Sunshine Kir

On a daily quest for the eternal sunshine!

Put Your Awesome Pants On…Part 1

Spoiler alert…this one is a bit of a stream of consciousness. It got so long that I decided to split it into two parts. Especially since you already lost an hour to daylight savings last night. Here’s to longer days and more sunshine hooray!

I spent most of my teens, 20s and 30s to present feeling self-conscious or over-worried about various aspects my body. And while I know I’m not alone in this self critique, it really is a HUGE waste of time. However, while my logical side knows this, my vanity side still strives to be physically pleasing to the outside world. It is what it is. But writing this post vocalizes the voice in my head so bare with me on this one. I was struggling for a blog title for this post. Then JP, aka @ocean.ave.id popped into my feed with this beauty…thanks JP!

Oh yea!

Oh yea! Thank you for this one @ocean.ave.id you are the best!!!

On the up side, I can truthfully say I put effort into my overall health mostly because I want to live a long healthy happy life. I want to run up a flight of stairs without being completely gassed. I’d like to pick up weights without pulling a bicep muscle and swim a strong 50 without hanging out at the wall for a five minute recovery. So I make a mindful effort to think about how wonderful my body is and what it can do for me on a daily basis. Forward fold, touch my palms flat to the floor, no problem. Fold my legs into lotus, you got it. Go bod go! And on the darker days when I’m overly critical of something – dimples (not the cute kind), a muffin top, then maybe I do a little something extra in my routine to work the feeling  out.

When M and I were in Mexico last month, I felt super strong, healthy and, yes, blush, sexy in my own skin. We’d just come of 21 days of super clean eating and I’d been on a solid 4 days of Pilates a week routine. Even benched from running w/a calf injury (yes, still going on 6 months!!!) with limited cardio, I was happy to rock my bikini/cutoffs/trucker hat/barefoot uniform all week. Cover up? Nope, not me. It helped that M and I were the spring chickens in with a bunch of Canadian snowbirds on the beach, but even without I felt good.

Happy in my skin

Happy in my skin

Cleanse aside, maybe I’m just getting smarter as I’m getting older. For instance, no matter how good my eye cream is, how much sunscreen I use and sit ups I do, I’m going AGE. And it’s OKAY. I love that my Mom pointed out a wrinkle under my eye and said, “Look, we have the same wrinkle under our eyes. I was worrying about it and then I see you have it too”. How honestly lovely! It made my day that my Mom and I have the same smile lines. ♥

One of my favorite pics of my mom + I. Matching smile lines :)

One of my favorite pics of my mom + I from a couple years ago. Matching smile lines :)

Okay, so getting to the meat of what this post is really about…With this season’s crop of itty-bitty, teeny-tiny cheeky bikini bottom styles, (Holy crap Acacia really???) there is no room on the beach for the faint hearted if you’re staying on trend. So here are some of my tips and tricks for this upcoming bikini season. I will be reminding myself of these fun, little nuggets as we cruise through peak sunshine season…these tips or as much for me as anybody else who may be interested!

Oh Acacia…this print and top is to die for. The front of the bottoms is perfect. Alas, cheek factor is more than I can comfortable bare!

Oh Acacia…this print + cut of this top is to die for. The front of the bottoms is perfect. Alas, cheek factor is more than I can comfortably bare! Power to the girls w/bod confidence to rock this!

The prep
For those of us who live in sunny coastal places, there’s no set bikini season. I’m not complaining, but definitely tend to slack in the “off-season” which is November to January. Even still you can get perked with the 75° heat wave at any moment. (Sorry for you folks buried in snow this winter, I truly truly am) Just trying to say, it’s best to stay toned year round just in case.

Pilates. It used to be the workout of the wealthy. But thanks to places like Club Pilates, Core 40 and some scouring of Groupons and Class Pass memberships, now there are affordable options out there. I’ve been consistently on the Pilates band wagon for about 3 months now. Going about 4-5 times a week has been a game changer for me. My arms and back are strong. My jeans fit differently b/c me bootie is more muscular and the backs of my legs are much more firm that they were back in December! Another bonus? I went up to the 5 lb weights and can do teasers without dying or throwing my back out…success!

