I’m Baaack!


But I’m leaving again…


Off to Nashville on Friday for a girl’s weekend!  Can’t wait!

In between – It’s super busy! 

Let’s see…there’s unpacking, Cooper loving, laundry, a 5 mile run (yesterday), paperwork, tea drinking, wine drinking, free latte drinking, cleaning, repacking, hot yoga (this morning), and OH YEA, celebrating my #34thBirthday TODAY!


I can’t believe it’s been one year since I wrote my 33 Things to do While I’m 33 post.  Rereading it now, it does seem rather ambitious, but it warms my heart to see all that I’ve done this year that’s on the list.  What an incredible 365 days!  I’m looking forward to another exciting and special year ahead!


Until then…enjoy an early #tbt pic from my quick cruise to CocoCay this past weekend!

See you next week!

Packed Monday

Monday was one BUSY day!  It seems that there have been a lot of those recently : )

I woke up and got right to work with some cleaning and house chores.  Then it was off to the gym for a brutal (but much appreciated) pre-vacation workout.



I went straight from there to Whole Foods for a few vacation snacks.  Then to the bike shop to finally pick up my bike. I can’t wait to take it out for a ride SOON!  Just sad that I’m traveling the next few weekends so it might not be that soon.  I had a few more errands to run, including the grocery store before coming home to clean (some more).  I fueled with a PB Chocolate Banana Shake.  Yum!


When I got home, I put dinner in the crockpot.  I feel like I’ve made this recipe before, but couldn’t find it on the blog so decided to share it with you (again?).


It’s an easy and tasty curry recipe that you can make in your crockpot.


I used some of my favorite spices!


My next task was to load up our new dishes (that we just got at our shower) to wash and move into the cabinet.


We’ve had so many amazing meals and memories with our old hand me down dishes, and I am excited to pass them along to someone new.  I was even more ecstatic to enjoy my first meal on our gorgeous new dishes!  And my first ever non-hand-me-down, I picked them myself (with the BOY’s approval, of course), fancy new dishes!


They are a grey ombre that look even cooler in person.   You’ll have to come over for dinner and check them out.  I ate leftovers for lunch all week and each day my coworkers commented on how good lunch smelled.  It looked like a mish mash but tasted delish!


The other big agenda item of Monday was packing.  The BOY and I are going on a weekend cruise with his family, and I wasn’t sure when I was going to have time to throw everything together, especially since I am carrying on…always so tough for me! 


I’m sure we know where Cooper will be hanging out all weekend while we’re gone : )



Meal Planning 8/17/15

Monday: Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

Tuesday: BBQ Pork Chops and Veggies

Wednesday: Salmon and Steak Night

Thursday: Something from the Freezer : )


Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

From Sweet Treats & More


2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into cubes

5 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a green pepper)

1 (5 oz ) can tomato paste

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp garam masala

1 jalapeno, seeded and halved OR 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp water

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch


  1. Grease your slow cooker with Pam. Place the chicken, red pepper, and carrots on the bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients (except water and corn starch) in a food processor and process together until mixture is mostly smooth. Pour the sauce over the chicken, peppers, and carrots, mix well, then cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.  ***My recipe only needed to cook 4 hours!
  3. An hour or so before serving, mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour mixture into the slow cooker, stir to combine, and continue cooking for another hour. **This will thicken up the sauce. When the sauce is to your desired thickness, turn slow cooker to warm setting until ready to serve.
  4. Serve over rice, with Naan, and garnish with cilantro.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle-Cruise Edition


I should probably start the post by telling you that I am by no means a cruise or nutrition expert, but after 7 cruises, I have learned a few things that can help you maintain your healthy lifestyle while afloat on your next trip.  Cruises are known to be HUGE diet pitfalls filled with 24 hour food and sedentary living.  Here are few tips for your next cruise, that will probably work on most relaxing getaways!


Just a side note, I found Carnival cruise lines to be vegetarian friendly (even more so on this cruise compared with the past) but very difficult for dairy free living.  If you prefer a gluten free, dairy free, low sodium, or vegan diet, I would recommend notifying the cruise line in advance.


I guess I should also point out (although I’m sure you already know this) that I am not perfect when it comes to diet and exercise, and I certainly believe that vacation is a time to let loose in the name of relaxation.  But, cuing into the following healthy habits allowed me to have a fun, active, and rejuvenating vacation, feeling confident in my bathing suit while enjoying some adult beverages and treats.



Number 1

Get your exercise done first thing in the morning.  It will be hard to fit in a run after you’ve spent your day lazing by the pool.  Modify your normal routine to be more efficient.  For example, if you typically run 45 minutes, run for a shorter time but do 30/30 or 30/60 sprint recovery intervals for maximum efficiency.



