Guest Post: Five Awesome Places To Travel If You Hate Crowds

Friday, October 20, 2017

Popular travel destinations, especially during peak seasons, can be packed with endless crowds. Going to such vacation spots when you hate crowds can be counterproductive. To truly unwind, you need to head to one of the under-the-radar destinations that have yet to be discovered by the average traveler.

You will definitely enjoy being one of the few travelers in the world who have taken the time to explore these gems. Many of these vacation spots offer the usual touristy activities but a few offer quite the exotic experience. 

It’s time to wander off the beaten path and explore new grounds. Here are some awesome crowd-free travel destinations you can visit.

Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo are the only places in the world you can see mountain gorillas
On any given day, Rwanda allows a maximum of 56 people to trek to go see the gorillas. There are seven groups of gorillas in the mountains with each group living some distance from the other. Since permits are given for the 7 mountain gorilla groups available, a trekking group cannot have more than 8 members. The trek up the mountain to spot a group of mountain gorillas can take anything from half an hour to a couple hours depending on where the gorillas are on that given day.

That’s pretty awesome if you don’t want to go to a tourist spot and have tens or hundreds of people at the same spot. You must have a permit to trek the mountains to go see the mountain gorillas. You can secure a permit from the Rwandan authorities or you can have a local travel company buy one for you.

Gorilla trekking trips are usually guided trips with the travel company you’ve booked with giving you a tutorial on safety and offering a guide to take you up the mountains. Good accommodations are easy to find near the parks. 

Peaceful Escape in Anguilla

The Caribbean is a popular beach destination. One of the best low-key destinations in the Caribbean is Anguilla. Anguilla maintains a relaxed atmosphere all year round as the locals highly value privacy and tranquility.

Anguilla’s greatest attractions are its tranquility, beaches, food, elaborate villas and resorts and several opportunities for tourists to pamper themselves. As you would expect of any Caribbean destination, finding a great place to stay is not hard. 

The Caribbean has great tourists’ villas, resorts and hotels. You can find both budget and luxury accommodations. If resorts are your thing, you won’t be disappointed as the Caribbean has some of the most elaborate all-inclusive resorts in the world. Just be sure to pick either a family-friend resort or a couples all-inclusive, depending upon if you’re traveling with friends, family or your significant other. 

You will love the local music scene if reggae fascinates you. Bankie Banx, a local reggae star often performs in various joints in the island. You can go to a low-key club called the Duve Preserve to sample music at night.

Find Peace in Koh Lipe, Thailand

Located in the South Andaman Sea, Koh Lipe is a beautiful island that boasts extensive white sandy beaches, great budget hotels, tranquility and a decent selection of both Thai and Western food.

You can get to Koh Lipe by boat only. If you are flying in from Malaysia, you can take a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and then take a boat to Koh Lipe. You can also fly in from Bangkok by taking a flight to Hat Yai then taking a bus to Pak Bara from where you can take a boat to Koh Lipe.

Besides relaxing at the beach, you can enjoy other activities such as snorkeling, diving, taking boat trips, and hiking.

Take an East African Safari during the Low Season

East African safaris are often determined by the dominant weather seasons and not by the location or availability of animals. The peak season is usually from June to October and then from December to January.

In Kenya and Tanzania, the heavy rains usually come in the months of March, April and May. The rains do not rain week after week but the safari companies, just to be cautious, still make few bookings during these months. This means that the game parks usually have just a handful of tourists during this season.

You can make arrangements with a tour operator to go to parks that aren’t affected by the rains and do so at very affordable rates. Your game drives won’t be affected much by the rains as it usually rains late in the afternoon.

Marvel at the Breathtaking Landscapes of County Donegal

If you want to visit Ireland and want to stay away from the destinations that tourists frequently crowd at, County Donegal is the place to be. Donegal is the least commercialized county in terms of tourism in Ireland.

Unlike County Galway and County Kerry, County Donegal isn’t very tourist oriented. Nonetheless, the attractions it offers and the hospitality provided to the tourists who do make it there is worth the trouble of going there. 

This destination offers you the chance to experience unspoilt attractions at very affordable prices. Some of the activities you can engage in include golfing, walking, rock climbing, water sports, and fishing.

You can fly in directly into Donegal International Airport from Glasgow and Dublin. There are daily flights to the destination. You can also go by bus by boarding one from Sligo, Dublin, Derry or Galway.

