New Blog

So, I have created a new blog on wordpress. Check me out!  highheeledmuse.com  leave me your feedback!

Avidtraveler87 needs YOUR feedback!

So, I am currently killing time in my steam bath of a room before I head out to breakfast with some classy ladies at a not so classy venue. I have been trying to come up with a new name for my blog, which has been a tiring feat. I have some ideas….but I want to call it something that will be a figurative umbrella term for what I generally write about (which I’ve nailed down as mostly travel adventures, some recipes, media reviews, and I am thinking of starting to track goals….we’ll see). So an umbrella term (or in my case, name) for all that….

Well, as I was salsa-ing in my room to Luis Enrique’s Dame de Tu Boca, it hit me! Why don’t I ask my readers? Surely they have some good ideas!

So, here goes!

CALLING ALL READERS! THIS IS FOR YOU!

SUBMIT YOUR IDEAS FOR A NEW NAME FOR THE BLOG EITHER IN THE FORM OF A COMMENT ON THIS POST OR ON FACEBOOK. IF I CHOOSE YOUR SUBMISSION, I WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE CREDIT AND A FEATURE IN WHATEVER FORM YOU’D LIKE (A PHOTO, A WRITTEN PIECE, AN ABOUT ME SECTION, REGULAR POSTINGS…)

So, seize the opportunity! Get creative! Give your feedback–because you are my biggest (and only) fans! Your opinion matters to me. Let’s give this about a week….sooo deadline for ideas for the new blog name is July 15, 2011.

READY? SET? GO!

Got Crickets?

We all know the sound–or lack thereof. When we are hoping to trigger a response out of someone and our tympanic membranes ring with the sound of chirping crickets. Okay–I realize that the described scenario may only exist in movies or cartoons, but it is this very silence that can eat away at someone.

I am a twenty-three year old girl longing to share my heart with one (lucky) intelligent, funny, non-psycho, caring, sweet male individual. This is proving to be harder to find than one originally thought. I put myself out there, make a connection with someone and then reach this awkward phase where you want to keep the ball rolling so you can get to know each other better but you don’t want to come off as too eager or pushy or clingy or needy but need to convey that YES! I AM INTERESTED AND WANT TO HANG OUT AGAIN but no, I AM NOT SOME CLINGY LUNATIC.

So, in a recent dating episode, I made a great connection with someone and we had great conversations over drinks and appetizers. At the end of the night, we parted under the idea that we would “do this again.” And we did–we got together a couple of nights later for a much more low-key night. TV and talking. And then the awkward phase set in….

I think if any potential guy knew about the mental warfare I endure during the dating process–they would probably run in the opposite direction. On the other hand, I guess I would know I found a good, strong guy if they stayed. The thought missiles that get fired across my mind go something like this, “Should I call?” “Should I wait for him to call?” “Is he busy?” “Maybe he doesn’t like me anymore” “Maybe he didn’t like me from the start…” “Why isn’t he answering?” “Did my phone just vibrate?” “I could have sworn my phone just vibrated” “Maybe my phones not working….Let me call myself to make sure.”

Okay, okay—this may have been an exaggeration. But it is in that period of silence that I am left waiting–aimlessly, mind you–for a blip on the radar to hopefully let me know that I’m still on someone’s mind. Until that happens, all I am left hearing are crickets.

I feel a rant coming on—consider yourself warned! But what is it for guys to just say “I’m sorry, but I don’t think it is going to go further than this” or just throw a girl a bone. Enough is enough! A little honesty goes a LONG way in my book. And have I ever bit anyone’s head off for saying they didn’t want to see me again? I think not.

So guys, LISTEN UP! A little message–even just a HEY–would brighten a girls day. But if you feel like you both aren’t on the same page, SAY SOMETHING. Don’t just leave a girl hanging. I mean, yes, eventually she will get the message through the use of this method. But in the name of fairness—just come out with it.

When spoken, the truth can hurt. But often times, what is not said can hurt more. And for those wondering—chirping crickets is one painful sound.

