Kissed By A Dolphin - Shore Excursion #SeasTheDay #RoyalCaribbean #Travel

When I was in third grade, I had to write a report on an animal and I chose a dolphin. Ever since then, it has been my dream to swim with dolphins. Thanks to Royal Caribbean and Dolphin Discovery, I finally got to have a dolphin encounter! The shore excursions happen when a cruise ship stops in a port. We stopped in Cozumel, Mexico and that's where I met Marina and her baby. We disembarked early in the morning and lined up according to the shore excursion we had chosen for the day. We had a tour guide, named Mr. Omar, who made sure we all got into the vans and over to Chankanaab Park (and back to the ship later). Once there, I suited up with a life preserver and got to spend 30 minutes in the water with the dolphins. It was such a beautiful experience that tears of joy kept leaking out of my eyes. I will never forget that day! I hope you enjoy the photos! Read my other cruise stories HERE.

Pupcake Cupcake Tutorial with Photos #RoyalCaribbean #SeasTheDay #Giveaway

While cruising on the Liberty of the Seas with Royal Caribbean, there are endless activities on board the ship. One of my favorites was the Cupcake Decorating Class at The Cupcake Cupboard, where I learned to make a Pupcake Cupcake. I've never done anything remotely close to this, as most of my cupcakes are simply smeared with some frosting on a knife.
The Cupcake Cupboard is located on The Promenade Deck of the Liberty of the Seas, along with lots of other little stores and eateries. Since there were 40 bloggers in our group, we split up into smaller groups of about 10 to squeeze into the cute little shop.
Along with dozens of darling cupcake creations, there are cupcake souvenirs of all kinds inside the shop, such as charm bracelets, t-shirts, photo frames, and more. I selected a beautiful silver cupcake luggage tag with beaded sprinkles on top that just had to come home with me.
Our cupcake decorating teacher had an impressive history, a great sense of humor, and very talented decorating skills. After washing our hands, we bloggers each took a seat around the tables, ready to make our Pupcake. I took tons of photos, so I could share the process with you!
You'll need two cupcakes, two white gumdrops, a lime wedge gummy, 1/2 a red gumdrop, 1/2 black jelly bean, two blue dot candies, brown stick sprinkles, butter cream frosting, a frosting bag, a star-shaped tip, a knife, some toothpicks, and a clean work space.
Open the frosting bag and put the tip down inside, pressing it gently into the bottom. Fill the bag with buttercream frosting, squishing the frosting down to the bottom to remove any air bubbles, then twist the top of the bag closed. Take one cupcake (leave cupcake paper on) and make little star shapes all over the top of one cupcake, by making each dot and pulling up with the bag.
Take the other cupcake (unwrap this one) and with a sharp knife, gently saw back and forth to remove about 1/2 inch of the bottom. Then cut the cupcake from the top to the bottom, removing about 1/3, so that your cupcake looks like a 2/3 circle.
Set the second cupcake piece on top of the frosted cupcake, gently pressing the top one down. Then insert a clean toothpick to help keep the Pupcake's head attached. NOTE: When devouring Pupcakes later, don't forget there is a toothpick inside!
Take the lime wedge gummy and put a dot of frosting "glue" on one side of it, then set it on the bottom cupcake, on top of the frosting, in front of the top cupcake. This shape helps to give the Pupcake's face some more dimension.
Using the frosting bag, make three frosting lines from the lime wedge upward and over the top of the Pupcake's "head," to the edge of where the "muffin top" part of the top cupcake ends. Then continue to add more frosting lines on both sides of those lines until the top cupcake is covered in the "front."
On top of those frosting lines, beginning in the center of the front, make an S shape that stretches towards the sides of the Pupcake's face. Make three S shaped lines on both sides of the face. At this point, the cupcake becomes very front-heavy, so hold onto it or it will tip over forward.
Take the 1/2 black jelly bean and set it on the Pupcake's face, pressing it gently into the frosting so that it is sitting on top of the frosting-covered lime wedge gummy. This will be the Pupcake's nose.
Take the two white gumdrops and place on the frosting on top of the Pupcake's head. The gumdrops will be the base for the ears. You can place them close together for more perky ears or separate them out a bit if you prefer.
Using the frosting bag, draw the frosting upward to trace the triangular shape of the gumdrops. Leave the front of the gumdrops exposed, but cover them with frosting on the sides and the back of the "ears."
Then use the frosting bag to make either straight or swirly lines to cover the back of the Pupcake's head, so that none of the initial cupcake is showing (except for the paper-covered bottom).
I used a swirly motion for mine to make my Pupcake have the illusion of curly fur. Using swirls also allowed me to add on enough extra frosting to help weigh down the Pupcake in a more balanced manner so I didn't have to worry about it falling on its face.
The two blue candy dots (you may remember peeling these candy dots off paper as a kid) will then become the Pupcake's two blue eyes. Again, you can place them close together or spread them apart for a bit different expression.
Take a toothpick and dip it in some extra frosting to use as a pick-up tool for the brown stick sprinkles. Select two sprinkles and place them over the Pupcake's eyes for eyebrows.
Set another sprinkle vertically under the black jelly bean nose, then add two more sprinkles at an angle downward to begin forming the Pupcake's mouth.
Then, if you want a happy Pupcake, add two more sprinkles angled at an upward slope, connected with the others already on the face.
Then take the 1/2 red gumdrop and gently press it into the frosting under the sprinkles, so that the Pupcake has cute little tongue hanging out.
Using the frosting bag again, draw two straight frosting lines onto the cupcake paper from top to bottom, in four places around the base to form the Pupcake's legs.
At the base of each "leg" make five fluffy frosting dots to create the Pupcake's paws. The legs and paws made of frosting also help to support the slightly top-heavy cupcake creation.
Using a toothpick dipped in a bit of frosting "glue," add three of the brown stick sprinkles to make the Pupcake's claws. I chose sprinkles that were slightly curved instead of straight. Then use the frosting bag to give the Pupcake a cute little tail that sticks up off the back. Done! Isn't it adorable???
I took a few photos of my completed Pupcake from different angles so you could see all sides of it. After learning how to actually decorate a cupcake in a step by step method, I was really impressed with my new skills. It was so much fun to make and I think I'm going to pick up a few decorating tools to try out some more decorating ideas on my own.
Be sure to read my other posts about my Royal Caribbean cruise too! 
You can find them HERE
If you'd like more information about The Cupcake Cupboard, you can find that HERE
When you're ready to book the vacation of your life, check out Royal Caribbean HERE
Many thanks to Royal Caribbean and all the crew for sponsoring #SeasTheDay 2014!


