One Happy Island

That is Aruba’s tagline – how awesome is that!?

Our island vacation was amazing – completely, utterly, crazily amazing. The 7 days and 7 nights there were some of the best moments I’ve shared with my husband and our great friends. I had high expectations going on this trip and Aruba far exceeded them all!

The white sand and blue skies filled my days and the breeze and stars filled my nights. I saw water so blue that it defines the color, with crashing waves and coral shores. And the food! Every restaurant filled its menu with the freshest catch of the day, grilled or fried to perfection. I ate my weight in wahoo and grouper – some of the best fish I’ve had to date.

Here are some pictures from our trip. I truly hope to come back to the island in the future because it was a breathtaking experience. I miss it already!

aruba

 “That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all

Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand…”

Chocolate chip cookie

I debated on posting a blog post about yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. There must be hundreds of thousands out there, each one boasting the best ever recipe. I’ll be honest though, I think the Nestle Tollhouse recipe is pretty spot on. It’s straightforward, no frill and you have all of the ingredients all ready in your pantry and fridge. I’d leave out the nuts though – no thank you.

But last night, instead of my usual, go-to recipe, I dug a little further on the Google search results. I wanted to see what else is out there - maybe another simple, basic recipe but slightly different and possibly better? I was doubtful because I had been using the Tollhouse recipe for years…

Then I came across Savory Sweet Life‘s chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’m happy to say, this recipe is now my new go-to recipe! Similar but different – better different and it was glorious!

image

Chocolate Chip Cookie

from Savory Sweet Life

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2¾ cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium-high speed).
  3. Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated.
  5. Finally stir in chocolate chips until well distributed.
  6. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes.
  8. Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Balcony garden

I’m constantly trying to pick up a new hobby or skill, to dig deep into an unknown territory just to see what it’s all about. Unknown territory equals excitement in my book. Though be it, I don’t come out on top every time. Actually, most of the time I’m pretty awful at it. It’s a hard press truth and doesn’t get less disappointing, but heck, if you’re good at every thing you try, then you’re not trying very much.

The same could said about my beating-a-dead-horse love for gardening. First of, I live in an apartment with no yard so I’m trying to garden on my balcony out of containers. Second, I can’t seem to keep anything alive. I’ve been trying to grow the same tomato plants for more than a year now and have only yield 3 (sadly yes, 3!) tomatoes from it. But boy, were those tomatoes something else. Super sweet and juicy!

Few things are more satisfying than growing your own food. A true labor of love! Apartment Therapy has a great article on ideas for patio or balcony gardening that you’ll enjoy. My next garden project is herb gardening! Because I really hate buying all that herb from the grocery story when I just need a tablespoon for a recipe. Ya feel me!?

Island vacation

Only 3 more weeks until my husband and I, along with another couple, head out to our Caribbean vacation. We’re going to ARUBA! I’ve been planning and looking forward to this trip for the past year and it’s much needed since it’s been nearly 2 years since our last island vacation in Cancun.

As much as I love all my other trips, nothing comes close to an island vacation in my book. The hot days with the sun and breeze, clear skies and blue waters, white sands, lounging, sunbathing, sipping on a strawberry daiquiri – all of this is my definition of a dream vacation. Unfortunately, nothing pairs more with upcoming vacations then packing! Even though traveling to the islands takes the least amount of effort (how hard is it really throw 8 bathing suits in a suitcase? haha) to pack, you still want to be prepared for all the activities and look cute doing it!

I’ve been pinning outfit ideas for my upcoming Aruba trip and would love to share them with you. These looks are versatile and is perfect for the warm weather that’s coming your way soon!

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/83457399315629397/

Traveling together

Boy, where has February gone? When I shared my last blog post it was Valentine’s day and now I basically have to go buy Jameson, Bailey’s, and Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day.

I just returned from a week long trip to San Francisco for work and this time, my husband was able to join me for part of the trip. We’re lucky to have flexible jobs that allow us to work when – and importantly – where we want.

Over the years we’ve traveled together a great deal and there have been moments when I thought two’s a crowd. Traveling together is different because the two of us are on the same schedule. Same schedule for waking up, getting ready, eating, sleeping – almost always a guaranteed for a head bump or two during a trip!

Planning an trip with your SO? I’ve gathered some tips to help get you through the trip without stepping on each other’s toes.

  1. Start the trip on the right note by deciding what time to leave the house. If both you understand that 9am you’re stepping foot out of the front door, then it’ll prevent one person anxiously waiting on the other.
  2. Organize your morning bathroom schedule the night before. Decide who’s waking up first by who needs more time.
  3. Get lost together. You’re bound to get lost in some form or another so don’t put the blame on the other person but instead enjoy the journey of getting to your destination. A pleasant surprise may be around the corner from the wrong turn.
  4. Have down time by planning a couple hours or so a day to do nothing. It’ll give your feet a rest as well as let you recharge for the next activity.
  5. Manage to get alone time. Traveling with another person at your side for days on end can wear patience thin so plan a few minutes to get away, like offering to go on a coffee run or picking up the take-out food.

If a screaming match does happen, take a breath and grab a drink (or two!) together. You’re on vacation so drink it all away!