Honeymoon in Belize: Part 1

Hello folks,
 
I recently went on a honeymoon trip to Belize with my lovely husband, Jonathan.  I wanted to post some bits and pieces of the trip from my travel journal and our photographs.  The following post is the 1st in a series and documents our first few days of the trip.  I hope you enjoy it! 
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After two, five-hour flights we arrived in Belize City.  Jonathan was confused as to why we were descending, as he didn’t see a city or airport of any kind.  But soon a janky little building and a tiny landing strip came into view, and I knew we had arrived.
The sky and water changed colors continuously throughout the day.  It was so magical.

The sky and water changed colors continuously throughout the day. It was so magical.

Our trip advisors (Jonathan’s Belizean coworker and the internet) told us to take a cab directly from the airport out of Belize City, due to high crime rates.  Driving to the water taxi, I could see why.  The poverty, garbage, flea-ridden and bloody dogs were none too appealing.
The “water taxi” more closely resembled a slave ship than the luxurious name entails.  Luckily I had taken a high dose of motion-sickness pills and we had a ziplock baggie just in case.
The mixture of heat, body odor, and food smells were more than I could handle.  At this point, Jonathan and I were both extremely concerned that we had chosen the wrong honeymoon destination.
Just as we contemplated turning back, Caye Caulker appeared on the horizon.  This quaint little island off the coast of Belize is teeming with white sand beaches, brightly colored beachfront properties, and hammocks swaying in the breeze.
Finally, we arrived!  We celebrated our arrival by having a local beer on the sandy beach.

Finally, we arrived! We celebrated our arrival by having a local beer on the sandy beach.

Jonathan and I fist-bumped.
The first night we dined at Joe’s Habeneros, a romantic restaurant with Belizean food catered to our American tastes.  Delicious.
Much to our delight, the hotel room overlooked the pool, which overlooked the ocean.  It turns out, you can buy happiness, and it is found at the Island Magic Hotel’s honeymoon suite.
View from our balcony for the first portion of the trip.

View from our balcony for the first portion of the trip.

After an 11-hour nap, we awoke with renewed excitement.  It’s our honeymoon!!!  We drank coffee (fresh OJ for him) and enjoyed fresh fruit (bacon for him) while people-watching.  Fun fact: our tablemate did the dirty in the ocean the previous night with a traveling stranger.  Gooooooooooooood morning!
I can't explain how relaxing and lovely our breakfast was.  I could have stayed there all day.

I can’t explain how relaxing and lovely our breakfast was. I could have stayed there all day.

We then grabbed our books, our suits, and plenty of SPF 70 and hit the beach.  It was glorious.  We leaped off the dock into the ocean and then swam a few laps in the saltwater pool.  Why do you need both?  Why not?
This looks like a naked photoshopped adventure on the open sea.  I promise...it is!

This looks like a naked photoshopped adventure on the open sea. I promise…it is!

dock
Lunch was some fantastic garlic butter fish with rice and beans at Rainbow Grill & Bar.  Then we decided to stroll around the main drag (you can get around the whole island in 20 minutes by foot) and found some incredible homemade ice cream.  If that wasn’t enough, a woman wheeled a cart of homemade cakes right by us.  She called herself “The Cake Lady” and she had a whole heard of people and dogs asking for cakes.  Naturally, we had to have a slice of pineapple cake smothered in caramel.  Vacation is the best.
Betta no litta

Betta no litta

If all that wasn’t enough, we had grilled lobster for dinner.  Rose’s restaurant had a limited menu.  Pick what sea critter you want out front, then they’ll grill it up and take care of the rest.  The sidewalk “menu” was the best free advertising I’ve ever seen.  The smell alone would draw people in from blocks away.
Rose's "menu"

Rose’s “menu”

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Married folks, did you have a honeymoon?  Where’d you go?
Non-married folks, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
-Mads

SURPRISE! Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Our dear friend over at Wannabe a Country Cleaver has gone and got engaged to the love of her life.  The blogging community could not sit idly by without acknowledging her upcoming nuptials.

