Friday, January 22, 2016

The Soggy Dollar Bar

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People often ask me…”What’s your favorite place in the Caribbean?”  To date, it’s hands down White Bay, Jost Van Dyke BVI…Home of the famous Soggy Dollar Bar and the original Painkiller! There’s nothing I love more than a great beach bar with a low-key vibe, great music, and tasty cocktails. And, the Soggy Dollar Bar has it all!
Why is it called the Soggy Dollar Bar? There isn’t a dock in White Bay, so visitors must shuttle in by dinghy or swim to shore from their vessel…thus their dollars are “soggy” from the swim in. The process is known as the “Soggy Dollar Survivor Challenge”.
1. swim in
2. drink
3. swim out
I survived the Soggy Dollar challenge in June 2015, & I have been dreaming of my return ever since!
White Bay is a small crescent shaped beach with a handful of beach bars and restaurants.
The sand is white and powdery, and the water is the most gorgeous, clear, turquoise water I have ever seen.
and those painkillers…
AMAZING!!!
A mix of premium dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juices, and topped with fresh grated Grenadian nutmeg…it’s the strongest drink that I never tasted. And by that, I mean it’s a creeper! It goes down sooo smooth and tastes sooo incredible, that you don’t even notice the alcohol! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I literally dream of this paradise, everyday!
~It wasn’t goodbye, I’ll see you later JDV~
for more info, visit their website
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Yeti Tumblers

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FINALLY…a cup that will actually keep your drink cold for hours on a hot day! These are the Yeti Rambler 20oz & 30oz Tumblers. Equally as impressive as their coolers, these Yeti tumblers are well worth the $30-$40 price tag. They keep ice for hours so your drink doesn’t get watered down, and the “no sweat” design keeps your hands dry! I love the clear lids too!! Definitely an essential for your next day of fun in the sun!!
Sunday, August 30, 2015

Collect Moments, Not Things

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It has been a little over a year since my last post. This past year has brought forth some “rough seas”. I turned 40, sent my oldest daughter off to college, buried my father-in-law, sold the “dream house”, and have endured fire, floods, and financial decline. Although, I should be throwing a huge pity party, I am fortunate to have learned a very valuable lesson… With adversity, comes clarity! I have come to realize what is most important in my life. It was not the “things”that I was trying to fill my life with that made me happy, it was the “moments” that filled my life.  I am now living my life collecting moments, not things…less stuff, more life! And, it feels amazing!
“A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.”
English Proverb
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Aunt Sandy’s Cayman Rum Cake

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Aunt Sandy’s Cayman Rum Cake

“Dippin’ our toes in the water. I don’t care if it gets any hotter, its you and me rememberin’ how to have fun. Let’s put our hearts together, two parts love and a pinch of good weather. Top it all off with the sun. Mix it with rum, mmmm, mmmm, mm, mm…” Brothers Osborne-Rum

 
I love that song! When I’m at the beach, I love indulging in a fruity rum cocktail or two! In my opinion, anything with rum is the ultimate tropical treat! This rich, moist bundt cake is perfect for a summer BBQ or pool party. It’s always a hit with our crowd!! I got this recipe from my Aunt Sandy. She and her family vacation in the Cayman Islands several times each year. Whenever she makes this cake, she uses Tortuga Rum which is made in the Cayman’s. But, I haven’t been able to find it here in the states, so I substitute with dark rum or coconut rum.
Enjoy~Cheers!!
 
Cayman Rum CakeCake:
1 cup chopped pecans (optional…see directions below if using)
1 package yellow cake mix
1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup rum
Glaze:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325. Generously grease a 10 inch bundt pan. If using pecans, sprinkle the pecans around the bottom of the greased bundt pan.
Mix all the cake ingredients together with a hand mixer, about 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the bundt pan.
 
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
**note, I use the convection feature on my oven and it takes exactly 50 minutes**
While the cake is cooling, melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Let stand a few minutes to cool slightly.
 
Pour the glaze into the bundt pan. Let it sit about 10-15 minutes so the cake can absorb the glaze.
 Carefully turn the cake onto a large plate or cake stand.mmmmmmm!!
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sandy Toes

“You can shake the sand from your shoes, but it will never leave your soul.”
Author Unknown
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OR…your feet, legs, and other various (ahem)”places” it finds its way into! There’s not much I love more than having my toes in the sand, but getting it off myself at the end of a beach day seems near impossible! Until, I ran across this pin on Pinterest.
Why have I never heard of this simple little trick?
 Simply rub some baby powder on your skin, and the sand will rub right off!
I’m speechless…
Happy Tuesday, Sea~Shell
Thursday, July 24, 2014

