Tag Archives: Vacation

Quick Weekend Trip

I’ve been meaning to blog lately but I’ve been busy and when I’m busy, two things take a backseat: blogging and personal hygiene. So please excuse me while I blog about outdated stuff.

A couple weekends ago, I flew out to Colorado to visit my niece.  She goes to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which goes by the initials CU. So confusing. Why?!

My brother bought a CU hat for my nephew and I thought it was “California University” for half the day.

It was family weekend at CU, so my brother, SIL, twinsie nephews, and I all flew into Denver. I  immediately noticed I had flown far enough to reach a different type of natural disaster.

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I will take a hurricane over a tornado any day.

I Uber’ed it to the hotel in Boulder and met up with my family. We chatted for a bit and then everyone but my brother and I went to bed early because they are lame. My brother and I went to the hotel bar because we both picked up the really-good-at-drinking gene in the family.

Saturday morning, we went out for breakfast at The Egg and I. It’s a chain breakfast restaurant, but none of us had been there before and we all really liked it. Run, do not walk to try their Pumpkin Pecan Waffle. It was so good that I instantly regretted the decision to share with everyone.

After breakfast, we toured my niece’s sorority which was surprisingly nice.

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I’m not sure why I had the idea that sororities are like run down tenements where girls have to bare-knuckle fight over the last piece of bread, but it was not like that at all. It was more like a small Gryffindor with spunky females that have fast metabolisms and can’t do any magic.

After the sorority tour, all of us but my SIL (bad knee) and nephew next to me in the pic above (broken foot) headed over to the Flatirons for some all uphill hiking.

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There is no filter on that picture.

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In the Flatirons, there is a climbing trail and a hiking trail. We ended up taking the climbing trail on accident and we only know this because we saw the signs on the way down. On our way up, we saw people coming down with full climbing gear, which in retrospect, was probably our first clue.

We reached the first flatiron in about 45 minutes.

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But then we made our way back down from there since we were ill-prepared for climbing.

Saturday night, we went to dinner at Zolo Southwestern Grill and then walked along Pearl Street for a bit. It was rainy so there weren’t a lot of people out, but I saw one woman standing on a park bench, with one arm to the sky, humming loudly to no one in particular. I have a feeling the people watching there is magnificent and I must go back.

I left Sunday morning. *sad face* The trip was really short but I had fun hanging out with the family, getting to see a little bit of Boulder, and wearing my one long-sleeved piece of clothing.

 

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Paula does Toronto

All good things must come to an end, which means I had to bid farewell to the cabin. I mentioned that at the end of my third day, we went to a comedy club. We met up with a bunch of Lindsey’s friends at Yuk Yuk’s for Emily’s birthday. Let me just say, it’s kind of weird seeing some of Lindsey’s friends in person after reading about and seeing pictures of them for years. I basically wanted to stare at Emily and Dawn all night.

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Anyway, there were several comedians. One of them was so terrible that I felt sorry for him. But, there was one comedian that was amazing. He made me laugh hard. He mentioned during his routine that he wanted to be picked up and carted off in to the street with people chanting his name. So at the end of the show (after chanting his name of course), we had to go say hi to him. And pick him up. At first he was like, “no, no, that would make me so uncomfortable.” But Lindsey was all, “you asked for it!” So this is him saying “no” but our arms are already out saying “yes.”

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And then we just went for it without his permission.

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Guys, if two lovely ladies want to pick you up after they’ve been drinking, you let them do it.

So that was a good time. Oh, and a weird thing about Canada: when you pay for food or drinks at a restaurant, you get asked “do you need the machine?” It took me two days to figure out what the hell that meant. Servers bring a machine to you if you want to pay with credit. In America, the server takes your card to their computer and brings it back after it’s charged. I gotta say, I like the way it’s done in Canada better. Your card is never out of your sight.

On our fourth and last day (sniff), it was my birthday so Evan made me a birthday pancake.

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Then their roommate spilled orange juice on it but I’m sure he did it out excitement for my birthday.

After breakfast, we took the subway downtown for a little sightseeing.

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We walked around China town and shopped for some “tang” tops.

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We stopped for a $6 mimosa (because that’s a bargain in Toronto) at a roof top bar.

