Travel

Cruisin’

carnival

A while ago, my husband and I went on our second Carnival cruise. We set sail to three ports, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Honduras), and Cozumel. It was a great experience. Here’s a little recap!

Carnival is definitely a party boat. We haven’t sailed another cruise line yet, but from what we hear, Carnival is the one to choose if you want to have a good time. They have lots of activities, a casino, shows, and of course lots of food.

Just a tip, if you can splurge, get a balcony room.  The cruise ship is close quarters. It’s really great to have a balcony that you can go out on and enjoy the sunsets and the sound of the ocean. We have been lucky enough to see some flying fish out there as well.

 

Our first stop was Belize. In Belize, we opted to do the Butts Up cave tubing and zip lining. It was the first time zip lining for both of us. It was such a freeing and fun experience. We were fortunate enough to zip line through the jungle across a beautiful river. The views were amazing. It is definitely something that I want to do again.

 

We were also able to do cave tubing with the same company. They take you on a tour through a cave on a freezing cold river. The water is really shallow. The guides were actually able to pull us along the river outside of tubes. It was really nice and definitely something you should do if you go to Belize. Another great thing about this company is that they provide you lunch. We had authentic Belize tamales and they were delicious. I would definitely recommend booking an excursion with Butts Up Cave Tubing if you go on a cruise to Belize.

Our next stop was in Roatan, Honduras aka Mahogany Bay. We didn’t really have anything planned ahead of time for Honduras, so we decided to do one of the more affordable excursions through Carnival. We opted to do the flying chair and snorkeling. When we got there we found out that this excursion was not led by anyone. You basically just use the chair lift to get back and forth to the beach and you can grab equipment to snorkel at your leisure. Since we had hours to spare, we decided to take a tour of the island first.

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They have lots of cab and tour services when you get to the port. I can’t remember the name of the service we used but it was pretty good, mostly because of the driver. He took us to most of the tourist markets and areas on the island. Our favorite place we went was the West End. They have lots of restaurants and shops in the area and the beach was beautiful. It looked like something out of a movie. We definitely plan to go back.

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West End

Old faithful Cozumel was our last stop. Whenever we go to Cozumel we always go to Mr. Sanchos. It is a beach club resort where you can pay around $50 for all you can eat and drink. It is definitely worth the fifty bucks. In addition to the beach, they also have two pools on the property as well as a variety of other activities you can do. They have everything from massages, to spa treatments, water sports, and horse back riding. If you are looking to relax , eat, drink, and enjoy the beach, Mr. Sanchos is the way to go in Cozumel.

 

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For the sea days we were able to participate in a lot of the activities on the boat. I recommend attending the art auctions for free champagne and raffle prizes.  The comedy shows are great as well.  I also utilized the hot tub a lot on sea days. The pools were crowded most days.

What made this cruise so special was our cruise director Rev. Dr. E! He was so much fun. He even has his own good morning song. It’s really funny and catchy and I found myself singing it for days even when I was off the ship. If you go on a cruise, I hope you are lucky enough to get him as a cruise director. He made this cruise an awesome experience.

 

We are definitely looking forward to our next cruise. It has really helped us decide where we would like to go for resort vacations. It gives you a good preview of  places where you would like to spend a little more time. If you have any questions or comments about cruisin’, please share below! If you are looking to book your first cruise try Carnival. https://www.carnival.com/

 

 

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Faith

5 Tips: How to have a Good Day

We all have bad days. Here are a few things I like to do to make my day go a little better.

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1.  Pray- Being a Christian, prayer is very important to me. Praying can immediately put you in a peaceful mood. Communicating with God puts you in a different mindset. It takes living this life to a whole new level. A spiritual level. If you have never prayed before, it’s simple. All you have to do is talk to God like you are talking to anyone else. I like to say “God, I’m having a rough day. Everything seems to be going wrong. Can you help me to have a positive attitude about the rest of the day. Help me to show the love of Jesus no matter what the circumstance. In Jesus name, Amen.” See simple.

