Holidays, Travels

St Louis Day 3

Our last day in St Louis started out with a run, followed by touring the Budweiser brewery, and a visit to the zoo.

9am called for a jog around Forest Park with my brother. I rarely get to see this kid, and his character and attitude towards life inspires me, so I needed to get as much time in with him as possible. Meaning I forced him to set an alarm and pick me up so we could get our run on in the blazing heat 🙂

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It was hot and nasty out, so there was some suffering involved, but we made it out alive much thanks to the below waterfall near our parked car.

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BUDWEISER

I’ve been on a handful of beer tours and wine tours and I think they’re a great thing to consider when looking for something to do in a new-to-you city. The main Budweiser plant is located in St Louis, so naturally we had to check it out.

They offered a variety of tours, but we chose the free one! 🙂 It was a 45 minute tour both outside the buildings and inside certain rooms where the brewing goes down.

I couldn’t believe just how huge the place was! Apparently they use to have a schoolhouse there, and the tour guides joked that the teachers would come back from their break all tipsy so they had to close it down. Understandable.

20150727_112754_HDRThe Anheuser-Busch horses!!! JK, there’s like hundreds of them, but I definitely recognize these guys from a commercial 😉

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20150727_114226_HDRA room that was ridiculously cold

20150727_115826_HDRA room that was ridiculously hot

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Perhaps one of the highlights was the end of the tour where we got a cold one fo free! Not even sample size you guys. They do it right.

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ST LOUIS ZOO

The last on our agenda for St Louis was visiting the zoo. I’ve been to so many museums and zoos and aquariums when we travel but the St Louis zoo just got themselves a polar bear and apparently it’s quite a big deal. Plus the zoo was free. So yeah, we ended up there.

The struggle was real.

I loved his (her?) paws. So cute and cuddly! (Though Ryan pointed out they’d tear up my face and I will have none of that)

Monday vibes.

And that concluded our trip, folks! It was great visiting my brother and I hate that it took me so long to get there in the first place. Cannot wait to visit him in his next place of residence… coming soon 🙂

20150727_205311_HDROur flight home. No filter. Just right.

Holidays

Fresh Breath of Summer

mollyOriginally posted on There Goes Molly Rose:

If you haven’t guessed by now, I gave up on PiYo. Along with a scheduled workout routine. And guess what. It’s working out great for me.

Sometimes I feel an expectation to keep up with the fitness Jones’ in my real life and in the blogosphere. But if I’m being honest, lately, I’m not wanting to be in a regime, a set workout program, training for a race, or posting all my workouts. I’ve enjoyed just going with the flow this summer, working out when I want and for however long or however hard as I feel.

I wanted PiYo to happen but it’s just not happening. Perhaps in the future I’ll follow the program, but mehhh just not feeling it right now. Not really even wanting to find a program at all to follow.

As depressing as this post is so far (for all my fitness-driven readers hehe) I…

Travels

Blue Angels

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This weekend Ryan and I made the drive up to Pensacola to visit his mom and stepdad, and to experience the Blue Angels performance at the beach. I had never gotten to see them before and was so excited to finally get the chance, and to do so from the best vantage point- his stepdad’s boat!

The Blue Angels is a flight squadron made up of aviators from the U.S. Navy and Marines that perform aerobatics and terrifying tricks right above your head over the beach.

The actual show started at 2pm on Saturday, but since the whole city + out-of-towners come to see this performance, me, Ryan, his stepdad, and his daughter decided to make the most of our day and head out at early.com to avoid the traffic and to get some fishing in before the show.

We left at 7am and made the quick drive to the docks. It was already pretty busy, but thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long to get going on the boat.

I don’t fish. It’s not really my thing (plus there’s the whole we-don’t-own-a-boat thing) but it’s not often we get up to P-cola and out on the boat, so I went with the flow and pretended I knew what I was doing with the fishing rod.

Amazingly, I caught 2 red snappers! It was pretty exciting, I must say, but clearly I do not like handling fish.

