Friday, February 22, 2013

Do you know my spot?

This is where I go to chill out and enjoy being outside for a few minutes whenever I pop out of "the office" for a break....

It's a good spot to hang out with some locals, do some people watching, and start planning your best friends birthday adventure, which I totally started doing today because I'm such an awesome friend.
 
 Do you know where it is?






Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Day on the Dock

Every day (ok...4 or 5 days a week ) I sit at the desk in the spa and look out the window and think, "Damn... what a nice day.... I wish I was outside..."
(I also think, "When are people going to start sending me money just for being awesome so I don't have to sit inside and work all the time...?? And why don't I have any friends with boats???)

So, on my day off yesterday, I took my coffee, my book (The Life of Pi) and Bully (the new house puppy) out to the dock to get some sunshine.

The weather was perfect when I first went out there...


Bully even found the breeze to be soothing enough for a little nap...

And my roomate (even though you can't tell that it's her) took advantage of another empty dock to do some yoga...


Here's a random, very close-up picture of me drinking a beer before the weather gods decided to mess up my day off... You can see how dark the sky is getting ... and you can see that I clearly need to clean my camera lens because that splotch on my cheek doesn't exist. I just checked.


More darkness coming.... Made for a nice picture...


 After I took this pic it was time to run back to the house before the rain came...

*sigh*
I haven't had a decent (weather wise) day off in weeks!!

I know, I know.... sucks to be an island girl, huh?  ;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Big Score on Valentine's Day

Do you remember how I was telling you that I've never won anything?
 (You don't?!?!?? Well then go back and read Help a Girl Out, there's still time to vote!!)

Anyway - my never-win-anything streak ended yesterday when I was the random winner of the homemade, papaya and banana Valentine's Day cake from the Mesa Cafe!!!

So pretty!
I feel like I've posted about the cafe, like, 800 times already - but it is really, really good and quickly became one of my new favorite spots to eat.

Breakfast
Fresh Fruit Plate - Served with Yogurt

Chorizo Scramble - Mexican Chorizo, Roasted Bell Pepper and fresh Pico de Gallo

Scotch Eggs - Two Boiled Eggs wrapped in Sausage, Breaded and Fried (tried it, loved it)

Bean Cake Benny - Two Poached Eggs atop Bean and Cheddar Croquettes with Crunchy Tortilla Strips and fresh Pico de Gallo

Coconut French Toast - French Toast topped with Tropical Fruit Relish and Coconut Cream Syrup (tried it, loved it)

BLT Omelet - Cheese Omelet topped with Crispy Turkey Bacon, fresh tomatoes and lettuce

Tried it, loved it

 Lunch

Garlic and Sage Pork Burger - Dijon Mayo, Tangy Slaw, Apple and Onion Chutney

Three Bean Chili - Crispy Tortilla Strips, Cheddar and Sour Cream

Caribbean Shrimp Sandwich - Pineapple Salsa and Spicy Cocktail Sauce

House-made Nachos - Refried Beans, Cheddar Cheese, Pickled Jalepeno and Pica de Gallo (option to add chicken)

Cheddar Stuffed Beef Burger - Ketchup, Mustard, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles and Onion

Tossed Salad - Mixed Greens, Roasted Veggies and Goat Cheese

Spicy Chicken Burger - Lettuce, Tomato, Jalepeno, and Crispy Fried Onions

B.L.T - Turkey Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato (tried it, loved it)

Fish Tacos - Corn Tortillas, Slaw and Jalapeno, Pineapple Relish

Bun-less Bean Burger - Crispy fried Bean Cakes, Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, Coleslaw (have not tried this yet, but my roomate loves it)

Quiche - Flavors vary, served with Side Salad.

They also have Espresso, homemade Gelato, and baked goods.
(I highly recommend the chocolate cupcake with the mint icing -and if Zoe makes another papaya, banana cake, you MUST try it - even if it isn't all heart shaped and prettied up for Valentine's Day)
 


Oil Pulling Therapy.... Day 1.

If you've read my post about How I spent my week and my Saturday night - you know that I only use "kitchen" products for my skin, hair, and teeth - and that I love to use coconut oil for everything.

Well... I found another use for it.......Has anyone tried Oil Pulling?

I don't even know what I was searching for last night when I came across it - "natural dental care," most likely -  but I stumbled upon it and decided to start adding it to my regime this morning...

All you do is swish some coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, just as you would with a regular mouthwash. (I've read that any oil is fine - but why use anything else when coconut oil is so good for you??)


