Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Resolution: A Good Morning

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Today I woke up before my alarm.  That never happens.  It was sunny outside and raining at the same time - I love it when its like that!  At the start of the day, I'm usually the type of person to hit my snooze button 3 times, roll out of bed at the last minute and rush out the door about 15 minutes after that.  Mornings are rarely leisurely for me.  But today was different.  I jumped out of bed and told boyfriend that I wanted to leave early to stop at a local cafe, and for some reason he went along with my unusual morning request. 


We popped into Antica and had ham & cheese croissants while I ooh-ed and ahh-ed at all the bakery sweets.  It was nice to do something that early and have the shop all to ourselves. It got me thinking about how sometimes I wish I was a "morning person" who finds the time to make a full breakfast or stop somewhere for cup of coffee.  I've decided it will be my summer resolution to wake up early..  Once a week, for starters. 

Are you a morning person?  
How do you usually start your day? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What I Learned Yesterday



Yesterday I learned

- To stop eating debatable food considering that I live in a 3rd world country. 
- That ER nurses don't plan on telling you if they're about to stick a big needle in your bum, nor do they mention what its for. 
-That I would go crazy as a stay at home individual.

Let me explain why. 

On Sunday we went to a BBQ outside the "city", where the quality of the meat could be considered questionable, if anything.  Now, I'm super paranoid when it comes to nearly expired refrigerated food, but I consider myself quite daring when it comes to eating food in the street here, after all, I ate this fish in a random village and enjoy frio frio on the beach when the source of the ice is unknown.  How this makes sense?  Beats me.  So of course I enjoyed this meaty BBQ and drank lots of rum.  And after 10 months of living here I finally got food poisoning for my care free mistake.  4 AM was not fun and involved the hospital.  Lesson learned.  Moving on.

I spent the day at home, reading blogs, writing emails, translating a law document, reading 50 Shades.  But at 7 PM the craziness set in.  I needed to get out of the house no matter how nauseous I still felt!  So off to the Juice Bar we went, where I slurped down all the fibery fruit that the doctor told me not to consume.  And then I felt nauseas again.  So maybe I still haven't learned.  But boy was it delicious.

{His & Hers}

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Night at the Circus


Last week we spontaneously decided to go see the circus thats in town.  The show by Aqua was so much fun!  We ate caramel corn {my favorite} - and settled in to watch acrobats, magicians, dancers, lights and fountains.  


In the 2 and a half hours of action I loved how we heard such a variety of music - classical, Spanish rock, Euro club, opera, Dominican rap - you name it, we heard it!  Unfortunately I didn't get many good shots, but I was able to capture this with a video; the colors are a little blurry but you get the idea.

video

Have you been to the circus?  
I can't wait for the next one.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Grappa

Last Saturday night..

Grappa
-We sipped passionfruit sangrias while trying not to laugh at the overly attentive Fabio-type maitre d'.

-We shared sushi and a sampler platter which included a ceviche marinated in coconut milk - yum!  

-We admired the interior design and chandeliers and brick walls that felt so much like Europe.  

-We talked about urine therapy, which is quite gross and should probably not be discussed over dinner at a fancy restaurant.


But most importantly, 
we had the best dessert I've ever tasted in the DR!  

The Volcán de Dulce de Leche.  

Gooey caramel oozed everywhere and although it looked like a puddle on my plate it was delicious and buttery and the perfect pair for its vanilla ice cream.

Puddle built with love

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Year to Better Skin

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On my 25th birthday this year I decided that it was time to start taking better care of my skin.  I've never had problematic skin per say, just the occasional breakout and general characteristics of combination skin.

Living in a tropical climate has improved my skin, but after seeing this picture of a woman who spent years with one side of her face in the sun I realized how much I should be more cautious with my skin now and wear sunscreen to the max.  Although I don't usually do posts like this, these products are really working for me so I thought I'd share!

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Ok, maybe its not the cleanest product when compared to the Burt's Bees I've been using all my life, but I believe this bar has been the #1 factor in clearing up my face.  After running long runs in the heat, this simple but powerful product is all I need to thoroughly cleanse my face and prevent post workout breakouts.  Plus, its cheap and lasts, like, forever.

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I had never heard of Josie Maran products before I read about them on another blog.  After scanning through tons of comments of fellow users talking about how much they love this moisturizer, I thought I would give it a try.  It leaves my skin feeling soft and glory all day long.  It is paraben free and your significant other will love the smell of it.  Find it at Sephora.

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The last time at Whole Foods I was recommended this eye cream [even though its under $20!].  It is really brightening even though it doesn't even mention anything about brightening.  Its light and I love the way it absorbs into my skin.  Perfect for early mornings!

This is not your average eye makeup remover - it doesn't feel oily nor slimy and it actually works!  The towelettes are really useful and the packaging is great for travel.  So far its been the only way that I can get every last trace of eyeliner and mascara off, and in a gentle way to boot!

Any skincare products that I should know about?  
I'm in the market for a new face mask.. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Hawaii, 1990
DePaul graduation, 2009

Barcelona, 2010
Orlando, 2012
- Baba -

Thank you for always putting your family first.  Thank you for believing in me and supporting me in all of my decisions - even if they might mean that I live thousands of miles away from you.  Thank you for helping me live the life I want to live.  Thank you for being you.  

Happy Father's Day.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Wish List

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According to the books summer starts on June 27th, but living in a tropical country means summer is already here!  Its been HOT around here lately and its been making me think about summer plans.

