Blogger Spotlight: Caitlin Croswell

Hey ya’ll! This is a new kind of post for me. In the past few months I’ve made lots of amazing new friends and some of them are really great food, fashion, fitness and lifestyle bloggers. Here is one of my besties… the wonderful Caitlin. We initially met when she sat in front of me at my bar and we bonded over kale salads with poached eggs, whiskey cocktails, and our food obsession. Hope you enjoy reading about her!

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Florida and still call myself a Florida girl! My family moved a bit when I was little, but I mostly spent my childhood playing outside and swimming every single day. My dad’s job moved us to Connecticut when I was 13, and I’ve lived in New England ever since (I even went to college at UConn).

How you’d get to Boston?

I moved to Boston a little over a year ago (in February 2014) for the job I still have now, at 90+ Cellars! I spent more than two years back in Connecticut at a job that wasn’t for me (though I am very grateful for all I learned there). Once I got my MBA I searched hard for a new job, and ended up finding one via the network I’d built through, of all things, blogging.

Where do you work? What do you do now?

90+ Cellars is a wine company that buys excess finished wine from vineyards all over the world. We bottle that wine under our own label and sell it for less than what the vineyards sell it for – and we keep the vineyard a
secret. We’re able to bring customers great wine for less, and vineyards are able to get rid of excess inventory without discounting under their brand name. Win-win!
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I do all things marketing for 90+ Cellars, with a focus on digital (social media, our online store, etc). I also plan and execute a ton of fun events, so you’ll find me around Boston pouring wine at soirees like Wine Riot and the Boston Wine Expo.

Tell us about your awesome blog!

Why did you start it? What does it mean to you now?

I wanted to start my blog soon after I graduated from college because I was working a job that didn’t align with my interests in restaurants, cool cocktail, fitness, and nutrition (yes, those things can go together). I needed an
outlet for those interests – a place to talk about them! I also was going through recovery from an eating disorder, and the blogging community was very supportive. My blog eventually turned into a place where I could share roadblocks in my recovery and how I was overcoming them. I didn’t intend it to go in that direction, but it did! So now it means so much more to me than just recipes, workouts, and restaurants.

Weekly workout schedule?

I’m definitely NOT a morning workout person so unless I have somewhere to be right after work, I go to the gym when I get out. I go to the Boston Sports Club and lately have been into yoga sculpt at Core Power Yoga as well. I try to get a workout in six days a week, even if it’s just 20 minutes. But I LOVE that rest day each week! I try to switch up my workouts but I don’t plan specifically what I’m going to do each day – I just go with what I’m feeling, be it spin, the stair master, weight lifting, or yoga sculpt.

Biggest athletic achievement / are you working towards anything now?

Definitely running my first half marathon last fall! I would like to train for another half, but I’m not a big fan of running when I’m not training, so I’m not currently running.

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Favorite cocktail / bar / restaurant / snack food at a restaurant & why?

I cannot choose one favorite restaurant in Boston so I’m glad this question has some variety to it! Some of my favorite cocktails in Boston are the Ideal Manhattan at Citzen, the Prospect Park at Eastern Standard, and the Maker’s Markham at Regal Beagle. I also am in love with the fried pickles at Citizen, Regal Beagle’s seafood entrees, and Eastern Standard’s calamari. I could always go for a big old biscuit from Island Creek Oyster Bar.

And I really loved City Landing down by the Aquarium – so bummed that closed!
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Go-to outfit?

Over the winter in Boston it was ALWAYS snowing so outfits that worked with boots were a must. I became obsessed with wearing my Target leather boots with black tights and a button-down tucked into a black skirt.

Throw a statement necklace on there and you’ve got a solid going-out outfit that’s city winter friendly!

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Quick, easy go-to recipe?

My favorite recipes are easy and come together by either throwing things on a pan into the oven, or mixing ingredients on a big pot on the stovetop. I like to make a bunch of food at once to have on hand all week for healthy meals. So I love chilis, roasted veggies, and casseroles. I follow recipes more often than create them, but here are some of my favorite recipes that I’ve modified or created:

Meatball Bake:

Bacon, Egg, and Brussels Bowl:

 

Pop over to her blog, CaitPlusAte, for lots more info, recipes, make up help, fashion advice and more!

