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Monday, July 30, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: New Beginnings

This past weekend was filled with life transformations. I attended my Pre-Orientation for Graduate School(yes, there will be a big announcement soon!) and one of friends' baby shower! The Pre-Orientation was really long, but very informative. Between noshing on treats from the bakery, Au Bon Pain, I listened attentively to the director of the program speak about the strenuous class schedule and extensive travel opportunities (Kenya, Beijing, & Addis Ababa to name a few...).

Sunday, Andrea, my Spanish exchange student and I attended my friend, Patricia's baby shower. The baby shower was especially special because Patricia is from Spain, a country whose culture does not include baby showers. Traditionally in Spain, a week after the baby is born, friends and family individually visit and bring gifts to the new parents. Interestingly enough, while Patricia was opening gifts her mother leaned over to tell me that she'd only seen baby showers in American movies, lol! There were people from other Spanish speaking countries as well, like Colombia and Ecuador, so I had a quick opportunity to practice my Spanish(as I so desperately need to!).

This weekend reinforced to me that:

Life is never dull with Constant Change & Transformation(Sesa Woruban-Adinkra Symbol)

Best, most unique, and adorable idea ever!! I wish I'd thought of it, but I'm stealing it!
Patricia & Andrea playing "How Big is My Mommy?"And Papa Nick walking up!
2nd Best Idea Ever! A 2-tiered cake made of diapers!!
Me and my Patri (and little Chloe inside)!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Good ( & Quick) Eats: NYC

While visiting NYC a few weekends ago, the girls and I had to do something that everyone must do to survive-EAT! But of course, for me, eating is not only for nourishing my body, but also satisfying my taste buds and indulging my greedy side ;) Most of our time was spent in lower Manhattan, on the West Side. We were so busy indulging in the summer sales and seeing the sites that we had little time to eat! But our most notable stops for quick, delicious and nutritious vittles included; Soho Park for lunch, The Coffee Shop for brunch, The Ice Cream Factory (sorry no pics, all cameras were dead..) in Brooklyn and FROYO from a food truck for dessert. All in all, we ate well and had a great couple of days in the Big Apple.

After four weeks of playing big sis and tour guide, I'm thinking of starting my own student exchange program....stay tuned!
You got me! These zucchini fries were delish, albeit very oily....The dipping sauce was amazing though! @Soho Park
My tired, hungry girls enjoying the first bites of their salads! @Soho Park
Andrea's(from Spain) first Veggie Garden Burger. She killed it! @The Coffee Shop
FROYO!!! I bought the sunglasses from a street vendor on Prince St near Mott Ave. Love them!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Good Times with great food and loving Family!

This past Saturday I had an inside bbq(due to the annoying continuous rain drizzle). It was filled with great food(almost had to break up a fight over the AMAZING banana pudding!!! :), my loving family and friends, and international line dances(see picture below-my apologies for the fuzzy cellphone photography, lol...). I perfected my now famous Sangria(a la Christian!).
Sangria Recipe: A dash of Peach Schnapps
                            White Wine(your choice)
                            A dash of sweetener(I used white sugar)
                            Freshly juiced fruit using a Juicer(I used Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer)-watermelon, pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries
**Tip: You only need one part juice to four parts wine.
**Mix all to taste and ENJOY!

Mojito Recipe: White Rum(your choice)
                           Brown Sugar
                           Hierba Buena or Fresh Mint
                           Club Soda
**Mash the mint, brown sugar, and slices of lime together using a mortar and pestle. Add one part rum and one part Club Soda into a cup, add mint mixture and shake! Add more of anything to taste**
We danced the night away to the Cha Cha Slide, Danza Kuduro, and Ai Se Eu Te Pego, and The Wobble. These all can be found easily by searching YouTube. I hope your weekend was just as rewarding and eventful. Have a great week!
"Cintura Sola, Media vuelta...."-Danza Kuduro(Andrea, my Spanish exchange student, and I)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Twin Palms Resort: Phuket Island, Thailand

While visiting a friend in Hong Kong in May 2010, I was able to jet off to the nearby island of Phuket, Thailand for the weekend. My time was spent receiving $10/hour massages, eating authentic Kee Mao(Drunken Noodles-my favorite!), and lounging on the beach and by the pool. Even though my stay was short, it was amazingly relaxing thanks to the wonderful staff and location of the Twin Palms Resort on Surin Beach. For around $100/night our stay was complete with a breakfast buffet that included unlimited mimosas made with freshly blended tropical fruit. Wow, just writing this post makes me nostalgic..Do me a favor and take note of this little piece of paradise and GO VISIT!

Hotel Lobby
Hotel Pool
Twin Palms' Beach Bar
Surin Beach Boardwalk

Surin Beach
Specially made Kee Mao for me! I had to ask for it because it wasn't on the hotel's menu...

