Belize Vacation Posts: swim with sharks

It sounds entirely dramatic doesn’t it? Swimming with sharks. Trust me though, you want to do this. You need to do this. They’re just nurse sharks, it’s cool.

There are different ways to go about this but I recommend the “full day sail” vs the “half day speed boat” based solely on my personal preference. There are tons of different tour companies and they all go essentially the same three stops on this tour and they all pretty much offer the same two choices of vessel: sailboat or speedboat. We’ve done a sail before, in Key West, and I loved it so we went with that version this time and I’m not sorry. It takes longer going between points but you spend that time just enjoying the ocean. I will say that I wish each area wasn’t as crowded with people but that’s a function of the time of year we went and so maybe go in low season and you won’t be dealing with that issue.

The Sea Dreams set us up with Raggamuffin Tours and while we heard that it might have been better to go with another company, I really loved our captain, Ish. (full disclosure, the ladies at the front desk weren’t as awesome and didn’t outfit us with gear and they had to run us back to the island from the boat to get some, so if you go with them make sure you get your gear!) It was $70USPP for the full day sail which includes gear rental, lunch, snacks, and rum punch. A girl we talked to on the water taxi from San Pedro got taken for $110US for the same deal (not by this company) so you really have to watch what you are being charged.

Raggamuffin Tours also offer a 3 night 2 day sailing adventure trip where they use the big catamaran type of sailboats but for this sort of trip you get one of three sailboats. Ours was the blue boat.
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Since we had to go back for our gear, we lost our first seats at the front of the boat, but we got even better seats (for me) with some shade when we came back.
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The first place you go has this one huge turtle but 16 people crowded around one huge turtle that tries to bite you is not my idea of a good time so I looked around for other things. The bottom here is all shells. In fact they warn you that if you have to step down to do so gingerly and not move your fins because some of them are broken and sharp and could cut through into your feet.
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The next stop is Shark Ray Alley and here the sharks swarm the boats the minute you pull up because they are trained to do so. The boats feed them right from the side
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so we enter the water on the other side of the boat. The day we went was crazy windy and crazy choppy which meant being tossed into each other and tossed face first into a pile of sharks feeding at the side of the boat.
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They could’ve cared less that I was there, honestly, as long as I didn’t go for their food, which of course I did not. I also resisted every urge I had to touch them. It was very hard.

This one swam directly beneath me
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and of course we saw rays too, because why else would it be called Shark Ray Alley?
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I wish I had a photo of a HUGE one that had HELP written on it. I had given the camera over to Willy to record videos at that point. I asked our Captain about it and he smirked but couldn’t explain what that was about.

The last stop is Hol Chan which is Mayan for small channel. This stop is a guided tour and Chilo was the guide for our half of the group. He was awesome at pointing out all the types of fish, the turtles and even went down and got the moray eel to come out of his cave.
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Chilo also offered a free dive through a cave to anyone that was willing to try it. Willy did it and I recorded, you can view it here. I was so excited for him! I mean, what an amazing experience.

And because I’m me, I also had to do the snorkel selfies
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plus just photos of us in the water
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(I’m hugely menacing, fear me.)
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The sun starts to go down as you head back and this is what it looks like on the open water
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and you are drinking rum punch, listening to music, snacking on ceviche (not me) or salsa and chips and
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life is pretty damn good.

Belize Vacation Posts: where we stayed on Caye Caulker

Our final day on Ambergris we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, wandered the beach for a while and then Moe ferried us back to San Pedro to drop us off at the water taxi dock. One woman said it was about a 45 minute boat ride to Caye Caulker but it was really just 25 minutes, so don’t listen to that lady.

Once you arrive there are golf cart taxis waiting to take you to your final destination, they cost $5.00BZ or $2.50US per person. Our hotel the Sea Dreams is located at the far north end of the island right by The Split (or The Cut as our taxi driver told us). The island is very skinny on this end which means you have sunrise and sunset views within steps of you and you also have water essentially on both sides.

