Thursday, April 24, 2014

St. Kitt's Vacation and Travel Guide

St. Kitt's was a wonderful and relaxing place to visit!
Most people I talked to had never heard of the island, but it's actually the first to be discovered by Christopher Columbus, in case you wanted a little history fact 

Here are some ideas of what to do once you arrive, which are all from a handy power point that the condo owner had for us! & a video of our trip :)

Restaurants

Cathy's
This was a little bar/restaurant on "the strip" 
They had awesome rum punch, topped with nutmeg - which is very common here and I wish they did this everywhere!
I had the jerk ribs and shrimp and they were both awesome. 
Very very casual - as are all restaurants along the strip. We sat at a picnic table right along the water.

Sunset Cafe at Timothy Beach
Also on the strip - I recommend this place for breakfast. The coconut pancakes were really good and the bacon was prime. We sat underneath the roof to avoid the sun, which is very strong in St. Kitts. 

Sprat Net
This is considered a can't miss, according to many people. I didn't have the chance to go on our trip, due to our schedule, but people love this little spot! Nothing fancy on the menu but you get mountains of food.

Ship Wreck Bar and Grill
This place had live music, tons and tons of monkeys, and a great atmosphere!

Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack
If you're on the island, you'll be asked a million times if you're going to this place for Thursday!
It had great jerk chicken and a fire dancer! It was a can't miss spot for sure :) 

Spice Mill
This is one of the more upscale places we went to for our trip. This is one place where I'd dress up a bit more! The atmosphere was really lovely and relaxing, with great views. It's a bit pricey but good food. Be ready for a very leisurely pace, they don't rush things at this restaurant. 

Rituals
This is St. Kitts' equivalent to Starbucks. 
We went here most mornings to get our iced coffee and bagel sandwich fix!
They were often out of ingredients to make their menu items, which we found odd. But hey, I never had a problem finding an alternative and I need my coffee! :)

Beaches

The Lion Rock at Cockleshell Bay
This was by far my favorite beach spot.
Very authentic and nothing fancy, but you get right up to the water, it's not crowded, and they have awesome prices. Try the rum punch and watch some people play dominos! The food was also abundant and delicious and I got a complimentary aloe rub, haha.

Carambola
If an upscale beach setting is more your thing, try this place!
Very beautiful with an extensive wine list. Very nice beach chairs and umbrellas. We didn't personally go here, but were told it can be crowded so get there early. 

Things to do

Excursions through The Marriott
We set up two different activities through The Marriott, which I'd recommend doing since they make it so easy! We didn't stay at the Marriott, but they were a short walk for us and very helpful.

Full day catamaran tour: This is a must in my opinion!
It was from 9-5 and we got unlimited drinks, went snorkeling, had a delicious lunch, got to see Nevis and lay on the beach there, and had a wonderful ride home and got to see whales! This actually saved us money for the day - it was such a bargain! The rum punch and Carib made it well worth it!

Zip lining: We opted for the half-day zip line, which ended up being a bit of a disappointment. Keep in mind they count your first "practice" line as an actual line! Still had a nice time but I think I'd say do the full-day tour or just don't bother and go zip lining on a different tropical vacation! 

Scenic Railway Tour: It's a bit expensive - $90 per person. This did sound really great though and I wish we had the time to do it! Plan ahead because cruisers like to do this. 

Tips

- Pack wayyyyyy to much sunscreen. Once you're here, they know you don't have a choice and it's insanely pricey. $18 USD for 8 ounces of No-Ad. I mean it's legit insane.

- Pack hats. The UV index has this place off the charts for sun strength. I got burned on my scalp and had to quickly buy a hat to protect myself. This has never really happened to me anywhere else I've been! 

- Enjoy! This place is so relaxing. Kick back and enjoy yourself and eat lots of ribs for me! ;) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting Summer Ready - Macros for a Lift Day

As promised, I'm posting what I eat on a lift day! I still try to stay within my 40/40/20 ratio for carbs, protein, and fat - although you will see this day got a little messed up because...well, PEANUT BUTTER. 

This was yesterday, and we worked back and bis and got in a pretty good flow/pump if I do say so myself. I'm definitely feeling it right now and I will be even more so tomorrow. 

