San Pedro: The #OMGBelize Adventures

I'll let you in on a little secret. Occasionally, blog posts need to percolate on a blogger's mind for a month or two (or more) before they actually get written. You just can't rush these things...

In all actuality, I have a really hard time talking about Belize. Thankfully, I think the grin and the twinkle in my eye that appears at the first sound of the country speaks for itself. Something about it just spoke to me. That country was my jam, my love language.

Here at the tail end of another Indiana winter, writing about warm, sunny, happy Central America sounds like the perfect plan for my day though.

San Pedro actually consisted of WAY more than just jumping into the ocean to kick it with an abundance sharks and rays and turtles. For instance, I met a soul mate.

Granted, while I appreciate his proper use of "you're"... the fact that he took the time to put ALL of this into my phone as we sat around the hostel pool one night was a bit aggressive. The fact he was barely 22 was also a bit much for me. Sorry for never calling, Buzz. Sorry for avoiding eye contact that night at the chicken drop, too.

Ha. Chicken drop. The highlight of every Thursday in San Pedro is cheering for a chicken to take a poop. I'm confident atleast 80% of the inhabitants on the island were huddled around that stretch of beach that night.

What is it, you ask? You purchase numbers and hope like hell that piece of poultry takes a dookie on your number. You win a pretty decent chunk of change if that happens. Of course you also have to clean up the mess, first. Sadly (thankfully?) none of us ever got that opportunity.

Naturally, right in the middle of the festivities, the power on the entire island goes out.

That's not an exaggeration. The. Entire. Island. Apparently the blackout stretched up into Mexico too.

So hey... foreign country, no cell service, no power anywhere... we do what any sane person would do, blind-eyed our way to the town square to get street meat. Thank the heavens for whoever invented food carts and generators!

Jenn had headed back to the states the day after our Shark Ray Alley experience, so us three musketeers had upgraded out of hostel life for the first time since stepping foot in Belize, and shelled over the cash for a hotel on the beach. Conch Shell Inn. She was a hot pink beaut, and when we blindly stumbled back to her that night in the dark we found the fellas at the dive shop on the dock having a hell of a good time, so we graced them with our presence for a while. Somewhere between the chicken drop and 9am the next morning the power had returned, and we were able to bask in air-conditioned bliss for the first time in a while.

It's weird being somewhere so laid back. I am not lying when I tell you there isn't much to do. But there isn't much to do in the BEST way possible. You can leisurely walk down the beach to grab coffee, and sit there chatting for hours. Or belly up to your favorite bar to drink Lighthouse and play Three's all night, every night. Of course, when you do that, you become the bartenders best friend. And if you're real lucky, you may even learn your bartender stars in a local island soap opera, and then you REALLY get to give him a hard time! (Be careful though, as we came to find out sometimes other patrons get so annoyed by you hogging the bartender's attention that they write about you in their TripAdvisor reviews)

The entire San Pedro adventure really hit it's pinnacle the morning we rented a golf cart. Being our last full day on the island, we realized we had yet to go to the much talked about Palapa Bar. Since it's on the northside of the island you have a few options - a long ass bike ride, or a shorter long-ass golf cart ride.

We took the cart around the island for a little exploring before venturing out to Palapa. I'll never complain about the potholes on Indiana roads after navigating those dirt paths. The bar was a blast, drinks were delicious, we made friends with some other patrons and wasted away our afternoon soaking up an equal mixture of rum and sunshine.

The problem came when we realized the day had faded into night and we had good 30 min drive ahead of us with no streets lights (hell there weren't even streets). We gracefully exited the bar where I turn the key and quickly learn our golf cart had no functioning headlights. Whit swooped in and saved the day as she grabbed our iPhones and flipped the flashlights on, proudly holding them out over the windshield. Linds is on the back is yelling at us to go faster as she's getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, we're all bouncing around because the "road" isn't really true to it's name, and I'm just trying to figure out which of the double palm trees I'm seeing is the actual one, and which is the tree that vodka invented.

