I’m an introverted extrovert. And although I’m a terrible singer, I love to chant my favorite songs – everything from T. Swift to hip hop – when I’m in the car! I love tiramisu and coffee with too much milk. Scarves are one of my must-have accessories! I’m addicted to design of all kinds – interior, landscape, graphic, food, fashion, all of it.
Buenos dias, friends! Snow has covered the ground and trees outside…and the good news? The sun is shining! Who doesn’t love blue skies in the midst of winter? Speaking of the midst of winter, my wonderful hubby swept me away with him to Cancun, Mexico for a few days in the sun to celebrate Valentine’s Day and my birthday! While it was a business trip for him with a few meetings for a day and a half, we were fortunate enough to extend our stay for a few days. We enjoyed sailing on a Hobie Cat, snorkeling, relaxing poolside, trying new foods, waking up to view the sunrise, and networking and hanging out with friends and colleagues. On my birthday we went on an excursion called a Jungle Tour, where Reggie got to drive us in our own little two-seater yellow speed boat (along with 4 other pairs) through mangroves and out into the Gulf of Mexico to snorkel at a coral reef. Thankfully we had taken some time to practice snorkeling the day before! Having only snorkeled before on our honeymoon, I tend to get pretty anxious and lose control of my breathing, while looking out for sea creatures! We had a fun time seeing all kinds of little colorful fish and various coral and plant life. And we are pretty certain that we saw a baby barracuda from a distance! Our resort was a beautifully landscaped, all-inclusive, adult-only beachfront property with delicious food, several pools, friendly staff, and a variety of fun activities. I enjoyed yoga and Dance Fit/Zumba on the beach. I even got roped into a cornhole tournament on the beach with people from Wisconsin and California! While I didn’t win that tournament, I did savor the ocean breeze and sunshine while getting exercise! There were daily and nightly themed parties and live entertainment and ways to enjoy the outdoors.
We have many people to thank for such a wonderful getaway! To Bosch for surprising us with an upgraded room, thank you so much!!! To the friendly staff members who ensured we were having a great time: Axel (our sailing guide who also has two little boys – a 3 year old and a newborn!), Gennaro from Naples (who helped us book our Jungle Tour!), Alan (who made delicious margaritas!), Daniel and Gio (who made zumba on the beach a blast!), and Esther (who gave me birthday hugs and provided excellent service and smiles each day!). We also have to thank my parents for taking great care of our boys! We love you so much!!! And I must thank my dear hubby, Reggie! Because of his hard work and drive and passion for life and business, he has built a thriving business that includes incredible opportunities such as traveling, meeting great people, and getting out of our comfort zone by trying new things, like octopus ceviche, escargot, and facing and working through fears. I love you, Reggie, thank you for such a fantastic birthday!!!
Here are a few photos of the resort! I’ll share some of our iPhone photos on Facebook soon!
Until next time….Viva Mexcio!
Thank you for taking a moment to check out my blog! Wishing you a great day!
We woke up at 5am and headed to breakfast on one of the lower levels of the ship. I was a bit seasick that day, and not being able to see outside and feeling the slow motion and engine rumblings at this point proved unfortunate for me! Did we come prepared with seasickness prevention patches? Yes, we did. Did I have one on? No. Did I learn my lesson? Of course! Well, sort of…I will definitely use them the next time we cruise! Once I got some fresh air and could get my bearings, I felt much better. I did not want to miss anything, especially our first day in Italy! We met up with our new friends Donna and Shane without any expectations of what the day would bring! We decided to share a taxi. And that was one of the best decisions we could have made! Carlo was amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed his company and local expertise. We zoomed through the streets of Naples, his hometown, to the beautiful, colorful, charming town of Sorrento! The four of us agreed that we would love to come back to this place and spend more time exploring and taking it all in. We had an hour to explore on foot before Carlo picked us up for the next leg of our trip: the ruins of Pompei! On our way, Carlo stopped so we could take photos along the coast, overlooking the Bay of Naples, views to Capri, and some delicious fresh squeezed orange and lemon granitas! (See my previous post for the coastal images!) He also purchased some delicious fruit candies to enjoy!
Our next stop was Pompei, where we spent 2 hours walking around the ancient ruins. Again, you could spend so much time here! It was so amazing to see what has been preserved by the volcanic ash and how they are working to preserve all of the ancient structures today!
We hopped back in Carlo’s taxi and headed back to Naples to enjoy his favorite pizza and gelato. And oh my goodness, it was the best pizza and gelato (in hand-rolled cones) ever! He carefully gave us directions and made sure we knew the way back to the ship. We really should have taken a photo with him, because our time with him made our whole day of adventure so much more fun and personal. He hugged and kissed us each goodbye, while again making sure we knew how to get back to our ship! Carlo, mille grazie! Thank you so much for sharing your day with us, it was absolutely wonderful!!! He gave us his business card, and I plan to send him photos from our trip!
As we enjoyed our late lunch of the best pizza ever, we strolled up and down the pedestrian streets taking in as much we could. We were invited to take photos sitting on a 30 year old motorbike by friendly locals. And we took photos of each other in a colorful alley that captured a slice of Naples, Italy. We saw the main square downtown, and Donna helped me chase some pigeons for photos, and we browsed a huge castle with intricately carved details. As Donna said, it was such a lovely day! It’s safe to say we enjoyed our time and already knew it was such a special place to visit!
We made it back to the ship on time and were greeted by Norwegian Cruise Line’s staff and music. They really make you feel welcome each time you set foot on the plank! That evening we enjoyed some cocktails and got rested up for our next day in Rome!
