The Basic Girl’s Guide to Tropical Storms

The Basic Girl’s Guide to Tropical Storms

Nothing says welcome back to Cayman like back to back tropical storms! I wasn’t even out of quarantine when Tropical Storm Grace pummeled her way through the island and now, just 9 days later, it’s time for tropical storm Ida. All of this Mother Nature turmoil has me feeling like a seasoned islander, but let’s be honest…my survival skills are probably on par with that of a first year Girl Scout. (They’re called Daisies). That being said, if you actually earned all of your badges in girls scouts (or are looking for truly pertinent storm information) then just stop reading here. If you’re a basic girl like ME who generally underestimates weather and thinks it’s all going to be A-OK, then this is the article for YOU. Read on as I unload some ill-advised tropical storm guidance for all you basic girls.

(For factual, helpful information visit Cayman Resident :))

Don’t you dare call it a hurricane

For whatever reason, this distinction (or lack thereof) seems to stir up some controversy. To stay on the safe side, just refer to it as a ‘storm’ and that way you don’t ruffle any feathers with those who get rather defensive around the labeling of natural phenomena.

Prepare for supermarket MAYHEM

I haven’t seen so many people out shopping since Black Friday in the states or Lake Delton Walmart in the summertime. It’s anxiety-inducing is what it is. My first thought is, “what in the world are these people buying?” And my second is, “Should I be buying something right now?” I was at Hurley’s during this madness and people had LOADED shopping carts overflowing with god knows what and I was standing in line holding one pathetic salad, struggling to get the stupid lid to snap into place. I flounced off to my scooter and stored it under the seat, watching as people loaded bags and bags into their SUVs. I’ve never felt more out of the loop. All this to say that if you have the essentials at home, then avoid the supermarkets at all cost. They will make you basic girls question your decision making abilities.

tropical storm

Avoid riding a moped if possible

I never paid attention to “knots” in the weather forecast before purchasing a scooter, but let me tell you, that shit will ruin you. The wind speeds start to pick up long before the storm makes landfall and Esterly Tibbits is not a fun place to be when that happens. There is nothing that makes me question my sanity like driving 10 miles under the speed limit in the shoulder, drinking in the stench from the dump. If you are like me and scootering is legit your only form of transportation, then just take it slow and steady. And if someone has the GALL to honk at you or throw a dirty look your way just tell them to f*ck off. (I’ve never done that but I could be compelled.)


The Essentials”: Snacks, wine, rock n’ roll

I get there are families out there who trying to plan for children and relatives, but that’s not us. We are basic girls and we just need to worry about ourselves. That being said, tropical storms are a time to kick back and open up a bottle of biodynamic Rioja and unearth your Lindor truffles from the freezer. (I say unearth as if I had forgotten about them. I knew exactly where they were.) Since the power is out and chances are you’re too basic to have a gas range, you’re gonna want to stock up on snacks. But if you only have wine then that will do just fine.

storm essentials

Don’t let yourself be bored even for a second

The power is likely to go out and you are not going to be sitting there twiddling your thumbs like a loser. Absolutely not. A tropical storm calls for preparation. You should be charging every single device you own and downloading movies to your laptop, preferably those featuring Bradley Cooper or maybe a young Tom Cruise. Also, if you’re an intellectual basic girl (I am) then you’ll want some books on deck. I recommend one romance, one literary classic, and probably a self-help book because let’s face it, we’ll probably encounter an existential crisis amidst the power outage. Stuck with our own thoughts…talk about terrifying.

Post about it, obvi

This is content you do not want to miss out on. Join the bandwagon with every single expat in Cayman and throw up a screen shot of the storm tracker for your Instagram. It is the basic thing to do after all.

When in doubt, just read the Women of Cayman threads

If you’re not refreshing the Women of Cayman Facebook page every 10 minutes then you are SEVERELY uninformed. (And missing out on unrivaled entertainment). Just be careful if you decide to ask a question on there as it is highly likely that your innocent inquiry will offend someone. One poor lady asked where she could get some coffee the morning after a storm and the Women CAME for her. Basically accusing her of not caring about the safety of the Starbucks baristas. I mean… the disregard, Karen.

Pretend like you are about to hydrate but then just stick to wine

There is a chance you could be without water so you should probably do something about that. I fill up a bunch of random water bottles and line them up neatly in the fridge like an elite athlete preparing for competition. Last storm I didn’t even touch them. They just sat there mocking me like, “are you gonna drink us or what?” I’ve heard of people filling up their bath tubs but something about that creeps me out. I watched too many horror movies as a child. I feel like I’m going to walk in the bathroom and find a scary woman lounging in the tub. Sorry, didn’t mean to unload my unresolved childhood trauma on you.

