Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Puerto Rico: Exploring San Juan Part Deux

The buildings in San Juan are all such gorgeous colours...They really help to capture the vibrant spirit of the city in pictures. It was adorable, with little elderly ladies leaning out of their windows chatting...some of them had even rigged little baskets on pulleys to pass things to each other. I would recommend San Juan to anyone looking for an unusual vacation destination- although I'm pretty sure it's to Americans what Cuba is to Canadians...so generally there are A LOT of American tourists milling about.

This pretty green building really caught my eye...

but not as much as this blue one!


Don't you wish you lived on this street?

If you're not quite convinced, here's the view from the other side.

Trying to look like locals...and failing! Ha!

My dream street...LOVE pink!

Loving San Juan together <3

Goodbye 'till next time, San Juan!

El Yunque National Rainforest in Puerto Rico

It is home to the Cocoa Falls.

I climbed...

...so that I could get up close and personal!

With the falls, of course! It was amazing. You can't see it here, but my skin was definitely tingling!

Then we tried to hike to the highest point on the island, but were ill prepared. Note the footwear!

So we did a lot of resting along the way:

We got pretty high...just LOOK at that tree coverage!

We made our way up to the viewing tower...

...whereupon we could be found enjoying the view, and the breeze!

No caption necessary here...

Making out way back down.

Get down from there, young lady!

We spent the rest of the day at a splendid beach...which is what I LOVE to do!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Puerto Rico: Exploring San Juan

Remember how I went on a trip...in March...to Puerto Rico? We had so much fun on that trip, but we had so many pictures that putting them up was a totally overwhelming task...Well, I am going to post them now...in two parts. I will write as much as I can about the pics, but for the most part, they will be purely for your viewing pleasure.


We're on our way!


Our swanky digs for the week

Our private beach

The water is not as warm as it looks!

Lovely lizard critters...not in our room, thankfully!

Enjoying some MUCH needed soleil!

San Juan vista

The shopping is FAB...many vintage shops...my fave!

It really does take you back...to before you were born apparently!

Will break for lunch. This restaurant was really lovely. One of the best culinary experinces we had in San juan.

Ladies who lunch

San Juan architecture: Think Spanish meets tropical...

Pretty fountains: Always great photo ops!

Historic sight: Castillo San Cristobal

Enjoying the view...

because it was gorgeous: Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Mr. Perfect himself!

Wall drawings in the dungeon...presumably by captives.

The sun brings out the best in me, what can I say?

Somehow I don't think this was the intended use of the cannon balls...

The "grounds" of the fort

Wait a minute...I think someone's been doing some upgrades!

So that sums up our first two days in Puerto Rico. It's a lovely destination with amazing natural characteristics and cultural heritage. More to come, I promise...so stay tuned!

p.s. Goal update: Success on all fronts this week! Gotta keep it up for next week!

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast?

Yes, I did have pumpkin pie for breakfast, and I didn't gain an ounce. Since venturing into the world of fitness, (almost eight years ago) I have developed quite a repertoire of protein shake recipes. They always start the same way, but I add something different each day to satisfy whatever I am craving that morning. There are some I go back to regularly (peanut butter and chocolate, pumpkin pie, and mixed berry and banana namely) and some I'll never do again...

Today I would like to share with you my basic smoothie recipe, and my Pumpkin Pie smoothie recipe. Don't be put off by how they look, the TASTE is what's important.

Basic recipe:

3/4 cup water
4-5 Ice cubes
1/4 cup 0% balkan-style yogurt (I use Astro)
2 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp flax seed (fresh ground)
3 tsp Greens Plus powder
1 tsp cinammon (it's in nearly everything I eat, honestly!)
1 scoop protein powder of choice (I LOVE Whey Gourmet...it's soooo delish!)
*Add 1/2 cup of whatever frozen fruit you like...I always buy extra bananas, then peel them, slice them, and flash freeze them on a cookie sheet in the freezer...then I throw them in a Ziploc and they're ready to go! I also love to add 2 tsp of natural peanut butter...sooooo delicious

Blend all ingredients for approximately two minutes on the maximum speed of your blender.

To make the Pumpkin Pie smoothie, omit the oatmeal from the original recipe, and add

1/2 small, cooked and pureed sweet potato
1 pinch cloves
1 tiny pinch nutmeg
*Be sure the protein powder is vanilla here!

Mix it up and enjoy!

p.s. Every smoothie that I make comes out a light green colour because of the Greens Plus. If you'd prefer not to have the tinge (or the health benefits associated with Greens Plus:) then simply omit it.

Breakfast of Champions!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Toronto Island: Central Park of the T-Dot?

The more I discover about my new city, the more I love it. Toronto offers me at LEAST a gem a day...Today's gem? Toronto Island. Yes, yes, I realize I am about one of seven Canadians that didn't visit centre island as a child. My first trip today however, necessitates many more in the near future.

I attended a picnic hosted by a friend of a friend...with whom I now have a "high five" pact...if he ever ventures north of Bloor to my hood, or I south to his (both rare occasions :) but I digress...It was a lovely albeit chilly occasion. As I explored the island, I realized what a totally amazing little slice of T. it really is. There's a BEACH with a pier, lots of bike paths, fountains and gardens everywhere...Simply put, I loved it. Of course, though, my camera died before I could take any pics, so I pilfered some from Google for y'all.

Here's the beach and the boardwalk:

The water:

A pretty bridge:

More real photos to come later on this summer, as I anticipate at least a million more picnics and beach days, right in my own backyard! There was some discussion as to whether Centre Island is the Central Park of Toronto...I agree, but it may even be a BIT better, because there's also a little west-coast flare mixed in.

I feel so lucky!