beauty ho

Unboxing! February BoxyCharm

My February BoxyCharm box is here and full of goodies!!! IMG_6475

Here’s what I received:

-Modern Minerals Duo Fiber Mini Round Brush.  Full Size. $15  So soft!  And I can always use a new eyeshadow brush. IMG_6470

-Mullein & Sparrow Mini Facial Mask.  Deluxe. $15  LOVE the packaging so much!  And I really like that it’s a mix per use so I won’t have to worry about it drying out before I can use it all. IMG_6472

– NCLA Nail Lacquer in Heart Attack. Full Size $16  Super cute giant heart glitter.  Will definitely use next Valentine’s Day! IMG_6473

-Jing Ai Velvet Shine Lip Jewel.  Full Size $22  Gorgeous color and goes on super smooth. IMG_6474

-Mistura Beauty Solutions C-2-P Complexion Corrector.  Full Size $36  Concealer.  I haven’t used a cream concealer in years since I use Bare Minerals but I love that the ingredients include coconut oil and shea butter so I’ll be giving this a try! IMG_6471

If you would like to start receiving BoxyCharm then click here!!!


Cruising Tips and Tricks Vol. 2

I’m fresh off my 4th Disney cruise and my 13th cruise overall.  My Cruising Tips and Tricks blog post has gotten quite a few reads so I thought I’d update my tips list with a few more tricks I’ve learned.

– Drive or fly to the port the day before your cruise.  You don’t want a wreck or construction on the interstate or delayed flights to make you miss your cruise.  This gives you time to decompress and run to the store if you realized you forgot something.  Plus, if your port city is interesting you can explore it a little.

-Board the ship as soon as you can.  You’ve paid for this cruise, you might as well be on board every minute possible!  Use this time to explore the ship before the crowds and activities set in.

– The night before, if you’re cruising out of Port Canaveral, consider staying at Disney instead of a port hotel.  We stayed at Art of Animation, a Disney value resort, for the same price as a standard hotel in Port Canaveral.  Staying on Disney property meant we were able to extend the magic a little bit and also eat dinner at ‘Ohana in Walt Disney World.

– If you’re a soda or alcohol drinker, consider buying a soda or adult beverage package. Some cruise lines charge for soda and they can really add up.  And all cruise lines charge for alcohol.  There are wine, beer, soda, and cocktail packages available at multiple price points.  They can really save you money!

– Try the premium restaurants on your cruise ship at least once.  They often have a surcharge, but it’s nice to get away for a fine dining experience.  If you can’t get a reservation before your cruise, check as soon as you board as they may have cancellations and can get you in.

-Unpack on day 1. No, it’s no fun but if you unpack now and stow those big, bulky suitcases under your bed your stateroom will feel so much larger.  Speaking of making your room feel larger, spend 5 minutes each day and just tidy it up a bit.  You’ll be able to find everything more easily in addition to maximizing your space.

-Pack a small container of baby powder.  Sprinkle it on your sandy skin and the sand will release like magic!

-If you’re a social person and are on Facebook, join your cruise’s Facebook group.  Most sailings have a Facebook group.  Just go to the search bar and type in your ship’s name and sail date and your group will come up.  These groups are great places to learn insider tips and get to know fellow cruisers.  My cruise group for this cruise had a cocktail party meet up, a Mixology class and we organized a Fish Extender exchange. Plus it’s just fun to share in the excitement and anticipation of your upcoming cruise with other people who are literally in the same boat.

-Book your excursions through your cruise ship company.  You can trust the companies they work with and most importantly, your ship won’t leave without you.  Sure, it may cost a few dollars more, but peace of mind is worth it.

– If you decide to go it on your own for your excursion- do your homework.  Research everything you can online, compare prices, and you’ll come out ahead. When we rented an electric car for the day in Key West I had taken a screen shot of the company’s website deal on my phone.  They used it as a coupon and gave us our 3rd hour free.  The people next in line renting the same car at the same time paid the same price for only 2 hours.  And always, always ask for a discount.  They may say no, but you may save some money!

-If you don’t mind eating breakfast on the road or in town and not on the ship, then choose Express Walk Off/ Debarkation on the last morning of your cruise.  The lines will be MUCH shorter and you’ll be at your car/shuttle/airport much more quickly.  You have to carry your own luggage but these days with spinner suitcases that’s a much easier feat.

– Be sure to carry lots of small bills with you on your trip.  You’ll need them for many things: tipping room service waitstaff, tipping porters/ luggage handlers, tipping drivers/tour conductors, etc.  You might just make someone’s day with a nice tip, and they might just make your cruise even more magical!
Disney Fantasy

Hope you find these tips helpful!  Happy cruising!


Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 8- Heading home

We woke up at 6 to be in the main lobby at 7.  We carried our own luggage off the ship and if you do that you can walk right off at 7am!  No waiting in line at customs!  We breezed right through and were in the packed car by 7:20!!!  That means we skipped breakfast on the ship but  we just grabbed a bagel a little ways down the road.

Before I wrap up this trip report I have to tell you about Disney’s new cruise line app.  It’s awesome! I think CSP loved it even more than I did!  I took some screen shots on the last day so you could see what it covers.  It works via Disney’s wi-fi so it doesn’t cost you anything and you can have your phone in airplane mode while using it.  We used it every single day, multiple times a day.

The welcome page: IMG_6428

Page 2: IMG_6429  You can see all activities based on age group.  Then touch the activity and it gives you a detailed description, plus the location and times. And when you find something you want to remember to attend, just press the heart and a reminder will pop up on your phone 15 minutes before the activity starts!

Page 3: IMG_6430  Every day would be a different article.

Page 4: IMG_6431  You can find out when your favorite character would be appearing.

Page 5: IMG_6432 The menus.  This was CSP’s favorite part.  He liked being able to plan his meals ahead of time.  You could see what they were eating in Palo and all the other restaurants.

Page 6: IMG_6433

Page 7: IMG_6434

Page 8: IMG_6435

Main Menu: IMG_6436 LOVED the deck plans.  Really cuts down on getting lost. This app really has everything you need in it!

We made good time going home and arrived just before 5 pm.  CSP’s parents took us out to dinner and we gave them their cruise surprises.  But first we loaded up on pug kisses!  This was an amazing cruise and we had the best time!!!  Can’t wait for the next one!


Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 7- Castaway Cay!

Today was Castaway Cay day! DSC_0199 We were docked from 9:30am – 4:45pm.  Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island.  It’s amazing! IMG_6416 We got up early and had breakfast at Cabanas then headed down to the gangway.  Just outside the ship we bought Kyle, CSP’s new cooler.  He named it.  Kyle. IMG_6415 That boy cracks me up!  Kyle came with a 6 pack of water.  After we picked up Kyle we hopped on the tram to Serenity Bay, the adults only beach.  We found some chairs in the shade of an umbrella and had a wonderful morning! IMG_6419 We read and swam and CSP was even able to snag a hammock!  He promptly fell asleep in said hammock and I’d have to wake him up periodically when the snores got too loud!   It was a perfect, beautiful day.  Sunny but not too hot.  The water was pretty cold and a little choppy but you got used to it.  There were all these little birds running around between our chairs.  So teeny! IMG_6420  Our morning view:   IMG_6417 NOT TOO SHABBY for February!

At about 1:30 we had lunch on the island at the barbecue hut they have set up.  They have all sorts of salads to choose from as well as mahi mahi, brats, burgers, etc.  Even ice cream!  After lunch we took the tram to Pelican Point at the family beach. Our friends the McC’s had a cabana and invited us to come visit.  They dropped our wristbands off at dinner last night. I checked in at the Cabana station and told them we were looking for cabana #7.  They called us a golf cart taxi and drove us to the cabana!  Nice!
We spent the rest of the day with the McC’s hanging on the beach and in their cabana. IMG_6422 Man, that’s the way to live! IMG_6423 The cabana was SO niceIMG_6427 and came with so many amenities! IMG_6424 Drinks, fruit, sunscreen, towels, a safe, lounge furniture, a hammock (CSP jumped right in),IMG_6426 a changing room, outdoor shower, foot wash, use of floats and inner tubes, the works! IMG_6425 A & I took chairs down to the water, stuck our feet in the ocean and chatted while CSP waded out in the ocean with the McC kids.  Those kids took to him like fish to water and he was so good with them.  We stayed until the last possible moment then it was time to pack up and head back to the ship.  We didn’t have dinner until 8:15 though so when we got on the ship CSP & I went to the hot tub again.  That CSP loves a hot tub!  Eventually it was time to get dressed for our last dinner of the cruise.
DSC_0218 Tonight we dined in Animator’s Palate. DSC_0219 DSC_0200 DSC_0207 The menu was more limited tonight I suppose because it’s the last night and because of the animation show.  DSC_0206 When we sat down at our seats were 2 big place matt looking things with green markers.DSC_0202 We followed the instructions on the paper which said to draw a character in the spaces provided.DSC_0204  Then our server took our papers away.
We both had the appetizer sampler (duck confit, mozzarella, and shrimp). DSC_0208 CSP had my duck. DSC_0205 There was just one soup- a macaroni and cheese soup, so we both had that.  It was surprisingly good!  For our entrees CSP chose the seafood pasta DSC_0209 and I went with the Beef Wellington. DSC_0210 I’d always seen it on Hell’s Kitchen so I thought I’d try it.  Really tasty!  Dessert was a trio of celebration cake, chocolate decadence & cappuccino mousse tartlet for me DSC_0211 and one last Mickey Bar for CSP.   He also took my mousse tartlet.
During dinner they took our drawings and animated them on the screens by the table and set them to music. DSC_0216 It was too cute!  DSC_0217 Our little guys were dancing across the screen!  DSC_0214 After dinner we hugged our servers (mad I didn’t get a picture of them) and went back to our room.  We packed up all our stuff and got ready for bed. DSC_0222 Debarkation comes early so we needed to get some sleep!

Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 6- At Sea

We woke up early today (at 7) because on sea days it’s much harder to snag a good chair by the pool.  I’m super fair so I need one in the shade.   We went up to breakfast at Cabana’s then scored 2 good chairs at Quiet Cove.  We read and I may have dozed off for a little while.  It was really cool and windy.  The ship was rocking and so was the pool!  It was cool enough out that they passed out blankets again to those of us silly enough to be up on deck.

At lunch time we dressed for lunch and went to Lumiere’s.  Appetizers:  I got the Tangerine Soup (like a smoothie) and shrimp cocktail.  IMG_6403 CSP got the salmon and a mixed green salad.

IMG_6402.  For our entrees I ordered the Cobb Salad and CSP got the burger.

IMG_6407  The server gave CSP a ketchup Mickey. IMG_6408 For dessert CSP had the apple strudel IMG_6410 and I had an almond tartlet. IMG_6409 After lunch it was nap time back in our room!

We woke up and got back into swim suits and went back to Quiet Cove.  We read some more, did the hot tub, and we were going to swim but the wind was really kicking so I backed out.  CSP was up for it though! IMG_6411  Poor guy was out there all alone!  But it was freezing!  I was fine in the hot tub but as soon as my dripping wet self hit that cold wind I was done with the water sports for the day! 

 But CSP was loving it!  So I wrapped up in towels and blankets and read while he went back and forth from the pool to the hot tub.  We stayed out there until almost 7pm!  Then it was time for showers and getting dressed for dinner.

Dinner tonight was at Lumiere’s. DSC_0177 DSC_0176 For his appetizer CSP chose the oysters Rockefeller DSC_0179 and I chose the shrimp.DSC_0180  We both had the Wild Mushroom Soup.  Tonight was Lobster night so CSP was all kinds of excited to get his lobster tail. DSC_0181 I ordered the pork tenderloin with polenta and mushrooms. DSC_0182 CSP got another Mickey bar for dessert DSC_0184and I went with the Trio of creme brulee, apple pie, and cheesecake.DSC_0183

Back to our room and we were locked out again! This time we were let in to our room within 10 minutes and by the time we woke up the next day our lock was fixed again.  We got to bed early tonight because tomorrow is Castaway Cay!  There’s lots to do so we have to be up early!  But before we go…a tour of our room: Stateroom 7556. DSC_0186 Note we have a red Cruising with Mickey bag as our temporary Fish Extender.  That’s all thanks to the McC’s!  DSC_0185  We started with zero door magnets and ended up with a TON because of our fabulous FE friends!  DSC_0188  DSC_0192 DSC_0193  There’s tons of storage!  We didn’t even use all the drawers and shelves! DSC_0191 DSC_0190 Pay no attention to all of our bags and CSP’s stuff.  I told you he didn’t unpack!  Drove me crazy!  But note the full size sofa (which converts to a bed) and above it is a bunk bed. DSC_0194  Across from the sofa and coffee table is the fabulous vanity and stool.  DSC_0189  The TV is on a swivel so you can view it from anywhere in the room.  There’s a safe in every room.  It’s big enough to hold my big camera and our wallets and CSP’s headphones.  The bathroom is split.  This one has a sink, a bunch of shelves, and the toilet. DSC_0196 This one has a sink and the tub/shower.  DSC_0195 We had a stateroom with verandah. DSC_0197DSC_0198 DSC_0175 I love all the hidden Mickeys!

Ok, Good night!  Castaway Cay awaits!  DSC_0187

fun, travel

Disney Magic- Western Caribbean. Day 5 Cozumel

We woke up and went to Cabanas buffet to have breakfast. After breakfast we delivered our Fish Extender gifts.  What is a Fish Extender??  Outside of every cabin is a fish that holds mail from the ship for your stateroom.  cruise A Fish Extender (FE) is a hanging that has pockets (usually a pocket per family member) that hangs from the fish.  Here’s an example: FE14 *Note the door decorations- all magnets.  The doors are metal and Disney allows decorations as long as you don’t use tape.  Back to the FE.  I’d show you our FE but we couldn’t find it when we were packing for the cruise!  Boo!!!  To participate you sign up for a FE exchange in your Facebook cruise group.  Just search Facebook for your ship and sail date and you’ll find your group. Each group is different so I’ll tell you how ours worked on this cruise.  We had 15 cabins per group. Each stateroom created or bought little gifts for all the people in the other staterooms in their FE group.  Some people (like us) gave a room gift.  Some people gave individual gifts – something for each person in the cabin.  It all depends on you what you do.  There are no rules.  Some people give regional items, some give Disney themed. Our cruise group (Holla Group A!!!) was AMAZING!  Our peeps are nothing short of creative geniuses!  We got the CUTEST stuff.  I can’t even begin to tell you everything we got, but it was fabulous.  We gave barbecue sauce from Shealy’s (the best in the world), a Thirty One Hang It Up Key Fob, and a Thirty One Manicure Nail File (gotta represent!).   Anyway, we delivered all our gifts (great way to see the ship!).

