Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cancun Crazy

After the recent tragedy in our life, we were all ready to relax and rest for a while, away from the daily hustle and bustle of life.

We actually planned this vacation way back when since we knew the kids would be on Spring break, but with what happened to our family 2 months ago, this trip couldn't have come at a better time...

It was our first time in Cancun and we didn't honestly know what to expect. We knew there would be a gorgeous beach for sure, a nice hotel, but the rest, we decided to find out as soon as we got there.

Nio was right, Cancun was a genuine TOURIST TRAP ( in a good way)! Meaning, it has everything and anything you would want to do, eat and see in one nice package!

Here are my TOP 10 for this wonderful place:

1. The beach

It was a little bit "wavy" during our visit, but we still got to enjoy the water a lot, it is definitely beautiful and just the right temperature. The sand is white and cool on the feet, love it!

hitting the surf

The boys lounging about

2. The hotels

Mama mia, this place is like an oasis when it comes to very fancy hotels. You can pay half the price for quality of rooms and service compared to here!

Take a look at these...

The Westin Lagunamar

A complete kitchen! 
Very functional small space

Sofa bed with queen bed

The Hacienda Tres Rios

2 bedroom suite common area

Another view of common area

Master suite with Jacuzzi

Second bedroom with 2 queen beds and sofa bed

Master bath

The Sunset Place

Sofa bed lounger

IN-room jacuzzi


And I haven't even talked about their lobbies yet!

3. La Isla Mall

This mall is terrific because it is by the lagoon and it has an aquarium and dozens of restos and shops to choose from!

Malling during the day

And at night
I just love the outdoor feel of this mall, wouldn't you too?!

4. Xel-Ha

This is an ecological water park where the rivers meets the ocean and the abundance of natural wild life is amazing.

You can do so many activities here, but the main attraction are the animals, so snorkeling is your best bet. Did I also mention that all the food and drinks are absolutely FREE!!!!! The exhaustion you'll feel with the activities is matched by a  gastronomic equivalent to meet your needs. Bottomless margarita anyone?!!!! :-)

one of the many lakes

Just beautiful!

5. Cenotes Cave

Truly a natural wonder. This cave houses a freshwater lake that you can swim in!!!

The water is cold (not freezing), but the sight of this beautiful massive cave is a must!

Nature's best

6. Chichen-Itza

One of the Seven wonders of the Ancient world, truly deserving of its title and place in history. This magnificent city houses one of the most well-preserved pyramids and temples in Mayan History.

7. Swimming with the Manatees

We did this at Xel-ha naturally, and for me, this was my personal favorite among the things we did in Cancun.

These creatures are the gentlest giants I know. Very friendly (if you have food) and has no care in the world. They even kissed us! The kids truly had a blast and will never forget this experience.

The price is pretty steep, but worth every penny. :-)

My son tries to see them as they swim underneath him

Small children touching and feeding the manatee

8. Swimming with the Dolphins

Another worthwhile activity and experience. These creatures were not labelled as the "smartest animals" for nothing. They are very friendly, well-behaved and so fun to interact with!

We did this again at Xel-Ha, and like other animal encounters, this was an experience we won't forget.

Be careful of those teeth!

Petting the dolphin

a kiss from the sea

9. Downtown Cancun

For a decor and design lover like me, this place was truly a haven.

The only problem was carrying all this stuff back home! How I wish I could have bought more beautiful ceramics but alas, Airline restrictions had restricted too much for this...

Pots, pots everywhere

Beautiful and colorful

Check out this gourd!
Downtown Cancun is not for all tourists. Luckily, we had a guide/ friend to help us thru the city. It kinda reminded me of home in a lot of ways.

10. Hacienda Andalucia

We went here the night before we left and this place was truly amazingly fun! With us enjoying a sumptuous Mexican Buffet, botttomless margaritas and Traditional Mexican dances and songs, this was truly an "immersion" into the Mexican culture.

To top of the night, we also got to watch a funny and great Horse show! And what better way to end our night but with beautiful fireworks!
Margaritas anyone?

Mexican Dancers

Mayan  Fire Dance

Horse Show

There you have it folks, Cancun in a nutshell. There are so many more things to do and and see in this wonderful place. And I'm  pretty sure, this post will have a part 2!

Have a wonderful day!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Art of Gift-wrapping

All my friends know how much I love to give gifts and all the more,  wrapping them up craftily and carefully, suitable to to celebrants upcoming celebration or occassion.

 I always believe the presentation is equally important as the gift itself, to entice the receiver of what wonderful things may be awaiting inside.

I hardly use bags because 1) they're quite pricey and 2) sometimes hastily chosen ( don't feel bad if your a gift bagger, I do this occasionally too!). So personally, I find satisfaction in the process of enclosing a gift in a box and adding any other whimisical fanciful decoration I can add on ( in other words, whatever is in my craft drawer). Here are a few examples:

Gift for a 6 year old

For a Tweener

For a 1 year old cutee

Love foam stickers

For a cowboy-themed party

For a little Diva

For another little Diva

For my tweener son - his fave color YELLOW

Another gift for my son

A gift for my hubby

For a Colleague

For a friend

For our sweet neighbor

For my neighbor
I like using foam stickers for kids and personalizing it with their names. Most kids can't read yet but they know their own name, so I feel that it gives them a sense of ownership when they see their names on the gifts.

I also love using ribbons, all sorts! I hardly use pre-made ones, but most of the time make up my own. If I don't make my ribbons, I RECYCLE A LOT. I use ribbons from old gifts all the time and even the typical ribbon you can buy, I try to spruce it up like this...

Housewarming present
 And as part of recycling, other than recycling gift boxes only, I also use nice clean boxes like the one below, from a catered food I had recently....

Baby Shower gift
With again ribbons and glue gun, the gift box turns into something more fanciful I think.

And of course, when time is short, I also use bags...

Birthday Party Gifts

Hope this gives you some ideas next time you wrap your presents! :)