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Monday, February 28, 2011

Vacation in review

We've been back from vacation for a week, but oh how I wish I was still in my bikini, drinking beer on a beach in the Caribbean.  Sigh.

A quick vacation recap:

We booked a 7-night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Summit (departed from San Juan, PR).

St. Thomas (US VI)

I booked us on day sail with Fury Charters.  We took a quick 20 minute sail to a cove, and then hopped off the boat to snorkel with sea turtles and various other sea creatures (barracuda, a sting ray, an a ton of brightly hued tropical fish).  Open bar on the way back to the dock.  My kind of sailing trip. 

St. Maarten

After hanging out on Orient Beach, I never want to see a nude person on a beach again.  

I knew Orient Beach was a clothing optional beach before we headed there, but I (naively) assumed it'd be like the beaches in St. Barts (a handful of topless women, everyone looks like a supermodel).  Boy was I wrong.  People on Orient Beach let it ALL hang out.  There are tons of them (imagine men walking the beach in dental floss bikini bottoms), and they DO NOT look like models.

Fortunately, once I was comfortably ensconced on my beach chair - I didn't really care whether or not people were covered up.  The sun was warm, the water clear, and the sand felt like powder.


Antigua was my favorite island because is was the least developed, and the people were incredibly friendly.  I hired a driver (through Gordon's Island Tour) to take us to/from Valley Church Beach (the tour company's recommendation, I asked for a quiet beach).  

When we arrived there were only 4 other people.  We were able to rent an umbrella and chair from a woman set up on the beach, and later the little beach bar opened up and we were able to get beer and bbq for lunch.  

I definitely want to head back and spend more time on Antigua.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia was Ed's favorite island (my second favorite).  We booked a tour with Cosol Tours, and it was a great experience.  We were able to see many of the major sites on the island (banana plantation (above), sulfur springs, Marigot Bay), and stopped off a couple times to sample the local food.  Towards the end of the tour, we took a water taxi to a beach in between the Pitons where we were able to swim for an hour +.


This was one of the most amazing sites on our trip: horses cooling off/swimming in the ocean.  A man had his horse so far out in the water they looked like a little speck.

I never knew horses could swim so well.

San Juan (PR)

I hired a private guide to walk around Old San Juan with us, since we only had a few hours there and I wanted to make the most of them.

San Juan was the most historically interesting island we visited.  In short: there have been a LOT of battles in San Juan, as various parties have fought for control of the island (Spanish, English, Dutch, Americans...and pirates).  The forts lining the coastline are monuments to the island's tumultuous past.

If you'd like to see more pics from my trip, go to:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feeling Blue

It's taken me almost three years, but I've finally convinced the hubby to let me redo our entry way (it involves moving some of his old beloved furniture to storage).  Yipee!

The bench below (#6) will replace a camel leather love-seat.

The other items in the set are for around the house (tray in the bathroom, pillows for the couch, the chair (x2) for our balcony).  They're currently on my lust list.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A pop of color on a dreary (snowy) day

I've been loving the bright, retro orange/red that's been showing up in the Spring collections.  Can't wait until the weather warms up!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Post Vacation Meal: Simplest Chicken & Leek Stew and Caesar Salad

Now that Ed and I have returned from vacay, it's time to get back to our healthy eating habits (vs. the three course dinners + dessert + a bottle of wine we had every day last week).

First up - Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew (served on top of wild rice), accompanied by a lightly dressed/garlicky Caesar salad.

Nothing beats and easy and healthy home cooked meal!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quinoa - it's what's for breakfast?

I'm back from vacation and getting back into the swing of things (work, cold weather, snow...sigh).  I promise I'll do a "vacation in review" post sometime this week.

Now, onto the food.

Ed made the dish above (Sweet Breakfast Quinoa) a couple weeks ago, and I had high hopes for it - primarily that it'd be delicious, easy, and could enter my breakfast rotation (toast, oatmeal, eggs).

Unfortunately, the dish ended up being a bit too labor intensive for 6AM on a weekday (even with prep work the evening before) and therefore is relegated to a (delicious, nutty, and healthy) weekend breakfast treat.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Vacation...

...see you in a week :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs

The best thing about this dish, hands down, is the sauce.

Tangy, buttery, and oh so delicious.

(I hoarded some and ate it with toast the next day.  Yumm!)

Therefore, if you decide to try out this recipe for Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs, make sure you serve with crusty bread for maximum enjoyment.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pappardelle with Duck Ragu

Nothing says "I love you" like a complex, time intensive, home-cooked meal.

Luckily - such a meal is easy to fake.

This recipe for Pappardelle with Duck Ragu is rich, elegant, and indulgent (it'd be a $25 dish at a fancy-shmancy restaurant) - but thankfully only takes about 45 minutes to whip up.

It's a perfect dish to impress your sweetie with on Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My current (fashiony) obsessions

1.    The striped boat neck tee (I can never have too many)
2.    The messy bun (maybe I was inspired by The Black Swan?)
3.    My new straightening iron that pulls double duty as a
       curling iron (tutorial at I am Style-ish)
4.    Big silver hoops
5.    Nars lipstick in "Red Lizard" (I finally found my perfect red)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pad Thai

Rice noodles are not my friend.  I either over-cook them and they turn into mush, or I under-cook them and they turn out on the crunchy side of "al dente." (if you have any rice noodle cooking tips, please share)

The noodles in the dish pictured above (Shrimp Pad Thai) turned out okay, but the dish as a whole turned out pretty darn good.  I doubled the amount of shrimp in the recipe, omitted the bell pepper and tofu, and added a dollop of Thai red curry to give it a little extra kick.

If you decide to try this recipe out, I suggest you initially add only 3/4 of the fish sauce - and then add more to taste, as the flavor was a tad overwhelming.