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Egg Stuffed Pepper

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It’s Wednesday and you know what that means? DAY OFF! I work Saturday through Tuesday normally and Wednesday is my first day off and generally the day I get about 90% of the things on my to-do list done.

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I plan to-do lists for 4 days, basically, and get incredibly excited to accomplish them all in the first 5 waking minutes of every Wednesday. Seriously, I get about 90%ish of the things done, get tired, take a nap and then relax for 2 days.

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And this Wednesday morning was pretty normal. Except I woke up SUPER early for a gyno appointment and after only accomplishing 30% of my to-do list, I took a nap.

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But yes, normal Wednesday morning. I ate eggs. Eggs, eggs and more eggs. I eat eggs almost every morning and I’ve been getting soooooo bored with the normal scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with different cheeses, omelets, omelets with different cheeses, omelets with different veggies. woof. I’m sick of eggs just writing this.

And then I found some random lifehack on buzzfeed and saw this breakfast egg/pepper thing. nom nom nom

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Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 peppers of any color
  • however many eggs you want to eat

This recipe is awesomely easy. You can use whichever color peppers you like, although I like red/yellow/orange the best because their sweeter and have better nutrients (brighter colors = better nutrients!)

Cut the tops off, and then cut however many slices as you’d like. 1 slice = 1 egg. I did 2 per person. Cut the veins and other junk out of the insides so they’re clean and an egg can cleanly break inside.

Using a non-stick pan on medium-high heat, lightly spray and place pepper rings in the pan. Let cook for about 2 minutes (until one side of the pepper is cooked). Turn the pepper slices over, crack egg (or egg white!) into the center of each egg and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid. Putting a lid on the pan will help the top part of the egg cook- the part not directly touching the pan. You with me? Yeah, you you’re with me.

Let cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg yolk is cooked as much as you’d like. I prefer mine on the runny side so I let it cook for 5 minutes. If you prefer the yolk to be solid, let cook for approximately 7-8 minutes.

Sprinkle with the TINIEST BIT of salt, pepper. EAT. ENJOY!

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Baking Lesson Thursday – Know Your Oven 

I have a ton of friends who excitedly text me pictures of their latest kitchen accomplishments. My dad is also an offender here. And in turn, I looooooove getting the pictures people send me about what they’re cooking or baking!

But what has been happening a lot recently is I get one AMAZING picture of a muffin or cupcake, broken just enough to see the moist steam spilling out and then another picture of a burnt, hardened one. “WTF happened” is generally the text I get after.

Well my friends, you need to do an oven test.

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This is how my oven cooks. NOT EVENLY. Not evenly one little bit. See the bottom right corner is dark and toasty and the top left doesn’t even look like it was in the oven at all? Yeah, THAT’S why you get one weird, burnt muffin, 10 glorious ones, and one raw muffin. Blahhhh.

So know your oven. These almonds hung out in my oven at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes (my nose could tell that they were done).

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The above picture is from Cooking Light and is a similar example to my almonds. As I’ve become more and more of a baker in the recent years, I’ve done more and more research on how to make the best possible things. And my research always has included this oven bread test.

I just could never bring myself to waste 9 pieces of bread on testing! I KNOW! I’m CHEAP! I’m my fathers daughter (love you dad).

So the other day when I was toasting almonds for my salads I realized I had inadvertently created my own oven test. SUCCESS IS MINE! So if you don’t want to waste a TONNNN of bread figuring out if your oven bakes evenly or not… toast something you actually need!

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Here is a more detailed picture of how wildly different my oven bakes. YIKES BIKES!!! So please, test your oven. NO MORE THROW AWAY MUFFINS! GIVE ME ALL THE MUFFINS!!

 

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Pesto-Meatball-Eggie Breakfast Pockets

Me and egg breakfasts. I know, how many dang egg breakfasts can this girl possible post?

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SO MANY! I HAVE SO SO MANY!!! I just love making eggs. For breakfast, or lunch or dinner or at 4am when I get home from work…. I LOVE THEM ALL THE TIME.

