Thursday, May 31, 2012

You Better Shop Around

After spending a good amount of time at the Alchemy bar and getting to know our mixologist on our past cruise, Chris and I were really looking forward to having a nice setup for our home bar.

Part of that set up included finding these glasses that held my favorite cocktail (raspberry infused vodka, muddled strawberries and peach puree).

When we got back to the states, I headed over to my go-to internet site Amazon and ordered 6 glasses for $38.68.  The first box came shattered, but Amazon was great about sending another box free of charge in less than 48 hours.

We were able to salvage 2 glasses from the broken box, so I was pretty happy about getting 8 for the price of 6.

As you might have guessed from the title, I was happy with my purchase until mom and I went shopping this past weekend.  I found myself walking around Ross looking for anything to jump out at me when I stumbled upon this.

Why yes, those are our glasses 4 for $5.99!  I even checked my old orders in my email to see if it was the same maker.  It was.  I could barely get any words out before mom had snapped them up and put them in her cart.  They only had one box, so we walked next door to Home Goods where she found another box (this time for 6.99).

Mom keeps calling it the deal of the weekend, all I can think is that I could have saved $24 if I had just shopped around.  You better believe I'll be checking out Ross and Home Goods before making any other home purchases!  Since our glasses are packed and in storage, we decided to break in mom's glasses with the wine smoothies that we picked up in San Antonio.   


Have you ever purchased something only to find it later at a lower price?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: Roatan Island

Roatan is a little island off the coast of Honduras, and was the only port on our last cruise that was new to both Chris and I.  Carnival has invested in building up a pier area named Mahogany Bay which includes a beach just for cruisers.

There were no real plans for this spot other than enjoying the beach and picking up some souvenirs.  We walked through the brightly colored shops before making our way to the beach.

There was some sticking of our feet in the water before retiring to our chairs where I caught up on my reading.

We only stayed for about an hour and a half before heading back to the ship.  One of the attractions on the island is the "flying chair" which is a chair lift that will take passengers from the shops to the beach.  On the way back we spotted my aunt and cousin making their way to the beach in the flying chair.

Love, love, love that candid of my parents walking back to the boat!  Going on 35 years of marriage and still have little moments like that.

Roatan is known for it's wood work, so we picked up a couple of items including a vase, wine holder and an elephant (which surprisingly Chris picked up, not me).  We also picked up some liquor which was on average 10-25% cheaper than what it is in the states, and duty free.

I'm so glad that we made it back on the ship before the clouds opened up.

We try to mix it up on cruises with fun excursions and relaxing beach days.  Isla Roatan was a perfect, relaxing beach day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

30 Before 30: A New Computer Skill

A big thank you to my husband for helping me cross another item off of my list!  This one pretty much depended on him, but I'm still thankful that he took the time to teach me.

When we exchanged anniversary gifts, I took one look at his and knew which computer skill I wanted to learn: photo shop.  I loved the way he took wedding images and formed the letters, this was going to work so well with the shadow box of items we saved from our honeymoon.

I won't do a step by step because I am no photo shop expert (I don't even have it on my computer, we did it on his), but if you do have it below are some key strokes that helped me out.

We measured out the space in the shadow box and then created the canvas in PS with the correct dimensions.  After typing out the word I wanted to use, Chris taught me all about adding the layers for each of the letters.

Chris worked through the first letter, and then left it up to me to finish out the word.  Thankfully he left me with a little cheat sheet in case I forgot what step I was on.

- Drag in the image from my pictures
- Scale the image, then hit Enter
- Right click on the picture layer and select Rasterize layer
- Select the letter layer
- Click on the wand and select the letter
- Ctrl+Shift+I
- Hide the letter layer (by clicking on the eye)
- Select the picture layer
- Delete
- Ctrl+D (to deselect)
- Right click on the picture layer
- Paste Layer Style

It took a little playing around to find images that I liked that would fit in each of the letters shapes.  Once I was happy with the images, I printed it off and added it to a the shadow box that contained our room keys, airline ticket stubs and some Mexican pesos.

Hopefully I can learn some more photo shop before his summer classes begin!

Have you learned any skills from your friends or family?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: Nassau

Nassau, Bahamas was the final stop on our 2009 cruise and we were all set to check out the famed Atlantis hotel.

As we might have guessed, things at Atlantis were not on the cheap side.  Because of this, we spent most of our time doing free things like walking around the property and checking out all of the awesome sculptures.

Professional pictures were also taken on that Atlantis throne, but thankfully we traded off with another couple to take pictures with each others cameras.

After walking around inside and out, we spent a little time in the casino before heading back.  On the way back to the ship we made a stop by Hard Rock.  Normally we like to enjoy Hard Rock meals while on vacation, but since we were so close to the ship the enticement of a free meal outweighed our normal tradition.

We didn't get to see too much of Nassau, but I can cross off seeing Atlantis on my travel list.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five For Friday

1. You listen to all of my random math lessons (you know how much I love to talk numbers).
2. You didn't mind explaining the different saws and uses for each while we were looking around.
3. You were sweet enough to offer up your wine collection (your's because I don't really like dry wines) to my aunt.
4. You waited for me to get back from my hair appointment to watch Community together (loved the video game episode!).
5. You crack me up when you mishear what I say.

At a wedding back in 2009

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Post on Married Up With Wine

Head on over to Married Up With Wine today to read up on what vacation means to me.  While you're there, check out the other guest posters while Mandy is away exploring South Africa!

Corinne & me playing in the sand during a family & friends trip to the Poconos 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: Costa Maya

Costa Maya was the third stop on our 2009 cruise and by this port we were ready to just relax on the beach.  A Mexican port close to some lesser known Mayan ruins (Chacchoben and Kohunlich), Costa Maya took a pretty bad hit from hurricane Dean in 2007.