There were 4 ships in port today.  We were docked next to the MSC Divina. IMG_6399 It was funny, when the MSC ship pulled up next to our Disney ship, all the people came out onto their balconies to take pictures of our ship.  The MSC ship was massive!  We were on the 7th deck of our ship and their ship went up at least another 7 decks!  We were in our room to change into swimsuits.  I might add that each time we put on our swimsuits we lathered up in sunscreen and to our delight did NOT get sunburned in the least this trip!  SPF 110 for the win!!!

So we went to Quiet Cove, the adult pool area.  We hung out in the pool, read, pooled some more, read some more.  Had lunch at Cabanas.  Pool, read, pool.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  It was an awesome, relaxing day!  Our view: IMG_6401 If you look closely, you can see there is a Starbucks logo on that big white building.  CSP is a Starbucks junkie so he was tempted to go check it out, but the lure of the adult pool and his book kept him on the ship.  IMG_6400

Around 5:45 we went back to our room and dressed and showered for our dinner tonight at Palo.  DSC_0139Tonight I only took pictures of the dishes you haven’t seen yet. For his appetizer CSP chose Cippino again.  I got the Portobello Mushroom with Polenta Cake. DSC_0134  For our entrees CSP got the Osso Buco.  It’s his favorite dish ever and he looks forward to it all year waiting on this cruise! DSC_0135  I chose the Saffron Risotto di Mare, but just with shrimp.  I’m not into shells on my plate. It was amazing.DSC_0136

For dessert we both ordered the chocolate souffle. It comes with ice cream and 2 little pots of sauce, one vanilla and one chocolate.  CSP and I always trade.  I take both vanillas and he takes both chocolates.  This souffle is incredible.  Makes your eyes roll back in your head. DSC_0137

After our fantastic dinner we went back to our room to change clothes and get ready for the fireworks. We went to deck 10.  No chairs.  Deck 9- no chairs with a view.  Then I thought of something.   I remembered there are deck chairs and benches on deck 4!  So we went down and there were only 2 other people there.  Boom- no crowd and an incredible view of the fireworks! DSC_0147 CSP was tired and had wanted to go to bed then bang! DSC_0174 they started and he was so excited to be so close to them!  DSC_0151 We couldn’t hear the music but you couldn’t beat the view! DSC_0173DSC_0155DSC_0143

When the fireworks were over we went back to our room and turned in for the night! DSC_0140 I always love the monkey!

Up next:  Day at Sea!


Disney Magic Western Caribbean- Day 4 Grand Cayman!

All ashore 7:30 am- 4:15 pm.  We woke up at 6am and put on our swim suits then went up to Cabanas buffet for breakfast at 6:30.  After breakfast we went to the Walt Disney Theatre to meet up with our excursion group.  Then we took a tender boat over to Grand Cayman.  We took a trolley bus to a marina where we boarded our excursion boat.  Then we were off to swim with the stingrays!!!

We boated out to Stingray City in some pretty choppy water.  The guide came around and yelled some things to us but I couldn’t hear a thing over the motor of the boat.  I’m pretty sure we were sitting right on the engine.  Luckily we’d done the stingray thing before so we knew how to behave around them. We got to Stingray City ( a sand bar in the middle of the ocean where stingrays convene).  We disembarked the boat and our guide had us (try to) get in a circle.  Do you know how hard it is to make a circle out of 50 people when the waves are covering your head sometimes???  That water was choppy!  It was only up to our waist but the waves were big.  The day was perfect- 80* and sunny and the water was nice and cool.PICT0057PICT0013

The guides would dive down and catch stingrays then hold them so we could pet them. PICT0035 And then we got to feed them!  We had a ball!!!! CSP is a stingray hog! PICT0064 He’s so good at holding them and they just swim up against him.  But then one ran him over!!! PICT0036There were big fish in the water too. PICT0014

PICT0058 PICT0063 PICT0059 PICT0011

PICT0043 PICT0041 PICT0037 PICT0040 PICT0044 PICT0053 PICT0049 Up close with a stingray.  See her eye?PICT0042

We had SO much fun once the whole circle thing was over and we could just bob around playing with the stingrays.  They are such gentle creatures!  The guides called us back to the boat and we headed back to Grand Cayman.  It was a busy day for them- 5 ships in port!