I didn’t take many pictures of the Sea Dreams as we heard one of our 14 yr old dogs was holding a hunger strike (and had been for two days) pretty much as soon as we arrived and my mind got yanked out of vacation mode pretty dang quick with that information but let me tell you that Anna, one of the managers, was so caring and gracious and she just took care of everything for us once we decided that it was best for us to just go home a day early. I still can’t even believe how easy she made everything for us, it was so incredibly helpful.

We stayed in The Orchid which gives you your own private porch with chairs and hammocks, a table and chairs inside, a kitchenette which is stocked with Belikin and sodas (and for a totally CHEAP price, half the cost of these items on Ambergris) and coffee with a coffee pot. You can sort of see it in this photo I took one morning at breakfast
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The thatched roof is the Orchid and the hammock is on our porch there.

The breakfast at Sea Dreams is a full breakfast, unlike the continental we had at the Portofino
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it varies day by day but both the items we had (pancakes the first morning and this the second) were very tasty.

Another way that Anna is just the best? They had some issue with the bartender the first night we were there and the bar was closed. Anna felt so bad that it happened on our first night she arranged for us to get these fresh coconuts and put rum in them for us. So kind!
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The view and the swimming right off their dock is pretty amazing. The water is chest high in some places and nice and cool. Plus it’s sandy at the bottom close to the dock instead of filled with sea grass, so it’s really nice to tip toe around and not have to wear water shoes.
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This ray was spotted as we were sitting on the dock talking to some folks, he just went right by.

And this fish is from our first day when we went swimming for a few hours.
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The island itself is just the tiniest beach town you’ll ever see
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with colorful buildings, BBQ pits right out on the beach and people in some manner of bathing suits wandering around at any given point. The Split has a long concrete wall and when we arrived it was draped with bodies, it was pretty much always draped with bodies…except when I walked over there to watch the sunrise.
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apparently vacationing backpackers don’t get up that early 😉

I would love to have a lot of food recommendations for you but because of my stupid shellfish allergy, I wasn’t as freely able to eat as I would’ve liked (next time maybe I won’t forget my freaking epi pen, sigh). We did totally love this little place right by the hotel called Aladdin’s (high TripAdvisor rating too, the owner made sure to suggest we get on there and give us his feedback, he was such a cute dude) that Anna recommended for the hummus but really you want to go there for the babaganoush. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted. They roast the eggplant first and MAN, SO GREAT! Plus we had a nice conversation with the owner and the music was old school rock, which you know we loved.
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and we tried to go to the pasta place that was recommended to us by some folks on our snorkel trip but it’s closed on Friday nights (major bummer). Willy loved the food at Habanero’s, like seriously loved the food and I can attest that the key lime pie is very good.

Jennie had told me how small the Tropic Air operation is on Caye Caulker and OMG, it’s just so hilarious.
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One lone runway, a dirt walkway to get to the plane (which is filled with people y’all, we had to essentially crawl over people to get to the three open seats on the plane going back to Belize) and she called us to board once when there was no plane to even get into, HILARIOUS.

But again, going this way? BEST VIEWS EVER.
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Tomorrow? We swim with SHARKS!

Belize vacation posts: where we stayed on Ambergris Caye

We took our travel recommendations for this trip from Jennie, as I mentioned, and even though I looked into other places to stay, I fully intended on just staying where she and Mike had stayed on their recent visit to Belize. Originally I planned on staying on Ambergris Caye the entirety of our trip, just to make things easier and avoid the whole “repacking a suitcase just to have to use things from it” thing, especially in a beach climate where clothes already used might be sandy or have the slight musty smell. Alas, by the time we could book, The Portofino was booked solid for ONE NIGHT smack dab in the middle of our window. That lead us to decide to just do exactly as Jennie and Mike did and stay on Caye Caulker for the second part of our trip.