"As simple as it sounds, if done correctly it has a very powerful cleansing and healing affect not only on the mouth and sinuses, but the entire body."

 "Oilpulling heals totally “head-aches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and women’s diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, and encephalitis. It prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them. Chronic sleeplessness is cured.”

"The first thing that most people notice when they start oil pulling is an improvement in their oral health. Teeth become whiter, breath becomes fresher, and the tongue and gums take on a healthy pink color.  Even problems such as bleeding gums, tooth decay, and gum disease are greatly diminished or completely healed."

 "Oil pulling traces it roots to oil gargling practiced in Ayurvedic medicine. Oil pulling as we know it today, was introduced in 1992 by Dr. F. Karach, MD. Dr. Karach claimed that oil pulling could cure a variety of illnesses ranging from heart disease and digestive troubles to hormonal disorders. He said it cured him of a chronic blood disorder of 15 years duration and within three days it cured his arthritis, which at times was so painful he was bed ridden. He used the method in his medical practice with great success."

 "The oil acts like a cleanser. When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris. It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer.
As simple as it is, oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect. Our mouths are the home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in our mouths. It is these types of germs and their toxic waste products that cause gum disease and tooth decay and contribute to many other health problems including arthritis and heart disease. Our immune system is constantly fighting these troublemakers. If our immune system becomes overloaded or burdened by excessive stress, poor diet, environmental toxins and such, these organisms can spread throughout the body causing secondary infections and chronic inflammation, leading to any number of health problems."

This info comes from coconutresearchcenter.org

Find more at www.oilpulling.org  and www.oilpulling.com



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Long, Long Day... *yawn*

I didn't get much sleep last night... and, no lie, it's now taking every ounce of energy that I have in me to stay awake.
I haven't even turned on the "spa music" at work today because it'll probably lure me onto the couch for a nap... and when I nap, it's usually a 3-4 hour chunk of time that I sleep through.
Some people can do a 15 minute - half an hour power nap - but not me. I can't even fall asleep in 30 minutes. (how do people do that??)

Instead of hitting "snooze" on my alarm when it yelled at me this morning I must have just turned it off, and I probably would have slept right through work if someone hadn't texted me at 9:15.... leaving me just enough time to brush my teeth and throw on some clothes and start biking my way into town.

About a mile or so into my ride - the chain slipped off my bike. I tried to get it back on, but I was already running kind of late and I didn't want to mess with it forever, so I locked it up and continued on to work on foot. (It feels like whenever you NEED a ride somewhere, no one picks you up. If I was just going out drinking or something stupid, I would have had, like, five ride offers.)

I got to work only about 5 minutes late and grabbed some coffee before I opened... but it didn't help me wake up at all.

Thinking food might give me some much needed energy, I tried the Scotch Eggs from the Mesa Cafe.

Boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried.
That didn't work, either.... if anything, I think it made me even sleepier.

I can't even go home to sleep once I'm done at the spa because I have to work at Pedro's as soon as I'm done here - and yes, I know I'm whining. You can either deal with it or stop reading :)

Here are some videos I've been browsing through on youtube to help keep me awake.
Enjoy

Gotye - Somebody that I used to know


Kimbra - Settle Down

When in Rome - The Promise

Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks (live)

Tomahawk - God Hates a Coward (live)

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home

Jesse J - Sexy Silk



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

San Pedro - Carnaval 2013!

Last night was another one of those No plans, No problems kind of nights....
Actually, that isn't completely true - I was supposed to work at Pedro's last night, but the other bartender got our schedules mixed up, so, long story short, she ended up working and I ended up going out to drink and experiencing my first Carnaval in Belize....

Anyway, I texted my roomie and asked her to come out to play - and she had the brilliant idea to go to Capri for their margarita happy hour special (2 for $12bz, 3-6pm) to get started.
She's a very smart girl.

Number 1 out of 4.....
Dukunu - What to do with all that corn

 I heard music coming from the street, so I went out to see what was going on...

The first group of carnival comparsas (street dancers) going by...

The men dress like women, the women dress like men, they do a little dance, and then they collect money from the crowd that goes to whatever cause they're supporting (it usually gets donated to the schools and orphanage, from what I was told)

A bit later, once the sun went down, people starting running around town, painting each other (you'll see what I mean in the pics below) breaking eggs on people's heads, and kids were in the park having an orange throwing fight...

Business prepare for carnaval by throwing tarps and plastic over their windows and doors...

 
 And people end up looking like this by the end of the night..




So.... what is the point of all of this?
I wasn't sure either, so I did some Googling and found some history...

