, Yellow Citrus
Stamps: Studio G (cupcake), The Paper Company Studio- Cupcakes (sentiment)
Paper: American Crafts - Abode, Chatterbox
Embossing folder: Basic Grey- Dots Set #2
Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Charcoal, Prussian Blue, Blackberry, Yellow Citrus
Stamps: Hero Arts- Everyday Sayings, American Crafts- Majestic
White Gel Pen: Uni-Ball Signo Broad White Gel Pen

Monday, March 18, 2013

Back to the Office

Today was the first day back in the office after a week-long vacation, and it was good timing that it was because today also started my work's Employee Appreciation Week.  I hung out in the conference room and caught up on email before a 9 AM meeting.  The HR director and her new HR employee handed me something as I was sitting there.  It was a thank you card from my boss (that I made...) and a Starbucks gift card. :D  

At 11 AM, I went in to the large conference room to enjoy my 10-minute chair massage.  I'm so glad that they have made this a tradition, as they brought masseuses in during the 2011 and 2010 Employee Appreciation Weeks.  

What a great way to come back to the office!  Unless something terrible happens like my boss retiring and getting a horrible new boss, I don't ever plan on leaving my current place of employment!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cristina's Baby Shower

My graduate school friend Cristina is pregnant with twin boys, and I was invited to go to her baby shower which was held today.  It was at a country club that was not too far away from my house.  It was kinda tucked away in a neighborhood of houses.  I had never been there before, so when the GPS said that I was getting close, I was a little dubious.  A country club?  Here?  Are you sure?  Yep, sure enough, it was there.

I said hello to Cristina and her mother and then sat down to wait for another graduate school friend Laura.  Soaking in the atmosphere, the place was decorated very nicely, especially the centerpieces which were stuffed animals (monkey, lion, and elephant), wooden building blocks, and balloons.  There was a cheese plate that I had to hold myself back from because I knew there would be more food and cake later.  Seeing as I just got back from my cruise, it's not like I need more food!  Oh well.

The food was amazing!  I had a chicken corn tortilla soup and a large salad.  The cake was marble with a nice layer of frosting on top.  Yum!  We played a trivia game and then while Cristina was opening her presents, we played baby present bingo.  It was fun to see all the cute baby things that came out of the wrapped boxes and gift bags.
Cute centerpiece
Among my presents was an alien baby blanket.
Can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss (someone else's present).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Back to Normalcy

Back to normalcy: While I enjoyed being on vacation, I'm enjoying getting back to normalcy like doing laundry, vacuuming, and grocery shopping.  The last one was a necessity because my fridge was very sad looking.  The Bahamas cruise has been documented on blog posts dated March 11-15.  I thought it'd be easier to break it up by days, rather than in one blog post.

New Nails: My Katy Perry nails from vacation had to come off last night.  I gave them a break overnight and did my nails again after I came back from running errands.  This color is Gray by Gray #350 by Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure.

Family Time: Julie came over earlier to hang out and watch a movie.  She's got a dentist appointment on Monday so she decided to come home for the weekend since the "snow storm" 1.5 weeks ago thwarted her plans to come home then.  We watched the Skyfall DVD that Robyn gave to me for my birthday.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bahamas Cruise, Day 5

Waking up "early" today was really difficult...early really being 7:30 AM.  After breakfast, it was time to figure out our gratuity situation.  Royal Caribbean has a $12/day gratuity policy, and you can give extra if you felt like the service was above and beyond.  I really thought the food service staff and stateroom attendants did an excellent job, so of course, they needed to be rewarded for a job well done.  Their wages probably aren't awesome, so the extra money would probably help. 

Disembarking from the ship took some time.  We were in our holding area (the theater) for probably an hour before we could get off the ship.  I think there was some holdup at Customs.  Once we got outside, Meg, Page, Robyn and I decided to head straight to the airport even though our flights were not until later on in the afternoon.  Megan and Kristin wanted to see if they could catch the music festival that was happening downtown.  The 4 of us hopped in a taxi and away we went.  The cab driver was telling stories about driving princesses and princes around Miami.  The princesses were easier to handle, since all they wanted to do was shop.  The princes, on the other hand, wanted to party and get as many women as possible and stay out very late.  The cabbie said that during one instance, he went home because he was tired of working past his shift and the prince called him to ask where he was.  "Well, we were supposed to be done 5 hours ago.  I'm home now.  I'll come back if you pay overtime." 
Meg amused herself at the airport by playing with the mice that Robyn was knitting
When we got to the airport, Meg, Robyn and I got out and Page stayed since she was going on another airline.  We delayed giving goodbye hugs, hoping that we could link up after we got through security.  We later found out that the terminals were not linked so we couldn't give goodbye hugs, cry).  After a half hour of trying to find Page and being unsuccessful, we went through security and ran into Kristin and Megan.  Apparently, all the roads were closed off for the festival and it wasn't possible for their cab to get around so they decided that it'd be best to head to the airport too.  We had quite a lot of time to kill, probably about 4 hours.  There was sitting...and more sitting...until we got hungry.  Lunch was at TGI Friday's, and then we decided to sit some more.

