IF IT WASN'T EASY...

Hi I'm Shannon! I'm 21 years old and recently graduated from college and moved to Ft Lauderdale, Florida where I live with my boyfriend right on the beach. I'm working on maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle while getting leaner, fitter, and stronger by lifting heavy weights and eating mostly high-protein, lower-carb and averaging 2500-3000 calories per day. 5'8, 142 lbs, 38-25-28, size 2-4. Check out my other blog as well for more health and fitness related posts: http://livingwellthebestrevenge.wordpress.com/
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Posts tagged "beach"

  1. I picked up another job waitressing at Aruba Beach Cafe! I’m so excited because I’ve wanted to work there since the first time I ate there back in May. It’s a great place to work: been around for 30 years, right on the beach, always busy, and amazing food. And now I’m officially ITB (In The Biz ie the service industry) which is sort of like joining a sorority/fraternity—everyone knows each other, hangs out, and parties at each other’s restaurant/bars. I start training at 8:30am Sunday morning—a little rough because I work at the Kava bar until 2am, but such is life.
  2. Fiji Kava, the kava tea bar that I’ve been bartending at, has been SO slow (summer is the off-season here in Florida.) It’s a chill job because I can read, go on my laptop, etc, but we work mostly for tips and I’m just not making enough money to work here five days a week. So I cut back my shifts to Wednesday daytime (9am - 6pm) and Saturday nights (6pm - 2am). I think this is the best of both worlds because I can keep that connection for if/when business picks up, while still making real money at Aruba. And I’ll have two days to read/write/tumble, which is the perfect amount.
  3. I’m actually at work right now—I switched shifts with my coworker Liz since today was her birthday. The good news is that she brought a ton of her friends in to celebrate so I actually made good money tonight—almost $50! And it was fun working with a big crowd of people here. I also volunteered to cover daytime tomorrow which means I have to be back here at 9am tomorrow—I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh well…
  4. A couple more job-related irons in the fire right now, but I’m keeping them under wraps until I see what pans out. Right now I’m just trying to make money, keep busy, and have fun.
  5. I must get to the gym, I must get to the gym, I must get to the gym. I didn’t go yesterday or today, and I probably won’t tomorrow because I’m meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner after work (they’re on vacation in West Palm Beach), but definitely Saturday and Sunday.

Monday was just one of those days…amazing. It was our fourth day in Costa Rica, second full day in Santa Teresa, and one of the best days of my life.

5:30 am: I woke up early, walked around town and the beach, discovered the world’s best banana bread at Zwart’s Cafe, and picked real mangoes off a tree!

8:30 am: I returned to the hostel, woke up Billy to show him my mangoes, ate one, and we promptly fell back asleep.

10:30 am: We woke up again right in time for the 11am checkout. Billy wanted to catch the morning waves while tide was still high, so I volunteered to pack up and check out. (Best girlfriend ever, no?)

12 pm: We checked into a hostel right next door called Don Jon’s. (http://donjonsonline.com/) It was AWESOME:

12:30 pm Billy and I split a chicken burrito with guacomole, beans, and rice from Zwart’s Cafe. I don’t normally eat burritos but this was SO good! I also cut up and ate our watermelon.

