Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweat Pink Vlog #3

Missed week #1 and week #2? Check them out here!

Sweat Pink Ambassadors Vlog #1
Sweat Pink Ambassador Vlog #2

Week #3’s questions are:
Is music a must-have for you while working out? What are your current favorite songs to listen to while working out?

You’ll find my answers in the video below!

Why oh why does You Tube pick the most awkward facial expressions to freeze? Kills me!

Anyway, I realized after I created this video that I forgot to mention another soundtrack I like to listen to while running!


And I realized I said something wrong….I said it was week #4….oh well.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

What’s YOUR favorite music to listen to while working out?

I spy a Hidden Mickey! :0)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NYC & Canada Day #3: Boarding the Disney Magic

If you’ve missed prior recaps, here they are!

NYC & Canada Day #2: Wicked!!
NYC & Canada Day #2: New York Yankees

NYC & Canada Day #1: Exploring New York


On Sunday morning we slept in a little later than usual, then got dressed and headed down stairs for breakfast.

Jason and I had a port arrival time of 11 a.m. while his parents was set for noon. We decided to arrive around 11 a.m. and hopefully they would let us all in!

We attempted to hail a cab and we prayed we would get an SUV type cab (since we had four large suitcases and four book sacks). With no such luck, a regular car-type cab pulled up to the curb, but we weren’t complaining. It’s hard to hail a cab in NY, especially when you have luggage with you! Two suitcases fit in the trunk while Jason and his parents held one across their laps, and I sat in the front seat with my 50 pound suitcase on my lap! After a few minutes, my feet started to fall asleep – but we made it to the port without any difficulty!


YAY the Disney Magic!! I was so excited to see the ship!


Home! :0)


This was so cute! I was taking pictures of Minnie as Mickey walked away. When he reached the window, he stood for a few minutes to get Minnie’s attention. When she noticed him standing at the window, they both started jumping up and down, waving and blowing kisses to each other. It was too funny!

We were all allowed to check in at the same time and we were given boarding group 4! Yay!

After boarding the ship, we went straight to Parrot Cay for the lunch buffet.

Around 1:30 p.m., we were able to check into our rooms. This was our first time having a Verandah room.


I was so excited and ready for a new adventure!!

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The first thing Jason did when we got to our room was check out the Wave phone. He read the instructions carefully…. “Wave to Wave phone”…..


……then took the directions literally – he “waved” to the “Wave Phone”…..oh my…… He’s a Promise Kid.


After the mandatory life boat drill, we high tailed it up to Deck 10 for the Adventures Away party. I was honestly shocked at the lack of people on this cruise. Either the boat was not full or people just weren’t interested in the deck parties like usual.


Adventures Away!


New York Skyline from the Magic


Crew at the port bidding us farewell with Mickey hands! :0)

Before long, we approached the Statue of Liberty!


I was in awe!

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After the party, we walked back to our rooms to get ready for dinner.


I spied my mother in law taking pictures from their Verandah! Hah!


This bridge was amazing!


Our first night’s dinner was at Parrot Cay.

The wait staff got word that I had a recent birthday so they sang Happy Birthday!

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I got a birthday cake….


….and a button! I LOVE that the Disney Cruise Line gives buttons to those who are Celebrating a special occasion now. They didn’t in the past so this is definitely a nice change!


Our first towel animal….made with our blanket! :0)


It’s a tradition at my in-law’s house to sign the birthday tablecloth after dinner. Since we weren’t able to celebrate my actual birthday at their house, my mother in law brought a piece of the table cloth with them for me to sign!  (It wasn’t actually a piece of the table cloth, just a scanned picture on paper.



We watched the show after dinner, then walked over to Rockin’ Bar D for the night time adult activities.


Goofy’s so silly!


N’Joy Live

Ever played Magic Quest before? It’s a scavenger hunt of sorts where each team is given a number and are asked to present an item. We got together with another couple and Team 22 was born!


Poor Jason was suckered into keeping the number most of the game!


He ran up with a sock….


….he even ran up with a male team mate while holding hands and skipping….yeah…..


I took the number one time because I had my car keys in my bag!

Overall, we had a great time and laughed so hard we cried! After Magic Quest, we watched Match Your Mate.


When we decided to call it a night, we came back to the room and I put the finishing touches on my Fish Extender gifts for delivery the following day. :0)

Overall, we had a great first day on board the Magic and couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the week would bring! :0)

Up next: Our first At Sea Day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NYC and Canada Day #2: Wicked!!

If you’ve missed the recaps prior to this one, check them out below!

