Using Empty Kitchen Space: Counter Chalkboard and Pot Holder

Side of kitchen counter chalkboard wall and kitchen storage.

We have two empty spots on the edge of each side of our kitchen counters.  It's almost an island except it is attached to the wall.  Over the years, we have hung things from a towel bar in these open counter spaces.  But it was not until recently that I decided these empty little spaces deserved to shine. 

Side of kitchen counter chalkboard wall and kitchen storage.

I wanted them to be pretty end caps to our counters styled in a way that reminds me of a kitchen store.  One side got a nice coat of chalkboard paint that now serves as a decorative grocery list while also holding my stir fry pan and galvanized serving tray.

Side of kitchen counter chalkboard wall and kitchen storage.

I believe it is the little attention to detail that makes a home stand out as unique.  Painting this with chalkboard paint has been on my to do list for way too long.  All it took was a little can of paint and an afternoon to paint coats in between loads of laundry.  So easy...why could I have not done it sooner!?

Side of kitchen counter chalkboard wall and kitchen storage.
Side of kitchen counter chalkboard wall and kitchen storage.
Side of kitchen counter chalkboard wall and kitchen storage.

The other side I kept white but placed my kitchen supplies more intentionally.

Use a towel bar to hold kitchen supplies. A cute way to organize the kitchen.

A wicker basket now holds dish towels, a colander, and a few wooden spoons.  Next to it is my large colander and cast iron skillet.  I wanted the colors to remain neutral creating a cohesive yet stylish feel. 

Use a towel bar to hold kitchen supplies. A cute way to organize the kitchen.
Use a towel bar to hold kitchen supplies. A cute way to organize the kitchen.

Such an easy and inexpensive update to an otherwise unused space!  Off to find other little corners in my home that can function more intentionally (and pretty!).


Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

Back in May my in laws took our entire family on a vacation on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise.  It was a beautiful week long trip to Haiti, Jamaica, and Cozumel.  Over the next few weeks I will be sharing about the different stops on our trip.  Today's post is all about the boat -- and it was a big one!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

There is really so much that I could say, but I will give bits and pieces and let the pictures speak for themselves.  There was a lot to see and enjoy and we did it all!

Our boat ported from Fort Lauderdale so we headed to Florida (for my very first time!).  We arrived the night before we got on the boat giving us a few hours in the morning to get a little taste of Florida.


We stayed at the Hyatt Regency which had an amazing 360 degree view room from the top.

The Hyatt, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Palms trees were everywhere of course, and I was happy to soak in every sun filled moment.

The Hyatt, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The view of Fort Lauderdale from the top.  The canals were by far the most fascinating.  Oh to live like the rich and famous and live right off of the water!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

When we got to the boat, there was a pretty long day so we had to wait to board.  This is just a taste of the amount of people on the entire boat.  Pretty crazy.


After literally hours of waiting, we got on ship.  This is a view from the boat before we headed off to sea.


Brent and I lucked out and got a room with an ocean view.  Our room was pretty spacious for a cruise ship and we enjoyed the nice amenities the room provided.


Off we go!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

One of the highlights of the trip for me was waking up views of the ocean.  This was taken one morning while on sea.  The cotton candy clouds and ocean waves were calling my name.


If I haven't said it already, the boat was huge.  We spent our entire first day on sea exploring the boat and figuring out where everything was.  Everything lit up beautifully at night when things quieted down (which is most definitely our speed!).

Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do
Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

The different sections of the boat had different themes, restaurants, and things to do. 

Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

They even had a bar that moved between two different stories.  It was pretty amazing.


There was plenty of swimming.  Our niece and nephew loved spending the majority of their days hopping from pool to pool.


I personally enjoyed the soft serve machine out by the pool.


Up on top of the boat was the FlowRider.  I was too chicken to try but Brent took a turn at surfing. 

Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do
Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

They had plenty of shows to pick from that were all top notch.

Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

At dinner we got to dress up a few times.  Unfortunately my dress was not big enough to hold all the food I wanted to eat!


It was always the evenings that we got the most privacy.  All the kids turned in and the adults went to hit the night life while we enjoyed a giant jacuzzi all to ourselves!

Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do
Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do
Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

One of the best evenings of entertainment was a giant party they put on in the center of the boat. 


We lucked out and this nice older couple invited us to sit with them on the moving bar.  Little did we know what an epic night was ahead.


Lots of dancing as our moving bar headed up above the crowd.  We joined a conga line that plenty of tourists now have on video.  We got to be a part of the show elevated above everyone else.  It was pretty VIP and we didn't even know it!

Royal Caribean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Things To Do

Kung Fu Panda even showed up and invited me to dance! Click over if you are having trouble viewing the video.


The inside of the bar on the second floor all lit up.


There was even a zip line.  I have zip lined before but there is something pretty scary about flying over an entire ship!


Along with the FlowRider was boogie boarding.  I was pretty terrible at it as you can see on my face.


And another dress up night with the family.


One of our favorite places to eat was this 24 hour build your own pizza parlor.


The food was great.  And there sure was a lot of it.  I actually preferred eating at the buffet where I could look around at all the food first before choosing what to eat.  Constantly having food brought out to me in the main dinner hall was too much temptation to overeat.  Though the presentation sure was nice.


So the question is, would we do it again?  For us, I would say cruising was a one time experience for now.  I think when it comes to planning a vacation, it is so important to know what you want out of a vacation.  There was so much fun stuff to do 24 hours a day that I could barely relax because I wanted to see and do it all.  I think we both were a little exhausted by the end of the trip.  It wasn't until the last day at sea that we finally allowed ourselves to relax because we had finally done it all and could rest peacefully in our room with our room service and TV.  We are beginning to learn that we enjoy creating our own schedule versus having one to choose from.

Besides that, I was a little disappointed by how much they pressured you to buy more, tip more, and spend more.  For an already pricey trip, I expected a more "all inclusive experience."  Unfortunately that was the not the case.

All in all, we had a great time and I especially loved the few things we got to do at port which I will be sharing about soon.

What are your thoughts on cruising?  Are you a cruiser or prefer something else when it comes to vacationing?

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