Sunday, August 24, 2014
Before we start here's a few "hard learned lessons"
2 extra hands do help. I've done them solo (or when the 7 year old gets bored) and it is no fun
The mesh gets tangled and sticks to each other. Pain in the butt!!! Patience.
Your thumb and pointer finger get sore from all the twisting if the stems. (It hurts to type this because my thumb is raw)
You can do this on a table, but I choose the floor and in my lap. That being said, MY LEGS ITCH!!!!!! Not only does the deco mesh itch, but the ends of the stems are pure torture. I should have put on jeans. No lie. AHHHHHH!!
Good luck! The point of these wreaths really is the messier and fluffy, the better!!
I took the stems and fixed them on 3 of the rows of the wreath. You can do 4 if you want to add burlap or another ribbon, but with 3 colors I just used 3 rows.
Take the stems and twist them TIGHT against the wreath. You will be able to slide them but they can't be loose.
Once you start wrapping the mesh you can position them where you want them to either fluff it up or to close gaps you may find. With these wreaths, the more chaotic you make it look, the better it looks.
Pick a place to start the OUTSIDE row.
Unroll the roll so the mesh comes out the TOP. The wire in the mesh will make it curl down naturally, so this is the easiest way to make it "bunch".
As you go along each section, the previous one will slide a bit, meaning the tighter you twisted the stem on at the beginning will show how much movement you will have. (Later I show you how to secure it)
To finish when you get back to your starting point just wrap it again with the same stem you first used.
It will be thick but twist it as tight as you can get it.
Start with your next color on the next row. I DONT start at the same point I did with the first because it kind of gaps. I also don't have "the top" of the wreath until I'm done. Some parts look better at the top so I rotate. (In my case I ran out of blue ribbon on the orange so I just hung the hook where I didn't have blue ribbon, can't tell can you??)
Continue on until you meet back where you started. Finish it off the same way you did the orange. Tight.
Note- I make my first layer big and loopy and a bit smaller the second and the third smaller than the second.
And then rinse and repeat with the last color on the 4th row. Be patient. The mesh gets really tangled at this point.
You can be done if you don't want any ribbon etc!!!!!!
Fluffing and Arranging
If the bunches don't sit right, my problem is always the first row flips backwards. The others bunch great because they are closed in my other mesh. So, for the top row I take the leftover stems and pull them to the front and then back under the bunch and twist them to another part of the wreath.
It makes the top row not get so lost by the second bunches. If you aren't going to add ribbons or decorations either trim the stems down or twist them back to the wire on the wreath.
On the wreath at the top of the post I fixed ribbon along the blue mesh.
Then twist the stem
And trim the stem
You can pretty much use whatever ribbon you want.
I used the two ribbons twisted in the stem. Make them long enough to dangle!!
And trim the stem
To finish this wreath I went through and cleaned up the stems and arranged it for fluffiness using the trick above.
When I hung it up there really isn't a bad way to. These wreaths are totally adjustable and you can touch them up so simple!!
What I found with using the 12 inch mesh is it was pretty see through. It also doesn't bunch like the bigger mesh does.
This is my 4th of July wreath with the 18 inch mesh.
It is a lot fluffier.
So I wouldn't put it on a storm door but on the solid door so left over stems don't show and the gaps where you started and stop are less noticeable.
I'll admit on this one I didn't trim or tuck all the stems. My fingers and back hurt so I was lazy!!
Let me know if you have questions!
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Day 1- Embarking and Exploring
(Let me say, the opinions in this blog are mine. I am not stereotyping, nor am I accusing, I am calling it as I see it.
Christopher and I had an easy breezy flight from Nashville to Fort Lauderdale airport. (Thank you anxiety meds) As we flew in I could see the boats- that being said, pictures don't do them justice. SOOO BIG!
Our cab driver dropped us off at this zoo of a terminal. (Cab fare was $20 because of the time we were in the car, he recommended you come at 2:30)
They are currently doing a ton of construction not only to the terminals, but building a bypass directly to and from the airport. Anyways, the line was long but come on, it's vacation. Relax! We moved at a steady pace to security. The man behind us complained the whole way. Luckily my ear hadn't decompressed so I didn't hear him too much! We walked through security into another cattle call. My husband is a gold member so we got to go through a shorter feeding line instead of the mass hearding. After taking pictures and sanitizing our hands 800 times we walked up the gangplank. Everyone talks about the "first" view of the inside and this one lacked a little bit. It was a hallway. -.- We hoofed it up 6 flights of stairs to our room. (My calves and thighs worked it out this trip!)