The Boyfriend of The Month Club: A good beach read!

I just finished reading Maria Geraci’s novel, The Boyfriend of The Month Club at the gym this morning. I have been taking it with me everywhere I go in the hopes that if I find a lull in time, I’ll whip it out and read just a few more pages of this light and airy novel.

Geraci’s characters are fun and engaging—you will find at least one that you can fall in love with throughout her 368-page turner. I especially enjoyed the ending of the book because it gave the perfect closure to the relationship you secretly voted a success for protagonist, Grace O’Bryan. Far from perfect, but seeking the perfect love story she’s seen in movies, read about in books, Grace loves and loses–at a great price, thanks to the Book-Club-turned-Boyfriend-of-the-Month-Club–and gains it all back in the end.

Chicken Christina, Anyone?

You might say I am spoiled, but dinner is usually made daily for me. Well, not just me, but for the rest of the brood, too. Today, however, I was greeted with a note on the table that read “DINNER  ?” indicating that dinner was on us as long as we wanted it. So the Blonde Bombshell took to the kitchen and set out to make dinner. I decided I’d like to recreate a dish I enjoyed from Cafe Amici in Middletown, CT called Chicken Christina. Before you make any judgements—Clamity Jane was able to successfully cook dinner without burning the house down or setting off the smoke detectors (YAY!). It actually came out pretty good. I didn’t have a recipe to follow–I made it up as I went along.

I chopped up some garlic and sliced some packaged prosciutto to saute in a frying pan with some oil over medium low-ish heat. I added 4 tablespoons of butter to melt in the pan and poured in Lemon White Wine vinegar until it was about a quarter-inch deep in the bottom of the pan. I stirred it around and let it reduce before adding a few fistfuls of mushrooms. After the mushrooms I switched gears and began boiling the linguine. I added grilled chicken strips to the pan with all the goods in it. I found some seasonings and added some of those to taste in the pan. I sliced some cherry tomatoes and tossed them into the pan. When the linguine was ready, I drained and added it to the pan….and almost forgot mozzarella cheese! Gave it a good stir and ORDER UP!

Take a look!

Here’s One for the Dinner Table…LITERALLY

Can Cold Water Clean Dishes?

 

This is for all the germ conscious folks who worry about using cold water to clean.

John went to visit his 90-year-old grandfather in a very secluded, rural area of Saskatchewan. After spending a great evening chatting the night away, the next morning John’s grandfather prepared breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.

However, John noticed a film like substance on his plate, and questioned his grandfather asking, “Are these plates clean?”

His grandfather replied, “They’re as clean as cold water can get ’em. Just you go ahead and finish your meal, Sonny!”

For lunch the old man made hamburgers.

Again, John was concerned about the plates, as his appeared to have tiny specks around the edge that looked like dried egg and asked, “Are you sure these plates are clean?”

Without looking up the old man said, “I told you before, Sonny, those dishes are as clean as cold water can get them. Now don’t you fret, I don’t want to hear another word about it!”

Later that afternoon, John was on his way to a nearby town and as he was leaving, his grandfather’s dog started to growl and wouldn’t let him pass. John yelled and said, “Grandfather, your dog won’t let me get to my car.”

Without diverting his attention from the football game he was watching on TV, the old man shouted, “Coldwater, go lay down now, yah hear me!”

Need a Laugh? Here’s a Joke!

Golf Caddie

 

A man goes to a public golf course. He approaches the man behind the counter in the pro shop and says, “I would like 18 holes of golf and a caddie.”

The man behind the counter says, “The 18 holes of golf is no problem, but all of the caddies are out on the course. What I will do for you is this: We just received 8 brand new robot golf caddies. If you’re willing to take one with you out on the course and come back and tell me how it works, your round is on me today.”

The golfer obviously accepted the man’s offer. He approached the first tee, looked at the fairway and said to himself, “I think my driver will do the job.”

