Thursday, December 24, 2009

ALERT!!!

I really love:
-Edwardian dress





Thank gawd for Merchant Ivory productions. My childhood was thoroughly saturated in Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter in period dress.



Blousy tops, tucked into high-waisted, trumpet skirts. Lurve. And I adore the perpetual presence of riding boots on the guys. It's always either riding boots and vests or tuxes with tails. Sw00n.

I really hate:
-The word "hubby"

I have no picture for that. I don't know why it bugs me so much. Other terms of endearment don't irk me this way. But this one drives me nuts.

I'm excited to:
-Make my New Year's Eve dress. I'm cutting up a bridesmaid dress I wore a few years ago. This is the closest image I can find to what it's supposed to look like...



...only not really like that at all. My dress is a few shades darker than this one, and made out of polyester. And has built-in crinoline underneath I plan to dye and shred.

I made a dress for NYE a couple of years ago that I ended up not wearing. My mother let me have a HUGE bolt of mint green dupioni silk she'd bought on a whim and never used, so I bought a pattern from an Etsy vendor, altered it a little, and went to town. The zipper ended up a little rough, but otherwise the dress fits perfectly. It just had no "oomph" the day of, and I got indecisive and panicky about the hem (the skirt is pleated, and I couldn't figure out how to finish it off...I attempted one quick-fix route and nearly destroyed the fabric altogether) so it's remained just barely unfinished.

I'm going to finish the hem (traditional-style), wear it with my current favorite cardigan (black from ann taylor with unraveled-y trim...looks very jcrew), and get a skinny belt to finish it off. Maybe also some sterling silver jewelry. THAT outfit's going to be for the Foliage's company holiday party in February.

Now to bed, since "Howard's End" has ended. I'll be dreaming about getting myself a new pair of TOMS and this bad boy:



Good LORD!! I want it so much it hurts! Gahhhhhhilovehandbagggggggs...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

if you really love christmas come on and let it snow

So this has nothing to do with Christmas decorating or "Love, Actually" or the house, but it's a recurring theme in my life, and it's a-surging at the moment.

I cannot WAIT to adopt kids. Oh, man. There aren't even words. I've been planning to do this since I was 16 or 17, and the passion has never dwindled. I can't say that about a single other thing in my life. But once in a while, I get an extra strong tug, and I go on a kick of researching requirements and fees and youtube videos of "gotcha days". And even though I've been researching this for nearly a decade, I still feel so lost. Domestic or international? Newborn or toddler? Specific ethnicity or no? Open or closed? Where do I actually GO for this? How am I supposed to afford this?!

It's really overwhelming. And the laws in each country change so frequently.

People don't really seem to realize how tough adoption is. It can be years and years of paperwork and visits with social workers, and it can still fall through, even at the very last minute. When the topic of kids comes up and I say I'm going to adopt, most people assume that I must be infertile. Or think I'm joking. Or, worst of all, believe that I believe what I'm saying but make their I-know-better face and say something to the effect of "we'll see". I really really hate that face. Really.

I'm not saying I'll never ever get pregnant. I used to say that. But who knows? I do know that I want my first child to be adopted so I don't fall into the ranks of people who had a biological child first and then got scared that they wouldn't be able to love an adopted child as much. I used to be committed to only adopting, mostly because it's gotta be weird to have to explain adoption to a child. Imagine being a kid and having to cope with that AND know that your siblings aren't adopted. So weird. I don't think it's an impossible situation - lots of families have successfully raised kids with and without their DNA in the same household. I just have a hard time imagining those conversations. And you have to explain why you don't look like your parents but your siblings are spitting images? That sounds like a kid nightmare.

There really aren't appropriate pictures to accompany all this typing. Sorry.

So I watched about an hour's-worth of youtube videos and read a few adoption blogs tonight. I am going to be a WRECK when this actually happens for me. I can't even make it through a single video without the waterworks starting. As a weird aside: both of my best friends are adopted. I find this to be a very odd coincidence.

