Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Moved

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Cozumel Vacation

After a few not-so-fantastic rides on the ferry from Playa to Cozumel, we finally got over to Mexico's largest Island for some diving without any problems or delays.  We scheduled our dives with Sergio and Aquatic Sports again and we were not disappointed.  We arrived on Wednesday, and went to Paradise Reef for a night dive.  We saw at least 4 octopi, a torpedo ray, and dozens of enormous crabs and lobsters.

After our dive and a shower at our very nice, but economic, downtown hotel, Hotel Flamingo, we had dinner at Al Pie de Carbon.  For dinner I had soup and salad, but the best thing we ordered was this cheesecake with strawberries, blue berries, and mango.

After a good night's sleep, we woke up bright and early for another day of diving. 

Can you tell Jade is super excited to be up early?

This time we went to 4 Piedras and El Bajo de Punta Azul de Sur.  4 Piedras was incredible with colorful caves and walls.  I dove 105 feet, but you could really go much deeper.  El Bajo de Punta Azul de Sur was out-of-this-world amazing.  We went through caves full of tiny fish and barracudas.  After the area of the caves and reefs opened up to the sand ocean floor, we saw eagle rays and TONS of star fish.  This was by far the best decompression dive I've ever done.  Needless to say, we were not excited to go back to PdC after these dives.  We talked Sergio into taking us out again the next day, and we prepared to stay another night.

On the top of our hotel watching the sunset and having a cocktail.

Hotel Flamingo's drink of the day:  Mai Tai

Watching the cruise ship in the distance while the sun disappears quickly.

After a few drinks, we were ready for dinner.  Jade found Kondesa online, and it was probably one of the best meals we've had in Mexico.  I ordered spring rolls and a tropical salad.  The hubs had Poblano Chicken with a mole sauce that was phenomenal too.  This place is romantic and low-key, but can also be a great spot for friends.  Try the strawberry lemonade for an adult beverage... so good!

After convincing Sergio to take us out one more day, we dove Palancar Bricks and Chankanab Shallow.  Palancar Bricks was my favorite dive EVER!  We dove along the wall.  I went about 120 feet, but Jade went to 140 feet.  I imagine that being in outer space is comparable to what this dive felt like.  On this dive I saw my first shark (only a nurse shark- not like Shark Week), and as we were doing our safety stop, a turtle came down to say hello to us.  I am in love with this dive. 

Here is Sergio's video of our dive

After our wonderful little vacation, I was really sad to come back, but I was sooooo happy to see this guy.

I missed this smooshy face so much!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Survived

I survived my first week of Crossfit without too many aches and pains.  Don't get me wrong, today is the first day I can finally walk down the stairs without feeling like every single muscle fiber is being ripped apart slowly, but I'm a glutton for punishment, so will be in class bright and early tomorrow morning. 

Jade and I had an excellent weekend.  After working hard on an upcoming project all week, we had a date night at Como Como last night.  This place was fabulous: great food, excellent service, beautiful ambiance, and reasonably priced.  If you are in PdC visiting or you live here, you have to try it.  I recommend making a reservation because it stays busy all night long.  If you are a local, ask for a local discount too.

View from the street

My man and I snuggled up.  Love this guy.

And a dive update!

We finally got in the water again after a long break from diving.  Some of my equipment broke (as a diver, equipment is always broke), so while it was being repaired, and we waited for Hurricane Ernesto to pass, we patiently longed to be back with the fishies.  Today we dove Moc Che Deep and Cueva del Pargo.  The coral life was really beautiful on Cueva del Pargo, and I saw my first jelly fish in the wild on Moc Che Deep!  Cozumel later this week!

What is your favorite hobby?

Mine in this order: Reading, running, and scuba diving. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ace update

Since my baby girl, Bella is living with my sister and brother-in-law, Ace is my new 4-legged best friend.  I miss Bella like crazy, but I know she is being loved and taken care of.  I wish she was here with us, but an apartment life, with no yard, is not that best place for her.  I will be traveling back to the US in October, and I can't wait to take her to the farm and let her run free without a leash.  

Ace, on the other hand, is quite lazy and prefers to be inside all day sleeping.  We are one a very light exercise routine since we found out he has some degenerative knee issues and needs a corrective operation.  Ace is only 6 years old, but he's starting to fall apart.  This year, we have been to the veterinarian more times than in his entire life, but I'm doing my best to stay positive and provide the best place for Acers to live.

He is out cold!

