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Fun Times in Mexico

My #international trips look a bit different since moving back to the US. With limited time off and everything so far away, I plan to get to know #Mexico and the #Caribbean much better. My last trip to #PlayadelCarmen was the early 2000s. It was one of my first cruises and we docked at a port and took a taxi to a beach in Playa del Carmen. For many years, it had been the best beach I’d experienced. The water was crystal clear, it was warm, and relaxing. Once I went to the #Maldives, the Playa del Carmen beach quickly moved down the list. I say all this to say, my expectations were pretty high for Playa del Carmen; not only because of past experience but because the resort reviews were stellar.

I stayed at the Royal Hideaway PlayaCar. It’s about a 40 minute drive from the Cancun airport but it was a nice ride in a SUV with a TV and a cold beverage. When I pulled up to the resort, it was grandiose. It had a royal feel to it and quickly reminded me of Doha. Greeted by friendly smiling faces, I was whisked away to check in and handed a glass of pink champagne and a cold towel for my face and hands. I was already in heaven.

Walking through the manicured grounds with small ponds throughout, was a site to see. I was taken to my villa on the third floor and left to explore. The room was great: spacious, clean, well stocked fridge and a nice sized balcony overlooking the grounds. I settled in and unpacked and made my way to the beach.

This was my first experience at an all inclusive and I’ve been watching the news about the mysterious illnesses and deaths  happening after drinking alcohol in Mexico. I’m not sure this was such a wise idea to go to Mexico because I certainly went light on the adult beverages during the trip. I mostly stuck to wine! Anyway, wading in the infinity pool with great drinks, ordering food in the pool, and laying in a cabana to read and relax is how I spent the weekend. I met great people from all over the state of #Texas. It was indeed a great experience.

I cannot recommend this resort, however. The food, overall, was the worst food experience I’ve ever had on vacation. Except the time I did get sick on my way from leaving #Mumbai. The only thing that kept me from starving was the hot wings (which had to be ordered at the pool), fries, and omelettes. I dined at one of the restaurants the first night. The main course, veal, was disgusting! I took one bite of the rubbery hunk of meat and decided I’d try the room service. That was a disaster. I can say they had great guacamole and I ate lots of plain lays potato chips.

All in all, I didn’t let the horrible food ruin everything else. I’ll try an all inclusive one more time and see if the food is better. If not, I’m not sure I can do it again! If anyone has a recommendation for a nice all inclusive with good food, please let me know. I’d certainly appreciate it. 

Finally, thank goodness for the pool because there was an extreme amount of seaweed on the beach. 

Well, I’ll sign off for now. The kid is coming soon so look for the Jaden & Kendra update! I enjoy when he visits. He’s such a blast and he reminds me how old I am…

Living life…and it’s good.

Girls’ Trip

I’m not talking about the movie and I actually haven’t even seen it yet, but I will. The #GirlsTrip I’m talking about is the one my college friends and I have regularly. It was another spectacular weekend with great food, fun and laughs.

This was our first trip since Brittany’s passing. I admit, I was nervous about getting together because Brittany has been a constant in our girls’ trips. Her absence would speak volumes amongst us…and it  did. We took time to honor and acknowledge her and it was needed. We all miss her beautiful smile and bright positive personality. The good thing that came out of this gathering is we gained two ladies on this trip. Having them there made us appreciate the times we are able to escape and spend time together even more.  Continue reading Girls’ Trip

I’m Not Getting Any Younger

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Going to work out…yes, you heard me correctly đŸ˜¦

Okay, we all know that things start to fall apart when you start getting a little older. I noticed some changes when I hit 35. I was not happy to see 35 and my body is constantly reminding me that I’m not 23 anymore. As a nurse I LOVE to use the excuse of taking care of others as a reason for not taking care of myself. Truth is, I’m lazy! I am one of the laziest people you will ever meet when it comes to working out. I CANNOT commit to working out to save my life. Well, I haven’t been able to up to this point. However, I am going to stop being selfish and actually start taking care of this host I call my body. I’ve realized that at this point in life, it takes a different motivator to make me commit to such a thing. So my plan is to start slow…3 days per week. I have a personal trainer to help me reach my initial goals and I’m actually excited (even though the picture doesn’t look like I’m excited). I can already hear some of you talking crap about me because I’m already “small”…but guess what, little people have heart attacks too!

Now that I just told you how I’ll start working out, I’ll tell you about some great food! I just know I’ll have to work out “extra” when I enjoy my dining experiences. A few blogs ago, I talked about Grace’s and the incredible fried oyster salad. I’m only bringing it up because I’ve been back a couple of times and each experience has been amazing. I’ve had braised short ribs, crayfish mac & cheese, fried pork chops, even the wine is delicious. This is one place that I can’t seem to go wrong. I can’t wait to go again.