Unlike Jennie and Mike, we did not have a Living Social deal for The Portofino but we were able to find a deal on it via Amex Travel. If you have an American Express card, I highly recommend you use their website to look for hotels. This is the third time I have used it to locate a hotel for us and gotten a way better deal than I could find on any of those deal sites. I always have those up as well so that I can compare what’s available to me but just as an example I did this when we went to Arizona and a hotel on Amex Travel was avail to me for $179 a night that was listed on Expedia AS A BARGAIN at $499 a night, so it’s my first stop when looking at hotels now.

Anyway Jennie shared her thoughts about The Portofino in her post about Belize and like her I also emailed them about 1000 times before we arrived and JuanCarlos was nothing but patient and gracious with my questions and requests.
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When you arrive you are greeted right on the dock with cold towels soaked with aromatherapy oils and ushered into the lobby to fill out your paperwork. This sounds a bit tedious but they bring you one of these to make it easier

which you can choose to drink virgin or knock back a swig to allow room for rum…as much rum as you’d like.

Our cabana looked directly over the pool
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and was decorated when we walked in
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In addition to that bit of surprise romance by the hotel, I prearranged a private dinner on the beach (after Jennie recommended it) because they set it up for you free of charge and the day we traveled to Belize was the 9th anniversary of when Willy and I became engaged. I wanted to surprise him so he had no idea and when we were all in the pool that afternoon we could see them setting it up. Everyone else was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, pointing fingers at each other and this lady Courtney started teasing us that we were renewing our vows and just not telling anyone. It was REALLY hard to keep it a secret for like 4 hours until dinner. Ha.
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When I posted the picture on IG, Slynnro mentioned she was afraid of fire and funny story, those palm leaves caught on fire! Several of them burned and floated off onto the sand. Thankfully that’s all that happened but after seeing our dinner another couple was convinced to have the same dinner the next night when it was even windier and the FABRIC melted. There are giant holes in it now.

We got sunburnt our very first day and I think that would be one of my only wishes for change in the hotel: more shade. I would like some umbrellas by the pool or down by the water but I wore my giant sun hat and was more diligent about the sunscreen the rest of the time and am not the one that is peeling right now. We spent a lot of time in the pool
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or reading in a hammock
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I got up at sunrise and did yoga on a mat provided by the hotel
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and even though the breakfast area doesn’t open until 7 they have a self serve coffee area open way earlier outside by the pool so I was able to drink coffee on my porch after yoga and not wake Willy
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We had planned on taking the sea kayaks out but from our first full day on the property we had 20 knot winds and it just wasn’t viable, sadly. Instead we took the beach bikes (I didn’t get the broken one that Jennie had, I did however hit a mothereffing coconut and almost wreck.) over to X’Tan Ha for lunch where I had the weirdest nachos of my life (don’t get them. Willy said the burger was great, get that)
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and we walked to Rojo Beach Bar for dinner where we had an AMAZING veggie pizza. Note: It gets DARK at night, so if you walk to other resorts, make sure you bring a flashlight or have the flashlight app on your phone to get back easily. Unless you eat someplace that will send a boat for you.
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The next day we had the same crazy winds, boo, so we hopped on the hotel boat and went to Palapa Bar for a few hours
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The best area for swimming in the ocean, at the hotel, is from the end of their dock which was under construction during our stay, I’m looking forward to being able to check it out next time, but they do have these amazing hammocks in the shallows for sunbathing.
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and of course you could always just take walks along the beach and check out the scenery
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and when it’s time to go
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you receive a little message from housekeeping and a tray of handmade Belizean soaps to take with you. Lovely.

Belize vacation posts: shopping

I am a person that is definitely pro pre vacation shopping, especially in the case of a beach vacation. I mean these pictures are FOREVER, if your camera doesn’t delete them or if you actually stop having fun for long enough to take pictures, that is. From year to year I never have any idea what is still wearable and will usually need at least a bathing suit or a pair of shorts but most definitely will need sunscreen, ALL the sunscreen and/or a big hat.

The funny thing is as much as my size might vacillate through the years, it turned out that one of the bikini tops I wore on this vacation? I wore on the trip Willy and I took to Key West for our 1st anniversary 8 years ago. I also wore a pair of shorts from our summer vacation for Sprog’s 14th birthday almost 5 years ago. So while this may seem like a lot of shopping, it’s also really just for clothes to last me the summer and beyond obvs, way beyond.