Any suggestions or recommendations for a dog dealing with Patellar Luxation are much appreciated.  

For some shocking, but not surprising facts about McDonalds, read this link

Who's hungry?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fad follower... yep that's me!

Yesterday I joined the rest of the world and tried my class of Cross Fit.  This, along with reading the entire trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey, proves that I will follow (or try) any seemingly popular fad.

I have the scrapes to prove my awesomeness (or incredibly soft hands) at my first class.  As my husband would tell me, "It's a long ways from your heart."  I think I'll live, but maybe I'll do some complaining first... then quietly buy some gloves and STFU.

As for Cross Fit, every muscle in my entire body is super sore, but totally SWOL!  I went to my second day of workouts today, but skipped yoga class tonight after taking a half a dozen Advil and thinking about shrugging my shoulders still makes me want to pee my pants.  

I'm all for the No pain, no gain mentality, so in my book, Cross Fit is a total win.  It also doesn't hurt that everyone in my class has a super awesome body, that I'm currently jealously admiring.  Every time I order a large cappuccino and chocolate croissant, I think, "Hey, I've earned this!", and totally undo all the hard work I've just done.  But a girl's gotta live, right?  

As for some inspiration, check out my new office poster!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back in the kitchen

This week, Jade's computer has been on the fritz, so out of boredom, he's been helping me in the kitchen.  My husband is a great cook, so I'm happy to share the cooking duties with him, although most of the time, he creates a bigger mess in which I get to clean up!  BUT, I'll take doing dishes + a homemade meal by my man any night!

There really is nothing that says summer time more than a man working the grill.

Last night was my turn back in the kitchen, and I created a delicious Salmon with Fettuccine Alfredo.

Salmon Fettuccine Alfredo


  • 2 4 oz Salmon Filletes
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c chopped onion
  • 5 fresh mushrooms*
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 cloves garlic- minced
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 c Parmesan and Romano cheese
  • chia seeds**
  • 4 cup Spinach Fettuccine- cooked according to package instructions


Coat aluminum foil with cooking spray and place the salmon fillets.  Season with salt and pepper and another mist of cooking spray.  Broil in oven 3 inches from heat until easily flakes off with a fork (approx 10 minutes).  Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet.  When hot, add onion and mushrooms and cook until translucent.  Melt butter in a medium-sized sauce pan.  Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.  Add flour and cook for 1 minute, gradually adding milk and stirring continuously with a wire whisk.  Cook an additional 10 minutes and add the onions and mushrooms.  If necessary add additional milk.  Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted.  Serve over pasta and top with salmon.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

* You can substitute different vegetables, zucchini, eggplant, etc... or omit the mushrooms and onions all together.  This is a very basic sauce and can be manipulated to your taste buds easily.

** After cooking the salmon, I sprinkled each fillet with a pinch of chia
seeds.  These super foods are making headlines and grabbing a lot of attention.  After reading Born to Run, I knew I had to try them.  I'm still not brave, or hungry, enough to make the chia smoothie described in the book.  Sorry Tarahumara, that sounds disgusting.  

This recipe also makes quite a bit of sauce.  If you are cooking for more than 2 people, broil 2 more salmon fillets and make more pasta.  You will have more than enough sauce for 4 people. 

I didn't get enough veggies (or colors) from the fettuccine, so I put together a beautiful romaine lettuce side salad.  YUM!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Puerto Aventuras

A short drive south from Playa del Carmen, you will find a little area called Puerto Aventuras where the beaches are pristine, the water is crystal clear, and is the most perfect location for snorkeling, paddle boarding, or relaxing with a good book.  At Puerto Aventuras you can choose from several different restaurants, enjoy a small market of fresh and local fruits and veggies, and also do a little souvenir shopping.  The most exciting part: they also have manatees, sea lions, dolphins, and massive manta rays, AND you can swim with them all!

One day last week, my Spanish teacher and I took the short 20 minute trip down to Puerto Aventuras for a day of classes away from the classroom

The water is shallow and crystal clear.   Perfect for snorkeling around the small patches of reefs.

I took this with my iPhone and edited this with Instagram.  I could live here forever.

 A perfect place to get away from the party atmosphere of PdC.

 The sea lions.  They swam and played tag like best friends.

And kissed a little like lovers.

This photo does not do this justice.  The manta ray was enormous!  5-6 feet wide!


A family playing with and feeding the manatees.  

My Spanish teacher wants to be reincarnated as a manatee.  She says she will be lazy, ugly, and eat and swim all day long.  I guess there could be worse things....

