Month: April 2018

Miami & Cruise Vacation

A peek into one of my favorite vacations I’ve had in awhile! Hopefully this will inspire your next trip. This is going to be a long post, too, so bear with me.
Miami Beach Coast, Florida (Photo by Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images)

Miami

First of all, if any of you guys have never been to Miami, you need to go like now! It’s so beautiful and there’s so many cool places to check out!

We flew from Baltimore to Miami on Saturday and got in around the same time we needed to to check into our hotel. Our hotel was Downtown Miami and was perfect because it was right across the street from a Checkers and a Publix so we had easy access to anything we needed!

I’m a planner when it comes to planning out vacations or to-do lists so I had a loose outline of what we were going to do each day, so that we could make the most of our time!

Little Havana

As soon as we got checked into our hotel, we got a ride over to Little Havana to have lunch. If you like Cuban food, especially Cuban sandwiches, I would recommend going to Doce Provisions. It’s a small and authentic Cuban restaurant where we had our lunch out on their patio. It was such a relaxed dining environment and experience!

The food did not disappoint. We ordered the chorizo croquettes as an appetizer and I ordered a Cuban sandwich – these are definitely the basics that anyone should try! I highly recommend these menu items as well as the restaurant! All the staff were extremely friendly and everyone spoke English and Spanish.

We didn’t walk around Little Havana much because getting into the town, it wasn’t what I was expecting. All these websites told me it was a must-see when visiting Miami, but I would definitely just go for the restaurant. It wasn’t as touristy as I was expecting.

Credit: The Clevlander Hotel
Nightlife

Since we arrived in the late afternoon, we didn’t have time to hit South Beach for the day but we made it for the nightlife scene. We decided to go to The Clevelander, which is one of the bars I went to a couple of years ago on Spring Break. The Clevelander was also one of the spots Bob’s parents recommended us going to. We each had to pay $10 cover to get in (a little bitter that ladies weren’t free like last time I was there but $10 isn’t bad!). The Clevelander is a hotel first and foremost and has a pool in the courtyard that they cover and use as a stage at nighttime. There’s a huge bar, bottle service, and a DJ on stage with some dancers.

Bob and I pregamed hard and had ourselves such a good time there! Our drink of choice is Red Bull Vodkas (horrible I know) so we got our fair share and made some drunken friends, who were previously trying to hit on me when Bob stepped out to the bathroom for like a minute (awkward!!). It was the same as I remembered it: busy, fun, wild, just a good time for an outdoor club/bar. There’s only a limited number of tables throughout and most are reserved for those fancy people that can afford bottle service. The rest of us peasants have to stand on the dance floor, dancing occasionally, to have some room to ourselves.

Once we got back to the hotel, we took full advantage of the Checkers across the street. This was the first time I had ever been and it was delicious!

Brunch

We love to do brunch whenever we get the chance to, so I figured it was only necessary to do a brunch while we were in Miami. It was Bob’s choice since I had made arrangements for Doce Provisions in Little Havana the previous day. He chose Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables, another Miami neighborhood. It was open and airy on the inside which was a great way to enjoy the nice weather. The interior was unlike I’ve ever seen before here in Maryland. It was so nice to get into a different atmosphere!

First and foremost, Bulla Gastrobar caters to Spanish dishes; however, some of the Dulces (Sweets) on the menu cater to standard breakfast finds: waffles, pancakes, etc. I ordered their Hazlenut Waffles and Bob got a pork hash meal. Bob and I ended up sharing our entrees because his was so (unexpectedly) good that I had to have some, so in turn, I needed to share my meal. We also opted for Bottomless Brunch which was around $35 in addition to the entree. Their bottomless included mimosas AND sangria.

You’re allowed to stay for 2.5 hours with the bottomless brunch and we definitely pushed that boundary! The staff, especially our waiter, was so accommodating that he let us stay as long as we pleased. It was hard to leave with the good food, good drinks, good conversation, and even better atmosphere! I strongly suggest checking this place out!

