Friday, October 11, 2013

One Thing

In dedication to my friend Stephanie's Blog: 

One thing I learned today: I am a moderator, not an abstainer 

One thing I'm grateful for: Wine 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Reversed 100 challenge 1-10.

I was watching hoarders so I decided I should work on my reversed 100 challenge.
Within the last year I went through a minimalizing kick. Just this past spring I am sure I got rid of at least 100 items,  which is making this go around a bit harder. 

That being said, it is only a month into the challenge year. I also found once I got started again, it was oddly easy to get rid of a lot. So I decided to group things and count them as one so as to not make the challenge too easy for myself.

1. My first item was easy.  My not so great food processor. We received a new food processor/ blender for the wedding so getting rid off the malfunctioning food processor seems like a no brainer. However, I keep not getting rid of it because I do not know how to properly dispose of it! It works like 1 out of 10 times so I don't think it's worth donating it.  There are no clear rules about small appliance diposal in Gloucester.  So I keep putting it on the counter until I figure it out. 

2. The Twilight Saga. I got sucked in and bought the books and then shared with a group of friends.  I have no intention of reading these books again. So adios! 

3. Earrings. Someone gave me these. They are cute, but, I can't wear fake earrings without developing a rash. My dad's girlfriend liked them.  Done and done! 

4. Towels.  We have an excessive amount and these are falling apart. Animal shelters are always looking for towels so that gave me the motivation to get rid of these I might otherwise have held on to for junk towels for drying off wet dogs or for cleaning. 

5. All of my old CDs! (If I counted these all individually this could have easily been my 100 things right there.) Based on the "Have you used this in the last year" rule, these should have been disposed of years ago! I already have all of the music backed up on my computer and eternal hard drive so really it is rather unlikely I will need the physical CDs. But, similar to the food processor, I was not sure the best way to dispose of them. Plus knowing how many hundreds of dollars were spent on those over the years made me feel guilty about just tossing them. My dad's girlfriend has a jukebox and is always trading in old records so I figured I would give her the CDs to see if she can get something useful that she would use. My phone was dead when I was giving these a way so I unfortunately could not snap a picture- but I assure you, it was an impressive pile from Back Street Boys and Brittany Spears, Korn and Static X, to Ziggy Marley and The Celtic Classics. I had the gamut!

6. A few cookbooks. I love food and cooking, and so people frequently give me cookbooks for gifts which is very thoughtful and I do appreciate it, however, I rarely ever use cook books. I hate flipping through them to find recipes and then try to keep the open and get food all over them when I cook. I generally either make up recipes or look online. I do have a few physical cookbooks I really like and use a lot or other ones that I keep for references, but overall I do not need nearly as many as I have filling up the book shelf. 

7. Outdated manuals. I don't know why I felt the need to hold on to all of the paper work and instructions from my first laptop or my cell phone that I have not had for over 5 years, but I think I can safety get rid of these things.   

8. Automatic Jar Opener. I will admit this is a pretty sweet device. It had been my 85 year old grandmother's for when her arthritic hands could no longer open jars. When she passed away and no one wanted it, it seemed to have wound up in my old bedroom. It is very useful, especially for anyone who is older or had any hand issues. However, I do not really need it, nor do I have room in my tiny kitchen to store it. It obviously was not doing anyone good sitting in the closet of my childhood bedroom. I tried giving it away to several people I thought could benefit from it but in the end it would up in the garage sale pile.

9. Old coats. This one was kind of cheating because it was not necessarily my stuff, but my father has been stating for YEARS that he was going to clean out the closet in our mud room, which was namely filled with my mothers old coats (there was literally a trash bag full) that she had left there when they got a divorce. Similar to the jar opener, they were nice coats, but obviously she was not wearing any of these coats at her old house and no one else was using them so I packed them up and dropped them off at her house for her perusal, which presumably will be donated.

