Located in Jeffersonville, VT
Spring Cleaning for our Body 101
Around this time of year, everyone wants to do a little spring cleaning in our homes. One big thing most people enjoy cleaning out are closets, thanks to the very organized Marie Kondo. After a long winter, it feels good to get things nice and tidy. As the saying goes, “out with the old and in with the new”.
But how about doing the same to ourselves? This means supporting the shift of our bodies from a long winter into a glorious spring by using foods medicinally. In my practice, I hear, “I want to detox” almost everyday. What most people don't know is that your body is actually detoxing 24/7. Feeding your body with fresh vegetables each day will provide the tools it needs to spring clean itself from the inside out. Let’s take a look at our digestive organs with a few corresponding “veggie buddies”:
To help clean out your Liver eat cruciferous veggies*, garlic, and any bitter vegetables such as Arugula or Radishes.
For your Gallbladder try Beets, Swiss Chard, plus bitter foods including Arugula, Radishes, and Watercress.
For your Kidney eat Celery or Parsley.
For your Stomach try eating Cabbage (red, green, napa).
For your Intestines, a few options are cooked/cooled Potatoes, fermented foods, and cruciferous veggies.
Cruciferous vegetables which brooms of the Colon include: Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Turnip, Bok Choy, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, and Watercress.
The addition of one or more of these on a daily basis will fill your belly due to high fiber content and support healthy elimination to help sweep toxins out of your system. If you find some of these difficult to digest, try steaming or roasting...delicious!
Choose to eat for optimal health, your body will thank you!
Paige Kelly has worked in the healthcare field for over two decades. She graduated from the University of New Orleans and later returned for postbaccalaureate work in Biology. Paige ended up graduating with honors from New York Chiropractic College, receiving a Masters of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition.
Her nutrition and therapeutic massage experience comes from working in chiropractic offices, physical therapy clinics. As well as owning a wellness office in Louisiana called “All About Health” which included colon irrigation and therapeutic massage. Paige began her own journey toward health long ago when she was presented with several of the chronic lifestyle diseases many of us face today. Paige brings a unique understanding and compassion to her clients based on many years of trial and error with her own experiences which have been heightened by research and higher education.
Paige Kelly is very passionate about sharing nutritional information and the tools to use in order to make changes in your health. Nutrition is an integral part of everyone’s health and healing.
“I feel privileged to share my knowledge with you and grateful for your trust in me. I hope in writing these monthly blog posts I am able to help you begin your new journey toward optimal health.” - Paige Kelly
Be kind to yourself,
Paige Kelly MSACN, CNS
Follow me on Facebook
When Mr. Stafford and I head out for a warm weather vacation, the one thing that always comes with us is a few good books. We’re old school in that we don’t like to read our books on a device. We prefer a tangible hardcover book where you can see how many pages you have devoured in just a few hours. Also, it just feels better to hold a real book, sorry Kindle.
When we’re on vacation its one of the few times where we can sit and get lost in a good book. I find it hard to read at times when we’re home. There is always some kind of interruption. If I try to do some reading before going to bed I’ll read two pages and then I’m asleep!
So each year I’ll do the research and try to pick at least five books that my husband and I can pass back and forth with each other. Luckily, we have the same taste in reading. In past years we’ve read some incredible books on vacation, such as “Boys In The Boat”, “Big Little Lies”, and "All The Light We Cannot See” to name a few. We will even include some books that we have already read just because we love to read them over and over again. For me that book would be “Wuthering Heights” and for Vince, he loves reading “The Right Stuff”.
So for this year’s choices, I thought we would do a review of the books we have just recently read. This is the first time I’ve ever written a book review. So bear with me on this, it’s definitely my opinion. Vince and I really do have such similar taste that we even agreed on ranking them! So here we go!
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
One of my most favorite feelings is when I start a new book and I'm immediately hooked on the first page. Oh my God, I love that feeling!! That’s how it was with when I started reading “An American Marriage”. First, it is so beautifully written, Vince and I, both found it really hard to put down.