First
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Matty M Ladies Crinkle Skirt from Costco. Yep. This thing is amazing. It’s light as can be, totally comfy and is packable like crazy. You are SUPPOSED to wrinkle it. Wad that bad boy up and toss it in a bag. I wore it on the plane there and home and best choice ever. I am also going to get either the black or blue one as well.

Next
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This is my bikini wardrobe for this trip/summer. Some of it I had, some of it I purchased new.

Land’s End Women’s Dot Bikini Bottom in bright dandelion

Land’s End Medallion Triangle Bikini Top

Ella Moss Cabana Stripe Halter in black I love this top the VERY MOST EVER
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I feel like a total bad ass when I wear it and I don’t care if you aren’t supposed to feel like a bad ass in a swim suit, I do.

The other two bottoms I just snagged at Target, one black and one red with crochet overlining but their website sucks balls, so I’m not linking. If you need plain bottoms, go there buy cheaply but know that the quality is OBVIOUSLY different. I am much more comfy in my pricier “real” suit pieces than the cheapies from Target. Also in the case of the Land’s End stuff? SIZE DOWN.

Then
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We bought these watershoes at Costco but they are no longer avail online. They are made by Speedo but aren’t avail on their site either, I guess maybe check in your local Costco store if you are interested in them. They are very light but with rugged tread. We bought them for a planned ruins/cave tubbing excursion that we never got to take due to coming home a day early.

And
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This is a two part photo. 1) an underwater camera which I thought I was going to give rave reviews and then it reformatted the memory card during our snorkel trip mid stream and so we are sending the sucker BACK TO AMAZON and 2) a camera float which I already loved because we had awesome customer service from the get and then it actually saved the cursed underwater camera so yeah, love the float, not so much the camera.

Nordic Flash underwater camera float qty 2

Lumix TS5
We went round and round on what underwater camera to buy finally settling between this and the Olympus TG2 but the TG2 is actually discontinued because a newer model is coming out in June so we went with this one. We “lost” all of our photos on Monday due to a defective memory card. Friday the camera had a “write error” then reformatted itself and overwrote with new photos. This is after I had started taking the new card out every day and downloading the images to my ipad, after we soaked it and left it to air dry as instructed in the manual any time it was in water…and any time I opened the door to the card and battery I saw not just moisture around the gasket but big water drops. In addition one of my bigger concerns with this camera was ability to take photos in dark conditions because the TG2 has a better aperture and sure enough we had an overcast choppy day on our snorkel trip so a lot of the photos didn’t come out as good as they should have. That said, you will be seeing photos from this camera in the coming days because my excellent husband was able to recover the data off both cards.

This
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Pacifica UPF Shirt I wore as a rashguard while snorkeling. It kept me cool in the sun on the sailboat, it kept me from being burned while snorkeling and when we got into the deeper waters in Hol Chan, I didn’t get cold either. Two thumbs up. I will be buying more.

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Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops in gray (from Costo, of course) I lived in these things. SO COMFY. Will be buying aqua today.

Goddess Garden Reef Safe Sunscreen (we got the sunny body but it’s the same thing) this stuff is REALLY difficult to put on, leaves a whitish sheen to your skin and doesn’t wash off easily but it doesn’t come off in the ocean and I felt reasonably secure I wasn’t damaging the reef because of that so I’ll definitely use it in the ocean again but I’m still looking for a healthy general summer sunscreen for us.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Mineral Tinted Sunscreen I wore this everyday of our vacation. It’s also reef safe (because it doesn’t have the big 4 chemicals) and it’s water resistant. It didn’t break me out which shocked the shit out of me, EVERYTHING breaks me out (except Josie Maran) and I love it so much I am going to just keep right on wearing it.

Birkenstock Kairo Flor T-Strap Black Patent Natalie has these and I fell in love when I saw them. I wore them on the plane and when riding the beach bike about a mile to the resort up the way for lunch one afternoon.

