7.27.2013

A week in CanCun - day 4 - Playa del Carmen

Day 4 T's friends arranged for a beach day at Playa del Carmen. The Moon Palace where we were staying didn't have a good swimming beach, but it's sister resort at Playa del Carmen did! An early morning taxi van ride brought the eight of us to Playa del Carmen where we had breakfast and then got some comfy bed lounge chairs with umbrellas on the beach. The weather was amazing and soon we were all swimming in the turquoise water.
I spent all day hanging out at the beach reading and swimming. Part way through the afternoon some of our group had a bit too much sun and started making their way into the hotel to shower and look around the town. We got to use the showers at the Spa. I loved the beach and stayed there until it was time for dinner. I mean, would you want to leave? Look at where I got to hang out. That's T and I in the middle.
I mentioned a few posts ago how my iPhone went missing (it showed up in lost and found the night before we left!) so I didn't take pictures for most of this trip. Slowly I would see some of them from other people and most of the photos in these posts were taken by T or our friends. And while it might not be the best time to talk about exercise and diet when I am writng about a vacation where I ate a lot of, well, let's call it vacation food, but when I started seeing some of the pictures from this trip I FINALLY started feeling like some of my hard work was starting to pay off.
This picture is my first example.
I always believe that if you smile in a picture, people will look at that first. I always smile in pictures. This one is no exception. That is me on the right, wearing my new favorite, functional and supportive bikini top from Patagonia. It's the Patagonia Women's Reversible Aliam Top and I highly recommend it. It was awesome on this trip!

So there we all are smiling, having a great time at Playa del Carmen and all of a sudden I realize while looking at this picture that I am looking better than I thought I was looking in my head. As in, I was very selfconscious when this picture was being taken because I though I was going to look really big next to my beautiful friends. If you are a girl you might understand these quick thoughts that flash through your brain at times like this. I did what I usually do and just smiled and decided to keep having a good time. But I remembered that insecurity and when I saw this picture I started to feel like all my eating clean and working out was starting to pay off!

Then I saw this picture of T and I and I thought, YOU LOOK GREAT! Keep up the good work!
Nothing like a little photo exercise motivation when you return from vacation! But I digress.

For dinner that night we ate at one of the resort resturants and had some great sushi. The day was one of my favorites and I loved how small the resort was compared to the one we were staying at. I can see how it might be a little mellow for some people, but the day was beautiful and I had a great time enjoying that beautiful spot in CanCun.

7.25.2013

A week in CanCun - day 3

First of all I wanted to let you know my iPhone was found on Day 7 of this trip, but I thought I would mention it now. Thanks for all the notes of well wishing and emails after I lost it.
I have been a little delayed in posting because I have been waiting for some photos from T. I am hoping he will have some for me so I can add them to these posts.

Day 3 started with room service for breakfast and eventually we made it to the pool at the Moon Grand. We thought it was funny that the sign was propped up on the grass like this when we arrived.

The far pool (there are a few pools at the Moon Grand) near the volleyball net is where we stayed this day. The kids had gotten there before us and had some cushion lounge chairs saved. The pool was a nice temperature for the hot and humid day and the swim up bar was pretty cool. There was also a waitress who came around a lot and brought drinks and food we ordered from the grill. Big umbrellas shaded us from the sun if we needed them and I spent most of my afternoon swimming or reading my book.
Eventually I had enough sun and called it a day. We ran into his friends on the way out and T ended up going with them and the kids to the "pool party" at the Sunrise Pool. They all had a great time and told me about it later at dinner. I guess there was a DJ and huge beach balls. All the pools are shallow and only about 4 feet deep. Around the edges of some of them, including the pool at Sunrise is a lip that usually has lounge chairs on it. The lounge chairs sit in about 5 inches of water from the pool. During the pool party the lounges were removed and every one was dancing on the ledge and in the pool. They all had a great time!
That night we went to the grand reopening of the Gondola Restaurant. After dinner we ran into one of the nephew's friends who showed us their presidential suite. Fancy! Not bad for eight guys to share for a week. T and I wandered around the pools at night a bit before heading in. It seemed like all nights were late nights for me in Cancun and this one was the same. When we got back to the room I pre-ordered our breakfast with room service, made use of the fabulous jacuzzi bath, and snuggled into the gigantic king bed. Another day well spent!
Next up: CanCun - day 4

7.22.2013

A week in CanCun - day 2

Day 2 had a bit of a rough start. I had eaten dinner fairly late and I think that caused me to not sleep very well. I am usually a great sleeper! It's a gift. But this night I kept waking up and then I had lost my iPhone so I didn't know what time it was. Eventually it started getting light outside and I knew it was before 6am because T had set his alarm for 6am. I was going running at 7am and the wife of T's friend had said she might go with me. When she didn't show, I headed out on my own.