Back on the ship we grabbed a quick bite to eat up by the pool as we were still wet and Cabanas wasn’t open yet.  We went back to the room to change into dry clothes after showers and a nap!

At 4pm we met up with some of our Facebook cruise group friends for a mixology class!  We were in the Keys Piano Bar.  Tea the bartender taught us how to make 5 drinks.  IMG_6389

We made Paradise Punch, Elder Bubble, French Martini, Moji-do, and Bubble Gum.  IMG_6391 This is the Bubble Gum.  It’s a layered shot.  It was SO good.  I drank mine and CSP’s! IMG_6393

CSP discovered he’s a French Martini lover.  James Bond in disguise. IMG_6390 The bar was really cool with these neat wall coverings.  They look like regular wallpaper until you get up close and see all the hidden Mickeys!  IMG_6396 IMG_6395 IMG_6394

After the class was over we ended up staying there until 6 chatting with our new friends A & K McC from Ohio.  They happen to be on our next cruise too!

We went up to the Cove Cafe for a chai tea for me and O’Gill’s pub for a beer for CSP.  They had Irish soda bread!  Not exactly like my Nanny used to make it but close!  Back to the room to change for dinner and we couldn’t get in!  Turns out our door lock had died.  Had to wait for someone to come fix it for us.  Took about a half hour but we were finally back in our room.

After a quick change of clothes we went to Carioca’s for dinner.  DSC_0119

At dinner I always take a pic of CSP looking nice and get him to take a pic of me too.  Tonight was a little difficult as CSP was in a playful mood.  Probably from that mixology class! DSC_0121

DSC_0120 2

But I finally got a good shot. DSC_0122DSC_0124

For his appetizer CSP chose the Salmon Royal (again with the ROYAL food!) DSC_0128 2and Blue Cheese Polenta Cakes. DSC_0129 2

I got the Roasted Roma Tomatoes with Goat Cheese.DSC_0127

I’m always amazed at the nice presentation.  Look at the little dots of balsamic.  They had to do that on like 400 dishes!

For our soups CSP got the Saffron Mussel soup, which he loved.  I got the Potato and Sausage, which I did not love.  But CSP liked it so that was good.

Entrees: CSP went with the Turbot (still on his seafood kick)DSC_0130 and I had the roasted portobello mushroom pasta. DSC_0131 Very yummy.

For dessert I had the Banana Bread Pudding DSC_0133and CSP had the Flourless Chocolate Cake.DSC_0132 2

Back to our room for bed! DSC_0118 I loved this snake Edwin made us!  How cute!!!

Up Next….Cozumel!  Fireworks at sea!


Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 3- Day at Sea!

We slept in a little after our big day yesterday in Key West so we didn’t get up until about 9:15am.  Slapped some clothes on really quickly and ran down to the Future Cruise Desk.  We were first in line.  Yay! We had already booked our 2016 cruise but we wanted to see if we could get a better deal including the on board credit.  We did!  So we saved a bit of $$ AND got $200 on board credit for Jan 2016.  Yay!

We went back to our room and dressed for brunch at Palo! DSC_0082There’s a debate on every cruise which is better?  Palo Brunch or Palo dinner?  I’ll take em both!  They are both amazing!  But let’s talk about brunch first. DSC_0095 Palo is the adult’s only restaurant on all the Disney ships.  It’s Italian and incredible.  You’re required to dress up, which I love.  We don’t get out to fine dining establishments that often so I like putting on the ritz a bit!  Although brunch is more casual than dinner, men are still required to wear nice pants (no shorts) and no flip flops.DSC_0083

Brunch is a buffet and then you can order things like pizza and chicken parmesan (the best chicken parm you’ll ever have) or eggs benedict from the kitchen.  Here’s CSP’s plate from the cold buffet.  DSC_0085 It truly is a seafood lover’s dream!  Mariana from Mexico was our server and we enjoyed her so much I went to the manager and asked to be seated with her at our dinner reservation later in the week.  Then I asked if there happened to be any openings for any of the other nights.  We lucked out and they had an opening for tonight!  But back to brunch.  You get a cocktail with your brunch.  CSP chose prosecco and I chose Kir Royale. DSC_0086 Mainly because I have a Buxom lipgloss with that name and I’ve always wondered about it.  It was pretty good, but I’m not a huge champagne fan.  Oh!  and the sticky buns!  You must try a sticky bun!  So good.



One thing that impresses me with Palo is their attention to detail.  It can get warm with the sun coming through those big windows in Palo so look how they ice the tea!  With frozen tea!  No watered down tea!  Genius! DSC_0089

Now after brunch is the best part.  The sweet wee little desserts!