10. Clothes.  Again, I am sure if i added up all of the clothes I donate throughout the year that would likely be close to the 100 items, so I am compiling this one donation bag as one item. I would like to mention, that I rarely buy clothes. I like to buy work out clothes and sneakers and that is about it. I seem to inherit most of my clothes from my mother and sister. We are all roughly the same size and they enjoy shopping. My sister is the type that buys nice things, but does not like being seen wearing the same thing too many times, so once that occurs she passes it off to someone else. My mother, is a bit of a recovering shop-a-holic. She tends to give me things she bought years ago that still have tags on them. 

Miss Minimalist outlines that one of the important steps to being a good minimalist is to be a good gatekeeper, which I will admit I am terrible about. I am generally not motivated to try things on when I am offered them so I just take them home, and then deal with them from there. Or, it it fits I will take it, even if I am unlikely to wear it. 

Like most people I am always worried about the "What ifs." For example, I probably own about 10 pairs of high heeled shoes. I have probably worn high heels maybe 5 times in the past year. But I keep them because I might need them. Right now I wear scrubs and sneakers to work, so I do not need many fancy outfits or dress shoes. I have bad feet (status post bunionectomy) so I have trouble wearing cute shoes in general.

So I am now 1/10th of the way done with my reversed 100 challenge! I look forward to continue minimalizing but I know one of the big things will be to stop letting more things come into the house! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

30 Day Do You Yoga Challenge Recap

I successfully completed the 30 day Do You Yoga challenge! It was nice to get just a little bit of yoga in everyday. Erin Motz also showed a lot of various poses and movements that I have never done before. There was an entire class dedicated to hands and arms it was pretty fantastic.

There was a great variety in it, some days being very active, and others being completely the opposite. I cannot tell you how much I liked the yoga for better sleep one, never mind the fact that I did it right before going to work!

And now it is July and I need another challenge. I will admit, though I did my 30 days of yoga, they were only 10-20 minutes a piece and I really need to get my butt in gear and do some more intense activity.

  • Volunteer – I completed volunteer orientation at the Cape Ann Animal Shelter.
  • I have now held not one but TWO babies so far this year. I am pretty sure that is an annual record for myself. 
  • I slept in a tent this past weekend and I am going real camping this coming weekend!
  • I have read 2 books so far: “Silent Spring” and “The Devil Catches You and You Fall Down.” Currently accepting new book recommendations. I am still partially reading “The Dioxin Wars”  (I have been on chapter 1 for the past year) and “World War Z.”

  • I have tried several new recipes- more on that to come. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

26 while 26

I saw on A girl and her Mutts blog about her annual 33 while33 and 32 while 32 lists. Since I recently turned 26, I feel like I should try this. So here is goes:

26 while 26
In no particular order 

1.   Volunteer – somewhere! They really make some forms of volunteering really difficult. I went on a rampage of wanting to volunteer at an animal shelter, but none of the ones near me were taking volunteers or they required a ridiculous time commitment at impractical times. So, I am still on a mission, if anyone has any good ideas let me know

2.  Hold a baby. Babies kind of scare me, but alas people seem to keep having them, and as I get older those people seem to be closer to me. I think I need to get over this fear!  -- This past weekend I held my friend Melissa’s new baby. She pretty much cried the whole time, so it did not help to alleviate my fear but on the positive side she cried when anyone held her not just me so I did not feel as bad.

3.  Do a 365 photo challenge. This is going to be tough. I am terrible at taking pictures, I do not even know where my camera is. They may wind up being very crappy cell phone pictures and there is a good chance they will all be of Leo and Ghreylin. Almost a month into 26 and I have not started this yet so It might not be an official 26-27 documentary.

4.   Start looking into doctoral programs. Going along with my quarter life crisis, I felt I needed a change and that I may want to become a PhD to get more involved in research. Thus far that is as far as I have gotten on that mission.