And pesto, I absolutely love pesto. And now that spring is basically here (oh, it snowed yesterday) pesto should be made and consumed daily. Yes, daily.

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Making pesto during the summer seems like a god given right, to me. I want to make it all the time. And with my new basil mini potted plants I got for my birthday, this dream is attainable.

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So yeah, I made pesto meatballs a few days ago and used them in this breakfast. If you don’t want to, no sweat. I think it came out better with meat but you can either omit making meatballs and then chopping them up, or you can just brown some turkey meat first and throw that in. OR you can buy turkey sausage from the store. This is probably the best bet now that I think about.

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See! pretty meatballs all diced up with the onions n garlic. DELISH I tell you.

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You’ll also need whole wheat pitas. Just a single pita to cut in half and share with that special someone. Or eat both yourself. On second thought, definitely eat both yourself. Sorry boyfriend.

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ingredients

  • 1/4 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed/diced
  • 2 pesto meatballs, chopped up
  • 2 tbls pesto
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 part-skim mozzarella string cheese (TRY NOT TO SNACK ON IT!)
  • 1 whole wheat pita, cut in half

Add a dollop or two of olive oil to a non stick pan. Saute the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the eggs and keep mixing so they become scrambled. Once eggs are about 50% cooked add your chopped up meatballs and mozzarella cheese. Then add the extra pesto. Definitely add more or less depending on your taste buds.

Keep mixing until eggs are cooked through and the cheese is all goey and melty. yum.

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Cut the pita in half and fill each half with your eggy mixture.

Eat, drink bubbles and enjoy!

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Posted in Breakfast | 2 Comments

Closet Cravings

Ok, I normally don’t post a ton about fashion, beauty and makeup because… well… it isn’t really my fortay. But my awesome friend from PUT THIS ON YOUR FACE has always been my guru and always encouraged me to branch out. So this one’s for you, pretty lady!

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I saw this dress on the cover of the Improper Bostonian and immediately fell in love. Fell in love like a 16 year old virgin falls in love with the high school quarterback who asks her to prom. THAT kind of love. But alas, this beautiful Emilio Pucci designer dress runs at $7,800. Wooof. So now, I’ll just have the picture haunting my dreams.

Here are some other amazing summer things my closet is simply craving. Tell me your summer must have’s and favorites!?

This little summer charmer

Summertime yellow tote bag

this pale blue shift dress

black halter dress I could float around in

this fantastic black plunging dress I plan on wearing to a wedding in June

(OH YES! and I bought this one!)

When Kate Spade can do no wrong

Posted in Fashion | 2 Comments

Easy, Everyday Stir Fry

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Cooking dinner at home is sometimes hard. When I grew up, my moms answer to “what’s for dinner?” when she didn’t know was “chicken something.” That meant she was going to cook chicken and something else and  that would make it taste good. So wise. Like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.  (what?! the woman has hair on her head!)

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So I did what the mama does and I used everything I had in the fridge to make some stir fry. Boyfriend and I had bought a pack of stir fry beef so we mildly had this plan to begin with.

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Kind of ingredients

  • 1 pack mushrooms
  • 7 pieces baby boc choy
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 large onions
  • 10-15 brussel sprouts, cut in half
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled, diced
  • big handful of sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
  • soy sauce, to taste

Separately, 1 cup rice, cooked to instructions.IMG_8962

Well let’s see here. I chopped up everything to similar, bite-sized pieces. Lightly salt and pepper them. Also, I made some rice. You can make minute rice, 10 minute rice, or regular rice that takes about 20-30 minutes. Whatever you fancy. But yes, do that now.

Put the oil in a large wok and heat on medium-high. Do a little splatter test to make sure the oil is hot (meaning: sprinkle the tiniest water into the oil. Does it sizzle and sputter? If so, your oil is hot enough).  Slowly put all the veggies in the oil.

Let cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes or until the veggies are almost cooked through. Take the veggies off the heat, put in a separate bowl and set aside. Toss the meat into the hot wok. Cook for about 5 minutes. It’ll cook super fast so watch it closely. As soon as it’s completely browned on the outside, put your veggies back in. Add soy sauce, fish sauce (and if you want, some siracha). Keep tossing everything together for a few minutes.