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Ryan also caught a red snapper, but it was too small (the rules of catching fish are over my head) so we had to throw it back. He also caught a shark which I was not okay with. Probably the closest I’ve ever been to one, and even though it wasn’t big, I’d be fine if it’s the closest I ever get to one.

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Reeling in Jaws 🙂

We all got fooled by some Ramora fish… they swam closer to the surface and would grab our bait whenever we reeled them up.

wpid-20150711_092653_hdr.jpgThese ramora fish have suctions that they use to latch on to sharks and such for a free ride. Brilliant.

Once through with fishing, his stepdad drove the boat towards the beach to get us a good “spot” for the upcoming show and he made sure to get us where we’d have the best views and scenery. I am a pretty big fan of planes in general-I even like being at an airport- so I was pretty excited for the show.

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wpid-img-20150711-wa0003.jpgA group of about 6 dolphins hung out with us for a while. As many times as I’ve seen dolphins in my life, it never gets old.

wpid-img-20150711-wa0002.jpgThe dolphins swimming right beneath us

The beach was PACKED. I cannot imagine being out there. Thankfully we had an umbrella for our boat so it allowed for some shade, as we all had soaked up plenty of sun already. We let our feet dangle in the water as the planes prepared for the big event.

“Fat Albert” was the first to show, a “Hercules” airplane.

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Then it was time for the Blue Angels. Six of these planes were up in the air while they played around, flew up, straight down, upside down, maneuvered in between each other (were talking 18 inches apart from each other) and made for some great entertainment. Being out on the water for this was so ideal, and I think I’ve been spoiled because I wouldn’t want to go back and watch it any other way 😉

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I find it incredible what these pilots are able to pull off. Truly impressive stuff and highly entertaining, especially if you love planes like me. Definitely a fun weekend being outdoors and on the water!

Tell me….

Have you ever seen the Blue Angels?

Traveling via the sky: a fan or not so much?

Travels

PiYo Week 1

Hello! Just finished up my first week of piYo and recapped it below for ya.

A lil more info on the PiYo program: it is part of the BeachBody deal (p90x, shakeology, etc) and focuses on body-weight training. Really all you need is your mat, which is what sold me the most! With the basic purchase, you receive the DVDs for all the workouts (10 different ones in total), a calendar for you to see what your weeks ahead look like, a sample eating plan with a calorie target calculator to help guide you, along with a food list to choose from, and lastly, a measuring tape to measure your progression in the program!

The calorie target calculator is there to help you figure out how many calories to consume per day, and therefore which “food plan” to follow. I am not doing this program for weight loss nor do I count my calories, however I still used the calculator to see about where I should be. I am still following my own lower-carb lifestyle (because it’s a lifestyle not a diet 😉 ) but still appreciate the food plan as a guide!

There’s one set rest day per week, but as I always like to say… rest when your body needs to rest. As you’ll read below, I did my own kinda thang during the week. I’m not being as strict on myself as I was with the liveFit program … just a heads up 😉

There is also an online support system you can use to keep yourself accountable and to encourage others that are also PiYoing!

So back to recapping my first week….

The first day of PiYo is called Align: The Fundamentals. It’s 40 minutes (the longest one in the program) and gives you the basics you’ll be performing in the program. Think basic yoga poses broken down. As someone who regularly practices yoga, I didn’t learn too much BUT I thought it was a great overview of all those poses you hear about (i.e. “downward dog” “chataranga” etc) and Chalene explains what you should be doing and what you should be avoiding, goes over the proper posture and alignment in each pose, and provides modifications for those just starting out.

Being in the physical therapy field, I appreciate when I see a coach/trainer/instructor of any type take the time to teach you the basics. They are so important! I can’t imagine the number of injuries that occur because people try a new-to-them workout without the proper training and knowing how their body should be aligned, or where they should feel the workout. I feel like lots of workouts encourage balls-to-the-wall from the get-go. Have fun at the doc’s office while covered in ice packs 😉

Day 2 & 3 were “define lower body” and “define upper body”, respectively. I didn’t feel too challenged with these workouts, and they reminded me a lot like a yoga class, but shortened. A lot! It felt like a warm-up during a yoga class. The idea of a 20ish minute workout is very appealing to me BUT I want it to kick my booty in that amount of time. A friend at work who has done PiYo suggested doing the “sweat” workout after a “define” workout to add a little more substance. I’ve yet to do that though, instead I’ve either gone for a walk outside following, or done some more core work to add time and feel like it’s more of a workout.