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We went to an underground store that sold the best t-shirt ever created.

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And eventually, we made our way on the ferry to Toronto Island.

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Toronto Island is this weird mixture of half tourism/ half locals enjoying their day and it’s really easy to tell which is which. We were pretty hungry once we got there, so we enjoyed some of Lindsey’s least favorite pizza in the city.

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That was pretty much the only food on the island because the main restaurant was closed. To be fair, she told us it was her least favorite after we had eaten it. (Thanks?) I thought it was pretty good and made better by the best view from our picnic table, even though the weather overcast and chilly.

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After pizza, we walked around and checked out all the sights. Lindsey was super excited about a scrambler ride on the island that was featured in the movie Take this Waltz. So the boys hung out while Lindsey and I got our ride on.

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Lindsey also made sure they played Video Killed the Radio Star just like in the movie and then proceeded to serenade me the whole ride. So that was a treat.

A random American/Canadian difference I noticed: In Canada, public bathrooms are called washrooms. In America, they are restrooms. I’m sure one of you can use that information at some point, so you’re welcome.

After the ride, we found a petting zoo. With GIANT FLEMISH RABBITS. And BUNNIES. And GUINEA PIGS. And BABY PIGS. And LLAMAS. And GIANT CHAIRS. Basically my dream petting zoo.

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After the island, we hit up a German restaurant for dinner and drinks. The food was great and I was really happy to be off my feet because the puppies were barkin’. We did a little more exploring after that and ended up at El Catrin, a super fun and trendy Mexican restaurant, for MOAR drinks.

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Where’s Alan?

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Hubs and I both looooved this place and thought it was one of the highlights of our trip. I had a great time and it was fun exploring a new city on my birthday. At the end of the day, I had 23k steps on my Fitbit, so we were all dead tired and ready for bed.

One more picture or it didn’t happen.

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Toronto is literally the most diverse city I have ever seen. I was really surprised. I feel like there’s no way to see it all in just a few days but we covered a lot of ground in the short time we were there. Also, a BIG thanks to Lindsey and Evan for letting hubs and I invade their home and for being awesome tour guides for four days, even though it wasn’t their idea and they probably couldn’t have gotten out of it if they wanted to.

**Here is Lindsey’s post on the day if you’re so inclined.**

 

 

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Warsaw Caves

Yeah, I’m still talking about Canada. I was only there for four days, but man, we packed in a lot of good stuff. I have one more post after this and you’ll be free of my Canada talk until the next trip. Because I will totally go back.

On the third day, we drove from the cottage to the Warsaw Caves to do a little spelunking. I remember Lindsey posting about the caves awhile ago and thought it sounded interesting in a poop-your-pants-as-an-adult kind of way. When I told hubs about it, he was seriously down and it was the only thing he asked specifically to do the whole vacation. So creepy, dark, spidery, confined caves it was.

On the way there, we stopped at a store for headlamps which just happened to be near a very small sidewalk market. While Evan was on headlamp duty, Lindsey, hubs, and I walked over to the market to hunt down the infamous butter tart. All I have to say is holy crap, because butter tarts are legit and probably the best thing from the list that I got to try.

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So buttery. So tarty. My teeth hurt while eating it but it was totally worth it. My first baby shall be named Butter Tart.

We arrived at the caves, which are located at a conservation area about 45 minutes from the cottage. We checked in quickly had a short walk to the first cave where hubs had no problem being the first one in.

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I went last since I didn’t have a headlamp and also because CAVES. I got in there and was crouching to try to get into a larger open area. There were a lot of people in the cave and I could hear a lot of voices in the distance but it was really tight and confined so I immediately chickened out. I never knew I had claustrophobia but apparently I do. Also, I’ve seen the movies and I know what happens so I GTFO and waited outside the cave while the three crazies were inside smiling and taking pictures like you couldn’t die at any minute in there.

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While I was waiting, I read the brochure and found out that the fifth cave was a cave for wussies and that sounded good to me. So we skipped caves 2-4 for a more Paula friendly cave that wouldn’t freak me out except that it kinda did because you had to sit on a ledge and then drop down into it.