I also bought some misc summer tops from Old Navy and Gap but they were all on clearance and I’m not going to dig through that mess to find them. I will say that I bought a pair of white Diva cut offs from Old Navy and had to return them because of unfortunate tenting in the zipper region so I’d not recommend those, if you are looking for white cut offs.

Also, I grabbed a pair of gray linen blend shorts from Target by Converse. Again, not going to link because their website is the suckass but they are super cute and comfy and I wore them more than once on the trip.

wanting wednesdays

First, thank you so much for your kindness and support on my personal struggles. I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me and everyone who has just taken the time to read what I am going through, it really means a lot to know I am not alone.

Second, I miss sharing things with y’all, so I’m going to try and be in this space more often. I thought I’d work on bringing back my ode to virtual (or real depending) shopping: Wanting Wednesdays

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Rune Sword Leggings via Kat Von D’s store Wonderland. I am a huge nerd but I really want these for yoga, possibly the Hocus Pocus pair or the Moon Child pair (although with the Moon Child I just hear Chris Cornell in my head on repeat, not necessarily a bad thing).

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Juliette Blouse also via Kat Von D’s store Wonderland. I really want this to wear with a pencil skirt. That collar just kills me.

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China Knuckles also via Kat Von D’s store Wonderland. Look, I’m trying not to just link EVERYTHING I love from her store but COME ON, brass knuckles made from floral china?! One of the suggested uses is NAPKIN RINGS and OMFG I NEED THESE (but in blue since they’d go better with my chairs…or maybe pink for outside and blue for inside? DO WANT).

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Brogamats has yoga mat bags and yoga mats for dudes or chicks who just appreciate a yoga mat bag that looks like a burrito, aka me.

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Miz Mooz Yogi in black I need black wedges. I’m not sure if these are *the* black wedges but I have a few pairs of Miz Mooz already and I love them.

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Cross Back Romper I hate the name of this one but I’d really like a black jumpsuit.

Willy and I watched American Hustle the other night (SO LONG. JUST GET TO THE CON ALREADY FTLOG) and man I have a special place in my heart for 70’s fashion, not cut down to the navel, threat of seeing Amy’s boobs at any second fashion, but other things: giant sunglasses, jumpsuits, a-line long skirts, platforms, flare jeans, fringe, feathers.

A purchase for my health

After the hospital stay and follow-up with my doctor, I have started B12 shots every two weeks. I also decided that maybe I needed to try and do something different in the kitchen to get some more nutrients in my (still wonky) system. I wait up late for Sprog, every week, and one of these occasions lead me to catching an infomercial about The Nutribullet.

I had been considering a juicer but the fact of the matter is that I don’t like juice. I have never been a person that sits down with their morning OJ. If it’s not water or tea it’s got to have alcohol in it for me to drink it. It’s got to have STUFF. Otherwise, it gets overly saccharine tasting after like two sips and I hate the after taste it leaves behind and V8? That shit has an entire salt lick in it, even the low sodium versions (which is fine because EWW).

I’ve also done smoothies before but here we end up with my apparently weird drinking thing, too thick. I’m like the Goldilocks of beverages. The overly enthusiastic dude was spewing his spiel but I was watching the concoctions. I noticed they were made with water. I saw the consistency when slid across the counter to the “audience” or poured into a glass and they looked thin…but not juice thin. Hmm.

I asked on twitter if anyone had thoughts and one person responded with positive feedback.

I looked up prices.

Costco (ALWAYS. I LOVE YOU COSTCO) had a 14 piece kit for $99 online but it was pointed out on twitter that Bed, Bath and Beyond probably had a 20% off to use. Which is a valid point and BB&B had the same price but a smaller package because not only was it 14 piece vs 12 but the 14 piece didn’t count an additional cookbook. So we decided to head to Costco and take a look in person and what do you know, our store had it for $89.94 plus we get money back on our Costco Amex. Sold.

I have had a smoothie for breakfast everyday since, plus a Night Cap smoothie before bed the night we got it.

