FloYo Preview at Beachfit!

Jessie Benson - FloYo at Beachfit | sunshine & the bearIf you haven’t heard, I love Surfset boards. They are indoor board equipment that mimic the instability you have on the water, but on dry land. They provide you with an insane workout! I’m certified as a Surfset instructor but I’ve really only used the boards for the tracks/moves the Surfset team has created for them, but my friend Jessie had another idea…FloYo on the boards!

FloYo is a mix of yoga and strength training, all done (traditionally) on a stand up paddle board. Jessie is the founder of FloYo and teaches all over the city and state – everything from FloYo in Annapolis to yoga at M. Power to spin at Under Armour…and more! She’s a busy lady! :) So happy she’s started these new classes here in the city!

Jessie Benson - FloYo at Beachfit | sunshine & the bear

Last night, Beachfit Baltimore (located right downtown, across from Chazz and Pazo) hosted a special event for bloggers with Jessie to preview her new classes! It was a great workout and a lovely time for our little group!

Blogger event - FloYo at Beachfit | sunshine & the bear

BMOREtoned at Beachfit | sunshine & the bear

Annie and I, also attending on behalf of BMOREtoned, had a little fun after class. Maybe a little too much fun… haha (thanks Mary for capturing the entire fall haha) 

ANYWAY, classes start next week! There will be a combo spin/FloYo class on Tuesdays at 7pm and a full FloYo class on Fridays at 10:30am! Definitely worth checking out! If you want to test out the board before committing to a full class, you can join Beachfit for a little open house/happy hour next Friday, November 7 at 5pm!

Thanks so much to Jessie from FloYo and the whole Beachfit team for letting us try out the new class and for our goodies! Can’t wait to come back for a class!

FloYo blogger pack | sunshine & the bear

Hermitage Bay honeymoon

We just got back from our honeymoon and settling back into the real world (life just isn’t the same when the beach isn’t within walking distance! haha). It was a beautiful week by the brilliant blue waters in Antigua! Thanks to an incredible recommendation from our friends Molly and Jason, we stayed at a resort called Hermitage Bay.

hermitage bay antigua

Located on the west side of the island, Hermitage boasts a hillside full of lovely suites and beautiful tropical gardens that lead right up to the beach! We loved the view, of course, but that wasn’t all we went for – the resort is all-inclusive. It was a great way to guarantee a fairly effortless vacation. You not only have shelter, but also delicious meals, beach and activities…without having to worry about a budget.

Our suite was incredible. Up on the hill, we had our own mini pool, stunning views, an outdoor shower, mini bar (all included and refilled daily!), TV, wifi, etc. We had such a beautiful time between the beach and our room – all under a warm Caribbean sun!

We enjoyed delicious, freshly made food all week – breakfast, lunch and dinner! The Hermitage chefs make everything – from fresh jams for your toast to fresh salads with local produce, creative ice cream flavors to seasoned local meats. They also made a new type of bread every day – SO good (honeymoon calories don’t count, right? haha). Breakfast might have been my favorite meal though…with a new fresh juice every day and banana pancakes, they knew the way to my heart.

One of my favorite dishes was their melon & blue cheese salad – cubed honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon and blue cheese, seasoned with fresh basil ribbons, salt and pepper. DEFINITELY going to make that one at home!

Melon, Blue Cheese & Basil Salad | sunshine & the bear

They also had fitness facilities and yoga/pilates sessions! It was so incredible to practice in such a beautiful place. Don’t get me wrong, I love Baltimore and we’ve got some great views…but it was beautiful to close my eyes and hear the waves crashing close by!

katekatebear yoga hermitage bay antigua

katekatebear yoga at hermitage bay | sunshine and the bear
We were also joined by lots of local critters, which was fun! As long as we get along, I always love seeing the local wildlife when I travel! We had everything from birds like pelicans and finches to lizards to some sweet kittens who lived on the property! And, of course, we saw our fair share of fellow-beach-goer-buddies hermit crabs!

hermit crab | sunshine and the bear

On our last night, we took a hike around the mountain adjacent to the resort to watch the sun set over the water – it was stunning! A gorgeous sunset to end a gorgeous trip!

DSC_0083

antigua sunset | sunshine and the bear

I want to send out a huge thank you and lots of hugs to all the amazing people at Hermitage Bay! From the morning greeting to calling our room to see if I felt better after mentioning a stomach ache…you truly made us feel welcome like family (the nice kind haha)! We love you and hope to send more friends to you soon!

