5 Things To Do In Key West, FL

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My best friend, Lindsay, moved to Key West, FL about 9 years ago for an internship program. Not long after she was there she met a man, fell in love and married him a few years later. She now calls Key West her home. Because she has lived there for so long she knows all the must see/to do things in Key West and is my tour guide every time I travel to see her! Even though Key West is a 2 by 4 mile island, there is definitely plenty to do and see. Here are my top 5 things to see and/or do while in Key West.

1.Duvall Street

Duvall street is a mile long strut full of bars, shops and of course restaurants. It isn’t just on Duvall Street where all the excitement is, but there are so many hole in the wall spots just off Duvall Street that are sometimes even more fun.

On my most recent trip a couple weeks ago, Lindsay took me to 2 Cents, a restaurant and bar right off of Duvall. During happy hour, when you order your drinks and/or food they give you a dice to roll. If you roll a 1, 2 or 3 then you pay the amount you rolled! If you roll a 4, 5 or 6 then you have to pay full price. I ordered a drink and rolled a 1! I was so excited! BTW they also have amazing Moscow Mules and keep bacon on your table!

 

2.Southernmost Point 

This is the buoy that signifies the southernmost point of the continental United States. It is cool to see and take your picture by! There is ALWAYS a line to get your picture taken and it gets so hot standing in the sun so that is why mine is at night. No one else was there!

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3.Better Than Sex

Ok, sorry for the PG-13 name but I had to put this on my list! Better Than Sex is a dessert only restaurant that is only open from 6pm to midnight and it is ab-so-lute-ly AMAZING!!! It has a very alluring atmosphere, where there is very, little lighting and the walls are painted red. It is a pretty small restaurant and always busy so make sure you make a reservation. I have only been here twice but when I go home, I crave this place. I love “The Fever” it is a hot, chocolate brownie with warm chocolate pudding and two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top. It literally melts in your mouth and it is to die for.

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4.Mallory Square

Every night, Mallory Square hosts the Sunset Celebration where there are food booths, street performers, exhibitors, etc. It is definitely something to experience. The sunsets are absolutely gorgeous and there is a different sunset every night! One of the street performers I watched had a cat show. Yes cats. It was eccentric, that is for sure! There is always something to see down there.

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5.Earnest Hemingway’s House

This was a tour I did when I was there in April of 2015 with my mom. They have guided tours that last about 30 minutes (my mom and I just kind of went through or own and it took us about 30 to 40 minutes). It was interesting to see his estate because there are some unique characteristics about it. For example, it is home to about 40-50 six toes cats, and it has pool that has a 80,784 gallon capacity. This is astonishing especially since Key West has en elevation of only 18 feet. It is definitively worth the tour as you can also see his writing area. You can learn more about him and this estate here.

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 Hope you enjoyed and can find this info useful!

-Ericha

The End of Whole 30

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Wine night at my house for my first day off Whole 30!

Week 4

Considering that it has been six months since I have completed Whole 30, all I remember about week four was that it was the easiest. I remember having little to no cravings and preparing meals was second nature. I do know that I was sleeping much better and I felt good.

After my thirty days were up I would introduce things back into my diet slowly like bread, cheese and maybe a glass of wine one day, then the next day I would revert back to Whole 30. Then I would eat bread, cheese and sugar again and revert back again to Whole 30. I did this for probably about three weeks or so, until I just started eating any foods I wanted. To be honest, I didn’t notice any weight gain, my sleep remained the same and I actually felt even better and I felt a different kind of energized by eating bread. Shocker I know.

I run 4-5 times a week (about 3 miles each time) and I am sure I wasn’t getting enough fast acting carbs. My body needed these fast acting carbs because it utilizes them most when running. While on Whole 30, I ate about 2 large sweet potatoes a day and I still felt more fatigued and slower when running. Sweet potatoes are slow acting carbs, thus why I felt better when I started eating fast acting carbs again. It makes sense why in week two I was extremely tired and why people on low carb diets get so sleepy with possible dizziness.

Obviously I am no doctor, but I think that the most important thing for your body is to listen to it. After completing Whole 30 I think even further that eating all things in moderation and that are high in quality (i.e. organic foods) are the key (unless of course you have a food allergy). Your body is smarter than you think and it is always changing, so rules you follow now, might not work for you down the road. More on this to come.

