Health

Scrumdiddlyumptious Turkey and Rice Soup in 5 Easy Steps

ingredientsLast week I really, really, really needed to go to the grocery store-but I was procrastinating-so I reached that point where you eat the random things in your pantry that are only there because you never want to eat them. I’m not normally a soup person. But I had a couple cans of Progresso Light Chicken Noodle soup hanging out and collecting dust in my pantry. So I had those for lunch for two days and they were pretty good, and only 4 Smartpoints for you WeightWatchers people out there.

Well a friend of mine brought up her boyfriend getting sick and needing some soup and all of a sudden I got a craving for soup. I was going to just pick up a couple cans of the ole Progresso from Walmart, but then I thought how much better and healthier it would probably be if I made it myself. I set out to research a WeightWatchers friendly chicken noodle, but what I found instead was this bomb-ass recipe for Turkey and Rice. I had to make a few adjustments but it came out so delish! Ten out of ten friends would recommend.

Here’s the breakdown with nutrition and prices*:

Ingredients:

2 Carrots, Chopped: 32¢
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped: 33¢
1 Medium Onion, Chopped: 72¢
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced** 
6 1/2 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth: $2.68
3 Tbsp. Flour**
1 C. Brown Rice, Uncooked: $1.26 with lots of rice leftover
1 Tsp. Dried Thyme**
1 Bay Leaf**
1 lb. Turkey Breast, Cooked & Shredded or Cubed-Cook the turkey breast however you see fit. I pan-fried mine, but you could bake, or boil or microwave. Whatevs.: $6.07
1 C. Fat Free Half & Half: $1.94 with lots leftover
Salt & Pepper to Taste**

Cost: $13.32

Servings: 6 Servings of 1 1/2 cups per serving: 5 SmartPoints per serving

Calories: 247 Carbs: 34g Fat: 2g Protein: 23 Sugar 5g

*Based off Walmart’s prices in Florida January 2017

**I already had these items in my pantry, so I’m not sure of the price =/ but buy them once and they’ll last basically forever.

Steps:

  1. Throw them carrots, celery, onion and garlic into your pot with 1/2 cup of broth and saute that ish until the onions are translucent and the veggies are tender. Took about 15-20 minutes in my pot.
  2. Add the flour and continue to cook for about 3 min.
  3. Add in the rest of the broth, along with the wild rice, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring the pot to a boil. ·Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 25-30 minutes.
  4. When the rice is tender, add in the already cooked turkey. Cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the half and half. Cook for 10 minutes.

Voila! Done-zo! Salt & Pepper to taste. Pig out!

I totally meant to take pictures of my finished soup, but I ate all of it before I remembered. But I froze half of it, so the next time I bust it out, I’ll add some pictures of my finished product. In the meantime enjoy this photo of my cats:

They’re the cutest.

Do you have any yummy and healthy recipes to share?

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Travel

5 Reasons you NEED to Take a Cruise

img_7469-2-2The Mid Atlantic was clobbered with some winter weather this weekend. I no longer live in the area, but I saw all the Facebook posts from those loving the snow days, yet simultaneously OVER the cold weather. Definitely bittersweet for me as I sit in my t-shirt and flip flops in Florida, because I’d love to have some snow in my life, buuuuuut, at the same time I’m pretty content without having to shovel it, or drive in it.

But the cold is really good for making people wish they were on a beach somewhere drinking a daiquiri or frolicking in a clear blue ocean. Which makes me reminisce on all the cruises we’ve been on. I love a cruise. I took my first one in 2011 and have been hooked ever since. In fact, I’ve been on four cruises. I’ve cruised the Eastern Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Bermuda, and the Southeast US to the Bahamas. You NEED a cruise in your life. Seriously, NEED it. Allow me to enlighten you:

