Riviera Maya, Mexico

Ben and I are back from Mexico! Our vacation was amazing and I really wish we were still there. Alas, back to reality. Sigh.

Highlights:

  • The food was absolutely amazing! We stayed at El Dorado Royale, a gourmet inclusive resort, so the food was top notch. They have 7 restaurants plus a few gourmet corners, and you can literally order as much as you want. The portions are gourmet size, and oh so perfect. We often ordered 3 courses, yum!
  • The weather. Rainy season in Mexico starts in April and lasts for 6 months. We missed it! The weather was beautiful the entire time we were there. Mostly sunny with some cloud cover, 80s, no extreme humidity, and a nice breeze. My hair did hate the slight humidity and the salty ocean breeze though… curl and poof!
  • Lounging by the pool (in one of the many cabanas) drinking unlimited cocktails. They have a signature drink called the “Dirty Monkey” which is ice blended with chocolate and some sort of banana liqueur. So tasty and refreshing!
  • The staff. Everyone went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. I highly recommend going to El Dorado Royale if you’re interested in vacationing in Mexico.
  • Snorkeling at the resort’s beach. Schools of fish galore, and it was so surreal swimming with them all. I’m pretty sure we saw a barracuda. The ocean water was so clear and blue.
  • We only did one excursion and it was to Tulum, an ancient Mayan city. Our tour guide Melina was very knowledgeable and it was all very interesting. Also, the beach at Tulum is ridiculously beautiful so that was an added bonus.
  • And last but certainly not least… quality time with my Benjamin! I love him.

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View all our photos here.

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Soufflé success!

Ben and I went food shopping this afternoon, and we decided to buy 4 ramekins thinking we’d probably need them one day. Then, when we got home I had the bright idea to make chocolate soufflé for dessert. Now, I’ve always been a bit put off by soufflé. I’ve always heard that it’s really difficult to make, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway, especially since I’m big fan of baking.

I found this recipe online, and decided it was the one… mostly because it didn’t require another trip to the store. Well, the results were great! They didn’t rise as much as I would have liked (I need to perfect my folding technique), but the taste was phenomenal… so light and airy!

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I’m proud of myself! Ben and I are considering this our Valentine’s Day dessert :]

The perfect smoothie!

For the past few days I’ve been trying to perfect my smoothie making abilities. I love smoothies and we have an amazing blender that up to this point I’ve rarely used, so I figured it was time to take advantage of it. Not to mention, my lovely friend Hae-jin got me a great smoothie recipe book for Christmas!

Well, here it is folks, the perfect smoothie (at least in my opinion)! I adapted this recipe from one I found online.

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The trick is to use frozen fruit. Here’s what I did:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen berry mix
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 2 packs Truvia

Blend, blend, blend, and enjoy!

Looking to the future…

I like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s rare that anyone keeps them, so I tend to shy away from the tradition. Yet, I have a few goals for the future that I wanted to write down. These don’t need to be checked off my list in 2011, but the sooner the better!

  1. Implement better household organization
  2. Put down new carpet, upstairs and down
  3. Tile the bathroom
  4. Get an iMac

Ben and I have been meaning to do all of the above for quite some time now, but it’s so hard to find the time with our busy and conflicting work schedules (plus, you know… $$$). Nevertheless, we plan to make the time, starting today! We’ll be heading to Target a little later on to get some items to help us organize our closets better. Wish us luck!

This year is going to be grand. I have such a good feeling! It started off with so much love…

For the past few years we’ve been ringing in the new year at our friends Michelle and Steve’s house in New Jersey. I’ve known them both since freshman year of college (Michelle was one of my roommates), and we’ve been great friends ever since. Well, this year was extra special, because at the stroke of midnight Steve popped the BIG question! It was such an amazing moment, and I’m so glad Ben and I were able to share it with them.

I also have a few other friends who are tying the knot this year… Hae-jin and Jacob, Irene and Roger, and Jarrett and Reese. What a big year!