Well, hello there arm muscles, nice to see you!

Well, hello there arm muscles, nice to see you!

Hydration. Yes, I know you know this, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it. Drink lots of water. I’m great at work. I can plow through 5-6 refills of my 22 oz Lifefactory bottle a day no problem. But I’m not that great on the weekends. To change it up, I do the 50/50 split of regular H2O and coconut water. I hope, hope, hope you can aquire a taste for coconut water. It baffles me that people don’t love it because it tastes like the tropics, vacation, heaven. You can get organic coconut water at Costco these days. Check the ingredients…there should be only one :)

If you can't do this...

If you can’t do this…then find Coco Libre. It’s my favorite…

My absolute favorite coconut water is at Costco!

And my favorite is now at Costco!

When I drink a lot of water, I look and feel better. Not a fan of coconut water? Squeeze in fresh lemon, lime or muddled mint. Add some frozen berries to carbonated water, drink out of a fancy glass, get creative, it’s worth it!

Tan those buns – I am sure somewhere a dermatologist just felt a shooting pain, but i’m sorry, I feel better when I have a healthy glow and my skin is brown. Especially if I am wearing a cheekier bottom! And these days, with a lack of non-cheeky bottom options out there, it’s kind of a must. Not brave enough to face the open air to acquire the base? No problem, a quick trip to the spray tan place will give you a healthy glow and a visual jump start- again sorry dermatologists. I don’t go on a regular basis, but if I’m going on vacation or need a little color this is my occasional solution. Plus, I’m a klutz w/self tanner and never mastered the application or got used to the smell.

The wardrobe
Invest in a good quality swimsuit bottom or two. If you’re like me, barely a b, you can cheap out on triangle tops all day long, but the bottoms are key. It pays to be picky. When I find a style I like I usually go back and buy reinforcements in different colors. As cute as the phrase ‘Suns Out Buns Out’ is, I’m just too meek to really go for it. My absolute favorite, go-to suit bottom is L-Space Monique. Just enough cheek without feeling over-exposed. It’s cut low and straight across in the front so it sits on the hip bone below the muffin top. And has a touch of ruching for lift. Genius! A word of caution do not be confused with the L space Monique bitsy (see pics further down). That one is beautiful, but definitely a little skimpier! Vitamin A also has a good one called Tamarindo. Not sure if they still make the style because I have to hunt for them. The good news is you can find it here on 6 PM.com and it’s a bargain. No matching tops, no problem, just got Hawaiian style and pick up solid tops from Victoria’s Secret or Swell.com. Have you seen those gorgeous, confident girls rocking all kinds of cheekiness? They’re amazing!

Such a cute suit, such a great shot…how could you not want this in your cart?

Such a cute suit, such a great shot…how could you not want this in your cart?

A huge tip…find a suit you love? The picture is dreamy, the model’s bod is to die for? See if it’s on Zappos.com. They use relatively “real” models and their pictures aren’t airbrushed to the nines. You get a much more realistic view of the style and cut. This has saved me from a few starry-eyed purchases. Vitamin A, Mikoh, L-Space, LeTarte are all on there.

Monique bottoms, L*Space

Monique full bottoms, L*Space – Zappos View. These bottoms are great!!!

L*Space Monique Bitsy from lspace.com

L*Space Monique Bitsy from lspace.com. Hands down favorite top/bottom

The same Monique Bitsy bottoms on Zappos

The same Monique Bitsy bottoms on Zappos. See the difference?

If strutting your stuff up and down the beach in a bikini just isn’t your thing, there are two staple pieces to your wardrobe in addition to great bikinis that must be purchased or acquired on vacation. The Pareo. You simply can’t have too many. I was lucky enough to be on a photo shoot with the queen of all things beach, Rebekah Steen, aka Goldfish Kiss, and she had a few from saltypsy.com. I have been eyeballing these for a while, but had never seen them in person. After seeing Rebekah’s, I’m going to have to go purchase one, or five. They are supersoft and the size is amazing.

