Our honeymoon to the Caribbean – Part 2

Welcome back! I’ll jump right in with why y’all are here:

The second full day of the cruise, we were supposed to go to the Dominican Republic. Sadly, we weren’t able to dock because the swells were too big! We did get a photo “at” the Dominican Republic, though 🙂

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Instead of docking, we had another sea day. This one was much more relaxed than the first one – because we had already been there for quite some time, we didn’t feel the need to hurry up and experience things. All in all, it was kind of an uneventful day, comparatively. We read, laid in the sun, ate Indian food for lunch, and relaxed. We were also able to get ready for dinner early and catch the sunset.

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This photo really doesn’t do the view justice.

Because we weren’t able to dock in the Dominican Republic, we were able to go to St. Thomas early. Originally we were supposed to dock at noon, but we ended up docking at around 8 a.m. We ate breakfast and got off the ship early.

Y’all… St. Thomas is beautiful. I’ll let these photos do the talking, but they really don’t do it justice:

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Rainbow over saint Thomas
Yes, that’s a rainbow!

I fell in love.

I would like to add a note here, though, that a lot of island is still pretty damaged from the hurricanes last year. We were actually some of the first tourists to visit the Virgin Islands since the hurricanes (according to our tour guides). It’s a beautiful place – if you’re considering visiting there, I would like to humbly encourage you to do so, and to tip well while you are there 🙂 Tourism is a huge industry for them.

We walked around the shopping area, bought a few souvenirs, and then found a restaurant to relax until our excursion at 12:15.

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Our excursion was a small boat ride to St. John, an open taxi ride through the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park (one of my 50 before 30 goals met!), and then went snorkeling. It was amazing.

Here’s some photos from us snorkeling. As an FYI, we used this camera for the photos – it takes photos as good as a GoPro, in my opinion, and is only $60! I could not recommend it enough. It was also super easy to use. Everything for it to be waterproof and to mount it comes with the kit.

Snorkeling in Saint JohnSnorkeling in Saint John Fish in Saint John

And, here’s some photos from my phone while we were on the beach 🙂

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Also, the National Park has wild donkeys! It was so cool!

Donkeys in Saint John

On the ride back through the National Park, they stop so you can get photos:

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Saint John
This is where we snorkeled, but from above! 

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After the ride back through the National Park and the boat ride back to St. Thomas, we got back on the ship. Dinner that night was this chicken – I don’t know what it’s called but it was SO good. Some of my favorite chicken I’ve had.

Dinner on carnival magic

And I’ll leave you with that! If you’d like to read the first post, click here!

Affiliate links used, but opinions are my own! 

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Our honeymoon to the Caribbean – Part 1

I’m not really sure where to start regarding our honeymoon, except to say it was the best time we’ve ever had. Everything went amazing; we had the best time; we ate delicious foods. I’m not sure how many posts I’ll do to get through everything, I’m thinking around 4 to 5, but we’ll see.

On Friday, we drove down to Florida after making a pitstop in Fayetteville – my mom was watching Sadie, and Omar’s parents were watching Sherlock. We got to Titusville, Florida around 7 p.m., and since it was early, decided to try a local Mexican restaurant to burn some time and eat dinner.

The restaurant we went to was called El Leoncito, and I’m only mentioning the name because it was that good. It was probably the best Mexican food we’ve ever had. We told ourselves we would remember the name and if we were ever in Titusville again, we would have to go back.

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After that, we went to bed to get ready for the next day.

We went on a Carnival cruise through the eastern Caribbean. I have to be honest, I wasn’t really sure if I would like a cruise or not before we left, but we ended up having a blast! I’m not too great at sitting around, and so I think a cruise is great for me because it’s something different every day.

Saturday morning and early afternoon was a bit chaotic. Between figuring out parking at Cape Canaveral, getting through customs, and figuring out where to check our bags, it was a whirlwind for a while. Now that we’ve been there and went through the process, I don’t think it would be as bad the next time, though.

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Waiting at the terminal to board.