5.   Do a girls trip. Beach trip, adventure trip, whatever I just need some time with the ladies.

6.   Go camping.  I go hiking on a regular basis but I have not done an over night wilderness adventure in a few years and I think that needs to be amended. Ironically right after making this list Jordan decided we need to go camping. I have enlisted the help of my father who goes backpacking frequently to help us plan a trip. We even discussed getting Leo a puppy backpack! I think he would do great with it. He is a fabulous hiker.

7.   Become at least conversationally competent in Spanish. I bought Rosetta stone to learn, but no it is a matter of actually doing it. It seems effective, but every time I do it Jordan makes fun of me!

8.   Learn to knit or sew. I have a ball of yarn and some knitting needles on my dresser that I have attempted to do something with via several websites, you tube videos and tutorials, but I still cannot seem to get past that first row of knots.

9.  Plan a trip (and ideally go on one…) We have discussed going to Colorado where Jordan’s sister lives or to Florida where a lot of his family is.

10. Read at least 12 books. I just finished The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Taking recommendations on books to read.

11. “Blog with intention” I am stealing this one (though I now cannot recall the source!) but it is very pertinent. I have a running list of these “BIG” things I want to write about, I get 2 sentences in and put them on the back burner.

12. Try a new recipe. As much as I like cooking I tend to just throw things together and Jordan refers to it as shlop.

13.  Stay better in touch with people. I have done a decent job at this the past year but it has definitely taken effort. When left to my own devices I am perfectly content with being by myself and not seeing any friends for weeks at a time. That being said I love seeing my friends and family and hate having to do the once every 6 months catch up. I know I need to make a conscious effort to contact people and make plans in advance.

14. Organize and minimalize! Donate/Throw Out/Give Away 100 items. I have the constant goal to become a minimalist but I am just so bad at it! We just have so much stuff. I feel like I do a good job about cleaning up, donating and minimalizing in the short term but as MissMinimalist would say, I am a bad “gatekeeper.”  Things seem to keep making their way into our house!

15.  Monthly workout challenges such as the 30 days of yoga and 100 push up challenge. They keep things interesting and keep me accountable.

16.  Go on a spending diet.

17.  Get out of some debt. I have no delusions I will be debt free in the next year but maybe try to be in less debt than I am now would be nice.

18.   Do a date night at least once a month. Nothing fancy, just some quality time.

19.  Submit something to be published. Ideally a science type of paper but I will take anything!

20.  Calm down – meditate. It is funny how some people describe me as so mellow and even keeled and others think I am completely crazy. I would like to be mellow and even keeled, but I have anger management surrounding certain issues, namely noise. I discovered there is a name for my “condition” – Misophonia. My goal is to be less tightly wound about the little things.

21.  26 random acts of kindness- hopefully more but at least 26 very intentional ones.

22.  Try a new kind of work out. Last year I tried trx, cross fit, barre, bikram yoga.. what will be next? Accepting suggestions!

23.  Be able to do the splits again. It is amazing how inflexible you can become without effort.  This seems like an attainable goal within the next year.

24.  Make my wedding scrapbook. I have the album. I have the pictures. They just need to go together.

25.  Attempt to make myself look acceptable at least once a week. I wear scrubs to work and come home and put on sweatpants, I tend to not try very hard. I do not feel the need to suddenly become fashionable but I think putting some effort in every no and again may be good for me.

26.  Watch the star wars movies… I have never seen them. I have been told for years this needs to be amended.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Do You Yoga Challenge

After my not-so-successful month of a yoga challenge I heard of the “Do you yoga” 30 day yoga challenge which they email you a < 20 minute yoga video a day. So far, so good!  

I love the Erin Motz who is teaching the classes. She is very easy going and encourages people to only go as far as they can, and gives tons of options for people of all levels. Her biography on “Do You Yoga” starts with “I'm a carnivorous, red wine and French cheese-loving,” so basically I decided I liked her after that.

One dilemma I see happening is only doing the 20 minutes and then deciding I do not need to do any longer classes, so I think I will make the agreement with myself I can skip one of the challenge videos and opt for a longer class, and then maybe do a couple days worth on another day? So far this has not worked out and I have only done the 20 minutes or so a day which is not really acceptable for physical activity. 