9 things you may not know about me

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy Wednesday friends! The other day I got asked via Instagram, if I would ever consider writing a post about "how to blog." How to blog? I wouldn't even know where to start. Blog because you want too. Blog because you have something to say. Blog because you want someone to listen. Blog because it makes you feel good.

That's why I do it. I started blogging because I honestly love to write things down and somewhere along the way, people started listening. I would do this whole blogging thing even if I only had 1 follower and that follower was my mom (she was my first follower, shout-out!).


I'm not a blogger who blogs about blogging. Wanna know why? Because, here's the deal; yes, I've been doing this a while. Yes, I've learned a tonnnn since I first started. Yes, I love sharing things with people (if they ask).

But, I think blogs that only tell you how to do things are incredibly boring. Listen, I appreciate this game of blogging and how it is ever changing and how I'm constantly having to figure new stuff out. But you readers come to this space for something and since I've never blogged about bogging, it cant be for that. Here's hoping its because you like what you find here.


So, today is not about teaching you how to blog, it's throwing it back to the good old days of blogging. Let's get back to the way blogging used to be. Lists of random facts. These are my favorite posts to write and to read comments on because I LOVE hearing what my readers think. And, it makes me feel like I actually know the people on the other side of the computer screen.

Without further ado --

1. My biggest fear in the entire world is that my animals will die. I know this is a bad fear because it will happen one day, but it doesn't change the fact that it absolutely terrifies me. One day I came home and Henry didn't come downstairs. I called Adam and made him come home from work early to check on Henry cause I was sure he was dead in the closet. True story.

2. My dad is my conscious. Everyone has that voice in the back of their head right? Well when I hear mine, its my dads voice. He's my voice of reason, it's slowly becoming mine, but he's the one that installed all those good vibes in me. Capeesh?

3. My go-to photo shoot face is a huge smile. I'm not sure what else to do. I am not one of those pretty girls who can smize. I'm one of those girls who always has a resting bitch face if I'm not smiling. I've been criticized for it before, but bleh, who cares.


4. I gave up drinking two weeks ago. Not forever, I actually plan on celebrating my sisters coming to town this weekend with adult beverages, but just for a while. And, I've lost weight! When they leave, I'm gonna give it up again. I've never felt clearer headed. Oh and my eating out bill is cheap!

5. I'm a jealous person. I didn't used to think this, probably because I was naive. But I'm a jealous person. I'm jealous of all kinds of random crap. Ask Coti, one time in college I got jealous of her old BFF and cried. It's the truth. It's stupid and it's something I work on every day.

6. I am very paranoid about letting people down. That's pretty self-explanatory. I got so nervous once I gave myself a cold sore, pretty huh.

7. I love celebrating love. A lot of people consider weddings to be a burden (time, travel, cost) but I absolutely love weddings, engagement parties, showers, and generally just parties. There is no greater honor than someone thinking you're worthy of watching them get married. I love it. Now, I just need some more engagements because we're out of weddings!

8. I'm ready to have kids. BAH. Betcha didn't see that one coming since all I talk about is animals. But, I'm ready to expand the Kavan clan (and no this isn't an announcement). But, I'm not getting any younger. Bring on the babes.

9. Turning 30 terrified me. I'm not sure why but I was so nervous to turn thirty. Once it happened, I couldn't believe how nervous I was for nothing. So far, 30 has been pretty dang awesome.


Tell me one thing no-one knows about you in the comments!

Happy Wednesday friends!
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7 Best Locations for a Girls Trip.

Friday, September 8, 2017

I love a good girls trip. While most of my girls trips are actually considered bachelortte trips, they are full of girls regardless. I don't live in the same city as my best friends or family so it's super important to me to be intentional with my time with them. If that's planning dinners when I'm home or trips with them, I tryyyy to get together with them.

Last year, two of my girlfriends came to Denver for the most epic girls weekend. We toured the city, ate our way through the restaurants and drank all the wine.

This year, my sisters are coming to visit Denver for another girls weekend. There will be FIVE of us, so the adventures are bound to be incredible.

My best friend and I are currently in the states of planning another girls trip for fall and I cannot wait. What's better than three days with your best friends, bonding over great food, a great city and quality time.

1. San Diego, California: The best weather, sunny days, the beach and cool ocean air? Deal. San Diego is the perfect spot to take all your girlfriends, spend the day on a boat and then go dancing at night.