2.  Meditate-  Meditation is really simple and easy. All you have to do is close your eyes, breath deeply, and think of something positive. Another way I like to meditate is to read a scripture and read it over and over until I feel it in my Spirit. My go-to scripture it Jeremiah 29.11. It reminds me that no matter what I’m going through , God has great plans for me. “Plans to prosper me and give me a hope and a future!” I also like to write the scripture down to help with retention and reflect on what it means to me.

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3. Count your blessings! – I guarantee if you count your blessings, you can instantly brighten your day. Reflecting on everything that is going right in your life instead of things that are going wrong, makes you realize how truly blessed you are. Of course, you are having a bad day, and it’s annoying, but at the end of the day you have a good life. It also helps to write your blessings down. Seeing all of your blessings on paper makes you feel good. Which brings me to #4!

4. Journal – Journaling is so peaceful. It allows you to be alone with your thoughts in a healthy way. You can write down all the things you are thinking and reflect on them. It’s also really cool to write down how you feel at the time and then go back and read it a few weeks later. It allows you to see how far you have come. It also helps you to realize that trouble doesn’t last always.

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My personal Journal.

5. Talk to Someone- It always helps to have someone to talk to. You don’t want to walk around with bottled emotions. You’ll explode! My go-to person is my mom. (I’m a momma’s baby, btw.) I love talking to my mom because she is so positive. She’s always reminding me “this too shall pass!” Whenever I am having a bad day she helps to uplift my spirits. You should have at least one person in your life that you can talk with to give positive reinforcement. Someone to let you know, you will get through it and it will ALWAYS get better.

So those are my 5 tips on how you can have a good/better day! You can also check out my YouTube video on this topic as well 5 Tips: How to have a Good Day. If you have any suggestions or tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments. You never know who you may help with your suggestions.

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Travel

Jammin In Jamaica!

Jamaica! Jamaica! I have yet to experience a more beautiful island than Jamaica. The weather is warm, the water is blue, the people are the best, and the food is good. We had the pleasure of going to Jamaica on a family trip and it was AWESOME!

The first night we got there we just hung out around the resort. We stayed at the Rui Negril. It was a beautiful place. As soon as we arrived they greeted us with a rum punch. Delicious! Unfortunately, it was dark when we arrived, so we couldn’t do much but enjoy the amazing steel drum band and dancing troupe that night. They were so talented.

For day 2, we decided to go parasailing! It was an adventure of a lifetime. If you have never been parasailing, DO IT! It was such an awesome and peaceful experience. Definitely an adrenaline rush. You could look up into the big beautiful sky or look down into the clear blue ocean. It’s something I would definitely do again. This was one of the highlights of our trip.

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On Day 3, we went on an excursion with the family. The excursion included 3 locations: YS Falls, the Black River Safari and a tour of the Appleton Rum Estate. The YS Falls were really beautiful but the water was very cold. They have various stages of the falls where you can get into the water to take pictures. They also have a place where you can take a swing dive into the falls. Unfortunately, I was not brave enough to do it, but my husband did.

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YS Falls

The Black River Safari was pretty cool as well. We got to ride down the river on a boat with a tour guide. Our guide was awesome and was very knowledgeable about the history of the river. Another cool thing about this river is that it is filled with crocodiles. They would occasionally come out of the water during the tour or you could catch them perched on a limb somewhere you could snap a picture.

One of the highlights of the excursion for me was the tour of the Appleton Rum Estate. They take you on a tour of the whole facility and teach you how the rum is made. As soon as you arrive you are greeted with rum punch and a piece of delicious sugar cane.  At the end of the tour, before you leave, you get to sample 10 different types of rum. All of them range from mild to smooth to very strong. Needless to say, I was worn out and a little tipsy after this tour. I slept the whole time on the hour bus ride back to the resort.

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Appleton Estate

The next day, we decided to do another excursion, but this one was a lot more laid back. We took a catamaran party boat into the middle of the ocean and went snorkeling. It was really nice, but the water was unfortunately very choppy. Not the best conditions for a beginning swimmer like myself. I didn’t get to spend much time in the water, but it was still a nice experience.

 

After snorkeling, they took us to Rick’s Cafe. Which is famous for cliff diving. They have a cool little bar and shop there as well. The food is pretty good. I was again not so brave and did not partake in the cliff diving, but my husband and cousins did. It was a pretty cool experience to witness and capture. Maybe next time I will work up the courage to do it, but probably not. 😉

When we left Rick’s Cafe, they took us over to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Of course we couldn’t go there and not get a margarita. The food looked awesome there as well. If you ever go, be sure to try their enormous portion of nachos. I guarantee you will not leave hungry.