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Of course, I slipped and it hurt but once I got in there, it wasn’t so bad. I felt like I had to keep moving though because there were some really tight areas that I did not want to loiter in. At one point, hubs was waiting for a family to get out of the cave in front of him and I was sandwiched between two giant rocks behind him and I just needed to get into a more open area. He was able to move forward a bit for me but I don’t think it would have been pretty if he couldn’t. Eventually, I put on my big girl pants and was even able to smile for some pictures in the tiny little death cave.

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By the way, it’s all fun and games until you have to get out of the cave. Dropping into a cave means climbing back out. Or belly crawling 10 meters to another opening and NOPE. I’ll climb, thank you.

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I think this is me trying to get out. It doesn’t look that hard from above but let me tell you, that was not the case. Lindsey went first and got out of that cave like she was Canada’s Ninja of Parkour. Then, hubs is behind me saying, “Once you start, you have to commit” and Lindsey is outside the cave yelling, “Come on! you do Crossfit!” So yeah. Helpful. But I got out and we lived to explore another scary cave.

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Well, scary just for me because hubs was LOVING it. No fear with that one.

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After we were done with the caves, we went for a hike in the conservation area to find the giant kettle. Kettles are like big potholes that were formed when granite stones trapped in the river current spun around in place, grinding their way into the limestone. We saw a few smaller ones on the way to the big one. I had never heard of a kettle before so I thought it was pretty interesting to learn about.

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After the caves, we went back to the cottage to soak up some sun because the day was PERFECT. It was seriously like Florida winter. Sunny, cool breeze, 70°F.

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Or 21°C for you Canadians. Seriously, I never knew what the weather was there because everyone be all, “Fahrenheit what?”

I also got to enjoy the Evan’s famous cooking and it was a delight for sure.

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We had pork skewers and full disclosure, I do not like pork, but I liked those skewers enough to have two.

You would think this was the end of our day, but it was not. We ended up going to a comedy club that night that had one of the better and the worst comedians I’ve ever seen. So Canada representing both sides of the spectrum there. I’ll save that one for next time.

And of course, Lindsey already posted about the day so you can read her post here.

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Cottage in the Woods

The last we left off on my great Canadian adventure, we were in Niagara Falls. We left Niagara in the morning for Evan’s family’s cottage. If you read Lindsey’s blog, you know she’s all “Cottage! Cottage! Cottage! I love cottage!” so she was very excited to take us there. But first, we made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s. Tim Horton’s is the Dunkin Donuts of Canada and Timbits (their donut holes) were on my list of Canadian delicacies to try. In the great American/Canadian donut hole challenge, Tim Horton’s wins. By a lot. I also ordered an iced coffee and apparently that comes with a “sugar base.” In the U.S., you only get sugar in your coffee if you ask for it. I just took this as Canada’s first of many attempts to fatten me up.

We also stopped to pick up some booze along the way because cottages are for drinking. I thought I might actually die when I saw a bottle of Absolute is $27. That is madness! The same size bottle in Orlando is $14. Now I see how Canada can offer free health care, cuz you guys are paying out the ass for everything else.

We dropped off our things at the cottage and made a B-line for lunch at the Golden Beach Resort.

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The Golden Beach Resort is a cottage resort and it is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it is very quaint and…woodsy? I liked it. The restaurant there is small and homey and has a patio, and patios are important.

The shrimp flatbread sounded good so I ordered that for the table. And man, it was delicious. I could have eaten that for my meal. It was also served on a fish plate which is adorable.

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We also got (authentic!) poutine for the table. Lindsey was not going to let me leave Canada with our last poutine experience in my memory. It looks like a giant cow patty but it was delicious, and I’m not even a fan of gravy. Now I know what she has been talking about all these years. Poutine. It’s what dreams are made of.

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Those cheese curds melt and get all stringy and delightful.

I also got the fish and chips because Lindsey said it was the, “best fish and chips of her life” the week before on her blog. So, that had to happen.

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Very good. The best of my life? Probably not. But close.

After lunch, we went back to the cabin. The weather was a bit chilly and it started to rain, so we all took a nap on the couch. Not one couch. There were three, lest you think we just piled up. That’s when I knew Lindsey and Evan were our soul mates because I love a good rainy day nap. When the rain stopped, we hung out on the dock and drank while watching Evan try to unsuccessfully fix a boat motor. There’s nothing like drinking and watching someone else do manual labor.