Well, the long and short of it…we had a beautiful time! While the experience is still fresh in my mind, I figured I’d pass on some tips for visiting Hermitage Bay (and vacationing in general), like Molly did for me!

hermitage bay beach antigua | sunshine and the bearTips for Hermitage Bay:

  • Eat the bread. Every day. Vacation carbs don’t count, ok? They make this homemade bread every day and it’s always amazing! Two of my favorites were the five grain and the roasted red pepper. YUM.
  • Taste the daily fresh juice. Again, they make this daily and it’s always tasty! We had everything from grapefruit pineapple to melon blend.
  • Enjoy the Watersports area! They have snorkel gear, stand up paddle boards, kayaks and more! All there for you to enjoy for free!
  • Take the free boat tour around the local area with the Watersports guys – it only takes about 30-40 minutes and it’s a cool way to see the surrounding area like neighboring Jolly Harbor!
  • Take the free yoga and pilates classes! It’s an incredible setting for getting in touch with your breath and your practice.
  • Ask Kempton/the restaurant about the garden tour – it’s so interesting to see all the cool plants they are growing right on their property (before you eat them)!
  • Pack suntan lotion. They have some to purchase, but if you can check a bag and bring your own it’s more affordable (thanks Molly for that tip!!).
  • They provide you with bug spray, and you’ll need it! So USE it!

Tips for vacation:

  • Leave extra time for international flights. Even more time than you think. Just to be safe.
  • Fill out your immigration forms on the plane and have store them with your passport, so there’s no fussing when you arrive to check in/out.
  • Bring healthy snacks for the trip! There’s usually food options wherever you go, but they tend to be fast food, unhealthy and expensive. Grab some easy snackables like nuts, bars or even fruit!
  • Get/bring a waterproof camera (GoPro, fake GoPro, even a waterproof case for your phone is great!)
  • Try the local food! It’s more fresh, it supports the local economy AND adds to the adventure!
  • Bring sunglasses (AND a floating sunglasses strap – Chums makes a ton!).
  • Bring your meds and any allergy medicine you have, just in case.
  • Bring a light jacket for the plane.
  • Suck it up and get one of those neck pillows. It took me 29 years, but I’ve finally gotten one and I can’t believe I didn’t before!

[Recipe] Caramelized Fennel & Kale Pasta

I love fennel.
I love kale.

Sooo when Blue Apron combined the two in a recipe this week, one could say I was excited. :)

They put together a pasta recipe with the chopped vegetables and some interesting flavors, like dried honey and breadcrumbs. I made the recipe, minus the breadcrumbs, and it was DELICIOUS!

The recipe was pretty easy too – something you could make at any time! You even need all of the ingredients. It’s great with everything of course but if you just want a simple, tasty meal, the version below is great!

Caramelized Fennel & Kale Pasta | sunshine & the bearCaramelized Fennel & Kale Pasta
Courtesy of: Blue Apron
Needs: Pasta pot; deep pan
Ingredients:

  • 8 oz pasta of your choice (we used bucatini)
  • 1 large fennel bulb (divide bulb and stems and chop, save fronds for garnish)
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale (remove stems and rip into small pieces)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/3 C pecorino cheese
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  • S&P

Directions:

  1. Fill pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. When draining pasta, SAVE 1 C of the water.
  2. Wash and chop vegetables.
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan on medium until hot. Add onion, fennel and red pepper then cook until browned/caramelized.
  4. Add kale to vegetable mix and cook until wilted.
  5. Add pasta and 1/2 – 3/4 C water and cook until water is mostly absorbed.
  6. Mix in butter and cheese until melted.
  7. Season with S&P.
  8. Enjoy!