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This is the first breakfast smoothie I made. It was a bit more green than I was ready for but I think that’s because I added arugula. I’ve had baby kale in them almost every day since and it hasn’t been as noticeable as this day.
Spinach, kale, arugula, cara cara orange, pineapple, mango, date, lemon, milled flax, raw honey, ginger and almond milk

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Kale, blackberries, raspberries, cara cara orange, lemon Noosa yogurt, milled flax and vanilla rose almond water

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Pumpkin puree, carrot, banana, half a cara cara orange, chai concentrate, ginger, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, cashews, pumpkin seeds, ice and a splash of almond milk

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Frozen blueberries, baby kale, blueberry Noosa yogurt, half a cara cara orange, milled flax, chia seeds, vanilla rose almond water and almond milk

I make the breakfast smoothies in the large cup which leaves some leftover for Willy to have as a snack when he gets home from work. It’s easy, fast and not a huge pain in the butt to clean. I like varying them every day to change up nutrients and adding the yogurt helps keep good bacteria in my gut. I also like that it doesn’t take up huge amounts of counter space.

Hopefully the GI specialist will agree with the choice because I’ve been really happy with the addition to my diet.

Ideally I’d get Sprog on board with drinking them because I could add some protein powders (he desperately wants to gain weight) and get some good nutrition into that kid, he eats horribly.

Recent Purchases

My Old Navy order arrived this morning and I thought I’d share what I purchased with y’all.

Old Navy was having a 60% off sale online plus free shipping over $50 AND THEN addtl 15% off so I decided to use some Christmas cash and grab some stuff. Kroger had a deal where you would save $10 on any two Old Navy gift cards so I asked Willy to grab two $25 gift cards for me. Total cost=$40. I was determined I wasn’t going to spend A DIME over the face value of the gift cards. Period.

It took some doing, let me tell you. I whisked things in and out of that cart over and over until I got it right but in the end, my total was $49.20, which I really only paid $40 for and that makes my giddy bargain shoppers heart just scream with glee.

Here’s what I bought
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Button Down Chiffon Dress in Snake I got mine in the tall but it’s currently only avail in petites. I have another dress like this in navy blue polka dot and I love it. The built in slip is comfortable and covers. I love that the tall is right above knee length so I feel comfortable wearing it with or without tights which means it will be wearable for several seasons.

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Terry Fleece Dolman Sleeve Dress this is a dress MADE OF PAJAMAS. IT’S THE BEST THING EVER. I am so excited about it.

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Terry Fleece Raglan Tops Marshmallow White I am a sucker for a cute sweatshirt

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Embellished Cardi Warm Polka Dot it’s hard to see in the photo but the dots are metallic copper.

So that’s the online order. I also ran in-store and grabbed a pair of Rock Star jeans because they were on sale for $9

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Rockstar Coated Super Skinny In The Navy

Not a bad little haul for around $50 total! I still have some cash and a Target gift card to spend, plus my free Sephora birthday gift, a $10 World Market gift and I’m sure something from Starbucks will show up soon.

I blame twitter

Last night some folks were talking about a fashion blogger*, which lead me down a rabbit hole of her site, her sister’s site and then some other fashion bloggers’ sites and then to this post today. I’m not going to list which one because the actual conversation about her and the reason for the asterisk is a much bigger thing I feel, as she’s not so much a fashion blogger, in my opinion, as a mannequin that types and makes money…a PR puppet for multiple companies at once. They send her shit, she posts the GLOSSIEST life she possibly can in that shit and people want it and buy it, the companies hope. So. No. Not really a fashion blogger. She’s not someone that puts some cool looking clothes together in an interesting way or someone that has a specific need for certain clothes requirements and finds ways to meet them.

Not that I’m a fashion blogger either, days in the same jammies or jeans totally negates that situation, but I can call a spade a spade without a c/o slapped after it.

All that rabbit-holing did lead me to think about what clothing/accessories I wish I had to round out my current closet. So here’s a quick covet list.