The “sweat” workout ( day 4) was just what I needed to help turn my mind around about this program. It kicked my booty! It was longer than the define workouts – 35 mins in length- and had my legs shaking by the end. I lifted weights at the gym before doing this workout (squats on squat rack, bicep curls, and calf raises) so this could’ve contributed to the shakiness, but either way, I like when my legs feel wobbly, means I did work. 😉 I was definitely a sweaty mess by the end. One thing I didn’t like… this workout included some burpees. NOT COOL CHALENE. 🙂

Days 5 & 6 you repeat the define lower body and define upper body workouts. Like I said earlier, they are a little short and don’t feel very effective (to me), so I decided to combine the 2 for a longer workout. PiYo has some unique-to-the-program moves that are incorporated in the workouts, some I like, some I don’t. I’m sure at some point I’ll bore you more and do a demo post.

And that wraps up week 1! So far, I’m not too impressed, but still enjoy it enough to keep going on. I’m hoping it will lead good results and make me stronger for my yoga practice.

Tell me….

how do you do a burpee? (there’s more than one way and I’m interested to know how you do them!)

do you meal plan/food prep at the beginning of your week? or each day decide what you’ll eat and make it?

Holidays, Travels

Wakulla Springs

Last weekend, my husband and I made our old college drive to Tallahassee to visit our sister- and brother- in-law. I think we could make this drive blind, as we’ve trekked up US 19 many times before, but we always enjoy it! It’s not scenic, like not at all actually, but it’s calming with not being on an interstate and all, and we’re always excited to visit the capital of our state… many memories!

Our reason for this trip was to go on a kayaking adventure with SIL and BIL. We are all about kayaking, don’t forget we’re super cool and own an inflatable one at home, and were excited to spend a day on the water with our family.

During my four years at FSU, I don’t believe I ever made the 30 minute drive out to Wakulla Springs! Wakulla is known for its paddling trails that people can partake on a canoe or kayak, and sight some wildlife while enjoying the outdoors. We rented our kayaks through T-n-T Hideaway Rentals, where SIL and BIL rode tandem in a 2-person kayak, and Ryan and I each had our own individual ones.

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We brought along a cooler filled with water and beers, along with sandwiches and spreads we picked up from Publix on the way there. Once situated in our kayaks, Ryan may or may not have had an accident reaching for his life jacket (ironically) and got a refreshing start to our trip 😉 Totally to his benefit though, because it cooled him off from the start and that day was HOT.

We took off down the river (the water is fed from Wakulla springs) in our respective kayaks, and I immediately acknowledged the workout this could become. My arms and back started talking to me within 5 minutes of rowing, and I made the mental decision right then and there I would forcefully make this a relaxing trip, as I was in no mood to be doing a workout. That being said, I trailed our team the entire trip, but was more than okay with that.

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We were paddling upstream for the first half, making those Publix goodies even more enticing once we made it to the turnaround point. We hopped out and just stood by our kayaks while eating our lunch, and also took somewhat of a dip to cool off. The water felt amazing! Once I realized how cool it was, I made sure to keep my toes dipped in off the side of my kayak for the ride back.

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The ride back went with the flow of the river, however the wind was now against us. Overall, it was still very relaxing. We spotted turtles basking in the sun, an alligator, and a few manatees! Wildlife animals make me happy… as long as they’re far enough away and I’m not in the water 😉

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We all came away with quite a bit of color (I tan/burn easily, even with multiple applications of sunscreen!) and the sun had wiped us out, but I’d say we were some happy campers. The outdoors always refreshes ya.

