Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fifth Annual Top Ten Song List

Ok, admittedly I am a bit behind on publishing my favorite songs of 2012, but you have to admit I have kind of been making up for lost time lately, no?  This year was especially hard, not necessarily to pair down the list, but to decide what went where.  Number 1 was easy, but 2-10, could have just about all been number 2 on the list.  So without further ado, here is my top ten favorite songs for 2012!

10. Some Nights by fun. - This song would most likely be higher if I hadn't been totally obsessed with it so long ago.  I think all the radio play has me a little over it, but last summer this was basically our anthem.  It is such a unique sound and really this whole album was played over and over in the Trent house/cars/back yard a lot last year.

9.  Even If It Breaks Your Heart by Eli Young Band - This song is so great for that person who is really passionate about music.  I think every young person who wants to be an artist must have felt this way at some time.  They just yearn to play no matter what, even if it breaks their heart...

8.  Live and Die by Avett Brothers - My friend KC turned me on to this band a couple of years ago and I will forever be in debted, because they are one of my favorites now.  I loved their last album and couldn't wait to get the new one this year.  This is probably my favorite on the album.  We got to see them at ACL this year and they put on such a great, energetic show.

7.  Keep Your Eyes Open by Needtobreathe - Again, it was hard to pick which song off this album was my favorite - Drive All Night was definitely a close second - but this is the one that I kept going back to and got really excited every time I heard it on the radio.  This band has Christian roots, and I am not sure, but my take on this song is just that you have to get out in the world and experience it, but not let yourself be part of it.  Keep your eyes open in multiple senses of the words.

6.  Nobody's Fool by Miranda Lambert - I technically heard this song in 2011, but I really played it a lot this past year.  I love ML.  She is awesome.  She is spunky and tough, she is an East Texas girl after all!  But some of her songs are so tender and really let you look at a more vulnerable side too.  I just really like the play on words in this song too.

5.  Payphone by Maroon 5 - Not gonna lie.  I have never been a huge Maroon 5 fan.  I like that song Wake Up Call a lot, but other than that I could take them or leave them.  Except I do think Adam Levine is pretty cool, I mean he did And Iran on SNL, so he has to be cool.  (If you have not seen that, please go to the SNL digital short website and watch - be prepared to laugh).  Anyway, I love their new album, this song specifically.  I have listened to it about 238,187 times since it came out.

4.  Stubborn Love by The Lumineers - Last year at this time I had seen Hey Ho by Lumineers come up on Sirius station 28 about a million times.  I am kind of bad about turning a song without even listening to it if I don't know it.  So I had seen the song and band name, but never listened to the now ubiquitous song.  Then I saw they were playing ACL, so I figured I might as well listen.  Holy cow that is a good song!  I sing it to Jude all the time "I belong with you, you belong with me, my sweetheaaaaart".  But this song is even better.  Not quite as sweet, pretty heartbreaking, but still awesome.

3.  Springsteen by Eric Church - This is the only song I like by EC, but I freaking love it.  Even Jason likes, and he does not like country songs.  I have gotten him liking exactly 6 total (we keep count) and this is one of them.  So it is that good.

2.  Only If For the Night by Florence and the Machine - Florence is a poet is what I have discovered this year.  I really would like to know if she was like an English major at Oxford or something because her lyrics are so beautiful.  This song portrays such a vivid image of what I think is losing someone she loved at a young age and reacting to that like a young person would.  It is lovely.

1.  Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye - Pretty sure this song is on every top 10 list of last year, but I would just like to claim that I discovered it first.  Ha.  Ok, maybe not but I have been obsessed with it from the first time I heard it and made my sister and Jason listen to it over and over before it was EVERYWHERE.  We saw Gotye at ACL as well this year and it was one of my favorite performances.  He is like a performance artist.  He is a very talented individual.  None of the other songs on his album sound anything like this one or like any other song on the album.  It is such an interesting mix and the live performance really brought it to life.  This song just has to resonate with everyone.  I mean who hasn't had that person that was everything for a while and after it was over you didn't want to feel like it had been nothing.  The line "You treat me like a stranger and it feels so rough" kills me.  Such perfect wording.  Who hasn't felt that?  Anyway, I love it and that's that.