Once we got on the ship, we were super excited. The first thing we did was order a burger and a drink. IMG_1070IMG_1071IMG_1074

By the time we got settled and checked out our room, it was nearly 4 p.m. We sat around and watched the ship leave port, and then got ready for dinner. We ended up going to the Italian restaurant on board, which was delicious! Also, apparently a lot of people don’t make reservations there on the first night, so we actually had the whole restaurant to ourselves 🙂

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Dessert from our first night – it was a biscotti and SO good. One of my favorites. 

The first “full” day was a sea day.  We spent a lot of that day lounging, although it was extremely windy.

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We actually ended up going to an afternoon tea event they had, just to get out of the wind.

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That evening was the first formal night, so we got all dressed up for dinner.

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And, we had my favorite meal of the week on this day! Seriously, the spaghetti carbonara was AMAZING. I’m pretty sure I could eat it every day….

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After dinner, we went to a few comedy shows (they were all hilarious) and then went to bed. All in all, it was a perfect start to our two days of the honeymoon 🙂

What to pack for a cruise

I can’t believe our cruise is coming up so soon! We’ve got about a million things to do prior to leaving, but I thought I’d pop on here quickly to give you an idea of what we are packing!

We’ll be gone about 9 days total, so I have to definitely pack smartly as we can only have two suitcases. Most of the things below are the exact items I’m packing, if not, it’s a very similar option. I’m sure I’ll have a ton of photos once we get back!

(This list obviously doesn’t include swimsuits, PJ’s, etc!)

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Any thing else I should pack?

January progress + February goals

January flew by for me! It’s been a crazy month for us – we got snow twice (which is a lot for NC!) and Omar had the flu. So things have been a little wild around here, but I was still able to accomplish so much!

If you’re new here, I use Powersheets to track my goals! It’s definitely one of my favorite tools I’ve used, and they have revolutionized my way of thinking and goal-planning. You can read about my yearly goals here, or my goals before 30 here!

Here’s how my January goals went:

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Here’s my set of Powersheets! Pro-tip: Keep them on your bedside table, so you can review them every night and check things off! 

Monthly:

Purchase birthday gift for mom: done! I got her a canvas print of a wedding photo of us she loves.
Set up IRA auto draft: this got moved to March because my company moved to a new paycheck processing system, which has had a few hiccups. That being said, I didn’t want my auto draft to be one of those hiccups, if at all possible. We did, however, move money into the account, just manually.
Sign up for 5K:
done! Actually, it’s a 4 miler 🙂
Extra student loan payments: done!
Extra money toward emergency fund: We did move some money over for this as well! 
Record three recipes:
Done! I recorded my grandfather’s bread pudding recipe, my grandmother’s green bean recipe, and a pimento cheese recipe we got from Omar’s brother-in-law.
50 pages of etiquette book:
done! Actually, I read a bit more than 50 pages.

Weekly:

Exercise 4 hours a week – this was…mostly accomplished. I definitely went to the gym more than I have in a long time, so I’m considering that a win. Progress over perfection 🙂 
Yoga two times – I’m also counting this as done, because due to snow, yoga class was actually canceled a few times. I did go to every class that was held, though. 
10,000 steps 3 times – the point in this goal was to get moving more. And while I did definitely get moving more, I didn’t quite hit this goal. But really, 10,000 is an arbitrary number that Fitbit sets and so the fact that I got moving more is what is most important!  
Comment on two blogs – Yep! I tried to focus in on Triangle blogs, and actually learned a lot about things in Raleigh I didn’t know about(for example, I read about Bittersweet here, and now it’s on our calendar to check it out!). So this was a win-win. 
Meal plan – 
this is still going strong.

Daily:

No cell phone at dinner – making this a goal definitely made me focus on how much I was on the phone while at home!
60 oz of water – this went really well also! I’m a huge La Croix drinker (and we get them at work for free!), but I made a rule that I couldn’t drink one until I had 60 oz of water. It worked like a charm.

February goals!

Making goals for this month was kind of hard because the majority of the month will be centered around our (very belated) honeymoon (you can read about that here).

There’s a ton of things that I wanted to add to this list, but I decided there just isn’t enough time! I know I’m going to be distracted finalizing things for the honeymoon prior to us going, so I moved quite a few things to March instead! They are already written in the “On My Calendar” section for March so I can make sure they get done.

Here’s what I’ve got for February:

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Monthly!

