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Alaska Cruise 2016 – Packing June 21, 2016

Posted by graciegrapes in Travel.
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My family has been very fortunate to have traveled on a number of cruise.  This June, however, we are going to be going on our first trip to Alaska on a cruise.  This is a completely different cruise for us; obviously due to the weather/surroundings.  Unlike the sunny beaches we’ve become accustomed to, we are preparing for cool weather, rain and beautiful scenery.  My sister and I had been scouring for tips on Alaskan excursions and packing necessities.  Definitely one of the most challenging trips to pack for, especially since we have become soo used to the warm weather here in Vegas!

On this cruise with NCL we will be doing the “Inside Passage” on the Jewel, which leaves from Seattle and goes to Ketchikan, Juneau->Sawyer Glacier, Skagway, and Victoria BC respectively to return to Seattle.  In our searches the overwhelming tip for packing has been LAYERS!  After stalking the 10 day forecast the weather in Alaska is extremely variable.  Right now we are looking at highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s and 50s, and RAIN!  I think we’ve narrowed down a pretty solid packing list to prepare us for both warm and cold weather.  I will update how this plan pans after we return.

This all fits in my carry on roller bag and personal bag… no check in for us 😛

  • 3 pairs of jeans (1 to wear on plane, 2 to pack)
  • 1 pair of yoga leggings
  • 1 pair of khaki shorts
  • 3 tank tops to layer
  • 3 v-neck t-shirts
  • 2 sleeved shirts (1 3/4 sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
  • 2 lightweight sweaters
  • 1 button up flannel
  • 1 lightweight cardigan (wear on plane)
  • 4 dresses (1 cotton maxi, 2 cotton knee length, 1 cocktail for dressy night) *we have 4 nights planned in the specialty dining restaurants*
  • 1 pull-over running hoodie
  • 1 zip-up running hoodie
  • 1 Patagonia zip-up fleece
  • 1 North Face Venture Jacket *waterproof layer
  • Workout clothes (2 running shirts, 2 running shorts)
  • T-shirt and Shorts for sleeping
  • 1 pair of running shoes (wear on plane)
  • 1 pair waterproof hiking shoes
  • 1 pair of low wedges for dress up
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 swim suit
  • undergarments and socks
  • 1 lightweight scarf, gloves, hat


****POST CRUISE UPDATE 7/8/2016**** (more…)


Getting married in the Catholic Church June 9, 2016

Posted by graciegrapes in Uncategorized.
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Last May I got engaged and started looking into getting married in the Catholic church. Surprisingly there wasn’t a lot of specific information regarding this process. So I’ve decided it would be helpful to divulge my experience with the process.

Most sites merely said go speak with the priest at your parish. Personally, the churches I have been a part of always had several priests assigned to them. Better advice for starting the process would be to make a visit to your parish’s office. At the church we are getting married at here in Las Vegas there was actually a whole checklist of items we needed prior to even meeting with the priests for the first time. Also, be sure to start the process as soon as possible; the process to prepare for marriage in the Catholic church can take a minimum of 6 months!
The initial list of items needed included:
– Baptism certificates issued within the past 6 months – this was obtained from the church we were each baptized at
– 2 Affidavits each for Freedom to Marry – this was a form that basically declared that neither of us were currently married and that there was nothing to prohibit our marriage to each other which was supposed to be completed by 2 different individuals who know you well i.e. your parents

After gathering our paperwork we met with the priest in charge of marriage preparations for the church. During this meeting we filled out standard paperwork, spoke with the priest in order to assess our ability to get married in the Catholic church, and picked our date. At the initial meeting the priest also gave us another checklist of classes we needed to attend and also a booklet from which we would be picking the various components of our wedding mass.  Our classes included a workshop with the wedding coordinator at the church to go over guidelines for wedding ceremonies, pre-cana class, and natural family planning.  For us the pre-cana class was only 1 day, but I have heard of other parishes requiring a course with several class days.

Now that our wedding is under 4 months away we had our second meeting with the priest to fill out a pre-marital inventory questionnaire (PMI). The PMI was basically a series of questions we each filled out individually that assessed our views of different statements.  Many of the statements related to various aspects of married life and relationships.  The priest told us that the priest celebrating our mass would go over the results with us and provided “counseling” in the months leading to the wedding.

All in all the process hasn’t been really strenuous,and I will post again as we get closer to the wedding!