I had to cut some songs that I really would have liked to include, but they will just have to be left for the honorable mention list.  No one ever adds to the comments to tell me what they would have put on their list, but I will hope that this year someone will. =)  What are your favorites of the year?

Here is my honorable mentions: Good Time by Carley Rae Jepsen and Owl City, Blown Away by Carrie Underwood, 22 by Taylor Swift, Set Fire to the Rain by Adele and We Owned the Night by Lady Antebellum.  Can you tell I was in to country music this year?  Here's to 2013!! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

And in a flash...

Jude is one year old!  How did that happen?  I know everyone always says that, but seriously.  I feel like we JUST did his newborn photos.  The last year has gone by faster than I could have imagined.  And I feel like it has been one of the best, albeit busiest, years of my life.  I felt so much more laid back this time around with all the things that come with having a newborn.  I just enjoyed it and tried to relish it!  And who could have possibly known I needed a baby boy?  I wanted a girl so bad I cried at my sonogram when I found out.  But God knew better!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a boy.  And I just love the dynamic of having one of each now.  Isabella loves him so much and they already will play together.  It is so sweet!

For Jude's birthday we decided to have a Beatle's themed party.  I mean his name is Jude after all.  But Jason got the inspiration from the cover of this Beatles album...

It is their number one hits and so we figured it went great with the 1 year theme!  We decided to just do immediate family for the party so it would just be a small intimate party.  I actually planned to really do it up, even still, but you know how sometimes things just sneak up on you?  Yeah, that happened.  But we at least had some Beatles themed food, some gifts and even balloons.

Isabella helped Jude open his gifts...

I think she enjoyed opening the gifts more than he did...

Jude's favorite thing was the balloons...

Grammy and Poppy got him a birthday hat, but we didn't have much luck keeping it on!

New trucks Aunt Amanda and Uncle Jared got him...

 Jude with Poppy...

Some of our Beatle's themed food...

Here is the lovely cake that Society Bakery made us.  They googled the album cover so they knew just what to make.  Love them!

I remember Isabella was very timid with her smash cake.  Just little tastes here and there.  Well, Jude not so much.  This was his first bite...

Then Isabella got involved pretty quickly...

 And then we had this mess...

Note to everyone.  Do not use a cake with solid RED icing for a smash cake!  Lesson learned.  We were cleaning red icing out out the carpet, off the floor and walls for a while.  I just yesterday saw some on the ceiling in our kitchen!  Haha, but it was fun.  I think the party was a success, even if it wasn't a huge party.  It was nice to be able to just sit and talk with our families.

Happy Birthday Jude!  We love you so much!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Allure of the Seas

My job is so hard.  In order to be the best I can be at my job, I have to travel all over and experience all I can in the world of travel.  Last week was one of the worst things I have had to do yet.  I had to go on the biggest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, and have a 4 day getaway with my husband for Valentine's.  Don't feel sorry for me.  What?  You don't?  Yeah, you really shouldn't.  It was awesome!

The whole trip was pretty rainy, so I didn't get a ton of good pictures, but I will post what I have.  The first day, we got on the ship, dropped our stuff off at our room and headed out to explore.  This ship has many different 'neighborhoods', and we went to the Boardwalk first.  It was probably my favorite area of the ship.  They had a donut shop, hot dog stand, ice cream shop, carousel, Johnny Rocket's, Rita's Cantina, a little jungle gym type thing for kids to play on, and this is also where the big OceanAria show is with the big Cirque style water show.  We decided to grab a bite at Rita's...

Pretty sure the salsa was Pace Picante from a jar, but everything else was delicious!  I had a red snapper with grilled peppers and onions.  SO good.

Here is a shot of the carousel.  Bella would have loved this!

After lunch we continued our tour and it started raining on us, but we managed to still have a good time.  This is Jason in the Central Park neighborhood.  They have umbrellas out when it rains so you can still walk around, and they had a covered bar...

There are many pools up top, with a great kids play area.  There are also a ton of deck chairs, and a lot of umbrellas if you wanted to lay by the pool and not get scorched. 