South Beach

After brunch, we got beach-ready and ventured back to South Beach. It was raining off and on for a little so when we finally made it to the beach, it was a little gloomy. Still fun though! We went to Nikki Beach, which was a nice bar on the beach. They had beds and cabanas on the sand where you could hang out with your drinks, where we ended up after sitting on the beach got too cold.

The rain cooled everything down so it was no longer warm I was curled up on the beach with a towel to stay warm – pathetic, I know. That’s when we decided to just chill on the beds until we were ready to leave.

This doesn’t sound like it was much fun but how can you go wrong with the ocean, drinks, no work (!), and your favorite person by your side? It was a win for me!

Publix Nightlife?

That night we weren’t feeling up to going out which was for the best since we had to catch our cruise the next morning! We walked across the street to Publix to get some wine, chicken wings, potato salad, macaroni salad, and beer for Bob to just have a quaint night in the hotel. Honestly, I fell asleep right after we ate at about 9:30pm.

Credit: Royal Caribbean Incentives

The Cruise

Basics

I’ve been on a couple cruises on my day, on Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian, but have always wanted to try Royal Caribbean. I talked with Bob and we decided this would be a fun and different vacation to go on together, especially because Bob’s never been on a cruise before!

I decided a shorter cruise was probably better for a first-timer so we chose the 4-night cruise to the Bahamas and Key West. The cruise was out of Miami which is why we decided to go down a couple nights early. It left on Monday and returned on Friday, stopping at Nassau, Cococay (Royal Caribbean’s private island), and Key West.

Nassau

Nassau can be a little intimidating if you’ve never been here before. Luckily, I’ve been here before so I knew what to expect. As soon as you get into the city, there’s a market with lots of different vendors trying to sell their touristy items as well as a few ladies who are just begging to braid your hair. Steer clear of getting your hair braided. If you’re not used to it, you won’t like it.

I would suggest booking an excursion if Nassau is one of your ports of call because then you will be taken directly to a nice beach for the day. We opted out of doing any beach excursions because I wanted to take Bob to Senor Frogs, a popular and pretty wild bar on the water. They have the yard drinks that seem huge but are actually a rip off (tested at home). Stick to getting a large drink of your choosing because you’ll have more alcohol than what comes in a yard drink, even though it looks bigger (very deceiving!)

In the evening, we booked a sunset cruise excursion. We were taken on a glass bottom boat around Paradise Island as the sun was setting to get a closer look at the mansions and of Atlantis. Our guide told us all the celebrities and interesting people that own these places or have owned them in the past, which was pretty interesting. We came back around to dock as soon as the sun was setting which created beautiful pictures and a great sight to see.

Cococay

Cococay is Royal Caribbean’s private island and was my favorite stop on the cruise. Right now they’re in the midst of building a dock for the boat so the cruise is pretty much anchored in the middle of the ocean. Smaller boats pick up groups from the ship to shuttle them out to shore. I was prepared for this because we had to do the same thing on my last cruise. PSA: for those of you who get seasick, I strongly suggest taking something for this smaller boat shuttle because it moves a lot more than the cruise ship does.

The island is absolutely breathtaking, with light colored sand and the bluest (and clear) water. As soon as you get into the water, you can see all the fish swimming around you. There are lots of chairs laid out on the beach so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything or getting the exclusive chairs as an excursion. You just have to check out towels on the ship to bring over and you’re set!

Lunch is also provided on the island so there’s no need to go back to the ship. And if you have the drink package, drinks are also available. Bob and I wanted these pineapple drinks that cost about $11 extra, but totally worth it for all the island vibes!

We were only able to enjoy this port for a couple of hours because it started to get too windy for the boat shuttle. Royal Caribbean made an announcement over the speakers that we all had to get in line to go back. Still an enjoyable day and unlimited pool time back on board!

Key West

Key West is beautiful and there are so many attractions! All the excursions listed seemed really interesting and fun but Bob and I decided to do our own touristy things. We went to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum showcasing the treasures Mel Fisher found from the Atocha shipwreck. This was super interesting to see how much they uncovered from this shipwreck near the Keys.

