Monday, November 9, 2015

Blog Tour: A Sister's Place by Savannah Page

A Sister's PlaceA Sister's Place by Savannah Page
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm very particular in my stories about sisters. Having a sister myself, I probably like to see my relationship reflected on the page. Why? No idea. The author hasn't met me. Even in this story, I didn't see my weird relationship with my big sister, but there are always similarities.
I was always very close to both of my grandmothers. I remember my maternal grandmother teaching me how to make Keethla Cookies and I remember hanging out with my paternal grandmother during a music contest day that took place across the street from her house. I spent a lot of time with them until their deaths in 2004. I don't know if my sister had a similar relationship with them, but I hope she did. Grandmothers are important, as are sisters, and I love how this book braided the relationships together to show how beautiful family is.
The premise of two sisters being forced to live together in order to keep their family home is perfect for a movie, and I honestly think it should be done. This is the kind of story that pulls on your heartstrings because it's so relatable. I felt like during my college years, my sister and I were at this fork, where we could either go our separate ways, or we could get closer. This is the same situation that Gracie and Juliette found themselves in, and Grandma Mimi saw that.
I love stories that speak to me, and this one definitely did. I can't wait to read more by Savannah Page.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Girlfriend Vacation Day 2: Embarkation Day!


Ready for Day 2 of the journey? The best part of the journey? 

I always get so excited for that first glimpse of the boat. I don't really remember it when we went on our first cruise, a Carnival, in 2009, but on the Disney Dream in 2011, we were driving up in a Limo my mom rented for us, and my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and my mom saw the boat first. She squealed and pointed, showing the excitement we were all feeling. On our second Disney cruise in 2014, out of Miami, we'd been driving for over 24 hours, and the Florida interstate was nearly never-ending. The exhaustion was overtaken by the excitement we felt the moment we saw the red funnels of the Disney Wonder.

Ann drove us from her home near Ft. Lauderdale down to the Port of Miami, and on our way there, it was raining (Not exactly how you want to start your vacation). Apparently it rains every day in Florida? 


When we got to the port, said our goodbyes to Ann (Love you! Miss you!), and we headed through security.


But on the other side of security were people just as nerdy about Disney as me. Like this family who dressed up as the cast of Inside Out (which I saw during our second day at sea. Amazing!). At last! Among my people!


When you check into your cruise online, you can pick a time to get on board, based on your travel plans. Since we got in the night before, I made sure to sign us up for the first time available, 11 AM, and we were in Group 5, so we didn't need to wait to get onto the boat!


Goofy is preparing the back of the ship for our cruise!


Crossing the gangway, ready to say Goodbye to Miami!


The Halloween Tree! I didn't catch the story (I ran late to it. Boo), but the next day, the tree was covered in Jack-o-lanterns!


The beautiful 3-deck atrium, decorated in an Art Deco fashion. Captain Mickey and his helm stand in front of Lumiere's French Restaurant. The Disney Magic is Disney's first Cruise Ship of their own (they used to rent and sail on The Big Red Boat). 

After getting lunch at Cabanas, the buffet styled after Finding Nemo, we decided to explore the ship, and we started with Senses Spa & Salon, where we got a tour, coupons for different treatments, and an invitation to come back for the drawing later that afternoon. 

All cruise ships are required to do a safety drill before we can leave port. Our meeting place was at the Animator's Palate, and while there we met three people, Jen, Renee, and Jen's daughter, Ava, who drew a picture of me while we were waiting for the drill to be over. I didn't get a picture, but we hung out with them a few times during the cruise. 

At the Spa drawing, none of us won anything, but they did offer a treatment, 5 Steps to Heaven, which was $100 off for people who came to the drawing. Kiri and Lisa opted to get it, and scheduled their appointment for that night. I would've if I could've afforded it, but while they were there, I walked around the ship, taking tons of pictures. I was going to go to a Movie Quote Trivia Game, but they started early and were halfway done when I got there, so I left. 


Deck 4 between Mickey's Mainsail and White Caps. I love this picture, with the carpet, and the picture of Walt Disney framed at the end of the hall.




This was about as quite as the Quite Cove was when it wasn't night time, but it was still always quiet, despite the family pool being just on the other side of the funnel, where it was always crowded, noisy, and nearly impossible to pass without bumping into someone. In the Quiet Cove, it is perfectly quiet, which I love. 

Despite the showers that preceeded our cruise, the rest of it was sunny and bright. You could see storms in the distance, and I could feel the rocking of the boat, so I'm guessing they were going a bit faster to go around the storms. But, we got to see some cool rainbows!



Anyway, that's all for now! Check back later for more adventures in cruising!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Monday, November 2, 2015

Girlfriend Vacation Day1: The Long Journey

It finally came! Vacation has finally happened! The trip there and back was exhausting, but it was all worth it.

Kiri and I left on Wednesday night at 9 for Des Moines, where we picked up Lisa, who didn't get off work until about 11. I drove the first couple hours from Council Bluffs to Des Moines, and after getting food at Abelardo's, Lisa drove us to Kansas City, while I slept in the back seat (I was SOOOOOO SLEEPY!). 

I took no pictures during that time but waited until we got to the airport.

Aunt Donna took us to the airport on Thursday morning (Thank you!), and KC Airport is probably the easiest airport I've ever been through. Even easier than Eppley! There are the drop off doors, and right next to it is the gate to get to your plane. 


From KC, we flew to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which was a very quick flight. Our connecting flight to Miami was on the biggest plane I'd ever ridden on. And the nicest. We flew with American Airlines, and I don't care what reviewers say. I thought the people we dealt with from the check-in desk to the flight attendants were all very kind. You hear these horror stories about airlines, but it's really never been my experience. *knock on wood* 

Three rows of seats in coach.

It was raining in DFW. Aways fun.

Okay, now how awesome is this? There was a screen on the back of the chair in front of me, with a remote, a plug to charge my phone, and tons of free shows, movies, articles, music, and games! I watched Pitch Perfect 2, and it might be sacrilege, but I thought it was better than Pitch Perfect. I know I'm in the minority.


 I asked for the window seat on the way out, and look at the billowy clouds below! Like Care-A-Lot!


I wanted the window so I could see the Gulf of Mexico as we flew over. It was pretty dark, but the pictures show more than I was actually able to see.


After nearly a full day of traveling, I was so relieved to get to Miami, where our cousin, Ann, was waiting for us at the airport. Check out the city!


My mom sent us down with a quilt she'd made for Ann, which was supposed to get to her last year when we drove down, but we ended up not meeting up. So armed with a carry-on suitcase (which I never take onboard), we took it all the way to Miami, and Ann and her family loved it. Ann later told me the boys were taking turns sleeping with it. 


Their house is so cute, and the in-laws are super close, sharing a backyard (courtyard?). It's awesome that the boys are so close to their grandparents. I'm glad I grew up with mine.


 We also fell in love with their dog, Daisy. She was a sweetie pie.


I feel like Kiri, Ann, and I need to get together more often. As the Martin girl cousins, we're almost convinced that we have a superpower of remembering teeny tiny details that freak people out (I've used this power to freak out our cousin Joe's wife, Brooke, shortly after we met). I think the three of us should vacation together sometime. (hint! hint!)


There will be more pictures to come because I have so much to share about the trip itself, but now, I'm just thankful we made it.