Reading Cruise Critic I heard people bitching about elevators and the availability, but honestly, they handled the thousands of trips up and down. It's an elevator for goodness sake. Ugh. In our room we met Clement, he was our amazing stateroom attendant for the trip. The sweet man even explained the light switches for us! Throughout the trip he always had our room made up while we were at breakfast, after the nap, and turned down while we were at dinner. He really was a sweet man.
We dropped the carry ons since our bags wouldn't arrive till later (after 6pm actually). We grabbed the camera and headed to the bar!
We had purchased the premium drink package for $275 per person. We had unlimited drinks all trip. All bar drinks under $10, sodas, water etc. A 15% gratuity was added per drink.
We "cruised" to the Viking crown lounge where we met Dee. She's a fantastic bar goddess! Such a personality and made us some stellar drinks. All we had to do was slide the card and were off again. I was fascinated with everything I saw. We ran and had a quick bite to eat at the Windjammer (more later), and headed to deck 13to check out the Sky Bar and meet up with our fellow CC members. There we met up with Jon and Jess. Chris made a bet with Jon over the BCS National championship game and he had to pay up. They were amazing. They were on a celebration cruise for Jess being cancer free!! Yay Jess!!! It was so nice to find a couple to hang out with, our age, that we liked.
We then wandered after making plans with them, and started to explore.
This is the "adults only" section of the ship. Meaning irritating 16 year olds could impeded but what the hell, there was a bar close by. It was nice, but honestly, not great. It wasn't separated like it is on other RCCL ships. It was in the middle and inbetween the main pool and the front deck. So major thoroughfare. My other con is the major chairhogs. RCCL claims to be cutting down on the people that come out at 7 am and put a towel down and not show up till 2. We encountered a rude man on day 2 that I'll go into more detail about later. They have Deck Patrol that comes out and puts a stop to people saving chairs. A whole lot of good that did.
As we walked we noticed that the towel stations were at edge of solarium on both sides. You always went to the wrong one to get a towel, Murphy's Law. Sprinkles ice cream was on port side by H2o zone. We totally forgot to get ice cream. Like I told Chris, ice cream and alcohol only mix in a mudslide!
We walked up to the revolving doors that wouldn't revolve and people didn't have common sense to move it by pushing it. *eyeroll*
After the quick walk through we went back up to 12 to watch sail away.
To watch sail away
MISS MY FIRST SAILAWAY!
We had first seating dinner at 6pm and our 430 departure didn't happen until like 6:30. I'll look into why later.
Main dining- Rembrandt Dining Room
We were seated at table 289 at a table for 2 on deck 3 dining room. Our waiter was Jose and the assistant waiter was Muhammad. Both were very very nice. Jose immediately asked our names and remembered the smallest details every night. I ordered the garlic soup, Caesar salad, and the Manhattan Strip steak. All was fantastic. That soup was to die for! Chris had the garlic soup, salad and a bacon wrapped pork. His pork was dried out a tad. Still delicious! For dessert I had tiramisu, Chris had creme brûlée. Eh, so so. But still stellar!
Day one ended at 9:00pm. Losers I know. We made a trip back to see Dee in the lounge but called it a night. Luckily Jon and Jess were worn out so we didn't miss the meet up and leave them hanging.
We returned to the room.
Stateroom 9384-starboard deck 9
This room is the superior balcony room. (For exact dimensions visit www.royalcaribbean.com)
The room was plenty big enough! Had the full size couch and almost a kind size bed. The balcony was huge!
People have complained about closets and storage, I say bah! The bathroom had medicine cabinet and shelf under the sink. The shower had a shower caddy. For the record the shower was big enough to shave your legs, but if you were fluffy, I can see the problem. There was a clothesline in top of the shower which was awesome! Lots of towel racks and hooks. My suggestion is if you complain stuff won't fit, don't take it.
The room had a vanity/dresser thing next to the spacious closet. I do say, if you bring a lot of hang ups, bring them on hangers. They provide some but not a lot. Drawers held more than enough and vanity had row of shelves behind the side mirror. The hair dryer is in top drawer and it works great! Mini fridge is under the tv in a cabinet. Yes, they charge! The tv tended to heat up the room the way most flat screens do.
Each side of the bed had bedside table with drawers and shelves. Lamps on the wall had reading light and bedside light. Separate switches right by the bed!