Salt Gypsy Travel Wrap Collab with Goldfish Kiss

Salt Gypsy Travel Wrap Collab with Goldfish Kiss is sold out, but she has other cute prints

Whenever I go traveling, be in Mexico, Costa Rica, etc., I always pick up one or two pareos. It’s a fun souvenir, usually super affordable if you’re willing to haggle, make great presents and will be a lovely reminder of your trip. I have some that are 10 years old. They get softer and better w/ age and they work as coverups, scarves when the plane is chilly, a beach towel and a turban when you’ve accidentally flipped your hotel towel over the balcony after a shower, it happens – true story.

Option 2, a cute little pair of slip on shorts goes along way when you’re feeling more rippled than ripped from the backside view. My girlfriend bought me a pair of shorts that look like these from Free People last summer and I’m still living in them. They are one-size-fits-all and super cute. I wear them so much that alas, they are disintegrating off my body and I still can’t give them up. When I can convince her to give me the purchasing source, I may reveal her secret here… Just don’t say anything until I can secure the information.

These cuties are $75 on Free People, but I'm pretty sure mine were under $25…stay tuned

These cuties are $75 on Free People, but I’m pretty sure mine were under $25…stay tuned

Hat, hat, hat. I don’t make a move without a trucker hat. As I’ve gotten older my cute little freckles have turned to the darkside, literally. A flirty sprinkling across your nose can easily turn into splotchy blotchy mark’s if you’re not careful. But never fear it’s not too late. Stop the madness and cover thy face. You can go fancy with the trucker hats or find them in drugstores for under five bucks. Seriously not kidding. My favorite hat is my girlfriend Kristin’s Betty trucker. Pick your favorite color, she has a ton. This is the hat I buy most often because I usually end up giving them away to people who like them when I’m wearing them. Good thing she keeps a healthy supply.

My favorite Skull Butterfly trucker hats from Betty Designs

My favorite Skull Butterfly trucker hats from Betty Designs

So, you’ve done the prep. Pilates, check. Hydration, check. Bikini selected. Trucker hat, on. Pareo and cute shorts packed into your beach bag. You are ready for a good beach day! In the next installment of this riveting series, we will explore The Recovery, aka how to keep your hair and skin from getting overly brittle after a day out in the heavenly sunshine. Stay tuned and, until then, happy daylight savings. Enjoy the sunset tonight♥

Happy sunset viewing!

Happy sunset viewing!

Routine Trip To Paradise

Save your diamonds, fancy cars and expensive champagne…give me an umbrella drink vacation and I’m yours. Preferably an off the beaten path, ocean-view in a low key, 10 room hacienda vacation if you please. Don’t get me wrong, if you offer up a weekend at a coastal Four Seasons, I’d take it. But for the cost of two nights there, you can pick up the tab for our airfare and a week’s accommodation + food. Up to you, but I know what my vote is. Enter in our latest heavenly vacation ~ Hacienda Eden.

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The beach at Eden

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Our wonderful room + perma-grin

People say things to M and I like, “wow, you guys are always going somewhere fun” or “off again, must be nice”. And the answer to both is “yes, we are” and “yes, it is”! We pick out vacations like some couples pick out tile. Planning, booking and having trips both big and small give us something delicious to look forward to. So we make it a priority. We save, we sync our work schedules and look for cost effective ways to travel to beautiful places. This has been a theme in our relationship since day one.

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About two months into our relationship (almost eight years ago), M took the plunge and asked two big questions…Do you like Costa Rica? Want to go with me? Um, yes and yes. After our first trip, we knew the travel compatibility box was checked. There may be other bumps in the road, but if you can travel well together that is quite something in my book.