The book is told from the perspective of the three main characters, the wife, Celestial, the husband, Roy, and their friend, Andre. Celestial and Roy are a newly married African American couple living the American Dream in Atlanta. He is an upwardly mobile executive and she is an artist right at the beginning of what looks to be an amazing career. Their perfect life is suddenly destroyed by circumstances beyond their control. While on a visit to Roy’s parents in Louisiana, he is wrongly accused of a crime and sentenced to 12 years in jail. This is not a story about prison specifically. It is more a story of how they as a couple, deal with this devastating situation. While Roy is in prison we see their relationship only through the letters they send to each other, and how those letters change over the years.
The characters in this story are real. So real that they are all the things that make someone human. No one is perfect in this story. At different points, I found myself so angry at each character and then just in tears for them at other times.
I must say the parents of Roy and Celestial were probably my favorite characters. What they brought to the story was the love parents have for their children and the sacrifices they were more than willing to make to ensure a better life for them. At one point I had to put the book down and grab a box of tissues and pull myself together. So did Vince. Don’t tell him I told you.
The book is an honest look at race and class in America, but also at the heart of it a book about love, marriage, and family. Vince and I both agree this is one of our favorite books of all time.
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
To start off I just saw that this book is being made into a limited series on Hulu starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I’m deceased!!! You know if Reese is involved then it's going to be good!
The book takes place in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, where everything is planned out perfectly. The colors of the homes, the charming roads, and the successful, all-American families. Think of Stepford, the fictional town in the book "The Stepford Wives" (the 1970’s version). The major difference here is that women are not weak, pretty robots!
By far the leader of this community is Elena Richardson, perfect mother, and wife of four children and a successful lawyer husband. She is also a journalist for the local paper. She lives by the rules, and you better believe, she wants everyone else to do the same.
Then Mia Warren enters into this community, who is a bohemian artist with a teenage daughter Pearl. The Richardson’s have a rental property and Mia and Pearl become their tenants.
The Richardson’s have four children, as I've said which includes, 2 boys, and 2 girls. The girls are completely different from each other, the oldest, a senior in high school is smart, popular, beautiful and excels at whatever she does. Her sister Izzy is the exact opposite. Combat boots and flannel shirts are her go to and she constantly is at odds with her Mother and any authority figure at school. Izzy was definitely my favorite, a real hoot but also the soul of this book.
The younger son meets Pearl and is crazy about her. He finally brings her to his home where she meets his siblings (she kind of goes crazy for the older brother, who of course is the jock in the family) and Elena, his mother.
When she sees their home and how beautiful and warm it is, she begins to resent her own mother (Mia) and their lifestyle. Since she was little they only stayed in an area for a short period of time until they left everything behind, took off in the VW Bug and started all over again somewhere else. She sees Elena as the type of mother that she wishes she had. Dinner on the table every night, constant attention to the kids and that feeling of home that she never has had.
The Richardson children begin to wish that Mia was their mother when she comes to work as a housekeeper and cook a few days each week. She is not held down by rules, is more forgiving and not judgemental. She is a free spirit who is open and more than willing to help Izzy fight back against the status quo at school. She is also there to give comfort and understanding to Izzy’s older sister, Lexi when she knows that her own mother would not be there for her.
When friends of the Richardson’s adopt a Chinese baby that was left abandoned by the mother, a custody battle occurs that pits Elena and Mia on opposite sides. This leads to the heart of the story and how both of these women will fight for what they believe in and try to keep secrets that they’ve been holding on to for a very long time.
We both loved this book, the characters being so thoughtfully written. Just when you think you have them all figured out they change, they are multi-dimensional and that’s what makes this a compelling read.
The Woman In The Window, by A. J. Finn
OK, let me just get this off my mind and then I can go on and tell you how much we enjoyed this book. Here’s the deal, why does every thriller with some twists and turns have to be compared with "Gone Girl". Honestly, I loved that book, but please can they stop comparing every thriller to "Gone Girl"! Thanks, I’m done now.