The first night we ate in the normal dining room.  It was just ok.  I feel like in general, cruise lines are starting to put pretty mediocre food in the 'free' dining areas to drive you to spend money in the restaurants that cost extra.  The last Royal Caribbean cruise we took was on the Freedom of the Seas and I remember being impressed with the food, so maybe it was just a bad night.  We only ate there one night!

The next day we went to the spa, which is outrageously priced, but still pretty nice.  Then just kind of did some relaxing.  I also got to tour some of the different rooms of my coworkers to get an idea of the different layouts.  I think one of my favorites was the one with a balcony over the Boardwalk.  It was really quiet if you had the balcony door closed, but if you sat out there it was great people watching, you could see the ocean off the back of the ship and you could even watch OceanAria from your balcony!

That night we ate at the Italian restaurant Giovanni's.  Man.  Was it good!  I mean I wanted to eat every bit of what we ordered, but I knew there were more and more courses, so I couldn't.  Jason and I both said if it was a restaurant in Dallas, we would go there often.  SO good.

We also stayed up until about 1 am on this day.  I cannot tell you the last time I stayed up that late.  Seriously.  But it was fun!

The next day we decided we needed some greasy Johnny Rocket's after our late night out.  It is $4.95 per person, and you can order anything on the menu, as much as you want.  This is what they bring out for you at first...

Pretty sure I ate all the onion rings and then felt really bad after, but they were goooood.

That night we ate at the Wine Bar there.  They serve tapas so we just ate a bunch of those, which were all really good, and then went to bed early.

The process getting off the ship was super easy.  We did the express where you just take your own luggage off.  There was no waiting at all to get off the boat, we went straight to customs.  There was a little bit of a wait once we got there, but that is pretty usual.  I have to say, on all cruises I feel like I always am waiting on elevators and sometimes the restaurants feel crowded.  But as many people as there are on this ship, I never felt like it was crowded.  I don't remember ever having to wait for multiple elevators or anything. 

There were a ton of things I wanted to do and didn't get to because of the rain.  There is zip lining, rock wall climbing and several shows, including Chicago. All in all I really liked this ship and would definitely recommend it.
This is a pretty drink I had, just had to share the pic with you guys.  Nothing says "I'm on vacation" like a drink with an umbrella in it...

Also, I think I have told you of my love for towel animals a time or two (thousand).  We only got one, but he was cute. =)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Disney Dream Cruise 2012

After saying a tearful goodbye to our beautiful room at the Polynesian, we headed up to the Main House to eat breakfast at Kona Cafe.  I love this place for breakfast.  They have Tonga Toast (banana stuffed french toast), Macadamia nut pancakes, Lilikoi juice and Kona Pressed Pot coffee.  SO delicious.  Here is Amanda, mom and Bells after our sugar rush of a breakfast.

Then we headed out to meet our bus to go to the port and our ship!

Isabella fell asleep on the bus.  We hadn't taken a nap the day before and a full day at the parks is a loooong day for a 3 year old.

I have been on a lot of different cruise lines, but never upon entering the ship have they asked my party's name, and introduced us to the entire ship as 'Welcoming now the Trent party!'.  What a nice way to start!  They then hand you off to a person who tells you where your room is and tells you when it will be ready and what is available while you are waiting for your room to be ready.  SUCH great service.

They told us where to find food and let us know that Donald was up on the balcony if we wanted to meet him.  Isabella was SO excited, so off we went.   

The rooms were really nice compared to others I have seen.  Cruise rooms are small in general, but these were definitely bigger than the Royal Caribbean balcony room we had the year before, and there was a curtain that closed the bedroom part off completely from the couch/tv area.

Once again with the towel animals.  Love it!

I had told Isabella that they let you order milk and cookies from room service before bed, so we had to do that!

Our first day we stopped at Nassau.  That is where Jason and I went for our honeymoon and we only had four days so I didn't want to get off the ship.  But we had a pretty sweet view of the Atlantis from our balcony!

Isabella claimed the top bunk the first night.  We were a little hesitant to let her have it, but she LOVED it and had no problems falling off or anything.

One of the great things about the Disney cruises, is that there are characters everywhere all the time.  So your kids aren't waiting in line for an hour to meet one princess like they would in the park.  They have dance parties with characters, meet and greet times all day, and Isabella met several characters not scheduled to be out, they were just walking around talking to people.

