After counting down the months, days, minutes and seconds until our Caribbean cruise…the moment had finally arrived!

My wonderful parents dropped us off at the Long Beach airport on a Friday evening with smiles, hugs and well wishes.

With bags checked and boarding passes in hand, nothing could stop us from getting on our flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico…

…until we checked the flight schedule: DELAYED!

Our flight was originally supposed to leave Long Beach, CA at 9:30pm and arrive in San Juan around 10:30am the following morning.

Too excited to put a damper on our good moods, we got settled in for the long night ahead. Our 9:30pm flight to New York would now leave at 11:00pm…no problem…

…until we heard our names called over the intercom.

Could it be our dream cruise was doomed?

The Jet Blue attendant informed us that there was a VERY slight chance we would make our connecting flight from New York to San Juan, and if we didn’t make the connection, there were NO seats on any of the later flights going to San Juan. We would have to wait until the following morning to get a connecting flight and spend most of Saturday in the air. Luckily our cruise’s departure time was 10:00pm on Sunday, so at worst, we’d arrive in San Juan on Saturday evening.

We asked what our options were, and he suggested we take a totally different flight.  It seemed like that was our only choice, so we agreed with the arrangement.

Noticing our dismay as our original flight began to fill with passengers, he quickly began to search alternate flights for us. After several anxiety-filled minutes, this miracle worker found a flight that would take us north to San Francisco and then to Fort Lauderdale and finally to San Juan…arriving around 12:30! (The time we expected to get there with the initial 1.5 hour delay!)

We couldn’t believe our luck!

I wish I remembered what his name was, but he did everything to help us out, and he even put us in the “Even More Space” seating at the front of the plane so we could make our connecting flight in San Francisco!

I have to give props to Jet Blue!  They really go out of their way for their customers. They even gave each of us a $75.00 “Goodwill Customer” credit on any future flight in the next 365 days…not bad for a little bump in the road air  :)

It seems like we were celebrities for the night.  “Oh, so you’re THAT couple!” is what we heard at each of our connecting flights.

Soon we were on the last leg of our journey, and nothing could stop us!

I looked out my window and saw lush green hills, a bright sun and a beautiful day ahead…

in Puerto Rico!

San Juan

We have a winner!

First, I want to send out a big THANK YOU to those of you who entered the contest.

It was fun reading about your dream cruises, and it gave me several ideas for future excursions (Alaska cruise…I’m looking at you!)

Now it’s time to get down to business…

caribbean mystery giveaway

So you must be wondering what treasure(s) I found.

I had no idea what I would find, but the one thing that the Caribbean had lots of was handmade jewelry and rum.

On our port of call in Barbados, the home of famous Mount Gay Rum, we came across a little shop that sold rum cake…and that was it!

A sweet lady had samples for us to try, and OH MY GOSH…they were so moist and delicious!  I have to admit, I almost cleaned out all of her samples, but I had to make sure that we made the right choice since they came in a variety of flavors: coffee, vanilla, lemon ginger and chocolate.  Well, that choice was too hard to make, so we decided that it would be in our best interest to buy all 4 flavors.  Seriously, they were all so amazing, and I couldn’t choose a favorite!

I’ll be honest, the thought of sharing these cakes hadn’t crossed my mind. The intention was to devour all four in one sitting upon my return!  (They’re 4oz in size, so that would’ve been easy to do!)  But then I thought, I need to share the love, and who better to share it with than my readers (oh…and my wonderful parents who enjoyed the vanilla rum cake!)  So my dear readers, one of the gifts the winner will be receiving is:

rum cakeCalypso Coffee Rum Cake!
It’s supposed to contain the famous Mount Gay Rum infused inside!  Yum!

One of the things I enjoyed looking at was the handmade jewelry across the islands.  A popular material they used was coconut shells!  On our last port-of-call in St. Maarten, I found a delicate bracelet made out of beads and coconut shells. It wears lightly on your wrist and fits comfortably. I had the choice of brightly colored beads or those that were more earth tone, but not knowing the winner’s color preference, I thought earth tone with a hint of (faux) gold would be a better option.  So without further ado, here is prize #2:

bracelet

Now it’s time for the second item of business – who won?!

Today I had my partner-in-crime, the hubby, do the honors of choosing a winner.

Can we have a drum roll please?

And the winner of the Caribbean Mystery Giveaway is…

ligail2001

(Round of applause echoing through cyberspace!)

Congratulations to ligail2001, whose dream cruise is going to the Mediterranean.  Great choice!

I hope this coffee rum cake & coconut shell bracelet give you a little piece of Caribbean bliss!

ligail2001, please email your mailing address to passporttobliss@gmail.com.

If I don’t hear from you by midnight on Sunday, February 22nd, another winner will be announced on Monday, February 23rd.

Thanks again to all who entered.

Stay tuned for a recap of our Caribbean adventures!

Caribbean Bliss

Caribbean Bliss

Last week, I got a glimpse of heaven.

And it came in shades of blue, teal, yellow, green, brown, orange, red and purple.

And it was full of smiles, kindness, laughter, consideration, open arms and bliss.

And it made me feel warm and welcome.

And I want to go back!

Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks to read about our adventures in the Caribbean, or what I’d like to call…

heaven.

 

Caribbean Mystery Giveaway!

Grab your Coppertone 45, put on those flip flops and meet me on the lido deck!

The giveaway you’ve been waiting for is here!