We walked along Duvall street and around Mallory Square, where we visited the aquarium and tried conch fritters. We finished up our trip by trying the chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick! Delicious!

Overall Cruise Experience

The boarding process was the smoothest I have honestly ever experienced. I wish that Bob had been on other cruises prior because he couldn’t understand how shocked I was that we got on the boat within 15 minutes, tops.

I loved the Royal Caribbean cruise! The service and staff were absolutely amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything more! Our room was cleaned a couple times a day and was spotless. Dinner in the main dining room was always superb and our servers (shoutout to Mario and Nicola!) were so attentive, accommodating, and just fabulous to be around! My favorite meals were the Chicken Cordon Bleu, and the Vegetable Korma and my favorite appetizer was the French Onion Soup.

There are endless amounts of things to do onboard at nighttime as well! So many bars as well as a casino to gamble all your money away (I won $60 on the slots!). The theater group they have onboard is awesome and the singers and dancers are all so talented. The Cruise Director is hilarious and puts on great adult only shows, especially the Love & Marriage Game Show, which was their take on the Newlywed Game. I’ve been telling everyone about this show – it was so funny! There’s dance parties, karaoke, comedy shows, trivia, literally anything that will keep you busy as long as you’d like! The only disappointment I had was not making it to more events!

Enchantment of the Seas was one of my best cruise experiences so far! Remember this ship the next time you’re booking a cruise!

Notes:

Reservations: I had previously (at least a week prior or so) gone on Bulla Gastrobar’s website to make a reservation for brunch. Seating and service will go a lot smoother if you make a reservation beforehand. With Doce Provisions, we didn’t need to make a reservation. On their website it states that you will if you have a party of 8 or more.

All opinions are solely my own. This is not a paid promotion in any way.

Vlog

Check out my vlog of the trip:

Project Comeback and Setbacks

I’m here to show you that life’s setbacks can transform into major motivation into your very own comeback. 

Setbacks

Just when you’re on a roll with crushing your goals and feeling great about everything you’re achieving, life seems to get in the way. Life happens, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing!

At the beginning of the new year, my boyfriend and I started to set each other accountable for our workouts and our meals. It’s always great to be on a fitness journey with someone else so the two of you can stay motivated together! The past 4-6 weeks we really kicked things into gear to prepare for our Miami/cruise vacation we went on last week.

Before going on vacation, we planned to go to the gym on the cruise at least 3 times during the week. How many times did we actually go? 0. And I packed my small resistance bands and everything!!

We also weren’t prepared for the amount of food served on board. There was food available 24/7 and dinner every night was a 3-course meal including a starter, main course, and dessert.

We had an unlimited drink package on the cruise that we definitely took advantage of as well.

I knew we would indulge a little here and there on vacation but we definitely over-indulged.

I wanted to write this to show how easy it is to have a set back or a misstep when it comes to obtaining your fitness goals, that’s why it’s called a lifestyle! It’s more fluid than being one set, determined path to take.



Vacation is a time to indulge and take advantage of being in new places, especially if you’re traveling abroad! Don’t be so hard and restrict yourself! Don’t hold back from tasting the foods or wines, etc., from your destination because you might miss some pretty important memories. This goes for working out, too. If you have time to squeeze in a quick workout – go for it girl! If not, don’t stress! You’ll have more time to enjoy yourself and your surroundings! There is plenty of time to get back in the routine once you get home.

Project Comeback

And this brings me to what Sarah’s Day would call a “Project Comeback”. Basically, I’m aiming to get back in my healthy, everyday routine and stick with it. My goals are:

  1. Workout at least 5 times a week, with at least 1 rest day
  2. Meal prep each week to have healthy meals ready
  3. Get back to my skin care routine (failed at this during vaca)
  4. Consistency with blog posts and creating content

These are my personal goals and you should tailor your goals to match what you want to see in your own Project Comeback. I just want to be more consistent and get back to where my routine was previously because I really enjoyed where I was at.

I hope this holds me accountable of my goals and helps someone start their own Project Comeback! It’s never too late to start back up after taking some time off. We’re all in this together and there’s no day like today to get fit!