I really need to crack the whip! 

On a seperate note, Louis made his movie big screen deput in one of Jordan's videos! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yoga challenge week 3

Last week was one of those weeks where life just gets in the way! When I say “rest” what I really meant was doing everything else.

Jordan was really busy with work last week so consequently nothing at home got done unless I did it, so everyday when I came home I had to deal with the “children,” make dinner, go grocery shopping, do laundry/ the dishes and do whatever else needed doing. I know these are all basic things, but it is amazing how little time there seems to be after getting all of that done.

Thank goodness for long weekends!

We had a cookout, and thus company over on Saturday, and given that it was 40 degrees and pouring out, we did not go outside much so I was a bit short of miles.  Sunday was not much better, as it was just as cold and rainy, after a long week. I took a nap, went to see the Great Gatsby and to a French restaurant for dinner with my Mother-in-Law.

Monday was a huge make up day- Jordan, Leo and I checked out Bradley Palmer State Park and did about 5 miles on the trails. Afterwards I spent some time working in the garden, followed by yoga and then Zumba! I apparently had an excessive amount of energy from my previous lazy week. It was also an amazing day out so I just wanted to be outside and doing things all day. 

Yesterday was my birthday, so I treated myself to going to the Dynamic Core Pilates class. It was much needed and much appreciated, though my arms and back are so sore today!  Of course I also celebrated with some wine and cake so I definitely needed the workout and the "me" time.

Almost the End of May and I fear I failed at meeting my May yoga challenge goal, but I think I did a good job and I am happy with the results. The days I did not do yoga I largely just did not have time. I am sure I could have snuck in a half hour here or there but overall I was not in the right mind frame. I was a bit too ambitious with my starting goal. I signed up for the "Do Yoga" 30 day yoga challenge which involves at least 10 minutes of Yoga a day- so THAT I will see if I can do!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yoga Challenge, week 2!

Yoga 5 times a week may have been an ambitious goal for myself considering my starting point. As much as I love it when I do it, it is hard to dedicate a whole hour to it so I have been doing some of the short sessions such as this morning doing a 40 minute Shoulder opening sequence from

For some reason the beginning of this week I was just so exhausted! Monday and Tuesday I planned on getting up early and doing yoga before work but it just would not happen. I gave platelets again on Monday so I got home late and pretty much went to bed.

I have a Livingsocial deal for this place called Kiki’s pilates in Beverly so I have been doing some classes there such as the barre class and the dyamic core class on Tuesday.

I have also been taking it easy on the yoga (and everything) this week because my joints have been killing me!  I was supposed to have a doctors appointment tomorrow, but it was canceled, but I have a running list of complaints going that I want to get checked out.

Monday, May 6, 2013

May Yoga Challenge

 It is the beginning to a new month so it seems like as good a time as ever to start a new goal. I always find those random monthly challenges on peoples blogs and pinterest half way through the month and say I am going to do one, so here we go.

With my weird/ long work hours and long commute it is very hard to make it to many of the classes I try to get to, so I have been trying to be better about working out on my own. It does not work out, especially with some people (etc) hindering my practice.

I renewed my subscription and have a bunch of new classes to try, so I have no excuses.

One dilemma I do see is that I do not want to dedicate all of my workout time to yoga. Yoga is great in so many ways. It is wonderful physically in that it helps to make you stronger and more flexible, and in many variations it gives a good cardio workout.
Mentally it does even more, teaching how to bend and not break, learning how to fall down and get back up, focus on breathing, and clearing the mind.

All that being said, if all I do is yoga, the next time I try to lift weights or go for a run, I am seriously struggling so I do want to keep this even.

My goals for May will be:

  • Do yoga at least 30 minutes/ 5 times a week
  • Do at least one other type of workout a week
  • Continue to walk at least 5 miles a day (per Fitbit!)
  • Be less reactive 
    • I am a known nagger and I know I tend to fly off the handle over little things at times. I am working on being less reactive to external cues and maintaining a calm demeanor. 
Here is what I have done so far! 