Some of it I bought

Dolman Sleeved Terry Fleece Dress on crazy sale right now

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Button Down Snake Chiffon Dress as recommended a while back on Twitter

Other things I’ve just wanted for a while and haven’t sussed out yet. I’ve wanted a faux fur vest for a few years. They probably are the furthest thing from “in” but don’t care.
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Faux Fur Vest

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Distressed Boyfriend Jeans

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Wood 3 finger ring

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Ray Ban Flash Aviators in Turquoise

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Bernadette Peacock Pyrite Ring in fact just sign me up for ANY of her crazy amazing rings. Neon with quartz? YES.

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Crystalyn Kae Hobo Handbag this isn’t leather, it’s glazed canvas

Now I just need some money to pay for it…or someone to sponsor me. Who wants me to be a fashion blogger? Anyone?

eShakti giveaway

As promised in my last post, I have two $30 gift cards to giveaway to you lovely readers. Which might be helpful in buying yourself something like this

Beaded Crepe Knit Sheath Dress from their New Arrivals to wear to any upcoming holiday shindigs you might have. I know sometimes it’s hard to envision yourself wearing something you see online, especially when the photos of the garments aren’t on people but one of the great things about their Facebook page is that real customers share photos of themselves wearing their clothes (you can also see a blogger wearing the green version of the above dress on their website). The customers are all different shapes and sizes and a lot of them have taken advantage of the custom tailoring options so you can see how the items might look with a shorter (or longer) hemline. And if you don’t have a Facebook page or if you’d just rather stay off of it (I don’t blame you) they have photos on their Pinterest site as well.

So what do you need to do to enter? Just head over to their website and mention your favorite item from the fall line in the comments below.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada and I’ll close it on Friday. I want to make sure you have time to get your item for the holidays!

**Update: since I spent a good portion of the week in the hospital, I’m extending the giveaway until tomorrow 6 pm CT**

Playing Fashion Blogger With The Help of eShakti

**I was provided an article of clothing of my choosing to review for this post. My thoughts are always my own**

I am no stranger to eShakti and if you have been around my blog for any length of time, you shouldn’t be either. I have partnered with them before on this red and blue dress and this blue and white dress.

I also wore a dress of theirs, snatched on clearance, to see Wicked with my husband.
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I always receive a ton of positive feedback on every eShakti item I own and I absolutely love that I can have them custom fit to my exact measurements or tailored to look the way I’d like: adding longer sleeves or shorter sleeves, changing the neckline, removing embroidery, etc. So when they asked me to partner again for their Fall/Winter line I obviously said yes. My main issue was deciding on what to get. I put this question out to the Twitterverse: “If you received something for free would you choose something out of your price range but in your comfort zone or closer to your price range but in your comfort zone?” Resoundingly the answer was the former as most people felt that they just wouldn’t wear something out of their comfort zone but I went the other way because the item that held my attention the most? Something definitely out of my comfort zone. I just couldn’t get it out of my head and I figured I may as well go for it, no harm, no foul, right? I figured that tailoring it to my specific measurements and preferences might make it more likely to get worn.

This is what I chose*

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That’s an embroidered deer pencil skirt with flowers in its antlers and I am OBSESSED with it. It’s tailored to my measurements and I had it lengthened to below the knee to amp the retro vibe.

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*unfortunately it’s out of stock at the time of this post but if you love it like I do, check back because I so recommend it. If it’s not your bag, that’s cool. eShakti posted a thing on their Facebook page asking people how they would style it and some people said some not nice things about the skirt and well, different strokes for different folks because it makes me HAPPY. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

I don’t intend on it being just a holiday skirt either. It’s a nice heavy fabric that stands up to the embroidery and since the flowers are not traditional holiday colors, I think I can get more mileage out of it with different styling choices. The skirt is lined which removes the need for an additional layer. Plus the placement of the seaming nips, tucks, and elongates in all the right places.

eShakti is giving me two $30 gift cards to giveaway, so I’ll be posting details of that very soon.

And of course, I highly recommend you take a gander at their website in the meantime, you could find something that makes you happy too!