DSC_0092 This one is fruit and CHAMPAGNE JELLO BITS.  Again- genius!!!DSC_0094 DSC_0091 DSC_0090 DSC_0093They are all bite sized desserts so try them all!  Brunch lasts a good two hours!  When we were finished we headed back to the room.  I ran into a member of our cruise group delivering Fish Extender goodies.  It was fun meeting her and bonding over our Fish Extender experience.

CSP and I changed out of our nice clothes and went up on deck.  We found some chairs in the adult section called Quiet Cove and read/napped the afternoon away!

DSC_0096 I could see the AquaDunk tube sticking out over the ocean from my deck chair. DSC_0098

DSC_0097My view- not too shabby!  Next thing we knew it was time to shower and dress for dinner!

Back at Palo!

DSC_0099DSC_0102DSC_0100DSC_0107 Dinner service is very different from brunch.  Much more formal.  They wait on you hand and foot and treat you like royalty!  Dinner starts with anti-pasta.   DSC_0106 Artichokes, roasted peppers, olives, parmesan cheese, proscuitto, and cured beef.  Topped with flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The artichokes are just fantastic.  They also bring you a fancy bread basket with warm garlic pizza bread and bread sticks. DSC_0105

For my appetizer I chose pesto grilled shrimp. DSC_0109 CSP chose his favorite soup- cippino.  It is chock full of seafood.  Mussels, shrimp, scallops, the works! DSC_0108

Between appetizers and entrees they bring you an intermezzo- lemon sorbet to cleanse your palate.  DSC_0110

For our entrees we both chose risotto.  CSP got the Risotto di Mare (risotto of the sea) with all the same sea creatures as his cippino, just on creamy risotto instead of a broth. DSC_0111 Topped with zucchini strips.  I chose the Wild Mushroom risotto.

DSC_0112 CSP said his was incredible and I had a taste of his risotto- he was right!  Mine was super good too.  Very VERY mushroomy.  We split a half portion (3 pieces) of lobster & marscapone ravioli.  They make their own pasta in house!  SO creamy and tender.DSC_0113

Dessert time!  CSP chose the tiramisu.  How cute is his cookie spoon??DSC_0114 I chose the Panna Cotta with macerated berries. DSC_0115  The best custard I’ve ever had.  Unreal.

But wait….it’s not over!  They bring out sgopino.  It’s a digestive aid frosty shot.  Really good actually.


We walked (slowly) back to the room and changed into casual clothes. Then we went shopping!  It was Formal Night so everyone was busy with their dinners so the ship’s shops were empty.  Perfect timing!  We bought a t-shirt for CSP’s mom and one for his dad too to thank them for house and pug sitting.  We bought a 2015 magnet (we buy one on each cruise).  And then I spied a t-shirt with a sugar skull on it!  Just then CSP handed me a black Tervis tumbler.  I turned it around and it was perfect!!!

IMG_6444 HOW COOL IS THIS?!?!?  A Disney Cruise Line Tervis tumbler 24 oz with a SUGAR SKULL on it?!?!  It says “Cruisin’ It’s In My Bones”.  LOVE.   Once our purchases were made we high tailed it back to our room to go to sleep. When we got back to our room we had a new towel animal (a seal??) DSC_0117and some Fish Extender goodies. IMG_6385 Luckily our new friends the McC’s gave us a bag to use as our Fish Extender (more on this later I promise).

We have an early day tomorrow!

Up next….Grand Cayman!  Stingrays!  Mixology!


Disney Magic Western Caribbean- Key West

CSP & I had been looking forward to this day so much!  He had never been to Key West and it had been a good 10 years for me so we were both excited!  But before I get into today, I forgot to include something about yesterday.  CSP’s mom and the pugs were able to watch us set sail via!  She thought it was really cool!

We woke up early and had breakfast at Lumiere’s.  We both had eggs benedict but CSP’s was eggs benedict ROYALE.  Fancy boy!  Back to the room to get ready for Key West.  We were in port from 12:30 pm – 7:30 pm.  We went outside and got in line for the tram to town. IMG_0582_2

Beautiful day!  Once the tram dropped us off I called Tropical Rentals and they sent an electric car to pick us up and bring us to their shop.  I had researched electric car rentals online and Tropical offered a third hour free if you brought in a screen shot of their coupon on their website.  The driver was super nice and navigated the crazy little Key West streets really easily.  We rented a 2 seater electric car and drove to Blue Heaven for lunch. IMG_6375 I’d asked on Facebook if there was any place in Key West that we needed to make sure to stop by and everyone said Blue Heaven.  Then my parents were in Key West the 1st week of January and they tried it and LOVED it.  So off we went!