In the midst of all the wedding bliss, Ben and I are taking a trip to the Riviera Maya, Mexico at the end of March. The plan is to relax, relax, relax… I can’t wait to soak in the sun and spend quality time with my Benjamin.

Happy 2011 to you all! I hope this year is everything you want it to be, and more!

Snowpocalypse 2010

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the entire East Coast was hit with a blizzard. I’m in New Jersey visiting my family for Christmas, and the storm hit here around 11AM yesterday.

At around 8PM last night, after it had been snowing all day, my Dad and I ventured outside to take Max (our chocolate lab) for a walk, and the snow was already about a foot high! We had to walk (more like climb) in the street. I haven’t seen so much snow in such a long time. It was so surreal.

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A picture taken last night at the height of the storm.

When I woke up this morning it was still snowing a bit, and a heaping 2 feet lay on the ground! We had plans to start shoveling after breakfast, and I decided to document the process with some pictures and video taken with my new Flip MinoHD (a Christmas gift from Benjamin).

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And the videos… apologies for my finger in the second one, ha!

It’s been so great spending time with my family, and Christmas together was wonderful! Take a look at all the snow pictures here, and also pictures from our Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner here.

Happy New Year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

My neighbor is obsessed with his Chevy Camaro. When the cold hits, he wakes up around 7AM every morning and lets it run for 15-30 minutes. No, he doesn’t drive it… he just lets it run. It’s loud and annoying and wakes me up every single time. No matter how hard I try to sleep in on the weekends, he wakes me up.

Well, I guess it’s cold outside, because this morning it began again. I was rudely awoken at 7:15 after my mind incorporated a strange rumbling I had hoped to forget into my dream.

Needless to say, I’m awake now, but no less thankful on this chilly Thanksgiving morning!

I’m thankful for my amazing, motivated husband, who’s recently been so enthralled with his newest project (more on that soon). I feel so lucky to have such an understanding and patient man to spend my life with, because I’ll admit, I can be really impatient. He’s the one for me, and I feel so blessed.

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I’m thankful for Eegor (you all knew this was coming). He’s my little man, who keeps me such good company every day. Even if I’ve had the worst day, all I have to do is look at him, and he instantly makes me feel so much better. Ben and I never stop laughing and smiling when he’s with us, and it makes my heart so happy.

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I’m thankful for my caring, giving, and loving Mom and Dad. They truly are amazing parents, who shaped me into the woman I am today. I miss seeing them all the time, and I wish they would move down to Virginia (hehe), but I’m lucky enough to still talk to them just about every day. They are home to me, no matter where I am, and I love them both with all my heart.

I’m thankful for my beautiful sister Lydia (or Lida, as I sometimes like to call her). We haven’t always gotten along, but as we get older, we get closer. Despite what she may think, I’ve always looked up to her and I think she’s a wonderful person. I’m thankful that we’re closer now than we’ve ever been.

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I’m thankful for all my wonderful friends, near and far, new and old. You make me laugh, you make me smile, you make my heart sing. Each and every one of you enhance and shape my life in the best way possible. I love you all.

I’m thankful for my extended family. I have so many truly amazing people a part of my life, and it wouldn’t be the same without all of them. Thank you for being my home away from home.

I’m thankful for my job. Working at Grow keeps me on my toes. I’m challenged, and I get to immerse myself into a creative environment on a daily basis. I consider every person I work with a great friend, and for that I’m thankful.

I could go on and on, as it’s clear I’m thankful for so so much. Happy Thanksgiving!

Do it yourself!

When all the wreaths you see at the store are hideous, why not DIY?! Well, that’s what I decided to do when I found this simple and cute tutorial on how to make your own yarn wreaths!

Make sure to visit the link above if you want the step by step process, but here’s how mine turned out:

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All the supplies.

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Just getting started… this part took the longest and was very tedious, but worth it! I alternated between yellow and orange.

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Almost there!

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Two flowers done…

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Ta da!

View the additional photos I took here.

$12 and 3 hours… totally worth it! I’m loving the finished product :]