Thursday, May 31, 2012


My graduation gift from my mom and stepdad was a mother-daughter vacation to Florida!  I counted down the days until we left, left for the airport at 3am, and anticipated paradise!  Upon arrival to Chicago O'Hare, my mom told me to look up the gate for our transfer flight.  Scrolling down the screen for Flight 445, my eyes landed on our destination:  Cancún!  That's right... I was punk'd.

Our resort was about an hour down the coast from Cancún itself, between Playa del Carmen and Tulúm right on the Riviera Maya.  The resort itself was seriously the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my life!  Off the street and down a long driveway was the main lobby: a giant open-air Palapa.  The rooms were organized into separate buildings and scattered throughout the jungle, with a stone pathway leading to each one.  Our building was the closest to the beach, and a 5 minute walk to the lobby.  On the way to our room, we passed by a beautiful cenote, and came across many different species of native Mexican wildlife.  How cool?

The pool, beach, and spa were all fantastic, and the food selections were all incredible!  The resort is adults-only and all-inclusive, with incredible service and the most beautiful views of the Caribbean I've seen in any picture.

There were all kinds of activities, such as free scuba lessons (!!), pool aerobics, beach soccer/volleyball, and zumba!  The activity leaders were sourced from an Italian company, so the people-watching was pretty dreamy :)

On Wednesday, my mom and I took the ferry from Playa del Carmen to the island of Cozumel, where we took a taxi to the Chakanaab national park and went snorkeling.  If you know me, you understand that this was a serious feat for me to accomplish.  I have a crippling fear of fish, but aside from a few instances (such as being followed by a school of creepy-looking silver fish, to encountering a barracuda, face-to-face) I was totally fine.  The water was absolutely beautiful and the coral reefs were stunning!

Today was our last day in this beautiful place and I'm very sad we're leaving.  Hopefully I can make it back to this beautiful country (and the land of my ancestors!) someday soon!

The beach!

In the jungle, walking to our room.

The beautiful cenote we passed each day, walking to/from our room.

Don't worry--I wore lots of SPF!

Sipped on daquiris, piña coladas, and tequila sunrises all week!

Cozumel, from the ferry.

The ferry dock at Playa del Carmen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

summer salad recipes!

Now that school is out and I have more time to get creative in the kitchen, I've been whipping up some yummy (most of the time) new vegan recipes!  The temperatures here in Michigan have been hot hot hot lately, so I've taken advantage of the beautiful weather and come up with some different salad recipes I've been eating nonstop!  Enjoy :)

organic dark leafy greens (I love arugula and spinach!)
chopped watermelon
balsalmic vinaigrette dressing

toss and serve with hummus and pita chips

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup sautéed asparagus
1/2 cup orange bell peppers
1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

let cool and refrigerate (optional, I just like it better cold, especially on hot days!)

1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp balsalmic vinegar

toss and enjoy immediately :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Run Woodstock 2012

I started my official training regimen last week for my very first FULL marathon!  In case you're interested, the race is the Running Fit Run Woodstock which takes place the first weekend of September in Pinckney, MI.  If you're in the area you should stop by!  There are a variety of distances for the more and less practiced runner.  It looks like a blast and I absolutely cannot wait!

So far training has been light, as I technically bumped down my mileage to prevent injuries.  I'm still vegan and going strong (except for the occasional cookie, but who's counting?)  My body feels stronger and I keep reducing my mile time.  I'll keep you all updated!