I am not including Sunday-Tuesday as they were still April. I did not technically do any working out on those days, but I was teaching CPR at work, as well as my regular job, so I had a rough, long couple of days to start the week, thus by Wednesday I was all about centering and breathing! 

Wednesday May 1st:
I like to do the classes at least twice before I review them so that I can get a better opinion of them, since sometimes I dislike classes purely because I am not in the mood for them, so I have very few reviews on 

I found this class to be very engaging and intense. It was definitely at least intermediate level, but had some great modifications. The arm balancing sequence did go a bit fast.

Thursday May 2nd:

This was my first Hatha yoga class. I was always under the perception the Hatha yoga was "easy." Since I was sore and exhausted from a long week. I wanted something gentle and relaxing. Albeit, it was relaxing, this class was not easy and hardly gentle! It was definitely different from the vinyasa yoga I usually do, as it was much slower paced. However, it was much deeper. All of the poses were held for several breathes. This particular class also included quite a few challenging poses. Again, there were many modifications available so they were all attainable in some fashion but I think it was just such as awakening to what I always pictured Hatha yoga to be! 

Friday May 3rd:
Friday I was wearing a shirt that was particularly unflattering to my midsection and I went home feeling lardy. I decided I needed more of a cardio/toning workout, so I did Jillian Michaels, Ripped in 30 (week 4 workout). I am pretty sure she must be one of the most cursed women in America. She is fabulous and effective, but while she is telling you what to do, several bad names tend to come out of my mouth. I love these workouts, they are quick and definitely effective. I do get annoyed that she tends to give modifications for everything except for the things I can't do! I have a bad left knee that tends to crack and give out on a regular basis, so anything that involves a lot of leg impact or jumping is a struggle. During on of her moves that i just could not do she said "This does not get a modification! Anyone can do it!" Not to be super PC, but there are always things that some people cannot do, and stating otherwise can certainly damper ones spirits. 

Saturday May 4th: - Rockin Bhakti: Complete Practice  - This was a great, well paced, challenging class. It was a great combination of hip opening, stretching, balancing and some arm balances. 

Sunday May 5th: Solar Flow #1 Power Vinyasa Yoga  Once we returned to Gloucester, Jordan had to leave for a photoshoot, so I was home alone on a gorgeous day. It was colder than I might have like it, but it was so sunny and pretty out, I had to be outside. This was my first real attempt at doing yoga outdoors! At first I set my yoga mat up in the grass, but I think our grass is too long and I kept sinking into much so I tried skipping the mat and just doing it on the grass, but then I kept winding up in divots. I eventually moved to the cement near our pool on the mat where I could still get a great view of nature, the grass and the ocean in the distance, but I was on some firmer ground. As with the others, this class had a great flow with some challenging postures. I find all of the classes are manageable with modifications, but I like hearing and *trying* some of the tougher apex poses to at least know what I am working up to. 
One of the apex poses in this series was hurdler pose which I had never come across in any of my classes.  I can safetly say, mine looked very far from the picture below- but now at least I know what I am aiming for!  It was so nice to do yoga outside. I am looking forward to more practices in the sun! 
Hurdler pose

I had ordered a Zumba video through a google deal back in March, and I was getting very impatient for its arrival. Finally it came on Saturday! I was relatively tired after my yoga class, and walking the dog, but I really wanted to test out the video, so I did part of the introduction video. I skipped the very basic intro video since I do have some Zumba experience and didn't feel like going through the step by step approach. The one I tested out was called "Zumba Activate" A 45 minute video with basic moves to music. I only made it through about  ~30 minutes, mostly because Jordan kept coming out of his office and laughing at me, but so far I like it! The moves were easy enough to follow, but still enough motion to get a sweat going. Unfortunately despite my best attempts my hips do not move with a quarter of as much Latin flare as the instructors! 