Tell me…

What kind of outdoorsy places do you drive to to get your fix of sun and sport?

 Any place you live nearby that is touristy, yet you’ve never been?

Do you have a Publix where you live?

(If not I highly suggest you go ahead and move to one…you’re welcome in advance)

Health

Carbs I Eat & Carbs I Limit

The following post is a continuation of my lil series about the new way I eat- lesser carbs. I will never completely eliminate carbs, but I’ve definitely taken it down a few notches in my every day life. Below you will find the carbs that have always been a part of my diet that I still eat on a nearly-daily basis, and those I eat only on occasion, but do not deprive myself of.

Edited to add: this is NOT a complete food list of every carbohydrate that I consume, just the most frequent ones 😉

EATVeggies– I heart veggies. I really do. I’m pretty certain broccoli was one of my faves growing up, and I can eat squash like its my job. There’s really not a vegetable I don’t like, and I eat them at both lunch and dinner every day! My favorite: raw mini sweet bell peppers dipped in guacamole! (PS If a veggie is high in carbohydrates, it’s because it’s high in dietary fiber, which is good for you!)

Fruits– this could technically go under “eat” and “limit”, because some fruits I eat freely, others I’m more cautious about how much I consume. I typically stick with purchasing only berries at the grocery store, and eat a handful for breakfast, and usually at some point when I’m home from work. My fave berries are blackberries and strawberries. Fruits like bananas and apples (higher sugar content, therefore higher in carbs) I don’t eat that often anymore. I probably should though- my muscles cramp like crazy after a long run/leg day at the gym plus I do want to keep the doctor away 😉 What can I say, my diet isn’t perfect, and this whole eating thing I’m doing isn’t supposed to be a plan for my readers to follow, simply sharing what I do!

Sweet potatoes– aside from the annoyingly long time it takes to bake one of those suckers, I love love love sweet potatoes. I like to either dice them up and eat as a snack/in a salad, or eat as is with some butter and cinnamon topped on, yum! Fun fact: I eat the skin!

Wine – you can’t tell me wine is bad for me.

LIMIT:

Pancakes/waffles– I didn’t eat these all that often before, but when I did, #stacksonstacksonstacks. So now, I’m a bit more mindful and eat only 1 or 2. Got any chocolate chip morsels I can add?

Popcorn– every time we went to the movie theater, we’d go all out and get popcorn and diet coke (ya know, to even it out) Well now, we don’t ever get the popcorn- or DC- and it is SO hard. The smells! The overly-buttered goodness is prob a good thing to skip though. If a friend pops some popcorn at home or the single packs are BOGO at Publix, I may partake.

Chips– chips and salsa used to be one of my favorite restaurant/party appetizers… and guess what? Still is. If it’s out at a party or if my table orders it at a restaurant (better yet, if it comes out free) you can guarantee my hands will be all in that. Good thing I have like 5 friends, so I don’t get out and get chip-faced much 😉

Pizza– we shoot for once a month, but if an extra pizza date gets thrown in there, I am a-okay J This used to be a once-a-week meal for Ryan and I, and we’d easily kill a whole pizza. We’re talking halvsies here, I eat like a man. Needless to say, when pizza night comes, I eat my fair share, but now just not as often.

Wraps/Sandwiches– I rarely, if ever, eat these anymore! I find I usually eat a “sandwich” when it’s the bun of a hamburger. Otherwise, I try to pass up bread best I can. You can still enjoy deli meats and tuna salad and whatnot, just roll up the turkey with some cheese, or put a fork to the tuna salad… bread’s not always necessary!

Cookies/Candies– I never bought these things before, so I still don’t, obviously. But yet again, when I am in the presence of cookies (homemade or store bought, I don’t discriminate) or brownies, or I’m impatiently waiting in line at the grocery staring at a candy bar, I may give in. This is every so often, and I believe sweets make you sane, and I don’t want to go crazy.