Meal 1 was 1 egg, half a cup egg whites, with spinach and Mrs. Dash, half a grapefruit with stevia, and coffee with skim milk. 
Snack was a small apple and two tablespoons of real peanut butter - wowza it was delish because usually I have PB2, not that I don't like that, but nothing beats the real deal. 
For lunch I had 2 oz. turkey on a slice of Pepperidge Farm whole wheat with lettuce and mustard and a large nonfat plain latte because I was cold and tired.
Later in the day, I could have had my half cup cottage cheese before weights but I wasn't hungry so I didn't - post workout I had my BCAAs and protein powder. 
For dinner I made turkey meatballs and 2 oz. of pasta with a bit of pesto. 
Post dinner I enjoyed my dark chocolate with sea salt. 

The calories break down as follows: 
1,510 Calories - 1,273 net calories (means how many with exercise considered)
40% carb, 34% protein, 26% fat
A little high on fat because I just thoroughly enjoyed that peanut butter. Overall good stuffs! 

I am LOVING this macro dealio. I never would have eaten this much carbs before and I would have ended up binging later at some point, what a silly lifestyle! This is much healthier/balanced. 

I hope you all have a kick ass Wednesday. 
It is a break day for me so I'm keeping my eating right and tight. 

xo

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bee Update

Unfortunately, my bees did not make it through our harsh Michigan winter.
After a sneak peek of Spring, today we broke the record for most snow since 1881. It was brutal and it was quite disheartening for a first-time beekeeper and hive.

I did, however, get to taste some of their hard labor! The honey is bright orange-gold in color and packs a punch! I credit the pumpkin patch's beautiful flowers for this awesome flavor and hue. It seriously tastes divine! I'm happy there is a tiny bit left of my bee babies' legacy. 

I know I gave them a great shot with plenty of food to survive and I have my new strategies set for next winter. I will be picking up my new package of bees on May 10. Here's to hoping this is a heartier brood! 

Since Nathan and I now have a GoPro, I'm going to post more videos! 
I'll be showing you my road trip and installation in May.

Stay warm if you live anywhere near me! 

xo

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting Summer Ready - Macros for a Rest Day

After a winter of lifting, it's time to whip my butt into shape and see all these muscles I've been working on! I am 11 days into my cut at the moment, so I thought I'd share what a day of food looks like for me! This is a rest day, so I don't have quite as much calories as a workout day but it's good to see both sides. So I'l be posting what a day with a nice workout session looks like as well. 

I use MyFitnessPal to track my calories and macros. 
I like this app the best because I can enter my own calories and macro nutrient goals.
I like to have a 40-40-20 ratio, this means that 40% of my calories come from carbohydrates, 40% from protein, and 20% from fat. This is a standard for weight loss and once you see how it works for you, you can make minor tweaks to get the results you're looking for. 

My meal 1 was one egg, half a cup of egg whites, and half a grapefruit with stevia. Not shown is my coffee with a splash of skim milk.

My morning snack was half a cup of 2% cottage cheese. I put cinnamon or a bit of Lawry's on top depending on if I want sweet or salty. I'm not concerned with my sodium at the moment, but I do keep it to a minimum if I don't want to look bloated.

My lunch was a light flatilla wrap with ham and an apple with PB2 - this is a powdered peanut butter with 85% of the fat removed, you add water to it till you get the consistency you like! It's really good for the days when I don't have a huge fat allowance.

After lunch I treated myself to a nonfat latte.

In the afternoon I had a protein shake and sliced cucumbers.

For dinner I had blackened salmon, half a sweet potato microwaved with cinnamon on top, and a side salad with 1 TB of Good Seasonings Zesty Italian dressing.

After dinner I enjoyed half a banana and one dark chocolate! 

The breakdown for my day was:
1,369 calories, 36% Protein, 42% Carbs, 22% fat

Not perfect but good enough for an off day.
I'll post my meals for a day with a tough workout soon!

If you have any questions about counting macros here are two great resources:

Let me know if you're doing anything to get ready for summer!
xo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Packing for a Casual Beach Vacation! St. Kitt's & Nevis

Recently, my cousin and his fiancĂ©e were lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay in a beautiful condo in St. Kitt's and invited Nathan and I to come along. Needless to say, we jumped at the chance to go! I'll share more on our trip in another post, but for now I wanted to talk packing.

I have said in the past, I love packing (yes, I'm a weirdo). Knowing this isn't the usual attitude towards packing, I thought I'd share how I packed and some of my tips and tricks. 