To start, let me just say that if you enjoy a good Alfred Hitchcock film you’ll love this book. The central character is Anna Fox, a child psychologist who lives alone and is severely afflicted with Agoraphobia. She is a recluse in her home who cannot venture outside because of her fear of open spaces. She no longer lives with her husband and daughter but talks with them daily.
Her days are made up of drinking too much red wine, always mixed with her medications, and dreaming about happier times. She watches old black and white movies, the Hitchcock flicks being her favorites. Caring for her constant companion, her cat Punch. She plays chess online and also gives counseling advice to an online community. She also loves spying on her neighbors.
When a new couple with a teenage son moves in across the way, she becomes fascinated with them. One evening while watching them with the zoom lens of her camera she sees something horrible take place. Or did she?
I’m not going to get into any fine details of the book. This would give too much away. But because of how she lives her life, drinking heavily and abusing her medications and the mental issues she deals with we are left to wonder if she is hallucinating or if the things she claims are real.
We both thought this book was a great read. We got caught up in the twists and turns that the book took you on and right up to the end still did not have anything figured out. It keeps you interested and dying to find out what made Anna the person she is. What happened in her life? It’s much more complex than an old B&W movie.
Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
Disclaimer: I did not read this book but Vince did. I’ll tell you why when I get to our last book on the list. So let me tell you how Vince explained this to me.
First, he said it was a fast read and that it was good for something to pass the time. His major complaint was that it was incredibly predictable right from the beginning. There is no climax because everything was so obvious.
Once again it was compared to "Gone Girl" and "The Girl on the Train" (help me!!!).
The fifteen-year-old daughter of the central character goes missing after she leaves their home for a quick trip to the library, just blocks away. The book then takes you forward in time to 10 years later. The story then focuses on the aftermath of this loss and how the mother is dealing with her daughter missing for so long, along with her marriage breaking up. This is where Vince said things got really predictable along with being farfetched.
So I’m going to leave it at that. I think it’s sometimes so hard to get into an average book when you just get done reading some incredible books that you become so invested in.
Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
So let me start by saying that this book was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018. I’m not going to lie, it was certainly one of the reasons I bought it, as well as the reviews that said it was insanely funny. All sounds great, right?
So to start off, Vince read this as his first book, while I was reading "An American Marriage". When I finished my book he was still working on this and was only about a quarter of the way through. He told me he just could not get into it. So he started reading the book I just finished and I started on "Less".
I had such high hopes. I was like, "bring on the laughs, let’s see what all the hype is about, this is going to be a great read!"
Three days later and I’m still on page 30, pushing myself to keep reading, it has to get better. Well, it didn’t. After a few more days I put it down and started on something else, determined to go back and finish before the end of our vacation.
So here’s the story. Arthur Less is a struggling (failed) novelist getting ready to turn fifty. His boyfriend of the past 9 years has left him and is engaged to someone else. To avoid the wedding he accepts a number of lesser-known literary events that he has been invited to around the world.
So what happens?!? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Less goes to NYC, nothing happens. Less goes to Paris, nothing happens. Less goes to Morocco, yeah you guessed it. Nothing. Happens. A writer travels the world and nothing happens.
The character of Arthur Less is so unappealing with really nothing interesting about him. He feels sorry for himself each and every page. He is constantly obsessed with turning fifty (like really? 50??) and just feeling bad for himself because of his poor love life. Which, by the way, he did nothing to make better.
It was very hard to feel anything for the main character. There was just nothing that pulled me in to want to root for him.
So after I finished my second book, I went back to Less. To give it another try. I had to. I mean I have to be wrong, it won the Pulitzer for God’s sake. But "Less" was still less than what I hoped for (pun intended). The book itself makes a really bad pun for its last sentence, like really Pulitzer committee??
So no, I never finished the book completely. It did stop me from being able to keep up with Vince and read the previous book. I did read ahead just to see what the heck happened to Less. I could not believe how predictable the ending was.
By the way, I never once laughed out loud like the reviews promised I would. I was so looking forward to that.
Well, here you go! My first book review! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you have any really good books that are a must read for this summer please let me know! I'm always looking for the next book to get caught up in. Hope you enjoy.