So here we are with a surprise virtual bridal shower!

I’m not even sure what that means, but I know it involves lots of food, booze, and love. :)  If you haven’t already checked out Megan’s culinary journey on her blog, you should go there now…girl is ridiculously creative and takes fantastic food pics.

Mad June Cleaver pie skills. (click to be redirected to original photo source)

I decided to get really crafty for this party (I know, I had a total break from reality and decided to craft.  Move over, Martha) by making cheesecake-stuffed strawberries.

Shockingly, these little bites were extremely easy to make.  These are perfect for a party because even though they only took 20 minutes to whip up, it looks like you spent all day in the kitchen.  Plus, you can easily pop one into your mouth on the way to the champagne bar…I’m assuming all virtual bridal showers have champagne bars, no?

Berry berry quite contrary. I cannot get enough of strawberries this summer!

Grab a bunch of strawberries (1 carton), wash ‘em, and hull ‘em out so there is a little valley in each.

Whip together your 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and no one was the wiser), 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Combine them and place in a pastry decorating bag.  If you’re like me, you’ll usually put the frosting in a gallon ziplock and ask the nice lady at the grocery store bakery department to give you free frosting tips.

Then grab n’ stuff.

Then eat.

Or just grab your strawberries, dunk them into the frosting bowl, and have a party by yourself.  These bites are so good, you’ll want to celebrate!

Megan, I had so much fun with this virtual surprise party.  I hope you had fun too!  Wishing you the happiest future!

<3 Mads

p.s. Check out all of the other virtual party recipes and get to know these lovely ladies!

Appetizers

Deviled Eggs-3 Ways – Farmgirl Gourmet

Cheesy Edamame Crostini – Running to the Kitchen

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Puffs – Comfortably Domestic

Easy Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-Ups – My Life as a Mrs. 

Sausage & Red Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms – Baked by Rachel

Retro Cheese Cookies – Decadent Philistines Save the World

Drinks

Blueberry Lemonade Spritzers – Simply Scratch

Lemon-Berry Granita with Balsamic & Basil – Bake Your Day

Entrees

Fresh Melon & Crispy Proscuitto Salad – A Recipe Junkie

Greek Salmon Wraps – Inside NanaBread’s Head

Desserts

Eton Mess Shooters – London Bakes

Mini Cherry Pies – Table for Two

Summer Strawberry Jello Pie – Lauren’s Latest

Red Velvet Ice Cream Cupcakes – Cravings of a Lunatic

Good for you Bars – Tenaciously Yours

The Wedding: Part II

We got the pics from the wedding!

This was my favorite candid moment. The only two people in the room…   (photo by Poly)

After the ceremony, Jonathan and I dined alone while our guests had cocktails and appetizers.  One piece of wedding advice that stood out to me was to take a few moments to be alone with your husband.  That, combined with the rumors that the couple rarely get to eat on their wedding day, gave us the idea to take 20 minutes to grab a romantic dinner for two amid the festivities.

Beef Tenderloin and Spaghetti Squash…Yum!

The dinner was romantic, but I was also so grateful to have a few minutes to catch my breath and process what just happened.

Then we joined the dinner reception.

Some decor…bright reds, yellows, and greens!  My friend asked if we were going with the stoplight theme.  Hahaha   (photos by Poly)

Jonathan’s boys. One of his friends showed up with a ton of hats. Loved it!   (photo by Poly)

My high school girlfriends. (p.s. I changed dresses. I’m not usually a fan of the bride doing an outfit change, but I was SO glad I had a dress to boogie in. Mostly because I was burning up that dance floor.)

In Chinese weddings, the bride and groom take time during dinner to toast each table individually.  I think they usually drink Cognac, but since we had 21 tables, we sipped champagne.  I still went through about 3-4 glasses.  *burp*

I loved toasting all of the tables! It gave us a chance to talk to all of the guests, which might not have happened when I was busy on the dance floor. We were also able to thank people for coming, laugh our asses off, and experience some tears of happiness. So much love in the room.