The Lenten period of the Liturgical year Church calendar, being the six weeks directly before Easter, was marked by fasting and other pious or penitential practices. Traditionally during Lent, no parties or other celebrations were held, and people refrained from eating rich foods, such as meat, dairy, fats and sugar. The forty days of Lent, recalling the Gospel accounts of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, serve to mark an annual time of turning. In the days before Lent, all rich food and drink had to be disposed of. The consumption of this, in a giant party that involved the whole community, is thought to be the origin of Carnival.

Ok, so... you have to party before you give up everything for Lent, I get that part... but why the crossdressing and the paint, eggs, and orange throwing??

If anyone knows, please leave it in a comment so we're all on the same page here, will ya?

Monday, February 11, 2013

No Plans..... No Problem

You can always find something to do here in San Pedro, even if you aren't looking for anything to do...

All I knew about this past Friday was that I was going to go to work at 10am. 
That's it... that was the only plan I had for the day. I didn't know if I'd be busy at work, I didn't know what I was doing after work... I just knew that I was going to show up, at the spa, at 10 am. 

I actually got there a little bit early, since I still have no idea how long it takes me to get anywhere, so I went to the beach first and just zoned out for a bit and enjoyed the breeze before heading in. 
Not long after I reached there and got all settled in, I ended up treating myself to, what happens to be, THE BEST French Toast on the island (according to me) from the cafe downstairs.

The Coconut French Toast from the Mesa Cafe...

along with some coffee, of course...
Ok, so.... French Toast topped with bananas, cantaloupe, pineapple, and shaved coconut.. YUM
I hung around the spa for a few hours after having my phenomenal breakfast ....I gave myself a pedicure while browsing through Facebook and Pintrest, and then went to the bank to deposit my check.... but there was one problem -  it was FRIDAY, and, unless it's a dire emergency,  you do not go to the bank on a Friday in Belize. Everyone and their mother is waiting in line to cash a check on Fridays - it's horrible. (especially the last Friday of the month, FYI.)
I ended up getting to the bank, seeing the line, and then turning right-the-hell around and stopping in a few stores on my way back. (I'm looking for some new clothes - just new shorts and a few shirts - but I can't find anything I dig....I did, however, find a yoga mat for $22.50bz at Caye Supply, so that was pretty sweet.)

I went back to the spa and hung out for a while again, then decided to go up to the roof to get some sunshine for a few minutes and took a few pictures from up there, specifically for you people....

San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School
more of the school
the school basketball court - Tropic Air and Maya Island Air way to the left
a better shot of the airports

Caribbean Sea and the barrier reef
The (one) girl I hang out with down here, along with her adorable daughter, met me at work when I got done at 5. We were supposed to go shopping together (we had texted earlier in the day) but it was such a nice day out.... I wanted to get "just one drink" before we started our mission to find me some decent clothes.

We went to a new bar on the beach - right in front of the Tacklebox - called Luna Loca


I love the colors and the comfy feel....
See? COMFY


The view from the cozy couches...

After we decided that shopping was no longer on our agenda, we settled in here for a bit until it was time for her to take the kid home, and then I wandered down the beach until I ran into someone else to hang out with (which isn't hard to do here)
I found a Rasta guy that I know here (not a true Rasta - that's just what everyone with dreadlocks is called... even I'm called Rasta here) and we walked up to Wet Willy's for a drink, and then, somehow, ended up finding ourselves at the San Pedro Lions Club (no website?) for Friday night Bingo.... Weird, right?

We actually showed up halfway through a game, so we just watched until someone won, and by that time I was totally over it and didn't want to play any more... but I was at Friday night Bingo for a bit.
Yup.

it was actually pretty busy



this guy was all Bingo'd out
After ditching Bingo we just walked down the beach again and picked up a few more drinks until I got to my cut off - and saw about four or five sting rays just hangin out near the beach...


As I started making my way home, I ran into someone else I know and was invited to tag along to go to a wake for the young guy who was recently stabbed to death inside (or outside, depending on what story you read) the Daddy Rocks Night Club. Here is the response by management about the incident

I don't know if the words "friggin awesome" are appropriate to describe a wake.... but, honestly... I had such a good time there.
It was clearly a celebration of life and not a mourning - The road was blocked off and tents were set up in the street and people were playing drums and maracas; dancing, singing, drinking, and just enjoying their time together. One guy was walking around with a 5 gallon water jug filled with Rum Punch, just filling everyone's cups as they needed it.