What's the easiest thing that you can do to look fantastic? The answer is a great SMILE! It really is that simple. Having a beautiful smile changes your whole face and invites people to be around you. When you have a pearly white smile you exude happiness and confidence. As the lovely and talented Marilyn Monroe once said, “A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear”.
But here's the thing, as we go through life your teeth can become stained or a bit yellow. There are many reasons for this such as medications, food, wine or poor oral hygiene. Sad to say age also plays a role in yellowish looking teeth. There are a lot of reasons for this dilemma but the important thing is that there are so many products out there that can easily fix this problem.
There are a ton of ads on social media and TV promoting various kinds of devices or products to help whiten your teeth. So, what’s the problem you might ask? Most of the products or devices advertised either don’t work or they can actually be harmful to your teeth. For example, one product that kept popping up on my Instagram Explore page was this black charcoal looking paste or powder which you brushed your teeth with. First, that just seems messy and gross, also I would assume that rubbing charcoal powder on your teeth cannot feel good. I haven’t tried that trend myself. So I can’t knock it completely and say it doesn’t work. All I can give you are some of the products I have used and have made a huge difference for me.
The first time I noticed my teeth were stained was a few years back at a Phillies baseball game. My daughter and I took a selfie together and when I saw my teeth compared to hers I was like -“Wait, WHAT???!!???" Since it was such a closeup picture it was the first time I realized how sparkly white her teeth were and mine was, well, not. I got back home and started my search for the best products to get my smile looking healthy again.
Of course, you need your teeth to be healthy along with being white. In today's world, we can achieve all of these things at the same time in your own home. The products that are on the market make it so easy to have a healthy, beautiful smile. Being able to do at-home treatments saves time and money for you to be able to care for your smile while working within your busy schedule.
Here are the items that I have used for the last several years and have been able to change my teeth from dull yellow to bright white!
So the first thing you need to do is make sure you are doing everything to correctly clean your teeth properly. The first thing you can do to improve your dental health is to invest in a good toothbrush. I know this seems silly. You might think a toothbrush is a toothbrush. Also, any toothbrush you see in Rite Aid to infomercials are all “dentist recommended”. This is basically a marketing phrase that has come to mean nothing, same as “fat-free or organic foods”.
The Sonicare is the toothbrush that my personal (real life) dentist suggested I use! Specifically the “Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100” version. This electric toothbrush will remove more plaque than a manual brush and it will also let you know how long to brush for. Meaning it will shut off at the end of two minutes, which is the recommended time for thoroughly brushing your teeth. I never knew that until once again, my dentist told me. The brush is good for sensitive teeth and it lets you know if you're pressing too hard. There are so many more cool and helpful features that really takes the guesswork out of your dental hygiene.
There are other variations of the Sonicare but this is the one I've been using for some time. After looking at all of their latest versions I may think about upgrading to a newer model soon. If I do I’ll keep you posted on which one I decide to go with. I’ll do my research beforehand, so you don’t have to.
Again there are endless options for whitening toothpaste. I’ve tried a few others, but the one brand I swear by is “supersmile”. I've been using this brand for over seven years now and I must say I saw a difference immediately. I am in no way getting sponsored for this post, so I am not lying when I say that it really does work!
It was developed by a doctor for his patients in 1987 and not only will it safely help whiten your teeth but it will also improve the overall health of your teeth and gums. You know what that means, no gingivitis for you!! It comes with a whitening toothpaste along with an accelerator. You put both products on the brush at the same time. An added benefit is that the toothpaste itself tastes great, which is sometimes not the case for whitening toothpaste out there. My favorite is the Icy Mint. You can purchase this product directly on their website. They have a huge selection of products to choose from, including monthly subscriptions.
Another teeth whitening toothpaste I have been using for the last few months (and love!!) is Linhart. The Linehart toothpaste was developed by a father and son dental practice and they have been perfecting the formulation for the last 10 years. It is a family-owned company and their story is actually pretty interesting. You can read more about it on their website by clicking here. This year was actually the launch of their newest formulation which is the Linhart I use today.
