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Hump Day Hummus

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Good Hump Day Morning!

This morning, I woke up bright and early to another bowl of…overnight oats (tutorial coming soon!)

Smooth and creamy, just the way I like it.  This morning, I opted for no fruit, not for any specific reason…I just opted out.  And on the workout front, I will be completing today’s routine this evening.  I am teaching a class for the first time at a new-to-me gym, so I’ll take advantage of the timing and squeeze my workout in beforehand.

And on to other news…here it is, the recipe for Cauliflower Hummus!

This past weekend, I attended my first wedding shower EVER!  It was such a fun way to celebrate the upcoming wedding.  When I heard there was going to be a shower, me being me, I automatically started to brainstorm a snack that I could bring along to share.  Not only do I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, but I love cooking for other people.  I figured there would probably be plenty of dessert, so I would make something more savory….then I stumbled upon an idea on the internet…Cauliflower Hummus.  What a unique idea!  But I had to give it a try, I thought it tasted delicious, Brian thought it could use a little less garlic.  Make it to your own tastes and enjoy the creaminess of this delicious vegetable dip.

Cauliflower Hummus (Original recipe from The Cavewoman Cafe)


  • One head of steamed cauliflower
  • 4 large cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped (this is where  you might want to adjust the flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


Make sure the steamed cauliflower is tender and almost falling apart.  While the cauliflower is steaming and cooling, in a blender or food processor combine the garlic, almond butter, lemon, olive oil, and spices.  After the cauliflower has cooled, gradually add it to the mixture in the processor or blender until it becomes the consistency that you prefer.  Store in the refrigerator and serve chilled with veggies, or dippers of your choice!

Enjoy your day and do something active 😉

Happy Holidays and Travel Updates

The internet on the boat is iffy and expensive…but I am still here!!

25 Questions: Holiday Style

  • Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Eggnog.  I love a good, rich hot chocolate as well, but to me, nothing speaks Christmas like eggnog.  I usually only have it once or twice during the season, but I can’t imagine a Christmas without it.  Yesterday morning (my Christmas morning) I woke up and got ready to eat breakfast at the buffet as usual.  Sad that I couldn’t have my usual cinnamon rolls with my family, I was a)so excited to see eggnog at the buffet for breakfast, and b) really shocked because that is typically NOT a breakfast item…but I had to have it! J

  • Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa still wraps our presents.  There are no gifts under the main tree until Christmas morning, and we are not allowed to peak on Christmas morning until my parents are ready…yes me and my siblings still do this…and we will be doing it next year when I am home for Christmas!

  • Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We have colored on the tree in the house and blue icicle lights outside.

  • Do you hang mistletoe?


  • When do you hang your decorations up?

I think it really depends on the year.  It is all up to my mom since she is the one at home, but I honestly don’t mind putting up the festive décor right after Thanksgiving!  The sooner the better J

  • What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Every year we have lasagna for dinner at Christmas.  Sometimes we switch up our appetizers, our Christmas Eve meal or whatnot, but without a doubt we always have lasagna Christmas night, and because it is so special we like never have it throughout the year so that we really are craving it when Christmas comes around.  It is seriously the best lasagna that I have ever tasted…stuff in the restaurants doesn’t even come close.

  • Favorite holiday memory as a child?

When we were younger we used to do a holiday celebration at my Great Grandma’s apartment in Michigan and I just remember always driving through the snow and having the whole trip seem like an adventure to get to Grandma’s house.  We would have a fancy little dinner with her and get all dressed up in our holiday attire.  Just spending time with family by playing cards and watching a Miracle on 34th Street. It was perfect J

I also remember one year that me and my siblings really wanted Giga Pets (remember those) for Christmas.  My parents continuously said no way and that we were definitely not getting them for us.  When we were opening our gifts we each got our own Giga Pet!  At that moment I “knew” santa was real J

  • What is on your Christmas wish list?

This year I didn’t even make one!  I am such a list person that I just enjoy making my list every year and sending ideas to my mom constantly, but I really didn’t expect to get anything…so when I got two boxes of gifts to open on Christmas I was sooo happy!!! J

  • Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?

No way!!!! Brian’s family opens on Christmas Eve…but for my family there is no way that we open anything before the actual day!

  • How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

We use all of our collected random and homemade gifts each year.  One year, I think I tried to string popcorn and cranberries to add that kind of a touch to the tree, most years we add those stringy silver icicle things.  We also have a smaller tree that we call our “international tree.”  Whenever my grandparents travel they always bring us back little ornaments to add to the tree, so I am collecting some ornaments along my travels to add to the collection!

  • Snow? Love it or dread it?

I would love snow from the week of Thanksgiving until New Years and then after that spring, green, and warm weather can come J

  • Real tree or fake tree?