The flight was very uneventful. I think I fell asleep as soon as I sat down because I don't even remember taking off.  After we got our bags at baggage claim, Kristin wanted to take one last picture.  It was funny because I didn't realize that we were all supposed to be frowning that vacation was over.  I think Robyn and I were the only ones smiling in the picture.  I was okay coming home.  I had my fun, but I felt like it was time to get things back to normal.

I Metroed to the station near my parents' house because that's where I left my car, Julie picked me up (she was going to be home for the weekend).  I launched into stories from the trip, gave everyone the presents that I bought, and then raided the fridge since it had been almost 10 hours since I had eaten lunch.  Then it was time for me to go home.  RJ was very clingy when I walked through the front door.  I guess he was lonely.  The nap on the plane must have been rejuvenating because I immediately started unpacking and doing laundry and getting the house in order.  Since I had the energy, I might as well have put it to good use! 

Bahamas, it's been fun, but there's no place like home!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bahamas Cruise, Day 4

Today was Key West day!  While I enjoyed being off the grid for a little bit, I welcomed having phone service.  I didn't answer any work emails, but it was nice to know that there weren't any crisises at the office.  Well, there were some issues with our Outlook system and sending out emails, but since I wasn't planning to send anything out, that didn't really matter to me.  After breakfast, the six of us got off the ship and walked around town.  My goal of the day was to go to the Hemingway House and hang out with the Hemingway (polydactyl) six-toed cats.  Meg wanted to get some sand from the beach.  There was some tour that we could have signed up for on the ship for Key West, but the one that we wanted to do was cancelled. Oh well, we did to a fair amount of walking today and we saved money (~$50 tour vs. $13 for the Hemingway house only).

There was so much to see right off the ship.  A Tervis store caught my eye, so I had to go in!  I picked a cat tumbler and a Key West tumbler to commemorate my visit.  I also picked up a rabbit one for my sister.  After we got out of the store, I noticed our waiter walking up ahead.  I tapped him on the shoulder and said "Well, if we don't see you at dinner, we'll know what happened."  He gave a big smile and gave us some advice on what there was to see in Key West. 

Eventually our group of 6 split up into two groups: Meg/Megan/Kristin and Robyn/Page/me.  We found out later that Kristin wasn't feeling so well and went back to the ship not long after we split into groups.  Robyn, armed with her Key West map, led us to the Hemingway House.  There was a little wait to get in, but I didn't mind because I REALLY wanted to see the cats.  I was missing RJ.  We paid the entrance fee and immediately saw quite a few sleeping cats.  Robyn gave one a catnip mouse toy that she knitted and the cat went all crazy.  It definitely wasn't tired anymore!  We jumped in on a tour that was going on.  I thought it was amusing that while the furniture was off limits to humans, there were quite a few cats that were making themselves at home.  On our way out, we went to check on the catnip mouse toy and we found another cat playing with it.  The new cat looked like a fat RJ...some black and white markings, just rounder in the tummy area.
Cat with catnip toy
An RJ look-alike with the catnip toy
Check out this guy's toes!
Afterwards, Robyn, Page, and I went to the Six-Toed Cat next door for lunch.  While the food was good, I didn't think the service was great.  Page asked for some limes for her water.  The waiter came back later and put them on her plate with his hands and gave some lame excuse about how busy he was.  The public health side of me came out, and I whispered to Page, "Don't eat those!"  Gross, at least put them on a plate or napkin.  It would take 2 seconds.  You aren't that busy!  This is your job!

Six-toed cat paw table at the Six-Toed Cat
We made it back to the ship around 5 PM.  The crew made it clear that the ship was leaving around 5:30 PM.  An announcement was made over the loudspeaker that one person hadn't gotten back on the ship.  You're supposed to punch in your access card when you leave the ship and then you punch it in again when get back on, so the ship's crew can keep track of who's on and off the boat.  Page came by not too long after the announcement saying that the girl made it back on the ship.  "How do you know?"  "I saw her running to the ship.  I took a picture of her, wanna see?"  Whew, close call for that girl!