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Once the sun went down, it got pretty chilly so Lindsey made us all look like lumberjacks.

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The most exciting part of the night was getting to see lightning bugs again! I haven’t seen those since I lived in Illinois. Also exciting: ketchup chips.

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These were on the list and Lindsey bought them before we knew the list existed, so she gets some extra Canadian points for that. I don’t really eat chips much and I took that bag out. I thought they sounded gross at first, but they have a little kick to them and are amazing. Why don’t we have them in America?

I’m not even sure what we did after that. I think there were games but we ended up just chatting all night and hanging on the dock for awhile to check out the stars. It was a really fun second day in Canada even though the weather wasn’t that (says Lindsey because I’ll take 55 degree weather any day).

You can also check out Lindsey’s post about the day and see what pictures I stole from her.

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Niagara Falls Fun

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to go on vacation to Toronto and decided that since Lindsey lived there, she should entertain me on that vacation for four days straight. When I told her about my plans, she said yes which was very exciting since I had only met her once before. Back in the blonde and black and white days.

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I’d like to think we took a shine to each other and knew it was a matter of time before me met again.

One thing hubs and I really wanted to do on our Toronto adventures was see Niagara Falls since I knew it was pretty close. I told Lindsey that we were thinking of renting a car and driving over one day when she was like, “hell no, we’ll take you!” So instead of flying into Toronto, we flew into Buffalo, NY so we could hit up Niagara first thing. We got a pretty good deal on a Southwest flight. We were in boarding group C but still managed to score a sweet window seat.

Enjoying that view.

Lindsey and her lover, Evan, picked us up at the airport. Hubs spotted them first, which was lucky, since they were enamored with an American snack machine instead of finding us. Once we got to the car, Evan leveled up our friendship by instantly offering us delicious maple cookies. I should have taken a picture of them, because they were part of my (very important) Canadian culinary adventure. But alas, I did not. Just know that they were delicious and maple and when you are in Canada, you eat maple dammit.

We drove maybe an hour to Niagara, where Lindsey had booked a sweet hotel room for us. This was our view from the room.

I really have to stop using my  phone to take pictures because that is some blurry crap. Also, this trip make me realize that I am just awful at photography so I have stolen many of Lindsey’s pictures because she is better than me and needs to teach me her ways.

Anyway, none of us had eaten lunch, so we dropped off our bags in the room and walked to place called The Secret Garden. This isn’t it, but this was along the way.

You’ll notice a stuffed parrot in the picture above. His name is Alan Barkin (because he’s a boy and we couldn’t name him Ellen, duh). He was rescued from a crane game and now he’s out living life. You’ll be seeing a lot of him from now on and probably a post dedicated to his exciting new life.

Ok back to lunch. We chose the Secret Garden because it had a patio and we all agreed we likey patios. My first order of business was to try a Canadian beer so I ordered a Steam Whistle, which was good.

I didn’t get a picture of my food, but I had a burger. When I ordered it cooked medium, the girl was like, “we only cook those one way.” And then Lindsey was all, “you get to choose how your burger is cooked in America?” Yes. Yes we do. I’m sorry to all you Canadians who only get to experience well done burgers. It makes me sad for you. Please come to America and have a burger that is cooked medium and thank me later. The burger was good but in a overly cooked kind of way. I also tried some of Lindsey’s poutine (also on my list of Canadian things to put in my mouth) and it was just ok.

Poutine is fries with gravy and cheese curds. This one had shredded cheese instead, and what tasted like canned gravy. No bueno. Lindsey assured me that it was a bad example of poutine and that I had to try it again. Fine, fine. If I must. While were on the food subject, I am completely convinced that Heinz ketchup tastes different in Canada. I feel like their version is more vinegary and America’s is more sweet. Hubs thinks I’m crazy but if I like the taste in America but not in Canada, there’s gotta be something different, right? Who’s with me?

After lunch, we walked over to the Hornblower, a boat that takes you up close to the American and Canadian falls.

