Archive for September, 2012
September 28, 2012
I recently attended a Salsa Cook Off party. Instead of attempting to recreate Scott’s signature salsa he has been requested to bring to numerous parties and gatherings, I decided to bring something a little easier and less time consuming. I will, however, eventually spotlight his recipe once we get settled into our new home and attend something worth making it for up there.
He usually spends at least an hour on his salsa, slaving away at chopping the vegetables, then tweaking the types of pepper and dosage for spiciness. This quick and easy guacamole recipe, on the other hand, only takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish.
Thank you Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything for this wonderful recipe! Even though there were about ten salsas to sample at the party, my guacamole dip was long gone before I had the chance to get seconds.
I will surely be making it again!
4 ripe avocados
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
prep time: 15 minutes
1. Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Scoop out flesh of avocado and chop it coarsely.
2. Place in a large bowl and slightly mash it with a fork.
3. Add the diced onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Toss together with the avocados.
4. If you prefer your guacamole to be on the spicy side, add some diced jalapeno.
5. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
*If not serving right away, place saran wrap directly against the guacamole so that it does not oxidize and turn brown.
7. Serve with tortilla chips.
(Couldn’t be easier!)
Chop and dice vegetables.
Pit and chop avocados by doing the following:
Cut avocados in half and remove pit.
Scoop out flesh of avocado and chop it coarsely.
Place in a large bowl and slightly mash it with a fork.
Add the diced onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.
Toss together with the avocados. Add jalapenos, if desired.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready.
Serve with tortilla chips and be prepared to make more!
*Pictured above is about 1/5 the recipe.
September 26, 2012
Well everyone, the time has come… it’s moving week!
Although we aren’t making the drive up to Michigan for another few weeks, we are moving out of our condo in just two short days. Whoa. It is safe to say I have a lot left to do and not a lot of time to do it in.
I owe a HUGE thank you to a group of friends who came over this weekend to help us pack, and I know I will owe a few more to my family after I make it out and over to my parents’ house in the near future.
The biggest stress left on our TO-DO list has been finding a new place to live. The home we were close to signing got rented over the weekend, while Scott was here in Orlando. Total bummer.
I am hoping and praying that we can avoid keeping our stuff in storage, because it doesn’t make sense to me to have to move it more than once. Will we be able to pull something out of the woodwork by next week?
(Less Than) 1 Week To Go
Staying true to my word, I am not going to spend much time posting this week. Considering this is the state of our house at the moment, it is pretty clear that I have a decent amount of work ahead of me.
Utter chaos. The cats think the house is a giant jungle gym of boxes purposely set up for their entertainment, while Roadie just sits and looks around… a lot. He is so confused.
We dropped Scott off at the airport for Detroit on Sunday, and I know this stretch of time is going to be the most difficult. We are both feeling overwhelmed, out of place, and simply trying to push through the insanity before our big drive up on the twelfth.
In case you are not quite sure what needs to be done at the one week mark before moving, here is a list of what I have been up to and what will be consuming the majority of the next few days.
Oh boy… the movers. Is that another story! Because of Scott’s recent travels, the process of confirming a company has taken a lot longer than we thought. I was told to have the place packed up and ready to go by Friday, just in case he pulls the trigger and hires one of our back-ups. Yes, even being that last minute, it could very well happen!
I have gathered our personal valuables and will be taking them with me to my parents’ house, and then we will be carrying them with us on the drive up.
As for the last-out, first-in box… I’m all over it.
I purchased everything below for an even $8 at the dollar store so we don’t have to scramble around trying to unpack right away.
I will be getting everything else together for it the day before, which I guess might be tomorrow. Weird!
As much as we have gotten done, I know I will be working hard to pull everything together to be ready to go. Believe it or not, this room used to be filled top-to-bottom and used for storage.
I will be sure to keep you updated on what is going on, but as far as I know I am moving out of the condo in two days.
After spending two straight hours rolling our nice glasses in bubble wrap, I am getting a bit nervous about getting everything done in time.
Two hours… is there something wrong with me?
I have a feeling my “pretty wrapping” strategy will turn into throwing whatever wherever pretty soon….
Off to barre, then a full day of packing I go.
I hope you all have a fantastic rest of the week!
September 24, 2012
It’s Mondayyy! With our scheduled moving date recently pushed up even further, I now have by the end of the week to pack up and jet on out of our condo in Orlando. Alrighty then.
I have so much left to do, but yet I am still reminiscing about my cruise to the Bahamas I got home from just a week ago. As promised, I am here to share the rest of our trip, including a day in paradise, also known as Coco Cay, Bahamas.
In case you missed it, you can read all about setting sail and porting to Nassau in my Part One recap!
Missy’s Bachelorette Night Out
After a relaxing day in the sun and a fun afternoon at Senor Frogs, it was time to head back to the ship and get ready for Missy’s “big night out”on the ship.
We had all planned to bring our little black dresses (and slacks for Derek) to make sure our bride-to-be stood out in whatever color she wanted. Royal blue it was, and our black and blue crew headed to a singing and dancing variety show before dinner.