For dinner tonight, I had meat lasagna and tiramisu for dessert.
I got the drink of the day with the intention of giving Page the Royal Caribbean glass, but then she forgot it at dinner. :(
So much food!  I looked over at the table next to us at some point, and they were totally staring at our table.  I hope they were more amused than annoyed that we got so much food.  We can't let the appetizers go to waste.  Our table was on the edge of the room, so many times during the cruise we got the extra food that wasn't handed out. I made an excuse saying that we walked around a lot today and we were hungry.  They all laughed. 
Megan, Meg, and me
Robyn, Page and Kristin
Robyn and I found a towel stingray in our room that evening.  He was even wearing my sunglasses. :)
After dinner, Robyn, Page, and I went back to the club for the second night of karaoke.  There was guy and two girls already that were clearly drunk.  Not in a funny way.  In a very obnoxious way.  They were playing with the machines, even though the host asked them to stop.  I think the host could tell that we were very annoyed with that group.  She finally got a bouncer to get them out, which took about 15 minutes and that delayed the start of the event. 

Anyway, once things got going, it was fun (and funny).  One guy from the night before came back with Shakira's "Loca" and totally danced with his hips.  You wouldn't know that he had some dance moves from his nerdy exterior.  The little girls from last night came back and sang individually and together.  The shy girl who cried because she didn't want to sing last night did "Rollin' in the Deep."  Her more outgoing fried did "California Gurls" and then the two of them did "Super Bass" together.  A mother (?) and daughter duo (I'm just assuming they were mother/daughter) did "Viva Por Ella".  The daughter was AMAZING.  Other songs that people did were "Can't Stop the Moonlight", "Three Times a Lady", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."  There were a few songs done by a family...the son-in-law dedicated "Haven't Met You Yet" to his father-in-law, the father-in-law sang "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" and then the father/son-in-law with a sister-in-law sang "Boondocks" together.  I had that song stuck in my head the rest of the night.  Robyn made a funny comment to me later, "None of you is from the Boondocks."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bahamas Cruise, Day 3

Today, we were supposed to go to CoCo Cay, Royal Caribbean's private island, but the weather put a damper on things. When Robyn and I went to breakfast, we noticed that it was raining outside and the water was choppy. The ship was docked away from the island, so they had to get little boats to shuttle people from the ship to the island. After breakfast, we went to inform Meg and Page about the weather. They opened the door with their bathing suits on. Yeah, that's not going to happen today unless you want to be really cold. The weather and water got so bad that they actually had to cancel the boats going back and forth for safety reasons. The 4 of us sat on a covered deck and read our books and walked around until lunch time.  Page, Robyn and I continued to read in the ship's library until I got sleepy and went to take a nap in the stateroom.  The rocking boat was very soothing.

Tonight's dinner wear was formal night, so we got all glammed up.  I had a scallop appetizer with some shrimp ravioli for dinner.  The scallops were served on some mini muffin tin looking plate.  The little bay scallops were basically swimming in butter or oil.  They were good, but I wish there was more to the dish.  The ravioli were perfect and so was my strawberry cheesecake.

I think there was another round at the casino and then it was off to the karaoke event.  There was a lot of teeny-bopper girls there that didn't sing particularly well.  There was a little girl (maybe 10 years old) that sang Katy Perry's "Wide Awake".  She called her friend Ashley to come sing with her, and as Ashley approached the dance floor she started to cry because she didn't want to do it. :( There was a young lady there that sang Barbara Streisand's "Don't Rain on My Parade."  It was clear that she had sung that song before because she did it with such gusto!  There was a male/female duo that did "Roxanne" that was pretty entertaining.  I definitely didn't have the guts to sing up there, so I give those that did major props.
Blue Island (I got to keep the glass because it was the drink of the day)
Megan, Meg, and me
Kristin, Robyn, Page
Another scallop appetizer
Shrimp ravioli

Strawberry cheesecake
The girls with Putra the waiter
Robyn, Page and me at the karaoke event.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bahamas Cruise, Day 2