Things on my wish list this summer: 

Visit Las Terrenas.  Its located in the last main region of the Dominican Republic that I have left to visit and its supposed to be one of the best beach areas in the country.  After the beach in Punta Cana, I can't imagine it gets much better but I'm dying to find out!  

Make homemade mango salsa.  This one looks easy enough.

Swim in the river at the finca; its too cool and refreshing not to.  


Read, read, read.  Finish the 50 Shades trilogy and get a head start on the beachy reads that are sitting on my bookshelf, like Big Girl and The Lies that Chelsea Hander Told Me.  

Go to the zoo!

GREECE.  I might get to go this August and I really hope I do because its been nearly two years since I've last graced the island of Santorini!  I'm already envisioning long days at the beach followed by fresh fish and a big Greek salad.

Oia, Santorini
What are your summer wishes? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Mini Weekend in a Day

My favorite things to do on the weekends here are to discover new shops and eateries and to go to the beach.  For that reason, last Thursday was a perfect day!  It was a bank holiday here in the DR which I had completely forgotten about until someone reminded me of it on Tuesday.  Oh, the joy it brought me knowing that I'd get a mid-week break!  

Antica counter
It was a lovely, leisurely day.  We slept-in late, and then went to Antica, a brand new bakery/cafe in our neighborhood for brunch.  It was so tiny and so full of croissants and cakes, it reminded me of Europe.  We shared a cream cheese croissant, veggie and parma ham sandwiches, and a slice of passionfruit cheesecake!  Everything was excellent, and even the croissant - the most simplest of foods - was bursting with flavor.


In the afternoon we went to Juan Dolio beach, about 40 minutes outside the city.  The water was like bathwater and I just strolled right in without any hesitation at all - I think it was the warmest sea water I have ever swam in my life!  Its nice to know that the heat around here lately has been good for something :)  The beach was packed with people because of the holiday, but I was so engrossed in 50 Shades Darker that I didn't notice the crowd.  For 50 Shades readers - the 2nd book is much better than the first!

Sunset on the Beach

Monday, June 11, 2012

Country Living in the DR

Many people from Santo Domingo also have fincas {farms} outside of the city in the countryside.  Going out to the finca is like an escape from city life, and is usually the home of families during long holiday weekends or the meeting place for BBQ's on Sunday afternoons.  

For me, I'm starting to love going to the finca just as much as I love going to the beach on weekends.  Boyfriend's family has an incredible finca with a big river to swim in, but since boyfriend isn't a fan of "the country" we don't get to go as often as I'd like.  Last weekend, however, I managed to convince him to take me to his cousin's finca, a quick 40 minute drive away. 

Some pictures from the day:

Drinking Mamjuana
Mamajuana is an interesting blend of strong alcohol.  These concoctions usually begin with a wine or rum base, and then honey, medicinal plants/weeds, and sometimes even sea creatures are added which are then left to marinate inside forever.  I'm usually not a fan but this one was quite delicious!

Munching on tropical fruit from the yard
Whenever at a finca, I'm always eating all kinds of fruits that I don't know the names of.  I try to look them up with their local names, but I really believe that they simply don't exist in English since they are not eaten in English speaking countries! This fruit was crunchy and juicy, not really sweet and not really sour.

Pool on a Sunny Day
In the country near Santo Domingo there are no beaches and few rivers, so this is the way you cool down on a hot day.  This toddler deep pool was big enough for about 8 people, and after running a 10K that morning, it felt so nice to just sit in this cold water and chill, literally.

Fresh corn
Probably what I love most about being at a finca is eating all the food that is grown no more than 20 feet away from me.  Whether its poultry or fruits & veggies, most likely everything you will eat will be the freshest you'll ever taste.  This corn was plucked about 10 feet from our pool and was thrown on the barbecue.  Delicious.

Hen eating the cat's food
No comment on this one.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A 10K in the Botanical Gardens

So far this month has been so full of fun events that I haven't had any time to blog!  An early morning 10K was one of the highlights of last weekend.  

Jardín Botanico - Santo Domingo
The running start time was at 7:30 AM, and this time we remembered that we should arrive early.  Good thing we did because the event was packed with people!  I hadn't done my research for this race so I definitely was not expecting the huge tents, loud music, and big stage [usually races here are very low key].

Done!
The race was at the Botanical Gardens of Santo Domingo.  There were little signs along the path to mark each kilometer.  After the first kilometer I thought "Wow, with the pretty trees to look at and the curvy road, I can easily get through 9 more of these!"  And then came kilometer 2 where the hills really began.  The remainder was full of steep hills and the humidity from all the greenery surrounding us was killing me.  

At kilometer 7 I suddenly felt a burst of energy.  We were making great time in comparison with our last 10K and the road was {temporarily} flat.  But at kilometer 9 the steepest of all inclines came and all I could think was "WHO PLANNED THIS ROUTE?!  Why would they save the hardest part for last?!" It felt like the longest kilometer of my life and it took every last ounce of energy to not start walking.

Running for Diabetes
In the end we finished with nearly the exact same time as our previous 10K, but considering the terrain I feel we did a much better job!  I think drinking less water during this race actually helped me, so I hope to remember this next time when I'm wanting to chug down a gallon at every chance they give us.

It always boggles me how there are so many OLD people who run races and marathons, and the majority do a much better job than we do!  A thinks its because they've had more practice, and that the older we get the easier and faster we will be as well.  But aren't people generally in the best shape of their lives when they are younger as opposed to older?  

Thoughts?  I do hope he's right!