We made it out alive, barely (Linds lost a shoe), and happened upon someone from the golf cart rental who had heard (damn gossipy island folks) about three girls running rampant sans headlights, so they promptly traded us for a new golf cart, and we made our way a few blocks further for heaps of chicken wings and very large glasses of water.

As we returned our 6 hour golf cart rental that we kept for an additional 18 hours I realized this is another one of those times you just thank God you are on the most laid back island ever, and they really didn't even seem to mind. Slurping up one last iced coffee and heading to the tiny airstrip I was the saddest little puppy. I was far from ready for our time in the BZE Islands to come to an end.


Shark Ray Alley: The #OMGBelize Adventures

It's all fun and games until a local on a nearby boat throws a ton of chum right next to you and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a legit sharknado.

Technically I think it'd be a cyclone, aren't those the ones IN the water? A sharkclone. Or a jackclone really, since it was 50% jacks, in addition to the sharks, plus a few sting rays.  A rayjacksharkclone. And that's my final answer.

(In retrospect, looking at that sharks eyes makes me second guess everything they said about this being totally safe)

Rewind. Way back when we first booked our flights, Whit started a Pinterest board for all of us to throw trip ideas into. That's when I stumbled upon Shark Ray Alley and it immediately became a MUST on my list.

Chelsea's MUST list: 
Swim with sharks. 
The end.

I don't believe in bucket lists, but if I did that would have been on it. None of the other girls were quite as keen on the idea of willing hopping into the open ocean with Jaws, but my power of persuasion is truly immeasurable.

Not long after leaving Caye Caulker, our water taxi docked on Ambergris and we made our way to our hostel. I brought up swimming with sting rays approximately 32 times during the trek, and swimming with sharks approximately 45. Give or take a few.

There's actually a very high chance everyone else just agreed in sheer hope of shutting me up.

Either way, on a sunny Tuesday morning the four of us set out on a boat to become live bait. Whit was the complete opposite of excited. Meanwhile, I rivaled a kid headed to Disneyland.

It was a pretty short ride out to the reef, and the water was so clear you knew EXACTLY what you were about to get into!

Throwing on our flippers and masks, it didn't take long before all 4 of us were overboard. We saw countless rays, jacks, sharks, clown fish, parrot fish, red fish, blue fish, one fish, two fish. Oh and an eel. Who wasn't too enthusiastic about seeing us, and made that very clear (chalk that up as another near death experience)

I befriended this dude, who let me swim next to him for quite a while. I was sure we would end up in Sydney, but it was actually only about 20 feet from where I found him and then he got tired of our Asian peace signs and paparazzi ways.

It was so wild being in the middle of the open ocean swimming amongst these beauts. Call me crazy, but they are just so graceful gliding through the water. Although I'm a little nervous that next time I'm in the water and spot a fin sticking out I may be a little TOO eager to approach the fella.

The morning flew by, and the camera roll filled up. As we headed back to shore, I think we were all in agreement that it was definitely worth every penny we spent!

Belize is home to the second largest reef in the world... I wont lie, it's kind of fantastic having the bragging rights that I've snorkeled the two biggest reefs on the planet!

Things to note:
-All underwater photos were taken with my good ol iPhone 5s, in a LifeProof case. Expensive, but worth every penny.

-We went with Greg from Ecologic Divers, and I cannot speak highly enough of them! They were amazing, and definitely went above and beyond.


Caye Caulker: The #OMGBelize Adventures

I'm not saying you shouldn't plan ANYTHING on your next trip... buuuut... ok, I am saying you should probably not plan out your next trip. Not to a T atleast. Wing it.

Do it, you'll like it.

We showed up at the Belize International Airport with nothing but a couple tickets on the puddle jumper to the islands, and a guaranteed place to sleep at night.