REAL! We always argue about finding the “perfect” tree. When I was younger we would actually go to a Christmas tree farm!

  • Do you remember your favorite gift?

Favorite gift…that is a hard one!  I think that this year my gifts were my favorite because I wasn’t expecting anything…my mom could have sent an empty box and it would have been my favorite I think haha.  Just to have a little taste of home was perfect!

  • What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Family and traditions.  Being away from everyone and everything that I love this holiday season has really made me realize how much I really do love my family and spending time with them.  I don’t have a big family, so the traditions we hold on to are what make the day special for everyone.  I can’t wait to come back next year and do every tradition to the max!!!

  • What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Our house literally becomes a bakery during the holiday season.  We don’t eat cake or pies for Christmas, it is all about the cookies…although some of them are not cookies technically.  My absolute favorite holiday treat to eat are buckeyes…and I have had a craving for them this entire week!  My favorite holiday treat to make are cherry coconut bars and of course decorated sugar cookies

  • What is your favorite tradition?

This is a tough one because my family has so many goofy little traditions.  I think that my favorite tradition is the homemade gift that my siblings and I make for each other.  Now that we are getting older, the gifts are actually pretty good!  It is always so hard to come up with an idea, but then once you come up with it the whole process is top secret from everyone (except mom who usually helps out!) until Christmas morning.

  • What tops your tree?

We top the tree with a “tree topper.”  It is not an angel and it is not a star.  It is a red and gold decoration thing that just goes on top…It’s hard to describe.

  • Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love giving gifts on Christmas, my favorite thing is to find the perfect gift and then keep it a secret until Christmas and watch the receiver open it J  Watching them open the gift is probably my favorite part!

  • What is your favorite Christmas song?

I can’t pick just one so here are the songs at the top of the list

  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  2. Joy to the World
  3. Carol of the Bells
  4. Oh Holy Night
  5. Silver Bells
  • Candy canes, yuck or yum?

They are cute decorations during the holiday season.  My mom gets a giant candy cane (like the kind that you would put in the yard) and puts it on the antenna of her car…my sister does that too.  I also think that they are tasty as stir sticks in your hot chocolate or eggnog.

  • Favorite Christmas movie?

Again, I can’t choose so here is the top of the list

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  2. Elf
  3. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
  4. A Christmas Story
  • What do you leave for Santa?

This is one of the goofy traditions that my family still does…we leave cookies, milk (or eggnog), a carrot for Rudolph, and a letter J (yes we still do it!)

  • Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

YES!  Usually, my siblings and I all sleep in one room together for a big Christmas night sleepover.  I then wake up at the earliest hour possible (I am a morning person) and then wake up Kenny, my brother.  I have Kenny go peak downstairs to see how things look.  In the mean time I try to convince Brenna that she needs to wake up 5 hours before her usual time because it is Christmas!  Kenny and I then go and try to wake our parents up, we then wait for mom to shower and Dad to set up the video camera (this really turns into a production).  When Mom is finally ready we all head downstairs to the family room and open the gifts in our stockings first.  We then move to the homemade and family gifts under the International Tree.  I then make cinnamon rolls and we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  We then move into the living room and open all of the Santa presents under the tree.

**I told you we had a lot of traditions

  • Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

The mall.  I love the smell of Christmas time and being surrounded by so many people and seeing the decorations!

  • Christmas letter or Christmas card?

This year I did Christmas letters simply because I am so far away and can’t talk to everyone in the family that often.

  • Favorite thing about Christmas this year? (I added this one in)

The crew on board formed a crew Christmas carol choir.  As soon as I heard that this was going on I couldn’t NOT join!! I quickly was given the title of music director and loved every second of it.  Most (probably everyone) had no musical training and were just doing the choir for fun, which was great to see.  I had a couple of solos too, which was fun.  We performed on Christmas Eve night just before each seating for dinner, and because it made me so happy to see everyone else so happy it made me extremely emotional!

Christmas day I then had to work in the morning teaching our stretching class and our abs class.  Since it was Christmas, the gym was pretty slow so I was hanging out at the front desk when a man came into the spa said that he was looking for a girl from the spa last night dressed like me that sang the Christmas carols.  My manager quickly told him that it was me!  He then went on to tell me how happy the carols made him and how my singing was the highlight of his entire cruise.  That made me so happy!  I then had a little bit of a rough day just because every time I would even think about Christmas anything I would just get emotional.  Later that evening, my roommate came into our room where I was hanging out and told me that the man who enjoyed my singing so much was talking to my manager who explained that it was my first Christmas away from home and that I was having a hard time.  He said that he understood the feeling of being away from family and because I made him and his wife smile, they wanted to make me smile so they bought me a little stuffed animal holding a Christmas carol booklet that plays Christmas songs!!! That totally made my day!

