All Aboard!

Making the most of your cruise and the money you spend can be challenging if it’s your first cruise. Once you figure out a few of the puzzles onboard, cruising will be the most memorable and fantastic way to see the world.

My favorite thing about cruising is that I can see the world. I can check out a place & decide if I want to go back and spend more time. There are places I would never return to, so cruising makes for an easy inspection. After numerous cruises through the Caribbean, I thought it would be great to spend more time there. So I rented a house on St. John, flew to St. Thomas caught the ferry over and spent a glorious month diving, snorkeling and just soaking up the beauty the Caribbean has to offer.

Not having to unpack and worry about where to eat or what to see are truly some of the best benefits cruising has to offer lazy people like me. The Shorex onboard and their teams are a wealth of information. Some days I just don’t want to do anything when I cruise, they make that so easy for me 🙂

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We all work hard and slowing down takes time which is why I always look for a ten to twelve day cruise verses the 7 day. One week just doesn’t give me those extra couple of days I need to really unwind.

One of my favorite tips is choosing the size of the dining room table and the time for dinner. I always say go for the table of 8 at the 8pm seating because chances are those people enjoy the company of other people and will have lots of fun stories to tell. If you get a table of 4 and dislike the other couple, well to bad because you will see them everyday, every meal LOL.

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Also meeting new people gives you a chance to connect for a car rental or maybe some other activity where you can share the cost. When booking my cabin I always go for the mid ship and upper level. If the ship sails into high seas, then mid ship is more stable and there is less of a rocking effect. If you book the lowest level you may feel a slight vibration on the floor of your cabin. Of course this depends on which ship and the size of the ship. Generally if you stay mid ship and then mid level you’ll never go wrong.

Having just returned from the Baltic I checked off the Hermitage Museum, I will say that learning a few lines in Russian helped ease the divide I felt in St. Petersburg. I believe when I go to different places a few lines  or even just a few words help make the difference of the experience. People are warm and friendly when they see me try and this bridges the gap of that awkward moment on foreign soil.

Whether visiting an island nation, cruising the Panama Canal or taking a helicopter ride over the glaciers, cruising is the best way to feel secure and free at the same time.

Remember, we are all guests of the ships and the ports we visit. Always be ready to share your stories,spread your joy and respect those around the world.

Life is to short !

Happy Sailing! Luella Vee

Meet Dancing Chef Stephanie

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NAME:  Stephanie

NICKNAME: Fanny / Steph- When I was a baby our neighbor’s kid couldn’t say my name and he started calling me Fanny and I have been stocked with this nickname ever since. People that got to know me after my childhood calls me Steph.

CITY YOU WERE BORN:

Mazatlan, Sinaloa, MEXICO

CITIES YOU HAVE LIVED IN:

Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Carnation, WA

Cozumel, Quintana Roo

YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE TO MAKE:

Albondigas (meatball chipotle soup), ceviche and barley salsa

YOUR FAVORITE MEAL TO EAT:

Ceviche: shrimp, tuna and scallops

FAVORITE SNACKS:

Doritos with hot sauce

HOW SPICY DO YOU ENJOY YOUR SALSA:

Medium hot, habanero is a little bit much to handle…

FAVORITE COCKTAIL:

Michelada! This is like a bloody Mary, except for vodka you use beer, and of course the beer must be Pacifico (brewed in my hometown)

FAVORITE NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINK:

Cucumber and Cantaloupe water

Bella y Cielo

PETS: Dogs

Bella a mini white french poodle 14 years old

Cielo a black and white french poodle mut 1 year old. Her name means heaven in spanish

KIDS: No kids as of right now. I do have several nieces and nephews, as well as a couple of godchildren. I enjoy spending time with them and watching Disney movies.

2017 GOALS: start new projects to bring laughter and teaching Mexican culture to more people.

HOBBIES: watch movies, cooking, see plays and musicals, go to the park with my dog.

FAVORITE MUSIC TO DANCE TO: 

Pop and Salsa

FAVORITE QUOTE:

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

PERSONAL QUOTE:

My pets are my family and family is always first.

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My husband and I in front of the church we got married in 🙂

SHARE SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOURSELF:

I often don’t plan what I am going to cook; I open the refrigerator and pull some stuff out that I feel go together and it just happens! Food always comes out great but the downside is I never make it exactly the same.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING AT SALSA AND SALSA:

Sharing my culture with people that are interested about our cuisine.

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Meet Dancing Chef Linda!

