Monday, October 29, 2012

Did You Know About Columbia Sportswear?

Did you know about Columbia Sportswear?

While they have been "trying stuff since 1938" I have only recently become more familiar with them. Yes, I've seen their stuff around, even had some of their apparel. But I always just thought it was high end sports gear. And while that is fairly true, there is a reason for it.

I have been learning about the science and technology that Columbia puts into their products. It's not just cool looking sports wear; it's designed with a purpose in mind-whether to keep you cool, warm or dry. Or all of them.

I've learned about the cooling and wicking effects of the clothes, the way they are designed to keep you warm. And they even have some gear with insect repellent, sunscreen and "blood and guts stain resistor" built in. I am especially waiting to try the wind blocking effects of a jacket.

And their rewards program looks good too. You can join, save on your first purchase and get free shipping online. And since ordering online never guarantees a perfect fit, they have an easy return policy. You can even return your online order to a local store.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Did You Know We Rented a Motorcycle in Cozumel?

Did you know we rented a motorcycle in Cozumel?

We were not sure what we wanted to do on the day our cruise ship docked in Cozumel. We have visited here before five years ago. That day we paid entrance to a national park and snorkeled. This trip we had considered diving Cozumel, but one day of diving was all we could afford!

So we thought about renting a jeep and touring the island. I wanted to see some mayan ruins but the bigger ones were on the mainland, a 45 minute boat ride. And we had seen some ruins last trip. When we got off at the port, we talked to a couple of ladies at the information booth. One lady worked for the government and gave us what info we were looking for. The other lady worked for a tour company that offered the same excursion packages offered on the ship. They both were very nice and gave us some good info to think about. They were also honest; when my husband asked if there were any other info or tour booths located nearby, the tour group lady said yes, but it was her partner and would give same info and rates as she did.

We checked on a jeep but didn't seem just right. We crossed over the street and found several guys renting other things, including motorcycles. As my husband drives a bike in the states and the driving in  Cozumel is the same, we talked to him for a bit and struck up a good deal. He gave us a map, showed us the main road, told us which sites require paid entrance (the rest being free) and also a place to eat. We then got situated and took off for our jaunt around the island.

We had a good time once we got off the main road and on the access road that follows along the coast line. The water is gorgeous! We stopped at one secluded spot to walk around a bit. The waves were too strong to really get into the water.

gorgeous beach

We took off again just enjoying the sights and being together. After we rounded the curve back inland my husband pulled over and told me to drive! I have not driven a bike of any size since I was an early teen. But my husband gave me pointers and I slowly took off.  Not too hard really and not bad. But, I quickly turned it back over to him.

We then made our way towards the downtown section passing shops and schools where the locals are. We then rounded back along the other coastline past all the tourism district and back down past the port to eat.

We shared some fajitas and I had lime juice. Then we enjoyed a hour or so on the beach just playing in the water and relaxing. I had my swim goggles with me so I saw a few small fish. We also collected some shells to bring home.
mr. santos-a good enough place to eat, play on beach,  and shower

Then we used the facilities to shower and change and head over to the shops. (The guy we rented bike from told us to shop after 1pm-better prices.) There were folks lining the sidewalks cajoling us to come in. We passed most of them by as I was only looking for vanilla. We found a place to make our purchase-vanilla, hot sauce and candy-then headed back toward port. But my husband decided to take a back street.

We passed a shop that had some Ironman gear and photos in the window. The weekend before had been the Ironman 70.3 race. We pulled over and went into the shop. It was actually a dive shop. We walked around a couple minutes then got into a conversation with the owner. My husband told him that he had done an IM race last year and our friend did IM Cozumel last year. The owner told us that one of his employees had just completed the 70.3 distance that previous weekend and showed us a surprise he had made for his friend-a banner with a photo of him crossing the finish line to hang in the window next to the pros photos!!

By then it was time to head back to ship. We returned bike and walked through shops, trying to avoid that fact that when we left port, our ship was headed back to states....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Did You Know We Dove in Grand Cayman?

