Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Caribbean Cruise: Exploring the Ship

I finally a few minutes to sit and reflect on our amazing cruise to the Caribbean. My mom and I had a great time together exploring Key West and Cozumel together. This is not out first girls trip together. We have been to Las Vegas as well. I am going to break this post up to make sure to get all the amazing details.  Today I am recapping the beautiful ship and then next week I'll recap our two ports, Key West and Cozumel.

Last Saturday morning, mom and I headed out of Raleigh to Ft. Lauderdale. The flight was quick and we were boarding the ship by 2pm. We were greeted with champagne on arrival which was a perfect way to start our vacation! We got settled into our cabin easily and headed to grab a late lunch on the buffet. Usually, I am not a fan of buffets. The excessive amount of food always results in mediocre quality in my opinion. One exception for me is on a cruise. All the items are fresh and you can sample unique food without wasting an entire entrée.
Our beautiful balcony view.

Enjoying lunch on the sunset deck.

After filling up I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the ship. The Celebrity Constellation is a smaller ship compared to the new gigantic vessels. It is 12 stories tall including the pool and observation decks. I was glad to be on a smaller ship because it was easy to learn your way around which is great on a short trip.

Sunset leaving port.

Each night we ate dinner in the main dining room. I adored indulging in a 4 course meal each night and getting the opportunity to try different entrees I never order. After dinner each night, we went to see a production in the main theater. The shows ranged from musical productions to magicians to acrobatics. There was an occasional stop at the martini bar on the way of course!

Dry ice martini bar.

Beautiful theater. 


Monday, April 28, 2014

DIY Juice Cleanse

(This was planned for last week, but thanks to my inattentiveness on vacation it was never posted. Please excuse the delay and don't let it keep you from checking these great recipes out!)

I have been feeling sluggish and bloated a lot lately. I am sure part of it is due the heavy carb diet I have been craving the last few weeks. I desperately wanted to press a rest button and get back to how I used to feel. I knew it would not happen overnight but though a juice cleanse would be a good place to start.

Why a juice cleanse? Juice cleanses help to detoxify your system, and make it easier for your body to absorb vitamins and minerals. A juice cleanse allows you to only put non-processed, healthy food into your body. This lets essential nutrients be easily absorbed.

I developed these recipes based on reading  and researching about several different juice cleanses. If you don't have a juicer I highly recommend looking into a local business in your area that would provide fresh juice. Raleigh Raw is a local company that delivers fresh juice to you! If there is not anything nearby, Blueprint Cleanse or Suja Juice provides cleanses they will ship to you!  I have picked up Suja before at Whole Foods, so you could check there as well.

I have done 3 day juice cleanses in the past but kept this to a one day cleanse.  The juices are simple so preparation is easier. After just doing this for one day, I felt energized and more awake the next day.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to kick start a diet or change things up. If your a bit wary of drinking solely juice for a day. Try one of these recipes for breakfast!

Here is what my day looks like:

8:30- Green Juice
10:30- Orange Juice
12:30- Green Juice
2:30- Red Juice
4:30- Orange Juice
7:00 - Green Juice

I try and drink a juice every 2-3 hours. I suggest listening to your body: if you're hungry then drink a juice and if not then wait a bit longer. If I am still hungry at night. I may snack on a few pieces of fresh fruit or an handful of almonds. Whatever you do, don't starve yourself. A little bit of hunger is okay and natural to feel. If you start to get lightheaded or dizzy your body might be telling you it needs more calories. Listen to your body!

I only used three recipes. For a day's worth of juicing, I would make 3 servings of green juice, 2 servings orange juice and 1 red juice. The red juice is my favorite because I am obsessed with beets currently. I could see how the taste would be too strong for some.  My recommendation is to add more fruit if you don't immediately like the taste.