Spoon the rice onto a plate, top with your stir fry and enjoy!

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It’s a super quick, easy dinner for mid-week after work. It’s even easier if you cut up all the veggies on the weekend and throw them in a Tupperware container.

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Enjoy my loves!

(also try this recipe with chicken!)

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I have such a sweet tooth. It’s terrible completely awesome. There’s just some feel good feeling of cookies, brownies, ice cream sundaes. They remind me of rec soccer and going to Bedford Farms with Mrs. Amato (my second mom growing up) and getting moosetrack ice cream and toll house ice cream.

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But well, it’s the middle of winter and we’re in Boston where it’s negative seven million and one degrees and I keep turning the heat up to 75 when my boyfriend isn’t looking.

NO! I do not want to put a sweatshirt on. I would rather wear my shorts and tank top in the middle of winter. I’M IN DOORS GODDAMN IT. I SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO WEAR IT.

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Sorry. Rant. I just think that indoors I should be warm and toasty and wear whatever I want. Warm, toasty, shorts and cookies. And wine. Don’t forget the wine.

So while I’m here, dancing around in my shorts making cookies, my boyfriend is figuring out my tactics and turning the heat down to a normal 62 degrees. Jerk. Just kidding. He makes me dinner a lot. And cleans the bathroom. He’s a keeper.

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But I digress. Cookies. We were talking about cookies.

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Recipe

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

So yes, enjoy your sunshine and warmth 73% of the united states (statistic wildly made up). GO AHEAD AND ENJOY IT. I’ll stay here, where I’ll probably break the heating system due to tug of war. I’ll eat cookies and remind myself I’m “bulking up for the beach.”

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Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly combine. roll batter into balls and bake on a prepared baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.

Let the sugar rush begin.

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Edamame’s**My fav snack

I’d say about 3x a week boyfriend and I order sushi. Spicy Tuna Roll. Spicy Salmon Roll. Brown rice with the sushi…. duhhh and a side of steamed edamame. THE BEST. I love it. I love, love it. I am so addicted to edamame that we went to a few different grocery stores to buy different kinds to make at home. Some from asain supermarts, some from the regular grocery store. Some in the pods, some out. Some pre-salted, some not.

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So I eat these little suckers SO often I felt the need to do some research and look up their nutritional benefits. These little pre-mature soybeans are a powerhouse of nutrition. According to this website: one cup of edamame’s, which is only about 190 calories, has at least 6% of the recommended daily intake of all nutrients (less vitamin D).

Another reason I love to snack on these? In that same cup you’ll gain 20-40% of your daily protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, folate and Vitamin K.

They are SO great for protein. For women, which, if you haven’t noticed I am, they provide 37% of daily protein. 37% from a plant!

Other little benefits? Edamame is a great source of folate which prevents birth defects through its role in the creation and growth of new cells. In adults, it helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.WOWZA!!! Look at all these little benefits!

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But of course, with any superfood or fad diet, there is always a bundle of negatives that accompany all the benefits. According to an article by scientific america many of the benefits provided by soy products are linked to isoflavones (plant compounds that mimic estrogen). Some studies done on mice and other rodents show that large amounts of estrogen can decrease fertility in women. womp womp.

So here is what I say to that…. and what I say to any major diet/diet fad/exercise regime etc. do what works for you. do what works for you in moderation. do what makes you feel good. So while I love, LOVE edamame, I try to limit my intake to 2 cups per week and generally my boyfriend is munching on half of that.

But either way, it’s a delish little snack that I love to take to work, have with a yummy sushi dinner, or make when I get home super late from bartending and am stahhhving and don’t want to eat left over french fries.

Posted in Side Dishes, Snacks, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Summer Mozz & Veggie Salad

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OMG SUMMER IS HEREEEEE. I mean, kinda. It was 45 today and IT’S SUMMER. Right? That’s was it means? But seriously, it was really hard to come back from St John to 18 degree weather. So when mother-nature decided to bless the northeast with 45 degrees I took full advantage.