Stay tuned to read about my trip and watch a little vlog of what we did!

Vacation Essentials

All the beauty, health, and fitness items that are a MUST when traveling!

 

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I are heading to Miami for a couple days and then embarking on a cruise to the Bahamas and Key West. I couldn’t be more excited! This is the first real vacation we’ve had in two years and I am just dying to leave now!

I cannot wait to get a lot of relaxation, sun, and warm temps! We have everything mostly planned out and it’s filled with great food and plenty of beach time. I plan to blog about my vacation in paradise as well as upload a travel vlog if anyone is interested!

Vacation is all about enjoying yourself and since we live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it’s okay to take the time to indulge. Don’t feel guilty about it! The biggest regret you’ll have is holding yourself back from missing out on these great opportunities and experiences. You don’t have to over-indulge, but have some drinks and get those crazy cool donuts you can’t get anywhere else. This is why it’s called a balanced lifestyle. There’s always room for those sweet treats in your diet.

I wanted to share some of my must-have items while traveling. These are the beauty, fashion, and fitness items I can’t leave my home without. Some of these are no-brainers but just as important!

Sunblock/Sunglasses/Coverup

I cannot stress enough the importance of sunblock and wearing it at all times when you’re outside sitting in the sun, no matter what your skin type is or who you are. I like the cream based sunblock as opposed to the spray because I always miss spots with the spray!! My favorite sunblock is Hawaiian Tropic because it has tropical scents like coconut instead of the standard sunblock-smell.

Sunglasses are kind of a no brainer but you need to protect your eyes just like you would your skin!

I used to think coverups were a waste but they’re really handy when you’re trying to go to a beach bar or a restaurant or other public place, it’s nice to just throw something on and still look presentable/allowed in the establishment. I like the coverups that resemble actual dresses because they’re so easy and look like you’re actually dressed! LOL

Eye Mask/Pillow/Sweatshirt

Essentials for flights mainly. I make sure I have a sweatshirt with me (even in the summer) because it doubles as a handy blanket for chilly flights. Eye mask will keep out the unwanted sun from your flight neighbors that insist on keeping the window open!



Mini Bands or Resistance Band Kit

If you chose to workout on vacation, bringing mini resistance bands or a resistance band kit is like bringing a tiny gym with you! There are so many exercises you can perform to create a mini workout while you’re away.

Not to mention, there’s always workouts you can do with solely using bodyweight!

BB Cream

BB Cream is the perfect amount of coverup (plus SPF!) to wear on vacation. I hate loading up my face with makeup when I’m out on the beach or hiking or elsewhere when I travel. BB cream gives you some coverage but isn’t as thick on your skin so it can actually breathe.

Book or Magazine

I always keep at least 2 magazines with me when I travel. These are great to read on a flight or just sitting poolside relaxing! It’s nice to unplug yourself and immerse yourself in a story or catch up on the celeb gossip.

Headphones

Essential if your on a long flight or road trip with surrounding unwanted noises, enough said.

Makeup Wipes

Just because you’re off your regular skincare routine, doesn’t mean you should skip out on ensuring that you remove all dirt and makeup from your face. This is important to prevent breakouts. Makeup wipes are the easiest thing to pack and use to quickly get all the gunk off!



Camera

Yes, I still use a camera that’s not attached to my phone! I bought a Nikon camera two years ago, before our trip to Jamaica, to capture breathless pictures of our paradise. I bought this because I’ve been getting into photography since then so don’t think this is a requirement to get amazing pictures. The cameras on phones have gotten pretty damn good too! 

Just be sure to document everything in whichever way you can!

Vitamins

Keep your body regulated when you’re away! Fastest and easiest way? Vitamins! Especially Probiotic vitamins. I found these Purely Probiotic vitamins by Olly at Target. They are good for your immune system and digestive system. Probiotic vitamins well help keep your gut regulated while you’re out indulging in different foods.

Just wanted to show you guys a peak in my suitcase, kinda like those “What’s in my Purse/Gym Bag?” YouTube videos. I hope this helps you for your next vacation!

Stay tuned for my travel vlog 🙂