Friday, October 30, 2009

Me being selfish

Alright, this is me being selfish. As if you haven't seen it before. An amazing photographer is giving away one of her workshop workbooks which are worth a lot in both money and that other intangible stuff. And it is good stuff. And I want it. I have to post it as many places as possible to increase my chances of winning so here I am. Take a look yourself. Priceless right? Then scroll through my photos. I NNNNEEEEEDDDD it right? I know. I totally agree. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Congrats Evan and Natalie

FINALLY! After years of dating our good friend Evan popped the question to his lova, Natalie this weekend. I was completely clueless but his plan has been in the works for months. I am sure he got sick of me prodding but oh well, it's me. The two of them had planned a weekend at the beach house with both his parents and hers. I was suspicious then. Evan has always been someone to really go all out for things so I knew that when he popped the question it would be a great story. Sure enough.

My re-hashing of the story should be somewhat accurate but I can't guarantee everything. All Natalie knew was that their parents were all coming. Meanwhile Evan had secretly planned to have her sister and his sister and bro-in-law there. Evan surprised Nat by taking her over to the beach house a night early before the parents got there. The following day they went out to the beach to search for glass floats. The city plants them there each year for people to go find. Really cool. Out looking around Natalie spotted one and in my mind she squeeled and bounced up to it thinking she got lucky...that's what I would have done anyway.

She picked up the glass float and underneath it sat the ring. She said she almost fainted. Evan got on one knee and popped the question. They said that she was freaking out so much crying and screaming that she forgot to answer.

Meanwhile the ENTIRE family was walking up to them on the beach. Evan's bro-in-law had video taped the whole thing. Evan's dad was hiding in the bushes taking photos of the event. So exciting!!! They got into town last night and came over for some champagne to celebrate. Poor Natalie hasn't even digested it yet and I was already throwing my old bridal mags at her, telling her where pretty dresses were and showing her some really good photogs. I can't help it! I get so excited!

No dates/locations are set yet but we can't wait to hear!!!

Congrats you two!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Wing's

The Bryan's

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 3 | St. Thomas

St. Thomas was our anniversary, Oct 13. (Although a few times I thought it was the 10th or 17th when picking lotto numbers). By 7:30 I was antsy in my pantsy to get to the buffet so we could then get OFF THE BOAT. Finally I drug Nick out of bed. Most of our breakfasts were spent at the buffet which you could then take your plate(s) to the back of the boat and eat outside. I think it was this day that I realized my obsession with these small, chocolate filled croissants. Quasaa' as my mom calls them in her best french. The options were a little overbearing, or maybe it was just perfectly bearing?? I think this day I had biscuits and gravy, 2 chocolate quassa's, honeydew, oj, hash browns (no, not done), scrambled eggs, bacon (crispy please) and eggs Benedict. What? I had a big day ahead of me.

It was much easier to get off the ship today as we just pulled right up to the dock. You could come and go as you pleased. One of Nick's coworkers had spent some time on the island so he told us to head over to Coki Bay. We took an open air taxi with some incredibly rude people over the hills, through the barbed wire, past the chickens and next to the overgrown cemetery to the beach. Upon arrival we were scurried off the boat by Mambo. He offered us chairs for the bargain price of $5 each, well worth it. Moments later Nick and I realized we were in Gangsta's Paradise. I love Coolio. It turns out these gents are quite territorial and some people down the beach accepted chairs from his business enemy, although the way they were screaming you would have thought one had killed the others mother. I don't know if I can properly convey the volume of screaming. At any moment we expected gunfire. F this and F you and you stole my people and get the F outa here. Meanwhile both holding machetes. (They were cutting coconuts). At no point did I ever feel that we were in danger though. I just figured that tourism was their income and one slip-up with totally bosh that. It was the great battle between Mambo and Likity Spliff. You heard me. Nick went up and ordered two beers, which they failed to open and they were not screw-off caps. I told him to get back up there and have them take them off. He must have been affected by them because he was completely apprehensive. I guess that he had to walk by a bunch of unfriendly local gangstas who wouldn't look him in the eyes to the bartender who was 15 and talking on her phone.

