a mexican cruise getaway

After a week aboard the Norwegian Star, I am finally back!
Ryan and I got home last night, 
and as much fun as we had cruising the Mexican Riviera, 
I have to say that we're both really glad to be home after a long week, as well.
That's the sign of a great vacation though, right?

We did three separate ports of call in Mexico - Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and in Puerto Vallarta.
They were all so vastly different, and we explored so much that I think I'll do a post on each of our stops.
This was Ryan's first cruise, and though I've cruised before, this was probably the most fun for me...with him.

For those who haven't cruised before, 
it's actually a really affordable way to do an extended vacation because mostly everything is included.
We set a budget for onboard expenses, 
and despite my husband thinking for a moment that he was an expert poker player and adding an extra $60
to our onboard account, we managed to stay within our limits and still have a blast.

The seas were great the first five days, then we had 5-8 foot swells both Friday and Saturday
because of the California earthquakes.
Both of us were fine in terms of seasickness, but it was definitely moving, and they had to close the pools.
I think that was the only downside of the entire trip, 
but it was a pretty significant safety concern as kids sloshed out of the main pool until they did.

We did, however, manage to get a little sun on our first day at sea, as well as in Mexico,
so I'm proud to say I came back with a tan.
Ryan, well, he's a ginger.
He got more freckles, so he looks more tan...kind of!

After having a cold honeymoon in January, 
we were really fortunate to be able to take a warm holiday, as well.
Ryan can now add a few more overseas places to his passport - other than Afghanistan,
and say that he saw a sunset like this at sea.

I'll recap our Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta adventures in the next few days because each one deserves its own post.
And if you ever have a chance to cruise Norwegian...do.
It was so. much. fun!

tomorrow is the day

We're leaving on our cruise...tomorrow!
If you could only see the mess that is our house right now.
Since Ryan's been on nights this entire week, our schedule is completely off.
I'm racing to do 203942903 loads of laundry, pack our stuff, get our documents together and leave.

Our cruise doesn't technically disembark until Sunday afternoon,
but we're spending tomorrow night with his aunt and uncle just outside of LA.
We'll have about a 2 hour drive to the port on Sunday morning, and then we're off to the sun and sand!

We've packed a few things thus far, 
and we think they're really are absolute must-haves on any cruise or international adventure.
Without these things (especially on a sunny cruise), 
we'd be pretty much miserable. 

^^^ prescription sunglasses (neville from warby parker). lifeproof case for iphones. invisible passport pouch (similar here)

Since Ryan and I can't seem to justify going on a holiday and spending time online,
we'll be unplugging for the duration of the trip.
This means, my loves, that I won't be back until Monday, March 31st.
But, don't worry - Ashley from Afternoons with You and I have a big surprise coming up,
and we can't wait to share it with you soon...after I'm back.

I'll take a zillion pictures to share with you upon my return...
assuming we don't disappear.
Too soon?

the very best people I know

Ryan and I joked a month ago on our two month anniversary of being married
that we obviously knew we could stand the test of time now.
While we know that not every day is going to be a picnic (and trust me...not every day is),
we're secretly excited about these little milestones, too.
Every day with him - farts, burbs, ridiculous quotes I can't even write here and all - is a gift.

My parents, on the other hand, are celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary today!
I thought I'd take this day to honor them because they're two of the very best people I know. 

36 years ago, my cute momma gave up a professional figure skating show in Europe to move to the USA.
Why, you ask?
She met my father while skating with his sister in Germany, and they knew that was it.
My amazing momma left all her family in South Africa, traveled around the world 
and moved to a country she didn't know for love.
That is dedication, commitment and true love, people.

^^^ then & now: teaching chimpanzees to figure skate in Holiday on Ice and hiking in new hampshire

My daddy was a little loner - too smart for his own good and shy around women.
When he met my momma though, he was smitten, and he knew he needed to marry her.
32 years, 3 daughters, 6 different colleges, a lifetime of swimming, many pets and decades later,
they're still going strong.

They've always told us - it's not always going to be easy.
There are days when you're going to wonder if you made the right decision.
There will be days when you're annoyed, and frustrated and petty and angry...
but it is all worth it in the end because you're with your soulmate, your partner and your best friend.

^^^ at my sister's wedding, in maine, at one of my open water swims

To the very best people I know,
my parents, my caregivers and my strongest advocates ever,
I hope this is your best anniversary yet, and I wish you a million more to come!