2. Austin, Texas: Did you know Austin has wine country? Truth be told, it's pretty dang good too! Book a VRBO, grab some friends and go wine tasting, boating on the lakes or out on the town. Austin has great food plus a great vibe. The city is packed full of things to do and places to see.


3. Napa Valley, California: Is there a better location than wine country for a girls trip? It's an easy flight to SF, a quick drive to wine country and before you know it, you're enjoying some of the best wine in the world. Plus the views are perfect for photo-opps.


4. Grand Cayman: I know what you're thinking, isn't Grand Cayman for couples? Hear me out. It's easy to get too, beautiful, has great food, shopping and a night life. Sure, it can be a couples local, but grab your girlfriends, rent a VRBO and hang out all week drinking pina coladas. Sounds like an excellent girls trip to me!


5. Denver, Colorado: Yeah, yeah, I'm totally biased. But, mountains, city life, hiking, drinking, eating. You can literally do it all. Hour and a half drive gets you into the mountains and on the ski lifts. Denver is known for having the best craft beer selections in the country and don't even get me started on the food scene. We've been here three years and have barely touched on half of the food Denver has. Plus, our weather is the best.


6. Charlottesville, Virginia: Charlottesville has been in the news for not the best reasons, which is so sad. I went to Charlottesville for the first time last summer and I cannot wait to go back. I was so surprised at this darling quaint little town. Plus, if you are a history buff there is so much to see and do. The main drag is so darling. It's an open walking mall with shops, restaurants and bars. Another great place for wine tours :) Are you seeing a pattern here?


7. Scottsdale, Arizona: Yes, yes, again, I am bias, I grew up here. But, Scottsdale is the best. It's full of amazing hotels, restaurants and is the perfect spot for a girls trip. Grab your girls and hit the spa. After that you can hike and then head to old town for dinner, dancing and drinks. Hint, go anytime after September and before June. You'll thank me later. And, if you need more tips, message me, I've got all the goods.



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My current Instagram obsessions

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Do you know that last weekend was the first holiday weekend we've been in the state of Colorado since we moved here (over 3 years ago). If you've been following on Insta (hint hint) you've seen Adam and I all over. San Francisco twice in once month, Estes Park, Milwaukee, Arizona ect. We'd had the joy of celebrating weddings with best friends, trips with family, but man alive, traveling sure takes it out of you. We wanted labor day to be spent at home, doing whatever we wanted. And that is exactly what we got and it was glorious.

Now, we're gearing up for more trips and more visitors, bring on September. But, before we travel, let's chat Instagram.

Oh Instagram, what a tricky little game you play. It's a game I can never win, but can't stop playing. I'll be the first to admit it, I frickin love Instagram. I love scrolling through pretty pictures of pretty people in pretty clothes, I'm a sucker for cute dogs and I love crying at tributes to loved ones.

While the Instagram algorithm is still a myth to me (don't worry this is NOT a post about how-to win at Instagram) I still love it. I love finding new accounts and recently I've found some GREAT ones.

These are some of my favorite Instagram follows. You know the ones where when they pop up, you're instantly wanting to see what they have to share and say. Plus they are all bad-ass girls killing the Insta-game.



Posie + Co: This is where I get all my cute graphic tees. She has the cutest store and tops (& shes my BFF!)
Everyday Chiffon: Courtney and I met at a Denver blogging event and have been friends ever since. She's happy, funny and has great style. 
Brandi: I just found her and she has amazing style and is the nicest person.


Lauren: I just found her blog a couple weeks ago and I am obsessed. She is my current blog and Instagram crush. I love everything she does. Plus she's from Denver!
Gracefully Taylored: Taylor is one of those girls who you instantly want to befriend. Her Instagram is the perfect theme of beautiful photos and honesty.  
Sidney: I "met" Sidney through my BFF at Posie + Co. Her page is so colorful just like her. 


That's So Darling: Lisa and Ashley are friends and have the cutest insta. They have amazing taste but they are both stunning! 
Karlie Rae: She's a dog mom, has great style and incredible hair. I love her Instagram because it is so full of positivity and love. 
Samantha: An Arizona girl who is also a sommelier? Done and done. I've been following stalking her for while now :) 

Well, there you have it. My newest Instagram obsessions. Grab your phone and go check them out, I promise you won't be disappointed! 

Who are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow? Tell me in the comments!

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Happy September + An Instagram Roundup

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Holy September! Is anyone else seriously freaking out that it's already September? I mean, the closer we get to Christmas the better but before you know it we'll be ringing in the new year.