 

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Dancing Chef: Linda

Do you have a nickname? Moringa-linda. I make recipes with the little green leaves of the moringa oliefera tree 🙂

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Which city were you born? Near Toronto, Ontario

What’s your favorite recipe to make? Red lentil coconut curry lemongrass veggie soup 

Favorite meal to eat? Sushi

Favorite snacks? Raw carrots & hummus

How spicy do you like your salsa? 2 full chilies w all the seeds!

Any pets? 4 dogs

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Hobbies? Gardening, gardening, & more gardening! Creating no-bake healthy recipes. Snorkeling and biking too!

Can you share something fun about yourself? I came to Cozumel on vacation Feb. 1998… And I’m still here, enjoying  my new role as a Dancing Chef!!!

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DIY: Piñata by Dancing Chef Melissa

There is something special about creating something on your own rather than going out and purchasing it. To make something like a Piñata, may sound a little insane, as it takes time and effort, yet the end result is meant to be destroyed. Oh, but definitely worth it 🙂 My little helper Bella and myself had a fantastic time making this together. This was our first attempt at making a piñata and it surprised both of us of how much fun and easy it was to do. 

GET YOUR SUPPLY:


balloon(find the size and shape you would like to use. I went to the party store supply and found the big circle shaped balloon) newspaper(I would suggest using old newspapers or asking neighbors or local markets to donate some to you if you have none) streamers & tissue paper(colors of your choice) Elmer’s white glue (used to add decoration and color) scissors(to cut newspaper into strips/streamers and tissue paper into shapes needed) Paper mache paste: large bowl, whisk, water, flour & salt old hanger(for the hook to hang the darn thing!)


STEPS:

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Cut the newspaper into strips so that they are ready to use. Next the paste. There are a variety of ways to make the paste, we opted for the non-heat paper mache paste. Add 1 cup flour and a couple pinches of salt into big plastic bowl. Slowly add water, mixing it with a whisk, until it becomes similar to a thin pancake consistency.

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Once the glue is ready go start by dipping 1-2 strips completely drowned into the paste and place on the balloon. Use the tie as a mark, where the hook and candy filler will be on top center. You want to continue in a coordinated motion, so that it will fall equally covered entirely. Don’t be afraid to get dirty- that’s what makes it so much fun!

Once the first layer is finished place carefully to dry. Do not place it outside in the heat with direct sunlight. Somewhere dark and cool, where it can dry safely. Once dried, add second layer so that it is consistently covered, you want a piñata that is durable and fun to break.

Next: DECORATIONS! We chose to make a ‘Dragon ball Z’ piñata for the lucky 7 year old boy whose birthday theme was Dragon ball. You can choose whichever theme appropriate. Just make sure to purchase all the colors and supply you may need.


First glue and cover completely, with the color of choice you would like as a base. Once covered, you may want to use a pencil to make the marks you need, for different areas of colors or shapes you like. This way it will help keep the coordination come out the way you intend. Next we prepare the streamers, if you need to make cuts or shapes. We chose to cut them so that the consistency looks full. Start from the top  in a circular motion, glueing the streamers as needed.

Once the decoration is finished, it’s time for the hook. We cut a small whole at the top where the tie is, carefully added the candy and fun surprises inside! For the hook, we used an old hanger, cut the bottom(see photo below) place inside the whole to hold the weight of piñata, using the hook to tie to rope.

Voila! You are ready to hang and destroy that wonderful craft in just minutes 🙂

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Enjoy the process and it will come out how you want 🙂 Good luck!

Love, Dancing Chef Melissa & Bella 🙂

 

 

Interview with Dancing Chef Karla

 

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NAME:                                                 “Karla”

CITY YOU WERE BORN:                    “Mazatlan” 

CITIES YOU HAVE LIVED IN:           “Santa Barbara, California for a year”

YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE TO MAKE: “Enchiladas”

YOUR FAVORITE MEAL TO EAT:    “Mexican & Italian”

FAVORITE SNACKS:                          “Cakes or Jicama with chili powder, depending                                                                 if I am going  sweet or salty!

HOW SPICY DO YOU ENJOY YOUR SALSA: “Medium. Love the flavor of the chili                                                                     but not the burning sensation.”

FAVORITE COCKTAIL:                     ” Straight up Tequila, NO shots, I like to sip it.”

FAVORITE NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINK: “Coffee and infused-flavored waters”

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PETS:                                                 ” I own a daschund named ‘Sagla'”

KIDS:                                                 ” 2 boys. Noé (1 and a half) Isaac (11)”

Karla 2 boys

GOALS:                                              “Travel more.” 