I am so excited to relive this amazing adventure that Reggie and I were so blessed to embark upon this past spring! We knew about a year in advance that this trip of a lifetime was coming up, however, I don’t think it truly hit us until we saw it. Before I get to the incredible vessel that is the Norwegian Epic, I’ll first go back to the beginning. We flew from Indianapolis to Philadelphia, and then boarded the plane for our trans-Atlantic flight to Barcelona, Spain. Reggie has traveled to Spain when he was a young kid. I myself had never been there, so we were both looking forward to get a glimpse of this city. When we arrived it was very early in the morning, and it was rainy. And since we couldn’t yet board the cruise ship, we opted to stay on our airport shuttle for a driving tour of Barcelona. We got to see some of most popular points, like the amazing church that is under construction, Sagrada Familia. We drove through market and shopping districts, admiring the architecture and culture that is embedded in every square inch of Barcelona. In my sleepy haze, I took some photos and videos on my iPhone…which I need to go through! Before we knew it, we were back at the port of Barcelona to begin the embarkation process. I’ve seen cruise ships while traveling in Key West, however, I’ve never set foot on one, and merely driving up and seeing it and all of the process it takes to embark, it was really something! Once we boarded the ship, we found our room. We learned our luggage would be delivered later that evening, and, fortunately, everything arrived as promised. Our room featured a balcony, a few closets, plenty of drawer and cubby space, life jackets, and a complimentary bottle of champagne! It was time to go check out the ship, and we met a wonderful bartender by the pool who made THE best margaritas and mojitos! We enjoyed hearing about his life and how he came to work for Norwegian. By then our day of traveling had caught up with us, so we took a little afternoon nap, before attending a ship-wide, mandatory safety drill. They are serious about safety! There’s never a lack of anything to do aboard a cruise, there is always something going on somewhere! If you don’t want to get too social, you can always grab a snack, hang out by the pool, walk around, whatever your heart desires! Pro: They have self-serve ice cream machines! Con: They have self-serve ice cream machines! Ha ha! (There’s also a fitness center, a running track along one side of the ship, a rock climbing wall (which we both successfully completed!), and many, many staircases to test your endurance if you don’t want to take the elevators! Some days we’d try to beat our previous day’s stair climbing, thanks to Reggie’s cool techy watch!
By early evening, the ship’s horn sounded to signal that we were setting sail for the night. Everyone was invited to a Welcome Aboard Party, and to enjoy the views as we left the port of Barcelona. We had a Day at Sea (Day 2), and we met a wonderful couple (hi Shane and Donna!) and we decided to explore Naples with them the next day. Since we had a day to hang out on the ship, we climbed the rock wall, enjoyed time in the hot tub, and saw a show that evening called “Burn the Floor.” Reggie and I both like watching “So You Think You Can Dance”…and this show was crazy good! The dancers were all so very talented, and they performed a variety of dance styles. It was, in a word, spectacular! When we returned to our room that night, our cabin steward had left a towels folded into an elephant on our bed! (Note to self: search the art of towel folding on YouTube.)
In the morning, we woke up to the view of Mount Vesuvius. It was beautiful! A fantastic way to start Day 3, which was one of our favorite days! I’ll let the story of Day 3 unfold in a forthcoming post, so for now, here’s a sneak peek at the beautiful coast of Naples, Italy on our way to the charming town of Sorrento. Ok, first I have to mention that we decided to hire our own taxi driver. And we couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to see this part of Italy! Carlo was awesome! He was a stylish older man who came to feel almost fatherly to the 4 of us as the day went on. And the photos below are where he had us stop to take pictures and to try delicious, freshly pressed orange and lemon drinks! Stay tuned for more soon!!! Ciao!
It’s amazing that my husband’s business and mine has allowed us to travel a bit! In the fall of 2014, we flew south for a whirlwind mid-week trip. New Orleans, NOLA, The Crescent City, The Big Easy. Reggie had a 2-day conference to attend, which gave me time to explore this historic city. Of course I took my camera with me! Our hotel concierge shared some places he thought I should go, and I am so glad that I took his advice! Although most of my time was spent wandering the French Quarter, where we were staying, I did venture farther into the city for more sight-seeing. I couldn’t get enough of the color, the architecture, the trees and flowers, all of it! After two days, I still felt like I had so much more to see! Walking and riding the trolley were my go-to modes of transportation. It was easy to hop on and off wherever I wanted to go. I did learn that at the end of a trolley stop it was ideal to know when to be back to catch it before the last departure time! 😉
We met some great people at Reggie’s conference, and met up with them for a fun evening at a piano bar, authentic jazz at a swanky bar (we bought a cd!), and meandering up and down the popular streets for which the Crescent City is so well known! If you like to people-watch, this is definitely a great place to do so! We’d love to go back when Reggie doesn’t have meetings to attend, there is so much to see and do! I already have a list of places to check out the next time we are there! And the world famous beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde did not disappoint!
New Orleans, thank you for a wonderful time, we can’t wait to come back!
My husband and I recently returned from a short trip to Winston Salem, NC for a vintage BMW event. Click here to see last year’s event! What a beautiful area! And what a cool venue to display over 275 vintage cars! We spent most of our time in historic Old Salem, and I have to say I was quite smitten with the charm, the color, and the texture of the area. I would definitely go back! Here are just a few things that caught my eye. Next time we’re back, I’m going to get some of the famous sugar cake from Winkler Bakery. Their almond pound cake was delicious!