Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation all I ever wanted....(part 2)

At the end of June/beginning of July, we took a much needed vacation, and it was WONDERFUL!

Here's a glimpse of our itinerary:
Tuesday, June 28 - San Antonio/New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Concert
Wednesday, June 29 - Galveston
Thursday, June 30-Monday July, 4 - 4-day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy to Cozumel

Yesterday, I posted about San Antonio and Galveston, which you can find here.

Today, I'm going to talk about our cruise.  We had a great time!!  We were on the Carnival Ecstasy, and the itinerary was:
Thursday, June 30 - Set sail!!  Wooh!!  :o)
Friday, July 1 - Sea Day
Saturday, July 2 - Cozumel
Sunday, July 3 - Sea Day
Monday, July 4 - Disembark (Boo!)

When we woke up Thursday morning, I looked out our hotel window and saw this:

It was the funnel for our ship!!!  All the way across the island.  Now you know how narrow Galveston really is.  I was so excited!

We got to the port and checked in by 11:30, and we were boarding by about noon, so we didn't have to wait long at all.  We did have to wait until 1:30 to get into our room, though, so if you are taking a cruise, be sure your carryon bags are light.

We chose an outside view room, because we didn't really feel like we needed a balcony, but I just couldn't deal with the idea of not being able to at least see outside.  Our room was small, but it was all we needed, really.  We didn't spend too much time in there.  The bathroom was tiny, which I was expecting, so that wasn't so bad.  Here's a picture of our cabin:

 The ship was really cool, and I was amazed how big it was and how much there was to do between meals.  LOL!  Here are some pics of the ship itself:
Grand Atrium

Sun deck overlooking the pool stage area

Waterworks, which is like a mini-waterpark

I can't believe I didn't take more pictures of the ship then that.  The food was amazingly good, with so much to choose from.  We generally ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido (which was the buffet), and dinner in the dining room.  I could not get enough of the shrimp cocktails.  I wish I had one now!  I don't know why they were so good, but they were!

The only port we went to was Cozumel, and it was absolutely beautiful.  The shore excursion we did was the Mayan Ruins and Beach Break.  They took us to the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio, which is a temple to a fertility goddess, and then we went to Punta Morena where we ate an incredible lunch before spending a few minutes on the beach.  The only thing I wish is they would have built in time for lunch without cutting into your beach time. There was one other thing I didn't like/didn't consider.  Being in a jungle during rainy season means one thing:  mosquitos!!  They were awful!  And we even brought bug spray and practically bathed in it.  It was great fun, though!  Here are some pictures:
The original entrance to the city

There were iguanas running wild

This iguana didn't want to let us by.  Notice he is nearly as long as the path is wide.

Punta Morena

Punta Morena

 Overall, we had a great time.  I totally want to go again, and I would really like to take a Northern European cruise.  I highly recommend considering a cruise, if you don't get seasick.  We were both fine, except the first night was a little rough getting used to it.

One final word of advice:  No, you do not HAVE to have a passport for this cruise, BUT the U.S. Customs line for those without passports was probably a good hour and a half to 2 hour wait to get through, and we walked right up to the customs agent, and went on through.  So I highly recommend getting a passport!

 That's all for today.  Have you taken a cruise?  How has your experience been?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation all I ever wanted....

It seems like it's been forever since I've posted, and it really has been over a month.  I need to do better.

At the end of June/beginning of July, we took a much needed vacation, and it was WONDERFUL!

Here's a glimpse of our itinerary:
Tuesday, June 28 - San Antonio/New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Concert
Wednesday, June 29 - Galveston
Thursday, June 30-Monday July, 4 - 4-day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy to Cozumel

We had a great time!!  Today I will post about San Antonio and Galveston, and tomorrow, I will post about the cruise.

Tuesday, June 28
This morning was a little rushed, because, well, I didn't start packing until about 10:00 Monday night.  I think I did manage to have all of my laundry already done, though, which was good.  After dropping Sugar off at PetSmart, we had breakfast at the Monument Cafe in Georgetown (love that place!!) even though it was going the wrong way on IH-35 from San Antonio (yes, we ARE crazy, and we do detour for food.  Bad, I know).
From there, we ran to Target for a few last minute items, and then home to throw our stuff in the car, and we were on our way!  For some reason, we did not take 130 down to Buda, and for the life of me, I cannot remember why.  Luckily, though, we did not run into any traffic on 35, since it was mid-morning, and we were getting into San Antonio in just a little over an hour.  This was when we took detour #2 for food (last one, I promise!)  We wanted to eat lunch at Earl of Sandwich, one of our favorite counter service restaurants at Disney World.  Well, come to find out, they are a chain, and they have a few locations in San Antonio.  Woo hoo!  It was only about 15 miles out of our way, though, so not too bad.