First of all, if you're looking for the most efficient style of packing, this probably won't be for you. I am not inefficient by any means, but I don't try to get away with as little as possible. I do end up wearing and using about 99% of what I pack. Nathan and I share one big suitcase, which we check and share one carry-on. Here's specifically what I packed for our trip *side note: St. Kitt's is a casual place

Here we go!
7 Days

Undergarments
- 8 Pairs of day time underwear
- 8 pairs of night time underwear
- 3 bras - one convertible, one bralette/bandeau, one regular
- 2 pairs of socks, assuming you'll mostly wear sandals

Beach Wear
- 8 bikinis, yes this is overkill. I am a bikini buying freak! I own 20 after severely cutting down my collection. For a normal person, I'd suggest 2-4 that you can mix and match.
- Cover up or sarong

Clothing
- 2 warmer pieces of outerwear - one casual like a light sweatshirt, one nicer like a light jacket or cardigan
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 6 dresses - 5 more casual, 1 you can dress up. I prefer wearing dresses when it's hot out. If you prefer shorts and tanks more, then pack more of those :)
- 5 tops
- PJS - about 6 PJ items

Shoes & Accessories
- Tennis Shoes or close-toed shoes for activities
- Nice Sandals
- Wedge heels
- Flip Flops or easy sand-walking shoes
- A belt to cinch in casual dresses
- A baseball hat
- A day-time or beach hat (like a straw fedora)
- A mini cross-body bag
- Your regular purse
- Stud earrings, regular jewelry (remember, I'm being casual :) if your trip is fancier, pack jewelry that you want to match your special outfits).
- 2+ sunglasses, since you're always wearing them and they make the outfit!

Technology
- Chargers
- Camera
- Go-Pro
- Ipad
- Cell

Toiletries
- Face routine - I personally use Proactiv and Clinique lotion
- Deodorant
- Travel size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
- Mini body loofah
- Self tanner (for touch ups and to feel extra nice) no body has time for wrinkles!
- Body scrub for exfoliating
- TONS of sunscreen - we did not pack nearly enough for the strong sun in St. Kitt's - it is 18 U.S. dollars for one small bottle of sunscreen in St. Kitt's - INSANE
- Usual makeup products you like, remember waterproof mascara!
- Perfume
- Razor
-Travel shave gel

Miscellaneous
- Your pillow, because sleeping on someone else's usually sucks
- Towel

Tips
- Roll your clothes to save space and prevent wrinkles
- Pack several clothing and toiletry items in carry-on in case your luggage gets lost, anything you'd be super bummed without!
- Wear comfy layers to airport - Jeans/yoga pants, tank top, sweater, slip on shoes, etc. so when you get off the plane from cold Michigan into sunny warmth, you can remove layers.
- Drink lots of water on the plane - lots and lots
- Bring a deck of cards, because they are fun for the plane and obviously the beach and drinking games
- HAVE FUN!

When I'm packing, I like to take my time, think of how I'll wear each item/outfit and all the good times that I'll have and play some music. It can be fun if you let it!

xo

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello, March

March has brought a glimmer of hope. 
I see melting snow, a bit of rain, and with the time change comes my sunrise walks. 
When I'm confined to indoor activities because of the harsh Michigan climate, I can get a bit morose. 

This will be a wonderful month. This coming weekend I'll be headed to St. Kitt's, I was engaged on March 16th so that always brings about wonderful memories, and St. Patrick's day is one of my favorite holidays (yes, I know I say that about every holiday, but I mean it!).  and the biggest and best of all, my husband will finally return home from his long work trip and we'll be reunited again. 

My spirit was buried in snow, and I feel a bit like a bear coming out of hibernation. 
Here's to a wonderful month!

xo

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wedding Series: Let's Party!

Now it's onto the party!
We had a cocktail hour just outside the barn following our ceremony, moved onto the tent for dinner, and back up to the barn for dancing and dessert. Our planner called this a "progressive event" and I think it kept the evening fresh and guests seemed to enjoy the movement of the evening, I'd definitely recommend it if you have the choice! Our planner let us in on the secret that these types of events tend to have the highest guest retention rates because everyone can't wait to see what happens next! ;)

Here are some of my favorite details

Cocktail Hour
For the food we were inspired by our trip to Paris together, and we wanted that rustic, comforting, but beautifully executed vibe. 

Dinner
With our goddaughter, Cambrie
 Sneaking away for our first married sunset

Dessert & Dancing
We chose croquembouche for dessert. Neither of us are big on cake really, and a tower of caramel covered cream puffs delighted us!
 Father daughter dance to "My Girl"
 First dance as husband and wife

The End!
I hope you enjoyed my mini wedding series, next up I'll share some honeymoon pictures from Italy!