I'm not sure about you, but the Tuesday back after a long weekend is the worst. It's so hard getting back into the swing of things. But, this week, football actually starts. I know what you're thinking, football has been back for a month. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but preseason does not count as real football. 

I have THREE fantasy teams and I think I might have bitten off a little more than I can chew. Go big or go home right? Here's hoping I can win at least one! 

Welcome back to another addition of Instagram roundup. Just a little mini-catch up of all the good stuff that's been going on these last couple weeks. Plus, all the places you can shop these outfits.

Happy Tuesday friends!

I mean is he not the dreamiest wedding/forever date you've ever seen? 
I loved this dress, super flattering and so comfortable. 



If you know me, you know Arizona will always be my home. 
These Target mules got me through summer and I'll imagine they'll take me through fall too. 
This cactus shirt is one of my favs and you can purchase it at Posie + Co



Another wedding with this dream boat. 
This dress is the perfect dress and the back is totally open. 



I'm trying to get better at wearing color both in clothes and lipstick. 
This pink lip is my go-to. 



This crop says Staycation and its my life motto.
Stay home with the hubs and dogs and drink wine. Sounds perfect right?


Ya know when you're at Target for toilet paper and walk out with $100 in clothes and shoes. 
I know the game all too well. 
BUT this jacket is the best and these shoes are a dream. I'm a sucker for great clothes and a deal. 



I'll be spending my Tuesday online shopping and dreaming of the weekend. It's almost fall and I totally need some new clothes, right?

Have the best week friends.

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End of Summer Reading List.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 has been the year of the books. I cannot get enough. I find that I go through phases when it comes to reading and this has been my year. Call it a good season for publishing. Traveling and bed time are my two favorite times to read. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in the airport with little or nothing to do.

I know what you're all thinking, gosh I hope this girl has a kindle. Yes, I do... but there is something about physically holding a book that gives me all the joy. Sure, a kindle is great, much easier to travel with and you can even get one of those handy kindle lights, but I just don't enjoy it as much.

Wanna check out some other reading lists? I've got them. You can find them here and here.


Paulo Coelho // The Alchemist: My girlfriend gave me this book in a time in my life when I really needed to find my way and my place. I read this book in like 2 days. It was a quick read and so good. Plus, its a classic.

Anna Kendrick // Scrappy Little Nobody: Funny, quick read and made me even more obsessed with Anna Kendrick. This book details funny stories in her life but it also an honest take at her life.

Amy Schumer // The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo: This book is an easy, hilarious read about Amy and her life. Its hilarious, dirty and will actually make you laugh out loud.

Bill O'Reilly // Killing Patton: Not by usual style, but I couldn't put this book down. I took this one off Adam's bookshelf and I'm gonna have to start trusting his taste from now on! Its focus is on how Patton died and the mystery around it. I am not a history buff an had no idea his death was suspicious. This book was great.

Elin Hilderbrand // The Identicals: If you know me at all, you know how much I love Elin. Her books are based in Nantucket which is why I am currently planning my trip there. This book per usual took me all of 5 days to get through. I couldn't put it down. It was a little different than her other books because it takes place in both Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. It was so good.

Jane Corry // My Husbands Wife: This book was hard to get in to. I could tell this book was going to be great, so I'm glad I forced myself to get through the first few chapters. Once, I did, I was absolutely hooked. I couldn't stop. The twists in this book are insane and had me wondering what was going to happen until the very last page.


Liane Moriarty // Truly Madly Guilty: Liane is another cult-following author for me. Just like Elin, I love her books. This book held my attention the entire time because it starts with you knowing something horrible and sad happens, but you don't know what that even is. It's not until more than half way through the book that you find out what the event is.

What are you reading? Tell me everything. I'm always looking for new reads. Send me your recs!

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5 Days of Clean Eating.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Monday and Happy Eclipse Day! I hope you have an awesome weekend. Welcome back.

The last few months of our lives have been full of constant travel. Don't get me wrong, traveling is so fun but traveling creates a crazy life. Travel for us means eating out, drinking cocktails, little to no sleep and just busy busy busy. We are gearing up for one more summer wedding and then we are done traveling for a while.