After another great day of adventure, we went back to the hotel, showered, and had dinner. Another tip, if you want to take advantage of the specialty restaurants at the resort, you have to reserve in advance for you and your party. Even if you don’t get to try the specialty restaurants, the main buffet is just as good. They have a huge variety of food and of course some local Jamaican cuisine for you to try as well.

Overall, I had an amazing time in Jamaica. I definitely cannot wait to go back. Next, time I think we may try a different city, like Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. Which do you suggest? Be sure to comment and let me know. Until next time, happy travels! 

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Travel

I know what it means to miss New Orleans…

fb_img_1476214079124.jpgNew Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit in the United States. I’ve been a few times and each time I go, I can’t wait to get back. This city is filled with so much culture, food, music, and good times. If you’re looking for a party, no matter what time of year, New Orleans is the place.

There are so many fun places to go, so many great places to see, and so many interesting people to meet. This is a combination of my past experiences in New Orleans and just a few places that I feel are a must, when you go visit.

The first place you should definitely go see is the St. Louis Cathedral. Now this is an active church, I believe they even still hold mass there. It’s a really beautiful place when you go inside. Filled with beautiful paintings, murals, and stained glass. It’s also one of the most well-known places in NOLA, so it’s a great place for a photo op.

fb_img_1476214070389.jpgRight in front of the St. Louis Cathedral is Jackson Square named for Andrew Jackson. That’s another thing I love about New Orleans. It is filled with so much great history and historical places. So if you’re a history buff, NOLA has plenty of interesting history for you to learn. Take one of the walking tours to learn more.

The next place I feel you should absolutely check out is Mardi Gras World. Here you will learn all of the fun facts about the infamous Mardi Gras celebration. You also get a chance to see the intricate floats they’ve used in the actual parades. My favorite part is the slice of King Cake they give you during the tour.

There is no way you can go to New Orleans without going to Bourbon Street. Bourbon is where the party is. I’ve heard that it’s mostly for tourist. Either way, you should check it out. There are tons of bars and clubs lining the street, take your pick. Catch a couple of beads from people on the balconies above. Don’t forget to grab a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle, but pace yourself because these suckers will sneak up on you. fb_img_1476214064186.jpg

I’ve heard that Frenchmen Street is less “touristy,” if that’s a word. This is where the locals hang out. Frenchmen is filled with cool Jazz bars and restaurants. They even have a little market tucked away where you can buy anything from candles to wooden bow ties. If you’re looking for some good Jazz, go to Frenchmen Street. Last time we visited, we were lucky to see trumpeter Kermit Ruffins play at the Blue Nile. Needless to say it was a good time. If you don’t know who he is, definitely look him up an try to catch one of his shows in New Orleans.

20150320_184407You have to go to the historic Cafe Du Monde. There are no words to describe how delicious their beignets and cafe au lait are. We have to go at least once a day while we’re there.  You have to! It’s required.

Lastly, if you’re anywhere in Louisiana, go check out the plantation tours. These are really eyeopening and must see tours. No matter what your ethnic background I encourage everyone to go. We got to visit the Whitney Plantation and it was definitely a great experience. For us, it was emotional and afterwards we were filled with gratitude that we got a chance to view history up close and personal. Below are just a few pics.

So overall NOLA is a great city. It just feels like home to me. You definitely need to go if you have never been. Go #followyourNOLA and check out this website for more ideas on places to see while you’re there. http://www.neworleansonline.com/

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Travel

Hot in Hot Springs!

For our annual girls trip me and a couple of my friends ventured to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  I had no clue that it was the hometown of President Bill Clinton.  A fun fact I learned while out there.

Hot Springs to me is a small town with a lot of personality.  For some reason I just felt right at home there. There were a few confederate flags flying around, but for the most part everyone was really nice and friendly. I mean, it is still in the south and I’m from Texas so I’m kinda used to it.