And guess what? Not only were we NOT BORED. We stumbled upon a whole lot of awesome that we probably wouldn't have stumbled upon had we showed up with a detailed itinerary of ToDo's.

(Side note: even if the guy working at the counter for your tiny island airline says go to the bar and drink until its time to leave on your flight, don't go to the bar and drink until it's time to leave. Because then they'll tell you you missed your flight and you'll have to wait another hour for the next one, and you'll probably be grumpy.)

We touched down to a drizzly Caye Caulker airstrip roughly nine and a half minutes after taking off from Belize City, and immediately started laughing.

What had we just gotten ourselves into?

That cheery fella was the entire operations of the "airport", and that building back there... yea that was the airport. He insisted on taking our luggage on that cart the 30 yards back and having us pick it up under the porch And when we asked for a taxi since it was raining, a jolly ol barefoot chap pulled up on a 6-seater golf cart and scooped us up and dropped us right in front of our new home for the next few days.

The benefit of staying in a hostel is that you make roughly 32 new friends within like 20 minutes of arriving... couple that with the benefit of staying on the worlds tiniest (may be a slight exaggeration) island is that you actually know every bartender, shopkeeper, chef and dog* within a day.

*Never in my life have I seen so many stray dogs in one area. Let alone stray dogs that are the nicest, most laid back, chillest dogs ever.

So, let's summarize shall we? Caye Caulker: Tiny.. full of pooches, backpackers and expats. Oh, and Go Slow. The islands motto, it's posted up EVERYWHERE in case you forget. (Supposedly it's for the golf carts... I personally think it's a reminder to just sit back and chill the eff out. Who knows)

And me?

I fell in love. The island didn't even have streets. You walked everywhere. Barefoot if you were really embracing it. You got the best meals sitting in lawn chairs on the sand. Afternoons were spent laying in a hammock at your hostel or on a dock at the far end of the island with 50 other people.

I had carry out Chinese food, while laying out, and drinking rum punch. How could you NOT fall in love?!

Our favorite hangout became the sports bar, owned by an expat from Pittsburgh, and the sweetest pooch Sir Finnegan. I wish I could count how many beers we had sitting in those old wood chairs. What started as a table of 4 gals quickly grew with every visit. We acquired accomplices from New York to California to England to South Africa and everywhere in between.

The island was so, so quiet being slow season. And BOY do they take slow season seriously... our last morning in Caulker we tried 3 different breakfast spots, to find all of them had closed down for the month until business picked back up. Have no fear, we made our own fun... if that wasn't already evident. Ooh the shenanigans that begin with a bottle of local cheap rum and a can of Arizona Kiwi-Strawberry...

After spending three nights at Yuma's House (safe to say it was definitely one of my favorite hostels I've stayed in) we headed to the water taxi dock Monday afternoon, and I was pretty pouty about leaving our little island behind. After being reminded we still had a weeks worth of Belize left ahead of us though, so let's be honest... I turned the frown upside down.

Ambergris Caye, here we come!

Other babblings:
We flew TropicAir from BZE to Caye Caulker, and used the Caye Caulker water taxi. Great service from both! 
Some favorite eats: Paradiso, Happy Lobster, Bambooze and the little Chinese food joint across from Frans


And then there was #OMGBelize

I guess I should have been more nervous about the fact that I had only spent a cumulative 18 hours total with one girl I was traveling with, not to mention I had never even met other gal.

Even as I was nearly sprinting through the Atlanta airport after a slightly late flight into the great Peach state, trying to get to the international terminal to meet them, the only thing that was on my mind was if I had actually thrown in enough swimsuits or was 3 was going to be disappointingly too few.