PS...my father doesn't have Facebook, or I'd have more pictures of him.
PPS...Yes, my mother really did train chimpanzees how to figure skate for Holiday on Ice.

bitten by the bug

I'm ashamed to say that I'm the type of person that very easily gets bitten by the bug...
the bug of competition, the bug of baby fever (seriously...wth is this nonsense?!) and the bug of being the best.
Perhaps it's all my years of competitive swimming,
but I've always said that my biggest fear is mediocrity...pure and simple.

Now that I'm learning to put the miles on my legs running again,
I'm getting bitten by that competition vibe again, and I'm looking for healthier outlets like swimming, as well.

For the past two years, I trained and competed in CrossFit.
Guys, I really did love it.
There's a sense of camaraderie, friendship and challenging your limits that speaks to my soul.
However, it was really bad for my body, and even though I learned to lift some serious weights, 
CrossFit did a number on my knee and my back, and I needed to take some time off to get my head (and body) back to normal.

^^^ about 4 months prior to quitting CrossFit

Now, I've been bitten by the open water swimming bug again. 
I'm pretty sure that swimming will always be my first love, 
and getting in the water, swimming my heart out and racing to the finish is cathartic.
Swimming, because it is second nature to me, has always been a healthier sport for me. 

I've beaten the aggravating rotator cuff pain, I've battled the chlorine smell and I've trained 5+ hours a day.
So, getting out in the open ocean and doing 1.5 to 6 miles is a lot easier for me. 
To date, I've done the Alcatraz Sharkfest, Boston Sharkfest, Peaks to Portland 2.5 miler and the Sebago 5k.
Next up? I'm looking at doing the San Diego Sharkfest in October.
And, next year, I'm hoping to do the Midmar Mile in South Africa when Ryan and I go.

^^^ I'm trying desperately to catch the guy in front of me - Boston Sharkfest, September 2013

^^^ my sisters and I before a lake training day - from the left, Kristina, Nikki and yours truly in 2012

I've always struggled with being bad at things, too, or just not being immediately great.
I recently started kickboxing, but it's definitely not a natural thing for me, and I struggle with not getting it.
Swimming, however, has always been second nature to me. 
There's something supremely awesome about being able to get back into it...much like riding a bike.
I remember when I did Peaks to Portland, a 2.5 mile race in Maine, and I got 4th overall.

It was freezing and windy that day,
the course was not even remotely marked, and I decided to do the race without a rescue kayaker.
I had to lift up my head to spot every few strokes,
and I thought I was going to get mauled by other kayakers a few times,
but I freaking loved it, and when I was done, I immediately looked for the next race.

^^^ immediately following Peaks to Portland

I'm really hoping that I can instill in my future children the love of challenging yourself...
but in a healthy way.
Not all sports are good for everyone, but swimming will always be mine.
And with this competitive bug flowing through my veins, I can't help but get excited for more races!
Do you guys ever get bitten by a competitive bug...or any sort of crazy must-have, must-do bug?

pain and progress

When I first started this blog, I was pretty miserable with my level of fitness, if I'm being entirely honest.
I'd been doing CrossFit for almost two years, gained a bunch of weight 
and I'd managed to injure my knee pretty significantly.
I was pretty sure that I'd destroyed myself physically, and I was emotionally drained 
from constantly berating myself for my physical appearance.

I find it so incredibly sad that so much of our self worth is tied up in our aesthetics and our perception of our appearance.
I find it so sad that so many of us feel the need to define ourselves by a number because society says to.
Most of all though, I find it sad that I've allowed myself to succumb to that perception.

Yesterday, however, I decided to attempt my longest run yet. 
I was aiming for 3.5 miles - not crazy long because of sore knees and calves,
but just long enough to make a difference because I needed to see a little bit of progress,
and I really wanted to see a number bigger than 3.01 on my Endomondo tracker.

I knew it wasn't going to be easy, 
but I also knew that I wasn't racing against a clock here. 
All I'm trying to do is put the miles on my legs, get healthy, fall in love with fitness again and challenge myself.

I felt good, so I decided to keep going, and I did it.
I ran all 4 miles.
I wasn't running a world-record pace, and I certainly wasn't the fittest woman running around post,
but I was running, and I was enjoying it. 
That, my friends, makes this progress worth all the pain in the world.