Isabella went crazy over Minnie.  I honestly didn't even realize she was such a fan.  But she would just hug on her and would not let go.  It was so sweet!  I may have teared up a bit...

And who says just the kids want to meet Minnie?

Isabella has been obsessed with Peter Pan for a long time.  Out of all the Disney movies, this is the one we act out at home the most.  I am Peter and she is Wendy and all sorts of craziness ensues.  So when she saw Peter just standing around, I think she was starstruck.  She didn't say a word and just stared.  I think he thought she didn't know who he was - Peter Pan isn't exactly Ariel - so he sat down with her and asked if she knew who he was.  Her eyes were so big and she just nodded.  I wanted to say 'if you only knew!'  So I love this picture.

The princess on her throne...

This is the restaurant we ate at the second night, the Enchanted Garden.  The first night was Animator's Palette but I didn't get any pictures of it which is a shame!  That was my favorite.

We came back to the room to find Little Dog already asleep.  She must have been exhausted.

The next day was Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.  There is so much to do there.  We had been to Royal Caribbean's island the summer before and I thought that was pretty cool, but this one blew theirs away.  It was so nice, had so much more on it and was just more developed.  There were all kinds of fun things to do in the water like this play area.

And the Pelican Plunge water slides.

There is a great long beach and we had no problem getting chairs.

One of the many bars on the island.

The view of the ship.  Ain't she a beaut?

They have a barbecue lunch with great options.  I remember there being couscous and stuff like that.  Not your regular barbecue fare!  Oh, and the cookies here and on the ship were SO good.  There is self serve ice cream and people were making ice cream sandwiches with them.  I would highly recommend that.

Amanda with the gang...

There is a pirate night on every Disney sailing where you are encouraged to wear pirate regalia or at least tropical themed clothes.  I wish we had gone full pirate because we were basically in the minority in our 'tropical' clothes.  They had a cute show up on deck and they do fireworks.  Until recently they were the only cruise line to do fireworks at sea.  Now the new Norwegian Breakaway will have them too.

Isabella is also really in to pirates so she loved this night.

The next morning we had brunch reservations at Palo.  I think it was a $15 surcharge to eat here and you need reservations.  This was our view from our booth.  The food was excellent and it was a HUGE spread.  It is an Italian restaurant so they had a bunch of pizzas and pastas you could order on top of the regular brunch fare.

We went on this cruise as part of a group.  The way I found the company that I work for was by listening to a couple of podcasts that they sponsor.  One of them is WDW Radio hosted by Lou Mongello.  He is pretty much a super star in the Disney community and my company helped sponsor Lou's Cruise.  There was a door decorating contest so we made a Texas wreath to show our roots!

The last couple days of the cruise, my mom unfortunately was really sick.  She didn't even leave the room and Isabella got a touch of it the last day too.  So Amanda and I would just kind of check on them and then explore the ship on our own.  They have a fun Midship Detective Agency thing where you go all over the boat exploring and finding clues to solve a mystery.

There are so many things to do on this ship that we didn't even have time for.  They have a movie theater showing regular and 3D movies.  While we were on they had Brave, Wreck It Ralph (that had literally come out the day after we sailed), The Avengers.  I wish I had had time to do that.  There are also many adult only areas, probably more than on regular cruise ships.  So if you don't want to be surrounded by the characters and kids all the time you don't have to be.

They had the Oceaneers Club for Isabella's age and we would drop her off there for a couple of hours at a time.  When we went to pick her up she always had on a different costume (Minnie, Ariel, Belle) and would ask to stay longer.  They had story times, craft times, computers for them to play on, reading rooms, these huge interactive floors that they would walk around on and play games.  It was amazing.  And she had a wrist band on to get in and out so they always knew where she was.  I would go to pick her up and they would say 'oh she is in the Nemo room'.  And you have to have a password to be able to pick them up, so I felt really safe with her in there.

Our last day came too soon and we had a very long wait at the airport.  Isabella and Amanda killed time taking silly photos of themselves.  Bella took the pics of Amanda so they were a little (lot) blurry...

It was an absolutely magical vacation and I can't wait to go again!