  1. Crowd Pleaser– Everyone can enjoy a cruise. There is literally something for everyone. Crave adventure? There’s a port excursion for that. Or rock climbing on the boat. Or sports, or games, or water slides, or contests, or trapeze (really there’s a boat with this). Want to relax? What better way to do that than poolside, or beach side, or in the library, or to a live band. There’s shopping, bingo, crafts, entertainment, trivia, FOOD, the list goes on and on. Want to make friends? Thousands of people are trapped on a boat with you and have no where to go and no choice but to be your friend! Seriously though. The options are endless!
  2. FOOD– I heard someone say food. My favorite past time. There is a lot of food on a cruise ship. Not only is there a lot of food, but you can eat all the time. Not only can you eat a lot of food, all the time, but it’s delicious. Not only can you eat a lot of food, all the time, that tastes delicious, but you can have it in the dining room, at the buffet, or delivered to your state room. Um… yes please!
  3. Multiple locations– There are some cruises that only go to one destination for a couple days before returning, but a majority of them travel to multiple destinations before returning home. This means you get to experience multiple places, multiple countries, multiple cultures without the struggle of airports or trains or buses to get from site to site. Look at you, you world traveler, you.
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    Bermuda

  4. Less planning, more doing– I love to plan. I love lists if you haven’t noticed. So if you love planning or don’t love planning, cruising is for you. You have lots of options available to plan your days, or week, or weeks out- if you’re a planner. If you’re not a planner, just fly by the seat of your pants and show up! It’s all been planned for you! Every day you will receive a schedule of events available for the day. So chillax and enjoy your vacay!
  5. Bang for your buck– Lets talk cash. moolah. dinero. I’m cheap. Spending money gives me an ucky, anxiety inducing feeling. But this is why cruises are awesome! Because the food is included. Most entertainment on board is all included. Water, tea and lemonade is all included. The only time you will be paying out of pocket will be for shore excursions, soda, alcohol, bingo, casino or certain activities (but these are few and far between). So you can really take a luxurious vacation that fits any budget.

I feel like you’re still not sold. Let’s crunch some numbers:

So I’m from the eastern shore of Delaware. A popular vacation spot within an hour drive of my house was Ocean City, MD. Let’s see how much it would cost to spend a week vacation in Ocean City, MD:

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All of these are estimates and can obviously be adjusted based on how you like to get your vacation on. This is also based off of one person. So if you’re not a solo traveler then food, and entertainment would definitely need to be increased.

Now let’s look at the cost of a cruise. I found these on cruises.com for January 2017:

 

 

The prices are per person, and rooms are double occupancy, but even when you double the price and add in taxes and port fees, WORTH IT!

Yeah but Carlie, that’s for January. Ok let’s look at June.

 

 

In conclusion, cruises are awesome. You need to take one. I’ll meet you there.

I rest my case.

Have you been on a cruise? What did you think? Comment below!!!

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Military

15 Motivational Quotes for Military Spouses

Confession time. I wasn’t entirely sympathetic or empathetic to the military lifestyle in my previous life. I don’t say this meaning I wasn’t grateful for their sacrifice, I just did not fully grasp the magnitude of their sacrifice.

Moving frequently?– How hard could it be?

Going months with limited or no communication with your significant other?– I’m independent, probably not that big of a deal.

Putting your career on hold, or having to find a new job with each move?– If you look hard enough, you’ll find them…

Oh sweet, oblivious, naive, ignorant me. When it is said that the military life is different from civilian life, this is not a drill!, it truly is a different beast. And now that I’ve been thrust into this lifestyle, I wouldn’t trade it for a single thing. With the challenges also comes a great deal of pride and empowerment.

But for the days when it is a little bit harder than most, remember these quotes. Remember you are bad ass. You are not alone. And it is worth it.

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Numero uno. Loving him is easy. I might not always like him. Or the struggles. But loving him is definitely the easy part. Don’t forget the love. Let it bring you through the dislike.
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2. Feeling like you have a purpose makes a world of difference in your self-worth. If you have contributed in a way that is useful, honorable, compassionate and makes a difference in another person’s life- how could that not make you happy? Try it.
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3. There’s a lot of waiting in the military life. Waiting on orders. Waiting while they’re away for training, or deployments. But we are patient. And we can wait a little longer for the ones we love.
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4. Your significant other isn’t the only one with a dream. Your life can also be lived with passion, compassion, humor and style. Find it and live it.
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5. Sometimes this doesn’t mean physically together. And that’s ok. You are still a package deal.
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6. You’ve got this. You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is badass.
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7. Life is what you make it. Turn on the light.
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8. Hey look another quote about depending on yourself and positivity and self empowerment. There are so many to be found, because they are true!
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9. There is love. You love your significant other. They love you. You love this life because it is the life you have together.
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10. You may sometimes feel like you are playing side chick to the military. But remember, while he’s there, he’s wishing he was with you.
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11. You are NEVER alone. Welcome to the fam.
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12. You bad ass.
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13. When a little prayer is needed.
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14. Your strength is just as honorable. Your sacrifice is just as important. Thank you
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15. No caption needed.