We are officially at the Bahamas (specifically Nassau)!  This was the first time I actually felt the ship rocking.  It was around 7 AM and I think that's because it was docking.  After breakfast, Page, Meg, Robyn, and I booked our shore excursion, which was the "Nassau Sightseeing and Ardastra Gardens - NS49" one.  Here's the description from the Royal Caribbean site:
OVERVIEW: Enjoy the highlights of Nassau on a tour that allows you time for a second tour or independent exploration of the city.  
HIGHLIGHTS: Visit the highlights of Nassau including Bay Street, the Queen's Staircase, Fort Fincastle, and enjoy an exterior view of Fort Charlotte. You'll also have time to explore Ardastra Gardens and Conservation Centre, home to the marching flamingos.
I wanted to get a taste of the island without walking too much since there wasn't a ton of time, and the words "gardens" and "flamingos" jumped out at me.  The lady at the excursion desk said to meet someone named Adam outside the ship where all the people for this tour were meeting up.  He'd be wearing the blue and white Royal Caribbean uniform so he'd be easy to spot.  Mmmnope.  We never found Adam.  However, we found the other people that were going to be on the tour too.  We weren't really sure if we needed to check in or turn in our tickets because it wasn't really clear what the procedure was or who was the leader since this Adam person was no where in site.  Instead, one of the other people on the tour said that the trip leader was looking for us and he seemed grumpy and recommended that we go see him to check in.  Yes, he was kinda grumpy.   "Why didn't you check in?"  Well, we didn't know we had to and we didn't know who you were since you weren't wearing blue and white.  His name wasn't even Adam!  Anyway, we walked across a bridge and hopped in vans that carried about 9 people each and off we went!  The forts weren't that interesting because a) we didn't stay a long time and b) you had to pay an entrance fee of $1 to go inside.  Meh, I let Meg and Page do that while Robyn and I walked around its exterior.  The Queen's Staircase was also meh because we were at the top of it.  I think it would have been fun to walk up it (I think it was like 60+ stone carved stairs), but I don't think that activity would have been fun for everyone. 
Fort Fincastle
At the top of the Queen's Staircase
The trip to the Ardastra Gardens totally made the tour worth it.  Seeing all the animals (I especially liked the servals and jaguar) and especially the marching flamingos was great!  The area that we had to go to to see the flamingos was this circular arena- grass in the middle and seats surrounding it in a circle.  The host announced the flamingos and the keeping nudge them along in a parade until they were in the grassy area.  The host then asked if there were any visitors that would want to go in to the grassy pen with the flamingos.  Robyn and Meg shot their hands up.  Page and I sat back to be the photographer and videographer.  The flamingos were so pretty!  I don't think I've been that close to a zoo animal like that before.
Pose like a flamingo!

After the flamingo show, we went towards the exit, but since we were early, I thought it'd be a good idea to hang out with the parrots.  A guy had a macaw on a hat and a cockatoo that would give you a kiss on the cheek.  Of course, we each took a turn with the birds.  The macaw was surprisingly heavy on my head!

To celebrate Meg's birthday, we decided to go to dinner dressed up in 80s gear, i.e. neon, fishnet gloves, leggings, etc.  For dinner, I had a scallop appetizer with fried seafood/peas/mashed potatoes.  I had the key lime mousse (it was sugar free), but then complemented that with some lemon meringue pie that the waiter brought over as extra desserts.
Page (she had hot pink leggings and leg warmers on...totally awesome!), me (I rocked my jelly bracelets all trip long!), and Meg (check out her Koosh ball hair tie)
Extra caprese appetizer
"Seafood mash"
Before going on this trip, there was a running joke that I'd be getting a tattoo on this trip.  Coincidentally, there were airbrushing tattoos on the ship.  I got my panther tattoo after dinner (I totally felt bad ass!).  Page got a sea horse and Robyn a T-Rex.  Pain free, yay!
The stateroom attendants left us folded towel animals in our room.  I think ours was a monkey.  Page/Meg got an elephant.

Kristin had the idea of getting a shirt for Meg and write "How to Celebrate a 30th Birthday" and then get people from the ship to sign or write something on it.  Meg got a couple takers before we sat back to watch the Boogie Wonderland dancing/musical show and then the Newlywed Game afterwards.  The show was alright, but the Newlywed Game was super funny.  There was a couple that had only been married for 4 days (they were on their honeymoon), a couple that had been married for 20+ years, and a couple that had been married for 45+ years.  The married for 20+ years couple ended up winning.  After the game was done, it was just in time for a midnight buffet.  Page came with me to get something to eat while the other girls went to where all the dancing was taking place.  I had my eye on the cake, fruit and cheese.  I definitely had entertainment while I was snacking.
Meg getting autographs