Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Camping Essentials

Fall brings me an overwhelming urge to go camping. My family didn't camp much when I was a kid. My mom's version of camping was going on 3-5 day hikes carrying only day bags and where our big bags were shipped by boat to the next lodge. Don't get me wrong, that's a fabulous way to see the land. But after my intense 3 week Orientation backpacking through the Grand Canyon and Superstition Mountains - in the middle of winter - I can't help but wanting to get back to nature. I want to have no technology and immerse myself in my surroundings.

If I were to somehow convince A to go camping with me (it's a long shot, but it might happen), here's my no fuss list of serious camping essentials. If you know anything about camping you want to bring only the absolute essentials along for the ride. Everything below are worthwhile investments to bring along for your trip. 

1. Osprey Ariel 65 Pack - this is the actual pack that I own and I love it!
2. Black Diamond Headlamp - super handy for doing anything in low light: cooking, cleaning, eating, bathroom duties, you name it!
3. Crazy Creek chair - if you want to be comfortable sitting on the ground, this is the only way to do that. It's also super light and can easily roll to fit through the loops on the outside of your pack.
4. Nalgene Wide Mouth - perfect for both water and your morning coffee. This is the only bottle you need to bring.
5. Splash Guard - protect yourself from spilling out the giant Nalgene mouth hole. You're going to want me.
6. Gerber Knife - you will need a knife, but it doesn't need to be expensive or fancy...unless you want it to be.
7. Whisperlite Stove - obviously you will need something to boil your water for your morning coffee and cook your food!
8. Food Container - you can store food, eat out of it, and use the lid as a cutting board. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Whole 30 Breakfast

There's nothing worse than trying to follow a lifestyle change like Whole 30 when you're moving house! I did not think things through when I packed up the entire kitchen last making meals isn't the easiest, but I am pushing through! Here's my Whole 30 breakfast this morning: scrambled eggs with lox, and a delicious coffee (in my awesome Kate Spade initial mug I got from my bridal shower). 

This is really not going to be easy, so I'm going to follow a Paleo/Whole 30ish meals throughout our move. Once back in California I will go back totally onto Whole 30.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Saying Goodbye

This weekend we had the chance to hang out with some good friends. He and his family are moving to Idaho this week, and soon Andrew and I will follow suit by moving back to LA. It was a great night for all of us to see each other before we go our separate ways. 

Growing up in New Zealand saying goodbye to family and friends was never hard for me. I guess I always told myself that it's not really goodbye, it's just see you later. And that's worked for pretty much my entire life. But as I'm getting older I'm beginning to realize that it's not as easy to say goodbye to friends. It's a good problem to have, I know that, but this move has somehow made it a little bit harder. 

I've always found that technology has been a huge help for me, when trying to cope with friends being far away. I can open Facebook, Instagram, Slype, or Viber and feel that I'm in the same room again. That's one of my biggest motivators for starting this blog, so I can keep up with all my family and friends who happen to be all over the world. 

I feel incredibly lucky to say that I could point anywhere on a map and I likely know someone who lives in that area. It's a cool feeling, and I'm glad that I was given these opportunities so early in life. But, saying goodbye to a group of people that took years to get to know never gets easier.

This move is bittersweet. We have made some amazing friends in Arizona that I'm sad to leave, but on the other hand this move is great for us career-wise and will open up many more opportunities. I'm excited about this new adventure we are embarking on, and I look forward to staying in touch with everyone we've gotten to know. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

30 Before 30 Update

Nearly a year has gone by since I decided to make my 30 Before 30 list, so I thought I would do a little update on what I have accomplished so far.

1. Get married
Yup, that happened on August 3rd and soon I will have all the pictures to prove it! Until then you will just have to be happy with this one.

It was a fun case you couldn't tell!

17. Do a handstand
I have overcome my fears of throwing my legs over my head and was able to get my first handstand thanks to my awesome coach at CrossFit! I don't know why I was so silly about handstands to begin with, but now I'm able to do them against a wall. My next goal will be to do an unassisted handstand (no wall) and a handstand push up!

22. Complete a fun run
I have now completed two fun runs...well, I'm not sure many people would call Tough Mudder a "fun run", but I think I can count it here! So I completed Tough Mudder back in April with my CrossFit peeps and Memorial Day weekend I took part in the Color Run!

29. Go zip-lining
A and I had a day of fun filled zip-lining adventure while we were on our honeymoon!

Pictures and video coming soon

Others on my list that I am close to completing:
4. Travel to 10 new states - We spent the day in Miami on our way back from our honeymoon. So, 1/10 complete.
7. Travel to 2 new countries - St. Lucia for our honeymoon. 1/2 way there!
12. Complete an Olympic distance triathlon - signed up for the Marin County Triathlon on November 2! Wish me luck!
18. Be able to do 20 unassisted pull-ups - I'm so close to getting my first unassisted pull up...working towards that every time I'm in the gym!
20. Lose & maintain a healthy weight - also on my way with this one. The wedding was a pretty good motivator, and I've adopted a mainly Paleo/Whole 30ish lifestyle. That really helps me. 
23. See a Broadway play - Can you believe I've never been to New York city!? Hopefully we can make a trip out there sometime soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nude Nails

My nail cracked (hate when that happens) and so I ripped off my entire nail. Why do I always do that? I decided to paint my nails nude so that perhaps someone might be fooled into thinking they are all the same length!