One tequila, Two tequila, Three tequila…FLOOR

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It’s National Tequila Day, y’all!! It’s H O T here in the great state of Texas! In my opinion, nothing beats the heat like a great BIG frozen Patron Coronarita! What’s your favorite tequila cocktail?
 As always, please drink responsibly!
Cheers
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sweet, Juicy Pineapples

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Our family loves pineapples! I can’t help but sing the theme song to Sponge Bob Squarepants whenever I see one of these peculiar looking fruits. Picking a sweet, juicy pineapple from the grocery store…is a struggle. Especially after eating the most unbelievably delicious pineapples we had ever eaten, during our family trip to Maui last summer. There aren’t even words to explain how much better they taste in Hawaii. Its almost as if they are a completely different fruit than what we get here in the continental US. At the resort, we struck up a conversation about pineapples with another vacationer. He shared a very interesting tip with us. Although we can’t have fresh Maui pineapples here at home, this trick makes store bought pineapples a very close 2nd place!
The natural sugars settle to the bottom of the pineapples during shipment and while sitting on the grocery shelves. This method forces the natural sugars to trickle back down throughout the fruit, making it sweeter and very juicy. Who knew?! It’s so simple, and it really makes a big difference!
Start with a fresh, whole pineapple. Turn it on its side, and slice off the top. Then turn the pineapple upside down onto a plate, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. We like to let ours “marinate” overnight. Then slice and enjoy!
 I found a few other interesting tips on The Huffington Post website. I have summarized a few of them below. Be sure to click on the above link to see their entire post.
The pineapples you get at your local grocery store or farmer’s market are as ripe as they will ever get. Once picked, they do not continue to ripen. Don’t leave a green pineapple out on the counter in hopes that it will ripen. You will end up with a spoiled fruit, trust me I know from experience! The green and brown color variations that you see, depends upon where the pineapple was grown. A green pineapple can be equally as sweet as a brown one (I try to choose pineapples that have a combination of both green and brown colored flesh). The sweetest part of the pineapple is the outer flesh, so when slicing off the outer skin, shave thinly. Don’t worry about those “brown eye” spots. They can be cut out in a shallow diagonal “v” cut to insure that you keep as much of that sweet outer surface as possible (see Huffington Post article for a photo demonstration). Pineapples kept at room temperature should be eaten within 2 days, and refrigerated pineapple will last about 1 week. Pineapple cores contain Bromelain, an enzyme that is an anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer, digestive aid, and also interferes with tumor growth. Take that, cancer! Fun fact…pineapples are a great meat tenderizer!
 I picked up this pineapple slicer/corer at Bed, Bath, & Beyond today for $20. I was curious after seeing a similar one on this same Huffington Post article. I prefer to slice it by hand, but I’m anxious to try this when I’m in a time crunch.
*** For those 21 and older…we like to drizzle a little Malibu Coconut Rum on sliced pineapple for parties or an adult beach snack! Please drink responsibly!***
Thank you for visiting!!
Friday, July 18, 2014

From a Cat to a Cowboy…A Caribbean Graduation Celebration

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2014 has been a big year for this momma! I turned 40 in March, and my oldest daughter graduated high school in June. In just 2 short weeks, I will load her up and take her to college. Where does the time go?? To celebrate this milestone event in her life, she invited Michael & I to tag along on her senior trip to Cancun with friends. We made lots of wonderful memories. It is definitely a time we will cherish forever!

We stayed at an All-inclusive beachfront resort, The Fiesta Americana Condessa Cancun. It was about a 15 minute ride from the airport, smack dab in the middle of the hotel zone, near the market area. It is located between the Nichupte Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Upon check-in, we were greeted by a waiter who immediately brought us a welcome cocktail of our choice. We arrived a few hours before check-in, but our room was ready so we were able to settle in and head straight for the beach to meet the rest of the group who had arrived a few hours earlier. There are 3 Towers (Sun Tower, Sea Tower, and Moon Tower) with 4 different room options…Garden View, Lagoon View, Ocean View, and Ocean Front. There are also 4 types of suites available…Junior Suite, Master Suite, Governor Suite, and Presidential Suite. We had an “Ocean View” room in the Sun Tower. It was very clean and roomy. The rest of the group had booked a few weeks earlier than us so they were able to get the less expensive option, “Garden View” rooms, but were upgraded to “Ocean Front” rooms in the Sea Tower at check-in for a small up charge. So, if you’re planning on staying at this resort, you may want keep that in mind!! Book the cheap room and try for an upgrade when you get there! Some of the services available at the resort include free wifi, spa, fitness center, laundry services, room service, ATM machines, kids club, doctor on call, and facilities for the disabled. 