This is going to sound a little insane, but...I can feel my children. I guess the feeling has gradually grown over the past couple of years. I have no idea whether they're already alive somewhere or if I'm inventing this. I won't get into the specifics of my faith, but I truly believe that I can sense them. Or the potential of them, at least. I have such a strong sense of their essence. I'm already completely in love with them. I don't know what they'll look or sound like or when we'll meet. Things will happen when they're supposed to happen.

When the Foliage and I were still in the flirtatious-writing-back-and-forth portion of our relationship, he "tested" me by saying he absolutely HAD to have a child biologically in his life. I basically said that if I were married and my husband truly felt that he couldn't live without contributing genes to a child, I couldn't very well deny him that. He likes to throw this in my face. But the joke's on him because I'd never seriously date anyone who had qualms with adoption, and he'd already green-lighted the whole thing in an earlier chat. Ha! I e-win!

I'm going to stop myself before I get into all the ideologies that make people I know uncomfortable and before I go into a sickening litany of how awesome my boyfriend is. You're welcome for that. So to bed I go. To dream up ways to convince social workers 5 or 6 years in the future that I'd be the best mom EVER and give me 4 Romanian babies, all at once. How Edina Monsoon of me. Sigh*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i'm your daytime waitress at the taco tiki hut

I'm about to head out the door to a friend's house in Newark to watch the incomparable "Love, Actually". Swoon City.

But I wanted to very quickly post about a giveaway a friend of mine is having. First she was going to give away this:



Then she changed her mind and decided this would be even better:



The giveaway ends today, but you still have a few hours to enter!! I kept meaning to post this and forgetting. Because that's how I roll.

As soon as it's sunny, I'll take pictures of the festively decorated house and post about the WASCy Chanukah party we threw for the Foliage's family this past weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

it's so hard to tear myself away from greys' anatomy reruns

I just have to have a mini-vent-ish moment. It's only "ish" because I'm not that worked up over it (unusual for me...I either don't care or I'll fight over it...no gray area), this just makes me shake my head at the ridiculousness.

Have you ever watched Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee on the Food Network?



Normally, I love this show. I'm a big fan of the shortcuts. She's a little...blonde...but, eh.

But yesterday...the woman was just so above and beyond oblivious it made me laugh out loud. She was hosting her holiday episode. A lot of the ideas were really great and I'm going to look them up for easy treats to make. But then...she had this brilliant idea.

Searching for that link, I came across this! It's just beyond ridiculous!

I'm so annoyed I can't find a picture of the cookies. For anyone who can't follow the first link, she took two white meringues and sandwiched them together with blue frosting. She added some other flare, but...omg. She led into this demonstration saying that you might have some "special friends"...people who need gifts during the holidays but celebrate...Chanukah. I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the point. She compared the meringue sandwich cookies to dreidels, which of course makes them SUPER appropriate!



That's the shape of the cookies she made.

Why.the.face. I would NEVER in my LIFE even consider giving those cookies to a Jewish friend or relative. Are you kidding me?! OK, blondie. Take your token Jewish friend his/her dreidel cookies. Just to make sure you really put yourself out there as someone who FEELS for Jews, you should probably put a ham and cheese sandwich in the basket, too.



Now THOSE are dreidel cookies.

The article discusses a Kwaanza (!!!) cake she made, and another Chanukah-centric dessert, with marshmallows in the center. Marshmallows! If you aren't aware, most marshmallows contain gelatin which is strictly forboden by the laws of kashrut.

I won't go on. I could, but I won't. If you have Jewish friends, and they practice kosher lifestyles, don't give them food as gifts. If they're pro-bacon, just give them whatever treats you made for everyone else.

I'll also refrain from inserting my favorite dirty word here. You're welcome.



I think I found Sandra Lee's perfect Christmas present!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

seriously...i hate being sick. i am so effing bored.