-Ericha 🙂

Whole 30: Week 2 Recap

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This stuff is a #whole30 lifesaver

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Lunch prep

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Making almond milk for chia seed pudding

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The second week went about as expected. To be honest, I didn’t feel much different, maybe even worse at times.

 

Days 8 & 9

I changed up my breakfast from the egg muffins I made during week one and made fried eggs instead. I added guacamole and left over meat from dinner the night before. It was amazing! I came to realize I like fried eggs more than scrambled 😉 During these two days, I felt bloated and kind of lethargic which they say is normal. I did not enjoy this. At. All. I powered through because they say days 10 & 11 are the worst. I wanted to keep some motivation!

Days 10 & 11

During days 10 & 11 I was still uncomfortably bloated, not really craving anything, nothing was really different except that I started to get discouraged. I started to wonder if I was doing it right. I figured that was the “hard days” talking. I decided on day 11 to see if maybe something I was eating was making me so bloated and lethargic. I usually never eat this many eggs (I was eating at least two a day) so I decided to not eat eggs for 3 or 4 days and see what happens. I did not find days 10 & 11 to be the hardest (maybe because it was in the middle of the week and I was busy with work) but they were not easy. I definitely had a struggle because I wasn’t seeing any results in the mirror and the only thing physically that had improved was that I was sleeping well.

Days 12-14

Day 12 was my first day on Whole 30 that I didn’t have eggs. Instead of eggs for breakfast, I had two organic chicken sausages that were left over from the night before. I wanted to make sure I would have plenty of protein since I wasn’t going to eat eggs. I also brought lots of guacamole, veggies and fruit to work. I noticed after I ate breakfast I felt kind of itchy all over and my nose was a little runny. Either I was detoxing from the eggs or I was allergic to the organic apple chips that I had just ate. By the time I got home from work I was more irritable that normal and I am wondering if I was detoxing or the fact that it was Friday and I knew I couldn’t have a glass of wine.

I woke up the next day from a dream about being on a road trip in Hawaii and someone wanted Taco Time. They say in the book it is normal to dream of junk food but I didn’t believe them. I do not crave Taco Time and I never eat there so I thought it was hilarious that I dreamt this! Day 13 I ended up having a lot of energy and got a ton of stuff done. I power cleaned my house, accomplished a ton of errands and even made our friends homemade biscotti. I was pretty hungry by lunch so I cooked organic grass fed ground beef and ate that over salad with a lot of salsa and guacamole. It was amazing.

On the 14th day, I woke up with vertigo. It was awful. I didn’t have much energy and I wasn’t too hungry because the vertigo was making me nauseous. I ended up taking some drops of peppermint essential oil and that help the nausea subside. Even though I was dizzy if I moved my head up or down, I was determined not to let this interfere with my Whole 30. I got down some steak salad with lots of guacamole with oven roasted sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes made my day! They were absolutely delicious. #newfav

I am looking forward to week 3. I am almost halfway there!

Whole 30: Week 1 Recap

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Making Roasted Sweet Potatoes
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Soaking Almonds for Homemade Almond Milk

 

For the most part, I eat well. Most things we cook are organic and my husband hunts so we eat a lot of wild game. I do have Italian blood running through my veins, therefore I love a bold Malbec and almost any kind of pizza.

Deciding to try Whole 30 wasn’t too hard of a decision but I knew it was going to be a challenge. If you don’t know what Whole 30 is, it is very similar to the Paleo Diet. Absolutely no dairy, sugar (in any shape or form, including non-sugar sweeteners), legumes, and grains. You can read more about Whole 30 here.

 Days 1 & 2

The first day I felt great! Before work, I finished making almond milk from scratch (for the very first time) and I was so proud of myself! It tasted amazing with my espresso shots #coffeelover

I am not really a huge breakfast eater, but I knew I needed to plan my meals for the week  so that I could be prepared and not get myself into a pinch and want to cheat. The night before I started Whole 30 I made egg muffins with kale, red onions and mushrooms. I ate them at work with guacamole and they curbed my hunger until mid afternoon. I also munched on organic apple chips, carrots, kombucha and oranges. The first two days of The Whole 30 weren’t bad especially since I didn’t really experience any cravings for things not Whole 30 approved. I also didn’t really struggle with the food hangover they talk about having on days 2 & 3.