It’s one of those scenarios when you do not fully understand a situation, until you’re living it. I could write a million words trying to explain how my life has changed in the short 7 months I have been married to a man in the military and it simply would not do it justice. So I’m just going to leave it be.

Do you have any favorite quotes to keep you positive, motivated and inspired? They don’t have to be military related. Share them in the comments.

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Health

Tracking Weightloss- Why I Did NOT Ditch the Scale

Non-Scale Victories. Weightwatchers has this really great component to their program they are marketing right now called non-scale victories #nsv. This is when you look to other successes outside of how much you weigh to validate your journey to being healthier. This could be accomplishing a fitness goal or fitting into a smaller clothing size or making a better nutritional choice. These things are super important because as I mentioned in my last weightloss post, What Fat Feels Like, you are more than the number in your pants or the number on the scale.3dd

However, this is where I could probably be called a hypocrite. Even though I am aware that the number on the scale does not define me, I love seeing that number go down. And as long as I don’t go all psycho and manic depressive if it goes up, I think tracking weight loss is important and also a key factor to my success over the summer. I weighed my self everyday, sometimes (ok most of the time) multiple times a day. But before you’re all like, that’s not healthy- hear me out.

  1. It encouraged me to eat-Weighing myself everyday didn’t make me skip meals. It didn’t make me hate myself if it was higher than the previous day. It taught me that your weight is going to be your weight regardless of if you eat that meal or not, so eat it. Don’t starve yourself because you think it’ll make the scale say some magical number that will make you love yourself more or be comfortable in your own skin. Fun fact: I found my weight was lower at 11am after eating and drinking than it was first thing after that lovely morning pee. So eat your damn food. 10793014
  2. Point number two on why I can’t ditch the scale: I like numbers. In case you didn’t notice I write everything in lists. That are numbered. Because numbers, like hips, don’t lie.  It’s not like writing where someone might not think you are funny, and they’re probably right. Numbers aren’t up for debate or anyone’s interpretation. So guess what, when I follow my own advice and stick to the weight loss plan that works for me, those numbers go down.hey-girl-i-like-the-way-you-work-those-numbers
  3. Preparation-I hate being weighed at the doctor office. I hate it because I have on like ten pounds of clothes, their scales are wrong, I can feel the judgement of the nurse(probably not), their scales are wrong, my clothes now weigh twenty pounds, and damn it their scales are wrong. When I weigh myself regularly at home, this isn’t so much of a shock at the doctor office. There have even been times when I got away with just telling them my weight rather than being forced to step on their very wrong scale.its-weigh-day-161386
  4.  Science- I didn’t know this until I started writing this post, but there are actually studies and research that shows people are more successful with weightloss and maintaining weightloss when they weigh themselves daily. I think you put less stock in the numbers on the scale when you do weigh yourself daily and there’s less of a dissatisfaction when the number is higher than the previous day, because you know it will go the other direction if you stick to the plan. When you only weigh in weekly or not at all, that number means more, and the temptation to stop weighing yourself to avoid disappointment is much greater. I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but these people are and you can read all about it here and here and here and here and other places too I’m sure.

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    Not so scary when you see it everyday.
  5. Best point ever- I lost weight. You know when I don’t lose weight? You know when I GAIN weight? Coincidentally when my scale gets dusty from being unused. Everyone is different and I need the daily reminder and validation on if I’m making the right choices in my diet and fitness.

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    Did I mention this is how I weigh myself?

So there it is. *raises hand* My name is Carlie and I weigh myself everyday. Do I recommend it for you? You know you better than I do. So if any of the points I listed above spoke to you, then give it a go. If it works, high five! If it doesn’t, high five for knowing yourself and recognizing it’s not working for you! You need to find what works for you.