If you'd like to know any tips or planning advice, let me know in the comment below.
Thanks so much for reading!

xox

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wedding Series: The Ceremony

Our pastor, Melissa Anne, made our ceremony so personalized and I think that's something that we didn't realize was so important to us until we really thought hard about our relationship and the huge step we were taking and how we wanted to portray it to our guests. When we picked our readings, which were Sonnet XVII from Pablo Neruda and this piece from Anna Voskamp, we both welled up with tears. On the big day there were some ceremony blunders, which brought joy and laughs, and I think overall it just felt like it came right from our hearts. It felt like a joyous celebration. 

If I have one bit of advice, it would be to include your parents and guests.
Melissa Anne had us turn towards our family and friends and thank them for the roles they have played in our lives as individuals and our relationship. They all vowed to keep us on the right track and guide us through our marriage. I loved being able to look at everyone and acknowledge their importance and it made our vows that much more meaningful.

Here are a few of my very favorite pictures from our wedding ceremony.
 We had Kir Royale cocktails, Lemonade, and Sparkling water pre-ceremony for guests when they arrived. We wanted everyone to be in a celebratory mood as soon as they arrived and I think cocktails are always the way to go! :)
 Our ribbon wands we hand-made and stained together
 Sneaking a peak as everyone arrived and enjoying our cocktails with our wedding party
 The kiss! We didn't practice but it was just natural, modest, and very us.
and celebrating in the back room afterward!

xo

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wedding Series: First Look

Before starting the wedding planning process, I had never considered doing a "first look."
I always assumed that Nathan and I would go the traditional route of not seeing each other before the ceremony. I have to say, I'm so so happy we chose to see each other beforehand.

It's just a personal decision, but I think every couple should consider the options so I thought I'd give you some pro's for both if you're currently wedding planning.

Pro's for the "first look"

- If you tend to be more of an anxious or nervous person, it is wonderful to see each other before the ceremony. Nathan and I got to spend so much more time together before the real craziness of the wedding set in than couples typically get. We were able to laugh, talk, kiss, and get excited together for the rest of the day. It created such a calm vibe, which was exactly what we wanted.

- Often times, you get more pictures. If you're trying to capture all of your couple, family, and some wedding party photos into the cocktail hour, you will get less photos. The pictures were one of our top priorities considering it's the only thing you really get to "keep" and see over and over. Well, we got just over 4,000 pictures! That's a lot! The more pictures you get, the more likely it is you will have tons of really lovely shots that you like to choose from for albums.

- Our ceremony felt very giddy and magical. This isn't a "pro" for the "first look" per say, but often times I hear people say, "The ceremony won't feel as magical because you've seen each other all day."
Simply not true! The ceremony is still going to be momentous and emotional, even if you've just seen each other. You're joining together as husband and wife for your whole lives, trust me, you're going to feel it!
You will both still have the awe-struck, twinkly-eyed feeling.

Pro's for the traditional route

- If you tend to love the build up of emotions, then the traditional route may be for you.
Some people love that butterflies, can't-hardly-hold-still, about-to-burst-with-emotion feeling - and they don't mind showing their biggest emotions in front of their guests. That is awesome! While Nathan and I were sipping on champs, laughing, and peeking at guests through the windows, my planner told me the typical bride would be a basket of (good) nerves at that moment. I think that is wonderful! Just know what type of couple you are :)

- There is something wonderfully old-fashioned about the wait. If traditions are very important to you both - you wouldn't dream of skipping the garter toss, the cake-cutting, the rice throwing - then you may get an odd feeling looking back and knowing you skipped a tradition. Again, just know yourself and how you feel about these things!

- That look the groom gets. Now I said before, we both still had the look and many of our guests thought we hadn't seen each other beforehand. BUT, I know the look Nathan had during our "First Look" you know, the look a guy gets when his mind isn't even functioning because you look so drop-dead-gorgeous like his dang wife. His look was just as magical at the ceremony, but some girls want to see the full effect.

Now, onto the pictures of our first look!
Makes me feel so over the moon all over again when I see these pictures.
My sneaky bridesmaids watching us! :)

I hope you have a wonderful day!
Tell me in the comments your "first look" experience or about the moment you saw each other at your ceremony, I'd love to hear!