We had no problems with space and shelves. Suitcases all fit under the bed. I bet clement would remove the extra duvets they stored under there if we needed the room but our large cases fit just fine!
Off to bed and prepare for my first day at sea!!
Day Two- At Sea
My darling husband had spoiled me and ordered my first breakfast by room service and we ate as the sun was shining on the balcony! It was so romantic! The food was pretty good, the coffee was STRONG! I'm talking take a shot and you're ready to run all day long!
This was available by using the tv or little menus you hung on the door before 2am. TV meal had to be ordered by 2 am also. From midnight to 5 am room service was available for a 3.95 charge. Cafe Promenade was open 24 hours so why pay? Anyways, they had all kinds of choices and I'll say the cookies were awesome! Since we had early dinner seating we were still full from lunch between so we never ordered. I personally wanted to go down the hallway and mark the menus people left out. Evil. Yes. But I forgot a pen. Duh
After breakfast we took a shower and headed to the pool area. Here is where we encountered the CHAIR HOGS! How, at 9am was almost every pool chair taken and no one in the pool? So much for the crackdown eh? We found two chairs in the solarium and stretched out. It was great. I read a book while Chris people watched out of mirrored sunglasses.
The rude man. Ok let me paint the picture. We were in a row of 9 chairs, facing the pool (right to left) empty chair, towel chair, empty chair, me, Chris, empty chair then 3 ladies to the left. This nice lady comes maybe about 1030? We've been there a while and sits down at then end, in the empty chair. She's there 45 min maybe, and this mean man comes up to her, WAKES HER UP to ask her why she took his chair. She told him there was no towel only the one next to it. This ass proceeded to reach under the chair and grabbed a folded towel and told her it was marking the 5 chairs!!!!! WHAT?!?! I'm ready to rumble, so is this other lady on the other side. He told her he was going to get security. A few minutes later the "Deck Patrol" guy came and cleaned freaking house. He ripped all towels off chairs not occupied. Fine by me. People abuse it. It sucks though because we were so scared we would get janked, we never left the chairs together. Why? Stupid I know because people held chairs all day and never showed up.
Anyways, said asshole comes back and puts towels on chairs behind us!!!!! What are you smoking dude??? Are you royalty?!? He leaves, comes back and tells the lady that security will be coming to talk to her. At that point, me and the blonde are ready to take him on. We told the lady that we would explain to them of they showed up. She was so sweet.
Moral of the story? The chair situation was unreal. UNREAL.
The bar opened and Chris needed an 11am Corona. We layed for a while and decided to go grab lunch at the Windjammer. So we took our clothes and abandoned our chairs.
This is the ships huge buffet. All kinds of people complained about the food, and I'm about to tell you to shut up. It's food made in mass amounts. For thousands of people!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was fantastic! They had salad bars, sandwich meat, fried chicken, mashed potatos, pasta, soup and on and on. Possibilities were endless. There was a desert bar which had all kinds of cakes and stuff. The only thing I wasn't fond of was the desserts. They just were eh. There were thirst quencher stations that had free water, lemonade and unsweetened tea. Coffee was also available. Man I missed my sweet tea. Sodas were at the bar for a charge unless you had drink package.
The French fries were to die for!!!! I need to find out how they made them. Best I've had!!!
There was an Asian part of the buffet called Jade. Chris had sushi there the last night.
The Windjammer was open for breakfast lunch and dinner with cleaning breaks in between. We never had a problem finding seats and always found something yummy!!!
Time to mention the purell stations. They only had them at the main dining rooms and windjammer. They made you use it before meals. Since the big norovirus outbreak on Majesty, I'm thankful. I just don't understand why they weren't out all over the ship. There were times I would have loved to hit it.
Bathrooms were available on almost every floor by the elevators. All were impeccable. Super clean and always had what you needed. They did have purell in there but good ol soap and water worked!
After lunch we headed to St. Tropez. It's at the front of the ship. We ran by the bar and grabbed drinks and headed up to lay in the sun. We found chairs and I proceeded to knock over my Bahama mama. Alcohol abuse. Chris ran down and grabbed another for me as I settled in to watch the entertainment. Early twenties girls and their drama. Man, I remember being like that and damn I'm sorry. Haha!
Man it was hot. You didn't realize it though because of the awesome sea breeze. We sizzled. After about an hour we headed back to the room to cool down and shower and prepare for formal night. Ugh, a dress.
