Wednesday, November 27, 2013


In honor of Thanksgiving and thinking about all that I have, I decided to do a Thankful post.

I’m Thankful for…

- Being alive and well today. I think sometimes I take my health for granted, especially since becoming lactose intolerant, but I know I’m lucky to be here and well today. I definitely need to remind myself of how lucky I am to be here and well more often. 

- Having a full time job. I know I was lucky to find one as fast as I did and I have learned so much 
in the past year and a half working for my company.

- Being able to make creative dishes for my co workers for all the potlucks and parties 

(next potluck is for Christmas, so I can’t wait to make these
and another dish that will remain a surprise) 

- Being a member of Lifetime Fitness gym (I know this one may seem weird, but being able to afford a gym membership I feel is a big one for me as the gym gives me my “me time” as I workout. From weights, group classes to the pool, I love everything at my gym and it’s truly my second home)
Yoga Rave

this is how Tom often sits, with his paws crossed, so cute
- My adorable cats, as much as they can be annoying and whine, they have certainly been following me around the house a lot lately and love snuggling with me, especially my cat Tom 
Tom sleeping on my bed

Skittles hanging off of a chair

- My sister

- Being able to stay connected with people through social media. Social media has certainly changed our lives, but I love having Facebook to stay connected with friends I met in college and in Australia when I studied abroad. In August I got to catch up with my friend Angie, whom I met in Australia, but she actually lives in Illinois. Visiting her on my way to St Louis with my boyfriend was the perfect pit stop. 
at Lincoln's memorial with Brian and Angie

- Being able to pay for a wonderful anniversary vacation to the Bahamas with my amazing boyfriend back in October. It was just what we needed to re connect and get away from work. (goal next year is to go to Italy)

And most importantly, my amazing boyfriend, Brian. Even though we live a few states apart and are long distance right now, I can’t imagine my life without him. I can tell him everything and even though we don’t always agree on everything, I like to listen to his opinions and hear his advice. Hopefully one day soon we’ll be able to live together in the same state.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bahamas Part 4: Day Trip North and Fish Fry

You can catch part 1 here, part 2 here and how our first day trip (part 3) went here.
                Our second day trip, we headed up to the Northern part of the Island. Just to show you where on the island we were headed, here is a map with the area we visited circled.

An hour into our drive, we arrived at our first stop, the unmarked trail to the Queen’s bath. I was glad that I decided to wear my sneakers for this path as the rock/coral was very sharp at the bottom of the Queen’s bath. We watched, mesmerized, as the waves crashed into the rocks. 

Below is why this area is called the Queen's bath. This is the soaking tub, but with the many black sea urchins, we did not go into the water. 

bridge at Queen's bath

love how I was able to capture the waves crashing behind us

best photo of the waves crashing

I’m not sure how long we spent there, but I’m sure we could have stayed there much longer, just watching the waves. I believe we were there sometime in between low and high tide. It’s more dangerous at high tide, but I read reviews that it is cool to go at both high and low tide and see the differences.
                We then drove another half mile North and came to the Glass window Bridge. With that name I thought you might be able to see through the bridge, but really the name means the bridge separates the Atlantic and Caribbean Sides of the Island. You see the teal blue color of the Caribbean on one side and the darker blue on the other, being the Atlantic. It’s amazing to see the two of them meet and still have the violent crashing of the waves on the Atlantic side and the calm Caribbean Sea on the opposite side and the color contrasts are amazing!!

Atlantic Ocean

Caribbean Sea

                After that short visit, we drove farther North and decided we’d go to Harbour Island for the afternoon. We took a short ferry ride over to the island. We then rented a golf cart, as this is the most common transportation around the island and drove around the 3 mile island. I couldn’t believe how close the houses were to each other. It seemed like they really try to fit as many houses as possible on this small island. It was so different from Eleuthera.
                We found a little cafĂ© for lunch where I got a hamburger and Brian got a lobster salad. We stopped at a couple beaches, but didn’t bring our swim suits and stuff with us, so we didn’t swim unfortunately. I guess if we decide to visit that island again, we’ll definitely need to bring our swim suits as the beach was pretty much the only activity we found to do.
the streets on Harbour Island

the beautiful pink sand beach

a little downward dog and yoga on the beach

This island was very much for resorts and people with lots of money. When we stopped at a grocery store for water, we were amazed at the selection of food and they were apparently only at 60% of their usual inventory. The grocery store was much bigger than the one on Eleuthera and offered more, but the prices were still high since all the items are shipped over. The advantage of the high prices for me was that I wasn’t as tempted to buy things. I did buy a couple apples, an avocado and water from that store though.
                After a couple hours on the island and enjoying the beaches, Brian let me drive the golf cart back to the docks for a ferry ride back to Eleuthera. After getting off the boat at Eleuthera, we started driving back to the cottage and stopped at Surfer’s Beach along the way which may be next to Double Bay Beach as there was a spot that looked like that with the coral and waves crashing. There were many beautiful high waves, but no surfers in site. 

surfer's beach

double bay beach?
We enjoyed watching the waves and getting some pictures before leaving that beach.