Let me tell you, it is windy and wet down there but also beautiful and amazing to experience. Definitely a must do if you’re visiting the area. I think it’s only $20 which is like $1.50 in Canadian money or something.

After the boat, we walked around and checked out the falls for awhile. It was especially cool to see the water flowing over the edge of the falls. We tried to find a barrel so we could ride over, but no luck.

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Since Niagara is a tourist area, there are a bunch of gift stores everywhere. Hubs was especially excited to find Kinder eggs. They are illegal in the U.S. (you read that right) because the small toys inside are a choking hazard. Canada all be like, “let our children choke!” Hubs used to love these when he lived in Germany and he always talks about how he misses them, so once he saw them he was like a kid in a candy store. Except he was an adult in a candy store because we were actually in a candy store.

“Nutrition facts. Please contact us by mail.” I’m tempted.

After walking around all day, we needed to freshen up a bit at the hotel before we went out for dinner. And by freshen up, I mean we put on some perfume and called it good. We went out for drinks first and then to a place called Coco’s (also with a patio) and had some really good pizza and more drinks until we shut the place down. I’m absolutely certain I took more pictures at this point but I can’t find them so I guess it didn’t happen. #bloggerlogic

More walking happened after dinner and we checked out the falls at night, which are lit up with different, changing colors. Very pretty. I wanted to go on the nighttime illumination boat tour to see the lights up close but they didn’t run that tour on Thursday, which was a bummer but also a blessing. It was super chilly outside and being on the wet, cold boat probably would have sucked. At the end of the night, we checked out the casino where I proceeded to lose money that Lindsey handed me because I am gambling poison.

It was a really fun and busy first day in Canada.

You can also check out Lindsey’s post about our first day. She remembers things better than I do and takes more pictures. Smile

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Snorkeling in the Virgin Islands

I’m going to talk about this cruise for a bit because it was awesome and there’s a lot to talk about. So get ready for my vacation shenanigans. I might even be able to talk about it in less posts than this girl talked about her Cuba vacation, but I doubt it.

Anyway, like I mentioned before, hubs and I went on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise with our friends, Linda and Jimmy. The cruise had port stops in Coco Cay, Bahamas, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten (in that order). I was a little apprehensive about going on a 7-night cruise. I’ve been on two cruises previous to this – both only three nighters – and both times I was bored half of the time and ready to GTFO by day three.

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Well, I had nothing to worry about. I had an awesome time and I was never bored. I wasn’t too excited about our stops at first. I wanted to do the Western Caribbean cruise but Linda and Jimmy had already done that one last year which kinda bummed me out. But, the fact that I LOVE vacationing with friends won me over so I got over my snobby Eastern Caribbean ways and decided to go anyway.

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning of time (or 3 years, whichever), you might remember that Linda was our personal trainer for several years (that’s how we met). This is the second time we’ve been on vacation with her and her husband. The first time was a Carolinas road trip about four years ago, so we already knew we could spend a lot of time with them and not want to shiv them in the kidneys. We also knew they liked to have fun.

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See? Fun!

Anyway, our first stop was in Coco Cay, but since I’m waiting to get few pictures from Linda, I’ll move on to stop #2 – St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Lots of ships ported at St. Thomas.

Can’t take him anywhere.

Originally, we had planned a snuba excursion in St. Thomas. Snuba is apparently a thing and I had never heard of it until we got on the ship. It’s not quite snorkeling and it’s not quite scuba diving. When you snuba, you explore 20 feet below water and the oxygen tank floats above you. All four of us were more psyched for snuba than any of the other excursions we had booked. So of course it was cancelled because the ship was an hour and a half late into port because of heavy wind.

We booked another excursion, our distant second choice of snorkeling. We picked a tour with Cool Boats USVI that went to Turtle Bay. We sailed there on an actual ghost ship called Blackbeard’s Revenge. The ship sunk in the 80’s and then was resurrected six weeks later and refurbished. It looked like a bad ass pirate ship.

There’s nothing like the feeling of sailing on a ship that once sunk.

The trip started out pretty well other than the fact that the water was super choppy and there were at least two people barfing into buckets and two others that didn’t look so hot. Those people were not us, by the way. Other than that, it was a good 30-minute sail.