Does that mean I've hit that level of weirdness that traveling to Central America with two strangers doesnt even phase me? #bloggerprobs

Maybe I should back up and explain how this entire trip even came about. Sometime in the middle of the summer, I stumbled upon a ridiculously cheap roundtrip flight to Belize from Atlanta. After half-jokingly sending the link to Whit, she replied "let's book it". Mind you, I send her random flights at least once a day and usually she just tells me to get back to work. Naturally, my reply was SERIOUSLY? and we both decided 'why the hell not'.

She got a hold of her sister, as they had been tossing around the idea of a fall trip, and I tried to wake up Jenn in Vegas, as we had been throwing around the idea of Thailand in 2014. After a little convincing, we had 4 airline tickets purchased and a slight smirk on our faces. About 4 hours later, prices went up about $400. Yahtzee.

 The next few days were filled with a lot of "Holy shit what did we just book?" and  "Where is Belize anyways?" Those quickly evolved into "Oh my god we're going to Belize!", a countdown was started, and the token #OMGBelize phrase was born.

Funny how quickly those hundred or so days had flown by. Once settled into row 13, Whit & I looked at each other and just giggled... 'watch out Belize, here we come!'

Little did we know the adventures we were about to stumble upon.



Another set of passport stamps. A fresh batch of scuffs and scars on the suitcase. A whole new series of stories to laugh about. Another country checked off the list. Another sleepy Monday morning spent readjusting.


Labor'ing in Punta Cana

It's only taken just shy of a decade, but I'm finally savvy to the fact that if I travel during a major US holiday I get a freebie vacation day.

It was a double whammy that my mom's birthday falls on the eve of Labor Day, so it didn't take much more convincing than a simple text that said "you don't REALLY want to spend your birthday stateside, do you?!"

A few days later we decided on the Now Larimar in Punta Cana. I'm a big fan of the Dominican Republic. I always tell everyone, Australia aside, Punta Cana has some of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen.

Per my usual routine, I religiously scoured TripAdvisor before booking the resort. Much to my surprise the negative comments were few and far between, which actually made me slightly hesitant. No resort can be THAT good, can it?!

The verdict? It can.

After a slightly rough 5am flight (it seemed like a good idea at the time of booking) out of Indy we were wheels down on the island by noon.  Truth be told, we did a whole lot of NOTHING the entire time, and it was amazing.

Laying by the pool, enjoying the beach, reading books, soaking up the sunshine, people watching, eating copious amounts of delicious food and indulging on all the fruity libations... it was pure bliss.

Being able to escape reality for any amount of time is always fantastic, being able to escape it and have some girly bonding time with your mama is even better!

And even though I'm a loyal Riu Resorts gal, I was pleasantly surprised by Now and would definitely go back!

(No affiliation with any resorts listed, not a sponsored post, just my honest opinion.)


Tuesday ramblings

I read 'Gone Girl' while I was at the beach last week. Maybe I missed something, because my desire to rave about it like everyone else has is FAR from there.

I literally finished the last page, sat my iPad down and replied "That was the DUMBEST book I have read in a long time." Which was truly how I felt, a 'long time' measuring the amount of time between that day and the day I finished 'Girls in White Dresses'. Perhaps that's why I rarely read the quote unquote popular books. They just aren't my thing....

Although 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me' was a pretty good one, I will hand that one to you, popular society.

Up to this point in the post I've wondered if I'm correctly using book titles, or if you're even supposed to add ' to them. Unfortunately for you and the rest of the internet I don't care enough to actually go Google it though.

The world is weird right now. I think that was my original point of this post. America is slowly losing it's fascination with dumping water on their heads, planes are being shot out of the sky, Ebola is running rampant, China's building islands and terrorists are cutting off heads.  Meanwhile I'm just sitting here making pretty pictures of liquor, trying to figure out if my blouse would have looked better with white jeans (despite the fact it's after Labor Day. I believe in a good winter white. Err, autumn white?) 

Which genuinely makes me sound like an egotistical, self-centered asshole. Maybe I am. It's not that I'm not concerned with the destruction of the world around me (dramatic, much?) It's just that it's overwhelming so I'll just sit here and pick at the lint on my black pants and pop Junior Mints into my mouth.