Such amazing atmosphere! DSC_0028 It’s all open and you sit in a courtyard under the canopy of trees and sail cloths. IMG_6377 Plenty of shade.DSC_0031DSC_0029DSC_0030  And plenty of roosters! IMG_6376


DSC_0035They go right up to the tables!  They say not to feed them, and we didn’t, but plenty of people do!  There were a couple of cats hanging around too but it was harder to get their pictures.  We missed brunch but lunch did not disappoint!  IMG_0583I had a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and bacon.  SO yummy.  CSP had mahi mahi on their black bean bowl.  He said it was the best piece of fish he’s ever had!!!  IMG_0600

On the way to the men’s room, CSP found this giant banyan tree where all the roosters would hang out when they weren’t begging for food.

IMG_0603 And they aren’t quiet either.  It’s so fun to sit there having lunch and hearing them make all their chicken noises!  Of course we finished lunch with a piece of Key Lime Pie.  DSC_0039

After lunch we toured all around the island in our little electric car.  It was SO FUN!  I’d have taken more pictures but I was holding on for dear life!   I did manage some though.  This is a bar with money ALL OVER IT.DSC_0052

The Waldorf Astoria.  FANCY.  DSC_0046

Mile marker 0.  Quite literally the end of the road!


Walgreens in an old movie theatre.  I love how Old Town in Key West makes businesses use existing structures.  Keeps the charm of Old Town in tact.

DSC_0051Gorgeous church!DSC_0053We spotted a pug!!!


Chickens on the side of the road!  They are EVERYWHERE!  Running across the road and everything!  Note our “car” has no side doors or windows, or seat belts for that matter! It was awesome!DSC_0049CSP gazing at the ocean.DSC_0048It was a gorgeous day! DSC_0044  We even found a Starbucks!  Which was great because we needed to use the facilities and you can trust a Starbucks to be clean. We passed by the Hemingway house and the Southernmost Point but there’s NO parking in Key West and lines were long so we just waved and kept driving! Our rental time was coming to a close so we had Tropical Rentals drop us off at Sloppy Joe’s Bar.


CSP wanted to enjoy a beer in an open air bar so off we went! CSP got some conch fritters to go with his beer.  I thought I liked those but one bite reminded me I don’t! IMG_6382I swear I took this picture just as we were toasting with our first drink!  CSP looks so drunk!!! IMG_6379

I had a coconut mojito.  So yum. IMG_0604_2

Sloppy Joe’s is pretty cool.  Very crowded, which surprised us being that it was a Monday and all.  While we were there this awesome family band called the Doerfels played.  LOVED them.  Lots of bluegrass.IMG_6378



When we were finished we bought CSP a Sloppy Joe’s t-shirt in the gift shop then stepped outside to wave to CSP’s mom and the pugs!  They were watching us on the Duval Street webcam!  It was so cool!

We walked back to the tram and headed back to the ship. DSC_0061 Isn’t she a beauty??  We are usually on the ship when it’s all lit up at night so it was a real treat to get to photograph it all aglow!  We got on the ship around 7 and found out there were only 15 more people out on the island that we were waiting for!  Glad we left when we did!  We went to our room to shower and dress for dinner.

Dinner tonight was at Lumiere’s.  On the way in we saw Stitch in the lobby.  He’s my favorite!  And there was no line!  But alas he was heading upstairs for a break so this is the best pic I could get.

DSC_0063We sat down at our corner table IMG_6384and perused the menu. DSC_0065



CSP was so excited to find escargot on the menu tonight!  He ordered that and the lobster & shrimp cocktail for his appetizer. DSC_0068

I ordered the Fried Brie. DSC_0069

We both had delicious French Onion soup.  For his entree CSP chose the Baked Salmon Royal.  He loves anything with the word “royal” in it!  DSC_0071

I ordered the Lobster Macaroni.  I’d always wanted to try that but haven’t seen it out anywhere.  I was confused when ravioli showed up instead.  DSC_0070 But I thought maybe I read it wrong on the menu.  So I cut into it and it was brown.  Turns out it was a mushroom ravioli.  So we switched it out for the correct dish. DSC_0072  I was SO glad we did.  This was really delicious and creamy!

Desserts were creme brûlée for me DSC_0073 and a Mickey Bar for CSP!  Our waitstaff got a kick out of that! DSC_0074

On the way out of Lumiere’s we saw Tiana!  She is SO beautiful and her dress is amazing. DSC_0075

We went to Fathoms Lounge for Match Your Mate.  I love this “game show”.  It’s like a Disney version of the Newlywed Game but with a couple who’s just married, one who’s been married the longest in the room, and one in between.  It was great fun!  Fathoms is a cool themed lounge DSC_0076with these jellyfish looking light fixtures. DSC_0079 Very neat. DSC_0080


Back to the room to pick up our big cups then up to the drink station for beverages. By now people had started decorating their doors and putting out their Fish Extenders (more on that later).  I was so sad though because we couldn’t find our Fish Extender when we were packing for the cruise!  We’ve used it on 3 prior cruises and it just wasn’t anywhere to be found.  Plus it holds all our door magnets so we were feeling pretty bare!  Back to the room for the last time to plan for tomorrow and get a good night’s sleep! DSC_0081

Next up…..our first Sea Day! Palo Brunch! Surprise Dinner!