I went running outside on the first day.

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I went for a long walk with my man-friend on the second where we window shopped up and down Newbury Street. I long for Ray-Ban Aviators in green. LONG for them.

And then I made this salad. It’s so easy. And heavenly. IT IS HEAVENLY.

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I bought an onion roll from the bakery at the grocery store. SEVENTY NINE GODDAMN CENTS FOR IT. THAT’S NOTHING!!!! All I did was cut up the roll into bite sized pieces. Tossed it with olive oil and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and popped them into the oven for 7ish minutes on 300. EASY.

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Then I chopped up all these suckers into similar bite sized pieces. Tossed these in a LARGE BOWL then added the home made croutons.

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I used 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar with 1.5 tablespoons olive oil. Added a tad bit of salt and pepper and drizzled it on the “salad.” Garnish with some chopped basil. Or pieces of grilled chicken if you’re feeling wacky.

Now, my suggestion for how to REALLY WOW your dinner guests when serving this salad? Take some toasted, blanched almonds and crush them up loosely. Sprinkle these on top. BAM, you just blew everyone’s minds. I PROMISE.

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Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes | 3 Comments

More on St John

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The trip to and from st john was utter hell. HELL I tell you. Flights in both directions were delayed and each way was about a 16 hour travel time. SIXTEEN HOURS. That’s enough sleep for TWO DAYS. But no, you can’t sleep, because your drinking beam and ginger from nips you brought water and waiting to hear any news on what freaking gate your flight is now at. You’re also praying that the broken door on your airplane isn’t such a huge deal and someone was just an idiot and didn’t know how to use a handle. Right?

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If you don’t know anything about St John, let me tell ya… It is part of the USVI and you can’t get to it by plane. Just a boat. Or if you’re loaded a helicopter. (Spoiler alert: I’m not loaded). It’s a SMALL island. We drove across it in about 40-55 minutes. It takes me longer to travel down Comm Ave in Boston sometimes!

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60% of the Island is protected national forest. This means that most of your leisure time will be spent hiking, swimming, snorkeling, boating, kayaking…. looking at the ancient ruins… drinking lots of painkillers, bushwackers and other frothy, sugary drinks.

NOT TOO SHABBY IF YOU ASK ME!

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Just a few little places we went to, I loved, and I need you to go to soon.

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If you want to take a trip to BVI definitely go to B-Line Beach Bar. It’s on Little Jost van Dyke and it’s heaven. I almost want to tell you there’s no need to go anywhere else… but let’s face it there is. Anyways so our boat ride to this island in BVI took around an hour. Definitely a lot more time than it should have been but the water was SUPER choppy and we had to go pretty slow. B-Line is this tiny, 2-walled bar in the water. An old dude opens beer bottles and let’s you shoot the caps into a jug on the back wall. If you get it in, beer is free!

They have a grill up at someone’s house behind the bar. There’s only about 3 things on the menu but the food is UNREAL.

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But back to St John… where I actually stayed. We did two amazing hikes/beach trips/ snorkeling.

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We hiked up a flat trail to waterlemon beach and then about 10 minutes upward to two ancient ruins spots. Absolutely breathtaking. The views were unbelievable and the snorkeling was AMAZING.

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We also drove to the opposite side of the island from where we were staying in Cruz Bay. After driving wayyy south past Coral Bay and stopping at the DELISH The Tourist Trap, whose owner is the former exec chef of Chez Henri in my home town, we hiked up Ram’s Head to an elevation of 200+ feet and soaked up the view.

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Me and the man loving life. The hike was definitely tough and the wind was SUPER strong but we loved every minute of it. We passed 2 beaches during the hike. One perfect crescent, white sands with tropical fish galore in it. The other one was full of smooth rocks and had the most blue-green water I have ever seen.

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Ok the end. Go visit. Go visit now. Get a copy of The Last Trail Bandit Guide to the Hiking Trails of St John, VI.

Grab some drinks from Beach Bum Bar… or hang out at Drink for a cocktail and beach views. I have plenty more suggestions so if you are heading that way… shoot me a message and ask!

Posted in Breakfast | 2 Comments