Cozumel

Our last stop on the cruise was Cozumel. We sat by the beach, was served lunch, and relaxed. It was a nice end to our cruise. The water wasn’t as clear as we had expected, but we were still able to go in and swim.

This is the view of the ship docking. The lamps were still on because it was still pretty early in the morning. I wanted to see the sunrise and watch the docking, so while husband was still sleeping, I got up and made my way to the top floor. I realized I could only either watch the sunrise or the docking because the sunrise was on one side and the docking was on the other. I decided to watch the docking.

Once we got off the ship, we took a short bus ride to the beach resort and found a nice spot right by the water. In the photo, husband and I were in the water taking a photo of where we sat. I believe the third or fourth umbrella in the front there (right to left) was ours.

Here’s the view directly in front of where we sat. That’s an inflatable water slide. I believe you have to get on a jet ski to get over to it. We didn’t bother with that. It was nice relaxing by the water and that’s all we really wanted.

We had a great time on this cruise. The cruise members were super friendly and the food was pretty good. The best part, of course, was just getting away from the every day and relaxing.

One thing I always enjoy about cruising is how beautiful the cruise ships are. When we arrived at the Cozumel port, two Carnival ships also arrived. Husband and I were having breakfast when we saw the two ships.

We ate quickly and went to the top floor because I knew they were going to have to “spin” and I wanted to capture it. The first boat pulled in bow first but the second one spun around.

This was probably the most exciting part of our vacation for me…lol.

We’d love to go on another cruise next year. We don’t have anything set in stone yet but we’d really love to go again.

Costa Maya

Our second day on the cruise, we arrived in Costa Maya. We took the tour to see the Mayan Ruins. It was a one hour bus ride to the location and then about an hour walking around the ruins and listening to our tour guide.

We had a pretty large group of people on our tour but there were other tour groups there as well. The people in the photo were all from our group. Behind me was another tour group waiting for their turn.
Our tour guide said areas like this with overgrown trees on top of rocks were Mayan pyramids that have not been excavated but will be.

It was extremely humid on the tour. We were told that it was rain season and that it had just rained and that it was going to rain again. The roads were dry so it was hard to tell but there were moments when rain misted.

I learned so much about the Mayan people on this tour. Our tour guide was Mayan and it was interesting when he spoke Mayan to us. It sounded like he was speaking Chinese. He said the Mayans migrated from China and that’s why their language was very similar.

Costa Maya was enjoyable, aside from the humidity.

Port of Galveston

The cruise we took in late July was out of Port of Galveston in Galveston, TX. We stayed at the Harbor House Hotel which was walking distance to the cruise check-in building. We were at the hotel for one night and had time to eat at two restaurants, watch an oil tanker come through the waterway, and watch the sunset with the cutest tugboat in the view.

View from our hotel room. We ate lunch at the restaurant in the building behind the bus.

Our room in the hotel.

Front of the hotel.
Walking along the port.
The back of the hotel.
The view during dinner at a restaurant that was walking distance from the hotel.

Watched an oil tanker as it came through and docked.

Sunset. This little tug boat looked much bigger in person.

Embarking the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.

At our muster station. We were required to simply go to our station before the ship left the dock. Someone was there to scan our card and then we were done. We watched the rest of the drill information on our phones. It was very simple and quick compared to pre-COVID (on a different cruise line).

The main pool area.

Main pool area with the movie screen in view. During cruising out at sea, they played “Dune” and “King Richard.”

Top deck.

Our cabin.

Cabin bathroom.

Leaving port.

Going toward Costa Maya, Mexico. We were out at sea for one full day before arrival. You can see all the oil tankers waiting to come into port. We counted over 20 tankers. Most of them were not in view.