Smoothies– I think smoothies are great. You can throw in lots of fruits and veggies, and it’s portable too! However… have you ever looked up the nutrition in one of those bad boys from your fave smoothie joint? Typically lots of sugar and carbs, and granted, a lot of that is from the fruit, but still. I either make my own smoothie at home, OR hit up my favorite smoothie place (Xtreme Juice!) once in a while (not once a week, like before). Making your own, versus buying in a store, is always smarter… you know exactly what and how much is going into your final product. You are in control of what goes down that esophagus, my friend!

Cereal– I stopped buying cereal a couple years ago, and that’s a good thing. I’d eat it for breakfast before work and it’d hold me over for 1.31 hours before my stomach would be growling for something substantial. Since then, I aim to eat eggs for breakfast, every single morning! (Usually 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white scrambled for those wondering). When we bought cereal, I could down 3 bowls, easy. And let’s be real, it doesn’t matter how “healthy” they make it seem on the box cover, it’s mostly sugar and very little protein.

Tell me….

It’s your last meal. Ever. What’s on it? Get real with me on this. 

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Related: More Kitch, Less Crunch Lower Carb Dranks n Shakes

Fitness

Exercise Demos: LiveFit Trainer

I put together my top 10 favorite exercises from the LiveFit trainer program  in picture form for ya! Some are exercises that I’ve done in the past that I find effective, and others are knew-to-me ones that I now add in my workouts time to time. Also, some are how I modify what we are supposed to do, either because my gym didn’t have certain equipment or simply because I’d rather do it differently 🙂

single leg barbell squat:: I used the squat rack to complete these, and as much as I love doing the traditional squats here, the single-leg exercise made it challenging, especially on my left side. Ever since my left knee surgery 5ish years ago, my left side has always been just a tad weaker. And it showed with this exercise! I had difficult correcting my form (keep those hips square!), and I couldn’t squat as low (with good of form) as I could on the right. I found this to be an important exercise to continue. Gotta even this bod out!

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wpid-20150610_205846.jpg1. single leg barbell squat

pull-ups:: Homegirl can’t do pull-ups just yet (although I finally mastered a chin-up!) so I modified by using a bench. I tried to push through my feet as little as possible so that it was mostly my upper body lifting me. Don’t be fooled- it’s still pretty tough! If you can’t do a pull-up, I challenge you to give this a go!

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wpid-20150610_210006.jpg2. pull-up

seated bent over rear delt raise:: I don’t believe I had ever done this exercise before. It works the back of your shoulders, and it’s done in kind of a relaxing pose! The last few reps were always tough ones.

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wpid-20150610_210713.jpg3. seated bent over rear delt raise

seated calf raise:: The demo online shows that you are to use a machine for this exercise, with the resistance coming from your lap. Unfortunately, my small gym has no such machine, and since you had to complete a surprising number of calf raises throughout the program, I decided I shouldn’t just skip it every time it popped up. I started out with placing heavy dumbbells in my lap to do these, but during a cruel chair pose during a yoga class, I realized I should try doing calf raises while in chair pose, to add a balancing element in there.

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wpid-20150610_210758.jpg4. seated calf raise

incline dumbbell curl:: Love me some dumbbell bicep curls, and this was a new-to-me, challenging way to perform them. You’re curling through a greater range and it also eliminates you using your shoulders as you typically do in standing. I can’t lift as heavy in this inclined position as I can in standing, so it’s something to continue working at.

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wpid-20150610_210849.jpg5. incline dumbbell curl

plie dumbbell squat:: These left my inner thighs oh-so-freakin-sore! Grab a heavy dumbbell, hang it low, get your stance wide with toes out (like in a plie in ballet of course) and squat it like its hot. You’re welcome for an awkward soreness tomorrow 🙂

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skullcrushers:: It’s exactly how it sounds, and there were multiple times I came close to acting out the name. Good thing Ryan was spotting me 😉 This exercise works the triceps… I found there are lots of ways to target the back of your arms, and this one became my favorite.

