Island time is a real thing

People pick up and move to an island in the middle of the Caribbean for a myriad of reasons. One of the most common reasons is to slow down and enjoy life more. I honestly thought island time was a joke. WRONG.

Island time is so very real.

I like…no I LOVE…

  • Plans
  • Details
  • Organization
  • TIME
  • Schedules

clock-red-seconds-hand-area-stress-illustration-d-50345740These things are almost nonexistent on the island.

I work 2 jobs. One of them, I schedule patients and then expect them to show up at their scheduled time. In my second job, I schedule patients and then I show up when I say I am going to. Only one of those jobs actually runs smoothly. Can you figure out which one?

I have almost been on the island a year and it is a constant struggle for me to adapt to island time. Most people said “oh she will get used to it…” But will I?

Blake and I recently took a weekend trip to Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. We booked flights and a place to stay and that is where our plans ended. We spent the weekend doing whatever we “felt” like on absolutely no schedule. No plans, no times, no details, no organization whatsoever to our weekend getaway. I had an absolute blast. I was stress and anxiety free…because we had no place we were “supposed” to be.

But that’s just it….vacations are for stress relieving. Real life is a mess. It is a mess whether you make plans or not, but with schedules and times, at least it can be somewhat organized chaos. The fact of the matter is, just because  I moved to an island doesn’t mean that I don’t have responsibilities anymore. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a permanent vacation down here…yet. My schedules and planning keep me on track to eventually be able to be on that permanent vacation much earlier than I ever thought possible.

While I don’t think the island is going to completely change this about me, I am trying. As for now…I will continue to show up on time. I will continue to get anxious when Blake makes me very late for things (I am greatly improving on this I think).  I will continue to schedule things on our calendar that Blake does not look at. I will continue to try to slow down and relax.  I will continue to make plans that will inevitably fall through (don’t worry, I probably have a back up plan or two). After all, we are island time right?

The struggle is real.






Healthy Choices

I used to have a very bad relationship with fruits and vegetables. Basically, I hated them. Step one was finding food I would actually eat; which is pretty difficult when you have the palate of a 5 year old. I have pretty much conquered that issue. I found a few vegetables that I was able to actually enjoy and started using them in everything!

Anyways, here are a few recipes that really helped me get on track because I actually looked forward to making and eating these dishes!


ss_R144441My FAVORITE dinner to make that is totally healthy and delicious:
Shrimp Bowls
-half cup brown rice (uncooked)
-2 eggs (I use one)
-16 shrimp
-1 avocado
-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1 tablespoon rice vinegar
-2 teaspoons sesame oil
– 1 and a half teaspoons of honey
– a pinch of cayenne pepper
-1 cup edemame

Makes: 4 servings

  1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium ovenproof pan, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon each of the sesame oil and the honey. Add the cayenne.
  2. Lay the shrimp flat. Broil for 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil. Pour in the eggs. Cook undisturbed until set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until just set on the second side, 1 more minute. Transfer to a board and cut into strips. (I just scramble the egg and mix it all in) 
  4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon honey.
  5. Fold the edamame and sesame seeds into the rice. Serve the rice in bowls topped with the egg strips, shrimp and avocado. Place the soy-vinegar mixture in a small bowl and use at the table for drizzling.

Another favorite dinner is Cauliflower Pizza:
Before you say “ew”, I dislike cauliflower, but you can’t taste it on this pizza.

Crust and sauce:
1/4 cup egg whites
2 wedges laughing cow cheese
a sprinkle Parmesan cheese
a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
1 cup Cauliflower(grated)
Splash of almond milk

Chicken (or another meat)
Frozen spinach
You can change the toppings to any other healthy alternatives 🙂

Preheat oven to 350,  grate up one cup of cauliflower, mix grated cauliflower with egg whites and add a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
Place mixture in circle on parchment paper on baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes and then flip and bake another 10.
Add toppings and bake for 10 more minutes.
Sprinkle lightly with cheese on top
Broil just to melt cheese.

Sauce mixture
-two wedges of laughing cow cheese
-a sprinkle of parmesan
-a quarter cup of almond milk
-sprinkle of shredded cheese
Mix all together in sauce pan until its a creamy mixture

Guilty Pleasure Dessert/Snack

thDGHVYJEQOatmeal balls:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (however, I use PB2 secondary to having way less calories)
1/2 chocolate chips (I use minis, I found they distribute better)
1/2 ground flack seed (you can also use wheat germ, I have done it both ways)
1/4 cup honey (I heat this up before adding it so that the chocolate chips melt, you don’t have to though)

Mix all the ingredients together, roll into small balls and put in the fridge until firm. I made pretty small balls, so you should get 20-24 balls out of this recipe.

This is great, healthy alternative to candy bars, but still gives curves chocolate/sweet urge.


