cupcake supremacy

when cupcakes rule the world…

Cancun: Day 2. January 5, 2010

Filed under: cancun,photos,trips — cupcakesupremacy @ 9:32 am

I really shouldn’t have waited this long to recap, because I’m really forgetting everything.

One thing that I really wanted to do in Cancun was go to an open air market. The second day, after waking we decided to stroll into Cancun proper.

I don’t know if I mentioned it in the last post, but it was sweltering while we were down there. So it probably wasn’t the brightest idea to walk into town. But we were already off. I had remembered seeing one of the markets on our van ride in from the airport, but trying to remember proved a tad difficult. We had to stop at one point and get directions and ended up walking in a giant circle. Eventually we found it, Coral Negro.

coral negro

Sadly, it left a bit to be desired. I wanted an open air market, but due to the temperature I was glad it was at least sort of inside. Inside were dozens and dozens of stalls, all hocking the same cheap junk. T-shirts and shot glasses and these odd little bottles with clay figures in very explicit poses. It was weird, to say the least. Everyone wanted you to come into their store and buy their wares, offering you lower and lower prices. I absolutely hate the back and forth haggling so luckily, I saw nothing of interest. Until we spotted a jewelry store.

I’m sad that I don’t have any pictures of the market, but the jewelry store was the only part of the building that was enclosed. Glass walls and sliding glass doors, you stepped inside and a blast of air conditioning and I was convinced to stay. The walls and tables were absolutely covered in silver. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, everything was dazzling. I saw a dozen things I wanted, before settling on a necklace. “How much?” I asked. The owner, a very nice fellow that left us to browse without heckling, took it from the wall to weigh it. I can’t remember the price but know it was over 200$. While I could have talked him down some, I really didn’t feel like it. Instead I settled on some earrings. Big, princess cut, diamond-like. They were asking 50$ but Keith talked them down to 30$ and split them with me. Half a present for my half birthday.

As seen here, they are my favorite earrings ever. They sparkle like crazy. I don’t want/need/like real diamonds so these little babies are perfect.

We had been out and about for a few hours so after Keith bought a hat, we walked back to the hotel, this time going the right way and cutting our walk in half.

On the way back, we saw this building, which I still kind of wish we would have checked out.

to be continued…

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Cancun! November 29, 2009

Filed under: cancun,nablopomo,photos,trips — cupcakesupremacy @ 6:38 pm

We went to Cancun July 1-6, and yet I am only writing about it now because I am a horrible slacker.

Keith asked me to go on vacation with him shortly after we started dating. I was pretty surprised by him asking and nothing less than shocked when he informed me he intended to go to Cancun.

But, I figured it wasn’t every day that someone asked me (or ever) so I said yes. And hoped that he would still like me when the time came. (Not just for vacation reasons, natch.)

So I got a passport (horrible picture by the way, I look SO mad), requested the days off of work and bought a bathing suit for the first time in 10 years.

I was ready. Our flight left Pittsburgh at 6:00AM so we woke up at 3AM to get ready and head to the airport.

I had warned Keith earlier that every flight I had ever taken was delayed by some amount of time, but I guess he cancelled me out because everything left on time. We had a layover in Chicago where Keith dozed on a bench but I was too cold to do anything. Then we had a ~4 hour flight to Cancun.

We got there at about 12:30 or so and had to go through customs and whatnot. Keith had arranged a shuttle service beforehand to get us to the hotel and wow would I ever recommend that. As soon as we stepped outside there were all sorts of taxis and vans trying to get you to use them. It was hella overwhelming, but luckily we just found the guy we needed and hopped in a van.

There were a few other couples in the van with us and we were off, winding our way to the hotel stretch. One of my favorite memories was coming around a bend that gave us our first view of the ocean. In that moment, you could hear everyone’s breath catch in their throats due to the sheer beauty of the water.

The van ride was maybe a half of an hour and it was really neat driving up to all the other hotels dropping people off because we weren’t really sure which one was ours, so it was just a lot of excitement.

Finally we arrived at RIU Palace Las Americas. It was enormous, but not nearly as large as some of the hotels there. It was also blindly white, which worked really well against the blue of the water.

looking across from our room.

While we checked in a lady came by with some sort of fancy drink for us and I just stood in awe.

the lobby ceiling.

Sadly the lobby was too dark during the day and too bright at night to photograph well on my crappy camera, but that was a small part of the ceiling. (The lobby was HUGE).

After we finished checking in, we went up to our room and immediately changed into our bathing suits.

There had been some negative reviews online about the rooms, but I thought it was lovely. I apparently didn’t take any pictures but we had a junior suite with a big bathroom with double sinks, a separate little area with a tv and couch and two beds.

cute.

Which was kind of weird. They were two double beds pushed together. Which was odd, but didn’t really matter, except in the middle of the night I’d sometimes end up in the crack.

Before we went out to the beach, we sat down at the Italian place for lunch.

my lunch

I had shrimp and risotto with squid ink. (I seriously only ordered it for the squid ink part – which didn’t taste like much, just kind of salty.)

pizza in cancun.

And Keith had pizza. Because why not?

Afterwards, we made our way out onto the beach where a man came by every 5 minutes with margaritas for us. It was amazing.

enjoying the sun and the margaritas.

We were in and out of the water a few times and eventually made our way to the pool bar, where someone got a little tipsy. Eventually we were just so exhausted from the 3AM wakeup, the travel, the sun, the water that we headed upstairs for showers and a nap and almost slept through dinner. Good thing the buffet was open til 10!

to be continued…

 

US National Arboretum November 24, 2009

Filed under: dc,nablopomo,photos,trips — cupcakesupremacy @ 8:27 pm

Sunday was my final day in DC. The boys were still gone, going to another baseball game and Elyse and I headed out to the National Arboretum*.