Ohhhh, Christmas. I love Christmas. I love that people get into it and get so intense. I love that people put in EFFORT. It just makes me happy. People so often don't try. They just coast and never see fit to go above and beyond. At least, in my opinion. But at Christmas, people give a shit. Or at least pretend they do really convincingly.

I realized a long time ago that I am really good at giving gifts. It's one of the attributes that makes me the proudest. I find, though, that I'm better at it when I'm "in the zone" of gift-giving, so Christmas is ideal. This progression of thoughts began my distaste for birthdays*. I felt that attempting to buy a birthday gift ruined my "gift-giving street cred" and I just couldn't allow it.

But back to Christmas.



It's my first Christmas owning a house, and I really want to deck the halls. All one of them. I have some decorations, but they're all mismatched and cheap and geared towards decorating an apartment. An apartment I still intend to decorate, since that's still my home. We just really can't afford to buy holiday decorations for the whole house. We can't even afford to give people presents! It's so frustrating. I feel like perfect gifts are just being shoved in my face every day and it's driving me crazy.

I've been trying to find something homemade to give everyone, but even that is proving a daunting task. Just between the two of us, we've got nine siblings NINE! Then there are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...that's a lot of presents to make, and we haven't even started counting friends. What makes it even more difficult is that the Foliage's family is almost completely Jewish. At least his siblings and his father's side of the family is, which represents the majority of potential gift recipients.

Since most people I know are strapped for cash nowadays, I thought sharing inspiration might be in order.

Here are some ideas I/we have had:



1. From the Nourishing Gourmet: Nature's Candy Box. Who doesn't love chocolate-covered stuff?! We'd probably buy nuts to roast but would buy fruit pre-dehydrated. I really want a food dehydrator. That is completely besides the point.



2. Mead Wine. A good option for the Foliage's adult family members. Mead is made with honey, water and yeast, so we wouldn't have to worry about the grape kashering rules and honey is significant in the Jewish religion. We probably don't have enough time for fermentation at this point, though. And we couldn't give it to my parents because my mom is allergic to fermented drinks. No beer or wine for her. But I feel like this would be a really good option in the future for an unusual and easily personalized gift.



3. Spiced, Toasted Nuts. I just watched this episode and disregarded most of the recipes, but THIS one...mmmm. I love spicy roasted nut mixes. I kind of can't stand Giada in general. But for once she did good by me. I think my dad would love this one, too.



4. The ever-classic Cookie-in-a-Jar. I scoffed at these when I was younger, but now I'm CRAZY about them. You mean I don't have to buy all the ingredients separately on my own?! Score!! The trick is knowing which kind of cookies to choose. I couldn't do a "regular" cookie, but I can't assume all of the recipients would want the flavor I'd choose. Not to mention dietary restrictions. One of the Foliage's sisters is vegan. One of my uncles is allergic to gluten. I would want any cookie to represent our tastes, too, but my boyfriend's flavor affinities are kind of ridiculous.

Flavors the Foliage doesn't like:
-Banana
-Peanut Butter
-Pumpkin
-Pear
-Coconut

He also doesn't like pretzels. Why.the.face. What am I supposed to do with that?! I hate raisins in things, but other than that, I am specification-free. His tastebud priveleges should probably be revoked.

Maybe we'll make an assortment of cookies or truffles or something. What it really comes down to, besides being unsure of what to make, is that it's still so expensive!! Ingredients, time, potentially needing additional kitchen supplies, and then packaging. I feel like what really makes a gift is packaging. I like to go all-out with wrapping. Boxes, wax-paper sleeves, labels, liners, ribbon, bows... When you're packaging something like 30 or more gifts, that still adds up to a lot.



Now the problem of decorating. We're getting a tree (I have a 6' fake one for my apartment). We have some lights and extra strands are cheap. I think we'll probably string popcorn and cranberries or something. Maybe try to manipulate scraps of wrapping paper into some kind of ornaments.

I am all about scraps. When you cut low branches from your tree, save them to go around doorways or for centerpieces. If you've got enough, maybe even a wreath.



