An Afternoon in Galveston 

Considering how close we live to the coast, it’s a shame we don’t make it down there very often. This year, I was determined to introduce Barley to the ocean, so we packed up a cooler and some sunscreen and headed down I-45 to Galveston for the best Sunday afternoon.

We stopped at Mosquito Cafe on our way in for lunch and it didn’t disappoint.

Afterwards, we headed to the beach and set up camp! The tailgating tent was a true life saver- it kept us surprisingly cool and prevented sunburns. We threw around the football, let the dogs play in the water, and just had a super relaxing afternoon. The pups were definitely pretty hesitant- we had to really encourage them to actually get in, but it was pretty funny to watch Barley try to jump over the waves and watch them play together.

All in all, it made me wish we did this more often. And in Texas, you can do it the majority of the year- we once laid by the pool in Galveston in January! Even if not’s the prettiest beach in the world, it still makes for a nice day 🙂 Especially when you’re there with great friends and cute pups!

Beach Getaway- Jamaica Edition

I did not want to leave Jamaica. Wasn’t ready, at all. Such an easy going trip, with our big decision in the morning being: pool or beach? I hadn’t heard the best reviews before we left from several friends- people were pushy, the country was poverty stricken, it’s really not as pretty. Considering how much I love new places, solely based on the fact that they are new, it’s generally pretty hard for me to not like somewhere. Even so, I loved this country so much, regardless of the fact that it was new to me. And it just goes to show, that sometimes you need to experience a place for yourself. I think the biggest factor that contributed to our great time, and made it a more unique experience, was the area we stayed in.

We stayed at Jake’s, on the southwestern side of the island (St. Elizabeth parish), in a sleepy fishing community. The roads aren’t the greatest (think narrow with lots of pot holes), so it took us over 2 hours to get there form the airport in Montego Bay. Luckily, our driver was super cool (Hey Andre!). It amazed me just how few people were in Treasure Beach! The hotel consists of several cottages spread over the property, and while on the water, doesn’t have a true beach. There are several a short walk away, and while pretty, they aren’t the prettiest I’ve ever seen, so I’ll agree on that part. But that didn’t matter, because the vibe from the whole place was instantly relaxing- slow paced and easy and inclusive. Jake’s has a quirky, artsy feel and the service was excellent. The people make you feel like you belong- we were even invited to the local football match, which was a surprise treat. And the jerk pork & chicken!! Oh man. We stopped at a couple of road side places and feasted. We also spent some time at Dougie’s Bar, chatting with Christopher (who makes a mean piña colada), and had lunch at Eggy’s, which juts out right over the water- I could have stayed all day. And I tried conch for the first time 🙂 And just a side note: I can’t even tell you how many times Dan said “Red Stripe” in a Jamaican accent. Probably 100.
Our only real “activity” during the vacation was to take a boat trip with Captain Joseph & his wife, who were awesome and had the best smiles, and a fun couple from England. Captain Jo built a shaded area on a secluded stretch of beach and we feasted on freshly caught lobster, fish, and unlimited rum punch and Red Stripe. Dan joined the guys for a game of cricket, which was a blast to watch. True to Dan, he was a natural, and managed to play with a beer in hand 90% of the game. Then, we rode over to Pelican Bar, which has to be the coolest bar on the planet. It’s built way out off the coast, on a sand bar, out of a hodge podge of old wood.
Leaving was tough. It didn’t help that most of the people we met were staying for at least 2 weeks. 2 weeks!!! In one place! I can’t imagine. Home away from home, I’m sure. Oh Europeans and their massive number of vacation days. I can’t rave enough about how wonderful Jake’s is- truly an oasis.
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Beach Getaway- Cancun Edition

I would never consider myself a “beach person” due to the whole pale skin/not the best swimmer thing, but being on the water and relaxing to the sound of waves is incredible. Luckily, our in-laws are super generous and treated us to a little weekend getaway to Cancun over the 4th of July at Villa del Palmar:) So grateful to have parents on both sides who love hanging out with us. It was 3 days of doing mostly nothing but hang pool/beach side with pina coladas and it was perfect. Oh and we ate a lot too. We had to make the all inclusive worth it 😉 Preface: Dan uses beach vacas as an excuse to wear only tanks and my eyebrows get even curlier in the humidity. See documentation below.

 DAY UNO: Isla Mujeres

The beach here is just stunning. And we had to kick off our first day of vacation with a beer before we could explore further.

The island had some fun shops we checked out. I was on the hunt for a good hat and found a great deal- much better than the one I loved at J. Crew:) Dan’s mom was on the hunt for a giant thing of vanilla, which was surprisingly harder to find than expected. At least the giant version for a good price! I really enjoyed just walking around and seeing the murals/ every day life on the island.

Definitely our favorite stop ^^ It was a father/son studio with amazing wood work. We got a bowl, which is going to look great on our *future* island filled with fruit and Dan’s parents got a cutting board. The wood comes from Mexico and is incredibly heavy. It’s so tough that the artist uses a chain saw to do his work! Impressive. The dad invited us to sit down for a drink and we made a new friend in his dog. Just the friendliest family all around. Dan’s parents got his number and told him they’d treat him to a steak dinner if he were ever in Austin 🙂

We also found a really great, tiny, B&B on the rocky side of the island to hang out at for a bit. The owner was a bit of a jerk but the view couldn’t be beat. I also had the BEST mojito of my life. Dan and I have always struggled to make a good mojito on our own (hint: just use crystal light mojito mix- less calories, tastes great, so easy, even if it is cheating). But this was made using coconut water and mmmm yum.

DAY all the others 🙂

After we got back to the resort, we stayed put the rest of the trip and I did a lot of the above ^^^ Would highly recommend The Signature of All Things which is written by the same author of Eat, Pray, Love.  It got me through the whole trip (I’m a bit of a speed reader) and has so many stories within the story as it follows the dad’s life, and his daughter’s. It’s about a botanist in the 1800’s, but I promise, it’s much more intriguing than it sounds.

Dan built a killer sand castle and we spent loads of time throwing the frisbee. At one point, I ran into the ocean to try and make the catch, but hit a patch of rocks and face planted. Dan proceeded to leap over me in pursuit. His priorities: frisbee > wife. I guess it did keep us pretty entertained all weekend.

Every day it seemed someone joined us! Dan’s aunt and sister both arrived after we did and made it all the merrier. For the 4th of July, we saw an “American” rock band who played covers of all the classics. With fire dancers. They were actually really great musicians, but the lead singer tried to do our national anthem and totally butchered the lyrics. I was giggling the whole way through, which was probably very unpatriotic of me. But she was straight up making up lyrics- when you grow up in Mexico and not in America, I guess that makes sense. AND we pressured Dan into singing karaoke! He picked Better Together by Jack Johnson and dedicated it to me and it may have been the highlight of the trip 🙂 BTW- that last photo was the view from our shower. So cool.

Has anyone ever noticed that the air traffic control tower in Cancun has a Corona ad on it? Hope they aren’t drinking any beers up there! Until next time, Mexico!