The robot caddie turned to the man and said, “No Sir. Use your 3 wood. A driver is far too much club for this hole.” Hesitantly, the golfer pulled out his 3 wood, made good contact with the ball, and the ball landed about 10 feet to the right front of the hole on the green.

The golfer, delighted, turned to the robot and thanked him for his assistance. As the golfer pulled out his putter he said, “I think this green is gonna break left to right.” The robot then again spoke up and said, “No sir. I do believe this green will break from right to left.”

Thinking about the last time the robot corrected his prediction, he decided again to listen to the machine. He made his putt and birdied the hole thanks to the robot and his advice. But his luck didn’t end there. His entire game was the best game he ever played, thanks to the assistance of the new robot golf caddie.

Upon returning to the clubhouse, the man behind the counter asked, “How was your game?” The golfer stated, “It was, by far, the BEST game I ever played. Thank you very much for letting me take one of your robots. See you next week.”

A week passed, and excited, the golfer returned to the pro shop. Upon entering, he turned to the man behind the counter and said, “I would like 18 holes of golf and one of those robot golf caddies, please.”

The gentleman behind the counter turned to the man and said, “Well the 18 holes is no problem. However, we had to get rid of the robots. We had too many complaints.”

“COMPLAINTS? Who the heck could’ve complained about those robots? They were incredible!”

The man sighed and said, “Well, it wasn’t their performance. It was that they were made of shiny silver metal, and the sun reflecting off them was blinding to other golfers in the fair way.”

The golfer said, “So then why didn’t you just paint them black?”

The man nodded and replied, “We did. Then four of ’em didn’t show up for work, two filed for welfare, one of them robbed the pro shop, and the other thinks he’s the President.”

Critique of the Cruise

Well, the Blonde Bombshell survived the cruise. If I were to rate my overall cruise experience onboard the Oasis of the Seas (1-10), I would give my experience a 20. It was outstanding. Everything I went onboard expecting–I got and they (Royal Caribbean) managed to exceed. The food was excellent. The menus had plenty of options to choose from and offered healthy (Vitality) choices. The service in the dining room was impeccable. The wait staff took special care to make sure that each of us left well fed and satisfied from our menu choices. Whenever possible, they would offer second dishes to sample. Specialty dining rooms were outstanding. I believe the true tone of service can really be found in a specialty dining venue. What I mean by that is: the server is more focused on you, whereas your main dining room server might be tending to your table plus three or four others. The food is prepared especially for you and not just pulled off a line. The setting is usually more intimate and geared towards the guest and what they make of it.

The room–always clean, fresh and comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was incredible—always making sure that we were comfortable in our room, always made sure that we had clean linens and that our room was properly turned down at night with a mint on each pillow and a friendly towel animal awaiting our return.

The onboard activities—there were so many! I believe it is safe to say that there was something for nearly everyone who’s anyone to do onboard. The breadth of activities ranged from movies shown in the AquaTheater to wine tastings in Vintages to Walking Tours through Central Park that gave a bit of a behind the scenes glimpse into the caretaking of the plant life….Night time entertainment–limitless. There were parties everywhere around the ship, award-winning shows, live entertainment, the 70s Disco Street Party (my personal favorite!) The Love and Marriage Game Show–HYSTERICAL! youtube it—you will see what I mean. They have mini golf, rock climbing, FlowRider, a zip line, basketball, ping-pong, shuffle board, a walking/running track, ice skating, multiple swimming pools, volleyball….Oh, and a Boardwalk—with a carousel!

The shopping—if you are a spender—you will die and go to heaven as soon as you set foot onboard. They have Regalia fine jewelry, Coach leather goods, Willow–it was a neat clothing and accessory shop, The Shop, Solera and Port Merchants–it had everything. You name it: souvenirs, t-shirts and other clothing, toiletries, perfumes, make-up, liquors…everything LITERALLY. Prince + Greene was another fine clothing shop onboard.