I chose to run based on time (usually about 30 minutes) not distance.  I ran laps around the track or a larger deck when it was quieter on port days.  I added in some intervals increasing my pace every few laps.




Number 2

Prepare for the day ahead.  There are plenty of classes (strength, yoga, pilates) and a full gym on most cruise boats.  Set out your clothes the night before (just like you would at home).  On each boat, there is a group of people who tend to turn up for their morning exercise sessions.  For extra motivation, pretend that they are your friends meeting you to workout.  You would never stand up a friend for an early AM exercise date at home, would you?!




Number 3

Get creative with your exercise.  There are always reasons to move on a cruise boat.  One day, the small track was crowded with people playing putt-putt, so I moved my workout indoors to the stairs.  There are plenty of stairs on every boat and a few trips up and down will really get your heat pumping.  There are also opportunities for dancing (cupid shuffle anyone?), swimming, snorkeling, hiking, etc on the boat and at your ports.  Seek out active excursions that will keep you moving throughout the day.




Number 4

Bring snacks!!!  This is totally allowed and super important (especially if you have dietary restrictions).  There will be plenty of fresh fruit and even some vegetables available on the boat.  What is missing are the daily snacks (almonds, chia, flax, protein bars) that you rely on every day.  There are very few healthy snacking options on the boat, and I even brought my own Whole Foods peanut butter and almond butter this trips which was perfect for breakfast, sandwiches to take onto the islands, and late afternoon snacks.  It is hard to make it until 8:15 for dinner without a healthy afternoon snack.

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This is the first time that I have been on a cruise where the mini bar was open.  It was so useful to have a fridge in our room to store fruit, yogurt, and drinks.  Ask your steward to open up (and if he will, empty) your fridge.  Just an FYI, you are allowed to bring a mini cooler on board as well.




Number 5

Set a money budget, not a calorie budget.  It is usually much easier to follow.  Drinks are super expensive on cruise boats and often a HUGE portion of your calorie intake. I find that it is sometimes easier to stick with your financial plan than feel like you are limiting your calories.  Many boats, including Carnival, allow you to bring wine on board which isn’t widely advertised.  This not only saves money, but a glass of wine is a healthier option than a sugary daiquiri.  You can also bring limited quantities of bottled water and soda on board.




Number 6

Get over your guilt.  It is always hard when traveling with friends and family to prioritize exercise over ‘quality time’ together.  The good news about a boat is that you can never really get too far away.  Skip breakfast in the dining room with the group by having room service deliver something to you early in the morning.  Then use the time while everyone is at breakfast to get in a calorie burning morning workout.  Search your favorite websites for some take along ideas on how to incorporate strength and cardio with little equipment.  I love using benches and stairs for lunges, squats and planks.  Don’t worry if people are looking at you funny (while trying to take a picture of yourself in downward dog).  You’ll never see them again!

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Number 7

Eat when you are hungry, not when food is available!  This is really important when cruising!  Food is available 24/7 (Hello free room service), so you could possibly be eating all day long.  If you follow your typical eating habits and hunger cues, saving drinks and snacks for the evening, you will feel much better than if you are grazing on high calorie foods throughout the day.  Remember, your first day you will want to try a lot of different fods.  But you have 5-7 days on board, so space out your snacks.  I saved my favorite frozen yogurt for a quiet sea day when they were doing an ice cream sundae bar at sunset.  It was well worth the wait!




Number 8

Drink LOTS of water!  Bring a large refillable water bottle (or two) from home to use when you are out on the pool deck, hanging in your room, or heading onto the islands.  Water, juice, and iced tea are always available but the cups are tiny.  Bring any low calorie drink mixes or fun flavored teas to add some excitement to your water.  When you are out in the sun, it is important to stay hydrated, especially if you are enjoying a beer (or two).

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Number 9

Wear Sunscreen.  We all know how important it is to protect our skin.  The BOY and I discovered on our last cruise that two of us quickly went through two spray bottles of sunscreen in 7 days and that sunscreen is WAY OVERPRICED in the ports.  Bring more than you would expect and use a higher SPF than you would at home.  Don’t forget sun protection for your lips too!  We stuck with 50 and 70 SPF and for the first time, neither one of us got burned.




Number 10

Disconnect, relax, and have fun!  Use your time on the boat to disconnect from the electronic world for a bit.  Although internet access is available, the BOY and I turn off our phones and place them in the safe when we set sail and don’t turn them back on until we’re back where we started.  Without video games, internet, or phones, it really allows you to connect with your friends and family AND spend time doing some of the other things you enjoy, like reading, playing putt, or card games.  The opportunities for fun each day on the boat are endless.  Find the activities you like (hairy chest contest, bags tournaments, wine tasting, art auctions, blackjack tournaments, a day at the spa) or make an effort to do as little as possible.  Whatever makes you happy…because it is your vacation to enjoy!