Ok, anyway, the beach was the prettiest by far. It was what I imagined the Caribbean to be like. Powder sugar sand, turquoise water. I was in heaven!!! We snorkled around a bit. Gorgeous. We both want to go back to St. Thomas. It was my grandma and grandpa's favorite place when they went to the tropics. My grandpa said that my grandma loved the shopping there. That brings me to my next point. I guess that I forget that normal people with class have different taste in shopping than I do. I was anticipating streets full of locally made junk and t-shirts – 4 for $10 so we could score some great souvenirs. Yeah, no. It was literally streets lined with over 250 jewelry stores from Cartier to Tiffany. We stumbled into one of the shops where I bargained down a beautiful ring with a 10 karat Caribbean Topaz stone to $200. About to make the purchase I remembered that I only had $47 in my wallet and left my card on the boat. Doh! Not to self, next trip bring money. Plan to spend it. I walked out of the shop quickly with my head down and tail between my legs. The jewelry was totally awesome!!! You can definitely get the kind of pieces that you plan to keep in your family for years and for a good deal.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat at a place called Coconuts. It was down a side street, or was it an alley? Although it was kind of raining we opted to eat outside. I had something that I don't remember and Nick had a sandwich. Maybe I had a pizza? I think that was it. Must have been awesome. We each had some locally brewed beer. Our server had to have been in his early 20's and spent the morning with his bong. He couldn't stop saying dduuuuude and talking about how much he misses Taco Bell. He did tell us that he got rid of his dog (that he thought was a chihuahua but ended up being a chocolate lab, yeahhhhh) because it ate his marijuana plant. Just your standard lunch/server talk I suppose.

After lunch we strolled the streets. It was so cool. In addition to the fact that people drive on the left side of the street (yes, US Virgin Islands, they just never made the transition) it had a European feel which Nick loved and missed. Tiny little cobblestone streets with little passages and old buildings. It was really awesome. I see the draw to Europe. We just bopped around exploring the streets. Before getting back on the boat we had some drinks made with fresh squeezed juice and did a SMALL bit of overpriced souvenir shopping.

Once back on the boat I headed straight for the buffet to get a bite to hold me over for dinner. I get that from my dad. He would stop for Mexican food on the way home from work just so he could make it to dinner. Once asleep he would wake up at midnight for his third feeding. You could often hear the fridge open in the middle of the night. Anyway, back to the boat. I had made reservations for us to eat at Cagney's, the steakhouse on the boat with a $25 cover charge. We got dressed up and headed to dinner. Since it was our anniversary they gave us a free bottle of wine. One thing I loved is that although you are paying, you can still order whatever you want on the menu. I had the wedge salad, soup, asparagus au gratin, french fries with truffle salt and parmesan and le Pièce de résistance, the 10oz (not the 5oz) fillet Mignon, medium rare. Nick had a bunch of things that are of little to no importance to me because they all came from the sea. He loved it all but I think he preferred my steak. For dessert, I am sorry folks, it keeps going downhill. We EACH had a raspberry brulé and split a cheese plate with fresh strawberries and fig spread. And the cheese plate had 2 LARGE slabs of cheese on it. Slabs I tell you. I inhaled it all. If that isn't bad enough...they brought us an entire CAKE for our anniversary. It was really sweet. They came and sang to us at our table. Something about me being his sweetheart. If I wasn't so sunburned my face would have been red. I am pretty sure I also told them that.

After dinner we went to see another show on the boat. This time it was Sharkbait, a juggling/comedy act. Pretty funny. Kind of creepy and annoying but mostly funny. Oh! The best part, we went back to our room to find our first towel creature. It became our nerdy tradition to photograph it as it stood and then take pics of each of us playing with it. I think we missed Gus. haha. Nighty night.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 2 - Samana | Cayo Levantado

Day 2 we were to be heading into Samana, in the Dominican Republic. We had heard that it wasn't the best place with not a lot to do so we booked an excursion through our ship that would pick us up at our ship and take us to a small island called Cayo Levantado. It has been described as Bacardi Beach because it looks like the photos on a Bacardi bottle.

It was a rocky start that day. Due to bumpy water we ended up stuck on the boat waiting for our excursion for 2 hours after we were supposed to leave. We had to sit in the theater and just wait. It was worth it though. When we finally got there we were greeted with rum punch, parrots and a pirate. For real. Some poor smuck had to dress up but being a pirate at heart, I sure appreciated it. Yo ho ho and a pineapple filled with rum.

We walked a short way to the beach but just long enough for Nick to smoke a cigar and buy a pack for a gift. Probably overpriced but oh well! Once we got our chairs I hopped straight into the water. It was like bath water. The warmest water we would be in that whole trip. The sand was white and everything I dreamed. We even got drinks served in coconuts and pineapples. They were so yummy. I plan to make them here soon. It was just blended up pineapple, rum and coconut milk. And they had an umbrella. I was sold.

After enough time in the sun with our SPF 45 we headed to the little bar/hut in the center of the beach. Beer was the cheapest we would see the rest of our trip. $5 for a large, local beer. We each had two. I loved the spelling on the signs. Draff Beer. Miamy.

Right as we were leaving a little mist came through. Just enough to make a rainbow appear. It was pretty rad. It was that day that I started planning our next cruise.