For the past three years, we’ve been on a Mexico exploration kick. Living in San Diego, it’s so easy and the cost comparison to Hawaii, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico can’t be beat. Yes, I hear all the time how dangerous it is. But we are mindful, we do our research and, knock on wood, have had nothing but amazing experiences in places where people are genuinely happy to have you. That is how it went this last time around at Eden. It’s a bit of hike to get there compared to Cabo or Puerto Vallerta, (no direct flights from SD) but it’s still not bad. There is a beauty, vibrancy + simplicity about Mexico we love. The culture, the ingenuity and the good natured attitudes of the locals.

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Hacienda Eden…As pretty as this looks, it’s even more gorgeous in person!

Hibiscus the size of cabbages

Hibiscus the size of cabbages

Cactus w/painted urchin shells…so pretty

Cactus w/painted urchin shells…so pretty

Eden is in Playa Troncones, Manzanillo Bay. You fly into Zihuatanejo and then promptly ditch the mobs of families bound for Ixtapa. You don’t need a car so jump in a cab for about 900 pesos. If you have a surfboard, they’ll get creative and don’t charge extra. The ride was a bit cramped for the person in the back seat (moi), but not bad. The town is Troncones (about 3 streets long). Manzanillo Bay is a pristine, tiny half moon bay and Eden is smack in the middle of it. It’s about a 30 minute drive passing Coco Frio stands and nothing but palm trees and dirt. You are blissfully outside of civilization, but on a nice new road.

The hotel is one of four on a bay with a handful of houses. The surf break is literally about 10 steps to the water and then a brisk paddle out to the point and voila. M surfed about 2-3 times a day which gave me time to get through 5 books and work on my tan. The break is a bit rocky and not for beginners. They’re are two other spots pretty close by supposedly a bit more forgiving (Saladitas + Bocas), but we never got around to going there.

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The beach

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The bay as the sun’s setting

We went for daily beach walks, meandered about 15 minutes down the road to the fishing town La Majahua (about a half of a block long) to get margaritas + guacamole, took the bikes one afternoon to explore Troncones and sipped fresh coconut water courtesy of M’s foraging skills.

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La Majahua

Turn left like you're walking into someone's back yard, keep going and voila, Martha's

Turn left like you’re walking into someone’s back yard, keep going + voila, Martha’s

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Man finds big stick

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Man knocks down coconut w/big stick

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Girl happily chugs fresh coconut water in unflattering arm pic

It was the kind of vacation that makes you sigh out loud from the pure pleasure + relaxation of it all. As I’m home typing this I can’t over how quiet our house is. The constant rumble of the surf was white noise and I miss it. At night, an occasional set would crash like thunder and wake M and I up with a start. Pretty crazy. If that’s not you’re thing, bring ear plugs. But not to worry, lots of nap opportunities with an ocean view balcony complete with hammock. Vicki, our room cleaner made us awesome flower arrangements when she brought us new towels. Towel baby was our favorite – see below.

Towel baby

Towel baby

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Kindle, hammock, ocean view…what else does a girl need?

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Hooks to dry bikinis – 6 for this trip courtesy of Pily Q, Vitamin A, Vix + L*Space

The room was only $105 a night. It’s pretty amazing. We would’ve paid double easily. Our room (#6) was on the second floor at the end. Perfect privacy. The restaurant was every bit as affordable. Jean Pascal, the owner is French. The menu is a combo of the freshest seafood, mexican/french fusion complete with a piping hot outdoor pizza oven. We probably had as much pizza as guacamole and beer. To get a change of scene and take advantage of a 2×1 cervesa happy hour, we made the trek two doors up to another little hotel to watch sunset each night. Heaven!

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2 cervesas for $3 and this view…ok

On day three, a ridiculously large yacht pulled smack into the middle of the bay and set up camp for a few days. Some of the guests grumbled that their sunset was going to be blocked. But we thought it was fun. Eve, the owner, said it best…these people have all this money and can go anywhere in the world and they chose this beach with this sunset. Yep, pretty smart. And they weren’t obnoxious so after a day of warily watching, the guests relaxed and it became part of the scenery. And no, no Jazee + Beyonce sightings, just a couple uber wealthy families on vacay.