Food and Beverage—ENDLESS. There were over 20 different venues to choose from—and I can honestly say that I didn’t even begin to scrape the surface at eating in even half of them. They have the main dining room, Izumi–Asian Cuisine, WindJammer–buffet style casual dining, they have Cafe Promenade—an all hours-type dining area, Mondo Coffee–specialty coffees and treats, Sorrentos Pizza, The Champagne Bar, Boleros, On-Air Club (where they held karaoke), Schooner Bar, Seafood Shack, Johnny Rockets, Boardwalk Donut Shop, Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Beach, Boardwalk Bar, Park Cafe, Chops Grille, Vintages, Giovanni’s Table, 150 Central Park, Rising Tide Bar, Trellis Bar, Dazzles, Solarium Bistro, Sand Bar, Pool Bar, Wipeout Cafe…..(GASP) that was a mouthful! As you can see—plenty of venues for food and drink around the ship ranging from Decks 3-16.

I had a great time and I cannot wait to go back. I feel as thought I need to go back on this ship to pick up right where I left off and see/experience all that I have yet to do! If you are thinking of cruising–I highly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean. You  definitely will not be disappointed. After all, they are the Nation of WHY NOT? The sky is the limit—ENJOY!

Blonde Bombshell Bids Adieu to the Oasis

After strolling into my stateroom well after 4 in the morning, I swiftly pulled out some clothes and took a fast shower before lying down to sleep the rest of the night. The rest of the night flew by before I was able to catch even a wink of sleep. I had to be up a few minutes to six in order to get breakfast and be off the ship before 7:30. We selected the Express Self Assist Walk Off Disembarkation because we had an early flight back home. Not wanting to experience any possibly hold-ups, we chose the earliest possible departure from the ship which was great for everyone who got a full night’s rest–SUCKED for me because I barely got even an hour’s worth of sleep. GREAT idea that was—hope you sense my sarcasm.

I rushed back up to the stateroom for the last time after breakfast to gather my belongings and give the room a final once-over to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind. Feeling as though I had everything, I left the room and was pleasantly greeted by Mohan Swift, our room attendant. Let me just say this–I think room attendants deserve far more credit than we give them credit for. I think we take for granted all they do to ensure our stateroom is comfortable, clean and inviting for the week. They break their backs making sure every little detail is in place for when we return after a long, hot day or an exciting night. They make the bed early in the day and then turn down the sheets at night.

Back to Swift—he was out in the hallway and greeted me with his warm smile. He has a smile that can light up a room. He said that it had been a pleasure serving us and that he hopes to see us again. Out of everyone I met on the cruise, he was always the first
one to greet me in the morning and ask me how my day is going/was. I made sure to give him a great big hug goodbye. I will surely miss him and the neat towel creatures he always left on the bed.

Disembarkation went smoothly, as did the Customs checkpoint. We made it to the airport with more than enough time to spare. I looked in my bag quickly for my license to hand to the woman behind the check-in counter, but didn’t see it right away. Knowing that I had my passport handy, I gave that to her while I continued to search my bag for my license. I thought I collected everything out of the safe back in the cabin—in fact, I remember using my license a couple of times while onboard. I knew it had to be in my bag somewhere. When we moved onward to the security line, I began rifling through my bag. When I didn’t find it that time, a delightfully awful thought crossed my mind—what if I lost it on the ship? Maybe I would have to go back for it? (Wink, wink!) I pushed that thought out of my mind and made a bee-line for a seat in the terminal. No sooner did I sit down, did my eye lids start to get heavy. Every now and again, I would catch myself falling forward out of the seat and wake up.

Finally they called our row and I raced to get on the plane. I found my seat, threw my things under the seat in front of me and fell right to sleep. I didn’t even hear the take off or the emergency information. The next thing I remember is the plane touching down in Hartford. As soon as we landed, I ached to be back on the ship sailing off to the Western Caribbean for the week. Surely, they would have better weather than what we experienced.

Overall, it was an excellent vacation. Now I just need a vacation from the vacation and I will be all set!

