Jamaica Part 2: Fitness and Adventure

While it may be tempting on vacation to lie on the beach all day–especially when a waiter walks by at regular intervals and says, “Hey Princess!  Are you doing okay?  Can I bring you a drink?”*–it’s also exciting to explore all that the activities the area and resort have to offer.  And you’ll feel better if you move a little bit between those buffets and fruity drinks. 😉

(*After this happened a few times, I requested that Andrew start addressing me as “Princess” and offer to bring me drinks regularly;  he declined.)

Here’s how we stayed active in Jamaica:

Snorkeling
When we were on our honeymoon we purchased snorkeling masks, which we brought with us last week.  The resort offered snorkeling trips, which we did once, but most days we also explored on our own just off the coast.

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A huge thanks to our friend Kevin for letting us borrow his waterproof camera for the week!

Sailing
The resort offers a variety of water sports, so we went sailing one day!  The culture difference related to this cracks me up:  In the US, in order to take out a sailboat you’d probably have to take a class, sign a waiver, pass a test, etc.  In Jamaica they said, “You know how to sail?  Have fun!”  😀

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Beach Volleyball
This was more Andrew’s thing, but I played one day too!  Every day at 4:00 the resort staff organized a volleyball game, and Andrew played most days.  Also, if I may brag on my husband for a moment, Andrew is kind of awesome at volleyball.  I had no idea (he never played on a team or anything), but I supposed I should have realized, considering is good at most sports.  The one afternoon he didn’t play, all his teammates kept saying, “Where were you??  We needed you!”

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Also, minutes after the above photo was taken, the guy on the right dove into the water to cool off and came up screaming expletives, his foot gushing blood.  We looked in the water and saw that he’d stepped on a stingray, which then pierced his foot!  We talked to him the next day after he’d spent a good portion of the night in the medical center; he was in some serious pain, but he’s okay!

Offsite Adventure: Ziplining and Waterfall Hiking
The only thing we did that was not included was an excursion to Ocho Rios (about 90 minutes from Montego Bay) to zipline and hike a waterfall.  The trip was absolutely worth the extra cost!

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The view from the sky lift

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Dunn’s River Falls is a series of 3-4 ft waterfalls with big pools at the bottom of each.  We hiked from the ocean to the top of the falls.  It was awesome (and provided some great photo ops! :-D)

The Gym
In addition to staying active outside, we did hit the resort gym a few times–once for Andrew, twice for me.  Each time I completed 20 minutes on the treadmill (intervals + a short warm up/cool down), and 20 minutes of weight circuits.  I wanted to make the workouts count without feeling like I was spending too much precious vacation time at the gym.

That was our Jamaication!  I’m still not sure about this whole, “not on vacation, back in the real world” thing, but I am slowly adjusting.  Yesterday afternoon I made myself a “transition from paradise to reality smoothie”: pineapple, mango, and strawberry.  I compromised by not including spinach, flax meal, or rum. 😉

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Not bad, but not Jamaica.

Have a great Tuesday!

Where did you go/are you going on vacation this summer?
Have you ever been to Dunn’s River Falls?

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Jamaica Part 1: Food and Relaxation

Jamaica was all we’d hoped it would be–a great mix of adventure and relaxation.  This morning I will focus on the food and relaxation aspects of our vacation, and tomorrow I’ll dive into the adventure and activity aspects.  Overall, I think Andrew and I both did better in terms of being active and not stuffing our faces than we did on our honeymoon. 😀

First, I must say that Sandals handled Andrew’s food intolerances incredibly well. During our check-in process Saturday (which included a damp towel to cool off, a glass of island punch, and a comfy couch,) the sous-chef met with us and talked about what he could eat and how the food is prepared.  Anyone with a food allergy or intolerance knows that it can make you nervous to go somewhere like this and have no control over how the food is prepared; it put our minds at ease to have the chef take the initiative to speak with us and let us know that he is on top of things.  In addition to the plethora of naturally gluten-free foods, they provided a GF bread basket upon request at dinner as well as a GF pizza crust at the beach-side pizzeria!  Point one of a million for Sandals.

After checking in, we settled into our room and enjoyed our complimentary fruit and cheese plates on our balcony.

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We ate our weight in fresh fruit this week.  It was a-mazing.

The resort has five or six restaurants, with a few different breakfast options.  We decided to park ourselves at the breakfast buffet each day, partly because we didn’t go to an all-inclusive resort to eat like birds, and partly because this was the view from the restaurant:

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No big deal.

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Fresh fruit galore!

After breakfast most days we hit the beach.  The resort where we stayed sat on the mainland but had its own private island just offshore, with boats taking guests back and forth throughout the day.  We spent most of our sun time on the island.