More photos to come…

Photos and Unboxing of the Caramel B6 Folio Cascade

Last time I posted, my youngest daughter hadn’t started school yet. Now, she’s already two and half months in and coming upon her first PSATNMSQT test. Last year she took the PSAT, which was required by the school for the all the students to take. This year she qualified for the PSATNMSQT. Can you believe next year she’ll be taking the SATNMSQT?

I know I promised cruise photos and they’re ready to go and should be up soon. I can’t wait share photos and talk about my experience with this vacation and cruise line.

Chic Sparrow came out with this limited edition leather called Caramel. It’s a nubuk leather. Husband said it’s the same leather they use on Birkenstocks so I decided to get my hand on one. Here is the unboxing:

In the last 35 seconds of the video there is a clip of the drive through the mountains on the Million Dollar Highway. I provide a short description in the comments of the video about the city we visited and this highway, so if you’d like to learn a little bit about history, click on “Watch on Youtube,” and “Show More.”

Here are photos of the Caramel Folio:

This is a very pretty leather. After a few days holding it I’m not too sure I’m digging the suede feel. I like it, but I just don’t know if I love it. I wonder if this is the same leather they use for the Traveler’s Company’s Camel Traveler’s Notebook. I feel like I almost have to buy that one too just to compare.

June’s Playlist 2022: Breakup Songs

Photo taken 10 years ago this month after a hail storm.

In June, I was listening to breakup songs to get the mood I want for the current story I’m getting ready to edit for this months’ Camp Nano. In a strangely funny way, I found two iconic songs that were extremely well done but are completely opposite of each other.

The first one is “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo. This song has a naive innocence that I’m pretty sure every teenage girl or young adult who has had their heart broken could relate too. Olivia’s writing skills is something else. She’s very talented.

The second song is “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette. This is the grown up version of a heartbreak song. You can just feel the betrayal.

I love both of these songs for their differences and similarities. Other breakup favorites I listened to were:

  • “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
  • “Apologize” by One Republic
  • “What Goes Around…Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye
  • “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette
  • “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn
  • “The Scientist” by Coldplay

Do you have a favorite breakup song you listen to?

Video Swatching Miya Gouache Set and Night Skies Paintings

As you know I thing for gouache. This is my third set. I’m still debating on reviewing the first set because the plastic odor was too strong so I haven’t been able to use it for awhile because I can’t handle the smell. I may just do a really quick review. I don’t know…still thinking about it.

This is the video swatching of the Miya Gouache.

To test the gouache out, I painted four 5×5 paintings. Two are of the Northern Lights and two are of the Milky Way. They were done on Arches 300 gsm/140 lb hot pressed watercolor paper (smooth). My first try on hot pressed paper was a mess and I didn’t finish it. I almost thought about switching to cold pressed paper (rough) because I painted with gouache on cold pressed before and was comfortable with it, but I’m glad I hung in there because I actually like the way the paintings turned out on the hot pressed better. These paintings were given away as birthday cards to my siblings.

May’s Playlist 2022 and Ramblings

Last weekend, went to grab donuts and coffee and couldn’t resist taking a photo of the clouds. Aren’t they something? If you’re curious as to why the road looks rough and uneven, it’s because they are repaving it. May usually feels like a forever month because of that extra day, but it pretty much flew by this year. I guess I should accept that as I/we get older, time starts to feel as though it’s moving faster. I remember wishing for the time to pass quickly. Now, I’m always aware that I only have so much time in a day to get things done, and there’s never enough time.

I was so busy with writing and trying to get my hands at doing more crafting that I didn’t get a chance to listen to anything different other than my default playlist of Enigma and writing music. Husband and I did go see the movie, Top Gun: Maverick and we both enjoyed it. The soundtrack was nostalgic and excellent. Afterward, I told him that returning to civilian life felt a bit slow and boring, but that I enjoyed it. The speed of those jets was a serious adrenaline rush and I don’t think that kind of life would ever be for me. It’s very different for sure, but you know, maybe it’s just the age thing.

