Friday, April 27, 2012

Hawaii - Day Nine

The last "official" day of the cruise was Friday, March 9th and it wasn't lost on me that we'd be going home the next day.  I was really loving having my room cleaned everyday and not having to cook or wash dishes!   We were still in Kauai but in a different part of the island.  We had to take a bus to get into the town but didn't stay long because it was drizzling.  Even though it rains almost every day in Hawaii, this was the first day when it really affected our fun.  We went back to the ship after a short time and were greeted, once again, by a towel sculpture and dish of candy!

Isn't it cool that they wrote "aloha" in chocolate?

We relaxed most of the day and then attended the business meeting and final party for Close to my Heart that afternoon.  The business meeting was especially fun for me as I love hearing the whys of the decisions that Close to my Heart makes and other "inside" information!   I did find out that I was in the top four people in Studio J sales that day.  It's so funny considering I was so anti-digital scrapbooking and now I just love it.  After the meeting we all played a game and then gathered in the lobby of the hotel for the "class" picture.  This photo was all the first time cruise earners.

This picture was all the cruise earners and their guests and yes, the staircase reminded me of Titanic.

Before we went off to the reception I snapped a few pictures of the decorations in the lobby, pretty cool, huh?

Here's the view from the top of the staircase.

I don't have any photos from the reception because about 15 minutes into it, the ship hit really awful weather, we later found out it was a storm that had caused some tornados on one of the smaller islands.  Even though I hadn't had any seasickness all week (due to careful medication preparation), it hit me now and I had to leave the party because I was feeling so awful.   I went back to the cabin and slept for several hours missing not only the party but the Napali Coast which I understand is incredible. 

By that evening I was feeling better and I was glad because we'd made reservations at a French restaurant on board.  My husband had a rose delivered to the table before our meal started.

This was definitely the best restaurant on board.  Three people waited on us and because it was a French restaurant they "announced" dinner by clanging our meal covers together, very neat.  The food was awesome!

One of my favorite desserts is creme brulee so we ordered one of them but they brought us two!  It was so wonderful.

We had expected to share the creme brulee and fruit with chocolate fondue but since they brought us each our own brulee we could barely finish the fondue!  We gave it our best shot though.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hawaii - Day Eight (The Recovery)

Needless to say, after the kayaking trip earlier in the day we were in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. After taking long hot showers and changing into some not-so-muddy clothes we headed off to Pink's Champagne Bar. We met up with friends and ended up playing a music and movie trivia game that was going on. (photo by Noreen Petty)
We tried some of the infused vodka's the bar made. We loved the bartender there who would make any combination of drink we asked for! (photo by Noreen Petty)
Here we are playing the trivia game. It was really hard! The guy would play some music from a movie and we'd have to answer all sorts of questions about it. The cool thing is, we won!!!
Later that evening we had reservations for the Teppanyaki restaurant. We were thrilled to see almost everyone in the room was a consultant! It was like a big party! (photo by Michelle Nist)
While you waited for them to start you could make origami objects! (photo by Michelle Nist)
You can tell we were so happy just to be someplace warm and dry! (photo by Michelle Nist)
At Teppanyaki, you get your own chef who does all sorts of tricks and entertaining while making your meal. (photo by Michelle Nist)
One of the things we had to do was to try and catch cooked egg in our mouths. I'm happy to report I was able to do it! Despite the surprises of the day, it was my favorite day of the trip. (photo by Michelle Nist)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hawaii - Day Eight

Kauai is definitely the island (that I visited) that seemed most like "Hawaii" to me. As we came into port I took pictures and, you can see, it's nothing but green everywhere.

This was the day we'd been looking for, a kayak excursion with a little stroll through the rainforest to see a beautiful "forbidden" waterfall. We were prepared with our sunscreen and old shoes and excitement! I believe there were more than 60 Close to my Heart people who signed up for this excursion. (photo by Noreen Petty)

So, we were brought to the excursion by a bus, we gathered out lunches, waterproof packs and we were given a few kayaking instructions and we were off! (photo by Rachel Ventura)

The scenery was gorgeous the whole way but it took a lot of concentration to stay balanced in the boat and to row upstream against a very strong wind. We were told it was 2 1/4 miles and it felt like it! (photo by Rachel Ventura)

Once we got to the rainforest we were given the news that it had rained over 30 inches in one day before we got there and it would be muddy and we might not actually be able to go all the way to the waterfall depending on the conditions. (photo by Michelle Nist)