The first thing we did when we got there was go to a bathhouse.  Hot Springs is known for their historical bathhouses.  We went to Quapaw Bath & Spa, built in 1922, of course it’s been renovated since then. It looks just like a modern-day spa on the inside but with special thermal waters that Hot Springs is famous for. wpid-20150807_120439.jpgWe got a package that included a mineral bath, a facial, full body massage and a foot scrub. It was all really nice and relaxing.  Just what we all needed. I can’t wait to go back.

After the spa we did a little exploring down the historic Bathhouse Row.  There are of course bathhouses, shops, tourists attractions and wineries up and down the street. I believe the entrance to the Hot Springs National Park is on this street too, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to go.

After walking around and shopping we went to check in to our accommodations for the weekend. A yurt! A yurt is like a cool teepee.  We booked a yurt at this place called Catherine’s Landing.  They also have an RV park as well as cottages you can rent.  We decided to do something different and try the yurt.  I really enjoyed it! It had a fridge, ac and hardwood floors. It was a little small but we made it work. I wouldn’t mind in staying in one again. wpid-fb_img_1440553406133.jpg

The cool thing about Catherine’s Landing is they have zip lining, canoeing, and scooters. So the next day we had plan to try some of these. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do any of these things and it’s not because we didn’t try.  We were too late with making reservations to zip line, the canoe was plastic and the seats were broken, and none of our scooters would start.  So our day of adventure was an epic FAIL! Which we thought was pretty funny.

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Since that was a bust, we decided to go back into town on Bathhouse Row and do some shopping. We went to a few wineries, a cool coffee shop called Kollective, and my favorite Fat Bottomed Girl’s Cupcake Shoppe!  There cupcakes are really good and they were on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars!”wpid-20150808_151102.jpg

We also took a cool ride on a duck tour.  No, not to see ducks, that’s what the vehicle we were on was called.  It was kinda like a bus made of metal, but it turns into a boat.  We went on a humorous tour of downtown Hot Springs and Lake Hamilton. Apparently these vehicles were used by the military during World War II. We definitely had a good time on the tour and bought a few duck beaks as souvenirs. wpid-20150808_124139.jpg

Overall, we had a really good time in Hot Springs.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, fun, and relaxing getaway.

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Travel

Home of the King!

Recently my husband and I went to Memphis for a family reunion.  It’s a pretty soulful town.  It’s a great place to go hear live music, eat good food and meet some interesting people. We started at the legendary Beale St. It was really fun!  Kind of reminds me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Sixth Street in Austin, if you have been to either of those places.

Beale St. 2Beale St. has lots of bars and great places to eat. They have everything from famous Memphis BBQ, Cajun, burgers, pizza and much more. I only wish we could have hung out there longer. I don’t feel like we got the full experience of Beale St.  We will definitely be going back.

People who know me know that I am an Elvis Presley fan. Every year during the time for his birthday or the memorial of his passing, I obsess over all things Elvis.  I watch his movies and TV specials all day.  I listen to the Elvis Sirius XM station constantly.  It gets pretty intense. So I could not go to Memphis without visiting the Home of the King…Graceland! Going to Graceland definitely rekindled my Elvis obsession. I was literally like a kid in a candy store. I really enjoyed myself!

wpid-20150802_171709.jpgThe only complaint I have about Graceland is that it wasn’t bigger.  It was also in a weird part of town.  I’m sure when Elvis lived there it was a totally different neighborhood, but things have changed. I can’t complain though because I got to walk in the footsteps of Elvis Presley. When you pull into the parking lot and approach the pathway that leads to your tour, there is a great photo opp near the sign that says Graceland “The Home of Elvis Presley.”

You check in at the central hub of Graceland, where the ticket booth and gift shops are (don’t know what it’s called) :/ You buy your tickets if you don’t already have them and you load a bus. What’s really cool and unique about this tour is that everyone gets an iPad and headphones. You get to see a lot of cool multimedia stuff and hear the voice of John Stamos! (Uncle Jesse!)

20150802_152136You load the bus and you ride over to the actual Graceland Mansion. The property is really beautiful and has been very well maintained of course. As soon as you enter the Mansion you hear John Stamos’ voice telling you all about the front living room and all of the great things that happened there and a little info about the artifacts in the room like photos and furniture that were special to Elvis. As you move from room to room you can use the iPad to learn more!wpid-20150802_142231.jpg

All of the areas in the house were my favorite but the most memorable for me were the trophy room (which use to be the racquetball room) the office and of course the meditation garden where Elvis is buried. It’s such a beautiful serene place.