To get our lives and bodies back on track, we're doing a mini cleanse/strict clean eating starting today. I don't call it a diet because I'm eating, and eating a lot. I am just being very choosy about what I am eating.
 Please know I am not a doctor. I cannot tell you what the best thing for you is. But this works for me. It's a great re-start after eating like crap for months. I usually incorporate certain rules when I start super clean eating. Keep in mind, if you're doing hard workouts or extra long days you may need to modify this. You don't want to starve your body. Clean eating doesn't mean no eating. 

My top 7 rules for clean eating: 
  1. Choose Fresh Foods over Refined Foods. You'll see in these recipes that everything is fresh. 
  2. Stock Up on Protein. This is where you'll get your energy. I usually stay away from red meat and stick to fish and chicken. 
  3. Stop eating sugar
  4. Feed yourself. 5 small meals during the day rather then one large dinner or breakfast. 
  5. Don't Drink Your Calories. I'm talking to me here. No booze, no pop, no coffee, just stick to water. I usually give up coffee when I first start and drink green tea but usually get back to black coffee later. 
  6. Listen to your body. You may find yourself a little hungry since you are regulating meals, but if you go on a 10 mile run and are starving, you gotta eat. Just keep it clean.
  7. Cook with a friend/spouse. The key to success with this is prepping your meals and snacks. Life is so busy during the week, don't make it harder by not being prepared. Also, if you've prepared everything, it makes it easier to stick to your meal plan.
I usually do clean eating for 21 days straight. Its the easiest way for me to see results and feel better. This is a mini meal plan. But, if you need more recipes, be sure to check out my paleo tab and this other meal plan

Get creative, clean eating doesn't have to be gross. Here's a quick shopping list. Keep in mind, again, I leave out red meat and pork when I first start a reset. 

DAY ONE
Breakfast
 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or for dairy free, So Delicious coconut milk yogurt
• 1/4 cup muesli
• 1/4 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack 

 2 clementines

Lunch 

Avocado-Egg Toast with a Garden Salad
 1/2 medium avocado,
 2-3 large eggs, cooked in 1/4 tsp. olive oil 
Season egg with a pinch each of salt and pepper
 1 1/2 cups mixed greens
 2 Tbsp. grated carrot
 1/2 cup cucumber slices
Top salad with 1/2 Tbsp. each balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Dinner 

 4 oz. cooked chicken breast, cooked in 1 tsp. olive oil and seasoned with a pinch each of salt and pepper
• 4 zucchini, sliced into quarters; Zest of 1 lemon; ½ tsp. dried oregano; ¼ tsp. garlic powder; Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all zucchini ingredients and grill for 2-3 minutes

DAY TWO:

Breakfast 
Avocado-Egg Toast
 1/2 medium avocado
 2 tomato slices
 2-3 large eggs, cooked in 1/4 tsp. olive oil 
Season egg with a pinch each of salt and pepper

A.M. Snack 

• A handful of Kale chips


Lunch 
 Grab a can of tuna and an avocado with some salad greens, oil, and vinegar, and mix it all up.

P.M. Snack 

• 1 cup blueberries with 20 raw, unsalted pistachios

Dinner 

• 1 serving chicken soup (great for leftovers)

DAY THREE:
Breakfast 
 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or for dairy free, So Delicious coconut milk yogurt
• 1/4 cup muesli
• 1/4 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack 

 Frozen berries with a drizzle of coconut milk and honey 

Lunch 

Veggie Sandwich
• 2 slices sprouted-grain bread
• 1/4 medium avocado, mashed
• 1 Tbsp. hummus
Add veggies of your choice (try cucumber, tomato, carrots and greens).

P.M. Snack 

• 1 plum
• 5 walnut halves

Dinner:

• 2 chicken tacos 



DAY FOUR:
Breakfast:
• Breakfast scrambler. Store in an air tight container and use it for leftover lunch/dinner or breakfast.

A.M. Snack 

 8 dried apricots

Lunch 

Veggie Sandwich
• 2 slices sprouted-grain bread
• 1/4 medium avocado, mashed
• 1 Tbsp. hummus
Add veggies of your choice (try cucumber, tomato, carrots and greens).

P.M. Snack 

• hard-boiled egg

Dinner:

• 1 serving of baked mushroom chicken


DAY FIVE:
Breakfast:
• Breakfast scrambler. Store in an air tight container and use it for leftover lunch/dinner or breakfast.

A.M. Snack 

 Half an avocado sprinkled with sea salt and balsamic vinegar

Lunch 

 Salad with roast chicken, dried cranberries, pecans, apple slices, and vinaigrette

P.M. Snack 

•  2 Tbsp. hummus
• 1 cup sliced cucumber

Dinner:

• 1 serving of salmon with avocado salsa


Happy eating friends! I hope this meal plan helps get you back on track to healthy and delicious eating!