 

Lobby
Ocean View Room
Sun Tower
Sea Tower

 

Moon Tower

There are 4 restaurants on the property. The dress code is casual in all of them except for the Rosato Italian Restaurant, which requires pants for men, long skirt/dress for women, and no sandals for either. Children under the age of 5 are not allowed in this particular restaurant for dinner. We ate in all of the restaurants except for the Rosato Italian. Again, we are on a beach vacation and do not think it should be “required” to dress up to eat! All of the food was excellent. A fan favorite was the shrimp tacos at Cevicheria, an open air eatery near the pool. There are also a couple of small buffets set up around the pool at lunch time, which is nice. The service is outstanding. I would personally like to give a “shout out” to Victor! He went above and beyond to make sure we were well taken care of.

 

K’ambu poolside/beachfront restaurant

There are 2 very large pools. An upper level infinity pool spills over into a lower level beach pool (which is also connected to the kids pool). The lower level beach pool has a swim-up bar. There is wait staff for the pool and beach, assuring you always have a drink in hand. The popular drinks among our group were the Superman shooter and the Miami Vice frozen cocktail. There is plenty of seating around the pools, but shaded seating is very limited!! As with other all-inclusive resorts, you have to get up very early and go “stake your claim” if you would like a shaded lounge chair.  There are various daily activities and contests. Some of them are really fun. We participated in the paper airplane contest and Michael won!

 

infinity pool and beach pool

infinity pool
swim-up bar
poolside seating
beachfront massage palapa
Miami Vice

The beach is enormous! The sand is white and powdery, and the water is absolutely gorgeous. It is really rough though. The red flags were up the entire time. Perfect for some fun boogie boarding! There is a lifeguard on duty!

There definitely needs to be more beach seating in my opinion. That’s really the only complaint I have about this resort. I can sit by the pool at home. When I’m at the beach, that’s where I prefer to be!!

At night the pool bar closes down, and there is a small bar off the lobby. It appeared that they were expanding this bar area because there was a large section blocked off that was under construction. This is a good thing, because this bar was waaaay too small for the size of this resort!

We went into the market area at night. Tip…if you walk just outside the resort gates, you can catch the bus into town for $1. It was ideal for us because we had a large group. Or, the resort has taxi’s available. Senor Frogs was the first stop. It was a huge hit with the teenagers, not so much for the adults. This place was insanely crazy, and got increasingly crowded as the night went on! Loud music, the tequila was flowing, glow in the dark paint was slinging, and there was lots of dancing. Senor Frogs was definitely the place to be.

The second night we went to Margaritaville. This place was dead, it was kinda sad. But, we still had a good time!

 On the last night all the teenagers did the party hopper bus. It was $75 and took them on a 6 hour bar hop to Senor Frogs, Congo Bar, and Coco Bongo. They loved it!

Half of our group went scuba diving. 2 were already certified, but the others had to take a 2 hour class, available at the resort pool, before the dive. The boat ride to the reef was a bit rough, but they had a blast exploring!

My favorite part of the trip was swimming with dolphins at Dolphinaris. It was about 10 minutes from the resort, near the airport. The price includes full day admission to Wet ‘N Wild Water Park, which is connected to the dolphin park. The “dolphin swim program” lasts 60 minutes, 40 of which is spent in the pool. We were placed into groups of 10 or so. We each got one-on-one time with the dolphins, which included a hug, kiss, hand shake, and dolphin “ride”. Hang on to your swimsuits girls!! There is a photographer and videographer capturing the entire event, but the prices are outrageous! It is Mexico, so negotiate a deal.  It was such a great experience. Love these amazing creatures!

We had such a great time on this trip. I am so thankful for this one last “hurrah” with our girl before she begins this next chapter in life. I am so proud of the amazing young woman she has become. I’m sad to let her go, but excited to see what her future holds. Go POKES!

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Magen’s Bay Dreamin’

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I took this photo in Magen’s Bay, St. Thomas. It’s one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. This quote by Jaques Cousteau phrases it perfectly!
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Consumer Report Warning for Spray-On Sunscreens

I’ve never been a fan of the spray-on sunscreen! Yes, its convenient. But, I don’t feel that it gives the same level of protection that a lotion sunscreen provides. I’ve witnessed many sunburns and partial sunburns due to spray-on mishaps. I cringe when I see people spraying their kids at the beach. Good Morning America reported this morning, that the FDA is calling for an investigation on the potential dangers of spray-on sunscreens. Of particular concern is the possibility that people might accidentally inhale the mist overspray, with the greatest risks affecting children. The FDA is advising that spray-ons not be used on children, for now, unless there is no other option available. Even then, spray it on your hands and rub it on, being careful on their faces near the eyes and mouth. Adult usage is fine, but they advise not to spray it on your face. If you choose to use it on yourself, be sure to apply properly and use enough, especially if its a windy day. Re-apply often. Tests show that spray-on sunscreens can be effective, but only with proper application!