Extra student loan payment and emergency fund payment – this is just so it gets done! It aligns with our financial goals for this year, and it’s easy to slip on stuff like this. Putting this out there to the world makes me accountable.
Read 3 books – this aligns with spending more time doing things I like to do. I don’t really like to watch TV (except This Is Us, I’m obsessed) but I love to read, so hopefully this will get me away from the screen a bit more.
Prep cars and house for vacation – all of the boring, but important stuff – cleaning the fridge, changing the oil in the car. This might seem mundane to put on Powersheets, but I will definitely enjoy our vacation more knowing that things at home were taken care of before we leave.
Complete a well-planned to-do list before we leave for our vacation – I want to make sure everything we need to do for the honeymoon is done in a way that doesn’t cause unnecessary stress, so I have made a full list of things to accomplish prior to us leaving, so we can prepare for what we need to do.
Fully enjoy our honeymoon!  Self-explanatory 🙂

Weekly

Exercise 4 hours a week
Meal Plan

Daily

Drink 60 oz of water 
No cell phone at dinner

What kind of goals do you have set for this month?

How to beat the winter blues

I’ve been hesitant to write this post for a while – mostly because a) I’m not a medical professional and b) it’s kind of personal. But, after scouring the internet for weeks and reading a ton of blog posts on how to beat the winter blues, I realized that I was unable to find a post about what actually helps me deal with the winter blues.

Before I start: This post is not intended in any way to be a substitute for professional medical advice and this is for informational purposes only 🙂  

howtobeatthewinterblues Continue reading “How to beat the winter blues”

Wedding Wednesday: Our wedding album

Back in November, during my first Social Media Free weekend, we ordered our wedding album! It was something on my 30 before 30 list, and I’m so excited about it!

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We spent a lot of time looking at albums, and I found one I loved… but it was $3,000! I don’t think I could ever justify spending that much. So, we ended up ordering ours from Artifact Uprising and I love it.

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I love how flat it lays and how amazing the photos look. Of course, a lot of that has to do with our wonderful photographer, but I was impressed with the clarity of photos. The pages were also super thick.

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They also have a two-page spread option, which, to be honest, I was a bit nervous about. I was concerned that there would be a weird gap between the pages, but as you can see, it’s nearly seamless. Also, this just so happens to be one of my favorite photos 🙂

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I love how simple the layout of the book is, as well. We really aimed to make our wedding seem simple and clean, and I think the book captures it as well!

 

Last minute honeymoon essentials

Friends, today marks three weeks until our honeymoon! If you’re new here: we didn’t go on a honeymoon right after the wedding because Omar couldn’t take off work. Instead we took a short two day trip to Tennessee.

But three weeks from now, we will be on our honeymoon! We are going on a cruise to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Grand Turk, and Dominican Republic. I’m SO excited. And, with all the snow we’ve received recently, I think a trip in the middle of winter will be an extra relief.

Here’s the list of last minute items I’m gathering for our trip:

  1. Passport covers: I’m still on the fence about if I’m actually going to pick some up. This is the first time I’ve used a passport and I’m so excited to travel out of the country, and these are so cute. But I don’t know that this is considered an essential….
  2. Jean shorts: I just ordered a pair from Old Navy because… I don’t own a pair of jean shorts? I’m not sure how that happened, but nonetheless – I think these will be great to wear while exploring Puerto Rico!
  3. Water shoes: We already both have a pair of Chacos that we love. We’ll need a pair for the Dominican Republic (finger crossed these will work, we are going to explore caves, and I’m not sure if they require closed-toe shoes!). I also think they will be great to explore in – they are comfortable, and can easily get wet.
  4. White jeans: Another item I don’t own for some reason? I ordered a pair because I’ve been meaning to, and being in the Caribbean is a great reason to break the “no white after Labor Day” rule! They’ll be great for dinners on the ship, where pants/jeans are required.
  5. Swimsuit coverup: Another item I don’t own. It’ll be easy for moving around the ship after swimming.
  6. Silicone rings: I ordered some for Omar and I so we don’t have to worry about anything happening to our wedding set.
  7. Nude heels: Our dog (not so lovingly) chewed up my existing nude heels, so I’ll need a new pair before we leave. These will be great for dinners!

Anything else I should add to my list?