That should get you started 🙂

If there is a particular food you want highlighted in your recipes, let me know…I’ve probably tried something!


Why am I not losing weight?

imageSeriously though.

Since college I’ve “worked out” pretty regularly and ate “okay”.

I was by no means obese, but I was never a small girl. I knew this and always wanted to change it, but for the life of me, could not figure out why the scale was staying the same…or worse…going up!

Maybe first, real quick, I should talk about MY why.

As we have previously discussed, I am a physical therapist. I can’t stand when people are hypocritical. If I am going to sit there and tell my patients to work out and lose weight, I feel I need to be healthy and in shape too!
My bigger why, however, is that I didn’t love myself. If you don’t love yourself, then you need to make a change. I finally commited to making changes that would make me happy, healthy, and confident.

I made two super common mistakes.

  1. I lied to myself about my eating habits.
  2. I did exactly the same thing over and over and over again at the gym.

From college, until about two years ago, all I ever did at the gym was the elliptical. Almost daily, elliptical for 30-60 minutes, and that was it. Your body cannot continue to change if you don’t change too!! Changing your workouts is key to seeing continued results so that your body can break through the inevitable plateaus.


I am sure you have all heard this before. I would keep a tally in my head of what I ate that day and literally lie to myself. What? No, I didn’t eat 6 cookies. If I say it didn’t happen, then it doesn’t count. I’m not even kidding about this. When I racked my brain to why I wasn’t losing weight, I could convince myself, every time, that I wasn’t eating “bad”.  Let’s not even talk about the frequent bowls of pasta I ate for dinner and the fries I ate for lunch.

So how did I lose my weight? I have such a crazy formula for losing weight, it’s going to blow your mind!

Wait for it…

Exercise and eat better!!

I know, I know, your mind IS blown.

I don’t really want to say “diet” because that implies you do something for a bit, lose the weight, and return to your “normal”. Rather, I adapted to better eating habits and changed my way of life. At first, it seemed like a daunting and frankly miserable task. Of course, all my favorite things were huge “no-no”…soda, cheese, bread, pasta.

In the beginning, I was super strict because, well, you almost have to be. I had to take everything away from myself so I could figure out what moderation really is and how I could achieve a happy balance without being miserable. I didn’t have a set time limit “for x amount of weeks I will do y”. One day, about two years ago, I started eating right and the rest is history.

Do I still have soda sometimes? Yes!
But do I have one everyday? No and you know what…I don’t even want one every day anymore.

Do I ever eat pizza, pasta, and bread? TOTALLY! Again, not every day.

I am not perfect, I am human. I have weekends of total and utter binging. The important thing is that I am able to do that and then continue back to my new “normal” life. If your new “normal” is overall healthy, indulging every so often is not going to derail all the work you have done.

Anyhow, I know a lot of people, myself included, want some new fad diet to magically lose weight. But at the end of the day… good ‘ol diet and exercise is what really, and truly, works.

How well did it work? I lost 30 plus pounds and have kept off for almost two years.

For me, the key was to find food that I still got excited about, but didn’t need to feel guilty about.

More on that later.


I will post another blog with more specifics about what I actually ate and what workouts I did at the gym.




I can buy stuff without money? Cool!

Let’s chat about credit cards for a minute. Since my blog discusses a lot about loans and how to get out of debt, I feel it is importance to touch briefly upon credit cards.

There are a plethora of benefits and really cool thinthgs about credit cards. For starters, it helps you build your credit. Just getting out of high school or college, kids, typically, do not have any credit yet.

Lucky for me I have SO MANY student loans to help build my credit, but for those of you that don’t…this is an option.

Another cool thing is most credit cards have some sort of reward system. I fly quite a bit, so I have one of the airline credit cards, and that is the ONLY credit card I use. With this card, you earn miles with all your purchases. To me, that is super valuable.

Obviously, there are tons of different cards with didn’t rewards that will fit what is important to you.

Okay, why am I talking about credit cards….am I getting commission? Haha no. I wanted to talk about the pros so that I could also talk about the CONS.


thX7ULSRAYIt is not a way to live outside your means. I cannot stress this enough. Credit card debt is such a big problem in SO many peoples lives. Yes, I sit under a pile of debt, but it is from my education. I joked about having a shopping problem, but I never spent what I did not have.

I use my credit card for almost every purchase, solely to get my air miles. I pay off my credit card every month.

Credit card debt can’t quick turn into crippling debt because of the insanely high interest rates. Most credit cards have somewhere between 15-25% interest rate. I think the card I have has 24%. Crazy!

I can buy stuff without money? Cool!

So maybe think twice before swiping the credit card next time. If you cannot pay off your credit card bill every  month, then you might be living outside your means. It might be time for the B word.




More on that later…




Okay so, what’s going on with those loans?

By December 2014, I had been a traveling physical therapist for 2 years, had a car loan for a little over a year, and was paying, randomly, extra money every month towards my loans.