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Yachts from this distance may be larger than they seem – sleeps 32

The only minor setback to a glorious week was my own fault. No delicate way to put this…I had a minor run in with Montezuma. It’s hard to trace exactly, but I think it was due to the most gorgeous papaya I’ve ever scene. Alas, it was to be my downfall. The water at Eden is all safe including the taps. I’d been drinking their fresh green juices and enjoying salads daily with no problemo. The papaya was the only thing I ate that M didn’t. And it wasn’t at the hotel. It was a pretty miserable 24 hours, but luckily no serious consequences. The hotel staff was super sweet and fed me 7-up and tortilla chips. Luckily it was the last night of the trip. All in all, a cautionary tale to not get too cocky when traveling in Mexico – my fault, not Eden’s. It’s been years since (college I think) since I’ve had this happen. So as much as you want it, proceed with caution on the watery fruit!!!

In summary, if traveling to beautiful beaches is your thing, you can afford it if you plan ahead. We made a plan, used our credit cards (paying off each month of course) to accrue miles for the flight and found Eden with an ocean view at $105 and that’s “in season”! We picked President’s Day week since M got Monday off and took a red-eye Friday night so we arrived by lunch on Saturday and maximized vacation days.

Just happy + relaxed…what a vacation should do for you

Just happy + relaxed…vacations, perhaps the best healthy living treats you can give yourself

For us, it’s our luxury, our reward and our retreat for working hard. It’s not for everyone, but we wouldn’t do it any other way ♥

 

Over It…

I was going to write a “How to Survive a 3 Week Cleanse’ part 2 last Sunday, but frankly I was too tired and didn’t want to bore you with details of how much I’m sleeping and what I can’t eat. Life’s too short! I went and read a book outside for four hours instead ♥

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A happy Sunday afternoon reading

What I can say is that my skin looks great, and by great, I mean possibly five years younger great. Save your money on the Le Mer and just invest it in 3 weeks of greens, gluten-free bread, salmon and quinoa. It’s not exciting, but it really did work. As for weight-loss, I’m definitely trimmer, but that is probably also due to upping the Pilates classes in anticipation of my upcoming umbrella drink vacation.

Yes, the light was great, but I sort of feel like this right now...

Yes, the light was great, but I sort of feel like this right now…

Dresses are fitting better

Dresses are fitting better

3 days left to go. Here’s what I learned + what I’ll be keeping post cleanse…

Loved

  • Sleep glorious sleep – 9 to 10 hours a night easy
  • M started reading ingredients + picking organic food – score!
  • The tuna, avocado, quinoa + greens bowl w/homemade dressing I created – keeping it
  • After day 4, a cup of herbal tea w/raw honey completely satisfied post dinner sweet cravings
  • The bikini I bought as a reward for disciplined behavior
  • Sunset walks w/M in lieu of our normal cocktail hour
  • I could still workout because I wasn’t too fatigued
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Quinoa, tuna, veggie bowl w/lime and hot sauce…will keep this in the post-cleanse line-up

Loathed

  • The 4 day headache I had at the beginning while my body adjusted to life without caffeine or alcohol
  • Feeling isolated from others b/c we couldn’t really go out to eat (everything has Canola or Soy in it)
  • Not being able to eat eggs. This was surprisingly difficult
  • M being cranky because he was bored with my cooking
  • Not being able to drink at our good friends wedding – not hard, just not as fun
This is how we feel about not having cocktails at gfs weddings!

This is how we feel about not having cocktails at gfs weddings!

Would I do it again? If I had to, yes. If I didn’t have to, no. I would opt for a shorter 7 day option. But I’m super proud of M and I for completing our goal and finishing what we started. That part was definitely pretty cool. It will be interesting to see how we feel in the next few weeks. M is excited about tacos, beer and pizza. I confess, I will be excited to have a steaming mug of coffee, but may opt for coconut milk instead of half + half!

So we’ll be done just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. Go Seahawks!

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