Anyway, the one song I did listen to a few times was Meet Me Halfway but Kenny Loggins. He’s also the singer of the song Danger Zone, which was played in the 1986 Top Gun movie as well as the new movie release. Meet Me Halfway was a song played in the 1987 movie called Over the Top, which I haven’t seen yet.

My daughter is on summer break now. She finished 9th grade and will be starting 10th grade come fall. She’ll be taking classes for her driver’s permit this summer. Once she passes, she’ll be able to drive with me or her dad in the car with her. Then come her 16th birthday next year and she’ll be able to test for her driver’s license. Strangely, she doesn’t want to drive.

Hope you all enjoy your summer.

Book Review: When She Woke

Title: When She Woke
Author: Hillary Jordan
Genre: Sci-fi; Dystopian
Year Published: September 18, 2012

Date finished: May 22, 2022

This story is about a future America where religion is a political power and having an abortion is a crime. Hannah Payne, the main character, falls in love with a pastor and gets pregnant. She is then chromed red for her sin. People stare at her and judge her because her red skin speaks for her crime. She refuses to tell anyone who the father is or the doctor who performed the abortion. She escapes the last institution she’s put in and stumbles upon people who were willing to free her from this strict world.

This story started out interesting. I couldn’t put the book down because I love myself a good dystopian story. It’s been a while since I’ve stumbled upon a book I couldn’t put down. The opening really grabbed me and kept me reading. However, midway through, the story slowed down and went a different direction. The ending was just meh. I may have had such high hopes that I was left disappointed. I wanted some sort of victory for Hannah. I also wanted to know what happened to the pastor, her family, and her friend. They all just seemed to disappear. There wasn’t anything said about what happened to them.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read. It had a lot of potential, but just didn’t hit the right spot for me.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood, you’ll probably like this one.

April 2022 Playlist

I was surprised to see the magnolia in the backyard bloom. A few years back only a few flowers bloomed, so I thought this bush was on its way out, but I’m so glad it’s still thriving.

I finished Camp Nano and hit over 100K words so I’m really happy that I was able to get that far. My goal was 80K. As a gift to myself, I purchased quite a few celebrity perfumes. Once I receive them all, I’ll probably share some photos.

Something was in the air in April and I got hooked on the song “Never Enough” from the movie, The Greatest Showman. Have you seen the movie? What did you think? It came out in 2017 but I only watched it a year ago and I wish I had seen it sooner. I knew how popular a lot of the songs were, but there is so much more meaning in having watched the movie. I love the original “Never Enough” version by Loren Allred, but also love Morrissette Amon’s version as well as Kelly Clarkson’s. If you get the chance, watch Morrisette’s version. It’s very beautiful. Here’s Kelly’s version. I believe they’ve played this on the radio. I remember hearing it driving the kids to dance practice when oldest daughter was still in high school. She’s now finishing up her second year of university!

Here are a few other songs I listened to:

Into Dust” by Mazzy Star

Je T’aime Till My Dying Day” by Enigma

Glass Palace” by Jens Gad

Unboxing Falcon Travelers’ Book of Faerie Traveler’s Notebook + Photos

I’m so excited to finally have this beautiful leather notebook cover in my hands! I ordered it early in February, and because this is a small business owned by Monique (aka Lady Falcon) and Martijn in the Netherlands, I expected some wait time. The company is called Falcon Travelers and they make leather traveler’s notebooks and folios. What’s unique about them is that they not only make your basic leather notebooks/folios, but they also make artistic-work notebooks.

The one I ordered is called “Book of Faerie.” I had been visiting their website for awhile and at one pointed wanted to get their “Pendragon” notebook cover, but by the time I was ready to order, the Pendragon leather was no longer available, however, something else caught my eye, and it was this very lovely engraved book-style cover.

I got it in the classic B6 size. Classic means there are no pockets. I regret not getting pockets because I’ve actually come to really like them, but I still love this one without pockets, nonetheless.