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wpid-20150610_210519.jpg7. skullcrushers

superset: upright dumbell rows + dumbbell military press:: Beginning in Phase 2, supersets were introduced. These are 2 exercises completed subsequently with no rest (or very little) in between. You complete one set of an exercise (i.e. 10 rows) then one set of the next (10 presses), rest, then repeating that combo again! I found the transition from an upright dumbbell row to an overhead shoulder move to flow very well, making this my favorite superset!

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8. superset

exercise ball pull in:: I always forget about the ol’ stability ball, and when I bust it out again, I remember all the great things it can do for ya- especially the core! This is a pretty basic exercise, but can burn if you focus on it just right. Starting in plank position with ball just beneath feet, use your abs to roll the ball in close to your chest. Slowly roll back out and repeat. If you want to be an overachiever, when the ball is rolled back out in plank, do a push up!

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wpid-20150610_210247.jpg9. exercise ball pull-in

treadmill sprints: 30 sec on/30 sec off:: I’ve always used the treadmill for one thing and one thing only–> avoid the Florida heat and bust out some easy miles at the same old pace staring at my reflection in the mirror. It’s zombie like. And I kinda love it SHH. But discovering Jamie’s little sprint sesh she orders on her program- I’ve found a great way to challenge myself on the tready. I usually start out with 2-3 mins warm up at a moderate pace, before increasing to more of a sprint and beginning my 30 sec on, 30 sec off the treadmill. WARNING: don’t fall off the belt and smack your face and die. Bear weight through your arms while hopping to the side, and same when getting back on. In fact, my first few strides during the “30 sec on” I’m putting a lot of weight through my arms before letting go and sprinting my lil heart out. How much I push myself, for measure: my 5k pace is 8:30ish (minutes per mile) and my “30 sec on” I aim for 7-7:15 pace. I’m able to do the on/off combo for the 25-30 mins without a sweat. Ok, that’s a lie, I sweat an ocean, but it’s definitely doable 🙂

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HAHAA.. my “you got the one of me standing on the sides, right??!” face. Big thanks to Ryan and the 2 other people in the gym that pretended not to watch pics being taken of me doing one rep of each exercise. #ITSFORTHEBLOG

10. treadmill sprints

Tell me….

Are any of the above exercises ones you’ve done? Learn a new one?

How do you modify a basic exercise to meet your needs?!

Uncategorized

St Maarten

Last stop on our cruise was St Maarten. This place ended up being our favorite, simply for the adventure we chose to partake in ….

SCUBA DIVING!

Now… we aren’t certified, but turns out you don’t need to be to “try it out”. We did Discover Scuba, which allowed us to get our entire bodies feet wet into the sport of scuba diving. We didn’t do this excursion through the cruise line, but rather found a place nearby the port that offered such lessons.

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We went to Divi Little Bay– a beautiful resort, where we found the little hut that would be our school for a few hours. We met our instructor, Milica, and it was just me and Ryan in the class which worked out perfect. After a brief video, we took a quiz, and received instructions from our guide about all that we would be trying that day. We learned the basic hand signals, some do’s and don’ts, and before we knew it we were putting our gear on!

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Holy moly is the gear heavy. We wore a wetsuit, a weighted belt, the TANK, and carried our fins and mask out to the water. I literally had to walk at a 90 degree angle to “comfortably” walk with that tank on my back.

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Once at the edge of the water, we threw on our flippers and waded in, before flipping onto our backs to swim out a little deeper. (To save you from asking a dumb question if you go diving: no you can’t swim the normal way – belly down – she told me to try it and yeah….)

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Once we had a good amount of water below us, we put the rest of the gear on and got ready for some tasks. We were required to complete certain tasks underwater before taking off and actually scuba diving. They included: 1. emptying a water-filled mask. 2. taking out our air gauge and recovering it. 3. removing the regulator, putting it back in, and clearing the air.

Before even completing the tasks she wanted us to breathe underwater for a bit. That is the most important thing to remember! Never. stop. breathing. You’re welcome for that non-obvious bit of info 🙂 Well, turns out I am terrible at breathing under water. I kept wanting to breathe through my nose, which obviously isn’t going to work because of the mask. I found myself breathing so hard (which is different from deep breathing aka what you’re supposed to do) that I felt I was overworking myself and this lead to panic mode.