Guest Post: Beautiful Honeymoon Spots around the World

Friday, August 18, 2017

Your wedding day is bound to be wonderful. With all the hustle bustle and planning that surrounds it, you and your partner deserve a beautiful break! Your new beginning should be filled with romance, love, and happiness. What better way than to invest in a beautiful honeymoon to start your life together!

If you’re trying to figure out which are the best spots around the world to go to, we’ve got you covered. Katie from Orla James prefers a variety of choice when selecting beautiful honeymoon spots. We decided to assist them with a few gorgeous, yet romantic spots around the globe. Whether it's adventure, culture, or romance you crave, we’ve got options for you to choose from.
Let’s look at some of them.

BALI, INDONESIA: Bali is popularly known as the ‘Isle of the Gods’. With gorgeous mist-shrouded temples, pristine beaches, and warm welcoming people, Bali is the perfect honeymoon destination spot. The beautiful mountains and cultural hub made it a popular location for the hit movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Take a trip to the famed Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple that stands 200 ft. above sea level. The sunset from this point is one from your dreams! You should head to Bali to experience romance that lasts a lifetime.


CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town has everything you could imagine! From gorgeous landscapes, wild party scenes, exquisite beaches, and a bustling city, Cape Town has something for everyone. You can also visit the plethora of wineries and indulge in a safari or two. Ideally, you should take the 90-minute drive from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas and stop off at Boulders Beach to meet the famous warm-weather penguins! If you’re unsure of what sort of honeymoon to invest in, Cape Town is the perfect location for privacy, romance, and fun!



MARRAKECH, MOROCCO: Indulge your senses in this colorful city! Brimming with sights, sounds, scents, and people, Morocco has you covered. If you’re up to it, you can go surfing, binge on delicious seafood and kebabs, drink coffee at roadside cafes, do some street shopping, get your fortune told, and visit the never ending mosques and museums. You can also head to the ancient city of Fez and trade your car for donkey carts and walk old, narrow alleys. Whatever your preference, you are bound to have a memorable honeymoon in Marrakech.



PROVENCE, FRANCE: If it’s an uber romantic location you want, you must head to Provence. Known for rolling lavender fields, wine, art, and history, Provence in France is a beautiful getaway for honeymoon couples. Explore the rugged landscapes that Provence has to offer and the wonderful outdoor sports that are available there. You could also go horseback riding, take a picnic in lavender fields, explore quaint villages, and take French cooking classes. If you and your partner want a peaceful, yet romantic honeymoon, you could consider Provence to be your ultimate honeymoon destination!


LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA: Langkawi Island in Malaysia is an unforgettable destination! Crystal clear waters, dense jungles, and virgin beaches are some of the things that you can expect to see in Langkawi. Experience the famous Malaysian well-being spas, fresh seafood, and juicy local fruits, and go bird watching. Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark is located in Langkawi, so you simply must take a wildlife tour! Some wild animals you can look forward to are otters, snakes, the famous walking fish, monkeys, and eagles. You can also visit neighboring islands by taking a boat and island hop!



MUSCAT, OMAN: Oman is a hidden jewel in the Middle East. This beautiful Arabian oasis is rich in culture and beauty. A favorite holiday destination for many Europeans, it is filled with charming beaches, gold souks, bustling markets intermingled with shopping malls, theatres, cultural centers, and world famous food chains. In Muscat, you can visit the Grand Mosque, Muttrah Souk, and Al-Bustan Beach. If you and your partner would like a road trip, you can also drive down to the beautiful fishing village of Sur while taking stops at the historic Nizwa Fort, and the silversmith and handicrafts markets in Sohar. Oman makes for a beautiful sandy playground and is a wonderful place to spend your honeymoon!


After months of planning your wedding and finally tying the knot, you should spend quality time with your new spouse and leave all your worries behind. Invest in a beautiful unforgettable honeymoon to start your life together in bliss and harmony. Whether it’s a tropical retreat or an adventurous one, make the most of this time together and start your new life with happiness.
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Recipe: My Go-To Recipe & The Best Recipe!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday nights are the nights where I hate cooking. I've done by job Sunday through Wednesday, cooking great healthy meals. But, by Thursday, I want my glass of wine and an easy meal! Usually, Thursday nights result in take out something and a glass of wine on the couch. Tonight is the first Bronco's game of the season, so I have a feeling our night is going to center around football. It's back!