For formal night my husband donned his tuxedo and vest (very yummy) and I had on a maroon knee length wrap dress. It was so cool to be in the dining room for dinner and being so fancy!!! For dinner I had lobster bisque, apple chicken and linguini in a light red sauce. Dessert was double strawberry cheesecake. Oh my gosh!! Soup was way to light on lobster but the apple chicken appetizer was to die for! It had thin sliced grilled chicken and thin sliced tart apple slices. Fantastic flavor! The pasta was on the classic menu, I don't do much seafood. It was soooo good! I had it again on vertigo night, more later. Christopher had scallops and lobster bisque for appetizer. For main course he had the duck and the shrimp ravioli. Dessert was some dark chocolate cake thing. He didn't care for the duck. Said it was to gamey. The rest he loved. I even ate one of the shrimp ravioli! It was amazing! Jose and Muhammad stepped up and made it a fantastic night!
After dinner Megan got to gamble!!!! Casino Royale, here we come!!!
Oh my gosh I had so much fun here!! We had set amounts of gambling money so we didn't go over budget. We went right up to the bar where we met Alfredo. He is an awesome awesome bartender!! I asked him immediately what he recommended and he told me, Mai Tai. It was Light rum, Disaronno, orange juice and a splash of grenadine. Oh my gosh goodness. That's all I drank the rest of the trip. I got my vitamin c this trip. Chris drank a crown and sprite. (Probably drank a bottle and a half this trip) I got to go and play slots. I played a triple double diamond penny slot. I put my $20 in went on. I hit a 17.25 on penny slot! Needless to say it all went away eventually.
Then my husband taught me craps. Oh boy oh boy was that fun! We met a great couple from Canada and I settled in to spectate. Yeah, I played once later but I never threw the dice. They had the best group at the table! They really knew their stuff and even would answer my questions. I turned into the group cheerleader. I left to get another drink and the table went cold. I got blamed. We met up with Jon and Jess and Chris tried to teach Jon how to play. We made plans to meet them at Nellies Beach in Labadee the next day.
I got to meet Alisa at the blackjack table. She took the time to teach me and explain. The older lady that was playing also was so sweet. My 3rd hand I got 2 aces and split them. Luck of the draw got a Queen on each one!! Woot! 40$ in my pocket. I think I won $60 at the table. That went back in the craps fund.
By the end of the night Alfredo knew what I wanted before I even asked. Christopher went up almost $300 in craps!!! More slot money!
We ended up in bed about 1:00am. We had enough time to order room service in the morning for our trip to Labadee, Hati.
Day 3- Labadee, Haiti
Our hungover selves woke up in time to watch the sunrise and watch the ship pull into Haiti. Luckily my drunk husband was coherent enough the night before to order room service! We wanted to get off the ship and make it to Nellies beach to have a great spot. As we pulled in to port the awesome workers did a water parade for us. The were all on jet skis and boats making circles by the ship. It was awesome to watch and I got some awesome pictures!!!
We packed up the beach bag and headed off.
I was so in awe of clear water and being in another country.
For those of you that don't know Labadee is a RCCL private peninsula. Your drink packages work there at the bar. Awesome! They have shopping and excursions. Haiti is a very poor country and Christopher said that if you go by the fence, there are people begging for food, money and to sell drugs.
We headed out and beelined straight for the beach. And oh my gosh was it beautiful. We put 2 beach chairs under a palm tree and settled to sizzle. Sizzle we did. We applied sunscreen like 5 times that day. Man was it hot!! While we were in the water Jon and Jess showed up and camped out next to our seats. What a perfect day. The water was so clear and cold. It felt amazing. We had some beachside entertainment by the, ahem, patrons. I won't go into more than that. If you want to know, ask.
After being there maybe 3 hours we wandered into shopping. What a scary experience. I don't handle people in my personal space. I would have bought a lot if people hadn't been so pushy. Very uncomfortable.
I ended up buying a pretty blue clay beaded bracelet. When we were done, we went and got Jon and Jess to go eat. They do a buffet for the people on the island. It wasn't great, but it filled a sun weary hunger we all had. We had brought out freestyle cups and were able to fill them with water.
We then wandered to adventure beach to watch the people zip line over the ocean. To me, a waste of $94 dollars but for an adrenaline junkie, awesome.
The beach had small waves but the whole bottom of the ocean was chunks of coral. Definitely have to wear the water shoes. We sent the guys to the bar because we had to have a Labadoozie. Some kind of fruity drink with rum. :) apparently I didn't get enough fruit and rum with all my Mai Tais the night before. Just keep drinking Megan!!!