I know I have mentioned before how much I like to run in the morning when I visit a new place. It helps me find my way around and I get to see the world as it is waking up. My run this morning was a little tainted. I mentioned in day 1 that I had lost my iPhone and I was really feeling it by this point. I usually log my runs and stop to take pictures as I see them. I would be running, see a great picture, and then remember I didn't have my phone. I started to get really bummed out.
BUT, the morning was beautiful and I ran for an hour in a loop that took me along the beach. I figured out the lay of the land and had a pretty good run. My body was not feeling great with the lack of sleep and some poor food and alcohol choices from the day before, but the run helped me get it out of my system. The boys were golfing this morning so I showered and headed over to see what was going on with the girls.

Eventually the girls and I headed out for breakfast. Sometimes it takes girls awhile to get ready..... I am not sure if I have mentioned it before but we were staying at the Golf Villas at the Moon Palace. These are a little removed from the rest of the resort and each room comes with it's own golf cart to get around in. I know, crazy. So, for the most part, we drive the golf carts everywhere. There are special golf cart paths around the resort and all kinds of shuttles for people to get on. Only the guest staying at the Golf Villas get their own golf cart, everyone else takes a shuttle which is not a big deal because there are a lot of them and any time one is driving by and they see you sitting, they ask if they can help you and offer you a ride. You don't need to walk anywhere if you don't want to. As I am usually a walker, this seemed really strange to me at first.

On our way to breakfast I checked with Public Relations to see about my phone but no one had turned it in. After breakfast there was a bit of "what should we do" and I decided to head to the quieter pools while the girls headed to a bigger pool. The pool I headed to was playing music and I decided I needed some quiet so I found a lounge on the beach. After a few hours of reading I headed to my Spa Appointment!

So the resort is "all inclusive" but that doesn't really mean you can have everything you want all the time. Instead they have almost everything included but then have "resort credit". Resort credit can be used for excursions, most spa treatments, golf (if it is not part of your package), wine upgrades at dinner, and a few other gift like things. For our one week trip we got $2000 in resort credit of which $750 could be used at the Spa. That credit was going to be used! I had booked a Hot Stone Massage and spent a few hours at the Spa. It was very nice.

That night we had dinner at Momo Teppanyaki, the "Japanese"restaurant. After that we explored a bit of the resort and it reminded me of Vegas is a strange way. The big, over the top architecture, alcohol available everywhere, the whole "don't leave" vibe. Maybe I was tired, but that was a vibe I was getting. Maybe I should say Vegas for people with families because I saw a lot of sleeping kids, but not nearly as many really drunk people.

I think T and I headed to bed after midnight (late for me). I realized my phone was gone by this point and decided to enjoy the rest of my time. The next day was going to be a pool day. To be sure we started it out right, I ordered Room Service for breakfast! I know, high roller.....
Next up: CanCun - day 3

7.21.2013

A week in CanCun - day 1

Some friends of T's talked us into going to an all inclusive resort for a week with them and their family. All inclusive is not how we usually travel, but we love these friends and thought, why not, let's do it!
Day 1 was the travel day. We started in style by taking a "party bus" to LAX. T's friends have two daughters who both brought a friend. And one of their nephews came with seven of his closest friends to celebrate their high school graduation. At first I was a little worried about this, but the boys had been here before and were not planning on hanging out with us much. So at 6am we boarded the bus for LAX.