My tune drastically changes on Sundays. Sunday is my day to experiment. I love trying new recipes, especially the ones that are so messy I spend three times the time cleaning than we did eating. Sundays are for the meals you always remember and say, "man that was so good."

Luckily for you, I've got both of these recipes.

THE GO-TO RECIPE: I have two of these. Both salad options. When I asked Adam what his favorite easy recipe was that I make, his immediate response was the almond butter chicken salad. My immediate response was my new thai chicken salad. It's the battle of the salads people!

Thai chicken salad v. almond butter chicken salad. Both of these recipes make enough for Friday-lunch leftovers and both are incredible. Plus, I usually have all these ingredients in my fridge and pantry.

Paleo Chicken Salad


Ingredients:
  • 4 cups shredded chicken (this is about two large breasts) 
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced (use red if you can, but yellow is good too!) 
  • Butter lettuce, bread or wraps to eat it with. Or a fork. Let's be real, it's that's good.

How to Make: 
  1. Shred the dang chicken. Get this part out of the way. (To make shredded chicken, place chicken in a saute pan. Cover the chicken with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer. Takes about 25 minutes. Flip the chicken half way through.)
  2. Make the dressing. Mix the almond butter, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt. Taste it. Last night, ours tasted too much like almond butter, so I added a little more apple cider vinegar and a titch of salt. This is up to your taste buds! 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, celery, cranberries, almonds and onion. Don't be afraid to add other things. I used some seeds last night. I even thought about adding red cabbage. 
  4. Wait to toss the salad with the dressing until ready to eat. Toss, serve, enjoy! 
Thai Chicken Salad: 


Ingredients:
For the thai "peanut" dressing (I doubled everything) 
  • 1⁄4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • juice of 1⁄2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes\

For the salad
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato or yam, shredded 
  • 6 to 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • handful of sliced carrots
  • handful diced tomatoes 
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • roughly chopped green onions, for garnish
How to Make: 
DressingPlace all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 
Salad:  
  1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee. 
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt, garlic powder, and pepper, then place in the hot pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. 
  3. While the chicken cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the shredded sweet potato and a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft. 
  5. When the chicken is done, let it rest for 3 minutes, then slice it at an angle into strips.  
  6. Arrange the salad: Place the greens in a large bowl, add as much dressing as you like, and toss to coat. 
  7. Add some greens to each plate, then top with the chicken strips, sautéed sweet potato, cucumber, coconut, and cilantro. 
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!
THE BEST RECIPE: Paleo ravioli. It was hands down the greatest cooking accomplishment of my thirtys. (I'm 45 days in!). It's one of those meals, where I envision my girl friends sitting at my counter with red wine while I prepare ravioli and then we sit around and tell each other stories and secrets. Dream life amiright?

Ingredients:
Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves gargle, mined
  • 1 can (24 ounces) diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon truffle salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
Mushroom Filling 
  • big handful of mushrooms (about a cup), diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 dried ground sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

How to Make: 
  • For the filling, saute all the ingredients over medium heat until they are nicely browned and softened. 
  • For the sauce, saute the onion and garlic with olive oil or ghee until nice and sodt. add the remaining ingredients to a blender, mix until smooth. Add back to the sauce pan, stir into the onion, garlic combo. 
  • For the ravioli; 
    • Like I mentioned, I used Capellos lasagna noodles. 
    • Make sure you have a small cup of water nearby. 
    • I laid the noodles out and took about a teaspoon of filling and spaced them about 6 inches apart. I made two rows of filling. Once all the filing is set, wet the edges pretty well. 
    • Take another sheet of noodles and lay it over the other, press down on all sides. 
    • Then I just used wet fingers to make the squares around the filing. Pizza cutter to cut the squares and set them aside. I made all the ravioli before I put them in the boiling water. 
    • When they're all made, boil a large saucepan of water. 
    • Once it's bubbling, add the ravioli in. 
    • I cooked mine for about 90 seconds! That's the joy of Capellos. You don't want them mushy, so make sure to check! 
  • Cover with sauce, top with fresh parm and dive in! 
Happy Thursday friends and Go Broncos! I hope I helped make meal planning a little easier! And remember, cooking is better with wine and friends.

We're almost to the weekend! Let's do it!

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