HOBBIES:                                          “Eat hahaha just kidding, the beach and walking                                                               the dog with my kids.”

FAVORITE MUSIC TO DANCE TO: “All kind of music!”

FAVORITE QUOTE:                         “Empowered woman, empower woman”

PERSONAL QUOTE:                        “But first, coffee!” 🙂

Karla Coffee

SHARE SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOURSELF: “Obsessed with chocolate & coffee.                                                             Going to the beach makes me really happy!” 

FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING AT SALSA AND SALSA: “Meeting new people                                                    and teaching them something new! See you soon!”

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Abuela’s Guac By Dancing Chef Alejandra

ALE DANCING CHEF

WELL, HELLO THERE!

I’ve always had a passion for cooking salsas and dancing the salsa. I learned a lot from my family I was so lucky to have. My mother and  my aunts are all singers, our house parties always had mariachi bands or my uncle playing the guitar. Together we loved to sing to the melody of romantic Mexican  music.

Tequila was always in hand, specially  Tres Generaciones, my family’s favorite!  

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And about the dancing, well, no party passed without some dancing as well.

 

My grandmother “Cuqui,” lived until the age of 98 in the beautiful port of Acapulco. Very sadly she just passed away about a year ago,  however her legacy stayed with us.  She was an amazing cook, our favorite meals where the meals she cooked! Oh!, did I mention she had one shot of tequila every day before lunch along with a margarita with lunch? She did not miss a single day, until the day she passed away. Best part is that she looked amazing until her very last day, was it the tequila? Who knows! Ha ha

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I learned many recipes with my grandmother Cuqui. Besides spicy salsas and full on prepared Mexican meals, my favorite recipe is the Guacamole she used to make.

Ready? It is delicious!

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4         Mexican Hass avocados (the regular ones)

4         Raw Tomatillos

1/8    White Onion

1         Coriander bunch (Cilantro)

½      Squeezed Lime

1  tsp  Knorr Suiza

¼ tsp  Black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in the food processor  (of course you can use a molcajete! But the tomatillo needs to be crushed in the food processor, and if your using it already you might just do everything there  to simplify your washing ☺).  Serve with the avocado pit inside so the Guacamole doesn’t oxidize so fast.  This dish needs to be made and served immediately. Make sure you have tortilla chips(totopos) to serve with the guacamole ☺

 

 

Spring Cleaning, My story By: Dancing Chef Melissa

Spring cleaning is a way of life for me. I get to clear my home and my head. A great time that is scheduled every year to rid of anything unwanted, taking up space or time, manage clutter that you have built up in your physical home and also in our own minds. Spring cleaning is the best time to feel the fresh air all around and happily take in new beginnings.

At times we can feel so comfortable and secure about a path we are taking, yet nonetheless, an opportunity, a change, a misfortune, good luck, whatever it is, comes along and suddenly you are forced to make a decision. The path you once thought was, is not.

For the last 7 consecutive years, I have lived in the gorgeous country of Mexico. Mexico is full of diverse landscape, vibrant culture including style, food, along with modern and traditional lifestyles combined. I never thought I would leave, yet here I am just arriving back to the sunny state of Florida. I am feeling motivated and hyped for what is to come!

It was 2011, I clearly remember walking into my favorite coffee shop and reading the job post on the bulletin board that read, “Enthusiastic, energetic, motivated, English spoken? I need to find out more, sounds perfect for me!” Shortly afterwards I became part of an wonderful team and I had a new job title: Dancing Chef.

I was immediately sent to Salsa and Salsa Los Cabos to be trained by Dancing Chef Stephanie, now a great friend of mine, so that I could learn the show from beginning to end. I was instantly hooked! I was addicted to interacting with the guests, creating beautiful memories for couples, singles, families, children, grandparents, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, everyone and anyone. It didn’t matter who they were or where they were from, my goal each show was to make sure they left smiling! Who wouldn’t enjoy a job like this?

Having the opportunity to work in all three ports: Mazatlan, Los Cabos and Cozumel, as well as coordinating with our amazing team, I have gained a lot of knowledge, experience and the best part, friendships! I believe these are the factors in why I have learned to adapt quickly and see through the unpleasant or difficult times and remember to always move forward. As I do each annually, each beautiful Spring!