In January 2015, I started working a second job in my “spare” time. This will be the first time in my career life that I am working two jobs. My loans were fed a lot in January!! $$$

By February, I had decided to move to a Caribbean island, stop traveling physical therapy, and take about a 50% pay cut. I was okay with the decreased pay because I was very excited about this new adventure. I didn’t quite think about how this was going to affect the progress of my loans.Palm-Tree

Remember how I was paying max payments, while on the 10 year plan? Well I switched all the loans to minimum payments on a more long-term plan. Whomp Whomp…That light at the end of the tunnel was getting further and further away.

I moved to t62251672-640he island, dropped around $8,000 on an “island car” and started pinching pennies wherever possible. Which, let me tell you, is not as easy on an island as it is in the states. What happened to that brand new Prius I bought? Oh, I will continue to pay on that for months until it sells, while it sits through its first winter in the Northeast.


So grand total for loans around March 2015?
Student: around 150K
Car: 17K
Total: 167K

Progress? For sure. Where I should be? No.

Reminder: DON’T BUY THE CAR.


Don’t worry… I will eventually be on the right track…stay tuned for how 🙂

DIY Valentine’s Dinner

I learned a lesson this weekend: It is OKAY when plans fall through or change. (Don’t get TOO excited…this is a lesson I will continue to learn over and over again…but I am trying!)

Blake and I had had a few discussions about where we were going to celebrate Valentine’s day. After a few failed attempts at dinner reservations, Blake decides he does not want to go out to dinner.

After all, we had just spent a week away in Old San Juan, how many times do we need to go out to dinner in one week? My knee jerk reaction was… “buuuut its Valentine’s Day, that’s what you do on Valentine’s day!”

I immediately thought he was saying Valentine’s Day isn’t important to him and assumed he was brushing it off: WRONG!

We had probably one of the best dinners we have had, to date, on this little island.

Blake and I are blessed to have an adorable patio with a killer view, making for one great atmosphere for a Valentine’s Day dinner.image

Together, we chose a menu that included some of both of our favorites. Blake chose steak and I chose mushroom risotto. We threw some locally grown green beans in for a healthy side. We had just purchased imagesome at the Argrifest earlier that day.

We had so much fun decorating the patio and cooking the dinner, I didn’t miss going out one bit. Anyone that knows me, knows, that I love getting dressed up. This is one the main reasons I like going out to dinner. Any imageexcuse to wear a dress! Luckily, Blake knows me and we even got dressed up for this special dinner.

Sometimes staying home can be just as, if not even more, special than going out to dinner. We were on our own time, no one bothering us, and no rush to go home and free up the table at the restaurant.

imageValentine’s day is about doing something special with someone you love..and that is exactly what we did.

I believe in a thing called love

WARNING: may contain clichés and sappiness overload!

With it being Valentine’s Day and all, it seems appropriate to talk about love. I know many people consider Valentine’s Day a “Hallmark” holiday, made up to sell cards and candy, but I have always loved the holiday; whether I was in a relationship or not.  In this crazy, busy world we live in, we sometimes forget to stop and remind the people we love how important they are to us. Valentine’s day is a good reminder to slow down and just imagelove…

Until about a year ago, I wasn’t sure if I believed in TRUE love or love at first sight…until I met him.

I met Blake approximately 2 hours after first stepping foot on the beautiful island of St. Croix. I didn’t come to the island looking for love, but rather, for a long weekend getaway to see one of my good friends. Little did I know that meeting him was going to be a pivotal moment in my life.

Here I am, a year later, sitting one room away from him in our beautiful ocean view home. He is my best friend, my cheerleader, my confidant, THE love of my life. I don’t know how I go so lucky, but I am grateful for every step I took in life that eventually brought me on vacation to St. Croix.

I could go on forever about how wonderful this guy and our life together is, but I won’t do that to yall.

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Take a moment and do something special for the people you love today.







God bless the broken road…that led me straight to you.



Do I really need this?

Hi my name is Erin and I am a shopaholic.

I wasn’t always like this. I could probably count on two hands the number of times I actually went shopping while in college. Once I was out of college and I had the cash flow, I went nuts.

I bought stuff I didn’t remotely need and, sometimes, even want. Something about the high of im-not-a-shopaholic-im-helping-the-economy-2the purchase gave me such satisfaction. Maybe it was the fact that after many years of being a poor college student, I could finally buy whatever I wanted. Who knows what it was.

There was about a two year period in my life where I didn’t even look at price tags. This is embarrassing to even admit because, well, it is a really stupid way to live, regardless of whether you have money or not.

I was THE girl you wanted at your sales parties because I was definitely going to buy something, and it would most likely be expensive.price-tag-images

I was still continuing this crazy habit when I moved to the island. Granted, we do not have as many stores here, but guess what? Turns out, I get just as much satisfaction out of clicking “confirm order” online, as I do swiping a credit card at the store.