Prior to this scuba sesh, I thought my main fear would be sharks. Nope. I coulda cared less if Jaws was 10 feet from me during that time. I was so fearful of breathing underwater! I didn’t think I’d struggle so hard but I did. Ryan was a freaking sand shark from the moment he first went underwater. Great job bro.

So anyway, once me and my homegirl Milica did the sink down/swim up/repeat routine till we were both worn, we were ready to rock. Funny moment: she handed me a sea shell on my 239th attempt at breathing underwater, and I took this to be a calming gesture. Like… calm the heck down and let this seashell soothe you. I took it wondering if this was the reason, then kinda laughed (with my mouth tightly gripped around the regulator) and immediately relaxed a bit. Seashells! Who knew!

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Once Ryan and I both showed off our 3 tasks flawlessly, it was go time! The 3 of us spent 40 minutes underwater straight! It was A-MA-ZING. We were only 20 feet deep for most of the journey, but it felt like we were in a total different world. We meandered around the bay while Milica pointed out different fish (there are hand signals we learned for certain fish, so it was fun seeing her do them), rescued Ryan from fire coral, had us check our gauges, and reminded us to regulate. While I felt that I was breathing like Darth Vader the majority of the time, I was still a heck of a lot more relaxed than the beginning, and thoroughly enjoyed the swim.

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Ryan used the go pro to capture mostly video, and we were in awe of how clear it turned out (see above pic) and also how well you could hear the water. All the bubbles we formed were audible. Incredible. Sorry but I’m not tech enough to add video to the blog.

When we all surfaced to the top, Ryan and I were elated, asking our instructor all sorts of questions, and eager to do more. I was sad to be done, but proud I had stepped out of my comfort zone a little. The deep blue is kinda terrifying to me, and I felt a bit empowered that I swam along the ocean floor like a champ (okay, debatable).

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Once on shore, we said our goodbyes then headed to a bar for some snacks and drinks before heading back to the ship.

This experience definitely had us wanting more, and we have plans to become scuba certified pretty soon! Hopefully I’ll finally get it down that the “thumbs up” sign means I need to rise to the surface… not I’m doing fine. Poor Milica.

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Tell me….

Are you scuba certified?

–If so, tips for a beginner please!!

Ever do something adventurous that helped you overcome a fear? Tell me about it!

Antigua

St Lucia

Barbados

San Juan PR

Big thanks to our friends Michelle and Adam for lending us their Go Pro for the trip! We had too much fun with that thing!

Uncategorized

Antigua

Next port of call: Antigua! Here, we booked an excursion through our ship to go horse back riding. Neither of us are huge fans of riding horses, but we thought it’d be a neat way to see the island PLUS you get a chance to ride bareback in to the ocean. Cool enough for us!

Once we found our group, we took a quick bus ride to the place our riding journey would begin. Ryan left his sunglasses on the boat, so he had to purchase a pair … he reminded me of someone from the Jersey Shore in them, and I made fun of him all day.

After brief instructions from our guide, we were all placed onto horses and lined up to begin. The journey itself was pretty quiet, as there were lots of us and obviously the tour guide couldn’t shout things from where he was located. But that was fine… it was nice to relax a bit while taking in the scenery ourselves.

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We rode on dirt, gravel roads, the sand, and later the water… these horses were masters of all terrain! We stopped at one point for pictures, before winding back to the beach for the opportunity to bareback into the ocean.

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Being bareback was really different! You hold on to their mane, which I was scared hurt them, but we were reassured it does not. And not having a saddle to sit on made for an awkward sitting experience- hah!

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The water felt amazing and I bet the horses enjoy it, too. It was a quick out-and-back journey in the water, and I wish that part had lasted a bit longer. We have friends who did something similar at a different island, and they said they didn’t have a guide leading the horses in the water and the horses actually swam (ours were able to touch the bottom). So a different experience, but either way it was still really neat to ride horses in that environment.