                On our way through Governor’s Harbour, Brian picked up some fresh fish down by the water. You pick out a fish and then they cut it up for you right in front of you. Again, picture fail on this one, but I didn’t really want to watch the fish being chopped up either. 
                 Our last two days were full of fish with Brian’s fresh fish and then the Friday fish fry on our last night, which was also enjoyable. We actually met a nice older couple vacationing on the island from Colorado. The somewhat scary part was that the guy started his career working on oil fields (like Brian) about 30 years ago and the woman worked in payroll (while I work in accounting). So we all enjoyed talking to one another while enjoying our food. I may not have taken a picture of Brian’s fresh fish, but I made sure to take one of the fish at the fish fry as they literally gave you a fish (this is why I decided on the bbq chicken which was also delicious).
Brian's fish

my chicken
And that ends our wonderful Bahamas vacation. It was hard to get back into the swing of things at home and the cold weather and someday we hope to go back and enjoy this relaxing island again.

Bahamas Part 3: Day trip South

You can catch part 1 here and part 2 here if you missed them.
                Our cottage was perfectly located in the middle of the island. It was about an hour and a half to either end of the island, so that called for a couple day trips. In the morning, I packed up the cooler with food for lunch and we headed out.
                Our first day trip was to the southern end of the island. Brian had read some articles from The Island school in Cape Eleuthera and wanted to check it out. I didn’t know about all the research done at the school and Brian was more interested in that, but I did love all their eco friendly designs for the buildings. 

ceiling of one of the Island schools buildings, isolated with denium

kitchen, wood cabinets made from an invasive pine tree in the Bahamas and counter made from recycled parts, imported from the USA

            We also got a tour of their garden area where they grow the food they eat in the dining hall and the layout of the campus. It’s a small school with only about 50 students. It appears to be a very close community and internet is not even allowed for students on campus. This means they really dig deep into their many hands on projects. The Island school is definitely a unique experience. Each student is required to get their scuba certification, go on an 8 day kayak trip and do a 48 hour solo project during their semester. Students also train to either swim 4 miles or run a half marathon at the end of the semester, by swimming or running and doing other exercises each morning. I have to say that is quite intense!

At the school, there are always alumni returning to visit the current students and offer advice and professors that visit the campus as well. I was glad we stopped there for a tour to learn more about the island and culture.

                After our tour, it was lunch time and I was hungry, but wanted to wait until we arrived at LightHouse beach on the East side of the southern tip. However, we got a little lost trying to get there and ended up back in Rock Sound, knowing we were too far.

We decided to stop for lunch (so much for the lunch I packed, we ate that later for dinner) at a restaurant called Sammy’s Place that we read good reviews on in the guest book at the cottage. The place was definitely good. Brian got peas and rice, cole slaw and fish. I got some chicken and fries. They even happened to have a special that day of chocolate chip cookies. When we paid and asked for some chocolate chip cookies to go, the woman told us that they just had chocolate chips laying around and the cook wanted to make them. They were delicious. I had not really had many sweets all week so it was the perfect treat. I ate them too fact to take a picture. We also made a quick stop to see Ocean Hole.
ocean hole

                After our stop for lunch, we found the long 3 mile bumpy road down to LightHouse. I even got out of the jeep for a bit and walked for a few minutes because I was tired of the bumpy road. After a long, slow and bumpy 3 miles, we finally arrived at the beach. We walked around for a bit and admired the beauty of the beach. The colors of the water and the view from the lighthouse were amazing. We even ran into a teacher from the island school who was supervising the students doing their 48 hour solo project at Lighthouse beach. This is where each student does their solo project. They kayak there in 3-4 days and then for 48 hours are assigned a spot on the beach and keep to themselves. They get a stick of cheese, a bagel and an orange to eat for those 48 hours. It is a time of self reflection. They get a journal to write in, bring 2 sets of clothes, a bug net, sunscreen and a tarp and stay on the beach. The alumni student who gave us a tour said one kid built himself a golf course with coconuts and branches.
                We finally settled on an area to swim and the water was just amazing. The beaches in the Bahamas have the softest sand and the clearest water. 
where we swam at lighthouse beach


the view

the view

bridge by the lighthouse

climbing some rocks

After swimming and taking many pictures, it was time to go back down that awful 3 mile road, but it was greatest feeling when we finally saw paved road ahead and made our way back to the cottage for dinner.
the main road on the island