I think when I moved, I bought something like ten bathing suits within my first month. I justified every single purchase. After all, when you live on an island, a bathing suit is everyday wear, right?

Stopping the Shopping

I wouldn’t say I don’t shop anymore, but I definitely think twice when making a purchase. It helps to try to put things into perspective.

  1. How many gallons of gas will it cost?
  2. How many hours at work will it take to pay off?
  3. Do I want it?
  4. Do I need it?
  5. Will this help/hurt/effect my financial situation?
  6. Wouldn’t putting that money towards my loans be more satisfying in the long run?

Sounds like common sense right? It is, but it helps. I usually think about what I want and don’t buy it immediately. If I am still thinking about in a few weeks, then usually I get it. Many a times, I have completely forgotten about the item.

You know what else? I get even MORE satisfaction every time I see another loan paid off, and that is worth way more than a new bathing suit.

The struggle is real.






STOP! Don’t buy the car!

One of the main things we were told when preparing for graduation and the real world was to NOT buy a new car.

Makes perfect sense right? We were just handed big, fat envelopes of debt…why would you add tens of thousands more to that already high number? There is no good reason.

Ask yourself these questions when you feel like you may cave:

  1. Does your current car run? (Yes)
  2. Do you have student loans? (Yes!)
    – and if your answer is no, then I’m jealous and maybe you can buy the car.
  3. Is buying a new car going to help your financial situation? (NO!)

In college, I bought a 2006 Hyundai Elantra. By graduation it was completely paid off, there were no major issues with it, not even cosmetic ones. A perfect car to start my adult life on the road to paying off student debt.

While in South Carolina, two of my friends bought new cars (not brand new, but new to them) and from there I had the itch…

I drove myself to the Toyota delearship, alone, to test drive a mint green, used Toyota Prius.

BACK UP… Picture this for a moment… A young girl, walks into a car delearship…alone… wishing to purchase a car. How do you think I was treated? Not well. I was treated very poorly and not taken seriously (which has been an ongoing struggle in my adult life).

But hey, dodged a bullet right? Didn’t buy the car, got that out of my system.WRONG!

The dealership called me a few days later asking about my experience and I was honest. They promised me a better experience and convinced me to return with a different salesperson.

Well jokes on everyone. Remember that used Prius? For $12,000? It didn’t have cruise control (deal breaker). Solution? Buy a brand new Prius.

imageI failed at the number one rule and added $22,000 on top of my mound of debt. Not the smartest move in eliminating my student loans.

Let’s do some math: I was on the 10 year plan ($2000 a month plus whatever extra) making max payments. Down about 30K… Let’s add 22K on top.
New grand total: $192,000
By end of 2013, I was a year down and barely made any progress.



I found my niche

In physical therapy is there are a multitude of realms you can enter when deciding where you want to work. When I went to physical therapy school I thought I wanted to be in outpatient orthopedics. This is your typical physical therapy that most people picture in their head when they think of PT. By the end of my 6 year doctoral education I did not know where I wanted to end up, but I knew I wanted it to be very far from outpatient ortho. (Ironically, I do that now, but we aren’t there yet).

As I said before, when the opportunity arose to try homecare, I had no choice but to agree. Go into peoples houses? No thank you.

I think it took less than a week to discover that I LOVE homecare. As it turned out, I would eventually get over the scary and gross houses (however, that took much longer than a week).

Like I said, often times I was the only person the patient was going to see all day, and sometimes all week. The patients became my friends and I figured out how to make therapy less of a daunting task for them. To this day, I am still in touch with a few of my patients back in the states; I’ve become a part of their family.

What are the other benefits?
1. You get to make your own schedule!!
– I learned very quickly I am not a person who likes to clock in and out for work.3d time to management. Concept clock closeup. 3d render

2. You can go to the bank, post office, grocery shopping, doctors office throughout the day and not need to take time off.
-Who knew going to the post office would be so difficult during work days?
3. For someone that is really good at time management and planning, this is THE job.
4. The more visits you complete, the more you get paid
– Isn’t this what we all want? Reward for how hard we work. In homecare that’s exactly how it goes. Jobs that have a ceiling for amount of pay are found to be unrewarding and eventually less satisfying.
5. It is a really good job to have as your second job (as I will get into later…more than one job is key in paying off your debt faster/earlier)
-You can do really early morning visits, lunch visits, evening visits, weekend visits. Anytime you aren’t at your fulltime job is a good time for homecare.
6. Plan on having kids? Homecare is the way to go.
-I do not have kids yet, but one day I will. It will allow me the flexibility required to be present in their lives.


Alright, now that we’ve covered that! By 2013 I had a good job and good money, seems like I am on the right track to paying off these loans…or am I?