So off we went, still happy and excited for the adventure. Then we came to the river. It was pretty much overflowing it's banks and moving very fast. (photo by Noreen Petty)

Here we are, crossing the river using a rope they'd strung across it. I'm about to reach for a friend's hand and I slipped, having nothing but roots and vines to steady me up the muddy bank.
(photo by Michelle Nist)
And here is what I looked like immediately afterwards, wet to the waist and muddy everywhere.
(photo by Michelle Nist)
The actual hike was through deep mud and along what I felt were dangerous banks where one slip would result in someone going down into the rushing river. (photo by Noreen Petty)

We were knee deep in mud. You could try to go around it but we found that going right through resulted in less falling. (photo by Noreen Petty)

We tried to keep a good attitude but it wasn't easy. Our guide was not forthcoming with any information on how long the hike would be. (photo by Noreen Petty)

Some people used makeshift walking sticks to try and stay up while tromping through mud that tried to suck your shoes off your feet. Some people gave up and walked barefoot through the rainforest. (photo by Noreen Petty)

This was the waterfall we waited to see but, honestly, we were too irritated and tired to really enjoy it plus we weren't supposed to go into it because it was so strong from all the rain. Our hike which our guide eventually claimed took only 15 minutes actually took over an hour. (photo by Noreen Petty)

Another thing that kind of ruined the beauty of the waterfall was that we knew we now had to go back the same way. Right before this picture was taken, what I feel was inevitable happened. One of the consultants had someone's foot slip onto her and she dislocated her elbow. She had to be carried down the slippery bank to a kayak and taken to the hospital. Once we were finally back to the kayaks we were hoping for an easy paddle back to the bus but the wind had changed and was blowing against us the whole way. Near the end of the kayak route I was in near tears (and I consider myself pretty adventurous).
Despite everything most of the consultants agree this was the most interesting day of the cruise. We will talk about it for years and we hear they are even making a ribbon for us "survivors" for convention!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Okay, this is not Survivor but it felt like it. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what this photo was all about! (photo by Michelle Nist)

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Studio J Layouts

I'll continue on with my Hawaii trip soon but I wanted to show some new Studio J layouts I just completed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hawaii - The Presents

Every day on the cruise ship gifts were delivered from Close to my Heart, each with a poem! Here's the line up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hawaii - Day Seven

Now we come to my favorite place in Hawaii, Kona. This was the Hawaii I'd always seen on television and in movies, no George Clooney wasn't there but a cute little town with local shops, a palace, and lots and lots of plants and greenery were what I had been looking for. We rode from the ship to the island on a life boat because the water around Kona is too shallow for the ship to dock. Living not far from a beach myself, I love anything that reminds me of a beach town and this house caught my eye almost as soon as we got off the ship.

The Hulihe'e Palace is one of the first things you see when you get into Kona. It was home to Governor Kuakini, whom it seems was considered royalty because his wife was actually a princess. We took the tour of the place but you can see the pictures here.
The grounds were the best part, the scene out on the back porch was a beautiful ocean view.
We could see our ship right off the coast, it looked so huge from far away.
The town ran along the coast of Kona, I was so thrilled to be able to see the water from where I was walking.
The orchid gardens weren't the only place to see pretty flowers. They were everywhere in Hawaii.
In every color....
There was a small beach in Kona, obviously man-made but renting an umbrella and two chairs was cheap so we decided to lay out. My husband got quite a burn that bothered him for the rest of the trip. I safely stayed under the umbrella. Just up the street you could rent surfboards!
The water was the most beautiful color, the camera couldn't capture it but I tried.

We couldn't resist getting another shave ice while in Kona. This guy was funny. I know it looks huge here but he works on shaping it to a more reasonable size just like you'd pack a snowball. (photo by Chris Hill)

Shave ice can have ice cream in the middle, we went with macadamia nut ice cream inside. (photo by Chris Hill)
The flavors were awesome and there were so many of them. Over the top you definitely want to order sweetened condensed milk too! (photo by Rachel Ventura)
We had to leave Kona early for an afternoon departure of the ship. I could have stayed there all day.

When we returned to the ship there was another towel sculpture on our bed! What fun!
I also received yet another gift from Close to my Heart!

We headed off to our favorite martini bar, the bartenders were lots of fun and would make any type of drink mixture we chose from their infused vodkas.
It was such a nice relaxing place, they had singers and piano players in this particular bar. We loved it.