Stay tuned for some critiques of the ship. Please send me any questions you have!

Blonde Bombshell: Third Sea Day

Ahoy there! It is Friday aboard the massive vessel and it is our last sea day before we return to Port Everglades tomorrow morning. This morning I did something I haven’t done since before I left for this vacation: SLEPT IN. It was amazing. You should try it, really. I went to WindJammer to get some breakfast and then I ran down the stairs to Deck 6 to workout for a bit. On my return from the gym, I decided to get a Cruise Compass from the Promenade and while I was there, I discovered a gathering of people in the center waiting for the cake decorating event hosted by our cruise director, Richard Spacey featuring our Head Chef, Hotel Director, and Captain of the ship, Capt. Tryme. That was hysterical. They decorated a Black Forest Cake. The captain poured half a bottle of cherry liquore over the cake, soaking each layer. Richard Spacey said that anyone sampling his cake shouldn’t operate heavy machinery for at least three days.

After the cake decorating, I met Sean and we headed up to the Boardwalk to register for the Walk for Wishes. Royal Caribbean is a proud sponsor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All week the cruise staff held different charitable events (art auctions, raffles, and donations) where 100% of the proceeds go directly to the foundation. I am proud to say I walked a mile and made a small donation for the Make-A-Wish foundation. After the walk, I met up with the rest of my party and got some lunch. If you are considering going on this cruise, you MUST MUST MUST try the ham and cheese on a croissant from the Promenade Cafe. It was the best I have ever had. Heaven in my mouth.

After lunch, I went to the Focus Photo gallery to look at all the professional photos taken during the cruise. We ended up buying a photo book and buying some single photos to frame later. After spending (more like wasting) over an hour there deciding which to buy and which to put into the book, I went back to the room to shower and get ready. I put on nice clothes and met the rest of my party. They said they were going to try and lay out by the pool, so I ran back to the room and changed my clothes again. This was the first time since Nassau that it was actually nice enough to lay out. But that didn’t last long—no it was overcast and it was drawing closer to the time we reserved to see the ice show, Frozen in Time. The performance brought to life the works of Hans Christian Andersen. In the middle of the performance, they brought out a sand artist. Click the link to view some of what he did in a sand light box. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtdAVavJobo

Immediately following the show, needed to start getting ready for dinner. There was a Farewell Surprise in the Royal Promenade inbetween the two dinner seatings. Nearly all the staff and crew got dressed up and took a bow on the bridge during the Farewell Celebration. The International skaters we had just seen earlier were there and one of the male skaters got down on one knee while on the bridge and proposed to one of the female skaters. She was in complete shock! I felt priviledged to be apart of that special moment in their lives.

Off to the last supper—I ordered Spinach dip with tortilla chips to start and Mahi Mahi and Shrimp. I really enjoyed it. Our wait staff sang a farewell song to us at the end of the night and then we were off into the night! Following dinner, we had a Comedy Show to attend at the On-Air Comedy Club, Deck 4 near Studio B. The comedian was HYSTERICAL. He was a black entertainer. The first thing he said when he got on stage was “I feel like a raisin in a box of Frosted Flakes….oh wait–there’s another…That makes 2 raisins  There’s always two scoops, theres always two scoops” He made joke about the size of the shower. He said something to the effect that “god forbid you drop your soap….you have to bend down to get it and your ass is in the middle of the hallway in order to reach it.” Richard Spacey also commented on the size of the shower during the Love and Marriage Game Show and he said that its like the deposit slip container at the bank.

After the comedy show, I headed to Boleros for my drink and some dancing. I met some cool people there and we stayed up until the skyline was nearly visible. The morning staff bid me good morning as I walked through the Promenade—I must have given them the look of all looks because while they were all cheery and well-rested, I had yet to go to bed. I had an hour before I needed to be up, so I ran back to the room, showered and got in bed for a blink of an eye before my alarm sounded.

Stay tuned!

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