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Depending on what package you get you also get to see other exhibits like the archive room with tons of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts, his planes and cars, and a dedication to his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. You can see more pictures from our trip on my Facebook page. Until next time, Thank you, Thank you very much!

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Faith

Loss

 

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Photo by Héctor Martínez on Unsplash

Unfortunately, I have already been to two funerals this year. I also just found out that a childhood friend of mine has recently passed away.  Just 31 years young. It really makes me put this life into perspective. We have all experienced loss at some point in our lives. Whenever it hits close to home for me, I constantly try to remind myself , “We are confident, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8.  In other words, if we are not here in our earthly body, we are present with the lord.  It’s really hard to cling to this when you are experiencing a loss, but it does bring some peace, at least for me.

Loss hit very close to home for me last year when I loss my cousin last spring, just before my birthday and then again last fall when I experienced a miscarriage. Both of these experiences were very hard and challenging to get through.

My cousin was such a bright light on this earth. I remember her always taking me with her and her sister when I was younger. They would do my hair, let me play in their clothes, and take me around town with them so I wasn’t bored at home. She led a praise dance team and was just such a great friend and loved one to everyone she met. I will admit as I got older we lost touch and were not as close as we used to be. Being able to celebrate her life for the time that I had her was a blessing. Losing her has taught me to try to cherish my family and friends as much as I can. It has also taught me to try to live a life that’s pleasing to God. To love others as you love yourself and always being kind in every situation. I have to admit this is something I’m still working on.

I was only pregnant for 10 short weeks. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was 6 weeks along. Having the doctor tell me that my baby did not have a heartbeat and that my pregnancy was not going to progress was heartbreaking. Although, we were not planning to have a baby, I had grown to love my unborn child such a short amount of time. I am confident that God has better plans for us! We will have a happy and healthy baby when the time is right. Lots of prayer and talking to close family members really helped me get through that time. Of course I had those normal feelings of fear and doubt. Fear that I had done something wrong and doubt that I would never be able to successfully carry a child in the future.  However, allowing myself to mourn, praying, and understanding God’s timing  really helped me through. It also helped to know I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only woman in the world that had experienced this. It really brought some comfort.

Getting closer to God and learning scripture helps us to cope with loss. You just have to trust and believe that the words you are reading are true. Below are a few scriptures that I have found comforting.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.”  Psalm 34:17-20

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

If you have any tips or scriptures that have helped you with loss. Please feel free to share them below. ♥

 

 

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Faith

Heal & Restore

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Over the past few years we have been dealing with an illness within our family.  There have been good days and bad days. Experiencing one of the bad days first hand and the anxiety it caused to all involved, I immediately began to pray. God gave me the words Heal & Restore. I prayed, “Lord please heal right now in the names of Jesus, please restore strength and health.” God immediately began to work. Joy literally came in the morning. The person with the illness was full of energy the next day and was able to do things they had not been able to do in a while and felt better overall. This person is still dealing with the illness but I believe that if we continue to pray without ceasing, God will continue to work.

Heal & Restore can also apply to other areas in our life as well. Not just illness. I personally pray to God to heal and restore my marriage. I will be honest and say I don’t but should do it daily. We are not perfect and there is always room for improvement. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. I believe God can heal us where we are stubborn and stuck in our ways and restore love, joy, peace and patience between us.

If you are having issues with depression or strongholds, pray to God to heal and restore your mind. Many times we feel depressed, because our minds are filled with so much negativity. We are constantly downloading negative images, speech, and music all day. We unknowingly set ourselves up for failure with the things we consume each day.  Pray to god to heal your mind of negativity and restore your thoughts with positive things. Things to consider are reading the word and renewing your mind daily, listening to inspirational music, speaking positive words and less profanity.

I believe these words were given by God to share and help someone that may be in need of these two simple but very powerful words. If you are struggling with an area in your life that needs healing and restoration, I encourage you to pray and ask God for it by name.

 

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