Why I Went Back to Belize

So, there is the obvious answer- one of my very best friends had her wedding down here and asked me to be her Maid of Honor.  But, when I found out I would be going back to Belize, I was excited for more than just the wedding, and God knows I was pretty pumped for that.

Belize is a small Central American country wedged beneath Mexico and beside Guatemala. Only about 300,000 people live in the entire country. A country that has stretches of jungle, beach, and city. Belize became an independent country in 1981, and English is the official language. It is a great destination for anyone look for a barefoot adventure where you will soak up lots of sun and delicious local food.

I came back to Caye Caulker, Belize to interact with the people, because they are incredibly friendly and accommodating to tourists. They love nothing more than to share their culture, and tiny piece of paradise. There was Kenny who runs the Caye Caulker animal shelter. He wanted nothing more than to talk to us and share about the work he does with the several dozen animals he tends to at his shelter. There was Gian, a snorkel-guide who was born and raised on the island. He seemed surprised to know I’d be interested in feeding the sharks and not too grossed out to break up the raw sardines with my bare hands. When in Rome, right? There was Jessie, the ex-pat from Indiana who started a small café and donations-only yoga studio on the island. There was Charlene, formerly a Los Angeles girl, now living the island-life. She took my friend and her family out on an informal spear-fishing adventure. We grilled the fish back at the inn where we stayed. She cooked up all the sides and ate, drank, and talked with us until late into the night. There was Rachel, my friend’s amazing wedding planner who made sure her day was nothing short of perfect. Rachel runs her business, Signature Belize Weddings, and WOW can that girl plan a terrific event. There was the man who played several different instruments during the wedding ceremony. No jokes, this man went from conch shell to flute to guitar.  There was DJ Chris who spun a ridiculously eclectic bunch of music during the wedding reception. There was the guy who helped us carry a 65lbs bag of dog food from the market to the animal shelter on the opposite side of the island. There were the countless people we passed on the street who smiled and waved each day as we wandered around the island.

I came back to Belize for the animals- the seahorses, swimming with the sharks, the sting-rays, the tropical toucans, and even the crocodile that lived in the waters not too far from where we swam. Don’t even get me started on the stray cats and dogs. They are everywhere, and the happiest strays I’ve ever seen. Well-fed and tended to by the locals.

I came back to Belize for the food. Every meal was authentic and delicious- from the whole grilled snapper I devoured to the fryjacks I inhaled  as a snack. The food on Caye Caulker has Carribbean influence with its own unique twist.

I came back to Belize, because I could truly unplug from the world for a few days, and that was really nice. (Don’t worry, there was WiFi nearly everywhere we went.) Nothing beats watching the sunset with a Belikin in hand and your friends swimming by your side.

Kenny runs the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter
Lindsay and John’s amazing ceremony site- the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins (about an hour and half north of Belize City)

New Canaan’s Top Spots for Cocktails

Thank you to Suburban Jungle for sponsoring this post.

If you’ve never been to New Canaan, you may have heard that it’s a “beautiful, but sleepy New York City suburb”. While most places do close by 11pm, New Canaan is anything but sleepy. Whenever we have friends visit, one thing is consistent- they’re always in awe of how many restaurants there are in such a small town. There is no better pastime than grabbing a drink and having some ‘girl time.’ My girlfriends and I often opt for places in downtown New Canaan to satisfy our cravings for an evening libation- or two. Now let’s get to the good stuff- where can a gal grab a drink in this town?

Baldanza Cafe recently relocated to 129 Elm Street, and the space is gorgeous- wine bottles and large canvas paintings adorn the walls in this bright, open space. Let’s talk about the drinks that bartenders, Tyler and Chnoo, whipped up. They were nothing short of works of art. If you visit during the week, Baldanza Cafe has Happy Hour Specials and a small bites menu. My friend, Lindsay, couldn’t stop raving about the ‘Sriracha Hot Chili Margarita’. The ‘Hibiscus Fizz’ is more up my alley- Saint Germaine, Prosecco, and a hibiscus flower. (All the pictures in this post were taken inside Baldanza)

Hashi Sushi opened its doors last year, and it’s been one of our favorite spots for date night. Hashi has also quickly become one of my favorite spots to visit with my girls, too. Several months ago, I visited for a cocktail and sushi with one of my friends, Jenna. The bar is quiet, and their wine list is rather extensive.

I can’t mention great spots to grab drinks without talking about Cherry Street East Cafe. Self-described as an ‘unpretentious neighborhood institution serving classic American fare & beer in a converted house.’ That completely sums it up! If you’re looking for a casual spot to hide away, drink, and talk- this is the perfect spot.

Cava Wine Bar is another favorite. Their ‘wines by the glass’ list is very extensive, and their food is great. Whether you’re opting for seared salmon on a salad or a decadent wood-fire pizza, you won’t be disappointed. Fun fact, Chef Nube is an incredibly hard-working and sweet person. You can read more about her amazing story here.

Special thanks to these sweet friends for joining in on the fun- Lindsay Brown, Shamika Pandit, and Helen Phillips. Tyler Moss, thank you for having us at Baldanza.

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