Candles are also key for making things look dressed up. They're very holiday-ambiguous, though, so they're a great buy. I'm going to get some branches, dry them out, and put them in a glass vase (hello, Christmas Tree Shop!). Maybe I'll spray paint them silver or gold first. Or maybe I'll leave them natural.



Or maybe I'll just have a bunch of ideas and then lose momentum, leaving the Foliage to decorate. Trust me, this is not a problem. Last year I was so exhausted and just didn't feel like being cheerful. He came up to see me and wanted to decorate, but I couldn't work up the desire to move. I said the apartment was too messy and I'd need to clean before I could decorate. So he set me up with my laptop on the couch while he cleaned and decorated my entire apartment. That's not a huge amount of space, but I was in complete shock. All I had to do was go on facebook, and when I looked up, I had a fully decorated one-bedroom nest. Ridiculous.

*For any of my friends who get really indignant about my refusal to celebrate their birthdays, I said this was the BEGINNING of my thought-process. I really honestly believe celebrating birthdays overall is dumb.

you got to change your evil ways

So I'm sick. I don't want to be, but I am. I've decided that this is the last day, whether my body wants it to be or not. I don't have time for this.

It started when I woke up this past Saturday morning, the day we left Mexico. But before you start screaming "swine flue" I don't even know whether or not it's the flu. I have no idea how to gauge these things, because...I'm not a mom.

I know. That sounds completely ridiculous, but I've got this deeply held belief that moms have automatic knowledge of all things illness-related. My mom could totally pwn Dr. House, given the chance. At least, in my mind she could.



Step 1: Go into Mom and Dad's room. Make a miserable face and in your weakest, I'm-so-strained-with-sick-agony-I-can-barely-speak voice, "I don't feel good."



That kid knows what's up.

Step 2: Mom feels your throat and maybe your forehead before saying either, "You're fine. Get ready for school" (damn!) or "Go back to bed. I'll be in in a minute with the thermometer." (damn!).



Thermometers. Ugh. The bane of every child everywhere.

Step 3: Go into room and make yourself as hot as possible. This could involve getting under the covers and breathing into your blankets so you look flushed and sweaty (safest but least effective), or exerting yourself without making noise so she doesn't know you're running around. For me, this meant standing in place and flailing. This succeeded in making me sweaty and turning my cheeks red, but it also got me out of breath. I wanted to look like I had a cold, not like I needed an organ transplant. Doctor trips are trouble. But they do buy you at least half a day... The goal of all of that is to look sick enough that a thermometer isn't necessary, and to raise your temperature so that you really do appear to be sick (you're a little kid...you don't know how internal temperatures work).

I can't find an appropriate picture for the flailing. Shocking, I know.

Step 4: Mom comes in with thermometer. Luckily, I have 3 younger sisters, so she was too busy with getting them out the door to monitor me. We also always had old-school under-the-tongue thermometers. As soon as she's gone, proceed to sheet-breathing or stationary-flailing again. One time I put my thermometer on a nearby light bulb and totally blew my cover. A fever of 173?! Good job, spazzo.



So not buying it.

Step 5: Mom checks temperature and either says you're fine (giving you, like, 2 minutes to get ready for school) or says you can stay home.

At this point, if you DO get to stay home...she still knows. And in my house, this meant being stuck in my room without access to TV and eating really bland food. If you can't lay around and watch TV, what is the POINT, right?? Ferreal.

Man, I just thought I was the sneakiest. I'd lay my flawless untruth groundwork and she'd just roll her eyes at me. The woman is a fortress of not-buying-it.

Anyway, that's why I'm sure once I'm a mom I'll be able to diagnose everything. Feel lumps in the throat...swollen tonsils. Spots in throat...strep throat. Fever...I have no idea. Maybe the kid's dying. We did everything we could. Start making arrangements.

I am currently coughing and sneezing a lot, both of which are crazy painful. My nose is raw from blowing it so often, but isn't stuffed enough to prevent me from breathing. My throat started out sore, but now only hurts from coughing. Oh, and I'm wicked headachey.