Around 2 we headed back to the ship. Man it was a hot hot day. I was ready for a shower.
The night before, Chris got bombarded by a little Philippian lady from the spa. Chris wanted to do the spa but I wasn't sold. I thought it was a waste of money but he was persistent. The lady gave us a couples massage, for the discounted singles price! Nice deal but still, money down the drain to me. I could have gambled with that money. Lol
At 3:30 we headed to the spa overlooking the from of the ship. My package was a deep tissue massage, facial, and foot massage. I should have said, " a little less pressure please!" But I didn't. I guess I had tons of knots by my shoulder blades. Pain. Oh my god. Pain. FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!
Spa experience wasn't that great. Ouch.
Dinner that night we went to the main dining room. I had spinach artichoke dip and ricotta spinach stuffed shells. Chris had the dip, some citrus seafood salad and something else. Chris said his lacked a lot. I was ready for pizza later !!!
We wandered the promenade again, and I fell in love with these bella perlina pandora type bracelets. So pretty.
We ended up at the casino again but it was a slow night. We gambled away the $250 we were up from the previous night. *sigh*
Tomorrow is the Jamacia day!
Day 4- Falmouth, Jamaica
So let me preface this by saying this place scared me. Horribly. I don't like pushy and don't get in my space.
We did some research on Cruise Critic and TripAdvisoe and decided to book with Reggae Tours to take us to Doctors Cave Beach. It would be about a 30 minute drive from the port to there. They were very very nice when we booked and we got responses back immediately when we sent questions.
So, we woke up early because we knew we had to meet with our driver 30 minutes after the ship docked. That meant 9:00.
The Falmouth port was actually beautiful. I don't understand why they would dock so far out from anything, but I guess what do I know. What I heard was it was an equal distance from all the cool things to do, not such a far trip from ONE spot. Oh well. Anyways we breezed through the market to get to the back and find our assigned driver. He asked if we wanted on the bus or to wander close by, we said wander. Not 5 minutes later he comes with a group of about 5 people and says we're going to the bus. We get on the bus and sit there. And sit there. And sit there.
Over an hour and 15 minutes later he shows up with 2 couples, one was from our roll call on Crusie Critic, Andrew and Lindsey. They said they were standing up there while the driver was waiting on someone who was a no show. So we lost an hour of our adventure.
Now, let me tell you, it started raining. It was windy. The sky was gray. Horrible. Devastated.
Driving in Jamaica was a trip. The driver used his horn more times than I have in my lifetime in that 30 minute trip. I wasn't scared I was fascinated. We got to the beach and it was raining, so we went up and sat at the bar. I had my first red stripe, draft. I actually loved it! We sat and talked with a lady there, also from our roll call. After an hour the rain let up and we hopped in the water. I can honestly say that I body surfed in Jamaica. Poor Lindsey got trucked by a wave. It was an adventure. We weren't due to be picked up till 2 so we walked about a half a mile to Margaritaville to have our volcano nachos. Those became a yearly thing for us since we ate them on our honeymoon. Crazy, but hey, it's tradition. :)
On the way down the street my husband got solicited for drugs 7 times. A record for him.
We met the bus and this driver really gave us a history. It was so cool to hear about the white witch and all the resorts that had closed or changed names. We were on the bus with the puppeteers from the ship. That was entertaining!!!
We made it back to the port with enough time to get the boys each a beautiful shirt. It has all the names of Jamaica on them. They are just beautiful!!
I was exhausted and ready for a nap. I headed back to the room and got ready to take a nap. Chris headed out and went to the hot tub.
I heard the announcement for sailaway, didn't think anything of it.
All of a sudden the damn boat started rocking. BAD!
I grabbed the bonine and took one. (Note that I hadn't had any problem with it this trip)
I never got sick, but the dizziness was hell. After Chris came back up and asked if I wanted to go eat, and I said okay. We got to the dining room, and I couldn't hang. I was too dizzy. Sweet Jose went and re ordered my pasta wrapped it up and sent it with Chris up to me. What a wonderful wonderful man!!
I was starving but the dizziness was hell. I ate my pasta and Chris was chomping at the bit. I told him go play and I'd be alright.
Needless to say, my husband came back 2 hours later, with 160$ in chips from the casino and brought me pizza from Sorrentos!
They finally got the stabilizers going on the boat and I fell asleep. What a loser, I'm in bed by 5pm and slept till 8am the next morning.
Day 5- At Sea