Two years ago, I held an “Aloha Mystery Giveaway” which involved me searching high and low for that perfect mystery gift during our Hawaiian vacation.

I had so much fun that yes…I’m doing it again!

Ladies and gents, I present to you the…

caribbean mystery giveaway

Next month, a floating hotel will take my hubby & me to six gorgeous Caribbean islands!

Throughout our cruise, I will be on the lookout for the perfect gift for one lucky reader.

Unlike Hawaii where I had an idea of what kinds of gifts I might find, the Caribbean is a completely different story.

I have no idea what I will find!  (But that’s all part of the fun!)

The giveaway begins TODAY so enter NOW to win!

How do I enter, you ask?

1.  Leave a comment telling me what your dream cruise is and why…AND YOU’RE IN!

2.  If you want to DOUBLE your chances, follow me on Twitter (and just notify me that you did.)

The giveaway will close at midnight (PST) on Tuesday, February 17th  

Good luck to you all!

With only 3 weeks to go before my hubby and I embark on our Caribbean adventure, I’ve been in a cruise state-of-mind 24/7!  February can’t come soon enough, but what helps is taking a look back at my very first cruise to Ensenada almost 10 years ago.

So grab a refreshing beverage, meet me on the lido deck and enjoy these images I captured from my Carnival Cruise of 2006!

Carnival Paradise

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Cruising into 2015
I have some exciting news…can you guess what it is?

I’ll give you a hint…

It involves tropical breezes, sand between my toes, crystalline turquoise waters, breathtaking views, relaxation and a wonderful man by my side.

Drum roll please…

At long last, my hubby and I will be crossing off one of our bucket list items and taking our dream cruise to the Caribbean islands! 

The last time I went on a cruise was back in 2006 when my best friend and I took a 3 day cruise to Ensenada aboard the Carnival Paradise.  We had a blast, and since then, I’ve been dreaming of the day when I’d take my next cruise.

No stranger to the open seas, my hubby served in the US Navy for 9 years, but this will be his first pleasure cruise. Needless to say, he is looking forward to this slightly different boating experience and to crossing off one of his bucket list items, scuba diving in the Caribbean!

February feels far away, but I know that before we know it, we’ll be flying off to Puerto Rico for the beginning of our journey.

I look forward to writing my next 2 blog series, “Caribbean Bliss” which will feature “8 Hours in…”, a look at all there is to do and see on each of the islands in just 8 hours, and “Cruising Bliss” which will feature “Carnival for Couples”, a look at the various fun activities designed for couples.

I hope you join along in the fun!

What has been your favorite cruise destination?

Brrrr!

I don’t know about you, but it has been one COLD winter and start of 2015!

Okay, yes, I’m from Southern California, and usually cold means 60 degrees, but these past couple of weeks have been chillier than I can remember!

When I look out the window of my home office, I see grey skies and barren trees.

It’s at times like these when I start daydreaming about sand between my toes, waves crashing against coral-adorned beaches and coconut-filled palm trees swaying in the breeze.

But how does one find themselves among this tropical dream in the middle of winter?

A little inspiration is all it takes…

That’s why I love traveling!  You never know when or where inspiration will strike!

Bsn Card Holder

Enter the Tropical Dream Business Card Holder!

This DIY was inspired by my stay at the Bali Tree Cottage two years ago in Hawaii. The cottage was filled with eclectic treasures, one of them being their business card holder which was simply a coconut shell resting upon a bed of coral. I was in awe of how clever this idea was, and so I decided to replicate it upon my return.

Two years later, I finally got around to making my own Tropical Dream Business Card Holder, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought!  So without further ado, here’s what you need to begin:

 

Gather SuppliesShellac, coconut shell, metallic acrylic paint, coral, sand paper, paint brush & dremel tool (not shown)

 

1. Split your coconut in half & remove the contents.

Coconut

I actually found empty, dried out coconut shells in Hana, Maui, so I used them for this project.  For those of you who don’t have empty coconut shells, YouTube has a plethora of videos available on how to open and remove the contents of a coconut.

 

2. Use sand paper to smooth the outside and inside.

Sand the coconutSince I wanted to paint and varnish the coconut, I made sure it was sanded down to a very smooth finish.  If you want the edges of the coconut to be smooth, I recommend using a dremel tool. My husband made this recommendation to me, and it turned out to be a great idea!

 

3. At this time, you have a few options.  You can either leave the coconut as is for a natural look, apply a coat of varnish for a smooth finish or paint the coconut. I decided to paint the shell using DecoArt’s Dazzling Metallic’s acrylic paint in Peacock Pearl, a gorgeous teal color found at Michael’s.  You might need to apply the paint 2-3 times for complete coverage.

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4.  Add a coat of varnish to the inside (and/or outside) to give the metallic paint a nice sheen, and let it dry.

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5.  Once dry, nestle the coconut shell on top of a piece of coral, adorn with tropical elements, add business cards and voila!  You now have a Tropical Dream Business Card Holder! 

Business Card Holder

 

8.  For those of you who want a shell with a more natural look complete with varnish, here is what the finished product looks like.

Business Card Holder

 

Of course, you don’t have to use it as a business card holder! There are several other ways to enjoy this DIY.  Use it to hold coins, paper clips, jewelry, knick knacks and more!

I hope this DIY helped transport you to a tropical dreamland during this chilly winter!

Speaking of tropical dreamlands, stay tuned for new island adventures and another mystery giveaway coming soon on Passport to Bliss!

Until then, here’s to a great 2015!

 

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