The most exciting chapter in my personal experience with Salsa and Salsa is happening now! I won’t give out too many details since I don’t enjoy spoiling surprises, all I can share with you, is that new adventures are to come for Salsa and Salsa by land as well as by sea!

Look out for the Dancing Chefs! Ole’!

Valentine’s Day is here! With Love, Dancing Chef Stephanie

Valentine’s day is a very special day for most of us, it is the perfect excuse to show our feelings to our loved one. Very little of us know the origin of Valentine’s day though. It’s origin is actually a religious celebration, the Roman Catholic church designated February 14th as the day of Saint Valentine which is the protector of lovers. This is how February 14th turned into the greatest day to celebrate love.

In Mexico this day is known as “El Dia del Amor y la Amistad,” translated to: “Love and Friendship Day!” This gives us the perfect excuse to not only spend the day showing our partner our love, but also gives us the opportunity to show our friends how appreciated they are. When kids are in school they are often sent with a big bag of heart shaped lollypops or chocolates to give to hand out to their friends and teachers as a sign of appreciation.

I personally like to make treats myself for my friends and family!

If you are thinking to have a get together with your friends, I have something you may impress them with!

Strawberries and Champagne Margaritas!

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Instructions:

Ingredients

1 cup Strawberries, hulled

3/4 cup Champagne

3/4 cup Tequila

1/4 cup Fresh lime juice

1/4 cup Cointreau (orange liqueur)

Pink crystallized sugar

Ice

Instructions

Blend strawberries until smooth.

Combine strawberries, champagne, tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau (orange liqueur) and stir or shake until well combined.

Rim edges of your margarita glasses with pink crystallized sugar.

Pour margaritas over glasses full of ice.

This recipe makes up to 4 margaritas so keep the bottles close so you can keep making them!

*If you want to make frozen margaritas make sure your strawberries are frozen and blend everything together including 1 ½ cups of ice.

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget” –Unknown

Embrace your life and the season with your friends and family!

Ole’! Dancing Chef Stephanie

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Meet Dancing Chef Chris “Follow your dreams and make them a reality”-Chris’s favorite Mantra

Dancing Chef Chris is a Canadian who spent over 30 years in the retail business. Three years ago she decided to move to Mazatlán, sight unseen. She brought with her 4 suitcases, her golf clubs and her dog Cooter….all the important things in life!

Three years ago when my job in the Middle East abruptly ended, I decided to follow my dream and move to Mexico. Over the past 20 years, I had travelled extensively throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America and always said I wanted to retire in Mexico.

When I returned to Canada and announced to my family that I was just passing through on my way to Mexico to live they were aghast. Everyone asked “Why Mexico?” My initial motivation for moving was the weather. I was simply tired of cold Canadian winters. Years of skiing had left my knees in bad shape and I could no longer enjoy a day on the slopes. The lure of sunny days, a warm ocean and cold “cervesas” was too much to pass up!

Another thing that was enticing was the cost of living. The Canadian dollar has remained strong against the peso and the American dollar even more so. I  live quite comfortably on about 1/3 of what I would need to live in Canada. This includes rent, utilities, groceries, miscellaneous expenses and dining out a couple of days a week. I choose not to have a car but get around on my bike or on public transit. I live in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Centro Historico, the old historic area of Mazatlán. My neighbors have been warm and welcoming and are tolerant of my ‘baby Spanish’. Mazatlán is the only colonial city on the water in Mexico and the architecture reminds me of some old European cities. We are fortunate to have a beautifully restored theatre and get world class entertainment for a fraction of what tickets would cost in Canada or the US.

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I have developed a great respect for the Mexicans and their family values. It’s not unusual for 3 or 4 generations of a family to be living under one roof and old people are revered. Sunday is family day and you see large family outings at the beach, in the park or at  a restaurant.

In the three years I have been here I have begun to explore the rich culture and history of Mexico. There is so much  more to Mexico than beaches. Mayan civilization dates back to 11,000BC. Mexico City is fascinating, the ruins at Chichin Itza, truly magical. I have travelled inland and visited the colonial cities of San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo  and Guadalajara. There are so many more places I want to see!

I have found myself slowing down and adapting to the Mexican way of doing things. It is not unusual for people to be late for an appointment or dinner engagement. Manana doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow, it just means not today!

Too many people come to Mexico, expect it to be just like home and are disappointed when it’s not. I say come and visit, be open to the differences and embrace the way of life.

Time to close, the dog needs a walk and I think I’ll stop for a cold Pacifico and watch the sunset…….

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