Monday May 6th:
I have an appointment to give platelets this afternoon, so I knew if I was going to get some yoga in I should do it before work. That being said, I already get up at 5 am, so the idea of getting up much earlier to do yoga did not seem to appealing, so I met myself half way and did - Sun Salutation Workshop   This was a 30 minute workshop, so it was some yoga, but nothing too extreme. Overall, today will mostly be a rest day. My body is sore from all of my downward dogging!  The workshop was good, it broke down all of the elements of the sun salutation and really made me focus on what my body should be doing during all of them and ensured proper alignment. I have gone through that general flow so many times, but it is very easy to do it wrong especially when I get focused on keeping up with the class. Since I am so sore, it was a nice treat to stay in the postures longer than usual. 

Doing yoga first thing in the morning also made me realize how tight my hamstrings really get! I always knew they were tight but it was so weird having gone from the day before being able to touch my hands to the floor to 12 hours later barely being able to get them to my shins. It looks like some morning stretching may need to be in my future. 

I haven't given platelets/ blood since March. I tried to give the first week of April but my iron was low. Then I got sick (which may have been why my iron was low.) Once I was feeling better, the Boston Marathon bombing happened and there was overwhelming support of people giving blood! I was unable to get an appointment! Which, all things considered, is a pretty good problem to have.  The people of Boston really came together and gave whatever they could after this tragedy. Thankfully almost everyone is out of the hospital now, though many have a very long road of recovery. I hope some of the people who became first time blood donors and platelet donors keep up their awesome work! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Honeymoon: Day 7 Around Town & Day 8

The day after Michael and Amanda's wedding was supposed to be the "Wedding 2.0 recovery day" for all of the wedding guests, which would involve relaxing at the beach by their hotel. Again, since it was an all inclusive resort we figured we might have an issue getting in.

We started the morning trying out a different restaurant on the resort than we had, "Del Lago." It was a little more expensive but it was amazing with a much better breakfast buffet than the other restaurants on the resort. They also featured fresh made, all natural juices which were pretty fantastic, such as a cactus cantaloupe blend I tried.

One adorable part about all of the restaurants was that they did not have walls, they were open to nature, and so there were always birds hanging around, which I am sure some people would find gross, but again since I am a bird crazed person, I greatly enjoyed having them around. They had to keep covers on top of baskets that they kept the sugar packets in because the birds would come and steal them. At this restaurant there were also iguanas and other lizards chilling along the rocks a long the outskirts of the restaurant.

After a fanatastic breakfast we got out selves ready and decided to take a trip to downtown Playa del Carmen to check out the shopping and culture. The shop keepers are extremely overwhelming and are definitely using some high pressure sales tactics. I am not a fan of being places without set prices where there are bartering systems because I always felt like I  was getting cheated. We did get a few small things, such as magnets and T shirts for my parents, and some tequila for my sister and our friend Bruce who was puppy sitting for us in our absence. 

We also checked out the beach in down town Playa del Carmen, which was phenomenal. Unlike the beach at our hotel, there were no rocky reefs. We did not come prepared to really stay on the beach but it was nice to walk along the sand and get some more rays. 

Once we were done surfing the strip we headed to the hotel where everyone else was staying for the wedding in attempts to join the beach party. We did manage to sneak through one of the resorts and walk on the beach and find the party, however, as soon as we got there everyone was packing up from the beach and going to the pool bar which would be significantly harder to sneak into without the magical "all inclusive" bracelets. After spending a short time with Jordan's family and the rest of the wedding party we returned to our resort.

At the breakfast buffet at Del Lago they had encouraged us to come back for dinner, which included a show, so we decided to give it a try. The dinner was buffet style (as everything seemed to be there) and was steak themed, though the steak was way too salty for my taste, but everything else was good. We bought a bottle of wine and settled in for the show. It was just like a circus soleil type performance with dancers, singers, cloud swingers, contortionists. We were very happy  we decided to go back for dinner and to check out the how! Normally those types of shows are like $100 a  ticket and this was just included in dinner.