Last week, I met a gentleman at Cafe 4212. Monday night is jazz night so of course I’mIMG_3812 there. He’s from Europe and gave me some insight into so many fun things that are right up my alley. He invited me to an event put on by World Affairs Council (WAC). I decided to go because the topic was interesting: Ex CIA agent discussing safety while traveling abroad and how not to get kidnapped. Well, duh! Of course I wanted to hear what he had to say. Not only was it a great talk, but when I walked in, there was a spread of authentic international cuisine!  I was in heaven. I had nan, falafel, fatoush and I never thought I’d be happy to have kofte kebabs in my life. It was all so good. (To my friends in Doha, think of me the next time you have stuffed grape leaves.) He also introduced me to his wife and some friends, who thought he was telling a tale when he told them he’d met a beautiful woman and invited her to the event. I thought that was pretty funny. He certainly has a lovely wife and nice friends!

IMG_3816He also told me about the Miller Outdoor Theater. The #Houston #Symphony plays free concerts there and they were playing Mozart and Beethoven at upcoming concerts. I bought a little camping chair and Ubered to the theater and enjoyed a night under the stars listening to classical music. Again, reminiscent of my #Doha nights on the water overlooking the skyline with incredible #jazz artists filling the air with beautiful music. *Sigh*

**Random thought** Perhaps all the fun things I’m doing explains this repetitive dream I’m having. I keep dreaming that I’ve missed my flight to Doha. I currently have no plans to go to Doha but I’ve missed that flight in my dreams at least eight or nine time. Maybe all these Doha-like experiences are influencing my dreams….hmmmm

Okay, I’m back.

One thing about being in Houston is that it is a hub city. I’m looking forward to some international trips real soon. I’m sure I’ll do something quick to Mexico. I’ve also never been to Hawaii – I know, right – so I may go there before the end of the year. So many options! Don’t worry, you’ll go on the journey with me!

Living life…and it’s good.

 

Houston Nights

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James and I had a ball!

I feel like I’m back in Doha with all the fun I’m having. Yes, I’m sure it’s the newness of it all but I don’t need a lot of people to have a good time. People-watching and a glass of wine can keep me settled for a few hours; oh, and good music too. I’ve been exploring the city with a friend that I’ve reconnected with. She and I have had good food, good music and good laughs. It’s so nice to have her in my life again and have the opportunity to just be ourselves!

I promised to tell you about the motorcycle night a few weekends ago. I was at my now favorite spot, @Bar5015. Yeah, I already have a favorite spot. Anyway, I was sitting out on the deck enjoying the night breeze, listening to the DeeJay spin records. A couple of mature gentlemen pulled up on their #Harleys. I love bikes, some of ya’ll know this about me. I had to check them out. Anyway we all had great conversation and when it was time to go home, I asked for a ride on the bike (I use #Uber when I go out). I hopped on the back of the Harley and rode the one mile home. Not super safe for many reason…I know. But it was fun! I cannot wait to get another bike!

There’s another little spot called Leon’s Lounge. Again, trendy spot. They have great drinksIMG_3830 and a great live band on Saturday nights. I happened to take Paige and Shed when they stopped through on their way to #California. I guess I’m getting old because my soon-to-be nephew clowned me because I like to listen to old school R&B. He totally rained on my parade but I enjoyed it while it lasted. I’ll be sure and go again.

I treated Paige and Shed to my new found little piece of heaven: Triple Tree Center. It’s a massage place where they give you a chair massage, with your clothes on and they add a little reflexology. I’ve been a few times in the last several weeks and thought Paige & Shed could use a little massage after hours of driving and even more hours to drive ahead of them. We all laid on those chairs and were assaulted for the next hour. But it felt great! I can’t wait to go back again. It’s also super inexpensive; can’t beat $30.

In the Bellaire area of #Houston, I found a nice Thai restaurant: Tony’s Thai Restaurant. I wanted to have something light because we had dinner plans so I ordered the potstickers and spring rolls. They were excellent. I don’t typically care for steamed potstickers but these were incredible and I will certainly make my way back just for the appetizers.

You must now know about the most wonderful dessert place on Earth; in my opinion. It’s called Sugar Rush Cake Gallery. Here’s what I’ve had: mini cheesecake with banana pudding and a host of cupcakes. You have to look at the menu just to see the descriptions of the cupcakes. They are moist, the icing is to die for and they have the most wonderful toppings. I’ve had a cupcake topped with a piece of pecan pie and one topped with banana pudding with vanilla wafers (just like the cheese cake). It’s going to take some serious self control to stay away from that place…or at least limit my visits. If you come to Houston, it’s a must try!

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We rocking the gold!