I was super excited for this. I love plants and trees and all things botanical. Phipps is one of my favorite things about Pittsburgh, so the fact that this is outside and wayyyy bigger, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I was not.

I would love to go back right at the beginning of spring when everything is coming alive. I also wish we had had more time to spend there because the place is ENORMOUS. We only hung out in the front part, which included an herb garden and bonsai trees (I ❤ bonsai trees!) and the Asian Forest and both were pretty awesome.

canopy

The coolest part though was the Capitol Columns. Originally a part of Capitol Building, the columns were removed after the dome was completed and ended up being way bigger than planned. The dome overpowered the columns so they were moved.

capitol columns

Where they hung out until 1980, I have no idea, but that’s when they got their home in the Arboretum, and oh man do they look so much better there.

to the left

capitol reflections

capitol columns

You’re apparently not allowed to get married there, but Elyse and I have already planned out our joint wedding**. You’re all invited.

inside the columns

*Also, no matter how hard I try I can’t say this word right. I call it arbor-eat-em in my head and hope no one makes me say it aloud.

**We are marrying each other. And changing our last name to Raspberry.

 

the district (part II) November 23, 2009

Filed under: dc,nablopomo,photos,trips — cupcakesupremacy @ 6:39 pm

Saturday morning after Elyse cooked us a lovely breakfast of blueberry pancakes, the boys hit the road to Baltimore. The girls (now including Lauren) hit the road back into DC proper. The plans were a little up in the air, but mostly included seeing the sights and maybe some museums.

Well, the day was gorgeous but super hot for September.

(most of) the washington monument

We walked past most of the memorials and the White House, which seriously needed some landscaping.

white house, brown lawn

My favorite was probably the World War II Memorial, if for nothing but the copious amounts of water. Water makes everything prettier. Although I would have liked it a lot more that day if I could have dipped my feet in.

i wanted in that water so bad

The BEST part though was after we walked past the White House we were walking to eat and came across this squirrel. Looks like a normal squirrel, right?

proof he was not dead.

WRONG!

Seconds after taking that picture, he plopped down on the ground and would not move. Eventually he rotated himself 90 degrees, but he was honestly in that splayed out position for at least the 5 minutes we stood there watching him. (I’m easily amused!)

he was tuckered out

best squirrel ever.

Everyone else that walked past stopped and gawked too, so it wasn’t just us. Even just looking at this pictures now is making me crack up.

We eventually made our way to some food and although the plan was to eat at Julia’s Empanadas, Lauren suggest Nando’s Peri-Peri and since it was supposed to have some semblance of portuguese fare, I was into it.

I got mine hot I think and it was hella spicy but also pretty amazing. I got some wrap with some spicy jelly and yogurty sauce and their fries were to die for.

My feet hate all shoes, and I had worn flipflops so I made the executive decision to call it a day and go back to Alexandria. One day I’ll see you, museums.

 

the district sleeps alone tonight… November 22, 2009

Filed under: dc,nablopomo,trips — cupcakesupremacy @ 6:15 pm

Two and a half months isn’t too late to write about a trip, is it?

Labor day weekend, we traveled down to DC to visit my friend Elyse. Keith’s friend Dave came with us and Keith made side plans to see baseball games giving me some time with Elyse.

I hadn’t seen her in several months and had never been to DC, so I was pretty excited.

We left Friday after Keith got home from work and hit zero traffic going down. We got to Old Town, Alexandria at about 8PM. After tossing our stuff down we headed for the metro, since she lives a very convenient 5 minute walk from a stop.

I was also (geekily) excited to ride the metro. I’m a big fan of public transportation and love to experience the future, as Pittsburgh is still very much stuck in the past.

A goal of mine has also been to listen to Alkaline Trio’s cover of Metro while riding on the metro and I crossed that one off the list too!

We headed into DC proper and headed to RFD. The boys are amateur beer snobs, so Elyse picked this place for its varied selection.

It was a pretty awesome place. I am the opposite of a beer snob, preferring cheap, light beer to anything dark or heavy. I am a fan of fruity beer though. A few weeks prior, on a whim, I tried Founder’s Cerise Cherry Ale at D’s Six Pax and found it to be heavenly.

I decided that would be the theme of my night and started with a Wild Raspberry Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company.

swiped from flickr user: mike gowen

While madly in love with the label, I wasn’t so in love with the beer itself. It had a slight raspberry flavor but nothing too strong and was just kind of so-so.

My next beer was Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier.

blech.

Also a mistake because I momentarily forgot I hate wheat beer. I discovered this when I tried to be all fancy and drink Hoegaarden once and Did. Not. Like.

I can’t even remember how strong/weak the blackberry flavor was because I was too busy being grossed out at the wheat flavor.

My next beer was not a beer, but Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider, which OMG AMAZING. I would probably succumb to alcoholism if this was easier to have on hand. I love granny smith apples and it was so tart and amazing and my mouth is watering just thinking of it.

I should have just stuck with that, but decided to try Woodchuck Pear for my final drink. While pretty good, it was nowhere near as amazing as the granny smith, but I’d definitely drink one if you offered.

After that we enjoyed a slightly tipsy metro ride home and collapsed.

And look at that, I probably have enough material to stretch this into another post, so I will. Did I see the White House? Did I see the Washington Monument? Did I mind the gap? Stay tuned!