I keep telling the Foliage he's going to be sick. First he wouldn't listen. He's always so sure he's immune to stuff and then he gets knocked down by disease. He was a really good nurse this past weekend, but if he gets sick while he's in Maryland, I won't be able to reciprocate. Truthfully, I love when he gets sick.

Now I need to go watch trashy TV and drink orange juice while I chant "I am not sick, I am not sick" to myself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

the fact that sonny bono thinks "dignitude" is a word does not prove the thing

So we're back from Mexico! It was amaaaaaazingggggg!! Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

First, my parents bought into a time share, getting 2 weeks per year that they'll be using for the annual family trip (2 rooms at a time, to make a huge suite for a week). But as a signing bonus or something, they got an extra week that they wouldn't be able to use before it expired. The Foliage and I had been looking for a way to justify the cost of a vacation while still GOING somewhere for vacation. So we booked a week at the Royal Sands and Spa in the hotel zone of Cancun in Quintana Roo, Mexico.



That's the view of the Caribbean (!!!) from our hotel room. I know. We know. Swoon.

So first the Foliage packed for 2 weeks (one for work, then staying in MD for T-Day, then vacation week)...but forgot his passport. Which left me at the house, searching through every box and drawer for it with him on the phone, suggesting places to look. This did not go well. In fact, I almost drove to Montgomery County to punch him. But eventually I found it.

Skipping over (the ridiculously busy and stressful) holiday, we got to BWI really early (crazy out of character for us), and...his passport was wrinkly. I kid you not.



Be warned: if your passport is wrinkled, the airport will consider it "mutilated" and won't let you use it for traveling abroad. So at 6 or 7 in the morning on a Saturday, we called my parents' house to see if my sister (who had a key to the house for cat-sitting purposes) could go and find the Foliage's birth certificate and voter registration card (apparently Mexico's pretty lax about people getting in and out...shocking) and bring it to us since our car was already checked in to an off-site parking area, which she did 'cause she rules. The picture above is of the offending and amending documents, edited for security.

AND when we got to Mexico and got our bags, I realized I'd left my phone on the plane. No one would let me back on the plane to look for it, and the airline information booth was closed. We checked with them twice later on to see if they'd found it, and....nothing. When we got back to the states, we checked with Continental, who told us to check with baggage, who told us to check with Continental's lost and found headquarters. So we did and now we're waiting. But I don't have a phone and it's the worst thing ever. Luckily, I didn't need it at all during the vacation, which is really the point of this post, so back to it...

Our hotel/timeshare was supposed to send a shuttle to pick us up from the airport, but we didn't see them anywhere, even after wandering around for the phone ordeal for about half an hour. No shuttle guys for us. So we ended up renting a sweet ride for a sweet price (with unlimited mileage) for the week:



What what Chevyyyyyy!! It was nicer than I expected it to be, and a real trooper for the beating we gave it. And gas is CRAZY cheap down there, so it was a really good deal. Especially because we're not really the sort of people who can just sit and relax. We needed to 'splore.

So on Sunday we drove into downtown Cancun and found...nothing. The place is apparently pretty barren on Sundays, which took us a while of walking and driving and expletives to figure out. We went back to the hotel, and then walked over to the mall that was right next door to see what was up (and because we were intrigued by the huge "Chocolate City" sign).



Terribly disappointing. The food was OK, but I didn't notice a chocolate theme, really. I expected to be surrounded by cocoa decadence, but it was more like a sports bar + warehouse + an extensive dessert list. That'll teach us to make purposeful forays into touristy establishments.

Moday we went South. I'd expended considerable energy NOT over-planning for this trip (as is my tendency), and had restricted myself merely to blogs of ex-patriots who had moved to the area for ideas of where to go and what to do. My favorite is Canuck in Cancun, written by a woman who went on vacation about 6 years ago and just never left. Love it. She and her family are crazy about the beach, and their favorites are Puerto Morelos and Isla Blanca, so I figured since she's in the know, the Foliage and I should probably hit them up.