Did you know we dove in Grand Cayman?

I was so unsure if I really wanted to dive, since I have not done so in four years. But on the ferry over to Grand Cayman (our cruise ship anchored and we took a ferry boat to the island, just a short few minutes ride) we met a man whose daughter goes to the same private college several of the kids from our church go to. The one in fact that my husband was going to visit the next week after our cruise. We struck up a conversation when we saw this man carrying his diving gear. He told us he had pre-booked a dive and why didn't we come along with him to see if they had room for us to join in (we had our dive cards with us.)
waiting for our dive time

We were blessed to be able to go along with the group from Diver's Down, located about a two minute walk to the left of the port. The guys were really great with calming me down, telling me about how their mom always checks everything out, going over everything with me and even being patient when I started to panic on my first jump back into the water.

I am getting nervous!

oh yeah! it was gorgeous down there!

view back to the beach

Once I got to the rope that was tied to a weight on the seabed, I looked down and could see the reef. Then I remembered that I really did want to do this! The water was so warm and so clear  and once I got my ears cleared and made my way down, so very gorgeous! It's like swimming through a garden! The corals were all beautiful, the fish were fun to look at but the highlight for me was the sea turtle swimming by just as I got to the bottom!

view on 7 Mile Beach

getting ready to head back to our ship, the Magic

the ferry boat

this "pirate ship" passed by our ferry; if you look in the background to the
right of the boat you see Diver's Down-the folks who took care of our dive

I am so thankful to the dive leaders for being patient with me. My leader said he thought I was smiling once I got down there!!

*I have no photos from underwater, but if you want a taste of what it looks like, check out this photo copyright of Joe Shook.

Did You Know About Creditors Going Bankrupt?

Did you know about creditors going bankrupt?

I guess I never thought about that side of it. In this time of economic distress for everyone, even the creditors are having a hard go of it, I am sure. Folks like finance companies, landlords and other creditors can find themselves going through hard times just like individuals can. Though I had never stopped to think of it, it is nothing new for the raleigh creditor rights bankruptcy attorney firm I was reading about today. They offer services like representing creditors seeking bankruptcy. They negotiate with counsel and file proofs of claim.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Did You Know How to Get to Dunn's River Falls?

Did you know how to get to Dunn's River Falls?

Since we came in to port in Jamaica at Montego Bay, we saw no other way to get anywhere other than the taxi vans located outside the cruise ship terminal. We wanted to go to Dunn's River Falls which was over an hour's drive away. And they drive on the "other side of the road" and the steering wheel is on the "other side" of the car....

So, since we are ones to save money wherever we can and the cruise ship excursions are high priced, we got off in the terminal and looked for a cheaper alternative to getting to Ocho Rios. The cost to go to "town" from the port is about $5 per person but then we would still have had to figure out a way to get to OR. The cost for a driver to take you to OR is $160 for 1-4 persons.

We had a call put in to a rental car place at the airport to get a Jeep which costs $96 for the day. As we were debating what to do, one of the ladies who works in the terminal told us of another couple wanting to go to the falls but wanting to split the price of the driver, who would stay with us all day.

So that is what we decided to do. Our driver was "Joe, and he was ready to go." He talked to us a bit about Jamaica and answered all of our questions (except for our new friend's question of "Where is all the marijuana?"!!-which by the way, my husband was "offered" by a guy on the beach [not a guide] as we got ready to enter the falls.)

We made a stop on the way up to the falls for some meat pies and ginger beer. Both were only ok I thought. The falls is like a state park or something like that here in the states. It costs $20 per person to climb the falls. The guides are great and the climb lasts maybe 30 or more minutes. (I think it's a 600 meter climb.)

You have to wear water type shoes (I wore closed toed sandals and my husband wore the five finger shoes.) You can buy or rent shoes there if you don't have any to get wet (water shoes for sale/plastic shoes for rent.) The guides video tape the entire climb which you can buy at the end ($40.) There were also still photos for sale at $8 each. Also, at the end of the climb you are expected to tip your guide. I was happy to since he had taken so many photos of us throughout the climb (so we didn't need the photos or video for sale!)

