See, the thing about stepping on a sea urchin your first day of spring break is: things can only get better, right?

Very right.



As coconut flavored anything’s Number One Fan, I was the happiest camper. And despite limping around the island and a dash of miserable weather [including a rainy day in paradise], Nancy and I managed to muster up one fantastic break.

We ate everything.


Steak and blue cheese cream sauce, say WHAT?!


Breakfast of Champions

And then we detoxed a bit with spinach-packed smoothies. We got some very confused looks from patrons as we explained why our fruit smoothies were green. Just pre-gaming for St. Patrick’s Day.

Six smoothies and some eggs. Seems about right.

Six smoothies and some eggs. Seems about right.

When the weather wasn’t cooperating, we decided to take matters into our own hands. Or rather, the skilled hands of a masseuse.


I just want someone to rub some stuff on me.

Facials and massages do wonders for your attitude. I smelled so delicious I wanted to eat myself up. And I was much perkier than when I couldn’t stop glooming about some rain.


Post-Spa Bliss

I even enjoyed dancing with some of the locals.


Couldn’t stop blushing. Or laughing.

Our room neighbors also seemed to enjoy themselves.  VERY loudly.

Made for quite the interesting listening.

Made for quite the interesting listening.

It was obvious that they were enjoying 50 shades of something.

And though we took our tanning very seriously, we made sure to enjoy playing some games. Can’t take things too seriously…

photo 2-4

It was paradise. And just what the doctor ordered, escaping winter and snow for sunnier climates. We relaxed, we maxed, and even enjoyed a few adult beverages. Things certainly didn’t get too wild, at least for us.

I can’t say the same for everyone else.

She was like this all day.

She was like this all day.

I guess that’s why they suggest pacing yourself….

Spring Break 2013: You’re Doing It Wrong

Oh, Irony. I see what you did there.

This is NOT the welcome wagon I was expecting.

Welcome to the DR, JP!

Welcome to the DR, JP!

Picture this: My roomie Nancy and I spent a solid 2 hours in the sunshine. Rotating, re-applying sunscreen (talk about an exercise in futility, currently crispy and pink), gabbing the day away, reading US Weekly scholastic textbooks. All that good stuff. And, since I dream of living some sort of reverse-Little Mermaid experience, I knew I needed to get into the tepid ocean water to swim around like a fish. I collected perfect conical shells, I did handstands, I floated like a buoy, I ran out to Nancy proud of my discoveries and demanding a water-buddy. She obliged, wanting a dip herself.

Moments later, she was marveling at the brave manner in which I drag my feet around in the ocean trying to pick up any bits of coral or shell my toes can feel. I commented “Yes, obviously I’m very courageous. Not just anyone could/would do such a heroic deed.”

Cue: Sea urchin. Yup, stepped on a sea urchin within thirty minutes of diving into the deep blue.

Human crutches

Human crutches

I thought I could “walk it off” assuming the best, maybe an under the sea splinter. And then, as we went to go grab a bite, I felt a blinding searing pain best described as being stabbed with a metal rod. Only the rod is being heated at a near-melting degree from the inside and continues to radiate pain.

I need a doctor.

“Sure,” said Nancy. “We’ll find you one, just sit tight.”

What is happening?!

What is happening?!

Enter Dr. Delarosa. Exit: dozens of tiny sea urchin spines. Apparently, my body had an allergic reaction to the spines and WHAM, inflammation, a pain like a thousand tiny spiny suns, and a hazy vision.

Slightly less searing pain? Yes, please.

Slightly less searing pain? Yes, please.

I expected that, if I was going to be doing any hobbling whilst on vacay, it would be due to inebriation from the all-inclusive drink situation. I did NOT expect to receive an intramuscular injection of anti-histamine in my butt cheek. I did NOT expect to be a wobbly fool due to a spiny critter of the sea.

According to the resort, sea urchins never swim that close to the shore. Well, joke’s on me, I guess. Good one, sea urchin. Had me fooled.

Luckily, the benadryl and lotion they gave me are making a dent in the pain. And my starvation is pulling me in the direction of the dinner buffet like WHOAH. So, despite the best efforts of the ocean’s porcupine, I can’t be stopped. Nice try, little one.

I’ll make sure to eat extra Uni next time I get sushi.

(Also, big ups to Nancy for recognizing that, though this was a terrifying experience, the ONLY reasonable response was to take zillions of pictures.)

Jet Setting Fuel

If you ever wondered how fabulous the life of a jet-setter like myself is on the edible-front, this is the post for you. In the past 14 hours, I’ve run the gamut of planes, trains, and automobiles. All en route to the sunny shores of the Dominican Republic. And after a long day of classes, what’s better than a Bolt Bus trip to NYC?

First, I had to recharge. My body AND my electronics.

And so it begins

And so it begins

A new Sweetgreen just opened near campus and, courtesy of LevelUp, I had a $3 discount. The resulting Misoba Salad I purchased may easily be the most delicious salad I’ve purchased since I’ve moved to Philly. And MAYBE worth the $8.50 price tag that you’d normally pay without the LevelUp discount (though if you sign up for LevelUp using that link, you can get $5 fo’ FREE making this salad a mere $3.50!)

Before I could say “Soba Noodles”, I boarded my Bolt Bus, armed with a Nook full of books and a pack of snacks. And my most important snack: a hostess gift of Montealva, a relatively affordable semi-hard goat’s milk cheese with an excellent tangy bite that travels the 2+ hours from Philly to Brooklyn with ease.

Tiniest Cheese Plate

Tiniest Cheese Plate

My hostess, Claire, and I gossiped about boys, giggled like schoolgirls, and geeked out on cheese. It was dreamy. And, after a brief slumber snuggled like bugs in Claire’s bed, she woke up for work (ah, employment) and I (eventually) woke up to putz around before my flight to Orlando. I also rooted around in Claire’s fridge to whip up arguably the most delicious breakfast of leftovers on the planet.

Come to Mama.

Come to Mama.

Claire’s a bit of a gourmand, and she whips up Smitten Kitchen’s Butternut Squash Salad weekly. Feta, onions, squash, can’t beat it. Paired with the maple-apple-bacon cake (on the left) and topped with a dippy egg.

Get on my level.

(Seriously, though, make that salad. It’s unreal.)

I just enjoyed a breakfast of a Fiber One bar and banana, complete with a multi-vitamin. Much cheaper than airport nibbles, and likely better for me than Cini-Minis from Burger King.

I camped out here in the Orlando Airport last night (grad student life = saving $250 with a slumber party on the airport ground).

Home Base

Home Base

Luckily, I just checked in for my last leg(s) of my trip AND was upgraded to the exit row window seats for BOTH my remaining flights.

All I could think of was the following clip:

Ok, y’all. Time to fly to greener pastures. And sunnier skies. Keep your fingers crossed for no rain, and only a little sunburn.

Favorite traveling foods? Do you pre-pack or buy in the terminal?

I’ll admit, I caved and got a medium order of french fries.

Treat Yo Self 2013, whatevz.