NYC & Canada Day #2: New York Yankees

NYC & Canada Day #1: Exploring New York

When I left off with our New York Adventures, we were about to return to our hotel with just enough time to freshen up before leaving for Broadway!


We hopped in a cab (see how crazy they drive?) and made our way to the Gershwin Theater!


We stopped for a pre-show snack along the way before entering the theater.

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Yes, we were going to see WICKED!


I have looked forward to seeing Wicked ever since we started planning this trip.


I wanted to make my first official Broadway musical a great one!


The one thing I noticed about the theater is the fact that the company had free reign of the building they occupied. Prior to seeing Wicked, the only Broadway musicals I saw were travelling (Broadway Across America). With a travelling company, all of the props and sets are mobile which limits them on their capacity to decorate. Don’t get me wrong, all of the travelling Broadway productions I’ve seen have been incredible, this was just an observation that I noticed with being stationed at their own building.

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My mother-in-law bought opera glasses and we loved them! They were perfect for seeing a closer view of the stage. (By the way, when I say “opera glasses”, I can’t help but think of  Minnie Mouse in Mickey’s Philharmagic in the Magic Kingdom! Hah! If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean!) :0)


When we purchased tickets for this show, we decided on Orchestra level seats. I made the decision to splurge on tickets because I had no clue if I’d ever be back and I wanted my first Broadway experience to be AMAZING! 
Mission: accomplished!

After we sat down, Jason and I were flipping through the playbill and I told him that I love one of the last songs of the production called “For Good”…I think it would make a good funeral song and I want it played at my funeral. OK morbid, right? I wasn’t being morbid, just being silly. My husband (who thinks he’s funny) said in return “How about the very first song of the production instead? You know, ‘No One Mourns the Wicked’?”


Oh Jason.

Anyway, Wicked was everything I imaged it would be and more! I’ve kind of been addicted to the Wicked Soundtrack for a while now – and quite honestly, the soundtrack gave nothing away. I was surprised SEVERAL times throughout the production. There were WAY too many things that I didn’t see coming!

This clip is from the original musicians from the production – Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth at the Tony Awards in 2006.

A neat thing we noticed with the opera glasses – Elphaba’s mic is on her forehead (it’s very noticeable in the You Tube video, yet not so noticeable from stage in the theater). Also, we could NOT find Glenda’s mic to save our lives. We noticed mics on the Wizard and Elphaba and various other characters, but we could not find Glenda’s for anything! While watching the You Tube video above, I noticed that it is also on her forehead – however, on Broadway, that mic was NOT on her forehead! I think they tuck it up under her hairline.

I have a million and one amazing things to say about Wicked. This production is FLAWLESS – we saw no stage movement, everything flowed smooth, and the musicians were top-notch. If you ever have the chance to see it, GO!


I loved this place so much I didn’t want to leave!


Boo reality!

After the production – even though it was 11 p.m. – we walked over to Applebee’s for dinner. We WERE in the city that never sleeps, after all! :0)



The sign above the door should say – the Largest AND most Expensive Applebee’s in the World! Hah!

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See what I mean? Menu prices were double but the portion sizes remained the same. Jason and I split the Orange Chicken dish. We were full and really didn’t need any more food, it’s just the point that we paid double for a dish we could have gotten back home for cheaper. Moral of the story, don’t eat in Time Square unless you want to pay an arm and a leg! :0)

After dinner, we decided to walk over to Ellen’s Stardust Diner to check out that night’s entertainment (and maybe split a little dessert). :0) Even though it was well after midnight, we figured they would still be open. We walked in and were greeted at the door by a guy who immediately recognized Jason (and unfortunately they were closed). I thought maybe he recognized Jason from us being there the night before but NO! He remembered Jason from COLLEGE. Yes, we were in New York and Jason ran into someone who remembered him from COLLEGE back home in Louisiana! They were both in a fraternity and even though they didn’t go to the same school, they both attended several of the same functions. Talk about a SMALL WORLD. My husband has been out of college since 2001! Hah!

Anyway, there’s my Wicked recap! Absolutely incredible and again, if you have the chance to see it, GO!! :0)

Up next: Boarding the Disney Magic!!

Have you ever seen a Broadway production (on or off Broadway)? What’s your favorite?
So far, here’s my list:
#1: Wicked (on Broadway)
#2: Les Miserables (Broadway Across America – Seattle)
#3: Lion King (Broadway Across American – Houston)
#4: Phantom of the Opera (on Broadway)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hurricane Rita

Today marks the 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Rita, the fourth-most intense Atlantic Hurricane ever recorded. While in the Gulf, Hurricane Rita gained a Category 5 status before dropping to Category 3 right before she hit landfall.