After our climb, Joe took us over to see the luge where the Jamaican team trained. It costs $70 per person to ride that so we declined. Joe then took us back to Montego Bay for some jerk chicken, shopping, and through the downtown area to see what it was like.

This trip is worth it if you really want to do it. I am not sure if it is better to go with a prearranged excursion group or to go with a driver-for us, we are happy with our decision to split the price of the driver. Unless you are familiar with this type of driving I don't think renting a car is the best option.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Did You Know About Dunn's River Falls?

Did you know about Dunn's River Falls?

This gorgeous water fall in Ocho Rios, Jamaica has long been a site for adventure and nature lovers. Folks can hike up the falls and I was really looking forward to that on our cruise adventure. I thought we would be hiking up alongside the river. I was really excited when I saw that we would be hiking IN the river!!

Getting to the falls will be a post in itself....once there please note that you do have to wear water type shoes, available for sale or rent if you don't have your own. You do have to pay to get into the park, and you do have to go with a guided group, and you are expected to tip your guide at the end.

But...the climb itself is great! The guides are great! Our guide held my camera the whole way, keeping it dry and even snapping several shots of us along the way! The water is pretty cold but a wonderful adventure. We got splashed and climbed over rocks, and even went down a little "rock slide" towards the end.

It was a really fun day and we are glad we did it, even if it seemed a little overpriced..

*also note that upon leaving you will be funneled through a "craft area" where you will be accosted to buy something!! Just keep walking! Try not to show interest or converse and do NOT accept anything they hand you!!!

Did You Know About Organic Mattresses?

Did you know about organic mattresses?

I have been thinking for some time about getting my daughter a new mattress set. I did not know that organic mattresses were even an option. They say these are better for you because of the lack of chemicals and allergens. They do tend to cost a little more up front though. I did find that the  organic mattress los angeles showroom has floor models on clearance for 20-50% off.

Did You Know How We Celebrated our 25th Anniversary?

Did you know how we celebrated our 25th anniversary?

We had a wonderful 25th anniversary this year. We went to a nice dinner on our actual wedding date back in July. But we had planned a cruise for a full fledged celebration! We just got back from our week in the Caribbean, visiting Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. It was really great to be away and we enjoyed our time together just relaxing and seeing some of the gorgeous sites in the Caribbean. I will put some photos in later posts.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Did You Know About Fashion Saddle Pads?

Did you know about fashion saddle pads?

It has been a while since my daughter took horseback riding lessons. She really enjoyed the time she was able to ride. She loved the horses and took good care of them. I did not realize that the saddle pads were important to keep the horses backs protected from chafing and rubbing and to also help wick some of the sweat away. I did see some really nice saddle pads that would add a nice touch to horse shows, parades and times when you wanted to add a little flair to your ride.

Did You Know About the Zooma Women's Race series?

Did you know abut the Zooma Women's Race series?

Zooma is hosting a women's race series and they are coming to Texas! On March 23, 2013 the event will take place in Bastrop (near Austin) and will consist of a 5K run and a half-marathon. The event is also stated to be open to both men and women. There is a contest to enter to win a free entry for you and your running buddy.  It looks like a beautiful time of year and a beautiful place to do this run.

Here are some of the perks of the Zooma event:

ZOOMA Texas Perks

  • ZOOMA Signature Swag Bag
  • Access to complete girls’ weekend getaway including recovery yoga, sponsored cocktail hours and inspirational speakers
  • Entry into a professionally managed half marathon or 5K race
  • Water and Cytomax Sports Performance drink on the course
  • Water, Cytomax Sports Performance drink, Muscle Milk Light and food at the finish line
  • GU Energy Gel station along the course
  • Wine from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly at the After-Party Expo
  • Necklace designed exclusively for ZOOMA for half marathon finishers
  • Post-race massage, shopping and live music at the ZOOMA After-Party Expo
  • ChronoTrack timed race results
*from the registration website