Best Friend Thank You Boxes

I guess I’ve come to the point in my life where I wake up in the middle of the night and think about things. All sorts of things, where I’ve been, where I’m going, people in my life that have come and left, and worry about things that may not need that level of worry. A few nights this past year, I would wake up and think of people in my life that have really made an impact on my life, in big or small ways.

My thoughts kept going to how we trudge through life and may not say a word on what a person meant to us. Maybe assume they know already. This time I decided I would follow through with these inner thoughts to make sure they knew.

So my Best Friend Thank You Box idea was born. Similar to a subscription box people might pay monthly and subscribe to receive something, I am doing the opposite, I am making a friend my subscription as they are my gift. I figured this year, I would send a thank you box to someone each month. Here is how it came together:

  • Make a list of 12 people that have inspired me
  • Assign a word or two that would describe them
  • Describe how they inspired me
  • Find a quote or phrase that matches their personality
  • Decorate a box and put that phrase inside the box
  • Write a letter on fun stationary paper
  • Shop for custom items for that person
  • Make a video of putting the box together.

Started with a list, write a name in a box, next to it write a word to describe them in a circle, and how they inspired me in another circle, then finish the line with a quote that fits that person.

Best Friend Thank You Box outline

Next, I would decorate the box, once I have the quote I bought some stationary that comes in multiple colors and designs from the craft store. Usually about $15 for 150 sheets. This will give me many options for decorating the box and writing the letter.

I also bought letter stickers, fun stickers, tacky glue, hard letters, and plain white and colored card stock. I had an Xacto knife so I could cut out letters too for something different than sticker letters.

Decorating the box usually required a fun paper from my paper pad and some plain white or colored card stock for the edges the paper did not cover. I would measure and cut, then tacky glue just the edges. I also tried to have a theme or at least put a little thought behind why I chose what I did. One box I had a quote about butterflies and used paper butterflies and stickers to decorate that. Or one person is into travel so my decorations were maps and travel related.

Once that was in place, I would put the quote on the box using the sticker letters and the cut out letters. This took a while because I wanted it to be fun so I cut out a lot of the letters, then measured and glued them in place.

Then finish off with stickers! Fun! One box I actually cut out the letters of the word I used to describe them and put it across the box using twine and mini clothes pins.

Packed Thank You Box

To assemble the boxes with gifts I actually looked for 3 people at a time. As I worked on their box, I would shop and put things in their box. The word to describe them, how they inspired me and their quote was put in a note on my phone to help spark ideas.

I don’t have a set amount that I will spend, I just really try to customize what I pick to that person.

Some items I found to pack

  • Candy and treats
  • Something from my local area (magnet, coozie, ornament)
  • Something they would enjoy or use (blanket, socks, gloves, coffee mug, candle) maybe in their favorite color
  • Custom gift, for example someone loves tea so I found a nice box of gourmet tea and a tea mug, or someone like lake retreats so I bought a wall tapestry of a lake so they can always have that

I took my camera when I went to the store in case I found the perfect thing. I also did some online shopping, take time and figure something they would enjoy. At the end, I did a video with the contents of the box and the letter and sent a link to that person once they receive their box just for something fun if they wanted to see the process.

At the end of the day, it’s making people feel special. I have enjoyed this process so much even though my dining room table has been lost under boxes and decorations and part of my bedroom too. It is all worth it to send a small thank you to those special people who inspired me to be a better person.


Best friend Thank You Box

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Carnival Vista Cruise Photo Journal

After solely sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line, I tried Carnival Cruise Line for the first time to take advantage of a last minute post-dry dock unexpected cruise deal. This was a new ship for me so I could not resist taking more than my share of pictures!

If you prefer to watch the videos, check out these videos!

Carnival Vista Video Series #1

Carnival Vista Video Series #2


This Atrium was so pretty. The centerpiece is a digital screen pillar, changes throughout the day and night to different moving pictures like, galaxy, ocean, aquarium, squirrel in a tree, and falling leaves. I have not seen anything like it. Every time I would walk by, I would be in awe, I would have to stop and take it in. It’s such a cool feature.