The rest of the night was a whirlwind of dancing, late night tacos, and grinning from ear to ear.

:) I love my husband.   (photo by Poly)

It was the best day of my life.  Hands down.  I was so glad we listened to the wedding advice we liked and ignored the stuff we didn’t like.  It was exactly what we both wanted and I wish we could do it again every single weekend.  SO MUCH LOVE!

-Mads

P.S. All of the labeled photographs are from our photographer, Poly Mendes.  I would recommend her to anyone.  She was accommodating, fast, professional, sweet, and told me I looked beautiful.  You can’t beat that.

The Wedding

It is extremely difficult to write about the best day of my life in a way that shows you how incredible it was for me OR without using a thousand exclamation marks.  Instead, please just know that it really was the best day of my life, closely followed by the time I went skydiving in New Zealand–crying tears of happiness mid-air (a different story for a different day).

Anyway, I could not stop smiling or dancing or laughing.

We don’t have our photographer’s prints yet, but I’ll post what we have.

We started our day early with the traditional Chinese tea ceremony.  It is customary for the bride and groom to serve tea to parents and elder family members on their wedding day. This is an opportunity for the happy couple to express gratitude to their parents for raising them, and to receive marital blessings from family members.

There was a lot of up and down, kneeling and standing.  I lost my shoe a few times and almost ripped my dress a bunch of times.

Ignore my shoe problems. Also, this is probably the only picture of my backside that I’ll ever post on the blog.  Enjoy!

Basically, we serve tea while a lucky lady (our family friend) says a blessing.  Parents drink the tea and then give the couple lucky money and sometimes jewelry that the bride wears. It was lovely.

Then Jonathan and I did a private “first look” photo shoot.  I hate saying “first look” because everyone gets in a huff about it.  Honestly, it was my favorite part of the wedding. Seeing his face for the first time, being able to snuggle up alone, looking at the ceremony room without any people in it…the best.

However, those pictures are still on lock-down with my photographer.  :)

Then my daddy walked me down the aisle.

When I was really little, I bet my dad a quarter that I would never marry anyone but him. Here he was telling me that I owed him a quarter.

Our friend officiated the wedding, which made it really personal and lovely.

My favorite candid moment shot of the wedding:

It was just the two of us in the room at this exact moment.

We got hitched!

Fist bump!

Stay tuned for the rest of the wedding celebration!  I promise I’ll post a picture with the full wedding dress.

-Mads

P.S. Photos courtesy of a few people…Robert, Rich, Sam, others?

 

Wedding Week

Hello Bloggy Friends,

It has been a long time. I’m sorry for my absence, but wrapping up a tough grad school semester, wrapping up my job, planning a wedding, and general shenanigans got in the way. You know how that is.

Anyway, the wedding was an absolute blast! It was easily the best day of my life, and I’m still riding the wedding bliss high this week. *le sigh

It will be a week or two before my wedding pictures are ready, so in the meantime, I’ll tell you about the week leading up to the big day.

Jonathan and I flew out on a Saturday…

We spent a lot of time with family, napping, stuffing our faces, and drinking on patios. If you live in Minneapolis and haven’t been to the new Psycho Suzi’s patio, please run there. They have super strong drinks served in shrunken heads. Plus, you can’t beat the view of the riverfront.

My drink was aptly named, “One-eyed Willy”.

A few of our friends flew in a day early, so we got to spend some time exploring the city with them. We had burgers at The Bulldog in Northeast Minneapolis. I had to practice major self-control with the tater tots, which obviously worked really well and I totally did not finish off the entire basket. *cough* *cough*

Then we walked across the Stone Arch Bridge, which has fabulous views of the city and the Mississippi River.

I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing and enjoyable pre-wedding week.  We toasted to “WEDDING WEEK” with champagne every day and watched On Demand movies every night.  :)

More wedding stuff to come!

-Mads