We drove about 45 minutes or so South to Playa del Carmen



The Foliage walking up a very residential, cobblestone strip to the beach.

We walked along the beach where I guess the Foliage saw a LOT of topless sunbathers. I saw none. Weird. We eventually got a little bit away from the heavily touristy jimmy-buffet-playing haunts and found this little gem



Or at least, that was the view from our table in the restaurant, which was essentially a tile slab with a thatched roof over it, a few feet from the water. Then the man of my dreams took a table in the sand



Hubba hubba! That's all natural, ladies!

We had derish salsa, beer, and fish tacos.



Nomnomnomnom!!! After we paid, we attempted to walk back up to the street, and accidentally went right into some locals' back yard. That was embarrassing and I don't have a picture. We back tracked, then looked at the prices for the ferry to Cozumel, but decided to just get some fruit



Yet more noms. Sigh. We got some pineapple and acted like we couldn't hear the ferry ticket vendors shouting at us before making our way over to Puerto Morelos.



Hardly anyone on the beach



And craaaaaaaaazy calm waters



I heart Puerto Morelos.

On Tuesday we decided to go to Isla Blanca. However, a downside to being a tourist in the main touristy area of Cancun is...no one expects you to really want to know how to get around. We asked all over the place for maps of the Yucatan, but only really found cartoonish, not-to-scale drawings that always made sure to point out the nearest Senor Frog's or Margaritaville.

For the record, I hate Jimmy Buffet. I'm sure he's a really nice guy, but I can't stand his music or anything associated with it. Or reggae. I guess I really just hate relaxation. That doesn't seem too outlandish. Anyway.

We asked about getting to Isla Blanca and the concierge said, "You mean Isla Mujeres..." To which we responded, "No, we have to take a ferry there. We can drive to Isla Blanca, right?" Cue the dubious look from the concierge. Fine, thanks, no help from that guy. Eventually, we found a single map of the peninsula in our room's phone book. It's the only map we found during the whole trip that even showed Isla Blanca on it. So we tore it out and went on our way.

After driving North for 30 to 45 minutes, we came to a dirt road labeled "Isl. Blanca"



It may look innocent, but this mother wrenched the rental's alignment pretty badly. No road crews for streets made of sand, I guess. This beach was the Foliage's favorite.



There was NO ONE there



Oh, except these people who were DEFINITELY having sex. And definitely saw us, so must have known we could see them. SO weird



He took my camera into the water to get a picture of the beach and was determined to get a shot of me. On the White Island, I nearly blend into the sand.



He played (read: fell) in the waves a lot



Well, he did. I tried to get pictures mid-fall, but they all ended up being shots of the surf and no visible human. Anyway. He could've stayed there for the rest of the week. He's kind of a like a puppy sometimes.

We went back to the hotel, to the swim-up bar, and asked some of our fellow vacationers what they were doing that evening. Why, Senor Frog's and Margaritaville, of course! What were we doing? Going to Isla Mujeres! Isla where? You know...the island you can see across the water...there are a bunch of ports with ferries to it... Blank stares. Yeah. We don't belong at resorts.

In reality, we laid down for a nap and then woke up around midnight. Mexico has funny things on TV in the middle of the night, in case you were wondering. Have you seen the movie "Sketch Artist"? We have. Thank you, MGM movie channel. You're a doll.

Wednesday was Chichen Itza day!



This was one of the things we'd planned to do and were really looking forward to. It was named a world wonder a few years ago, and how could you NOT see a world wonder if you're near one?! This day trip made us think that it might be cool to base our major vacations around seeing world wonders. Partly because he'd already planned to go see the Great Pyramid for his 30th birthday, which is also on the wonder list (it's at lat/lon 30, 30).

It was a loooong drive, and although rain had been predicted, it never came, and it was CRAZY hot and humid (remained true for the rest of the week, pretty much).