I use Linhart both in the morning and at night. Along with the toothpaste I use the whitening gel, it comes with, the same as Supersmile. I switch back and forth between the two brands, but from my experience, they both work equally well. Don’t worry about using too much because you can’t overdo it with these products. It’s not the same as whitening strips where it can cause some discomfort or sensitivity after using it for a long period of time. It also tastes like peppermint which is a delightful new flavor for your senses. Mr. Stafford actually prefers the Linhart taste over the Supersmile. I enjoy both, but it’s really all about your personal preference. Linhart keeps my smile white and it’s also very good for the enamel. Overall, the results are excellent!
The only major difference between the two is that Linhart is sold in only one size. Linhart toothpaste is priced at $12 and the gel for $24. Supersmile has a much wider range of products to choose from. They have various sizes, flavors, and a few different special selection packages. I would say the prizes even themselves out since they offer just a different range. At first glance, Supersmile looks more expensive, but if you signup for a subscription package you get more bang for your buck. If you rather keep it simple and buy just one tube of toothpaste and accelerator (the gel) then Linhart is the way you should go.
Teeth whitening devices can be fun to play with and try out. They are great because it feels like you have this advanced technology right in your own home. It doesn’t hurt that they look cool as well. I’ve used “Glo Science” for many years now. Get this, I still have my original device! You just need to replace the mouthpiece every now and then. I know it seems like a lot of money to throw down on a product that only has one purpose, but believe me it pays for itself. Since I’ve had mine for a few years I know it will defiantly last. That is considering you are careful with it, of course. I assume it will break if you’re throwing it into a drawer mindlessly. Since it is a piece of technology I would suggest putting it in a safe place once you're done using it.
This will give you the same results that you can get at your dentist office. No appointments needed! Also, you won't have to deal with messy trays, which I know many people find difficult to use and from my own experience just don't work. This kit is super easy to use and comes with everything you need to get long-lasting, professional teeth whitening results at home. The wearable hands-free design lets you multitask while you whiten, shutting off automatically when each application is complete. The GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device combines the accelerating power of GLO warming heat and blue light with specially formulated hydrogen peroxide whitening gel—delivering painless teeth whitening results, in short, pre-timed, eight-minute applications. Currently, I use mine about once a month. When I first got it I definitely used it more often. Since getting my teeth to the desired whiteness once a month is perfect to keep your teeth sparkly and nice!
Now everyone knows and has heard about the Crest Whitening Teeth Strips. There has been a lot of debate for years about whether they are safe to use. The short answer is yes they are fine to use in moderation, meaning I would personally suggest using them every once and awhile. And they should be used as directed on the box. Crest 3D Whitening Strips are meant to be worn for 30 minutes.
I know one person who would wear them every night all night long, which is not safe or good for your teeth. I’m not a dentist so I can’t say if they wear away at your enamel or what chemicals they contain. All I know is that they do work.
For me, they are great to use on days when I need something quick and easy to brighten my smile. There have been many times where I'm getting ready to go out and I just want an added boost. I'll put these on while I'm doing my makeup and they are ready to come off by the time I do my lipstick. They are fast, effective and great in a pinch.
FYI, I did not use these to get my smile to the level I wanted. For that, I highly suggest the GLO Device. But once your smile is healthy and whiter, this is a great item to have when you just want to perk up the brightness. You can find these at any drug store, there are all different types, but my favorite is the Professional Effects line.
I hope you found this post was informative and helpful. Tell me some of the products that work for you if I didn't mention them. Let me know your thoughts or any questions in the comment section!
Hi All! So if you follow me on social media you know that Mr. Stafford and I were soaking up the sun in St. John for the whole month of March. Can I just say this is what retirement is meant to be. We are incredibly blessed to be able to spend so much time in such a beautiful place, but this is the reason why we worked so hard all our lives. It is pure bliss!
We've been going to this beautiful island for over 18 years and every time we arrive we fall in love with it all over again. Each time we visit we end up deciding to extend our stay for the next year just a little bit longer. We always find it so difficult when its time to leave.