Today, I have sore calves, a tired back, hip flexors that feel like they've run a marathon,
but I'm so immensely proud of this progress.
I can't wait to see a 5-miler up there because now I actually know I can.
It truly is amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it and stop getting in our own way.

quiet weekends are the best

^^^ Old post at Fort Huachuca

We didn't have big plans this past weekend. 
We knew that we needed to do a pretty significant cleaning on Sunday,
and we knew we needed to head up to Tucson for some cruise essentials on Saturday...
and to see the Veronica Mars movie, of course.

Well, let's be honest here.
I kind of dragged the husband to the movie, but he did enjoy it!

On Saturday morning, my calves were still absolutely dying from the running I did last week,
so we decided to go for a long walk/hike instead,
while Ryan rucked alongside me, since he's preparing for WOCs.
We ended up hiking about 5 miles around post, exploring old post and getting to soak in some of the history.
It was so quiet, so relaxed and so fun.

If you'd asked me a few months ago what I liked to do on weekends,
I probably would have said that I'd do anything to stay busy.
These days, I'm all about the little, quiet, simple weekends with him...
and it's great.

In other news though, it's just 6 more days until Ryan and I head off on our cruise!
We booked some shore excursions through my company this weekend (great deals, I tell you),
and we're so excited to explore another country and get some stamps on our passports this year.
We'll be swimming with dolphins in Puerto Vallarta, learning to make salsa in Cabo and ziplining in Mazatlan.
I'm pretty sure it doesn't get much better than that.

getting ready for a getaway

In just 10 more days, Ryan and I are headed off to the Mexican Riviera!
I've mentioned before that I'm extremely lucky to work as a writer for the cruise industry,
and I've never been more thankful for that job than now.
On Sunday, March 23rd, we'll be boarding this bad boy for a little 7-night adventure.

^^^ image via 

We are so ready for this getaway.
Although, I have to say that I find it pretty hilarious that we live about 5 miles from the Mexico border,
yet we have to drive 6 hours to get to California to cruise to Mexico.
Ponder that one for a few moments.
The longer you think about it, the more ridiculous it sounds.

In other news, I applied for my name change on my passport at the beginning of March (expedited),
and it's still processing.
Right now, my passport isn't on hand, my driver's license doesn't match my military ID or social security card,
and though Norwegian says I can use my birth certificate to prove my citizenship,
the name on that doesn't match my married name, which we're booked under.
My head hurts from thinking about it...and being on hold every. single. time.

Fingers crossed that my new passport arrives on time?!

putting the miles on my legs

About a month ago, I could barely run, and I was living in a frozen state in which it was difficult to run outside.
These days, however, I'm running nearly every other day outside in Arizona...
and I'm actually loving it! 
Who would've thought that was even possible?

When I first started running, I could barely do a full mile.
Granted, Sierra Vista is at altitude, but it was a huge blow to my ego and to my hope to run a half this year.
However, I found that by putting more miles - slow and steady - on my legs each week,
I have more energy, I have more stamina, and I actually think it's a possibility now.
And, the real kicker is that I'm actually enjoying running.

For your viewing pleasure, this was actually my first run upon moving to Fort Huachuca:

I was really proud of those numbers, too, because I remember how much the first few steps hurt,
and I told Ryan that I didn't think I'd even make it a single mile.
I made it a mile and a half that day, and now I'm up to 3...fairly comfortably.

I'm more comfortable going out at an even pace now,
and I finally feel like I'm not on a death march in the final legs of any given run.
This past Sunday, with Ryan cheering me on, I did my first 3-mile run all by myself - not in a race -
and I was really proud of the result!

I'm using Endomondo to track my mileage, my pace and my distance,
and I supplement twice a week with interval runs on the treadmill.
I have new running shoes and an incredible FitBit Flex, both of which are a Godsend,
but I'll say that I'm still struggling with shinsplints a bit, which sucks.
So, I'm mixing things up now and getting myself back in the pool, which is awesome.

I'm so thankful for all of you guys' encouragement and sweet words as of late...
they've been much-needed, and Ryan and I really appreciate them.
Things are looking up though, and I'm excited to keep seeing the positives all around!

there's something about arizona

When I moved here over a month ago, I was certain that I was going to hate this state.
As it turns out, Arizona has a certain charm to it that I didn't actually believe was possible. 
Ryan and I went through a pretty significant personal trauma the past week, 
and as we're working through the fallout of that, we're enjoying long walks together 
and just taking in these moments as a couple.