Not the best Pineapple Fried Rice, but they get an A for presentation!

Mango Sticky Rice-always save room for this!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beach Days are the Best Days

This weekend the girls and I went to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It was my first trip to Rehoboth, but definitely not my last! While the waves were strong and coming in fast(and I slightly skinned my knee on the sand), that didn't stop us from jumping and bouncing around under the sun for hours at a time. Saturday was overcast and became almost chilly at one point, but Sunday was perfect. At 93 degrees with mostly clear skies, and HUMID, it was a perfect day for riding waves from 12-6pm! We noshed on Thrasher's French Fries, GO FISH's British style fish and chips, Grotto's Gelato, and the list goes on. In the next few days I'll do a proper beach food post. Happy Tuesday!

Rehoboth Boardwalk
Sunday-approaching the beach....
I was trying to stay upright in the water with the SUPER STRONG waves!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weekend Warrior: Beach Days!

I've been looking forward to this weekend for a looooooong time. I don't know if it's the fact that I'm a Pisces(fish sign) or that I just like the tranquility of the sound from the ocean waves, but I am a beach fanatic! I'm also a bit of a beach snob. I can't say that I've been to many beaches in the States(this will be my first time to Rehoboth beach in Delaware). And the last beach I went to and actually swam was in May 2010 in Phuket, Thailand(see pic below). As you are reading this I'm probably taking in the sun and eating my homemade pasta salad and fresh fruit smoothie. Ahhh, the bliss :) See you Monday!

Surin Beach on the island of Phuket, Thailand

A few things going into my Beach bag!!

City Sightseeing Boat Tour NYC

My girls and I made the best decision of the weekend choosing to do City Sightseeing's 45 minute boat tour OVER the bus tour. It was near 100 degrees and the breeze coming off the water at 11am was a Godsend. Touring NYC by boat was a relaxing(minus the pushy amateur photographer tourists, ugh!), enjoyable, and informative way to see the sites. I've been to NYC numerous times and can't think of a better way to introduce a first-timer to the city. The tour is normally $28, but with my Goldstar Events (signup is free) account we were able to score tickets at half-price!

Men in Black(Movie) Headquarters aka Battery Tunnel Entrance

Erie Lackawanna Clock Tower(Reminded me of the movie-Lackawanna Blues)

Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge(hahaha, I forgot which one...)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekend Warrior: Back to NYC!

But this time I'm going with the girls; two 14 year old girls to be exact. For the month of July I'm hosting one of my former Spanish tutoring students and my little cousin, at my home in Washington, DC for an informal cultural exchange. They arrived early this week and between cooking three meals a day I've managed to prepare and execute language lessons, take them to 4th of July celebrations, to the library, and to get manicures and pedicures! Today we are off to the Big Apple for touring( 90 minute Skyline Cruise around the Hudson River), good eats in Brooklyn at The Ice Cream Factory and Grimaldi's pizza , a free concert and celebration in Brooklyn celebrating the ending of slavery in NYC, people watching and lunch in Central Park, and being amazed by the lights and sights of Times Square, so STAY TUNED!

Waiting for my Spanish Student at Dulles International Airport

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What To Do: 4th of July in Washington, DC 2012

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!!!!! I have two 14 year old girls to entertain today so it's going to be a long one....

8:30-9:30am: My strength training workout session

11:45-Independence Day Parade(Constitution Ave NW & 7th St NW)

12:00-5pm: Smithsonian Folklife Festival (Arts & Crafts, Performances, Food, and MORE!!)-FREE

7:00-11:00pm: NoMA Summer Screen (Movie Screening: Independence Day starring Will Smith)-FREE

**9:45pm: National Fireworks on the Mall

Be safe and enjoy the freedom that we've been afforded!

Non-National Mall sites to see the Fireworks-Click HERE

Monday, July 2, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Get It Tight!

For the last three weeks I've been strength training(to maintain muscle) three times a week and running(good cardio) three times a week in order to start the habit of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With my professional trainer(friend), my running buddies from Black Girls Run, and my love for creating new, tasty, and healthy delights, I think(this time) I'll be able to stick with it. For total disclosure, I did leave the Blogilates 90 Day Challenge because I felt I needed a regime that I could continue long term, not a quick fix. BUT, I do use Blogilates' useful recipes and videos from time to time. I've been loosely documenting my short journey via Instagram-follow me: chrisearth

So, even if it's 100 degrees outside, dust those running shoes, that jumprope, or those workout dvds off and join me as we GET IT (or keep it) TIGHT! Be Inspired!

Olympic Trials runners give me LIFE!! Try some Sun Steeped Tea with Fresh Mint
Smoothies and Oatmeal for Breakfast
Veggies with Greek Yogurt for Lunch
Homemade Chili over brown rice for Dinner