I can’t say enough good things about the tour guides, Shy and Amelia, and Capt. Jim. They were amazing and funny and told stories like they haven’t told them 1000 times before. They did things like scale the boat to open the sails while the boat was in motion.

See Shy up there? You could not pay me to do that. He didn’t even use the ladder. He climbed up by one using one of those thin ropes. Crazy mofo.

We got to Turtle Bay and I was happy the boat had finally stopped. I was starting to feel a little sea sick even though I was sitting in the middle of the boat, which moves the least. We all jumped off the boat and started our snorkel.

The snorkeling selfie.

The water was beautiful but it was so congested with people that I couldn’t swim without hitting someone with my flipper or someone else’s flipper hitting me.

See what I mean?

I bought a GoPro camera right before the trip and I’m an absolute idiot using it. I thought I was taking pictures when I was actually taking video for half a day. Then I had it set on 10 pictures per second for another part of the day and ended up with tons of the same picture. The jury is still out on that camera.

Ok, so back to snorkeling. Besides being congested, there wasn’t much to see except a lot of flat sea floor and a fairly lame coral reef.

A few others saw some turtles and a stingray but I wouldn’t have been able to get there to see them unless I started taking down little children, which normally I would do, just not with that many witnesses. So I saw nothing unless you count the shadow of a turtle in the distance, three fish, and then a turtle once I got back on the boat that mocked me with its frocklicking.

So basically, the snorkel portion of the trip was a bust and I didn’t use much of the free snorkel time after we went on the “tour” where Amelia told us about parts of the reef.

We got back on the ship and our guides started serving us many of these fruity rum drinks called Painkillers (for FREE) and that significantly improved our moods. I was looking the other direction at one point, holding my drink, and felt Capt. Jim filling up my cup. Man after my own heart right there.

Also, our guide Shy memorized all FIFTY people’s names on the boat. He went around, asked everyone their name individually, and did some weird pneumonic thing in his mind for a few seconds each time. Then, after he asked everyone their names, was able to call everyone out in order. He even knew our names when we swapped positions on the boat and were coming out of the water wet and unrecognizable with our snorkle gear on. Crazy. That dude was pure entertainment. I’m sad I didn’t get a good picture of him because he reminded me of Aaron Paul. (Hubs said he reminded him of Dominic Moynahan.)

Everyone being entertained by Shy.

We left a good tip because we loved, loved the guides but the tour itself was meh. I would have preferred a snorkel trip that carried less people and had something to look at. You go to Turtle Bay, you expect to see turtles. Amirite?

We had a little time when we got back to shore before all-aboard, so we stopped at a cute beach pub called Fat Turtle and had a few more drinks and appetizers (to prep our stomachs for dinner, of course). We asked for a local rum suggestion and the waitress recommended Cruzan which is made in the Virgin Islands. We have that all over the place in Orlando, so no. No Cruzan rum for Paula. I went with a Moscow Mule instead (my current favorite drink). I didn’t take any pictures toward the end of the day, so imagine me enjoying many more adult beverages. Pretty much like you imagine me on any normal day.

St. Thomas wasn’t our favorite stop, but we still had a great time. We heard from the locals that if you’re going to go to the Virgin Islands, that you want to take the ferry over to St. John. Apparently St. John is amazing. St. Thomas was beautiful BUT super touristy, which isn’t my thing since I already live in the land of tourism.

Ok, so that was our second stop. I’ll be back with more in a few days. 🙂

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Back to Real Life

It’s been a little quiet on my end for a bit. Hubs and I got back this morning from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with our friends Linda and Jimmy.

Middle of the ocean means no internet which was kinda nice. There’s nothing like going back to the olden days of using lobby phones and needing a watch to tell time. We had a lot of fun and I so needed a vacation in a bad way. More on that goodness later.

Today has been hectic with getting off the ship, driving home from Pt. Canaveral, unpacking, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, picking up Jon Hamm from the hammysitter, and picking up Pants from the bunnysitter. I always worry about Pants when someone else is watching her. Apparently I had nothing to worry about as she was feeling right at home.

I got that picture from our friend who was watching her. I’m glad she put her best foot forward. Thanks Pants. Way to represent us.