Happy New Year! January 4, 2016

Posted by graciegrapes in Uncategorized.
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After  a LONG break from blogging I decided to jump back on here, and a LOT has changed since I last wrote.  2015 was a year of change and new beginnings for me; namely getting engaged in May and moving cross country to Las Vegas at the end of September.  Perhaps the move and really getting started with wedding planning is what prompted me to potentially start back up with this 🙂

Weight Loss Update and a New Program! June 21, 2013

Posted by graciegrapes in Food, Health and Fitness.
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Since I started working out and watching what I eat the end of last year I have lost about 20lbs.  However, I seem to have hit a plateau and while I am not gaining weight I am not losing weight as a would like.  Even in the past I have never been able to get myself below 150lbs, which for 5’4″ is borderline healthy/overweight.  On the bright side my blood pressure has normalized!

So earlier this week my cousins presented me with this new program, Yoli.  I had commented on a facebook picture they posted a month or so ago, and they had been trying to get me to attend a presentation since.  I was very skeptical coming into the presentation; it seemed too good to be true, 7-15lbs weight loss in 1 week without an exercise requirement, but I am also very hesitant when it comes to supplements and pills.  On top of that, growing up my dad had tried out similar independent business opportunities (Noni, Xango, Youngevity) all to no avail, and Erwin was also involved in Quixtar (now Amway Global) when we first met.  After the presentation I still had some skepticism, despite the first hand success that several of my cousins experienced; but figured that since Erwin wanted to try it too it wouldn’t hurt to start with their “Party Pack” Package with the Transformation Kits.  I figured if it didn’t work out then we could always cancel.

We are on day 3, and I have to say that my doubts are fading already!  I don’t want to talk about results quite yet, but it seems to be working.
I think the biggest surprise to me was how satisfied we feel with the food; reading the plan I thought that eating would be seriously restricted, leaving us hungry and counting down to the next meal/snack time.  Quite the opposite though, we aren’t hungry at all, even with all my running around the OR!  Of course, you may feel restricted if you’re used to a lot of processed foods and take out, but really you shouldn’t be eating that sort of stuff in the first place – especially if you’re trying to get healthy and/or lose weight!

As the system says it’s resetting and turning your body into a “fat burning machine,” and I’m optimistic that this will help me get over my weight loss plateau!

I will be sure to update with results down the road – good or bad.


If you’re curious about the system you can get in touch with me or check it out HERE under Products -> Better Body system

Favorite Work Week Breakfast June 21, 2013

Posted by graciegrapes in Food, Health and Fitness.
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*This was an old draft that I had intended to add pictures too, but never got aroudn to it :P.* 

Most would agree that weight loss is part exercise and part diet.  Before I started with my exercise routine I really focused on modifying my diet.  Personally, I try to minimize the amount of processed foods (requires cooking/making my own food) and to incorporate a many fruits and veggies as possible.  That’s not to say that I don’t eat junk every so often, but in moderation.

A rule of thumb that I have always followed, even when I was little, is to never skip breakfast.  These days I like to get as much sleep as possible, so that means I need a quick to put together and quick to eat breakfast that will hold me until lunch; which in the OR can be anywhere between 11 and 1.  My solution OATMEAL!  Not that processed overly sweetened flavored stuff though…  I’m talking about the plain oatmeal that comes in the cylinder tub.  I have a few go-to combinations that are delicious and keep me going until lunch.

For some oatmeal ideas… Keep Reading!

My basic oatmeal is 1/3 cup oatmeal with 2/3 cup milk and a drizzle of honey warmed in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Personally, I don’t find this plain combination very appetizing, so I have a couple of mix in ideas.

My favorite mix in is frozen berries.  Once the oatmeal is done heating I add in the berries, which work to cool the oatmeal to the perfect temperature for consumption!

Another classic combo is brown sugar and cinnamon.  Basically I leave out the honey and sprinkle cinnamon and about a teaspoon or so of brown sugar before heating.  If I have bananas on hand, I’ll also slice one up into the oatmeal after it comes out the microwave.

Time to check in! Life and getting fit! **UGH*** December 2, 2012

Posted by graciegrapes in Health and Fitness, Uncategorized.
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Ugh!  So I had just finished typing out this whole update post reflecting on what I managed to accomplish since my last blog post, and it appeared as though it had posted but when I went onto the blog of see it the whole post was gone!  All that had posted was the title….