I’m sure that many of you know that the island of St. John went through a devastating time in 2017. The island was hit with two large hurricanes, back to back, in September of that year. The first storm, Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, hit on September 7th and pummeled the island leaving residents without electricity, water and fuel. On September 20th, Hurricane Maria landed as a Category 5 storm and destroyed what was left.
Since tourism is their main source of income, it has been a very difficult time for the residents on the island. Some people we know left and never came back. Homes and business were destroyed and their source of income was gone. Their schools were gone. Water was in short supply and what we were told was if you had ice, you were the man. Many of the residents had evacuated to Puerto Rico and we all know what happened there. How they survived all this and kept their heads up throughout everything says so much about the kind of people who live here.
When we arrived this year, we were unsure of what to expect. But here is one of the main reasons we keep coming back to St. John - the people. What they went through and the work that is still needed across the island is unimaginable. With everything that they have dealt with in the last year and a half, you could not meet a kinder, friendlier group of people. To say they make our vacation a great experience is an understatement. They consistently go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome on this island. Most of these people worked on getting rental housing back up and running before they even started working on their own homes. The facts are that many are still without their own homes.
As you can see from the photos, it is a beautiful place to spend your time. The beaches are incredible, the food is outstanding, and the views are unreal. The quiet and peacefulness is exactly what we love about visiting St. John. It’s the perfect place to be able to get away, relax, and unplug. It’s not called “Love Island" for nothing!
In the mid-1950s Laurance Rockefeller donated his vast land holdings to the United States National Park Service. Due to this donation, 60% of the island is protected from further development. This also includes most of the beaches and coral reefs, which is another reason we love St. John so much. It’s not over-saturated, allowing the natural beauty of the island to remain as it is. The existing nature and ecosystem, which makes the island such a desired place to visit, will not be ruined by continued development. It lets you feel as if you are far away from the hustle and bustle and still having all the comforts of home.
Now, it is a chore to get from where we live in Vermont to basically anywhere, but St. John is quite the adventure. Our travel includes catching two planes, three shuttle rides, and even a water taxi to get to our final destination. Once we reach the actual island of St. John we then have to get our rental car and drive up the winding roads to get to our home.
Needless to say, this makes for a long travel day and that's only if you end up making every connection. Which this year, we did not do. Honestly, it seems like every year we deal with some kind of delay or change in plans. Everyone in our family says I jinx it by stressing too much. Note to self, you have no control over this. So I need to stop stressing about it. I need to try that next year.
This year really was the winner though for our most difficult experience of getting to St. John. To start, we woke up at 2 AM to drive an hour to Burlington to catch our first flight at 6 AM. The plane was delayed because a flight attendant called out sick. Which was okay, that kind of thing happens all the time. No big deal, right? This meant we could not catch our connecting flight in Charlotte, NC, so we had to spend the night, which was fine. We booked a hotel room, had a nice dinner and went to sleep early. The following day we woke up well rested for our flight to St. Thomas. Everything was going great, we boarded our plane and then we were told that due to mechanical problems with the plane everyone had to get off! So we were delayed another six hours while they found a new plane with a new crew. At this point, we were like “come on, really!” Once we landed we had to take a taxi to our water taxi. It was now 10 PM. So off we go in the boat, in the dark and in very rough seas. I was holding on for dear life. Finally, when we arrived our rental car wasn’t there, so we had to hunt down our driver who was so kind and stayed working so late to take care of us. By the time we got to our house, it was close to midnight. What a trip! It took us about 42 hours to get there, but no one said getting to paradise was easy!
Once we arrived Vince and I popped a bottle of champagne took in the warm island breeze and enjoyed that fresh ocean smell. Then we slept for about 10 hours!
Our winters are extremely long and very cold in Vermont. So by the time March rolls around, we are more than ready to leave the frigid cold of the East Coast and head somewhere warm and sunny. St. John is that place for us, and the strenuous travel is all worth it once we get there!