The inside the airplane happy campers shot of us!
We arrived in CanCun and were picked up by three SUVs. Turns out T's friends are high rollers at the resort. After checking it we were taken in a golf cart shuttle to our rooms at the Golf Villas. Our room was amazing! When we opened the door there were rose petals on the floor leading up to the bed with a rose petal heart on it. There was a jacuzzi tub with a bubble bath and more rose petal ready for us. And a bottle of Champagne! T carried me over the threshold and we started taking tons of pictures of our room. We had dinner reservations with his friends but there was no way we were going to let that tub go to waste! We jumped in and then headed to dinner.
Dinner was at one of the resorts restaurants, Los Caporales, and while I wasn't very hungry because it was so late when we ate, the food and wine were really good.
And now it is time to the big black smudge on this trip. At dinner at this restaurant I am pretty sure I left my iPhone. Like 95% sure. I got back to the room, realized it, and went back to the restaurant, which was closed, but I went in anyway and talked to some employees who didn't have the phone. We checked the table, but is was not there. I went to the front desk and they said no one had turned it in. They told me to talk to public relations in the morning as they were the main lost and found collectors. I checked in with Public Relations and no phone.

At first I wasn't that upset about it. After all, it is just a phone. But then I realized how much I use it when I travel. It had all my fun pictures from day one on it. I use it to talk to my sisters and communicate with T when we get separated. I use the clock feature to see what time it is and use the alarm to wake me up. I use the Nike+ app to log my runs and a bunch of other little details that started to hit home when I realized that someone kept my phone instead of turning it in. And then I was checking my email and had a note from gmail telling me someone was trying to get into my account from CanCun at 11:46pm. Someone who had my phone.

This small part of my trip really sucked. I have this faith that people will do the right thing and I was upset that they didn't. The wife friend went to look for my phone with me and then she ended up giving me a night tour of the resort. We made plans to run in the morning and I crossed my fingers my phone would show up.
Next up, CanCun - day 2

UPDATE:  On Day 7 I found my phone!

7.12.2013

Heading to CanCun!

T and I are heading to CanCun in a few days for a summer vacation unlike any I have taken before.  It is an "all inclusive" resort vacation.  Picture me raising my eyebrow here, but an opportunity presented itself and we decided to go for it. 

We will be staying at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort. I don't golf, but I do spa, so I will be spending a bit of time there as well as exploring the different pools and lounge chairs with the many books I am bringing to read.  I am looking forward to a relaxing time and will let you know how it is.

Now I just need to figure out what to pack.....

7.09.2013

Biking Sherwin Creek Rd.

A few weekends ago the Little Sister and I headed up to Mammoth Lakes for an other biking / hiking adventure.  Last year we did this and it was fun but she might have gotten a bit of altitude sickness.  My bad...  Read the story HERE.

We left at 5am on Friday morning and stopped at Rock Creek Lake and had some lunch and pie at Pie in the Sky.  Every pie was available and we went for the Chocolate Cream and Coconut Cream.  Chocolate Cream is my new favorite.  After lunch we made our way to Hot Creek and hung out.  I was doing my best to avoid any altitude sickness this time!  In the evening we went into Mammoth and had some coffee at Stellar Brews with the Fish Whisperer and his wife.  I am sure T and I will be stopping by here a lot in the winter.  It is a great coffee shop with food, wifi,  and atmosphere.

The next morning we biked Sherwin Creek Rd from the Hot Creek fish hatchery to Eagle Lodge in Mammoth Lakes.
In the summer this trail has a lot of sand and rocks or gravel.  Leaving the fish hatchery it is relatively flat but the sand slowed me down a bit.  After crossing Hwy395 there is a bit of maintained road and then back to the gravel and rocks for a gentle incline up to the trees.  Even though it was "gentle" it was still a good workout for me at altitude.
I would say the Little Sister is much better at biking than I am.  She bikes a lot and was in the lead for most of this trip.  There happened to be a motor-cross event happening that weekend and we would pass busses taking groups out to it on the steepest part of the trail.  Nothing motivates you to peddle like a bus of people looking at you!

When we reached the top of Sherwin Creek Rd in Mammoth Lakes we were at a park and decided to follow a bike path to Eagle Lodge.  Eagle Lodge is one of the sky lodges in Mammoth.  More uphill, but we finally made it.  The good news is that the way back was almost all down hill.
I was doing a little research on this trail and found out it is actually a bike trail people use in the winter in the snow.  The term I came across was Fatbike and HERE is a link to a video showing some people biking it in the snow.

I logged the ride with STRAVA, an App on my phone and here are the results below.  The Little Sister  and I laugh because we think this App might be for athletes because we burned way more calories than this has.  But I like the map feature and the milage and time.  I use it for most of my bike rides.
After the bike ride we headed to Hot Creek fish hatchery for Trout Fest and then relaxed and explored Mammoth a bit.

The next morning we were headed home but not before stopping at Rock Creek Lake to hike.  