That thing was BLISS!



Every time we came to another building, I was, like, "oh, this must be the main temple," but nay! There was always more! I think this was the Observatory, used for planetary observation (duh) and record-keeping.

We took way too many pictures for me to post them all here. I'll post them all on FB in a bit. Suffice it to say, we highly recommend Chichen Itza as an excursion.



OK, I'll post that one 'cause it makes my legs look really thin.



I'm really good at being mean to vendors.

We decided to attempt Isla Mujeres again, but this time, no nap. In fact, we didn't even go back to the hotel first. We drove straight to Puerto Juarez and took the ferry over. When we were buying our tickets, we ran into a couple tourists who were on their way back after being over there ALL DAY drinking at - where else - Senor Frog's. Le sigh. People seemed to be confused that we were heading over so late. It was only 7!!

The island is only, like, 6 blocks wide, and most of the streets are blocked off so only pedestrians can get through.



I love Isla Mujeressssssss!!



We ended up at a Cuban place. Apparently Cuba is super close to the Yucatan Peninsula. You guys probably already knew that. But I, the geographically challenged, was shocked. In any case, it was ha-mazing.



No leftovers. He had grouper or some sort of whitefish, I had lobster tail, both in cuban spicy sauces and with traditional side dishes. Ooooooomg so gooooooood!!



The waiter took our picture. I really love Isla Mujeres.

We decided to check with our on-site excursion company, Thomas More. Obviously we were all over being our own tour guides, but we knew we wanted to go to the ruins at Tulum and one of the eco-waterparks, which were down in the same direction, and that it was a bit of a drive. TM had a deal with entrance to Tulum and Xel Ha (in Mayan, "Birth of the Rivers"), and the Xel Ha entrance included unlimited food and drink, lockers for our stuff, snorkeling...everything. W00t!!

So that was Thursday.



It was (again) REALLY hot and I was all ruins-ed out. We had a tour guide for this one, which was really cool and informative, but we could barely even listen to him, we were so focused on getting to the water park. Also we were super hungry 'cause we were sticking it out for the unlimited eats. We're kind of ridiculously stingy.



My boyfriend likes to taunt wild and stray animals. Tulum is full of HUGE lizards. Bad combination.



Tulum fuctioned as a fortress on the sea. Kind of torturous when all you want to do is jump in. FYI, you CAN go in the water there, but we knew we'd have to get back on the air conditioned bus soon and didn't want to be all wet and sandy for that. So we waited it out. And it was SO worth it!



After walking into Xel Ha, through the restaurants, our first view of the water.



Looking in the other direction.

Oh, man. OH, man. Can America please have an eco-waterpark? Plz? I've never been a huge fan of water parks. Standing in line for forever to go on a 5-second ride. The only part I really ever like is the lazy river. At Xel Ha, no lines for anything, no limit to the amount of time you could spend at any area, and again...unlimited food and drink, which were SO delicious.

We only had my digital camera and didn't want to spend money on a water-proof digital one, so there aren't any pictures of this place, really. We spent most of the time snorkeling, which was sooooo fun. Once we got away from an obnoxiously loud kid, it was incredible. We swam over and around coral reef that was teeming with bright, exotic fish that swam right up to us. At one point, I saw what looked like a wicked long fish. I pointed it out to the Foliage, and as I did, a smaller fish went down the the water's floor near it, and all of a sudden, the sand rippled. In a circle. It was a huge sting ray. Ummmmm yeah.

I'm not a really strong swimmer, and I didn't want to stir up the water a lot by kicking, so I tried to hightail it out of there just using my arms. It mostly resulted in my splashing and coughing in a dorky panic, before finally finding a set of stairs to stumble out.

On Friday we decided to take the ferry to Cozumel. It was the very last main attraction to see on the peninsula, and by far the most commercial. We took the ferry from Playa del Carmen, but not until having some insanely good tacos at a tiny street-side restaurant a few blocks from the dense downtown area. I love places where you have to order the tacos in specific quantities, rather than a platter of miscellaneous junk.