Okay...fooled only for a second perhaps.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Honeymoon - Part 4

We were very happy to leave Marigot Bay and head south to Soufriere. Our last breakfast in Marigot lasted for 2 hours...not because we wanted to take our time either. So after waiting 2 hours for our breakfast we were glad to leave.

Dave (our original driver from the airport) was prompt in picking us up. He was absolutely wonderful and suggested we take a quick drive up to check out the capitol, Castries. Luckily it was a stunning, clear day and we were able to see the entire city.

Of course we had to take a few posed shots in front of the beautiful view. 

After Castries Dave drove us south along the coast. We made a quick pit stop at Anse La Raye, a small fishing village. Anse La Raye hold a fish fry every Friday. They shut down the main street next to those green roofs and locals and tourists all come to enjoy the food, music, and dancing. Unfortunately our first Friday the fish fry was rained out, but we were able to make it the night before we left (pics in an upcoming post).

Dave was such an amazing driver that I had to get a picture of him and Andrew. 

On the south mountain of Anse La Raye there's a 'snake man' who will let you take a picture with his snake if you give him a tip. Andrew went first and made it look so easy. 

I, on the other hand, was a little more squeamish about holding the snake!

But I soon calmed down!

We said our goodbyes to the snake man - Dave kept his distance from the snakes - and we headed off. A little further down the road we stopped and bought some cassava bread. It's a local bread made out the cassava root. The bread has only minimal ingredients and is denser than a brick. We chose one plain and one chocolate to share. They were quite delicious. The closest thing I could relate to it would be eating coconut bread. The texture and the taste were pretty similar. (We ate our bread so quickly that I forgot to take a photo!)

The view from the cassava shop was quite incredible.

With full bellies we trekked on down the road and caught a glimpse of the pitons. 

As we drove on we eventually came to the mountain to the north of Soufriere. Soufriere was the capitol of French occupied St. Lucia and remained the capitol until a fire wiped out most of the city. 

Dave brought us through Soufriere and over to the other side, where we ended up at Ladera - our final resting spot. From the moment we arrived at Ladera we were treated like kings. We were greeted with a glass of Ladera punch (a delicious concoction that tastes incredible) and shown around the resort. We were then escorted to our room and we were met with this amazing view.

Ladera is known for only having 3 walls, with the fourth side open to the views. 

After our guide left us we both geeked out a little and went straight for the fresh fruit plate!

Not having a fourth wall isn't for the squeamish. We had a few house guests over the course of the week we were there. This is Andrew's friend Burt (yes he had a friend names Ernie too)!

Honeymoon - Part 3

After the disaster of not having water the night before, we were really hoping to do something fun on day 3 of our honeymoon, so we booked a couple massages. After we were completely relaxed we decided to cross the bay to dine at a local restaurant for lunch.

And of course you can't have lunch in St. Lucia without a beautiful view of the ocean!

I would not mind eating here everyday if it meant I had beautiful views like these. 

Lunch in St. Lucia isn't complete without a Piton beer...or two!

After we had our fill of some local cuisine we hailed a driver to take us to the local rum distillery for a tour. The distillery was only a short drive from Marigot. Once we arrived we had to check in with the guards (rum is a serious business on the islands!).

The check in was quick and painless and off we went to explore.

We stopped in the shop to pay our dues. Since we were the first there of our group we got an extra little taste of the rum!

We began the tour with a talking parrot and mannequin and a short video.

After we finished the video the rest of our group arrived and we were able to begin exploring the property.

Our tour guide told us that the casks behind her used to store Jack Daniels, so the barrels are able to impart some interesting flavors into the rum. 

Next stop the distillation room. 

They start the process with molasses imported from Guyana. Since the abolition of slavery in St. Lucia the island no longer grows enough sugar cane to support the production of rum, so they import it from the nearby island.

Water, yeast, and molasses are mixed and left to ferment.

During the fermentation process the rum sits in these huge baths for varying amounts of time. Some only have a short fermentation period, while others will have slightly longer.

The rum then goes through the distillation process. The mixture is heated and distilled in either a pot still (like this one below) or a column still. Both methods are used at this factory and each gives the rum a distinct flavor.

After our short tour we were released back into the tasting room. A was pretty happy about that! 

A went straight for the double strength rum!

The tastings were all you can drink (for $4 that's a pretty good bargain), but we decided that it was a little too humid to be taking straight rum shots and decided to head back to the hotel to drink our rum mixed in a cocktail!