Hubs and I are still playing the game, “Am I drunk or is it the ship?” because everything is moving and I’m pretty sure I’m sitting still. It’s a super freaky feeling. Anyway, it’s time to finish some chores and watch all the season finales I missed while we were away.

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Cruising Around Lake Tahoe

This weekend, Hubs and I went to Reno for our friends’ wedding. We got in late Friday night, so we went right to bed. Well, right to bed after we found out the hotel does not sell beer in their convenience shop. That was probably for the best since this happened on our layover in Salt Lake City.

That’s a peanut butter bucket from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. And it’s as big and delicious as it looks. You guys are supposed to be looking out for me. I tweeted that picture and no one talked me down. Not even Melissa, who is supposed to be looking out for me. Rude. Just rude. I thought I was safe from said peanut butter buckets on the East coast until a friend of mine let me know there is a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory 15 minutes from my house. FML.

Anyway, back to Reno. The next day we met our friends, Morgan and Don, (remember, we went to Burning Man with them?) and their family for a lunch cruise around Lake Tahoe. The drive from Reno is about an hour and a half long, so we hitched a ride with Morgan’s friend Nicole who was pretty amazing considering she picked us up and had never met us before. (Thanks, Nicole!) The views on the way there did not suck.

There were snow covered trees almost the whole way. Sweeping lake and mountain views when the trees cleared. It was just beautiful. Why must Nevada suck up all the pretty? It’s not fair. It also snowed on the way up. I suppose I don’t need to remind you that it’s May. This Florida girl knows nothing about snow in May.

We finally crossed the California border and made it to Tahoe. You don’t even need a sign to tell you that you’re in California or Nevada. It’s pretty obvious when the casinos start and stop. The rest of the group arrived, we bought our tickets, and we boarded the  Tahoe Gal.

I found a new friend almost immediately.

Had a few drinks.

But the captain rejected my advances.

The cruise was 3 1/2 hours long. We all ate lunch, had a few drinks, chatted, and enjoyed the view. It was beautiful and relaxing and fun to meet more of Morgan and Don’s family. It was really cold and windy too, so I got to wear the one long sleeved shirt and jacket I own. I didn’t even pack the proper shoes and ended up wearing a pair of hub’s Vans all day long. I swear I am an idiot when it comes to dressing for cold weather.

The happy couple the day before they got married.

After the cruise and the ride back to Reno, we were beat. It’s really exhausting enjoying mountain views and cocktails all day long. I don’t know how we survived it.

Later that night, we met up at Morgan and Don’s house for their catered rehersal dinner. I helped them drink their whiskey and eat the cupcakes that no one else was eating, so I feel like I was at least helpful in “cleaning up.”

Next up is the most non-traditional traditional wedding I have ever been to. But I guess I didn’t expect any different from those two crazies. 🙂

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Cruise Food

We all know cruises are about the food, right? Well, the food was one of my main reasons for not wanting to go. On our Disney cruise, there were no healthy options, I gained 3 lbs, and never lost it. I don’t have much self-control around food I love.

Well, Royal Caribbean proved me wrong. Yes, there was a lot of crap food and I did indulge on the stuff that I liked the most, but there were also a ton of healthy options. I was surprised! I mean, I still gained another 3 lbs, but my point here is that it could have been worse.

Every morning, my breakfast looked like this:

Veggie omelet with salsa, fresh fruit, and oatmeal. (Actually, it was muesli. HOLY Scott Baio dimples, why have I never found muesli before now? That stuff tastes like eating a liquid oatmeal raisin cookie. Sha-ZAM!)

There may also have been a donut incident one day. It was terrible too. I mean, who makes a bad donut? But I still ate it all. No donut left behind.

Every afternoon, my lunch looked like this: 

Salad with tons of veggies and a protein (usually turkey lunch meat since they had an area where you could make your own sandwiches).

On the last day, I tried their burger (minus the bun because it was stale), lamb curry, pasta that tasted way too good to be good for you, and 4 fries. Why 4 fries? I have no idea.

They pretty much had anything and everything at the buffet: sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, tacos, rice, pasta, potatoes, beef, fish, soup. It was ridiculous.