[Recipe] Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies GF/DF/V

Hooray! I finally got around to putting together this post. I’m sure you’re happy too. I’ll give you a minute to drool…

gluten free dairy free chocolate chip caramel cookies | sunshine & the bear

Go ahead, take your time… 

I did the same exact thing when I first heard the name of these tasty morsels! I had just found the adorable blog Fork and Beans and I was instantly enamored with all of her recipes – but this one called out to me. They were perfect for my office team because some of us have gluten tummy issues and/or are vegan, etc. BUT we still want to have tasty treats! haha These worked out really well and were a crowd pleaser!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the kitchen of: Fork and Beans
Needs: Electric mixer; small pan; cookie sheets
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 T flaxseed meal + 3 T warm water (mix and set for 5 minutes to be your “egg”)
  • 1 T nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 C gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 c nondairy chocolate chips (if you don’t care about these being dairy-free, you can use regular chocolate chips!)
  • 9 pieces of Sea Salt Cocomel’s Caramels, each cut into 4s (or if you don’t care about these being vegan, you can just use any caramels!)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whip up the shortening and sugars together until well-blended. It’s best to use an electric mixer. 
  3. Add the flax “egg” and blend in.
  4. Add the vanilla and nondairy milk and mix until blended.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the other dry ingredients.
  6. Add half into the shortening mix and blend in well. Add the remainder of the dough and repeat. If your dough does not roll up into a ball and you find it crumbly, add another tablespoon of nondairy milk.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  8. Roll 1 tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball. Place 1 piece of the caramel into the middle of the ball and smooth over to ensure that it cannot be seen. Repeat for the remainder of the dough.
  9. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for approximately 10 minutes (mine took about 12 minutes to get slightly brown because I was using a newer cookie sheet – so do what works for you but stay around 10 minutes!)
  10. Allow to cool down on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
  11. Some of your cookies will drool out caramel and that is completely okay! If that happens all you have to do is take a spatula and gently bring the caramel and cookie together and intact.
  12. Enjoy!

[Inspiration] Take a Break!

hermitage bay massageWe have a few days left on our honeymoon here in Antigua and we just got done with an incredible massage…[insert relaxing sigh].
 
Massages are something I’ve done before but don’t do on a regular basis. The silly thing is, my body needs it! My body (and mind, for that matter) need a break! We all need a break sometimes. I wrote a post for our site it BMOREtoned about just that! But I think it’s worth sharing again (see below).

We have gym memberships where we work on our bodies. We have jobs where we work our minds. But then we go home and what…keep working on our lives? (OK…catching up on The Blacklist isn’t “working”, but cleaning the house, stressing to try to look for a house, etc. is…). Why don’t we try harder to take a break and take care of ourselves? Personally, I think I blame it on time and money…

BUT there are affordable ways to take a break everywhere! A quick search shows me that in Baltimore, there are a few places to get massages through affordable memberships like Massage Envy and Apothecary Wellness. I’m definitely going to check one of these out when we get back!

I’d love to here where you take a break regularly!

————————— Read my original post below! —————————

Greetings from beautiful Antigua!

antigua beach | BMOREtonedThis week, my husband and I are enjoying some time down in sunny Antigua! Getting married is an incredible experience but it can also be incredibly stressful…hence the tradition of taking a honeymoon immediately after. After our big day earlier this year, we opted to push our honeymoon until later – splitting the time, money, experience, etc. It was a good idea (and I’d definitely recommend it to others), but it did test me more than I could have imagined…I didn’t realize how much I needed a break until I got here!

I multi-task. I over-schedule. I push and push and push. All the while, not giving myself much of a break (if any).

Do you remember when weekends used to be for relaxing? It seems like every Friday I start my list for things I “need to do” over the weekend. Chores we haven’t gotten to, errands around town, work (yes, when I’m off from work)…

Well, we finally made it here to beautiful Hermitage Bay in Antigua and being here only 48 hours has seriously made me realize just busy I make myself. The first full day we were here I went for a run, kept asking my husband what he wanted to do and couldn’t keep from checking my phone…We’ve been trained to accept that if we’re not going going going, we’re slacking or not doing things well enough. But we need to remember that rest is just as important to the success of our health and life.

katekatebear yoga antigua | BMOREtonedThis morning I woke up and went to yoga to help get myself centered. I love yoga because it really helps me pause, if even just for a few moments, and focus. It was amazing to practice in such a stunning place! Then, after breakfast, we went to the beach and I just sat there. I have a book to read. I have my phone with me. But I wanted to just sit…take in the sun, the sand, the waves. It was an incredible feeling to just be in the moment.

Like Annie and Jami both mentioned in their fall goals, I need to take more time for myself and allow breaks! We work hard. And we need to make time to allow our bodies and minds to recover.

How do you take a break? In today’s world of endless to-do lists, how do you make time to hit the pause button? 

cheers!
kate ♡

Originally posted on BMOREtoned.com