This wasn't a - walk in, pay your respects, you're out of there in 45 minutes type of wake that I'm used to in the States, either - I was told that it started around 6pm and would be going on until daylight. (I was there from around midnight until about 3 or 4am and everyone was still going strong when I left)

I wound up chillin by myself for a bit while my friend went to pay respect and play drums, and I must've looked out place, being the only gringo on the block - so this young girl (15) came and sat with me and introduced herself and we talked for a while. (And now I love her - what a sweet, friendly chic)
Anyway, at one point she had asked me if I was going to go see the body and I said no.
She told me that that was good, because if I did go see it, I would have to cut off my dreads. (She didn't know why I would have to, exactly, and neither did my friend when I asked later, but she knew that it was part of the Garifuna tradition to do so)
She also told me that she couldn't go see the body, either, because she had her period, and that if she did go see it, the spirit would haunt her.

 - - - Another thing added later, when I asked about all of this, was that if you go to a wake or a funeral and you see the body of the deceased, you shouldn't go right into your house when you get home if you have a baby or young child inside - you should stand outside and let the spirit blow away so it doesn't follow you in and haunt the kid. (don't quote me on that - but that's what I got out of the story I was told)

I love not having plans.




Saturday, February 2, 2013

How I spent my week... and my Saturday night

This week started out pretty friggin sweet...

There were a few post cards waiting for me when I stopped at the post office on Monday (so there will be another post card blog soon, for those of you who are into it) and - even more exciting - my flip-flop shipment had arrived!  (... Oh... didn't I tell you, I actually got My Dream Job!!!)

The 'flops

 Tuesday was just a chill day off, Wednesday was a nice, easy night working at Pedro's, and on Thursday and Friday I worked my new job at The Black Orchid Spa.

2nd floor, Vilma Linda Plaza
I love a nice fish pond
reception and waiting area
homemade soaps. lotions, skin products
Massage Room 1 - aka "my office"
Massage room 2
the desk.... where I spend most of my time

rainy day view of the road below

breakfast of champions from Mesa Cafe downstairs
I'm so happy that the Mesa Cafe is, like, right there. I had heard such good things about it, but had never stopped in before Thursday... now, I think I'll end up being a regular.  I'm dying to try their Coconut French Toast for breakfast one day, and the BLT made with turkey bacon for lunch...

The spa is also located dangerously close to Wild Mango's, so I finally got the Chef Salad that I've been craving for a few weeks now on Friday...

Grilled chicken, lettuce, cashews, pineapple, papaya, avocado, beets? I don't know WHAT is all in here, but it's amazing
Today, Saturday, I did a lot of cleaning around the house, got drenched taking the laundry off the line when another rainstorm struck, and realized that my bathroom products all belong in the kitchen...

coffee grounds, cucumber, baking soda, coconut oil

Coffee grounds (with a little bit of coconut oil) as a body scrub and exfoliant
Baking soda for whitening teeth, and for a facial scrub
Cucumber as a toner
Coconut oil for moisturizing face and body

I think it would be slightly inappropriate to post pictures of myself performing the coffee grounds and coconut oil body scrub, but here's how I use the other, natural products to clean my mug.

 1. Put some baking soda into a small bowl. About a tablespoon or so should be plenty


2. Add a few drops of water to make a milky paste.






3. Give yourself a scrub with the mixture. You can either rinse right away, or, if you have time, let it sit on your face your skin for a few minutes.

You'll know it's dry when it goes from looking like this




To this:




4. You can either go really, really simple and just rub a few, thin slices of cucumber on your face (don't rinse) and let the cucumber work it's magic - (they contain vitamin C,  silica, and magnesium) OR you can fancy it up a bit and make yourself a cucumber/honey toner by just blending half of a cucumber with one tablespoon of honey, putting it in a bottle, and using it as part of your daily routine. (keep refrigerated.),

5. Once your skin is dries naturally, use just enough coconut oil (because coconut oil is the best stuff EVER) to massage into your neck and face and, voilĂ  - you're done.

Maybe one day, when I have more free time on my hands, I'll tell you about the tomato and sea salt mixture I use as an alternative face wash, or the brown sugar and coconut oil lip scrub... but I basically just told you about them right there - so I'm sure you can figure it out for yourself.

I believe that using chemicals on your face (including make-up) will make your skin look old and gross eventually.... and the chemicals that you use on your face to help make you look younger probably give you cancer.
Just a thought.


Do you have any all natural recipes for me to try?
Something made with papaya, perhaps?
Leave it in a comment for me to test out...