Gentleman Jack Sour #Recipe

Here is one of my favorite ways to enjoy Gentleman Jack! Pour 2 ounces of Gentleman Jack Whiskey and 2 ounces of Sweet and Sour Mix into a tumbler with ice. Cover tumbler with lid and shake 15 seconds, then pour over ice into a rocks glass. Easy and delicious!

Irish Meatloaf #Recipe featuring Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup with Stout

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Looking for a way to spice up your beef recipes? Try Ballymaloe Gourmet Irsh Ketchup and Gourmet Irish Ketchup with Stout. Made from the finest ingredients, these ketchup products will boost your beef recipes with a taste of old Ireland. It's deliciously sweet and tangy. Visit http://ballymaloeusa.com/ for product information and to make your purchases. Don't miss their fabulous recipe section and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!
Irish Meatloaf Recipe

1 1/2 - 2 pounds ground beef
4 tablespoons Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup with Stout
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Additional 4 tablespoons Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients (except topping) together in a bowl. Press into a loaf baking pan. Heat at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Spread the additional ketchup across top of meatloaf and return to oven for 15 more minutes. Serves six.

The Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup gives the meatloaf a delicious variation on plain meatloaf.
Serve with roasted small red potatoes and cabbage for a complete Irish meal.

Print this recipe HERE.
See my other recipes HERE.

Favorite Cruise Vacation Photos and $50 Amazon or Paypal #Giveaway #Play2Shop #SeasTheDay

Huge thanks to Play2Shop for sponsoring me for the Royal Caribbean cruise! I had such a fabulous time and took bunches of photos! It was nice to have some quiet down time to play my two favorite games, Mahjongg and Gem Swap, on Play2Shop.com while sunning on the deck of Liberty of the Seas. I noticed many others sitting and reading, but I was busy earning points for more great stuff. You can sign up on Play2Shop for free and play games, earn rewards, and get free stuff too! Just go HERE.

Here are a few of my favorite vacation photos, plus a fabulous giveaway from Play2Shop. Be sure to enter below to win a $50 Amazon Gift Code or $50 Paypal Cash after you check out my photos! Read my other cruise stories HERE.
Dolphin Kiss in Cozumel
Chankanaab Park, Cozumel, Mexico
Sky at Sunset over the Caribbean
Swordfish Welcome to Mexico
Toes in the Sand
Beach in Cozumel
Crow's Nest, Liberty of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
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Giveaway ends May 5, 2014.