We tried a hike I hadn't done before to the Eastern Brook Lakes.  We started in Mosquito Flats and then  headed to the lakes.  You can see Eastern Brook Lakes in the upper right of this map.
The mosquitos were having the Little Sister for breakfast so about 15 minutes into our hike we switched tops so she could be a little more covered.  She said it helped.
We emerged at the Eastern Brook Lakes and were not disappointed.  It was a fairly easy hike for what we found.  We walked around two of the lakes and only ran into a few people on our way out.  The wind picked up a bit and that helped keep the mosquitos occupied.
Overall is was a nice weekend with some biking and hiking.  For future trips, I think I will try to find some activities to do in the evenings that are out of the house.  That way I can see a different side of the Eastern Sierra!

7.04.2013

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Today I will be rocking the vintage, Great Aunt Hilda dress, BBQing burgers with T and my sisters, and enjoying the festivities in the neighborhood. I hope you have a great 4th of July too!

7.03.2013

UPDATE: Summer schedule (July)

Welcome to July!  Summer is speeding away.  My original summer schedule was a little ambitious, but I was able to stick with most of it. 

I made it to Hot Yoga and finished Jillian Micheal's Ripped in 30 DVD.  I was even getting in some time at the pool until it was closed due to some baby ducks making it their home.  I was studying Italian at least three times a week and working on my Etsy project until the Education classes started.  When that happened, my schedule fell apart.

Now, this was my fault.  I knew these education classes were going to be hard and time consuming.  I think I was fooling myself when I did the original schedule and gave myself one hour a day to work on them.  One hour was not enough.  I also started Phase One of the Kitchen remodel and that kind of took over the last two weeks in June. 

I did work on the use it or lose it part of my week and have been clearing out some of the clutter in my life.  At least that worked out.  So over all I probably got a C+ when it comes to following my schedule, but only because of the Kitchen remodel.  Now I am going to revise my schedule for July!

The month of July is going to be a little different because the Kitchen remodel will probably go for the first two weeks and then T and I are heading to Mexico for a week!  I am doing the 30 Day Shred again and will keep up running with the Middle Sister on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  I have two more weeks of Education classes and then I am back to the Etsy project with a vengeance and will jump back into studying Italian. 

The June schedule got me to yoga and to complete Ripped in 30.  It kept me focused and now I am ready to tone it back a bit for July.  Summer is speeding by and I want to make the most of it.  Concerts in the park, farmer's markets, and family dinners have all been a priority in June, and I can't wait to keep that up in the month of July. 

What about you?  Any fun things happening in July?  Any summer schedule changes?  I like to think it isn't just me who changes their mind....

7.02.2013

Happy Dad's Day, Dad!

You would think with my organized Summer Schedule (soon to be updated for July) that I would have made it a priority to continue to blog at least once a week!  The days fly by and next thing I know I am a few days late.  Sorry about that.  I will work on trying to be more on top of it.  

Now I am playing catch-up and see I have a lot of draft posts started and just need to finish them.  Like this one about Father's Day!

Here is my Dad with his Handsome Devil wine and a picture of him with his daughters.  The wine is from his girlfriend and I think it was good.  I am not remembering 100% as a lot of wine was drunk that day......  
We also call this Favorite Uncle's Day and have my Uncle Joe over.  My Dad is the youngest of three boys and Uncle Joe is the middle brother.  They are very close and he is the Uncle I remember growing up with.  We have my Dad, his girlfriend, and Uncle Joe over a lot for Sunday Suppers, and Father's Day was kind of like that but with a little more wine.
I didn't take any pictures it seems that day except the two you see here.  Like I said, lots of wine.  Or I was busy helping to serve everything.... The menu had two items from the Jerusalem Cookbook.
  • Chicken roasted with Jerusalem artichokes and lemon (Jerusalem cookbook)
  • Moussaka
  • Green bean, mixed green salad (prepared by my Dad's girlfriend, Jerusalem cookbook)
  • Regular salad
  • Ice Cream for dessert
  • and lots of wine
While the chicken was not my favorite, everything else was good.  I love getting together over food because everyone eats and laughs and talks and laughs some more.  It was a great Father's / Favorite Uncle's Day.  Now that it is summer, Sunday Supper is on hold.  We  go and have picnics at the concert in the park on Sunday instead!  Food and laughs are still present whenever we get together!