Benefits of Working in the Spa on a Cruise

The gym is a part of the spa on all cruise ships, and because of that we are able to receive free treatments.  In fact, it is encouraged so that we can cross promote those treatments to our clients!  I am clearly trying to take as much advantage of this amazing opportunity as I can.  So far, I have had a lime and ginger salt scrub which seriously made my skin the smoothest that it has ever been and included a full body massage, and the second treatment I had was a Thai poultice massage which again was amazing and included warm herbal bags massaged onto the skin.  I have also had a treatment called ionithermie done which detoxifies the body from the outside and stimulates the muscles while circulating algae through the skin.  I loved the treatment, but some people find the electrical stimulation of the muscles weird.

Where I Have Traveled

  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Nagasaki, Japan
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Phu My, Vietnam
  • Laem Chabang, Thailand
  • Ko Samui, Thailand
  • Darwin, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Hobart, Australia
  • Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand (Where Lord of the Rings was filmed)

Things that I have learned while traveling.

  • Thailand has beautiful beaches and resorts and very cheap clothes.  I literally bought dresses for $2.

  • Hong Kong’s skyline makes NYC look little.

  • They actually where the little pointed hats in Vietnam.

  • Australia is very clean.
  • Southern Australia and New Zealand are not hot.

  • I think this was the biggest shocker.  The weather is like below 70 degrees and it is their summer right now.  I just automatically thought that all of Australia and New Zealand were scorching all the time, but I was wrong.

I miss everyone dearly, and although I am enjoying this experience, being away for the holidays has truly allowed me to see how important my friends and family are to me and I can’t wait to come back home to everyone!  I hope that everyone had a merry Christmas and has a happy new year!

Pilates and Nutrition

The past two days (Friday and Saturday) have been full of nutrition and Pilates, two things that I love!


On Friday, nearly the entire day, we went over how to give a nutrition counseling session.  At first, I was kind of leary because I am not a certified dietition or nutritionist.  However, when we actually started doing the consultation I realized that I am not making a meal plan for the clients saying that they must eat certain things in order to lose weight.  We are basically just using research and common sense to give suggestions about how to achieve their health goals because as we all know, we cannot achieve our goals by exercising alone.

This is our fitness group waiting outside for class!

I am very excited to begin to practice what I preach next week when I plan to actually write up myself a little plan.  The plan really focuses on balance at every meal, including snacks, and that is what I lack.  Although I am eating salads and fresh foods when I can, I have always struggled with getting enough lean protein (or just enough protein) into my diet.  So, today a couple of the girls and I are going to invest in some soy protein powder to help us out with the balance.  Now, I wouldn’t personally use the protein powder if I was living a typical lifestyle where I can prepare my own meals at home, but since I don’t have control of that I need another supplemental source of lean protein because there really isn’t a food option here that fits that need.


Yesterday, we did Pilates all day!  We started off the day with a master class that was amazing.  After only working out a couple of times this week, being completely exhausted, and just getting used to the new routine this Pilates class was perfect.  It challenged the body throughout the entire workout, then at the end we literally went into a meditative sleep, yes SLEEP!  I think we all slept for 15 minutes, and it may have been the best 15 minutes of my life ;).


After the master class we went to lunch at Pret A Manger.  I ordered a wrap with lettuce, cucumber, chickpeas, and hummus but did not eat the wrap because I just wasn’t in the mood to eat non-whole wheat food (after talking about nutrition for so long!).

We then came back to class and continued to learn our warm up and the beginning of our workout.  I practiced it so much last night, that my arms are feeling sore from all of the push-ups…but I love it!


After class, we then ran to Poundland to pick up a couple of class supplies that we needed.  Poundland is like the British version of the Dollar Store….everything is a pound!

After working out mentally and physically for the majority of the day, we were all ready for dinner.  I had a salad , as usual, mixed with my cooked carrots and cabbage but they added in dark green lettuce rather than only giving me iceburg, the cherry on top of a wonderful day!

Hope everyone is getting ready for Halloween tomorrow!!

Keys and Americans

Good Morning (for me!) Good Night (for you!)


I didn’t post yesterday because it was a bit of a hectic morning.  My original plan was to wake up at 5am and Skype with Brian, study, blog, and head to the gym.  None of that actually ended up happening though because I woke up at 7am!  Now, this still gave me plenty of time to get ready and get to training, but nothing else was able to get accomplished.  On top of this, when I went to leave, I realized that I didn’t have my key!


I searched and searched because we need our keys to check in for breakfast, and I had no luck.  I then went downstairs and informed the front desk so that I could have a meal voucher instead.  So, I was able to eat but I had no key.  Luckily, I am literally never in my room.