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I have a feeling that being on the island all day is what kept us from being total gluttons.  While there was a bar as well as a husband who heard, “No, thank you, I’m fine for right now,” as, “Please bring me a pina colada ASAP,” the island restaurant served a much lighter lunch buffet.   Our lunches typically looked like this:

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Salad, jerk chicken, and a few frozen beverages 🙂

Dinners provided more of the face-stuffing opportunities.  Each restaurant created a signature drink, which the server brought to the table upon your arrival.  (Would you like this pineapple-garnished blend of delicious fruit juices and rum that I’ve already made and have for you right here?  Yes.  Yes, I think I would.)

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I failed to take any entree photos, but our dinners included dishes like Caribbean lobster, coconut-encrusted trout, garlic tiger shrimp, and filet mignon.  Yep.

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Desserts included beauties like this:

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Mango mousse and strawberry cheesecake

Between meals we filled our time with a lot of this:

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And this:

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And this:

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Pulling the lounge chairs into the shallow water?  Yes, please.

…And enjoyed views like these:

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<Sigh.>

We didn’t, however, spend 100% of our time eating and otherwise doing nothing.  Tomorrow I will tell you all about our active adventures and how we worked out more than once during our vacation. 🙂

I hope you have a great Monday!

Have you ever been to Jamaica?  A Sandals resort?  What’d you think?

Home (Bitter) Sweet Home

We are home from Jamaica, and while it’s good to be home, it’s also good to be…. well, in Jamaica.  I may or may not have had to fight back a few tears as we were leaving yesterday morning.  I plan to write a full post (probably two) in the next couple of days, but for this morning, I leave you with a few teaser photos:

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I know.

Have a great Saturday!

Jamaica-Bound!

Friends, Andrew and I are off to Jamaica!  We are staying at an all-inclusive, couples-only resort, and I could not be more excited.

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A few days ago I Googled, “Staying healthy at an all-inclusive resort,” because let’s be honest: all you can eat and drink for an entire week can be dangerous.  I present you the following from our honeymoon at a similar resort in the Bahamas:

Exhibit A:

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1. The pina colada because I’d only had one that day
2. The “welcome to dinner on the private island!” glass of champagne
3. The white wine because the waitress offered
4. The water because, well, I like to drink water with my meals.

Notice that Andrew has a similar lineup across the table.  We’re not proud.

Exhibit B:

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All you can eat.  Chocolate pastries on the right, I’m looking at you.

When I Googled, “Staying healthy at an all-inclusive resort,” all the responses I found fell in two categories:

1. Be a crazy person and have a miserable vacation.
2. Do what you do naturally.

And because Andrew and I are most certainly not crazy people, here’s our stay-healthy game plan for the week (spoiler alert: it looks very similar to how we live normally) :

1. Stay active.  The resort offers kayaking, snorkeling (we bought our own gear on our honeymoon!), beach volleyball, windsurfing, swimming, and more.  We love outdoorsy stuff, and we are planning to live it up.

2. Listen to our bodies.  Eat when we’re hungry, stop when we’re full (Admittedly, we did not do a great job of this on the honeymoon…)  If it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it just because it’s there.  Eat plenty of fruits and veggies because we feel our best when we do.

3. Enjoy.  It’s vacation, and we fully intend to enjoy those strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas, and chocolate pastries.  😀

While we’re gone, I have some awesome guest posts lined up from a couple of people who are very near and dear to my heart.  😀

Have a great week, and I’ll “see” you next Saturday!

Lemon-Thyme Chicken & Vacation

I may have reached my threshold for squash.  With the zucchini and yellow squash growing so quickly in the garden, we have cooked a meal with them about once a week and eaten the leftovers for at least one other meal.  Don’t get me wrong:  we are growing some delicious squash…I just might need to encourage the bell peppers and broccoli to grow a bit faster for the sake of my taste buds. 😀

I used this recipe to cook dinner last night, and taste-tester Andrew gave it two thumbs up.  Our modifications: instead of couscous, we cooked brown rice in the rice cooker, we used chicken tenderloins because they were on sale, and we added minced garlic to the squash saute.  

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The chicken was really good.  We will most definitely make this again… perhaps with another veggie. 🙂  Andrew loved the squash, and I certainly didn’t have any complaints about the taste.  As I said earlier though, I think I have reached my limit, so I just wasn’t thrilled about it.  Luckily, we have lots of leftovers to eat tonight. 😉

After dinner we headed to the gym.  I sweated for 40 minutes on the Elliptical–including 10 minutes of intervals–while Andrew lifted weights.   We booked our summer vacation on Sunday night (we are going to Jamaica in August!!) and I think as a result we are both feeling motivated to put in some tougher workouts. 😀  An evening stroll around the neighborhood, a Sunday afternoon leisurely bike ride are great for general health and basic fitness, but we are upping the intensity for the next month or so in order to get ourselves in fantastic shape for the Caribbean. 😀  I am SO excited.

What are your vacation plans for the summer?
Is anyone else tired of squash yet? 😉