Rather than trying to re-type everything I’m just gonna try and sum it up:

  • Orientation period at work is finished
  • Started reading for pleasure – finished Fifty Shades Series, 3 books of Pretty Little Liars, working on The Happiness Project
  • Found time to transition summer clothes to fall/winter, and realized that I needed to get my butt in shape
  • Started getting serious about working out 1.5 months ago and have lost about 10 lbs!
  • Changed by diet to eliminate almost all processed food
  • Loving the iphone apps My Fitness Pal and Couch 2 5K; and work out videos by Jillian Michaels (No More Trouble Zones, Get Ripped in 30, Yoga Meltdown)
  • Had to take a break from running due to shin splints; aiming to revise workout – 3 days of cardio, 2 of strength

I’ve got more posts to come!

Beer Mac and Cheese February 11, 2012

Posted by graciegrapes in Food.
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Mac and cheese is perhaps one of my favorite comfort foods, however I have never made it myself without the aid of kraft or velveeta’s yellow box!  I recently signed up on pinterest and came upon this recipe for beer mac and cheese. (click picture for original post)

In honor of my room mate’s 21st birthday I decided to give it a try 🙂

To see how may first attempt at homemade mac and cheese went… Keep Reading!

Recent Reads – Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan January 31, 2012

Posted by graciegrapes in Books.
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Now that I am done with school I made it a new year goal to read more.  Specifically to read books, as I frequent a number of online blogs daily and will purse through magazines with ease, but for as long as I can remember I haven’t ever really read a book for pleasure.   All the books I have read in the past were for school, especially after the implementation of summer reading projects in elementary school.

So after my sister informed me that the libraries now have electronic collections (which she frequents after getting her 7″ Acer Iconia Tab) I went and got myself a library card! My old one from when I was little was deactivated, perhaps due to inactivity after going away to college.  After browsing through the listings and discovering many popular titles with lengthy waiting lists I came upon my FIRST pleasure read 🙂

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan is a quick easy read which focuses on a simple idea for eating and foods to eat: “Eat food. Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  The book goes over 64 “food rules” which the author has compiled regarding how to approach eating.  The rules aren’t exactly anything groundbreaking, but rather it brings attention to the obvious things that society typically chooses to overlook.
With all the new years’ resolutions to be healthier or eat better it’s definitely worth a read.

Until I move up the wait-list on some other books I have started reading Jillian Michaels’ Master Your Metabolism – if you hadn’t sensed it, I’m trying to get myself back in shape particularly since the stresses of school are off my shoulders.

I am also very open to other book suggestions!

Quick Philly Cheese Steak Pizza January 30, 2012

Posted by graciegrapes in Food.
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I came up with this in a mad dash to put something together for dinner, in order to avoid spending money on eating out once again.
With an upcoming weekend to Atlantic City I feel the need to save money.  However, coming up with this wasn’t particularly easy due to dwindling groceries at the end of the month.  In fact I was all but ready to give up on cooking dinner, until I realized I had a Pillsbury Pizza Crust in the fridge, and some left over Steak’ums type meat in the freezer.  Spaghetti sauce leftover from the other night worked perfectly for the pizza sauce.  Basically it was a quick, throw everything into a pan, and then onto the crust to bake type of dish.  Took me just a little over 15 minutes to pull together 🙂

Quick Philly Cheese Steak Pizza

For details on how to pull together this quick meal… Keep Reading!

New Year full of coupons! January 18, 2012

Posted by graciegrapes in Coupons.
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So it’s been quite a while since I last posted on here.  All I can say is that the last two semester of my nursing program took over my life!!  But thankfully I made it through and graduated on Dec. 10, 2011.  For the rest of 2011 I spent it simply relaxing; it was the first time that I didn’t have any sort of commitments (i.e. work).  The past two weeks have been spent in orientation for my new job at MCV as an OR Intern; not your typical hospital RN job, I’ll be going in Monday-Friday 7:00am-3:30pm until mid-August with no vacation allowed.  Aside from the no vacation part I’m actually looking forward to it.

Now that I don’t have school assignments to worry about anymore I have some new goals for myself.  Of those goals is to catch up on my couponing!  I’m nothing like the extreme couponers on the TV show, but I am pretty pleased with what I’ve been able to do.  I don’t have a huge stockpile of items, but it works for me $$

The other day I got caught up on cutting out all my coupons, but they have yet to be sorted.  And don’t even get me started on cleaning out my coupon binder!  Despite my current state of disorganization I decided to rummage through the pile to catch a couple of deals for this week.  Last week I did some grocery shopping at Kroger and was able to cut my bill in half using coupons.  The highlight of that trip was my 99 cent bottle of Tide Laundry Detergent!

Want to see how my coupon adventure went today? Keep Reading!