It's here again! That time of year that anything goes! During Mardi Gras, you'll see anything from a pot bellied pig wearing a costume walking down the Seawall to thousands of locals and tourists alike carrying decorated umbrellas and dancing in the street on the Strand. It's the most fun (legal, anyway!) that you can have on a small Island filled with people from all over the world. There are parades, live bands, bead throwing, 5K runs, balcony parties, contests, and much more. Most activities are family friendly and the parades and any Seawall festivities are free.
Celebrated from February 21st to March 4th, Mardi Gras is a treasured Galveston event. Fat Tuesday, on March 4th, brings out the locals for a small parade downtown on the Strand. The Galveston Bed & Breakfast Association gets involved in this fun tradition by decorating the Pink Train. This is a time for the hard working Innkeepers to get together and share stories and laughs, and throw some beads! It's crazy how excited the crowds get for these things. The most fun ever!
Galveston Historical Foundation's Sacred Places Tour returns on Saturday, February 8 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
This popular tour benefits GHF's ongoing restoration of St. Joseph's Church, the oldest wooden church building in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic church in Texas.
“Galveston is truly blessed with a remarkable and diverse history that is reflected in the sacred places on the island,” says Galveston Historical Foundation Executive Director Dwayne Jones. “This tour is a glimpse into our past and one that will broaden your idea of what living on the island is really like.” The tour includes seven churches and chapels, one synagogue and a cemetery. The buildings showcase the island’s religious traditions while their designs highlight the depth and range of the island’s sacred architecture.
Guests of Coastal Dreams Bed and Breakfast will receive two complimentary tickets with a weekend stay (two night minimum). Check availability here or call us directly at 409-770-0270.
The Galveston Historical Foundation is instrumental in community redevelopment, public education, historic preservation advocacy and stewardship of historic properties on the Island. Consider donating to this worth cause here
Today, I helped my good friends, Ted & Peggy Hall, celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary. Since I've never experienced even 54 minutes of wedding bliss, I thought it might be interesting to hear about their secret to a long and happy marriage.
I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with Peggy on what it takes to make a marriage work, but I was so engrossed in her thoughts that I stopped writing and just listened. But the first thing she said was that "It takes a lot of love, faith, forgiveness and desire to make it work." She talked of giving and taking, socializing, taking trips, kids and grand kids, illnesses, retirement - all the while, Ted sat quietly. When asked his thoughts on why their marriage was successful, he responded "I shut up and listen". Wise words from a wise man!
Happy Anniversary, Ted & Peg! May you be blessed with many more!
The third annual Galveston.com & Company Galveston Restaurant Week is here! This year, it has been extended a few days so you can experience a multitude of tasty dishes. From Sunday, January 12th to Saturday, January 25th, 2014, the Island's finest restaurants will showcase the freshest ingredients, most flavorful dishes and tastiest culinary gems that Galveston has to offer, as well as benefit the Galveston County Food Bank.
Visitors to the Island during Restaurant Week can choose from Galveston's most delightful and delicious eateries for prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus - in attractive price points of $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $35, and $40. Most all are offering lunch and dinner specials, and some even have brunch (YUM!).
A couple of my personal favorites are showcased this year - DiBellas, Farley Girls, Rudy & Paco, SaltWater Grill, and Fisherman's Wharf. For a full listing of participating restaurants, click here.
Come down, enjoy the beautiful weather we are having. The Gulf is so blue this time of year, the beaches empty, and there's no waiting for attractions or any of these wonderful eateries!
I realized when I sent out my last email to all my guests that I mentioned Mz Tessa, but a lot of you have not met her, since she just joined me here at Coastal Dreams in May. Mz Tessa Rae was to have been a temporary foster dog for a friend who lived out of state, but was doing some training in Houston. It was to be a six week or so home for her until my friend moved to this area or went back home.
Well, we all know that things have a funny way of not happening the way we plan. My friend was not in a position to be able to take her back, but I had decided before he did that I really couldn't give her up anyway! She is the sweetest, most affectionate dog I've ever met, and the love I have for her is immeasurable. She is a wonderful companion, loves everyone, is so well behaved, and so dang cute! I feel like one of those parents that whip out pictures of their kids every chance they get, and go on and on about how great they are. NOW I understand why they do it. She is my child, and I'm so happy she's in my life :)
Happy New Year to all of my past and future guests, and friends and family. It was a phenomenal year for me personally and for the business as well. I look forward to 2014 being even better! Blessings to all of you for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
With Christmas less than two weeks away, are you ready? You can avoid the hustle and bustle of the malls and the craziness of all the people by doing a lot of your shopping online.
Coastal Dreams wants to make it easier for you by offering a discount on our luxurious "Comphy" sheets that you have enjoyed if you've stayed here. If you haven't stayed with us, isn't it time? We've got an offer to entice you to do just that - but I'll get to that in a minute.