The talent of the entertainment on Royal Caribbean has always impressed me. Two out of the three cruises I have sailed have been with this line and I am happy to leave with great things to say about their singers, dancers, comedians and talent acts.
A highlight of the shows for me was Charles Peachock, a very talented, unique and funny juggler. You might actually recognize him from Season 6 of America’s Got Talent. He became known for juggling small balls on a piano (<- so impressive live) and setting himself on fire!
Before long, it was time for a delicious dinner, followed by an array of desserts. As tempting as the cheesecake and molten lava cake were, I knew I would be too full to really enjoy anything that wasn’t on the lighter menu.
Too bad our wonderful server Judy brought us two of almost everything! So much for that idea.
If there was ever a night to eat two desserts, it was this night. What started as a main deck party turned into a Zumba dance party!
There was a tall, dark and built guy standing in front leading everyone in choreographed sequences for at least an hour straight. Possibly two. There we were in our little black dresses and heels, fitness dancing the night away…
The funniest part about it all was that we found out he did not even work for the cruise line. Apparently, he was just cruisin’ along with us and felt a need to bust out some moves.
Hey, we loved it and if I find out where he teaches I would be all over it.
We had so much fun!
Day 3: Coco Cay
After waking up considerably sore from “Zumbaing” in heels, my thoughts of another round at the gym quickly turned into an extra hour’s sleep. Hey, I was on vacation after all.
With a hearty breakfast of eggs, fruit and yogurt, I boarded our fairy to spend the remainder of the day in Coco Cay.
I had no idea at the time, but we disembarked on a private island that is only accessible to Royal Caribbean cruisers.
The island is a great place to take a load off, enjoy the white-sandy beaches and relax with a tropical drink in hand.
Before setting up our lounge spots, we stopped for a quick photo in front of the ship.
I always think it is fun to take photos of the cruise ship you board. And to think, ours was considered a small ship!
It wasn’t long before we found the perfect group of chairs below a partly shaded area swarming with palm trees.
And that view! I am confident in saying it speaks for itself…
The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I could not have been happier than exactly where I was at that moment, Coco Loco in hand.
Just when I thought I was as relaxed as can be, Missy suggested we go check out the hammocks we saw in the way in.
I almost forgot how incredibly peaceful laying in a hammock can be. We used to have one at my parents’ house growing up and I can remember spending countless afternoons reading, and even napping with a pillow and blanket close by.
See you in thirty minutes guys, we are hanging here.
When it was almost time to head back to the ship, we wanted to check out what else there was to do on Coco Cay. Besides the nature trails, the island has added a few elements that really enticed me.
Island water obstacle course anyone?
That course had Scott’s name all over it.
It is a shame we found it so late, because I know I was not the only one who wanted to see how far and fast they could get through it.
Just around the corner from the course ended our path, which dead ended into a giant water slide! Apparently “free slide for the bachelorette?” in the form of a question entered our bride right in line.
Whoo! It looked so fun.
We wrapped up the afternoon strolling along the beach and eventually made our way back to the ship. There are times where I still picture myself here…
… and then I realize it isn’t beautiful beaches I am surround by, it is towers of boxes and a disaster of a house!
Final Night On Board
After a shower and a few minutes to rest (<-from resting?) we got ready for our final night on the ship.
There was a “Love & Marriage Game Show” calling to us and it turned out to be pretty entertaining. There were three couples picked to interview on stage: a newlywed couple, a couple who have been married for ten years, and another that had been married for over thirty-four!
It was hysterical. The cruise coordinator emceeing the shows was actually funny and quick on his feet with just the right amount of
harassment embarrassment connected to his comments.
I could not help but wonder how Scott would have answered some of those questions. Thank goodness this trip was for the ladies!
After the show we had the best dinner selection yet, and I left the dining room one full, happy cruiser.
To top the entire trip off, we ended the cruise with a very “adult” and somewhat questionable Scavenger Hunt. We broke up into teams and had to complete a series of embarrassing acts to get a point.
The final round was, well… a bit ridiculous. Ridiculous, but funny enough to capture from afar.
Our bride was lovin’ it!
Spending three full days at sea was the perfect getaway in the middle of the madness of moving going on over here. We are supposed to go on another for my 10 Year High School Reunion this coming May, and I am hoping we are able to still make the trip down for it.
In the mean time…
We’ll still jammin’ at Missy’s wedding, just under two weeks away!
September 21, 2012
Last Friday morning I boarded the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas, a three night/four(ish) day cruise to the Bahamas!
As someone who has lived in Florida their entire life, it is funny to me that this was only my third cruise. By far, this one was the most entertaining, most relaxing, all around fun times I have had on a cruise yet.
One of my closest friends, Missy is getting married in just a few weeks! To celebrate her last days as a single lady, I, along with the bridal party, planned a getaway that seemed to come right at the perfect time.