So our days were filled with early mornins at the beach, Trunk Bay being one of our favorite this year. Getting there at 8:30 AM and having that beautiful beach all to ourselves was amazing. Lazy mornings were filled with swimming in that magnificent ocean, reading, walking the beach and just relaxing. If you are able to wake up early that is the best time for the beach. You feel as if you are on your own private island. I know waking up on vacation is not what most people like to do, but that’s why God invented naps, which we did a lot. That sun and relaxing beach smell just puts you right to sleep.
Maho Bay is the beach we normally would go to in previous years. This year when we got our first look, we couldn’t believe the destruction. All of the lush greenery and foliage that were on the beach was completely gone. The beautiful palm trees that hung over the beach were no more. It was heartbreaking. This beach is wonderful for snorkeling with turtles and the water is shallow and calm. It’s also one of the favorite beaches for the locals. Hopefully next year Maho will be looking healthier.
Driving in St. John is, well, different. They drive on the left side of the road and that can be tricky to get use to. Also, all roads are one way in each direction and they can be quite narrow and very hilly. I'm just going to say it, Vince does all the driving!
Having time alone is so important for us. No phones, no TV, and just a few good books that we passed back and forth was all we needed. When we vacation, we're not the type that plans activities each day and just go, go, go. We like to relax, take each day as it comes and just go with the flow. We both like to come home from vacation well rested and ready to get back to the all that needs doing in the real world!
Now for the food. Obviously there is an abundance of fresh fish. This year we went out for lunch/dinner more often than we usually do. We found three restaurants that we fell in love with, each with their own special style. I'll put the links for these restaurants below. This year from what we were told, those living and working on the island were very surprised and incredibly happy with the amount of tourist that arrived. That being the case, I don't think the food markets were ready for the crowd. As soon as food was stacked on the shelves, it was gone just as fast. This made us try more local restaurants and we were so happy that we did. Here are a few of our favorites places to dine.
First, the Greengos Cantina was by far our favorite restaurants. It was great for a late lunch after spending the morning at the beach. It also has outdoor seating and is in a central location with parking, which is hard to come by in St. John. Yes, the food was to die for! So fresh, so good, it was fabulous! The freshest nachos, the tastiest shrimp tacos, and Cadillac Margaritas were our go to. I also highly recommend their MexicanStreet Corn, Mango Chili Shrimp, and their freshly made guacamole & salsa. I’m not exaggerating when I say we ate there almost daily. It was that good. Honestly, I could go for that shrimp taco right about now!
The Extra Virgin Bistro was another spot that we enjoyed several times on this trip. With an Italian menu and their own roof top garden this was a wonderful place to spend a few hours and enjoy some incredible food. The “catch of the day” was often our first choice to order. Their crab cakes and appetizers were also wonderful. I'm so hungry right now!
The Terrace restaurant was another one of our favorites. The location is stunning and outdoor seating gives you some of the best views and sunsets you could ask for. This is a French influenced restaurant and again, fish was in abundance on the menu. Whatever the daily catch was, that's what we ordered.
So where do we stay in St. John? Right now a few of the larger resorts are still closed or just partially open. Caneel Bay is unfortunately still very devastated. The Westin is open but they are still doing construction and maintenance from the storm.
We have always rented a home through a company called “Catered To”. They have a great selection of villas for rent. They have been in this business for a long time, so they know how to make our stay very easy and special! There is nothing too small or too big for them to take care of. Tyler, who owns “Catered To” and his staff are incredible. Their company name is perfect because they really do cater to your every need. They can setup a chef made a meal delivery service. You can request certain meals you want before you arrive and they will bring it right to your house. Meals are freshly made and well prepared just for you. It is nowhere close to takeout. They can also stock your refrigerator with food for your arrival, which came in very handy this year! Since we have used “Catered To” for planning all of our trips to St. John for the past 18 years, it feels like going home and seeing family.
St. John is one of the most amazing places to visit. But even with all this beauty, sunshine, relaxation, and great people we are always homesick toward the end of vacation. That's a good thing though! Paradise is wonderful, but eventually home is where you want to be. We missed our dog Buddy, sleeping in our own bed, and our girls. But mostly, we missed Buddy!
Like Dorothy Gale says "There's no place like home".