Discover a new use for candles

Somewhat of a revelation, we are realizing that candles are actually good for more than just ambience and pleasant aromas. Shame there isn’t a Bath and Body works in Cayman. Besides their obvious illuminating properties, they are also being used by the Women of Cayman for heating up food and water. They dedicated an entire thread to the versatility of tea lights. I haven’t tried this cooking method because it seems like a lot of work when cocoa pebbles are readily available. I enjoy candles until midnight-ish and then I just find them eerie. Power outages make me feel like Nicole Kidman in the Others, nervously pacing around my apartment with a lantern in hand.

Just do you

We’ve GOT THIS, basic girls. No one can tell us that we are unprepared or naive, because we already know that. We are living our lives for us. And just remember, even if it’s a hurricane, it’s still just a tropical storm. I mean a storm. Just a bit of rain. And some extra knots. Not the garlic kind. Okay, be safe and don’t take anything I just said seriously. For real information consult Cayman Resident. 🙂

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 Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a Wisconsin native who traded her snow boots for flip-flops in May of 2020 when I packed my whole life into two suitcases and moved to the Cayman Islands with my partner, Bryan.  I created Island Diaries as a way to document my island adventures and share about the Cayman lifestyle. A Midwest girl at heart, I bring a fresh perspective to Caribbean life, serving as a guide for locals and tourists alike on all things Cayman Islands. Whether you are local to Cayman, planning to visit, or just curious about island life, I invite you to explore Island Diaries and let this site guide you on your next island adventure!

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7 Reasons Why Lake Life Beats Island Life

7 Reasons Why Lake Life Beats Island Life

Welcome to a very special edition of Island Diaries by Kate! While most of my writing thus far has revolved around island living, I am in fact, a lake girl at heart. Growing up I spent my summers in “Up North” Wisconsin at a cabin on the lake with my family. A few years ago my parents purchased an RV on the same chain of lakes and we have continued to enjoy our lake lifestyle, a la “glamping.” Because I moved to the Cayman Islands in May 2020, I missed out on our long-established lake vacation and all the activities that came with it. One positive thing that came from this absence was a fresh perspective on the Midwest experience, namely, summertime lake life.

Returning to Wisconsin this summer has been a joy-filled experience. It has allowed me to see everything as if for the first time. In writing this blog, I am not saying that Wisconsin is better than Cayman. I am simply sharing the areas in which lake life has a leg up on island life (according to me)! Keep reading to discover the 10 Reasons Why Lake Life Beats Island Life!

1. The Lake Community

Lakes are a very intimate setting, both on the water and in the surrounding neighborhoods. If you’ve ever been boating on a lake in northern Wisconsin you know it’s absolutely compulsory that at least one person wave at every single boat that goes by. Many times one person starts it and then it turns into a domino effect of waving across the water. This is also true while out for a walk or run in the lake neighborhood. Each encounter requires smiles, greetings, and without a doubt a mention of the weather forecast (good or bad). It’s not that these kinds of interactions don’t happen in the Caribbean; however, boating on the ocean is more spread out and not nearly as cozy as the lake setting. There are simply less opportunities to chat up fellow ocean lovers. This community effect is further strengthened through the honorary lake “sport” of bar-hopping. Read more below!

beer pong

2. Dive Bars

A dive bar by itself is not a particularly alluring place to visit; however, a dive bar on the lake is the crème de la crème when it comes to summertime merriment. There is something so comforting and uncomplicated about pulling up to the bar’s dock after a lazy troll around the lake. Once inside the bar, each personality gravitates to their own unique vice. There’s the closeted alcoholic who orders the Bloody Mary they’ve been fantasizing about for the past week. The wannabe DJ who whips out their juke box app and queues up enough songs for the next two hours. The overly competitive bar shark who will challenge anyone willing to a game of darts or pool. The gambler who buys 50 pull tabs and doles them out like Christmas presents. Then there’s my Mom and I who make a beeline to the quarter machine and spend the next hour completely fixated on teetering coins, oblivious to the outside world. If you spend enough time at dive bars, you’ve probably been all of these people at one point in time (or maybe all in the same day). Whatever the case, bar-hopping is a quintessential lake life activity that allows you to relax, socialize, and simply be yourself!

dive bar


3. Water Conditions

As a girl who gets seasick easily (even at paddleboard yoga) I am extremely grateful for the placid nature of lake water. In the Caribbean I have to start my sea preparations hours before getting on a boat. Dramamine, ginger tea, deep breathing, you name it. Lakes also have the obvious advantage of fresh water which is easy on the eyes and less damaging to the boats themselves. It feels so nice to jump into fresh water without having to brace for the sting of salt. One of the most beautiful phenomenons to experience on the lake is the glass water effect. The water is like a mirror; you can see the trees and clouds reflected on the surface. This is also known as prime time for water-skiers. I will talk about this more below in #4!