Day 8, was unfortunately not too exciting to talk about. We packed up and took one last stroll around the hotel. We went back to Del Lago again for breakfast (once we found them they couldn't get rid of us!)

We took the hotels shuttle to the airport, and headed home, to the cold, cruel Massachusetts. We were a bit worried since MA was expecting a snow storm on our way home.

The flight was ok, albeit the second half of the journey I got stuck next to some very loud ditzy girls who were chewing gum loudly (my major pet peeve!) and talking all sorts of ditzy nonsense non-stop. Since this was a short flight (lay over in philly) I could barely have my ipad on for distracting noise.

We took a cab to Bruce's house after our flight since it was starting to snow and we did not have a way of getting back to Gloucester.

It was very nice to see Leo, who was well taken care of by Bruce and got to hang out with his buddy James the whole time, but nonetheless, it was a cold awakening being back home.

I hope this was adequate description of our honeymoon, and again I apologize for the delay!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Honeymoon: Day 6, Michael and Amanda's wedding!

Day 6 of our honeymoon was Michael and Amanda's BIG day! 

Let me start off a bit with Michael and Amanda...

Michael is Jordan's cousin (or 2nd cousin.) Their Abuelita's (grandmothers) are sisters. 

Michael grew up in Miami, Florida whereas Jordan grew up around Boston, Massachusetts, yet they remained very close.

Michael’s little sister, Bianca danced with Amanda’s little sister, Melissa. They were BFFs and they always wanted to be sisters, so they came up with a scheme to get their older brother and sister together so they could be sisters. One day when they were hanging out at Bianca’s house, Melissa had Amanda pick her up and hence introducing the two… and so it began! That was 10 years ago.

A couple years ago, Jordan and I went on a trip to Florida for a vacation and to spend sometime with his family, this was my first time meeting them. We stayed with Michael and Amanda and their two dogs. They were so inviting and fabulous! All of Jordan’s family members down in Miami were like instant friends and family, they all welcome you with a hug and a kiss and invite you a long for everything.

I was, and still am, somewhat jealous and completely inspired by Amanda. She is gorgeous, super positive, and when I first met her she had just started working as a personal trainer. The jealously part comes in where she was out of the blue asked to become a trainer, whereas I up in Boston was certified and couldn’t find a job to save my life! Overall, her attitude is just amazing. Where other people would complain and whine she counts her blessings, which is always something I strive to do, but often come up short.
Amanda being an amazing yogi

After Jordan and I got engaged, Michael was like "now the pressure is really on!" since his cousin of the same age was getting married the family started giving him more pressure (But um, really... after 10 years I think the pressure was really already there.) 

Amanda's mother, who passed away 2 years ago, was Mexican, so they decided to have their wedding in Mexico in Playa del Carmen. 

The wedding was beautiful, and the location was amazing, but I will say the planning and communication left a bit to be desired. Especially since I was like the crazy wedding scheduler with everything for about 3 days surrounding the wedding broken down into roughly 15 minute intervals, so being there and having NO IDEA what was going on was a bit nerve racking. For instance, the meeting place described on Day 5 had not been decided until day 4 of our Mexico trip so I could not really plan or prepare.

Parents of the groom and my in-laws pre-wedding

Jordan was a groomsman in the wedding, and even he had no idea what time the actual wedding was at. We were told that a shuttle bus was leaving their hotel at 4:30 and another at 5:00 pm. We both managed to get on the 4:30 shuttle, which was good, because the 5:00 one never came and people had to find taxis and did not entirely know where they were going. 

The wedding took place at Xcaret, the ceremony was at St Francis of Assisi chapel, which was an open chapel without walls on top of a hill at Xcaret, which had a gorgeous view of the park. Getting there was a bit of a challenge, especially for older relatives and girls in high heals as it was a rocky, steep journey up to the chapel. 