So, what do y'all think of juice cleanses? Is it something that you could follow? 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Whirlwind Weekend

I hope that everyone has had an incredible weekend. My weekend began a bit early when I got into town Thursday afternoon.  Joe and I headed out to drinks to celebrate my return from the Caribbean. We visited Firebirds which is one of my favorite franchise restaurants. It was nice to catch up on the week events over drinks just the two of us. I enjoyed an amazing pineapple martini which took me right back the Caribbean.

On Friday evening, a group of our close friends came into town. We went out to dinner and drinks at one of my favorite local restaurants Tribecca Tavern. The group headed back to our apartment after dinner. The boys started up an intense game of poker while us girls played catch up.

Our little group enjoyed a hearty breakfast Saturday morning at the State Farmers Market Restaurant. They have the best biscuits, grits and hash browns around. Many must agree because it was packed Saturday morning! We were lucky to enjoy a table outside and munched on biscuits with molasses while we waited.

After breakfast we explored the farmers market a bit. I am on the lookout for a Meyer lemon tree and a few small plants for the apartment. Then we headed out to Moorsville for Megan and Robbie’s wedding. 

 Megan and Robbie’s wedding was at a beautiful plantation in Columbus. The wedding ceremony overlooked a small pond surrounded by gorgeous foliage.

Joe and I on the way to the wedding in the limo-bus hybrid.

The gorgeous bride and handsome groom

Following the ceremony, we enjoyed drinks and appetizers on the patio overlooking the pond. We enjoyed a delicious dinner followed by dancing the night away. 

School psych girls with the bride

Beautiful centerpieces 


I caught the guys trying to look cool heading back up to the party.

My favorite part of the night was enjoying s’mores on the patio. I loved the fire pit that had been built in to the patio. The fire was fueled by gas logs which I had never seen before! We snuck a few s’mores home to enjoy this week and remember their beautiful wedding. 

Sunday we headed back to Cary to celebrate Christina’s birthday. Her family had arranged to meet us in Cary and surprise her for brunch. I am not very good at being sneaky and trying to hide things. However, the surprise went perfectly. I am so happy it turned out a success and she had no idea they were in town!

We also got to meet Christina's 3 month old nephew for the first time. He woke up just in time to celebrate with us. He very much stole the show for most of lunch. 

I am beyond blessed for a full weekend filled to the brim. Now that we are finally back home, I am enjoying a quiet night with Joe catching up on Game of Thrones. 

Hope you all have a great night!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Five on Friday

I'm back from my vay-cay in the Caribbean. Thanks so much for the well wishes and sweet comments while I was away! My goal is to tackle importing and organizing all my photos today. So that I will be able to share pictures from my amazing trip next week!

{One} Drinking Lately. Martinis are quickly becoming my drink of choice. My favorite martini from the cruise was a Lychee Martini. I found this simple four ingredient recipe that I hope to recreate at home.

{Two} Snacking On. Fruit, fruit & more fruit. Eating countless slices of pineapple and watermelon on the cruise leaves me craving more tropical snacks. I am going to enjoy these healthy cravings while they last. This fruit salad looks so simple and easy!

{Three} Wishlist Worthy. I have been patiently waiting to get my hair cut for a while now. My stylist has been booked up for months and I have refused to go anywhere else. (I have hair trust issues, anyone else struggle with this?) I finally have an appointment and am now pondering the idea of shorter hair for summer. Let me know what you think!

{Four} Currently Reading. I picked up Dark Places before leaving for my cruise. The book was a thrilling fast paced read. The story is based on a woman who is the sole survivor of a massacre in which her brother was found guilty of the murder. I have never read a dark drama before so I was unsure how I would feel about the serious plot line. I found that surprisingly I really liked it. It is the first book I have read my Gillian Flyn and am looking to reading more of her books. I just read that a movie based on the book will be coming out in September.

{Five}Around the Corner. Tomorrow Joe and I are headed to Cleveland, NC for one of my good friends from graduate school Megan's wedding! A two of the girls from graduate school and their boyfriend/husband are staying with us tonight before we all head out Saturday morning. I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone and dancing the night away!