And count down the days until Belize. (sixteen, if you were curious) 


Oh hey.

I'm somewhat of a unicorn around these parts nowadays. And by that I mean the obvious... rarely ever seen. During the peak of my blogging I was a lowly intern here at the house of booze. It's amazing how much more free time you have when your only tasks are data input and filing.

Just kidding, I did my fair share of designing back then too... but the workload was easier, especially compared to now and running the department.

I'm gearing up for the trifecta of travel, as I've affectionately deemed it. I've been afforded a few opportunities I couldn't pass up, which will lead me to three Caribbean countries in the next three months. My beach baby self is GLEAMING at the very thought of it right now.

If you count being in Jamaica in July then you could actually call 2014 the quadfecta of island hopping but quadfecta isn't a real word, and it sounds a bit too much like a jungle-contracted disease, so we'll pass on that.

The point of this post is lost on me now, except maybe to just fill the void that was left when I forgot I possessed the ability to type full sentences on a computer that aren't the likes of "$4 Shots of Jäger every Friday!"

Mission accomplished.

Oh, and I am being taken on a date tonight. Just throwing that out there.


When the ice melts.

I hate writing about current events. It's just like begging to stir up a shitstorm. I deleted this post twice before actually publishing it. But after scoffing at this all week, I felt a need to truly voice my side of it.

My beef with this ice bucket challenge?

What sort of society do we live in that we have to dare our friends to dump icy, cold water on themselves to get them to care about a cause? 

Is that really what we've become?

Believe me, the marketing/grass roots/word of mouth aspect of all of this is awe-inspiring from an advertising/PR point of view. I could sing the praises of whoever started all of this (despite mixed reviews of how it actually originated) I have never once bashed the organization or the fact that they are receiving donations. It's awesome that they have witnessed such a boost in awareness.

What I'm disappointed in is that so many people are only doing it because its "cool".  Do you know what isn't nearly as buzzworthy? Sitting at a nursing home for a few hours keeping the residents company. Taking time out of your holiday season to go slop turkey and noodles on a Styrofoam plate for the line of homeless folks standing before you. Throwing your spare change in the red bucket at Christmas. Do you know what makes you feel just as good inside?

My beef isn't with the cause, it's with the motive of the participants. Do you, as a human, as an American, really need guaranteed pats on the back to do good onto others? That mindset is disgusting, you guys.

I have always made a point to donate my time or money to a handful of selected charities every year. Guess what? No one in particular asked me to, and no one sings my praise when I do. I could be lead astray, but I am fairly certain that doesn't decrease the value in what I do. I do it because I feel personally vetted to the individual causes. In one way or another, I have been drawn to each of the respective organizations, and I want to pledge to them. Not because someone dares me to.

I hope that by dumping ice water on your head you do truly realize the meaning behind it, and you do truly want to help cure this disease. I hope that this opens the eyes of many to what a little fun and a little donation of time can lead to. I hope that ALS research advances leaps and bounds by this, but I also hope that people use it as a jumping point to find other things they are passionate about, and find ways to help.

If you pledged anything this year, ice or not. I thank you. Thanks for putting good juju into the world. We need more of that. I genuinely hope that we aren't approaching a time where they only way you can get someone to care about a cause is to turn it into a media circus.


Today I Love: Punchy Fall Handbags + a Giveaway

The inevitable has happened.... Summer is slipping it's way out the door already and fall is showing up uninvited per usual.

All of our local schools have started back up, the department stores have long cleared out the patio furniture and pool party accessories, replacing them with Lisa Frank trapper keepers and scented markers (OK, it's been a while since I've back to school shopped, maybe I'm a bit dated on the inventory)

We've been having unusually chilly July here in Indy, which isn't helping me hold onto summer's grasp as long as I'd like. But the cool weather does have me craving those rich, bold fall colors. Perusing Target the other day I ended up with 3 handbags in my cart. I say I ended up with them, because they clearly jumped in there, unbeknownst to me. Sadly, I put them all back and told them there was no way I was carrying a merlot bag in the dead of July.

