If you are not redirected automatically, follow the link to Gretchen, In-Between family vacation | Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on May 31, 2012 in Dear Diary | 15 comments

Out with a Bang

O hai, final day in May! You kinda snuck up on me there. This month has seriously been a complete whirlwind, with some seriously cool things having filled my schedule (the Chobani dinner and — have you heard me mention it enough yet? — Reach the Beach in particular come to mind!). Last night I got to finish off the month with a delightful performance of The Music Man at the Arena Stage in DC.

76 trombones led the big parade…

I’d never been to this theatre before, but it was a pretty cool concept! It really was set up like an arena, with the audience sitting on all four sides of the small stage in the middle. It definitely meant that there was some creative staging, although I’ll admit that having the actor’s backs turned to us some of the time wasn’t totally ideal. I thought the actress who played Marian was quite spectacular, but while the actor who played Professor Harold Hill definitely captured the spirit of the character, well, he was just no Robert Preston.


Of course, prior to finishing out the month of May with a flourish of Prof. Hill’s conductor’s baton, there was other thing that took up a rather large chunk of my time. You know, that laying on the beach drinking highly caloric frozen cocktails thing. That St. Maarten thing. And I know that I’ve already given you a snippet of the photos that I managed to take myself (though few and far between they were, relatively), but my glorious photog brother Ben and his fiancee Taylor have officially finished editing their multitude of photos… and you know what that means!

I feel it should be noted that I did, after all, manage to fake enough bikini confidence to brave four of the five days in one. And for those of you who may be curious, every single one of my bathing suits came from Old Navy (though the hot pink bikini is probably the only one that is still in stores). LET THE PHOTO OVERLOAD COMMENCE! (All photo cred goes to Ben Powell Photography.)

My mom, my sister, and I playing around the hotel pool.

We stayed at the Summit on the Dutch side of the island. It’s really close to the American University of the Caribbean, so we’d actually stayed here before when visiting Dan and Jen while he was in school. (My family spent Christmas 2008 in St. Maarten, and I also returned the following March for Spring Break my senior year.)

There was the cutest pair of Frenchies that belonged to the owner of the hotel’s restaurant, “Deep Bleu”! They kept us company during a few of our lunches. One of them had that amazing ugly-cute messed-up teeth/hanging out tongue thing that some smooshy-faced dogs get. Totes adorbs.

We spent most of our time lounging around the pool that first day, but made a late afternoon jaunt over to Mullet Bay, the closest (and best!) beach to where we were staying.

It didn’t take long for all of to hop into the water, which was delightfully temperate. I love bobbing around and jumping in the waves, it’s so much fun! It took all of one wave to knock my mama over, haha. She’s so cute. 🙂

Salty, sandy, and already freckled!

The hilarious thing about this shot is that it wasn’t even staged. We were really all standing like this, haha.

After we got cleaned up from our beach adventures, we headed out to a local restaurant called The Boathouse for dins. I vaguely remember having come here before. I got mussels, which were okay, and a guavaberry colada which was delicious. Making and selling guavaberry liquor is one of the only non-tourism related streams of revenue for the island!


Note to self: bring a fellow female who is taller than 5’2″ on your next vacation so you won’t feel so awkwardly ginormous in pictures like this.

There may or may not have been karaoke during dinner. Heh.

After a full day in the sun and a filling meal, I was way too wiped out to go out or anything that night. In hindsight, this was probably a very smart decision, since my sister and her hubby both met some of their med school friends at a nightclub and were not in the best shape the next morning, bahaha. I think I was fast asleep by 10:00, and I didn’t wake up once during the night, which is rare for me (I’m a very restless sleeper most of the time). Comments like this tend to make people hate me, but it really is true that laying around in the sun all day takes it out of you. Must be all that Vitamin D creation, eh?

Overview of Marigot from the fort

The next morning our group ventured into Marigot, a little… town… area… place? over on the French side. It boasts St. Maarten’s only indoor shopping mall (about 1/16th the size of Tysons Corner, haha) which is filled with very expensive stores. It also has a WONDERFUL French bakery called Serafina’s, where I procured a small salmon quiche and a bite of everyone else’s croissants, hehe. This is also the place where I got the Harry & Daxter chocolates that I mentioned in my other post.

Marigot also has the big outdoor souvenir market where you can buy anything from dresses and handbags to paintings, jars full of sand, and rum. Oh, the rum. My wallet is rather glad that I abstained, since my past trips to St. Maarten had me coming back with all sorts of trinkets, but it was still fun to walk around. After we wrapped up in Marigot, we dropped the ‘rents back at the hotel and us “kids” went over to Baie Rouge. No pictures of that particular beach seem to have made it through the ringer, but rest assured it was very fun!

Later that day, in the early evening, I also went to help take Ben and Taylor’s engagement pictures back at Mullet. There’s nothing quite like that sunset lighting, I tell ya. I can’t wait until they’re done editing all of them, some of them came out really cool. Here’s one little teaser:

Can you believe I took that? Sure, it was with Ben’s amazing 5D Mark III, his amazing lens, and with his specific tutelage, but still. I’m quite proud!

The following day was spent at Orient Bay, arguably one of the most popular tourist beaches on the island. They have a great setup where waiters come out to your beach chairs and bring you drinks, food, whatever! I tried to ask our server if they had coconut water, since down there you can sometimes find vendors who will just pop a straw into a young coconut and hand it over, but he said sorry, he took the last one! I settled for another BBC instead.

Me and my “big” sister, hehe.

Our final full day in St. Maarten was spent with a final trip to Mullet Bay, cocktails by the pool afterward, and a full-scale family photoshoot. (Oh come on, would you really expect anything less?