How do you maintain your healthy lifestyle when you travel???

Local Eats (and Drinks)-St. Kitts

We spent the most amazing day on St. Kitts at a magnificent beach club.  With $3 local beers, we decided to bypass the fancy restaurant and hit up the beach bar instead. 



You know it’s a small world when you start chatting with the people across from you and it turns out they live in the next town over back home.  They were big basketball fans and the BOY needed to discuss the recent Indiana game.  I was happy to get some restaurant recommendations for when we got home.  I was all set to order a Carib (as it was my third day in the Caribbean and I was yet to try one) when the bartender suggested two other local brews.

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The Skol, he explained, was what the islanders REALLY drank and the Stag he described as ‘the man’s beer’.  With a sales pitch like that, I ordered the Skol and the BOY went for the Stag.



I loved the view from the bar, but took my second beer ‘to go’ leaving the BOY discussing basketball with our new friends and headed back into the sunshine.

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The BOY returned hungry, and so we decided to take a stroll down the beach to see what was available.  We discovered a popular local beach bar and grill.


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While the BOY waited for his burger, I walked around to explore.

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The beach bar was inviting, and the colors were so dynamic!  I couldn’t stop taking pictures…










The BOY was thrilled with his burger, which was a steal compared to our beach resort restaurant.

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And as always, I was in LOVE with the view!







The only thing missing from the day was a Carib, but I guess that’s a good enough reason to schedule our next visit to the Caribbean.  Don’t you think???


Last Island-St. Kitts



So I totally didn’t mean to get a panoramic view of the port and just realized it as I loaded up these pictures.  I think it gives you a good idea of my view from the boat during my morning run and yoga session.  Who wouldn’t love getting sweaty running laps around a tiny track with a view like this?!



We took our time getting off the boat and enjoyed breakfast in the dining room.  We had no real plans for St. Kitts…just a bathing suit on our backs, towels and sunscreen in our bags, and camera in my hand.

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We wander through the built up port looking slightly lost as we discussed our options.  There were plenty of taxi drivers available to take us around the island flashing pictures of dazzling beaches.  We asked about one beach that we had looked up online before the trip and were told it would cost us $28 each way. 

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We continued walking through the little port town debating our options when a man chased us down waving his arms and offering to drive us to the beach for $5 per person.  He explained that he already had 4 people in his cab so it would be cheaper.  We continued to go back and forth…having no real plan or destination in mind.  I’m always nervous when something sounds to good to be true, but I liked the idea of a $10 cab ride and I really liked the idea of having other cruisers in the taxi with us as we traveled unknowingly across the island.  We finally decided ‘why not?’ and started walking to the parking lot with our new escort. I was slightly nervous we wouldn’t be able to find his cab as he continued to try to round up patrons, but it was easy to spot since there was only one RED TAXI in the parking lot.  The Reggae Van!






The road to the beach was narrow and windy and in true Caribbean fashion, our driver dashed in and out of cars and around rock slides as he pointed out local landmarks.





I held on for dear life with one hand while I tried to snap pictures of the bright scenery with the other.





From the looks of the parking lot still under construction, I didn’t know what to think when we arrived at our beach destination.  But the minute I walked through the door, I knew we had hit the jackpot.







The colors were magnificent and it looked like a scene straight out of a movie.  We rented two chairs, but we ended up spending most of our time in the swimming in the water taking more goofy pictures with our disposable camera, walking along the beach, or searching for seashells in the sand.









Time flew by way to quickly and before we knew it, our Reggae taxi was back to get us.  The BOY and I decided that we wanted to stay and that it would be okay if the boat left us in paradise for just a few more days.





As we were exiting the parking lot, I realized that I had no idea where I was.  Last minute, I tried to snap this picture to remember (and recommend) the beach when I got home.



The Carambola Beach Club is overlooking St. Friar’s Bay.  It is only a few weeks old and they are still working on the website.  It seems that they are known for their Caribbean cuisine and wine; however, the menu is pricey.  Unfortunately, we just missed the tapas bar that opens at 2:30 each day.  The good news is that you can get local beers for $3 and the view is priceless!  Speaking of views, on the way back to the ship, our driver stopped at the top of a hill so we could get pictures of this breathtaking view where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean.





And the other side of the hill, home to the St. Kitts Marriott which can house up to 900 guests at a time!