Part of the success is tracking though. I don’t record my daily weight anywhere, but I do record a weekly weigh in for two reasons. I like to have an idea of when I can be at a certain goal, and I like to see success in working towards that goal. So I made a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are my second love. Check it out:screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-4-40-46-pm

So this spreadsheet does all the work for you! Just input your starting weight in cell B2 and C2 and all the goal weights will automatically adjust to a loss of two pounds a week. Example:screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-4-42-03-pm

Each week on weigh in day, all you need to do is input your actual weight. Let’s say it’s weigh in day and it’s a perfect world and you lost two pounds!! Woohoo! Go you! This is what your spreadsheet would look like:screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-4-45-38-pm

Pretty nifty right? I think it’s so fabulous I’d like to share it with you! How do you access this awesome spreadsheet? Simply click here, you can download your very own and start tracking your success!

Do me a solid and sign up to follow my blog too! This way you won’t miss out on future freebies!

 

Travel

Travels with Carlie in 2017

img_7391Holy Hell 2016! You certainly gave everyone a run for their money. But you’ve been put to bed, like the bitch you are and now let’s look to 2017.

Growing up poor. Not such a novelty thing. Anyone who knows what it’s like to pay for groceries with food stamps- when they were still printed on paper-knows you don’t get grand vacations. I was raised in Sussex County in Delaware. (Shout out to the 302). No particular town, we bounced around a bit, another side effect of poverty and finding cheap rent. Due to this upbringing I didn’t get to travel or exposure to other places. This changed in 2010. I was in a new relationship with the man who would become my husband and I wanted to do something special for our upcoming anniversary. And then I had a lightbulb moment. You’re an adult with a big girl job. You can literally go anywhere-other than Cuba or North Korea. So I started to do some research on cruises, looked up what I needed to get a passport, and thus was the start of my love of travel.

Since 2010 I have traveled 4 continents, 16 countries, 17 states and countless cities.

A quick map of my travels

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You can build your own here.

There is way too much gray on those maps in my opinion. One of the great struggles with loving to travel, besides budget, would have to be deciding where to go! I’ve been to so many marvelous places, I struggle with wanting to go back and also experiencing something new. 2017 will be about mixing the two. So here are my five travel picks for 2017! Hopefully there will be more, but these will definitely be the minimum!

  1. New Orleans- One of the perks of moving to the panhandle of Florida? We’re only a 3 hour drive from New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a destination I’ve had on my list for awhile and now it is conveniently within my reach! I’ve already scoured some things to do on trip advisor and also have a recommendation on an apartment to rent while we are there! We’ll be going in early March for anyone interested in joining! Itinerary will be forthcoming.fullsizeoutput_7df
  2. Overlanding The TransAmerican Trail: North Carolina to Arkansas- My husband has found a new love in overlanding. For those who aren’t familiar this is when you drive roads and trails, off the beaten path in a self sustainable vehicle. Prepare yourself to commune with nature, get a little dirty and get a little stuck. There’s a path that runs the width of North America and we’d like to tackle it. Unfortunately it takes multiple weeks to complete it, which we won’t be able to do all at once, so we will be doing it in portions. We set out with the intention of doing this in the next month or two, but then we were slapped in the face with the realization that while we live in a vacuum of decent and warm weather in Florida, the rest of the country experiences this thing called Winter. So it will have to wait until the Spring or Summer depending on the husband’s training schedule. I can’t wait to see parts of the US that can be challenging to reach and aren’t typically visited. 

