what happens on the cruise… {stays on my blog}

prelude: my journey to my first ever cruise began with 2 other trips. one down south to san antonio and one to miami. since there was mere hours that separated these trips from the epic cruise, i feel compelled to add them to my post.

note: i am finishing off my first full week of work since the middle of november. just kidding but seriously. so, my brain is fried and my creativity is lacking. therefore, my post will be spoken predominately through pics. after all, they are worth 1,000 words, right? plus they are more fun to look at than listening to me jibber jabber. enjoy, friends. xoxo

stop 1: san antonio, tx

my company’s annual user conference is taking place down south this year. my boss and i went down to tour the place and get a feel of what to expect when planning. one night we’re taking all the attendees to a legit working ranch. when megs and i went to visit we got to pose on a real deal texas style longhorn. yeeee haaaaw y’all. t-minus 7 months till this bomb{dot}com event takes place. gotta get my spurs ready.

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ridin’ a texas long horn, view from my room, strawberry jalepeno margarita

stop 2: miami (bitch)

hours, literally hours, after arriving home from texas i was at the airport to head to miami. there’s more of a story there, another time. another place. only thing that matters is that i made it and my boyfriend is ahhhmazing. i took a couple extra days off from work to head down to miami so i could get ready for the cruise and to spend some time with my cousin and her family that live there. after some frigid temps in minnesota lately, i was jazzed to start defrosting in the sunshine. it was so much fun to spend some fabulous quality time with my cousin and her lil diva daughter sabine. thanks so much for having me stay with you guys! miss you already! xoxo

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palm trees & sunshine, ziggy, sabine & me cheesin’

stop 3: carnival destiny

got boarded and such and it was time to say deuces to the real world and prepare for 5 days of being forced to relax, disconnect and be on vacay. this was my first cruise, and i truly had no idea what to expect. i was more than pleasantly surprised. the trip was fantastic. full of sunshine, drinks, dancing, new friends, a beautiful wedding, relaxing, lots of eating and taking in every moment. needless to say, i’m a cruise fan. while it was nice to get back on land. and have a normal size bed. i will definitely be going on another cruise one day. bon voyage!

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fun with the girls over the week :)

stop 3: jamaica (we have a bob sled team)

our first port of call was to jamaica. let’s see, if i could sum up jamaica in a word, it’d be sketch. i was forewarned of the shiftiness of the characters in this place, and it was no exaggeration.  we spent the whole time just lounging on the beach, admiring the view and soaking in the rays. mostly because we wanted to get our tan on and be lazy and also because it was one of the only places we would feel safe.

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beach, jamaica, girls

stop 4: grand cayman (wedding bells)

the other port of call was the grand caymans. in a word, beautiful. the views are just unreal and the water is the bluest of blues. this is where the wedding of my dear lil monster, katie tied the knot. it was a breathtaking setting. right by the beach. and she looked absolutely stunning. the ceremony was short but sweet. and a wonderful cherry on top of an already great trip. so blessed to be part of this wonderful day. we spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine and sandy beaches as well as some local carribean jerk chicken. nom nom nom. the next day was the final day on the ship and we spent the day on the deck hanging out and enjoying some beverages. it was a really fun trip, but after nearly 2 straight weeks of travel, i was ready to be home. until my next cruise…

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wedding: ceremony, bride and groom

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doing it up: texas style

i got the fantastic opportunity to attend my first “legit, no longer an intern, big girl business trip” last week! i was very excited and also very anxious! i would be flying solo which was an awesomely intimidating thought! i knew that i could handle it, though. and that it would be a wonderful learning experience to put under my belt. my boss filled me with all the knowledge, tips and tricks before i left so i felt pretty darn prepared. but i really had no idea what to expect. the trip got off to a bit of a shaky start that saturday morning, when i almost missed my plane. (you can read about that lovely tale, here) it was, shall we say, riveting. either way, i DID make it on that plane. i was a stressed out mess, wheezing from my cold and exhausted from sprinting across the terming; but i made it. and all i can say, is that thank goodness that it was one of those small planes that gives you the whole can of diet coke, instead of a sippy cup.

i landed in good ‘ol dallas, texas. first time i’d ever been there, not that i would end up seeing anything but the gaylord hotel (which is pretty much its own city). for reals, humongous. one of my co-workers made the brilliant comparison of it to the mall of america/ camp snoopy whatever its called now. where you are “inside” but it has that “outside” feel.

i got my room, checked in on our big, bad booth and got some work done. for lunch i went to a place called texan station which shows how hard core, die hard, put my brothers to shame, dedicated texas sports fans are. i had some legit texas bbq and watched 3 different games going on on the 52 FOOT screen tv. holy moly huge.

i worked some more and ate some dinner, and that was about all the excitement i could handle for day 1. the next few days are really a blur. i was crazytown busy MIH as we say here (making it happen). there really is nothing like the rewarding feeling of a job well done. (and checking things of my to do list, of course). just as i had hoped and predicted, it was one of the most incredible business experiences for a young 22 year old. i am so blessed to have had the opportunities that i have been given. and i have done all i could to make the most of them and be grateful for them. i know i grow more and more in my professional self during each one. here are some highlights from the rest of my time in the big D, dallas. (i was actually in grapevine, but there are no sayings or songs about grapevine.)

  • almost every night i treated myself to a lovely cup of hot tea. a cozy, soothing way to wind down from the day. one night, thanks to lots of hardly any coaxing from a co-worker, i added some butter pecan ice cream to my night time snack. delish.
  • here’s our fantastic booth, the best looking tradeshow booth around. ;)
  • monday night i finally got to be outside to enjoy some lovely summer weather and lake-side sunset views. coupled with a nice cold brew, good company and amazing conversation. it was a lovely night! topped off with the entertainment of the night, the spazmatics, an 80’s cover group, who were AMAZING!

  • and then came the absolute highlight and most stressful part of my trip in one. touring the dallas cowboys stadium! woot woot. it was amazing and everyone loved it. we got to go on the field and see the ginormous 160 ft screen TV (which you really cannot comprehend its size), the cheerleaders just so happened to be practicing (the guys didn’t seem to mind that), we went in the locker room, jerry jones suite, VIP suite, post game interview room, EVERYTHING! finished off with an exquisite meal it was a enjoyable and successful night.

 

it was a grand, amazing, successful, wonderful and exhausting trip. it was beautifully ended with a sinus infection, but thats a whole other story. :) y’all come back now.