But soon, oooh so soon, I'll be back to scoop up some new pretties!

Here are a few of my favorites
[clockwise from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 ]

What colors will you be rocking when the leaves start turning? As an added bonus, since we love you so much... Holly, Helene, Sarah & I are giving away a $50 gift card to Target as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

(Not a sponsored post, not any way affiliated with Target, just a lover of all things Tarjay!)



I have an 
inherent need to wander. You may have gathered that from my About Me.

I'm a self-professed beach lover. It wasn't until recently I've started to acquire an itch to maybe venture to a few places that aren't drenched in sand and sun.

My parents got me hooked on that silver tin can in the sky at an early age, with frequent family trips to Florida, and my first international trip graced the books in '97, when I was just 10 years old. (funny thing is, Dominican Republic truly doesn't seem to have changed much since then) 

Here are the places I've traveled to thus far, with linked posts where applicable:



  • USVI: St. Thomas
  • Turks & Caicos: Grand Turk
  • Puerto Rico: San Juan
  • Bahamas: Nassau
  • Aruba: Oranjestad 

  • Ireland: Dublin, Cork
  • England: April 2015
  • France: April 2015

And some other favorite travel posts of mine:


    C and J Down Under: Brisbane

    After a whirlwind 3 days in Surfer's Paradise, we had a sad little train ride back to Brisbane. Not only were we sad to be leaving all the fun that was the Gold Coast, but also sad because we knew this was our last day in Australia, and a 14 hour flight back to LAX awaited us in the morning.

    Upon arriving back at the train station (which is attached to the Brisbane airport) we made the tiny realization that the hotel we had booked in Brisbane was about an hour away, and roughly a $90 train ride. Or an even more expensive cab ride.

    We momentarily debated renting a car. Let me backtrack, Jenn tried her damnedest to talk me into renting a car. I believe my exact words are "I don't even trust your driving in the states, let alone here, on the opposite side of the road. I don't want to die in our last 12 hours in Australia"... or something like that.

    Thankfully, Brisbane airport's free wifi came to the rescue and I booked us a new hotel room 15 minutes from the airport, with free taxi service, all while Jenn cancelled our existing room. Before long we were checking into our room on Kingsford.

    It was still early evening, we were starving, and not about to spend our last night down under cooped up in the confines of a 3star hotel room. We changed clothes & headed out the door to wander. A few blocks down we stumbled upon a gas station. Red Bull's in hand, we asked the clerk where to go and were promptly pointed in the direction of the pier. We split some Mexican food & had a few beers at the Burrito Bar while debating our next move. Lo and behold as soon as we left the pier we spied signs for a Containerval.

    You heard me right... a festival focused on a plethora of shipping containers. Oh, Aussies, you do everything SO right. It was like food trucks meets box trucks, with a mix of hipster shopping and a bar'tainer.

    It was, quite possibly, the cutest thing I have ever seen. There were a ton of seating areas and tables all made out of deconstructed pallets and shipping spools, astro turf, and SO many different food "containers".

    Before we knew it, 10pm was rolling around and a thunderstorm was brewing. Our table was full of empty champagne glasses, half-eaten crepes, and the biggest bag of kettle corn ever made. Two giggly girls scurried out of the awning into the lightening-lit sky arm-in-arm and hurried in an attempt to make it back to the hotel before the storm hit.

    Lo and behold, luck only goes so far, as we rounded the last corner the clouds let lose and we got SOAKED.

    Cold, wet and drunk on champagne we sauntered back to that hotel room for one last sleep in the land down under. I think we stayed up half the night talking about what the past 10 days had thrown our way.