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    The husband standing proud on our first overlanding adventure at the Eglin AFB
  3. Camelback Mountain Resort and Waterpark- This will be our second time visiting this resort. It’s located in Tannersville, PA. We went last year and shared a suite with my brother and his family. This year we will be sharing two suites with my brother’s family and my sister’s family. I’m so excited! We’ll be partaking in snow tubing and the indoor waterpark for three lovely days with family I haven’t seen in many months. It’s a great time! mc-camelback-lodge-aquatopia-indoor-waterpark-0329-20150328
  4. Pensacola, Florida- Wait. This is where you live Carlie. It is! But I’m new, and there’s tons of stuff to do here and the surrounding areas that I can’t wait to geek out and get all touristy in my new home. I want to do to an ice hockey game, a baseball game when it’s in season, walk EVERY street downtown, I hear there’s a dinosaur park, a zoo, and of course ALL the restaurants. 
  5. Washington & Alaska- We will definitely be going to Washington state, specifically Seattle to visit my brother-in-law, and I’m desperately trying to make it a two-for-one and squeeze in Alaska too. I’m dying to do an Alaskan cruise, but I don’t know if the budget will be able to fit in all of these amazing destinations. Alas, Alaska you may have to be postponed to 2018, but I sincerely hope not. Maybe I’ll start a gofundme page 😉 Just kidding…. maybe…

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    Stolen from the brother-in-law’s instagram. Hope he doesn’t mind. How awesome does this look though?!

So that is what I’m looking forward to in 2017. There may be a move to Texas also, but thanks to life in the Navy, we won’t know about that for a few more months.

What are your travel goals for 2017?

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Travel

Travels with Amy- Five Places You Need to Visit in New Zealand

My first visit to New Zealand was in 2007 and I was just about to turn 15 years old. I went with a group of kids all close to my age as Student Ambassadors of the United States of America. We visited schools, stayed with local families, and really got the cultural experience that New Zealand offered. I knew when I left, I had to go back when I was older.

As the time passed, a lot of memories from that trip disappeared and all I had left were bits and pieces. Only the major parts remained. Fast forward to 2016 and my sister Mallory got accepted to study abroad in Australia for her Spring 2016 semester. She asked me to come visit and I never turn down an opportunity to travel if time off from work permits. I immediately started planning the 2 week trip that we would embark on. I quickly realized that New Zealand could easily take 2-3 months to fully travel and therefore, 2 weeks could not be spent split between New Zealand and Australia. We decided we would spend the whole two weeks in New Zealand and let me tell you right now, it is not nearly enough time.

I spent months (literally, like 4 months) planning this trip of a lifetime and it was all worth it. New Zealand has more to offer than I remember from my trip in ’07. Just driving around the country was satisfying. You are in a rainforest one moment, then on the beach, and then in a city all within an hour. This beautiful country has the ability to change your life.

After much consideration and thought, I came up with the five places you can’t miss should you make a trip to New Zealand. Everything in between is also worth seeing but if you are short on time, these are the places you can’t afford to miss.