Disney Magic Western Caribbean- Day 1

We woke up at the Art of Animation resort in Walt Disney World.  We showered and dressed and packed up.  We had chosen express checkout so we were able to just get in the car and leave.  Hopped on the highway bound for Port Canaveral.  We parked and went through security then on to check in.  We had the Port Arrival time of 12:30-1:00 PM.  We arrived closer to 1pm but were able to walk right on up to an attendant.  No waiting!  We were on the ship within 15 minutes of parking!  Love that Disney efficiency!   When you check in you’re issued a Key to the World card.  You use this card to get into your stateroom, get on and off the ship at ports of call, pay for adult drinks and souvenirs.  It also has your muster station location on it as well as your dining rotation, table number and dinner time, sail dates and ship name.IMG_6446

We went to Carioca’s for their buffet lunch. DSC_0023 Less people go to the sit down restaurant vs. the buffet up on deck.  We enjoyed a nice lunch then went to Guest Services to borrow an extension cord for my CPAP machine.  Turns out though we didn’t need it.  There was a 2 port outlet right next to the bed.  Of course we didn’t know that at the time so we borrowed the cord.  Then it was time for our meet up!  Our cruise group from Facebook met up at O’Gill’s Pub.  It was great to finally put real faces to names that we’ve been chatting with for a year!  One of our members ordered bracelets for us. IMG_6374 After the meet up it was time for the dreaded Muster Drill.  It IS mandatory though, so don’t try to skip it or they can throw you off the ship! At the muster drill I noticed CSP was still wearing his MagicBand (which are not used on the ships).  I asked why and he said it “Made him look important.”

When the muster drill was finished we went to O’Gill’s so CSP could get his refillable beer mug.  I got a coconut mojito on the recommendation of my friend Christina.  OMG! SOOO good.  My new favorite!!!  IMG_6373

We were heading back to our room when we saw a bunch of characters – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip and Dale all squished into an elevator to take them up to the sail away party.  So funny seeing them all squished in there like that.  Unfortunately all I had on my camera wise was my phone and I couldn’t get a clear shot.

We went back to our room to watch us set sail.  There were 4 other ships sailing away at the same time!  Click on all pics to enlarge by the way.DSC_0011



I grabbed my big camera and my refillable cup and we went up on deck to get a good seat for the Super Bowl. They had just lined up the lounge chairs by the pool so I was able to snag us fantastic seats while CSP went to get me a drink from the drink station.  Hence the refillable cup.  The cups they provide at the drink station are basically large shot glasses so I brought my big refillable Starbucks cold cup with lid.


The sun went down and the wind really picked up.  Like hair whipping all around windy.  Luckily the pool crew came around with soft, fleece blankets for us!  How nice!  I wrapped up in one and was all set to watch the game!


I’m not the biggest sports fan but I do enjoy watching the Super Bowl and there’s something to be said about watching the game on a GIANT screen like this!  We always root for the underdogs so we were rooting for Seattle. Well come close to halftime CSP was convinced that New England was going to win so he decided he wanted to go to dinner in the dining room instead of stay and watch the 2nd half.  I was really ok with that as I was wind whipped and frozen!  We popped by the room really quickly so I could run a brush through my hair and our room steward Edwin was in the hall.  He introduced himself.  He’s from Honduras.  Super nice man.

Down to Carioca’s for dinner.  IMG_6370

On Disney ships you eat in a different restaurant each night with a different menu.  But your service team travels with you from restaurant to restaurant.  Speaking of service teams…our server was Bianca from South America!  She was our assistant server on the Magic in 2012!  Our assistant server was Widi from Indonesia.   He was fantastic!  LOVE Widi!

DSC_0017Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian or Gluten Free.  There are tons of options for you!

For my appetizer I got the empeñada (which was awesome!).  DSC_0019

CSP ordered the tuna and avocado towerDSC_0018 and the shrimp ceviche.DSC_0020For my entree I chose the Lobster, Salmon, & Shrimp skewer. DSC_0022

It was on a bed of quinoa.  Very yummy.  CSP got the swordfish for his entree. DSC_0021 Dessert was Coconut Tres Leches cake for me: DSC_0025While CSP chose the ice cream sundae: DSC_0024

After dinner we went back to our room and got me all unpacked.  CSP didn’t want to unpack yet which drove me insane.  I say unpack right away and get those suitcases under the bed so you’ll have more room!  We came back to a fun towel animal each night.  Here’s our first! DSC_0027