Class today wasn’t so bad.  The past couple of days we have been working on learning specific speeches and our consultations.  We have to practice everything now to get all of the kinks out because when we get on a ship, there will be no time for mistakes.  Things are also moving at a very fast pace.  After the first night, we needed to be ready to present a four page seminar with simply notecards.  It was difficult, but I was able to get it done…now I am working on memorizing that seminar!

I feel  like there is always a chance that we could be asked to perform anything that we have been taught, so as we are learning things, I am constantly reviewing (or revising as the English say 😉 ).

In my group, I am the only American.  I am constantly surrounded by accents and dialects from literally all over the world and I think that it is amazing!  But for some reason, everyone constantly comments on how great my speaking voice is and how easy it is to listen to because I am American.   While on the other hand, I think that there voices are fascinating!

Our instructor told us that the majority of people who cruise are American, so he was telling us things that “Americans” like to talk about so that we could learn how to make small talk.


Honestly, these are very vital skills for the profession that we are about to embark in, but I think it is funny that we literally have to be taught about it. He really generalized the American culture by saying that many people never leave the town that they are born in and that the majority of the population doesn’t have passports.  It is always interesting to hear what someone else has to say about you isn’t it?

There are little things that are such a part of my life, and I wouldn’t think twice about talking about the topic with someone that many of  he people I am working with have never heard of!

  • Show choir
  • March Madness
  • Spring Break
  • Cheerleaders

And they are all fascinated with the idea of these kinds of topics!  It makes the little things that we do in life seem extra exciting, which is nice.


After studying for what seemed like hours (yet somehow there is always more to do) it was time for me to head to bed.  I washed my face, changed my clothes and did the normal routine.  As soon as I stretched my legs out in bed….I found my lost key!


The day turned out to be alright after  all.  😉


Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to

Yesterday was the first real day of training.  We wore our uniforms, learned our first speech, and worked a little bit with the “upper weeks” (the people who have already been here three weeks).

I will be wearing that little outfit for the next three weeks straight!  Even though we are fitness, we are still expected to have full makeup including lipstick, and our hair up nicely with all pony holders covered.  Even on workout days!  I am going to be washing my face well at night.


I was finally able to get up early and head to the gym yesterday.  I simply did the elliptical for 30 minutes and stretched, but it felt so great! The gym doesn’t open until 6:30am so it is a little bit of an inconvenient time, but I am going to try to do it every other day when we are not doing some sort of physical training during the day.  After talking with the upper weeks about their fitness regiment, they said that it was pretty normal to not have a whole lot of time to workout during the first three weeks.

I honestly find the whole situation kind of weird.  We are fitness people who are learning about how to promote a clean and healthy lifestyle, yet we are eating food that is not very nutritional and we are unable to workout because of exhaustion and lack of time…doesn’t quite make since, but I hear it gets better on the ship (hopefully!).


I hadn’t eaten breakfast at the YMCA yet so I didn’t know what to expect.  There was oatmeal (made with cream), a variety of cereals, some sausage, eggs, french toast (i think), fruit and juice.  I thought it was a bit overwhelming because I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the cereals and it is hard to read the nutritional labels here because everything is metric.  It also looks like the calorie count is for 100g on most things, not necessarily the serving size.

Another fitness girl, Lisa, grabbed these two giant granola patty looking things for her cereal.  I had never seen them before, and she said they were Weetabix.  Whatever they were, they were tasty and totally soaked up the soy milk I put on them so they got extra soggy, which I liked.  I also had an apple on the side to get a little fresh food in my diet.

Training Day 1

Yesterday, we mainly focused on learning our speech for the spa tours given on embarkation day on the cruise.  Our test got pushed back until today, which means that we have our written exam and we have to have our embarkation speeches memorized.  I know the gist of the embarkation speech, but I was so tired last night that I started fumbling around.  I am going to review a little more before class.  Today, we also begin learning our first seminar…Detox.  Apparently, this is the BIG one!


I was able to order a salad for dinner at breakfast yesterday, which was sooo much better than just a plain potato.  However, their salads are different.  The best looking option on the salad menu was the cheese salad, which literally was a little salad with a ton of cheese on the side and cole slaw.  The salad wasn’t bad, just good to have fresh food, but the cole slaw will have to go next time.

Carrots and root vegetables

It wasn’t a bad meal, wonder what is for dinner tomorrow?  Probably another salad.

Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to

Me being American definitely puts me in the minority in this training, which I think is great!  Even though almost everyone speaks English, there are still a couple of words that I don’t know.  Here are some of my new vocab words from the “English” language:

  • serviette:  Napkin  “Do you have an extra serviette?”
  • training: workout “Did you have time to train today?”
  • biscuit:  cookie  “Biscuits and milk not biscuits and gravy.”
  • swede: a root vegetable that I tried last night for the first time, tasty, not a lot of flavor 🙂

That’s all that I can remember at the moment, but now I am going to shower for day 2!