Each night at dinner in the restaurant, they had a Vitality menu of healthier options. A 3-course meal for under 800 calories. They have the calories listed on the  menu and alternate options if you don’t like what they are featuring that night. My 3-course meal usually ended up being just under 650 calories.

Shaved Cantaloupe and honeydew melon with midori yogurt. (This sucked)

Grilled Seafood Brochette

Low-fat Berry Mousse.

And so on…

I ordered from the light menu every night because I knew I’d be eating soft serve like it was going out of style and drinking alcohol like prohibition was coming back.

Speaking of soft serve, check out the cute little fresh veggie/fruit animals that were by the machine. I want to make these. And then eat them.

Overall the food was much better on our Disney cruise. Food on Royal Carribean was hit or miss. When it sucked, it really sucked but when it was good, it was delicious.

Also, please know that someone somewhere on the Monarch of the Seas has this name.

Kate, if you find Bloyde, I’ll expect a picture.

Oh and this is the last Bahamas post. Pinky swear.

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Coco Cay and Kayaking

I swear I’m almost done talking about the Bahamas. But I had so much fun! It’s hard not to tell you everything. Smile

We woke up bright and early on Day 3 for our kayaking excursion on Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. Coco Cay is a tendered island since the water is too shallow for the ship to dock there. So, we woke up extra early to catch the first tender.

It’s so surreal sitting on the tender when the ship is right next to you. Makes you realize how crazy big cruise ships are.

The first tender took off around 7:45 and our excursion started at 9:00.

When we booked the excursion on the ship the day before, the guy made sure to tell us to be on the first tender. The ride to the island is only 10 minutes or less, but if you want to make the most of your day, get on that first tender because the rest of them are uncomfortably packed with people.

When we got to the island, we met up with Sandy (it’s a MAN, man), our kayak guide, and followed him down to the kayaking area.

We filled out some paperwork that said we wouldn’t sue Royal Caribbean or anyone in the modern world if we died, and then had about a half hour to kill before our trip started.

K and I found some hammocks. Look! It’s my first time in a hammock.

This view and the cool breeze in the shade did not suck.

I’m going to have to make the executive decision that I really like hammocks. So does K.

After lounging around for awhile, we were ready to set sail. Or set kayak. Something like that.

Had I know how this picture was going to turn out, I would have done something illegal. No evidence! Or it’s proof I’m a demon.

The water had a pretty strong current so we really felt like we were getting an arm and ab workout. We would both row 8 times on one side to barely turn the kayak the other direction. It was frustrating!

We took a short break on another side of the island.

And by short, I mean I had time to take a few pictures, take my clothes off, and walk about 5 steps into the water. Then Sandy was already calling us to come back in. Lame, Sandy. Real lame.

This next picture is for Kate and Michelle. Michelle said if she could show her pregnant belly on her blog, I should post a bikini picture on mine.

This pose is going to SWEEP Victoria’s Secret catalogs across the nation.

Watch out, Giselle. I got the double guns pointing to the sky.

I had fun kayaking, but I must say it was much more fun on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) during our last Bahamas cruise. It wasn’t rushed and it was much more peaceful. Also, Coco Cay didn’t really have much to it which was disappointing. I mean, it was pretty but I felt like Castaway Cay had so much more.

After our excursion, we kayaked back to the starting point, dried off a bit, and hung out in the hammocks for a little while. We wanted to snorkel but left our snorkel gear on the ship so we didn’t have to lug it around. We decided to catch the tender back to the ship, eat some lunch, and come back to the island. That is, until we saw how packed the tenders were coming in. We were not in the mood for that. So, we did what any rational girl in that situation would do.

After lounging at the pool for an hour or two, we went back to our rooms to take a shower and get ready for our last dinner. *sniff, sniff*

Well, first there was more soft serve.

Then there was dinner.

And drinks.

When we woke up the next morning, we were back home in Florida.

*********

For those of you who asked about my dress in the last post, I got that at Ross for $16.99. I can’t be paying out mad money for clothes when I have cruises to go on and alcohol to drink. Priorities, people. And to think I wasn’t even going to wear that dress until K made me. So, apparently I should listen to her more often.

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