I absolutely love cruising. I practically grew up around water, with my dad taking our family out on our boat every weekend. Naturally, I love sailing away into the open water – granted a large boat complete with a sun deck, all you can eat meals, and a fun group to hang with is involved.
There is something about being completely disconnected from everything at home that is so refreshing. We all know I love my social media outlets, but everyone needs a little break from it every now and then.
When planning what to do for Missy’s Bachelorette celebration, we originally wanted to go to The Florida Keys. To make a long story short, it was getting too complicated (and expensive) to plan, and we all agreed a cruise would be our best option. That it was, my friends!
For just around $300 a person, we enjoyed a three night stay aboard the ship, all of the delicious food we can eat, entertainment including comedy, game and dance shows, and two days to disembark at Nassau and Coco Cay, Bahamas. The only thing you are responsible covering once on board is any alcohol or excursions you choose to do.
Missy found a great off-site parking lot to leave our car that was only $5.99 a day, compared to the $20 charge to park directly at the port. With a quick shuttle ride, we arrived at the port about an hour and a half before setting sail.
Day 1: Setting Sail Before the Veil
By the time we found our rooms, our luggage, and got through the emergency drill procedures, it was just about time to get ready for dinner. We wanted to be ready early enough to enjoy some time walking around the ship and celebrating our bride.
I have known these two literally for twenty-five years.
Both Missy (center) and I were Maids of Honor for Brittany’s Wedding back in November of 2010. After growing up with these two, it is crazy to think we will all be married ladies soon.
Now, it was our turn to celebrate her big day just around the corner!
Although I usually have a small case of motion sickness, I did not fell a thing this time around. Just before dinner, we caught the sunset and it was gorgeous.
On a cruise ship, you choose your group dinner time: an earlier one at 6 p.m. or a later one at 8:30 p.m. After signing up for the first dinner my first time on a cruise, I will attest that the later dinner shift is the best option. This way, you have more time to enjoy the sites, are not rushed to head down to your room to shower and get ready at 4:30 or 5 p.m., and can take your time and enjoy the scenery, shows, and bars on deck first.
The first night, the entertainment previewed what was to come with a short comedy show and a description of the featured shows.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, the guy on the far right is Derek. He has been a close friend of Missy’s for years and is absolutely fabulous and hysterical. He is also really good at taking group Bridal Party photos.
Day 2: Nassau, Bahamas
Brittany was my roommate, and both of us were on the same page of turning in early and getting some rest the first night in. By 8:30 a.m. the next morning I felt great and headed up to the gym to get my workout on before another day of eating and drinking whatever I wanted. <- Ha.
When I got to the gym, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of machines, the spin class that was going on, and – of course – the stunning view.
Four miles on the treadmill went by in a flash staring out to the open blue ocean.
After turning into a sweaty mess, I hopped on over to the “girl” free weight section and taught myself a condensed twenty minute barre class. I miiight have gotten some strange looks, but it was totally worth it.
I hate feeling like I am gaining weight on a trip – especially if there is a gym accessible – and on a cruise that can happen relatively quickly. After just one workout, I felt like a million bucks and ready to take on the day at sea.
We all met for a late breakfast around 10 a.m. in our suits and headed up to the sun deck to enjoy a few hours of bliss before porting at Nassau.
As we sailed into the Nassau territory, we caught a glimpse of Atlantis, an amazing resort, spa, casino and water park.
I have actually been there before, but only for a few minutes on my very first cruise. Apparently they don’t like when people who aren’t staying at the resort use the water slides. Whoops! Oh, high school.
Soaking up some sun (after using a 30 SPF sunscreen of course) never felt so good.
As much wonderful and indulgent food was around me on the cruise, I kept going back to what made me feel the best: lots and lots of vegetables.
Below is a perfect example of a hearty “snack” I had at least once a day between meals. A handful of different fresh vegetables drizzled in some kind of Italian or Vinaigrette and a side of plain penne noodles with a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese became what I craved.
Mmmmm mmmm mmmm.
With our bellies full and our matching Bachelorette t-shirts on, we made our way off the ship to walk along the shore.
Before we left for the trip, we had the idea to order a matching tank for the group, and I threw together this little diddy below…
It was a complete surprise to Missy and she loved them!
Along our walk, we stumbled upon fresh conch and starfish for sale. As beautiful as they were, I could not help but feel bad for the little guys.
Eventually, we made it to a little place called Senor Frogs. If you have been to the Bahamas before, I would bet that you know exactly where I am talking about.
They recently opened a location in Orlando off of International Drive, but nothing compares to the first one I had been to in the Bahamas.
The restaurant is notorious for drink specials, Mexican food, dance contests and way too much of a good time.
I would also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a frozen pina colada or two.
By the end of the afternoon, we were all jamming out to “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and we really were. Happy as clams in our balloon hats, the bride-to-be and I were.
That must have been before the on-stage embarrassment we put her through. She took it like a champ and we had a blast celebrating the weekend away!
Stay tuned for part two of our trip coming soon, covering her big night out and a day in Coco Cay!
Have a great weekend!