A mandatory evacuation was called for our area. At the time, I was a new nurse only 4 months out of school. I went to work that Friday morning because I was on the schedule (forgetting that I was still considered an “orientee” might I add!). HAH!

I won’t lie – I WAS SCARED. Scared to death. Most of our patients were evacuated from the hospital, but those who could not be evacuated were moved to the ICU. The nurses who stayed were placed on shifts and we all took turns caring for the patients.

We were also assigned our own rooms (which usually served as patient rooms). As a fairly new associate at the hospital, I didn’t know a lot of people. While checking into my room and scoping out the area, I ran into one of my good friends who worked in the ER (we went to Nursing School together and were in each others weddings). I think we both about passed out when we saw each other. We said “YOU’RE HERE” at the same time, then ran and hugged each other in tears. She was so sweet and allowed me to stay in her room with her so Jason could stay in my assigned room. At the time, Jason and I had only been dating about a month. This is crazy I know, but I was nervous and scared and felt completely alone and I wanted him with me. So instead of evacuating, he came to the hospital with me. Having Jason and my friend Amy with me helped me relax and feel more comfortable with a completely uncomfortable situation.

I remember feeling anxiety as night fell. We lost electricity around 9 p.m. and we had to follow storm updates from radios placed all over the hospital (plugged into the generator outlets). The local news crew took over a section of the 5th floor of our facility so we were able watch and hear updates from them.

CNN was also at our facility. Weeks after the storm, I was told by family and friends from church that they saw video footage of me working in the ICU on CNN! I remember exactly where I was when they captured that video footage – I was giving report to another nurse and we were sitting in the ICU nurses station talking.

Since I can’t find the video, here’s the script taken from CNN’s website:

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Hurricane Rita hurtles towards the Louisiana coast, a local hospital  in Lake Charles, Louisiana decides to do what few other hospitals in the area are doing, stay open for business.
In a hurricane, hospitals are one of the community's most precious resources, responsible for the sick and elderly and for taking in the injured in the storm.
Thursday morning, September 22nd, officials call for a mandatory evacuation. The staff races to get patients out as it becomes clear that Lake Charles and the hospital are in its path. More than 150 patients are evacuated by ambulance and helicopter in the two days before the storm, an emotional scene for nurses and others to watch.
(on camera): We are in a graveyard just outside of the Hospital. The last few patients are leaving in this army helicopter, evacuating further north, further east, away from here. Just outside of the Hospital, a few patients, critically ill, still remain here in this hospital. (voice-over): Friday afternoon, four patients remain who are simply too sick to move. Twenty doctors and about 50 staff stay, waiting anxiously. But they are prepared, windows boarded up, supplies stockpiled, enough for five to seven days. But there are also recent lessons learned.
Katrina was a different story. Charity Hospital in New Orleans, the morgue was flooded, supplies were limited and the staff struggled to operate without power or running water.
Here generators are above sea level. Clear plans are made to move the emergency room to higher floors in case of flooding and surgery suites are prepared to operate on backup power.

As I attempted to sleep the night of the storm, I remember listening to a song on repeat on my CD Walkman  (oh my gosh I feel so old saying that!). The song was called “All My Praise” by Selah – You have promised You will not abandon so I shall not fear…Even in the shadow of death, I will praise you. Even in the valleys, I will say…..Holy my God, you are worthy of all my praise…. When I hear that song today, it brings back a flood of memories.

The sounds coming from outside as the storm hit were so loud – it sounded as if a train were driving on top of the hospital. It was hard to sleep and around 2 a.m., hospital administration walked through the halls to wake everyone up – they told us to pull our cots, mattresses, chairs, etc into the hallway because windows of the rooms were not stable.

The next morning, I woke up to find leaves in my room. The ironic thing – I was placed in a room with a window facing an atrium. The window was intact, but several leaves were on the floor. The atrium floor was full of leaves as well. In Jason’s room, leaves were in odd places like the top drawer of the bedside table. Very very odd.

Jason and I walked over to the parking garage and were amazed at what we saw - trees were down everywhere and a lot of homes were pretty messed up.

To lighten the awful mood, Amy, myself, and Jason walked the halls of the hospitals and told jokes to each other. We also searched out the elusive “ghosts” that supposedly walk the halls of the hospital at night. As hard as we tried, we never found any ghosts.