  1. Lake Tekapo – Lake Tekapo is a lake located in the center of the South Island and if you visit during lupine season, I can almost promise it will leave you speechless. This place changed my life…literally. We happened to time this trip perfectly to visit the lake during the peak of lupine season which is late November to mid-December. We arrived at the lake just as the sun was setting to see a field of pink, purple, yellow, and blue flowers crowded around this crystal blue lake with snow capped mountains in the background. It was like being in another world. I took a million pictures and none of them looked the same. We went back the next morning to basque in the early summer sun while seeing the lake in a different light. The sun just made the colors of the lupines more intense, furthering my love for this place. It happened to be so perfect that my fiancé proposed here! (Men, take notes. I promise she won’t be disappointed). Tekapo has more to offer than just a perfect landscape. You can lay out under the stars and just enjoy nature. You can go for a hike on the multiple trails that are available. You can visit the Church of the Good Shepherd. Tekapo is a place to be one with nature but it will not disappoint._mg_14051img_6750
  2. Milford Sound – Milford Sound is also on the South Island located on the southwest coast. Milford Sound is only inhabited by the people who work there. By work, I mean the port where the cruise ships sail in and out. The weather is known to be very unpredictable and can be quite miserable. It rains about 300 days a year! Now, I will get into the visit to Milford in just a minute but first I want to get into how to get there. There are many companies out there that have the coach services to and from Queenstown that you can choose from and a lot of them offer packages to include the Milford Sound cruise (which is THE thing to do here). The ride is about 6 hours one way by coach bus and this typically means a very early wakeup call. This is the less expensive option so let me share with you something that you should splurge on. Flights to and from Milford Sound. We flew with Air Milford which is a family owned business that will fly you to and from Milford Sound/Queenstown in a tiny plane and the flight is less than 40 minutes. The views are unbelievable. You fly through the snow capped mountains watching the world pass by below. I could rave all day about the flight, the views, Air Milford but I might ruin the experience for you. All I can say is just skip the bus ride and take the flights. I personally felt the flight was better than the cruise at Milford Sound! With that being said, Milford Sound is beautiful. Fjords created by glaciers creating the perfect postcard picture. With all the rain they have, the fjords are filled with waterfalls. Sadly enough, it was a perfect sunny day so were unable to see a lot of those waterfalls. It is windy and it can be wet so dress appropriately!
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  3. Queenstown – Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world and the definition of perfect. It is very small and all of the attractions and restaurants are all within walking distance of each other. Downtown is located in a valley so if you are not directly in the center, be prepared to walk up and down the hill. It is completely worth it though (I promise). Everyone is so nice and there are so many different things you can do to keep yourself occupied. Take a cruise on the lake, go bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding, and even just relax! It is hard to put into words the feeling you get from walking through this quaint city. You feel like you found a home away from home without any effort to find that feeling. There is live entertainment, friends having picnics on the green grass, shopping streets without any cars, and restaurants with delicious food. For being so small, Queenstown does not disappoint.img_6816
  4. Coromandel Peninsula – Coromandel is located on the North Island about 2.5 hours from the Auckland airport (depending on where you venture). We stayed in Hahei which is a super small beach town with everything you need to be happy. They have a few places to eat, a brewery, a snorkel/dive gear store, and a gas station. From there, its just a few minutes drive to a few attractions which include (but are not limited to) Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach. We started our trip here as soon as we left the Auckland Airport and it was the perfect way to our adventure. We had a day filled with a good combination of relaxation and activity. We got to relax on the Hot Water Beach which has some geothermal activity that allows you to dig holes in the sand and sit in hot water (this does get quite crowded so just be prepared for that). Then you can rent some snorkel gear and head to Gemstone Bay. The snorkeling wasn’t great on the day that we went but I do recommend heading down the same trail and there is Stingray Bay. Here you can see a bunch of stingrays that hang out near the shore. Lastly, Cathedral Cove (see picture) is also down that same trail and it was amazing! Just be warned it is about a 40 minute walk one way.fullsizerender-4
  5. Rotorua- Rotorua is also located on the North Island. Here you can experience the beautiful smell of sulfur (smells like rotten eggs) and learn about the Maori culture. I found through extensive research that Rotorua offers the best options to get the best Maori experience. We did a three hour activity with the Tamaki Maori Village and it was perfect. We learned about the many important aspects of their culture (face tattoos, dances, games, food, etc) and then had a hangy dinner. I am not going to go too much into detail as I want you to experience this on your own. Rotorua also offer the Skyline Luge which is little cart that you control the brakes and you just coast down a hill. This offers great views and a ton of fun you and your family/friends. We went white water rafting with Rotorua Rafting and that was a blast. Talk about learning how to do something new! You get to raft down the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. You can visit parks with the geysers and other thermal activities. Just so much to offer in such a small city. It is worth spending a day or two here as one day was not nearly enough. One of the highlights for us was the Redwood Forest! You can make a hike out of this park as well but make sure you do research on the trails. We ended up outside of the forest which defeated the whole purpose.fullsizerender1

 

I really hope that if you are reading this, you put New Zealand on your list of places to visit if it wasn’t already there. It isn’t just the places but also the people. Everyone is incredibly nice and you have a sense of self while traveling this beautiful country. Plan ahead. There is so much to do and see and most people have so little time. 13 days could have easily been 30 and even that would not be enough time. Love the world you live in. Embrace it.

Amy writes about travel tips from all over the world on her new blog justyoumeandtheworld.com. You can read about New Zealand, Iceland, New York, and many places to come in the future. Stay tuned for more about New Zealand!

