Sunshine Kir

On a daily quest for the eternal sunshine!

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.


The beach at Eden


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.


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.


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.


The beach


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.


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


Man finds big stick


Man knocks down coconut w/big stick


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


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


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!


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.


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 ♥


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…


  • 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

Quinoa, tuna, veggie bowl w/lime and hot sauce…will keep this in the post-cleanse line-up


  • 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!

How to Survive (Thrive) a 3 Week Cleanse – Week 1

The conversation went like this…Me: I’m tired, M: I’m fat. Me: You’re not fat, maybe we’re both a little fluffy. M: Fine, I’m fluffy. Me: Would you be open to doing some sort of detox? M: <silence with raised eyebrow>.

Fast forward to day 8 of our three week cleanse. We are on the wagon meaning, a lot of no’s. No booze, caffeine, dairy (including eggs), gluten, refined sugar, soy, tomatoes, corn or canola oil. Our goal is to get back into balance, to reduce inflammation and hit the reset button after weeks, months really, of eating out and enjoying the holidays. I confess I was a bit shocked I got M to agree to this, but immensely grateful because doing a longer cleanse is so much easier when the entire household is on board!

M multi-tasking making soup and watching NFL playoffs

M multi-tasking making soup and watching NFL playoffs

In essence, it’s 3 weeks of clean eating – fish, poultry, greens, veggies, fruit and grain like quinoa and brown rice. Everything should be pure, whole and organic. We are rewarding ourselves with an umbrella drink vacation somewhere when we’re done – bikini bod incentive is always key…more on that in a future post.

Avocados, citrus + ginger…can't have too much

Avocado, citrus + ginger…can’t have too much

Fresh juice + infused waters

Fresh juice + infused water

Overall, we are feeling pretty good! The first few days are definitely the toughest. I had a minor headache above my eyebrows for the first three days. M’s lasted 4 days. But once you settle in, it’s really not too bad. The key to surviving (and thriving) a longer cleanse is preparation. Here are the things that saved me on week 1:

  • Make sure your fridge + pantry is stocked at all times w/ foods/ingredients you can eat
  • Bust out the slow cooker (crock pot) – it’ll be your new best friend
  • Prep and cook a few meals ahead of time on Sat and Sun
  • Make extra of everything for leftovers to mix/match for lunch + dinner
  • Have meal plans and recipes at your disposal (I printed out grocery lists and bookmarked recipes)
  • If you’re a bread freak like me, find a good gluten free bread. It’s a game changer
  • Plan exercise that is more low impact – Pilates is perfect since I’m laying down while I tone!

Being prepared was the single best thing we did. My girlfriend, Christa, has an incredible business call the Whole Journey.  She was a superstar and emailed me grocery lists with recipes to get me started. Her recipes are awesome, easy to make and you can find them here. Another great resource is Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain. I have her Green Turkey Chili simmering in the crockpot as I type. As mentioned above, the slow cooker is key! I threw a whole chicken (rubbed with some spices) in with a cup of onions in the other day before work and turned it on low. By the time I got home from work, it was done and delicious!

Pan roasted chicken

Pan roasted chicken

Yes, you’re going to be at the grocery store a lot and yes, organic, clean food can seem a touch pricey, but think of all the money you’re saving by not eating out and drinking! Now as we roll into week 2, we are figuring out the system. We have smoothies (thank you Nutribullet RX!) for breakfast most mornings, but this morning was avocado toast drizzled w/olive oil and Himalayan sea salt – tasted amazing (can I just eat this for 3 weeks???). We’ve also been making fresh squeezed juices (and infused water), salad dressings and soups. For the week, I found an awesome, simple recipe from the Free People blog for overnight oats. It’s so easy and satisfies the sweet tooth. We just leave out the brown sugar. See here for the recipe.

Free People Energizing Oats Recipe - just leave out the brown sugar!

Free People Energizing Oats Recipe – just leave out the brown sugar!

Organic India’s Tulsi Tea tastes yummy in the am and pm – I add a tsp of raw honey at night to head off any after dinner sweet cravings. Brown rice tortillas and Baron’s hot sauce have also been a lifesavers. Since you have to prep almost everything yourself, spices are key. It’s hard not to be bored so we’re trying to get creative – salmon, stir fry, etc. The hot sauce has been a lifesaver. We cook the tortillas w/black beans, avocado, leftover chicken and hot sauce. It doesn’t replace tomatoes, cheese and sour cream, but we can hang with it for three weeks. Another key to success is reading labels!!! You wouldn’t believe how much stuff has Canola oil and soy in it. Hidden sugar is everywhere too. Yes, I am that neurotic girl right now, sorry. But if I’m going to do it, let’s do it right. We’re going to delve into Thai stir-frys this week. (Hooray, you can have coconut milk!)

What we haven’t done yet…venture out to a restaurant. Supposedly, we can go to sushi and get protein rolls, sushi w/brown rice and sashimi. But we’re not sure we are strong enough yet. Will it be sad to not have beer and soy sauce? Go ahead and judge, but we’re waiting till next weekend. During the week with work, you’re busy so it’s not too bad. We both struggled yesterday. I went to Pilates, M ran and surfed. We met back at the house and felt restless. This would be the time we sit out in our backyard, have a beer and talk about where we are going out to eat. Not today. Our little text exchange pretty much sums up the melancholy…

"Love you but this thing sucks" pretty much summed up Saturday

“Love you but this thing sucks” summed up Saturday

On the bright side, we did go for a beach walk. And caught a killer sunset. Then went for a raging night at the grocery store where M’s morale was restored when we found chips he could eat!!!

A killer sunset to restore the soul

A killer sunset to restore the soul – no filter needed

Thank you Boulder Chips!!!

Thank you Boulder Canyon for making these heavenly, ingredient-approved chips!!!

So it’s a process. Overall, I think we’re doing good. We haven’t noticed crazy health changes yet, but I know my skin is better and my skinny jeans are a touch more comfortable. Stay tuned for next week’s episode in cleansing where M and I attempt to attend our dear friend’s wedding. The price to pay when M declares he has to be done with his cleanse by Super Bowl Sunday. Message me if you have any questions! I’m happy to share grocery lists. If you have a good recipe…please please please send it along!♥




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190 other followers