After lunch, we headed straight to the hotel.  We stayed at La Mansion Del Rio, and it was very lovely.  I don't know that we will stay here again, because it's very pricey, but we had a great time! Here are some pictures:
Our room from the entrance

The view from our balcony



Before the concert, we decided to take a little walk around the Riverwalk, and have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.  We've eaten at several Landry's-owned restaurants, and have never been too impressed with the food, but we were pleasantly surprised with this location.  It was delicious!  After that, it was time to head to the concert.  Here are a couple of pictures, for anyone who may be interested.  It was a great concert!

Jordin Sparks opened


After the concert, we hit the sack.  We had to wake up and drive to Galveston the next day.

Wednesday, June 29
This morning, we had breakfast at Las Canarias, which is the hotel's restaurant, and then we headed east on I-10.  Traffic was backed up in a couple of spots, due to construction, but not too bad.  We got into Galveston around 2 or 3, checked in at our hotel, the Hotel Galvez, and headed straight for the beach.  We walked around and picked up some shells, and then we were starting to get hungry.  We had dinner at Benno's, which had really good seafood.  Then we drove around a little bit, and walked to Murdoch's to see all the fun souvenirs.  By then, we were ready to head back to the hotel, and go to bed.  Tomorrow would be a big day!  Here are a few pictures of the Hotel Galvez:
Our room (it was not very large at all, but it was nice)

We only had a shower, but it was an awesome one!  It had a rainfall shower head and a hand held shower head, which was handy for getting sand off your feet.

Our hotel from the fishing pier across the street

The lobby

Tomorrow, I'll be back with the rest of our trip!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anniversary Week

I hope everyone is having a great week!  This week has been very hectic, but very nice all the same.

Tuesday was our 8th wedding anniversary.  It is so hard to believe it's been that long.  This year actually made 11 years that we have been together.  Time sure does fly.  I've never taken the time to actually scan our wedding photos, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to scan a couple.  Jonathan and I remember so little from that day, that it's fun to go back and look at pictures.  It's been a long time since I've done that.  Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from the big day:

 Photographs by Lawrence

Photographs by Lawrence

 Last weekend, we took an early anniversary getaway to Dallas.  We started by going to one of my favorite spots in Dallas, the Dallas World Aquarium, where I could watch the penguins for hours.  Particularly the Fairy Penguins at the entrance/gift shop.

We had dinner that night at Nick & Sam's which is a wonderful steakhouse.  It's very pricey, but very worth it, I though.  We shared a porterhouse.  Next time, I want to try the Ribeye.  The lobster mac and cheese is to die for!!  The service was very attentive as well.

We stayed at the Four Seasons Dallas (actually in Las Colinas).  My sweet hubby even upgraded us to a corner room, which was wonderful!  We loved the Four Seasons Houston when we stayed there last summer, and we love the Four Seasons Dallas now, too.  He spoils me.  :o)  Here are some pictures of our room, and the resort pool, which was incredible!  They have 4 pools, but we only made it to that one.
Sitting room/living room area from entrance

Doesn't Jonathan look like he could be in a brochure for the hotel?

It was quite a large room.  The TV stand held the mini-bar and lots of snacks for purchase.

Jonathan looking distinguished in a little cowboy hat that was sitting on the nightstand.

View of the resort pool from our balcony

View of the Sports Club/Golf Course from our balcony

Bathroom - Very deep bathtub!


Resort Pool

Resort pool leading to hot tub.  You can't see it very well in this picture, but the hot tub had pile of rocks with a fountain/water cascading into it.

Resort Pool

They had little alcoves of chaise lounges where you could relax in (somewhat) privacy.

On Sunday, we went to the Galleria and Sprinkles Cupcakes (I think Hey Cupcake! is much better).  Sugar even got a present (we felt bad for boarding her 2 weekends in a row).  It's a little small, but it's a dress with Sugar embroidered on the back.  So adorable!!!

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband!  I still can't believe we've been married for 8 years.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I know, I know.  It's been awhile!  I've had so many things going on and so little time to blog.  I plan to rectify that very soon.  I have two projects that I've been working on that I can't wait to pantry/laundry room and my closet.  My pantry is really coming along.  I still want to paint and make some curtains, but if someone walked in there right now, I would not be embarassed!  It's amazing!  My closet is a totally different story.  Right now, it's a nightmare.  I plan to post pictures of both soon.  In the meantime,  I leave you with this sweet little bundle of cuteness:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kansas Weekend

I hope you all have had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 
I had a very busy one full of lots of driving and great family time.  This weekend, I left Jonathan and Sugar to their own devices, and Mom, Dad, and I headed to Kansas.  We dropped Dad off at my Grandpa's house for the weekend, and then Mom and I drove to Hutchinson for the night, but not before making a very important stop in one of our favorite Kansas towns, Yoder.  Yoder is a Mennonite community that has a restaurant, a furniture store, an amazing hardware store, and several other cute little shops.  They also had a farmer's market going on.  Here is a picture of almost all of the items I purchased during our time in Yoder.