The mornings are cool and quiet in the Atrium and as the day grows so does the warmth and commotion, by the night it is a hopping night club or country-folk music venue. Seems like there is something for everyone that happens here, from fruit carving, $10 madness sales, to a colorful 80’s Party, I loved this space. There are comfortable chairs with tables on the main level and bar stools surrounding the bar. The colors are mellow, which made it very welcoming and pleasant. I was surprised to see stools, couches on the second level also, many places to take in the activities this place hosts.

Pool Deck

The Main Pool on Deck 10 is a wide open space with cornerstones of food and drink venues, Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIgauana Tequila Bar, and RedFrog Rum Bar. The main part of the pool deck is exposed to all the sun you can handle; however, go up a deck to find loungers and padded couches under the shade and a free spirited breeze. There is music playing most of the day here, which makes it fun for sail away party, an afternoon soaking up the sun with your favorite cocktail, or evening walk. I enjoyed the steel drums in the afternoon in a padded chair and foot rest, that breeze got me to stay for quite a while. The pool also has two covered sitting areas where you can also put your feet in the pool, nice touch!

Check out some fun slides, you can see them from the pool. They are colorful and tall! You can find seating nearby too if you are looking for a place to wait for family or friends who are trying the slides.

Pool Snicky-Snacks & Happy-Sips

Guy’s Burger Joint

Near the Pool, you will find Guy’s Burger Joint. Be prepared for a line for this burg-ski as they say in the Mid-West. It is a very popular place to eat that is complimentary. Order the burger the way you want, then load up your plate with toppings and sides, bring to your lounge chair or munch in the shade at tables and chairs.

BlueIguana Cantina

This was one of my favorites! This little place has tacos and burritos to fill you up all day! Toppings that really matter like queso, salsa, hot sauce, tomatoes. You cannot go wrong. Also complimentary and convenient to the pool.

BlueIguana Tequila Bar

Don’t forget to grab yourself a cool drink for that hot pool day! BlueIquana Tequila Bar is just steps away. Get your happy on!

RedFrog Rum Bar

This place looks so fun! I think there is a reason RUM and SUN share the same song many times.


Deck 5 has so much to offer! You can walk all the way around the ship on this deck and see the ocean. There are restaurants and bars inside and outside. Plenty of seating to enjoy an afternoon catching a breeze.

Ocean Plaza

This is a popular place for events during the day, lots of seating where you will find music, trivia, games. At times there will be a mini-snack bar with small plates available. This is right off the main walk-through for the ship where you can find The Alchemy Bar, Photos, Coffee, and is close to so many things. This space has a cool tropical vibe with the palm trees and access to outside.

Red Frog Pub

The Red Frog Pub is a island themed bar, it’s always 5’o’Clock here. Share or don’t share a fish bowl and soak up those island vibes. This is such a cool venue, its always busy so go early for special events. Happy Hour drinks first day usually till 2 pm! Yes, everything gonna be alright!

Aft Pool

There is another pool at the aft of the ship. It is quieter and less crowded. There is a hot tub and a full bar. Many tables with umbrellas can be found here as well as plenty of loungers. You can find pizza and seafood back here too which is nice to have. Go up a deck and find additional seating. We caught a sunrise here on our way to Mexico, what a great way to start the day!

Serenity Deck

Are you serious! This adult only place is so nice, plenty of comfy seating, bar, and a salad bar for your afternoon munchies.

Sports Deck

There are many things to keep you busy on the Sports Deck. The Ropes Course hovers above the playground. Colorful games such as multi-level mini-golf, Foosball, 4 Square, Twister, Shuffleboard are spread out on this deck. There are places to sit too. You can find the Sky Ride here as well and take in the views from high above on the monorail mounted bike.


Take in one or more IMAX movies for a small fee. I was excited to see National Parks and Super Dogs while I was aboard. This is a definite must see in my opinion. There were a couple of rainy days and this was a perfect thing to do. Lots of space and very cool theater, plus there are snacks available to purchase.


The ship would not be complete without a kids (and big kids) arcade. Tons of games and prizes to be had, spend an evening with a little old school entertainment!


There is something for everyone on this nice ship, quiet spaces for reading, pool parties, music, trivia, karaoke, comedy, crazy 80’s parties. So much to take in during a cruise.

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