It is said that sailors coming across the pond from Europe thought manatees were mermaids.  It shows you the desperation of the sailors during a 5 month stretch without women.  To me they look less like mermaids and more like a hippopotamus!!

Here he is eating soggy lettuce... YUM!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mexican Fruits

Living in the Caribbean has provided me with the opportunity to expand my cultural pallet, as well as my taste pallet.  I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people and travel.

Since moving to PdC in January, I have learned to scuba dive, traveled across the Yucatan, swam with the sea turtles, visited the 7th Wonder of the World ...twice, went to my first Mexican wedding, and become fluent in Spanish.  I've also braved outside my comfort zone and tasted new flavors and textures of foods very different from the traditional American cuisine-- shocker, there is more to food than hamburgers, french fries, and fried chicken! 

The Yucatan cuisine consists of unique with foods and flavors you can only find here.  One of my favorite spices is called xcatic (pronounced sh-ka-tic) and is typical Yucateca.  In PdC, you can find food prepared this way at Yax-che and Casa del Agua, two of my favorite restaurants here.

As my readers know, I love the fresh fruits and vegetables I can buy in PdC year around, and for a fraction of the cost in the US of A.  

Check out these different, and beautiful, fruits that are grown locally.

This fruit is called Tuna, and don't let the name fool you.  It tastes like a pamagranate and has a bright red color on the inside with edible seeds.

This fruit is called pitaya and is beautiful on the inside and out.  It's flavor is sweet, not at all sour or bitter. 

 Aren't they beautiful?  To eat, simply peel off the skin and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One thing to improve health

If you were going to give up something, one thing, to immediately improve your health, what would it be?

 I finally gave up soda, or as I like to call it, pop, and I can't believe it took me almost 28 years.  What was I thinking drinking this, deliciously sweet and beautifully marketed, beverage poison?

Here's the facts on soda:

  1. Phosphoric Acid in soda weakens bones and eats through enamel to rot your teeth.
  2. The caramel color added to soda is made of chemicals, does nothing for the flavor, and is purely for cosmetic purposes.  Oh, it's also full of carcinogens.
  3. High fructose Corn Syrup- is a concentrated form of sugar.  Fructose is derived from corn.  It increases body fat, cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood.  It also increases hunger.
  4. For those of you (me) who drink (drank) diet soda- Aspartame and excessive artificial sweeteners are addictive and make you crave more "sweets".
  5. Believe it or not, formaldehyde is in your soda.  It is a carcinogen and not added directly, but when you digest aspartame, it breaks down into 2 amino acids + methanol = formic acid + formaldehyde... yum = diet soda!
  6. Potassium Benzoate is a preservative.  It breaks down to benzene in your body.  When your soda is in contact with the sun + benzene = carcinogen!
  7. Food dyes can lead to impaired brain function, hyperactive behavior, difficulty focusing, and lack of impulse control.  Maybe our children's behavior has more to do with what they are putting into their bodies, and less to do with ADHD!
If this wasn't enough to get you to change one small thing about your lifestyle to improve your physical and mental health, take a look at this scary infographic from

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guiltless Chicken Parmesan

Thanks to SallySpins, I found this wonderful recipe.

Guiltless Chicken Parmesan


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, divided
  • 1 28-oz jar crushed organic tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste or organic tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp reduced-fat Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1-inch thickness
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cooked whole-wheat penne (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add 1 tsp oregano and stir to coat. Cook 30 seconds, until oregano is fragrant. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, combine panko, Parmesan, remaining 1 tsp oregano, thyme, salt and black pepper. Mix with a fork to combine. Brush both sides of each chicken breast with Dijon. Transfer each breast to panko mixture and turn to coat both sides. Arrange chicken on prepared baking sheet. Coat surface of chicken with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes. 
  4. Top each chicken breast with 2 to 3 tbsp tomato sauce and 2 tbsp mozzarella. Return chicken to oven and bake 10 minutes more, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly.
  5. Arrange pasta on a serving plate and top with remaining tomato sauce. Serve chicken with pasta on the side, garnishing both with basil. 
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 439, Total Fat: 12 g, Sat. Fat: 2.5 g, Carbs: 43 g, Fiber: 5.5 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 34.5 g, Sodium: 585 mg, Cholesterol: 70 mg 
Try breading and cooking zucchini or eggplant instead of the chicken for a vegetarian version of this recipe.  Yum!  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Perfect Saturday

After a stressful and crazy day yesterday, I'm appreciative of this perfectly, lazy, and uneventful Saturday.  I took Ace to the vet yesterday for a consultation on his continuously worsening hips and legs.  Poor old guy could barely walk up the few stairs to the vet office.  He also had a surgery to remove a concerning mass on his neck.  The operation went fine, but when I picked him up, the vet told me he needs knee surgery and will have to be put under anesthetic.  Jade and I are still talking about our options.  I want Ace to have a good quality of life with or without the surgery.  I feel pensive about the recovery process and if one operation will be enough to last his life.  Any opinions on this are welcomed. 