1 pm: Billy took me out surfing for the first time in Costa Rica, second time ever. Keeping my balance was challenging but I am starting to get the hang of it and even stood up a few times! I surfed for about 45 minutes until we got caught in a rip tide. I hardly even had a chance to register the rip tide before Billy pushed me and the board into shore, but after that I was nervous and decided to stop. This is why I don’t feel comfortable surfing by myself and probably won’t for awhile—I’m not a very strong swimmer, and even though the board would keep me afloat I’d be nervous that I wouldn’t be able to stop the current from pulling it far away from shore.
3 pm: We picked up Billy’s friends Geoff and Bo, Bo’s fiancee Cassie, and two local surfers, and the seven of us headed out to a good surfing spot about 10 miles away for some late-afternoon surfing.
The guys checked out the waves…
…but unfortunately none of them were good. That didn’t stop me from taking pictures:
And drinking the juice of a pepas: a Costa Rican fruit similar to a coconut that one of the locals knocked off a tree for us to try!
4:30 pm: We checked out two more surfing spots, but neither were good, so we settled for the next best activity: drinking! We headed to a bar called Habernos right on the beach for happy hour.
The seven of us split three pitchers of margaritas, plus nachos and guacamole. We sat on the beach drinking until it started to rain, and we moved inside to watch the rain and sunset under the shelter of the patio.
6 pm: Once dark fell, we headed back towards Santa Teresa. We stopped at the grocery local store, the “Super Ronny” to grab some alcohol and it seemed like everyone on the island was congregating there! What started out as a quick errand turned into an hour of drinking in the pouring rain under the overhanging roof of the Super Ronny. I got Bacardi silver rum started making rum-and-diets right in a bottle of diet coke…I’m classy like that :) The impromptu party where everyone knew each other reminded me so much of college!
7:30 pm: We finally left Super Ronny to go home and change before meeting up to go out again later. Billy waited by Don Juan’s bar drinking and watching the Miami Heat game as I dashed through the rain into our hostel, deciding to skip the shower but slipping on a dress and applying makeup for the first time since I’d been in Costa Rica.
8:30 pm: We picked up everyone again and drove to a bar/restaurant called Funky Monkey to continue to the night. We ran into other surfers we knew, and pushed tables up to theirs to create a giant group. I was magnanimously beautiful and stunningly, outrageously happy; I was drinking more but I don’t remember what; my mahi-mahi and vegetables in coconut sauce was delectable; and then the night goes blurry.
11 pm ??? 12 pm ??? Asleep in our hostel surrounded by rain…
One of those days..amazing.

Santa Teresa is a cute little beach town on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. There are lots of little restaurants, bars, and surf shops, and the town is very walkable and safe (unlike, say, San Jose). The vibe is laidback and chill, the people are genuine and friendly, and the community is tight-knit—everyone seems to know each other, and if not your are immediately welcomed.

Most people here are surfers, but they come from all walks of life, and quite a few of them end up falling in love with the area and never leaving. That was the case with Billy’s friend Bo, who moved to Santa Teresa along with his girlfriend Cassie, and now they have an adorable 14-month baby. I really liked both of them, and I was impressed that they were raising a baby in Costa Rica!

This was the hostel we stayed at Saturday and Sunday:

On Sunday Billy and I woke up around 8am and headed right to the beach so Billy could surf and I could watch/tan/read/sleep.

Around noon we got breakfast at Zwart’s Cafe, a local hangout spot right next to our hostel. I had an omelette filled with guacamole and it was SO good!

Plus a papaya smoothie which was also amazing! As we were sitting there, people kept stopping by and catching up about the previous night’s big party which we missed because we got in so late. It reminded me of college! We also met up with Billy’s friend and coworker Geoff, who I had met last time I was in Ft Lauderdale.

We stayed inside during through the hottest part of the day, then returned the beach just in time to catch waves before the sun went down at 6.

Obviously Billy needed two surfboards :)

I didn’t surf, but I swam in the water, hung with the other non-surfers, and got some great sunset pictures:

Once it got dark we headed back to the hostel, showered, and walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. We had guacamole to start then both ordered shrimp again since they were out of other fish. Geoff and another guy from Canada saw us sitting at the restaurant so came by to join us. Afterwards the guys wanted to go out, but I was once again exhausted, so I opted to stay in and was asleep by 10:30!

It’s a finance job at a big Fortune 500 company.

Start date is January 2013.

In the meantime, I am moving to Ft Lauderdale Beach to see if I can make a go of it there.

I’m very happy with this decision. I think it’s the best of both worlds and keeps my options wide open!

Like the view? :)

I’ve been fantasizing about studying at this beachfront Starbucks ever since I first came to Ft Lauderdale a month ago, and today I finally got the chance! We had a quick lunch at Subway (2 veggie patties atop a condiment salad with yellow mustard as dressing—my standard!), then B. dropped me off here on his way to work.

It’s perfect weather for studying—nice enough that I get a good view, but windy and just slightly cool so it’s not complete torture being indoors instead of on the beach. I’m going to hang out here  for a couple hours to finish up data entry for my dad’s business and attempt to study differential equations, then I’ll walk over to the bar where B’s working. I’m planning on having their key lime chicken with steamed veggies for dinner (soo good!), and I’m wearing a bathing suit under my dress so I can hang out in the barside hot tub too!