I really hope to be staying at that Marriott one day!  The funniest part of our ride back was the man riding the donkey that literally bumped into our taxi as we crept up to the top of the hill.  He had the most adorable monkey on his back, who was holding on for dear life, but popped up just as I snapped my picture.



We returned to the boat excited for two more days at sea, but sad to be leaving the sunny Caribbean behind.



Is it cold and snowy where you live?

There are more beautiful views and islands stories of St. Maarten and St. Lucia to warm you up.

Snorkeling in St. Lucia

Good morning St. Lucia!






I enjoyed breakfast on the balcony as we pulled into the island.  A few of my ‘neighbors’ were up to check out the view too.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much reading done.  I was too busy snapping pictures.

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The BOY and I were scheduled for an excursion at 11:30AM.  This gave us a little time to get off the boat and roam around the shops in the port.







We saw a visually impaired band that was really pretty good and bought a few little trinkets to take home.



Then got back on the boat to change into our bathing suits.  We boarded a speed boat and headed out for a 60 minute ride to the pitons.  The pitons are twin volcanoes on the west coast of the island and a popular site to see in the Caribbean. 

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On the way out there, we received our snorkel equipment.  With size 15 feet, the BOY always has trouble with this part.

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The view from the boat was incredible.

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And snorkeling between these towering green mountains was tons of fun!  I can’t say that it was the best snorkeling that I’ve ever done, but there were some colorful fish to see and a spectacular view to enjoy!  The colors even looked good on our disposable camera.


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Afterwards, we enjoyed a cold Piton beer (a local brew that we hadn’t tried yet) and a stroll beside this beautiful beach resort.

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After a full day on the island, we got back on our boat for some free rum punch and another scenic route ‘home’.  We boarded the cruise ship and set sail for our last island, St. Kitts.


Local Eats-St. Maarten

After an afternoon lazing around on the beach and drinking cool beer, the BOY and I were ready for some lunch.  We checked out a few places (he had his heart set on a burger), but many of them were very expensive.  And one was all out of EVERYTHING.  We wandered into a casual open air café with tourists and locals sitting at tables and surrounding the bar.  Out front, there was a reggae band playing on the beach.



And a great view of the beach.







We sat down next to a friendly woman and started chatting.  It turns out that she used to work in the city next to where we live.  She now lives and works in St. Maarten.  What a small world!  The BOY was set to order a burger when the chef (a friend of our old neighbor) came out to say Hello.  He nixed the burger idea (but approved of my fish taco wrap) and told the BOY he would make him something special.



The result was this shrimp wrap with special sauce.  It tasted EXACTLY like the Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish, and the BOY was thrilled!  The chef came out and the BOY was able to put down his wrap for a moment to share his compliments.  My fish wrap was also tasty and the fries were seasoned perfectly.





The only bad news was that they only took cash.  Luckily we had enough to pay for lunch and leave a nice tip.  The worse part is that I totally can’t remember the name of the restaurant.  If you’re interested, its on the southern side of the boardwalk, right next to a drink hut.  There are yellow walls and high tables out front with a white awning.  Look for a laminated menu (as seen in the first wrap picture) and super friendly staff.  Happy hunting…it’s totally worth it!

First Stop-St. Maarten




The BOY and I were also here when we were newly dating in 2007.  I thought it would be fun to get an updated picture this year (on the right).

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It was a beautiful day and we took the water taxi over to Great Bay on the Dutch side of the island. 



I couldn’t tell you the exact temperature as it was in Celsius, but who really cares when you’ve got blue skies, crisp clear water, and bright green palm trees!







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There is a boardwalk with shops and restaurants right along the beach.  With four cruise boats in the port, the town was packed with tourists.

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For $20, we were able to rent 2 padded chairs, an umbrella, and get a bucket of beers on the north end of the beach, where it was a little quieter.





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We continued last year’s Beer Tour, by sampling the local brew, Amstel BRIGHT.  On this hot day, it was light and refreshing.

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The water was cool and clear and the view spectacular.

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We spent our day splashing and goofing around in the water.  With a sandbar that big and super salty water, I was bummed that I forgot my goggles for a swim, but happy to have a disposable water camera to use in the water.



We took a walk north along the beach.

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After the beach, we walked along the streets checking out a few shops and sampling a guavaberry daiquiri.

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So funny…as I was looking through old photos yesterday, I stumbled upon this one from my family’s vacation in 2004.  The BOY and I had a big laugh at my ‘signature’ pose.

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Eventually, we had to return to the boat.  I was sad to leave St. Maarten, but the ‘Sail Away’ deck party is always fun, especially with four boats leaving the port.  Plus, the sunset was beautiful!  I’m looking forward to my next trip to the island.

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