For my perfect Saturday, I was able to sleep in with my hubby.  Snuggling in the arms of someone you love is incredibly under appreciated.  After our late start and a few errands, I headed to the gym to sweat and think about my 4-legged concern.  A little pool time, some light reading, and yoga can sure make a girl feel relaxed.  Now, the hubs and I are going to enjoy a little Lentil Soup

some of this...

And the Olympics! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Be Grateful

 Lately I've read so many books, blogs, and articles about women who feel less than adequate.  This post is for those women... myself included.

"It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others."

-Sidney J. Harris

I know many women whom desire to change their bodies.  Some friends of mine have been so unhappy with their given body parts, that they've surgically changed those parts. Don't get me wrong,
I have days where I HATE my body.  Not all of my body, but my flabby tummy, the inside of my soft thighs, my saggy butt, my incredibly small breasts... etc, but there are parts that I think are pretty beautiful too.  It also helps that my husband thinks I'm beautiful and isn't afraid to tell me daily.  Lately, I've tried to change my mind set from the things my body isn't, to the amazingly adaptable structure that my body is.  Every time I run 6 miles, I'm grateful I can do that.  Every time I play tennis, basketball, swim, and practice yoga, I'm thankful for my health.  I try not to think of how fast or far I used to be able to run, but that I can run. 

Our bodies are incredible machines, and I have abused mine plenty, but I'm beginning to learn how to take care of my mind and body in healthy, maintainable ways.  I've only very recently come to a point in my life where I'm proud of all that I've accomplished and the woman I've become.  I will continue to strive for improvement every day, (in body, mind, and spirit) so maybe in some ways, I am not completely self-accepting, but I'm grateful I have the ability to improve.  And that's okay too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chichen Itza Recap

Since my brother left, I feel like I am a bit boring.  True, I do have the time to workout when I want, cook what I want, and enjoy the activities I want, but since he's left, I don't do many blog worthy things.  So I thought I would give a review of our travels to Chichen Itza.

We left early in the morning, and arrived before the big tour buses.  It was a beautiful, cloudy day, with a nice breeze, and no mosquitoes.  I let Patrick use my Cannon Rebel, so all the pictures you see are taken with my iPhone.

Chichen Itza is quite large, and during my first visit, I completely missed an entire section of the park.  Patrick informed me on how good of a tour guide he is.  He's also a cut throat negotiator too!

Columns at the Temple of a Thousand Warriors

Temple of a Thousand Warriors

My favorite!  El Castillo... The Castle

Venus Platform

Venus Platform- close up showing the drawings

Grand Ball Court

House of the Jaguar

Again, El Castillo de Kukulcán

A little information.  


El Caracol, The observatory temple

El Caracol, the snail, receives its name from the curved shape of the stairs in the observatory.  The structure has an unusual place, but it thought to be in alignment with astrological events and specifically the path of Venus.

My sight seeing buddy

The Red House

The Red House

The front side of the complex de Las Monjas.

I love this building.  This my be my favorite picture because the beauty of the building is not lost, although the structure is crumbling with time.

 La Iglesia, the church

La Monjas, The Nunnery

  My younger brother posing in front of the observatory at El Caracol.

To get to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen, I drove North on 180 D towards Cancun.  You will take this for about 200 km, so make sure to fill up on gas before you leave.  Before you arrive in Cancun, you will see an exit towards Mérida.  Take the exit and continue on 180 D.  This highway has a cuota, which means you will need to pay to use it, about 200 pesos.  After about 90 km, you will arrive at the border of Quintana Roo and the Yucatán.  After the border continue another 105 km, and after the next toll booth, continue towards Pisté/Chichen Itza.  In Pisté, you can find a good and cheap place to eat.  From here, it is only a few more minutes to the ruin.  Keep right at the Y-crossing, and shortly, you will have arrived.

Remember, try to arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to explore the ruins before the large tour buses take over.  Enjoy!