Aside from missing my pops, who is in Africa right now on a work trip, this is the entire combined Powell & Robinson gang (including one future Powell, of course!).

And just the polka-dot-tastic Powells, hehe.

We spent our final hours on the island at Sunset Beach, which is the beach right in front of the airport. You can see the planes coming in right overhead, and if you’re not careful where you’re standing when the planes take off, you can get sandblasted right into the water!! I took another couple of shots of Ben and Taylor underneath an incoming 747, so hopefully one of them came out and I can show just how close the planes fly in. It’s super cool!

Okay. Phew. I think that just about covers it. For those of you who have made it to the end, I commend you. What a month, eh? I hope you all had a May that was as incredible as mine! Bring it on, June. 🙂

Read More

Posted on May 29, 2012 in Dear Diary | 19 comments

Scenes from St. Maarten

Oh hai!

I’m officially back (physically, at least) from the sunny shores of St. Maarten and am rapidly readjusting to life in the real world. I’m feeling fairly anxious about all of the work I have lying in front of me, but I’m trying not to crumble under the self-induced pressure. I think I needed to bring a little more of that island mentality back with me, eh?

At any rate, here are a few snapshots of my family vacation. The main reason for going down was to attend my brother-in-law’s medical school graduation (he attended the American University in the Caribbean!), so when you see him dressed in an awesome and hilarious robe, that’s the reason why. I’m still editing a bunch of photos, and Ben took the majority of them (I got to be the photographer for Taylor and his engagement shoot on the beach!), so prepare yourself for even more photo overload as the week goes on!

The view from the balcony of my room. I know.

The poolside bar.

My sister Jenny, lounging; the most amazing frozen cocktail ever: The B.B.C. (Bailey’s, banana, & coconut)

Jenny & Dan, his parents, and my mom at his graduation.


I missed Harry & Daxter so much that I picked up chocolate versions of them at a fancy chocolatier in Marigot. Harry was filled with peanut butter and Daxter was filled with chocolate ganache and POP ROCKS. 😀



My “big” sister, my cleavage, and me hanging out at Mullet Bay.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Here’s to short weeks and shorter workloads… in my dreams. See ya on the flipside!

Read More

Posted on Jan 16, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 0 comments

I’m back, baby!

Why, hello there strangers!

Where to?

Yes, it’s me, finally back from cruise-paradise (sigh) but still in Miami immersed in general vacation-ness for the next day or so (yay!!) Considering the epicness of this vacation, and the MASSIVE amount of photos I took (and thus have to sift through) I thought it would be easiest for all of us if I just took this immense cruise-related posting-fest day by day… hope you’re okay with that!

Unfortunately I can’t give you what I know you’re all really waiting for — my cruise weigh-in. No access to a scale yet! Sorry! But this is probably a good thing in reality. Gives me a couple of days of potential bounceback… though it probably won’t do much. As you will certainly be seeing, I ate a LOT on this cruise! And while I’m pretty much limiting the upcoming photo onslaught just to my DINNERs, you should know that this is me forewarning you, haha! It was kind of the most amazing vacation ever, though, no lie. Well, you know, in my opinion. 🙂

Bienvenido a Miami!

We left out of Miami, and I really tried to be at least SOMEWHAT active throughout the cruise. The bro, sis, and I took the stairs most of the time (though I called veto on stairs when more than 10 floors were involved.) It was good for the fitness aspect, obviously, but it was also just FASTER to take the stairs, frankly! Not that I have any complaints about the cruise, really, but it was just full of a lot of slower, older people who didn’t like taking the stairs, haha. Thus, elevator rides were pretty time consuming. And we had no time to waste!

I actually did manage to make it to the gym quite a few times throughout the cruise, too… having Jen there to make feel guilty about not going really worked, haha!


The gym on board was actually pretty sweet (although really crowded each morning! I guess that’s a good thing, though… haha.) The treadmills all lined the windows, so it was like you were running straight into the ocean, and there was a wide variety of cardio and weight machines throughout the floor. They had a bunch of fitness classes and stuff you could take (and pay an extra fee for) but I obviously passed on those, and just kicked it old school: cardio, strength, abs. Boo-yah.

Alright, enough of that… time to get down to some details about the cruise in general!


The Celebrity Eclipse was a BEAUTIFUL ship. It’s still pretty much brand spankin’ new — made its maiden voyage in May 2010 — and you can really tell! Further posts in this “series”, as I’m officially labeling it, will detail what we did (and what I ate… oh em gee there was so much eating…) but for now I’ll just take you on a small photo tour of the ship (from the blown glass show to the real grass lawn on deck, there were so many details I fell in love with!):

A little cabana.
Have a sip or two.
Let's go for a dip!

My family (mom, dad, sis, and bro) met up with my aunt, uncle, and cousin and some family friends for the cruise itself. It was great having a big party at dinner, but still being able to all do our own thing throughout the day!

Lawn. At Sea. ?

Let me just say this, first: I seriously apologize if there are any tones of braggery, conceitedness or general superiority during these posts, by the way. I honestly don’t intend it at all, it was just such an awesome experience I need to relive it all by posting about it in excruciating detail, hahaha. I wish you could have all been there with me anyway, so this is the closest thing to that!


Ok, I’ll cut things off here for now. I’m sure you will VERY RAPIDLY become totally cruised-out, so I’ll try to keep things short (HA!) and sweet. Get ready for some sweeeeet posts comin’ up… everything from swimming with stingrays to climbing Mayan ruins, and more! 🙂

Read More