The pier area is focused on the tourist business - with several nice shops, pools, a swim up bar area and stands for souvenirs.  Since we were the only ship docked there that day, the area was not as crowded as it could have been.

The weather wasn't really on our side as we stepped off of the boat, but thankfully the clouds and wind died down for a nice beach break that I booked.  For $35 each we secured some chairs under a palpa, chips and salsa and an open bar.

I did some research on Cruise Critic prior to the cruise and learned of some awesome hour massages on the beach for the low price of $20.  After sharing this information with the rest of my family it came as no surprised to see them head our way to cash in.

After a little more enjoyment of the view and a bite to eat, we made our way back to the ship.

It wasn't the most amazing beach I have ever seen, but it sure beat working in the office.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five For Friday

1. When our bar glasses arrived shattered in little pieces, you looked on the bright side that with the 2 that survived, we would be getting 8 for the price of 6.
2. You let me vent about the stress at work.
3. You agree to change plans when my worrying kicked in.
4. You always let me steal a fry or two from your meal.
5. You're ok with a date night involving dinner and Crate and Barrel.

Shattered glasses.  Amazon sent replacements in less than 48 hours

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh The Places We Have Been

I'm going to go ahead and start this off by saying this was the DIY project from hell!  I can't tell you how many times I wanted to just give up and call it a day.

But let's back up to the beginning, all the way back to December.  I've had this USA map pinned from A Step in the Journey for quite some time and finally decided to use my holiday gift cards to pick up the materials from Michael's.  Chris was a nice enough to pick up the frog tape on one of his stops to home depot.

I searched all over Michael's for a US map to cut up, but had no luck.  So these supplies just sat in the corner, probably collecting dust, until just recently.  With no success in the stores, I ended up ordering a map on Amazon.  Knowing that the map was on it's way I went ahead and painted the canvas background.  I tapped off a border and then mixed the blue and white until I was satisfied with the shade.

I attempted to be all artist like and use brush strokes that would emulate the oceans around the US, not so sure I achieved that.  Next up was the map.  I unrolled it and... it was too big.  I really should have paid more attention to the dimensions.

I wanted the map to be large enough to fit my canvas, hoping that the excess on the sides and top would equal out.  My best bet was to just trim off some of the states on the edges (sorry California, Oregon, Washington and Maine!), so I got to work cutting out each of the 50 states.  The first round of cutting wasn't too bad, it was the tracing of the states to scrapbook paper and cutting it again that really started to get me flustered.  There are no pictures of this process because no one really wants to see me going crazy!  I was so frustrated that the states weren't lining up that I was tempted just to throw the whole thing out.  With some encouragement from Chris that it was going to be ok, I soldiered on to using Mod Podge to attach the states to the canvas and then used another layer over the whole thing to seal it.  Side note - I've never used Mod Podge before and I was really worried that all of the white streaks wouldn't dry clear.  Thankfully it did and I'm now a big fan of this stuff!

As you can see it didn't fit within the border that I had painted, so for anyone interested in trying this I would suggest buying the map and sizing it before painting your canvas.  I'm pretty sure that's one of those "duh Lauren" type of suggestions.

I added little stars to pinpoint the different cities that we have traveled to, but noticed that it's a little hard to see them when you stand back.  Up close (depending on the scrapbook paper) you can tell, but further back, not so much.

I was a little sad in the number of stars on the map.  I could have sworn that we have been to more locations, but then I remembered that most of our destinations were on cruises in the Caribbean, Mexico for our honeymoon and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.  We need to check out more of the US!  Stepping back, I looked at it as a whole and felt like it was missing something.

The original inspiration used wooden letters to spell out "oh the places we'll go" a take on the famous Dr. Seuss book (which I received as a graduation present back in the day, anyone else get that for graduation?).  So back to Michael's to pick up a couple of bags of letters.

A couple coats of white paint and we were in business!

I would have loved for the states to come out a little bit better and the stars to stand out more (I may go back and paint the tops), but overall I'm just happy that I finished this project.  I can't wait to add more destinations in the future!

Have you ever had a project that you wanted to give up and walk away from?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: Belize

According to Wiki, Belize is the only country in Central American where English is the official language.  This country is known for it's barrier reef, which is the second longest in the world behind the Great Barrier Reef.  Due to the barrier, cruise ships dock out in the middle of the water and use tender boats to transport tourists to the land.  Belize was the second stop on both our 2009 and 2012 cruises.

In 2009 we booked an educational tour to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins which include a brief history of the country during our hour drive.

Our tour guides were very informative and shared the history behind this ancient area.

The ancient site did not catch the attention of archaeologists until 1963, and was split into structures dedicated to public ritual and residential structures with focus on single families.

After the brief history we were free to walk around on our own and climb one of the larger temple-pyramid, "The Temple of the Masonry Altars", which stands at 54 feet high.

Climbing this was a feat for Chris due to his fear of heights.  I'm so glad that he decided to climb it with my brother and me.  As soon as that shot was taken, he was ready to head back down.  We checked out some of the local stands for souvenirs before climbing back on board right as the rain started to fall.

On our cruise last month, we didn't really plan anything for this port.  We're not divers, which is probably one of the most popular excursions for this country.  With the clouds out we decided to stay on board and make use of the open adult deck, Serenity, and it's hot tubs.

Picture taken when we first boarded, there were only a few people up there while anchored in Belize on Tuesday.

We also got in a close round of mini golf, where Chris edged me out 22 to 23.

We've never missed out on getting off in a port (even ones that we have been to before), but it was really nice to actually be able to use some of the ship's features that tend to be crowded when everyone is on board.