These "Comphy" sheets are an eco-friendly microfiber material that looks and feels like 600 thread count. The weave is extra fine, which allows for comfort and breathability, and are highly recommended for people with allergies. They dry FAST! and require no ironing and are treated for stain release. I can personally attest to the fact that most ANYTHING will come out of these sheets! They have been a God-send for me and I use them on my own bed.
For more information, check out our "Comphy" page, here on the website. You can place a partial order here and we'll call you for credit card info, or you can call us with your entire order. It just takes a couple minutes. For the month of December, we will pay the shipping - a 15% savings for you!
Speaking of savings, we're also offering to pay the hotel tax on the purchase of a "room specific" gift certificate. This means a 15% savings also! Our gift certificates are beautiful, printed on antique laid paper, personalized to your recipient with their name and yours, and any special message you would like displayed. They can be emailed or snail mailed to you, or the same to your recipient. This type of gift certificate does not specify the dollar amount - it will indicate that it is valid for a queen or king room. Your loved one will not know what you spent.
Lately, I've been seeing a lot of people posting their gratitude on Facebook. Daily, they come up with one or more things for which they are thankful. This is such a fabulous idea, and one we should practice year round, not just during the month of November. I wrote the following blog a few weeks ago, while spending some time at a friend's farm, out in the middle of nowhere. I felt so peaceful and at ease, and so very grateful to my friend for trusting me with her home away from home.
Are you happy? So many of us are constantly seeking that one thing that will bring us happiness. Maybe it's several things. But the truth is that once we obtain that one thing, we're in search of the next. And the next. And just one more thing after that. I'm not referring to just material things, like a bigger house, or a new purse, or even something as simple as adding HBO to your cable line up. It can also be your personal goals ~ "I'll be happier when I lose ten more pounds", or "If little Bobby would just practice more, he could be the best football player on the team."
While personal goals are important, and material possessions are nice to have, I believe what will truely bring you closer to happiness is GRATITUDE. Be grateful - right here, right now - for everything you have in your life. This attitude will fill that void of feeling that you're missing something. You can be thankful for anything! From something as vital as your family and health to something as simple as your egg yolk not breaking. There are a billion reasons to be thankful. How many can you think of? Share them in the comments below - writing things out solidifies your thoughts and brings good energy to your life.
Next time you start to think "If only I had..." STOP! Instead think to yourself "I have a wonderful spouse (friends, home, career, kids), and these things bring me great joy and fulfillment. I want for nothing more."
I challenge you to write down one thing for which you are grateful every day for 30 days. Write them on a post it note and put them around your house, your job, and in your car. Surround yourself with good, positive, thankful thoughts. Change your thoughts and change your life!
Who doesn't love this time of year? The weather is cooler, the fall colors are beautiful, folks are getting ready for time with family, and all those yummy holiday flavors are out. I think I could make some kind of new pumpkin treat every single day for the next 60 days! I have to be careful with the things I make, carefully planning where they are going (if not for the guests), and the quantity of each because I have no control over sweet stuff. These little goodies were no exception. I was sampling before they were even halfway done!
This is a simple recipe, but a little time consuming, only because you need to let the ingredients chill for a few hours. So plan accordingly, but you really only need seven ingredients.
Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Melt remaining 2 cups chocolate and transfer to a small, deep bowl. Roll 1 heaping teaspoon of the pumpkin mixture into a ball in your hands, then drop into the chocolate. Working quickly, gently spoon chocolate over to coat. Using a small spoon or fork, lift the truffle out of the chocolate, shake off excess and transfer to prepared sheet tray. Dollop a bit of extra chocolate on any parts that remain exposed, then sprinkle a few gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs over the top, if you like. Repeat process with remaining pumpkin mixture and chocolate, then chill truffles until chocolate is completely set, about 1 hour. This would be phenomenal with dark chocolate also. Next time!
In another lifetime, I worked in the Foreclosure department of a bank. It may seem a strange place to have received the following advice, but it applies to any job in which you deal with people (and really...is there a job that doesn't?). Regardless of the customer's demeanor or emotional status, these tips can be applied and will generally help to calm any situation. If there is no escalated situation, the advice just helps to make life more pleasant and memorable :)
1) Speak to people. There is nothing so nice as a cheerful word of greeting. (We don't do this enough these days because our heads are in our smartphones!)
2) Smile at people. It takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile.
3) Call people by name. The sweetest music to anyone's ears is the sound of his/her own name.
4) Be friendly and helpful. If you want friends, you must be one.
5) Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is a joy to you.
6) Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try.
7) Be generous with praise and cautious with criticism.
8) Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: Yours, the other person's, and the right side.
9) Be eager to lend a helping hand. Often it is appreciated more than you know. What counts most in life is what we do for others.
10) Add to this a good sense of humor, a huge dose of patience and a dash of humility. This combination will open many doors and the rewards will be enormous.