I've only been married for just over two months, but I've learned a few of the most valuable lessons in life.
1. We can't predict the future, but we can control  how we deal with what happens.
2. We are partners through all of this, regardless of how we might feel any given day.
3. This man is a Godsend, dealing with my emotions, calming me and loving me unconditionally.

Life isn't easy, and it certainly isn't always fair,
but we are so blessed to have each other through all of the uncertainties in life.
And, we're getting ready to head off on our cruise in less than two weeks.
A little rest and relaxation is just what the doctor ordered,
and we can't wait to feel our spirits lift again :)

local product box swap: pennsylvania

I'm a day late posting this because real life has thrown Ryan and I for a loop the past couple days
(more on that later...I promise),
but I recently participated in the Local Product Box Swap that Jess, Kelli and Miranda organized.
And, as luck would have it, Jess was also my partner for the swap!

This super-cool bloggy friend lives in Pennsylvania, so I was super lucky to get a little taste of home
with all the little treats she sent.
With each item, she gave me a little backstory about the local products and why she sent them,
so I could tell how much thought and effort she put into all of it (thanks, Jess!)

Let me just say...I already used that bath bomb (trust me - much needed),
and it was incredible. 
Jess, you're a saint, and I can't thank you enough for helping organize this thing!
It really helped me to get out and enjoy Arizona a little more while we're here.
Plus, I really just want to eat all that jam straight from the jar...with a spoon right now ;)

project: a refinished desk

When I started on decorating my office, I knew that I wanted it to be bring, happy and cheery.
I wanted a fresh palette of bright whites, crisp grays and pops of color.
I haven't done a lot yet, but Ryan and I bought a bowed-out, old, antique desk a few weeks ago,
and I finally put the final touches on the refinished look yesterday.

When we bought it, the top was severely bowed from use,
the hardware was chipped and cracked from not withstanding the test of time well,
and there were numerous nicks and scratches.
To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to turn it into something better,
but I'm pretty darn happy with how it turned out! 

We did a very fine once-over with the hand-held sander first, with the finest grit we could use.
We didn't want to destroy the wood, as it was already fairly fine and old.
After that, I did 3 thin but generous layers of Zinnser Bulls-Eye Primer (similar) over every surface.
For the desk, I'd originally thought about using a stark white color,
but in the end, I decided to go with a softer gray from Valspar, Urban Sunrise.

Ryan actually thought the color would look bland, but he ended up loving it, too.
The hardware was from Hobby Lobby, and I have to say that I was unsure how it would look on the desk,
but I love the clean, modern line it adds to the overall look.

This was a really fun project, and it's something I'm definitely going to do more of.
If you can get away without sanding, do.
Generally, if the wood is good quality, a primer will save your butt and make it unnecessary to sand.
Either way though, I'm pretty darn happy to take the next step in decorating my office now!

one month in our home

I'm jumping the gun here slightly, but tomorrow marks one month in our little Sierra Vista home.
Despite my aversion to making this place a home because we're here less than a year,
I'm definitely putting my stamp on this place...little by little.

^^^ art prints via. stella is settling in. our bed frame is amazing.

We're officially exactly 3 months from Ryan heading off to WOCs for the first 6 weeks.
Then, he'll be back for a brief 3 weeks, and he'll go back for another 6 weeks of training.
We're enjoying every moment we have together because we're not looking forward to the time apart.
Our cruise is in just 20 days,
and now I'm scrambling to expedite my passport because I forgot my name change.

It's crazy to think that we've just barely settled in our first home,
but in 10 months, we'll be packing our life and moving off to a new duty station.
I tell you...this Army life stuff is a trip (literally).

I've been running a lot lately here on post,
and I have to say that one of the best parts about Arizona is that I can run outside in March.
I'm up to about 10 miles a week right now, which is huge progress for me,
and Ryan and I have entered our first half-marathon for October - after he's back from training in Alabama.

There's not too much going on in the Moore household right now to write about,
but we're loving even the littlest things together.
I never thought I'd get excited about color palettes, picking out dishes and finding the perfect rugs,
but doing it with your best friend makes it a million times better.
I can't complain one bit...I have an amazing life.