This includes a purse, a 1-gallon crock, a couple of packages of wheat kernel snacks, a quart of homemade bread and butter pickles, a quart of homemade sweet garlic dill pickles, and a jar Sandhill Plum jelly.  Not included in the picture, is a cinammon roll as big as a dinner plate (no exaggeration)  from the Carriage Crossing Restaurant.  It was yummy!

 The next morning, we drove about an hour and a half to Wilson, Kansas for the Steinle Family Reunion.  On our way, we passed the Smokey Hills Wind Farm.  After miles and miles of flat land filled with wheat, it is amazing to see rolling hills filled with enormous wind turbines with blades slowly turning that close to the interstate. It was a beautiful site! 

The reunion was wonderful time filled with lots of love and laughter (and lots of yummy food).  Mom has two remaining aunts on her Dad's side, and it was wonderful to see them and all of the many cousins and second cousins that she hasn't seen in many, many years (the last reunion we attended was in 1983), and meeting many others for the first time.  We had a great time, and can't wait to do it again!  Here are some pictures from the reunion.

Mom and I
Mom with her Aunts Helen (L) and Violet (R)
Steinle 1st Cousins
Steinle 2nd Cousins (minus a few who had already left)  I am the pink arm - my head is hiding.
That night, we stayed in Salina, and on Sunday,  we started our trip home.  When we got to Edmond, Oklahoma, we made a short detour on Route 66 to stop at one of mine and Jonathan's favorite places, Pops, and picked up two 6-packs of various assorted pictures.  I have never seen Pop's so busy in my life!  Granted, we are normally there when it is 15 degrees outside, so that may have something to do with it.  After that, we headed the rest of the way to Mom and Dad's house, and then I came the rest of the way on Monday.  I am so glad to be home.  I think I drove some 1400 miles total this weekend, and I am tired!

On another note, with this being Memorial Day, I wanted to take a moment to remember two very special people who are no longer with us:  My wonderful Poppop, Ben, and my beautiful Grandma, Thelma.  I love and miss you both!!
Grandma and Grandpa with my Dad as a baby

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My New Addiction

Hello, my name is Tiffany, and I am an addict.

I have many addictions in my life:
  Skittles and Starburst
  Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno
  LUSH Bath Bombs
  EOS Lip Balms

But I have a new addiction that may be stronger than all of my others combined:  Pinterist.  I first learned of Pinterist from the blog from a high school friend on her blog, Hollywood Housewife.  Then I saw a post about it on another friend's blog, SortaCrunchy.  I started checking it out, and realized this is such a great idea.  According to their About page, Pinterist is a place where you can create collections of things you love and "follow" collections created by people with great taste.  People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things -- wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.  You can follow friends on Pinterist and see their collections, and create your own collections.

I am having so much fun with it!  You can click here to follow me.  If you are interested in learning more about Pinterist, Megan at SortaCrunchy has created Pinterist:  A Beginner's Guide.

If anyone wants an invite to join Pinterist, let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Movie Night and some Random Blog Thoughts

Tonight, I didn't have worship practice, so Jonathan and I decided to head to our favorite movie theater to see Bridesmaids with Kristen Wiig and Mya Rudolph. It was hilarious!! There were some moments that were quite inappropriate (not to mention gross!), so this is definitely not a family-friendly movie (it is rated R). The theater was packed, and everyone laughed the entire way through. We ate way too much food. It was a nice break from such a busy week.

I've been thinking a lot about what I plan to post on the blog. I've got lots of interests going on right now, including (but not limited to) Health/Beauty, Home Organization and Cleaning, Cooking, as well as Travel and Books. So be forewarned, my posts may be random for awhile until I get into a groove. If you have any thoughts for what you would like to see for my blog, please feel free to comment.

I hope all of you are having a great week. It's been a little slow at work, which has been nice for getting caught up on some of the "busy work" that can sometimes fall by the wayside when things are crazy.


Welcome to Joyfully Loud!

I decided to start this blog as an outlet for all of the crazy thoughts running through my head. Those of you who know me well know that I have many random thoughts and ideas going on at any one time in my head, and I thought this would be a good place to channel them.

I chose the name Joyfully Loud because of one of my favorite verses, Psalms 98:4. The King James Version says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." I sing all of the time: In the car, in the shower, with my church's worship team... Most of the time, it's a safe bet that I have some random song running through my head. Sometimes it sounds good, and sometimes it's just noise. But all of the time, it tends to be loud.

So this is my blog. If you decide to stick with me, I hope you enjoy it. If not, it's okay, I TOTALLY understand!! :o)