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Afterwards was the bus ride back, however Ryan and I decided to hang out on the island for a while! We grabbed their local beer, Wadadli at a bar, and I waded in the ocean while Ryan stayed ashore a bit before joining me. I think I am slowly getting over my fear of being more than ankles-deep in the ocean…. at least in clear blue waters 🙂

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wpid-20150507_200617.jpgFormal dinner #2

Tell me….

choose one: riding bareback in the water//riding a donkey down the grand canyon (which is more terrifying)

choose another: jersey shore//teen mom (which is more terrifying)

Travels

St Lucia

The second stop our cruise ship took us was to St Lucia. The view we had from our balcony that morning got me giddy for the day, as mountains and water are the ways to my heart.

My SIL went to St Lucia for her honeymoon and highly suggested the Joe Knows tour. After researching a little bit back home, we decided the Land and Sea tour would be a fun, adventurous way to see the island. It included: speed boat ride to/from port (this was not a cruise excursion), a “detoxifying” mud bath, a waterfall, an authentic Creole lunch, snorkeling, and drinks on the ride back to the ship. Sounds good enough for us!

There were only a handful of us from the ship who booked this tour, and our speed boat picked up some others who would be touring with us from the Sandals resort on the island. Our guide, Shavan, had a great personality- and speech- and talked about the island a bit during the boat ride. These guides know how to entertain, and had us all laughing especially how they ended nearly every sentence saying “Joe Knows”. i.e. “If you ever want to go to a fish fry, go to this beach on Friday night for the best fish you ever had. Joe Knows” or “See that mountain? You can hike it. But we won’t be your guides for that. Joe Knows no hiking”. ….you had to be there….

First stop: mud bath. It smelled TERRIBLE – think rotten eggs- but once they brought out the buckets of mud, things got fun. Ryan was not shy and was the first person to dig in and pour sulphur all over his wife 🙂 We had maybe too much fun slathering each other in warm slimy disgusting-ness. There was a photographer there who snapped pics of us looking so nice, however she was from Sandals and couldn’t provide us with the pictures, darn 🙁

Once muddied up, we hopped into some hot HOT springs. It hurt bad stepping in, but once submerged it felt amazing. We had a hard time getting the mud off each other, though, and hopped back into the van a little discolored. Good thing the next stop was: the waterfall!

We were told the waterfall was not cool, but refreshing. AKA their way of saying FREEZING. It did feel refreshing once I got my whole bod in, but at first it felt like I was doing an ice bath after a long run! Brought the go pro to this…

The Creole lunch was next. They put together quite the spread for all of us….and unfortunately I cannot remember what any of the dishes were, except I was hungry and it satisfied 🙂 I definitely enjoy trying food of other cultures. I tend to eat the same things over and over at home, which I don’t mind, but I like introducing my taste buds to new things. Isn’t it crazy how we all eat differently around the world?

Following lunch was a chance to do some snorkeling. I don’t like putting my mouth on those things, gross, so I simply floated about while Ryan had some go pro fun underwater.

The water here felt great and I could’ve floated about for hours, but the tour was coming to an end. Once back on the speed boat, we had quite an entertaining ride back to the cruise port. Rum punch is the drink of this place, and we got our party booties handed to us! Such powerful stuff in such little cups! Shavan and Maggie showed off their dancing skillz with music blaring. I love watching people dance… it really makes me happy when people let loose a little, and I think they had everyone on the boat laughing pretty hard. Great way to end the tour!

That guy. Believe it or not, his wife was ALLLLL party. As in…she knew every lyric to Anaconda and asked for a roadie of rum punch …..my hero. 😉

Needless to say, when we hopped back on shore and onto the ship, Ryan and I passed out hard. We woke up to eat dinner then crashed again. A sign of a good day….Joe knows.

Tell me…

Ever had super entertaining tour guides? Where??

Ever covered yourself in mud for fun? And were older than 4 when you did it?