Days 3 & 4

Days 3 and 4 I was more tired than normal and a little cranky! They say you get very irritable days 4 & 5 and really tired days 6 & 7. I think that because I really didn’t eat that poorly beforehand I skipped the hangover phase and my body jumped right to the “I just want to nap phase.” On days 3 & 4 I had to pry myself from the covers. One of the days I actually got up and made my coffee, only to crawl back into bed for 20 more minutes. Which never happens. When I am up, I am up. As for the crankiness, I think for me it was more stress at work than anything 😉

Days 5, 6 & 7

Ok, here is where my cravings for wine and bread showed up. I spoke in a high school’s health classes on day 5 (6 different classes) from 7:30am to 12:10pm. I didn’t have any time to eat during that time because I had one class right after the other. After I was done speaking I had to go back to work and then my adrenaline starting wearing off and I was starving! When I got to work, I ate a bunch of grapes, organic turkey meat, hard boiled eggs, and two lemon Lara bars (my absolute favorite things EVER). On my way home from work, all I could think about was how nice a glass of red wine would be with dinner. Ugh. I powered through and instead opted for some mango kombucha in a fancy glass. The next day was Saturday and I took the day off of exercise and just really let my body rest. I didn’t have much of an appetite this day (which they said can be normal) but I did crave coffee and bread. I went to Starbucks and got a decaf iced espresso and brought some of my homemade almond milk to add into it. #imnotevensorry  I went to Costco and found some dried organic figs and munched on those on the way home. They cured my craving for bread for the most part. I was shocked at how sweet they were! Sunday the cravings had subsided and I felt I had a little more energy than normal.

I am excited to see what the next week will bring. They say days 10 and 11 are the hardest so I am going to continue to just take it one day at a time, five minutes at a time!

XOXO,

Ericha

Work.

Who’s great idea was it to make 40 hours a week “normal.”

I understand we need to pay the bills, but sheesh. If you work 40 hours or more in one week, you are spending the majority of your time, working. You have to be around your co-workers whether you like them or not, whether you hired them or not, whether they are doing their job or not.

I get if you love your career and you have sacrificed that for family but what about for those of us who work hard, very hard, for those 40+ hours a week who take pride in their work, do their job well but still want a life?

I work in an office and sometimes I even have to work weekends, 10+ hour days and that is the NORM for this business. Why the heck are we killing ourselves just because this is what the rest of America does? Though there are parts I like about my job I often complain about it. A few months ago, I was reminded that I need to enjoy exactly where I am at. So I am learning how to do just that, not just where I am wanting to be.

Here are some things that I have learned to do to make sure I can enjoy where I am at:

  1. God

I would not know how to deal with all the stress and all the crap that this worlds shoves on us if it wasn’t for Him. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” I know this verse is thrown around a lot but it is for good reason. This verse tells me that He HAS a plan. Not an idea, not a guess, a PLAN. I have made many decisions without listening to God and they never turned into a disaster. Jeremiah 29:12-13 say, “Then when you come upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all of your heart.”

I cannot start my day without praying. I don’t know what they day is going to bring but God does and He can prepare me for it.

2. Exercise

I am sure you know all the health benefits (physically, emotionally and mentally) so I won’t bore you with those details, but it is true. Exercise is amazing. I run 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes before I go to work and on the weekends I do yoga. It is hard work but it soothes me. While running, I listen to worship music, pray or listen to sermons by Mark Driscoll or Joyce Meyer. While running, I feel I absorb what I am listening to even more and it helps me to have a good mindset for the day and/or rest of the week.

3. Guilty Pleasure

I am not saying to give in to your guilty pleasure ALL the time, but you should give in sometimes. I absolutely love Bravo and during the week I will sit down, have a glass of wine and watch Real Housewives (doesn’t matter which one, I love them all). This does not consume my life but after a long stressful day at work I can sit down and check out for 60 minutes and give myself a much needed break.

When you are having a rough day, you just need to take it five minutes at a time.