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Military

Military Spouse Beginner-Five Things I Did Not Expect During OCS

It was May 2016, and this is a story all about how my life got flipped- turned upside down. (Anyone else rap that inside their head? Fresh Prince anyone? No? Just me? Ok..)

freshcarlie
Fresh Carlie of Delaware

 

My husband was leaving for Newport, Rhode Island for what would turn into fifteen weeks to embark on his dream of becoming a Naval Aviator for the United States Navy. Think Maverick from Top Gun. Oh, Officer Candidate School (OCS), our first experience as a military family. We prepared for this for weeks. We made sure he had the right t-shirts, the right socks, he could run 1.5 miles in a certain amount of time and do X amount of pushups and curl ups as well. We were prepared with stamps and paper so he could write. He had a watch for when he could have one again, and we prepared snacks and food for his drive. He was prepared, but I wasn’t prepared for the goodbye.

We woke up early, loaded his truck, and double checked we didn’t miss anything on the list. I was fine. I thought to myself, this isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. And then he turned and looked at me. And I wasn’t fine. I was excited for him, and I was excited for me, but I couldn’t help but cry because this would be the last time I got to see and touch his face in person. We hugged each other tighter than we ever have before and I followed him outside to the truck. We hugged and kissed a dozen more times before I watched him back down the driveway, onto the street, he made a right onto the next street and another right on the street after that. As he drove away and the corn fields were between us, the tears stopped and I began counting down to when we would be reunited.

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Ready to hit the highway.

 

Let’s recap the five things I did not expect during Officer Candidate School, but they happened to me.

  1. Quiet- I wasn’t ready for the goodbye, and I wasn’t ready for how quiet the house would be when I stepped back inside. It was eerily quiet. It’s not like I had never been in the house alone before, but suddenly everything is still and silent and empty.0fc36a8ea439561fa5d834f1d815248f892e0028753bfaaab3e5c2c1186814e1
  2. Mailman Friendships- I got to a first name basis with my mailman. Not the one who delivers the mail to my home, the one at the post office. I became a frequent offender there for a number of reasons. I had to buy stamps frequently as letters became our main source of communication in the beginning-and even after he got  email and cell phone access, I still mailed letters daily. Mailing Candi-O boxes was an experience too (more on those in a later post). Oh and having to overnight our marriage license to him the first week. Tip: Make sure you have a certified marriage license from your county clerk’s office and not just the document your officiant signs. Maybe it’s just a Delaware thing, but we only had our copy our officiant signed and I had to go to get a more official document. 
  3. When 12 weeks turns into 15 weeks or longer- Officer Candidate School is only 12 weeks right? Not always. There are various reasons why a candidate can “roll” which means they are put into a holding class and will rejoin another class. Typically this happens if they fail a test or for medical reasons. I was very surprised when I got a phone call late one Thursday evening from a Rhode Island phone number. My husband had only been gone for a little over two weeks and there is no communication during this phase. Unfortunately he got pink eye and would be quarantined to his room for the day, which was also an inspection day. This meant he would not be able to continue with his current class and would be “rolling” to the next class. So while 12 weeks is ideal, be prepared for there to be more. Want to hear a funny joke? Make plans when in the Navy. 4bd35ca970677125a92c873c1b7bdef0
  4. Social Media- Social Media can be your friend! Not everyone uses social media, but if you do- there are some really great support groups and pages out there. Do a search for your area and ‘military spouse’. There is even a Facebook page run by the Navy called, ‘Officer Training Command Newport’. They regularly post photos and updates of the classes while they are there. While my husband was at OCS I was lucky to find a page for friends and family of his OCS class. The girlfriends and wives then formed a spinoff group and we messaged each other every single day. Being able to share your experience with others going through the same cannot be substituted. No matter how supportive your local friends and family are, it simply is not the same. I still talk to these wonderful women to this day.
  5. Bad-assery- I’m pretty badass, and you are too. Your partner is embarking on this amazing opportunity to further their career and accomplish goals they’ve set to enrich their life and yours. This does not mean you are simply along for the ride. While my husband was away I made multiple lifestyle changes towards a healthier lifestyle and lost 40 lbs! You can read about how I did it here. You can further your education, or work on your health, your career, your passion. There will be times when you will be alone, and lonely, these are the times when you rely on yourself, and your strength to get you through. Reach out to a friend, in person or virtually (Again, those Facebook groups are great!) You have the power to make or break yourself.

    Do you have any questions on what to expect during OCS as a spouse?

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