My adventure-craving boyfriend reeeeeally wanted to rent a scooter to get around the island (it's MUCH bigger than Mujeres)...and I'd nixed his desire to rent a (more expensive) Jeep or convertible for the week, so I felt obliged to satiate his vehicle desired.

So we got a scooter. Sigh.



Now, I am not really comfortable on bicycles. This translates to bikes with motors, too. He also had never driven a scooter OR a motorcycle. AND about 1/3 of every time I've been on a bicycle, I've injured myself. So...I was not pleased about this, and I knew I'd be a pain about it, even if unintentionally (gasping at everything and distracting him...stuff like that). But off we went.

And I was awful. I'm the least helpful scooter passenger ever. My arms were sore afterwards just from holding on so tightly and being so tense the whole time. Then we crashed. Well, we fell. In front of a van. As we were pulling off of the scenic road to a path that led to the beach. For some reason, we didn't take any pictures of the injuries sustained, but his knee was pretty gross. It didn't really stop bleeding until late yesterday or early today. I just scraped and bruised my right foot a little bit.

We sat at the beach for a little bit, and some suuuuuper nice people who were stopped on the island in the midst of a cruise have him some bandages after they spotted his bleeding knee. Heh. We are so pathetic sometimes.

At first it looked like we'd broken the mirrors, since they kept swinging around and wouldn't hold still. But eventually the Foliage figured it out, so there were only a couple of scratches on the bike. In the end, they asked for $10 for painting repairs, which was fine by us! We'd only paid $17 for the day's rental and didn't have to put gas in it (the initial offer was $25 and we had to return it with a full tank).

During our ride around the perimeter of the island, we stopped at the southern tip, which is apparently a state park.



This bar was all Bob Marley-d (gag) out, but we wanted to stop for a minute to have a beer. Later, we stopped at a place called "Coconuts" on the East side of the island. We had to walk to the top of a hill, which was rough after our spill, but it was sooooo nice.



Laying in a hammock in the shade, on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, while my boyfriend brings me a beer. Hello, perfection.

We made our way back to downtown, which was all overpriced stores, but had some stuff we hadn't seen at the other locations. Overall, I like Isla Mujeres better. Surprise, surprise.

After nearly missing the last ferry back to Cancun, we drove to the hotel, and had dinner at the restaurant on premises that we'd assumed to be too touristy to try before. We got all dressed up.



Then I made a stupid face, 'cause that's how I roll. Dinner was DERISH!!



Digging in to the tableside-prepared guacamole and awesome salsa. We could barely finish our meals. In fact, I could only handle a bite or two of mine and I was stuffed. Which is weird, because we hadn't really eaten all day, save for the couple of tacos in Playa. It was a fantastic meal to wrap up the trip, in a really cool space.

Even though we were running late to get to the rental car place (EuropCar if you're looking for a really reliable and non B.S.-y company in the area), we had to take a Corona commercial picture...



With such limited time and kind of a cloudy morning, that was the best we could do. After talking about it the WHOLE trip. Because, I mean, we were looking at this all week:



Just to recap. In case you couldn't remember the beginning of the post. You're welcome.



Flying over the Caribbean and then the Gulf of Mexico. I bought the Foliage a good bottle of whiskey (he said it was good, I really can't gauge these things) in the duty-free area of the Cancun airport for an early birthday present. As long as he doesn't drink it and breathe on me, I don't care. I loathe whiskey breath, but he's crazy about the stuff. I got myself fruity tequila. Mmmmmm tequilaaaaaa...

So that was it. My first real vacation in, like, 6 years and the first time out of the country for either of us since high school. It was amazing. And for the same price we would've paid for an all-inclusive week, we did it all ourselves and saw everythinggggg. If you're on Facebook, you'll be seeing the full set of pictures soon. If not, I hope this post was sufficient.

Now I have to unpack and pass out. This took a long time to write.