Wishing you all an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Marathon Training & Weight Loss

In January, I started training for the marathon. Along with my goal of running 26.2 miles I also set a goal to lose 20lbs.  Well, let me share a little secret-  long distance running and weight loss do not go together. You would think that burning over 2,000 calories on a run would have you shedding weight. Not so at all!

My body holds onto all those precious fat stores for energy and recovery after each run. After a hard long run, I am typically not hungry for a big meal until late afternoon. By the afternoon, I am ravenous and can't get enough carbs! I have tried several different "diets" and strategies these past months to try and lose a few pounds. I tried keeping carbs low during the week and increase them on the weekend. This left me exhausted and grumpy during the week and eating everything in sight during the weekend. After a few weeks I decided to stop focusing on weight loss and focus solely on marathon training.

Post marathon, I have not gained any weight but I have not lost any either.  I am slowly learning to love my body no matter what the number on the scale or the size of my pants. Not everyone can say they have ran a marathon and I need to appreciate the endurance my body has. Now that marathon training is over, I am looking forward to trying different workouts and get back to eating clean. Can't wait to try more Pure Barre classes soon!

What's your favorite way to exercise? I'd love to try new workouts!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Setting Sail

Today I'm headed off on a mini vay-cay in the sun! I can't express how lucky I am to still get a chance to enjoy spring break thanks to working in the school system. Our mother daughter cruise is setting sail out of Ft. Lauderdale this afternoon and will be headed toward Key West and Cancun. On my must see list for Key West is a visit to Mallory Square, taking a tour on the Conch Train and enjoying some key lime pie! In Cancun we will be exploring some Myan Ruins! The remainder of the cruise I hope to be soaking up the sun enjoying a few cocktails.

While I am gone, I have several posts scheduled to keep you entertained since I cant pack you in my suitcase. I hope you all enjoy. I am going to try my best to bring back the warm Caribbean sunshine with me when I return.  Here is a sneak peek at the week ahead:

Monday: DIY Juice Cleanse

Wednesday: Marathon Training & Weight Loss

Friday: Five on Friday


Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Friday

I do love a short work week. I am so excited for spring break and vay-cay that is just around the corner! You know no Friday is complete without doing my 5 on Friday! Enjoy your weekend, friends and I'm going to make sure to keep you entertained while I'm away next week. 

{One} Drinking Lately. After an indulgent weekend, I was craving cookies for breakfast and sodas instead of water. To help reset my taste buds and get ready for the cruise, I completed a mini one day cleanse this week. Since I have my own juicer I made everything at home.  I'll be sharing my thoughts and tips next week

{Two} Snacking On. 3 Ingredient Cookies. I have trying to stop relying so much on packaged bars for snacks. So I whipped up these simple cookies for an easy snack. They are pretty delicious and very healthy. I  wouldn't serve these to guests (unless they were huge health nuts like me) but they are good for my lunch snack.

{Three} On my wishlist. Bourbon & Boweties. These bangles have been on my lust list forever. I love that you can mix and match the different bracelets to make unique stacks. Here's to hoping I can snag a few soon! You can check them out on Facebook!

{Four} Currently Reading. Sass Yourself Slim. I picked up this book since I am doing a major diet overhaul post marathon. The plan features mix-and-match healthy recipes that allows you to create your individual diet. I am really enjoying the easy, fresh recipes!

{Five} What's up next? Spring Break! Today marks the start of my spring break. My mom is coming into town today and then we are heading out on a girls cruise Saturday! I'm just thinking of it as a very non traditional Easter celebration. We are heading out on a short 5 night cruise on Celebrity Constellation. We are sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale and stop at Key West and Cozumel.

What's your plan for this holiday weekend? 

We Took the Road Less Traveled
Style Elixir