The ceremony was beautiful, they did the traditional Mexican lasso ceremony where both Amanda and Michael's grandmothers roped a lasso around them to signify thier coming together as one. The lasso had been threaded with flowers from Amanda's mothers wedding dress which was a very special touch. Michael and Amanda had written their own vows, which was terrible in the sense that I cried the whole time. I always find the personal vows to be so beautiful and heart wrenching. They were a combination of sentimental, loving and funny. 
Lasso Ceremony

For the wedding reception, we walked across the park to "La Isla" Restaurant. Along the route were men dressed in traditional Mayan attire with face paint and blowing through conch shells as may have occured during Mayan celebrations. 

La Isla restaurant is set in a natural cave that involves walking down a spiral path down into the cave, which is surrounded by waterfalls and has an impressive fire in the middle. We were greeted by ornately garbed waiters who provided guests with cucumber or mango margaritas with a chili pepper rim (which was unexpected but delicious!). 

The whole restaurant set up was surreal. They had a harp player suspended over the cave, the roof was an intricate thatched spiral roof, lights were reflected off of the water and the caves crevices. 

Speeches were given by the father of the bride, best man (Michael's older brother Alex), maid of honor (Amanda's little sister Melissa) and a few other friends. Most of the speeches were in Spanish so I understood about a quarter of them. Amanda's sisters was given in English, in which she described how she and Bianca had wanted to be sisters, and about how their mother couldn't be there, it was a very touching speech which clearly lead to water works. 

Alex, the best man, toasting his brother
Melissa, the Maid of Honor, promising that she would not make today all about her, as she likes to do

Amanda laughing at a speech 
First Dance as newly weds! 

The reception went on with much dancing and tequila!   The food was also gorgeous and delicious of course, including an entree of surf and turf and some crazy looking desserts 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Honeymoon: Day 5 Beach bums

After our first 3 days of non-stop exploring we were ready for a well deserved beach/ pool day. 

We had a very strenuous day of getting a tan, swimming, ordering drinks by the pool and eating by the water.  

We started the morning by the beach, but as aforementioned the water was not really safe to go into there since there were reefs along the beach, so we moved up to the pool area. We did some reading (I was reading the Rules of the Bone fyi.) 

The service there was amazing. They came by to inform us when happy hour was and take our orders. We tried an array of fruity drinks and coronas. We were about to leave to go get lunch when they informed us they could serve us right there! So we stayed. Life was so tough.

After a day of lounging we set off to meet up with Jordan's family who was also in Playa del Carmen for his cousins wedding. Everyone else was staying at the Riu Grand Mayan Riviera Maya, which despite almost having an identical name to the resort we were staying at, was actually about a 30 minute taxi drive across town. 

Further confusion ensued when we were dropped off at the Riu Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Mexico, which apparently is a DIFFERENT hotel a couple miles away from our intended location. All of the Riu's were all inclusive resorts so we couldn't even get to front desk to figure out were we were. We had heated conversations with security guards at the entrance of of about 4 other Riu Grand Mayan resorts before finally finding the right one! It also did not help that the restaurant within the resort we were looking for was called the "La taquilla restaurante" so when we were trying to ask for directions (in our not-so-good Spanish) we kept being pointed in the direction of liquor stores instead. 

We finally found Jordan's family, but we still had to eat separately because they would not let us into the resort since we were not staying there, even though Michael, Jordan's cousin (the groom-to-be) had us on all of the lists, had paid for us and they took copies of our passports. 

We did get to spend some time with the family for a few hours at a bar afterwards but it was a frustrating chain of events to say the least! 

Random dancing at the bar on stage with the niƱos
Here is my Sister-in-Law Alya and her BF Ian 

This was Michael, the Groom's, dapper rehearsal dinner attire.

Groom's Abuelo and Abuela (now somehow my great Tio and  Tia  In laws I guess!) 

One of the groomsmen chilling on the beach 
Grooms Brother, Alex, Sister Bianca and Michael