To close this blog out, I have to tell you about a small pleasure…Living in the Pacific NW, I missed the self-serve car wash. When I got here back in April, my sister and I were out and about shopping for things for my apartment. OMG! I came across a self-serve car wash and was excited beyond belief. Jamica just laughed at me as I took my time using just about every setting on the machine to wash my car. The pay stations have even upgraded to credit and debit card payments. I was enthralled! It was great having a stroll down memory lane…until I got in the sun and noticed all the spots that I missed….and then got the bill and saw I spent $18 on a horrible car wash. Lol! It was all good though. With this heat and humidity in Houston and the fact that I did a poor job, I’ve decided to go new school. I’ve found a car wash to take care of my car cleaning needs. They do a great job!

Until next time my friends! Living life in #Houston…and it’s so good.

Are you tired of being tired? Ask me how to Thrive!

Back to Vulnerability

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See – I’m Okay

Earlier today I began writing my #blog with the excitement of sharing my #Houston experiences over the last couple of weeks. However, I didn’t get very far because something just didn’t feel right. Perhaps because there’s something else on my mind and in my heart. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but then I picked up a #book (well technically opened my iBooks app) and read the introduction to The Universe Has Your Back. Just the introduction alone hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s odd how the fear to turn the pages struck me instantly, but it’s not a fear that I can’t push past. I’m intrigued to be honest. I’m not really into self help books or books that are extremely spiritual; however, I’m going to delve into what the author has to offer. Continue reading Back to Vulnerability

I’m Feeling Some Kind of Way

2014-08-14 19.24.50This is Brittany. Beautiful, loving, and has a smile for the ages. A kind person with a heart of gold. She has three beautiful children that she adopted with her loving husband, Lane. Brittany has been one of those friends that I only see once a year or once every couple of years, along with the rest of the University of Tulsa #TU crew.

I remember one of our girls’ trip to #Denver. We stayed in the mountains and went out on snowmobiles. One of us, not me, kept driving off the edge into a ditch. The last time the snowmobile went into the ditch, all of us girls wondered how in the world we’d get that darn snowmobile out of the ditch. Then along came about 10 men, dressed in all black on black snowmobiles. They were there to rescue us! As each one removed their helmet, the next one cuter than the one before, all of us girls grinned sheepishly and played helpless. Yes, we did. It was like a scene from a movie. We still talk about that story whenever we get together.  Continue reading I’m Feeling Some Kind of Way

I Think I Like Houston

I am finally moved in and unpacked. Whew, I do not like moving. It’s exhausting.   There are no more boxes to unpack and I couldn’t be happier. My place is exactly 1/2 the square footage of my house but my closet is ridiculously huge. No complaints though. I wish all closets were that big! 

The guest room/Jaden’s room is ready! I think it turned out pretty good. Im in love with the concrete floors and exposed brick and ceilings. However, I’m not too fond of all the extracurricular activities I get to hear. *sigh* lol 

A 5 minute commute to work is something I’ve never had. The days I go into the office will be a breeze in this Houston traffic. I’m curious if I’ll miss that downtime/unwind time that I’ve had for the last 8 years. We will see.

The herbs are in the window. I’ll see how the rosemary and cilantro will do. I planted lavender too. Even though it was only a few pots, playing with that dirt felt great! I was longing to go pull weeds and get the raised beds ready at the house in Vancouver but ran out of time. It would have been great therapy for me. But now I have my little potted plants plus one house plant from my dad’s funeral. My brother, Aaron, and his family managed to keep this plant alive for 16 years but it hasn’t grown. It’s really odd. Anyway, I took a piece and it has sat in water for the last year. I’ve finally given my little piece of the plant a home. 

I’ve had an opportunity to eat out multiple times in the past 9 days. I wasn’t expecting to but I’ve been to four great restaurants: Pappas Seafood, Pappas Brothers Steakhouse, Pappadeaux’s, and a place called Grace’s. I’ll spare you the play by play. What I want you to know is I had a fried oyster salad that was out of this world! Yes, the lightly battered, tender, crispy oysters were on top of a bed of fresh spinach with bacon pieces and pine nuts and blue cheese tossed with a vinegarette. It was an unusual item on the Grace’s menu and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s a must try. I also had a slice of banana cheesecake from Pappas Seafood. There was banana cake embedded in the cheesecake. My goodness. No words. I’m looking forward to trying more Houston restaurants.  

I’m not real sure why but I’m surprised by the friendliness of the people here in Houston and I’m pleased with the diverse population. I think I like Houston. 

Well, I’m in a very familiar place: on a plane. I’m heading to San Juan to board a 7 day cruise with my bestie. We try to vacation together once a year and this time we’re getting together for my birthday. Forty is coming quickly! Two more years until that milestone. I’m planning a trip to Australia for that one. 

Still living life and it’s good!