Can’t beat that :)

I woke up with the sun this morning at 6am…FINALLY some sunny weather here after 2 days of rain! Chilled for a couple hours then walked to the grocery store (Winn Dixie) to get quarters and laundry detergent, also picked up some watermelon :) I’m thrilled there’s a grocery store less than 1/4 mile from Bartender’s apartment, seriously that’s almost equal to the fact it’s right on the beach. Okay not quite, but still, It’s just so convenient…you never have to worry about running out of food.

Then I came home and threw in a couple loads of laundry in the basement laundry room and am eating breakfast while it’s in the washer. (Greek yogurt, frozen raspberries, almonds, watermelon). And I know, I know, gender roles, but considering I’m staying here free right now (and in three weeks, and possibly indefinitely) as well as paying for basically nothing, I figure the least I could do is a couple loads of laundry. I also cleaned for a couple hours Sunday and oversaw the purchase of new sheets, pillows, comforter, and a mattress pad (sidenote: what adult human being has not heard of mattress pads? Or thread counts) and now the apartment looks 50x better which of course benefits me too since I’m staying here!

Okay, off to throw stuff in the dryer now!

72 hours until I’m boarding the plane back to Ft. Lauderdale! SO much work to get done between now and then…but I’ve got this :)

I wanted to share with you guys what’s going on in my life right now so if I make personal references in the future, it will make sense. Plus it’s ALL I can think about right now and maybe writing it down will help me sort through my thoughts!

1. Four weeks from today, I will officially have graduated college. I still don’t know exactly what’s coming next.

2. I have a job offer from a well-known Fortune 500 company. It’s in my field (finance), it’s a good company to work for, and it pays really, really well. If I took the job, I could buy a new car (I crashed mine last summer), designer clothes and purses, chill out for the summer without worrying about money. But…I don’t want it. I don’t want a 9-5, I don’t want to sit at a desk all day, I don’t want to be trapped by car payments and rent payments and credit card bills into a life that might just suck my soul out.

3. Six months ago, my plan was to apply to graduate school for a masters degree in finance or financial mathematics. As of spring break, I hadn’t sent in my applications and didn’t know exactly why—something was holding me back.

4. What I REALLY want to do, and always have wanted to do, is to move south somewhere warm, preferably by the water, to a city that’s walkable but not too big, and start my life there. Even if I just had a short-term job like waitressing that didn’t use my degree.

5. Over spring break, I went down to Ft Lauderdale Beach, Florida with three of my friends and just fell in love with it. The beach, the city…everything. But most of all how it made me feel. I slept better, I woke up earlier, I was full of energy, and I was happy in a way that made me realize I haven’t really been happy in a long, long time. Without even realizing. 

6. I also met a guy in Ft Lauderdale. He’s a bartender and a surfer and not at all my usual type, but something just clicked. Sometimes it happens like that. As soon as I got home, he bought me plane tickets to come back for two weeks in May-June, right after I graduate.

7. Since I’ve been home, the contrast between how I felt in Florida and how I feel now is almost unbearable. All I want to do is go back there, and it finally hit me—I can. There is literally nothing in the world stopping me from moving to Florida. I have no debt, no student loans, no obligations…all I need is a place to stay and a job that will enable me to be self-sustainable. 

8. And now I have that in Ft. Lauderdale. Bartender should be able to get me on the schedule waitressing at the bar where he works but more importantly I can stay with him until I’m on my feet so I don’t have to be self-sustainable right away (don’t worry, we’ve discussed this quite a bit, I’m not just invited myself to move in). 

9. My plan was to get things figured out when I’m down there in May, and then if everything goes well, I’d move down for good at the end of June. But I have been SO anxious about this for the past couple weeks, and wanting to have things more clearly lined up before graduation.

10. Then last week, I was browsing plane tickets, and I found a roundtrip ticket to Ft Lauderdale for $97…you can bet I snatched that up! So now I’m going back this weekend from Saturday to Wednesday, which takes a HUGE weight off my shoulders because hopefully I’ll be able to get the job situation squared away. I’m excited to see Bartender too, and get a break from this insane bipolar weather here in Maryland (it’s like 40 degrees this morning…)

So, that’s where I stand right now! It’s a little scary but also exciting. But this is the time of my life to take chances and make a leap of faith. And more and more I feel as though this is the right decision for me. I think there are a handful of times in life when fate deals you exactly the hand that you want, and when those opportunities arise you don’t just ignore them. My fingers are crossed that this will work out and take me down the right path…

…and 5 more days til I’m back on the beach! :)