Since we had no electricity, it was HUMID we were HOT! The walls of the hospital developed droplets of water – similar to a cold soda can sitting on a table. By Saturday afternoon, I was nasty and in desperate need of a bath – thankfully, I was told to fill the trashcan in my room with water before the storm hit. I used a water bottle and attempted to scoop water out of the trashcan to wash myself and clean off. I washed my hair as best I could and by Sunday afternoon, my hair was still wet (that’s how humid the hospital was). We also attempted to wash off by using the hospital’s “bath in a bag” system - water, wash cloths, and dry soap (meaning you don’t need water to rinse off after).  Thankfully, whoever made up the bags used ice water and it felt amazing!

On Saturday night, we decided to find a cool place to sleep. Word on the street was that the OR had air! We dragged the mattresses from our beds down two flights of stairs to the OR and were met by a very gracious staff. We were placed in a room with several physicians and nurses - the entire room was full of stretchers, mattresses, and cots.

On Sunday, we were informed that the main roads of our town were passable, so I decided to return to my house to survey the damage. I still lived at home with my parents at the time and they stayed during the storm. I think after this experience, none of us will ever stay again.

I found that sections of my parent’s roof was gone, leaving only the bare wood. We were lucky that the roof remained however, rain water was able to seep through the wood and soak the entire inside structure of the home.


This is only a portion of the roof that was blown off. Several patches of the roof also had the same damage on the front of the home.


Portions of the ceiling were soaked with water. This happens to be the ceiling right below the attic – which means a lot of the attic contents were destroyed as well.

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Trees were snapped in half – these trees were in my parents back yard. Thankfully, none of the trees landed on their home.


Blue tarp was placed on our roof to prevent further damage from any upcoming rain storm. These “blue roof’s” became the signature staple all over town in the weeks following the storm.

Before leaving to evacuate to Dallas, Texas, Jason and I drove around town to take pictures and survey the damage.


Several panes of glass were blown out of our bank tower downtown.


We saw several homes/businesses with signs like this one!


At the time, Jason worked at Movie Gallery (while he was still in college working on his degree). We drove by and this is what we found….


I took this picture of Jason being silly….


….and of course, a cop pulled up to see what we were doing! Hah! We showed him Jason’s badge so we didn’t get in trouble! :0)


On our way to Dallas, we saw several Entergy trucks headed towards Louisiana. We assumed that we’d have electricity in a few days – little did we know, it was much longer than just a few days.


We were SO NASTY after three days without a real shower! Since we were both very smelly, I guess we couldn’t really smell each other! Hah!

Once we arrived in Dallas at my Aunt and Uncle’s home, I made a bee-line for the shower! To date, that was the best shower on record!! :0)

A few friends also evacuated to the Dallas area, so we were able to get together several times throughout the week.

TGI Fridays

We encountered SO many gracious people and businesses while in Dallas – we even received free meals and discounted tickets to events. My favorite – the Grapevine Opry – was incredible. When I explained our situation to them, they supplied us with FIVE FREE tickets to that night’s show! At the start of the show, they even gave us a shout-out and wished us the best. I cannot tell you how much that act of kindness meant to me. To date, I try to attend the Grapevine Opry every time I visit my family in Dallas. Their generosity will never be forgotten.


We stayed a few days in Dallas with my family, then went on to stay a few days with Jason’s family who evacuated to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Once we received word that we had electricity again (TWO weeks after the storm hit), we returned back home and were greeted with mold of every color, shape, and size imaginable ALL over the house…


The walls of my bathroom


My closet



The ceiling downstairs

While cleaning out the house, we all wore masks – we definitely didn’t want to play around with mold or mildew!

My parent’s home had to be completely gutted and re-built. In the meantime, we lived in trailers in our front yard. My brother and I shared a trailer while my mom and dad shared another.


This space served as my home for six months.


Believe it or not, that makeshift couch/bed was very comfortable!


Kayla was staying with me at the time these pictures were taken so that’s why there’s a suitcase on the floor.

Let the re-building process begin!


This was my room.

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The kitchen/living room


Living room/stairs


The guest bedrooms

Our home was completed in March of 2006 and we were able to move back in (six months after the storm).  We were SO very blessed because the damage could have been a lot worse. None of my friends or family were harmed physically and I’m very thankful for that.

I realize that this has been really long, but I wanted to recap all of my experiences with the storm. Even though the storm ended that Friday night, the damage and it’s effects lingered on for months. The entire Gulf Coast of Southwest Louisiana was destroyed. Many rebuilt their homes but a lot of people moved out of the area completely. We were very fortunate to only have water damage – others lost everything they had.

I hope that another storm like Hurricane Rita never hits Southwest Louisiana again. The memories from the storm and its after effects are definitely something I will never forget.

Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? If so, share your story!

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