4. Lake Sports

While it is true that the ocean allows for a great variety of water sports (probably even more than lakes), lakes in my opinion provide a much better experience. Of course, water conditions have a lot to do with this. For example, waterskiing on the ocean is cumbersome and exhausting, requiring you to constantly adjust for the wavy surface. Lake conditions are much more conducive to an easy and graceful waterski outing. This is also true for the wake-boarders, kayakers, and the occasional paddle-boarder.

Another fun thing about lake sports is that you have an audience. At the risk of sounding conceited, it’s actually cool to have more than just your spotter watching you. Other boaters turn their heads to observe, people on the shore wave from their docks, a gaggle of geese scrambles away. It adds once again to the lake community feel. Likewise, it’s fun to watch other boats do their own sports. Unless it’s one of those horrendous surf boats putting up Poseidon level waves… (get off the lake!!!)


5. Floaties for the Win

It came as surprise to me that floaties are not all that popular in the Cayman Islands. While some stores do sell them, it is not common to see beach-goers with floaties. At the lake, floaties represent a culture in and of themselves. There are enormous flamingo floaties the size of a small cabin, 6-person floaties with drink holders and a place to dangle your feet. You may even see avocado, llama or unicorn floaties. Few things are more satisfying in this life than idly floating, face to the sun, with one leg lazily draped in the water. And of course this experience would not be complete without a drink in hand and a summer playlist in the background.


6. Cool Nights & Campfires

While it is true that campfires are somewhat of a universal pastime, Wisconsin simply provides the most ideal conditions for this quintessential summer tradition. Ever the more ideal if your set up is alongside the lake. (Ours is, hehe.) Wisconsin experiences notable temperature changes throughout the day, something I have missed desperately living in the Caribbean. Even if it’s 85 during the day, it might be 60 degrees at night (around 16 degrees celsius for my European friends.) This is sweatshirt, leggings, and baseball hat kind of weather… AKA every Midwest girl’s favorite outfit. (More about that below). These conditions invite you to throw on your favorite hoodie, huddle around the fire and roast the perfect toasty marshmallow.


7. Lake Attire

Again, I know that people all around the world like to dress casual…the Cayman Islands included. But trust me when I say that Wisconsin lake life permits a certain level of laid back that I have yet to witness in the Caribbean. As mentioned above, night time calls for sweatshirts, leggings, and baseball caps. Day time is even more low key (if that’s possible.) Alcohol-promoting tee shirts and denim shorts abound. More often than not though you’ll just see people wrapped up in beach towels or life jackets. Up North the most important summer accessory is undoubtedly your can koozie (an insulating sleeve for your canned or bottled beverage). One thing is for sure, you will never have to worry about what to wear while on the lake in Wisconsin.


Lake Life or Island Life? Which would you choose? For each one we can find points in favor and points against. Of course, when it comes to lake life in Wisconsin, we know it is fleeting. June, July, and August is our window to live it up on the lake. From my perspective, I think that is what makes it so special. We know it’s not going to last so we make the most of every opportunity. We live it to the fullest because we remember all too well what last winter felt like. Of course, if you’re really smart you’ll spend your winters in the Caribbean and summers in the Midwest… (wink, wink) 🙂 One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t trade this Wisconsin summer for anything!

Until next time! ~ “Lake” Diaries by Kate


 Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a Wisconsin native who traded her snow boots for flip-flops in May of 2020 when I packed my whole life into two suitcases and moved to the Cayman Islands with my partner, Bryan.  I created Island Diaries as a way to document my island adventures and share about the Cayman lifestyle. A Midwest girl at heart, I bring a fresh perspective to Caribbean life, serving as a guide for locals and tourists alike on all things Cayman Islands. Whether you are local to Cayman, planning to visit, or just curious about island life, I invite you to explore Island Diaries and let this site guide you on your next island adventure!

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Running The Cayman Islands Marathon

Running The Cayman Islands Marathon

What kind of crazy person gets up at 2:30 am to run a marathon on a Sunday? The answer, of course, is ME! Well, me and a thousand other Cayman residents. And although I believe the use of ‘crazy’ here is somewhat justifiable, I have to say to you, don’t knock till you try it…there may just be a method to this madness!


My Sunday did in fact start at 2:30 am. That is what time I rolled out of bed and began my race day preparations. I would be running the Intertrust Cayman Islands Half Marathon, an event I had trained for throughout all of November. I was ready — nothing could stop me! Not even the ungodly start time. 

The day before the race I stocked up with all my supplies — organic running gels and electrolyte drink mixes from Be Well Pharmacy and most importantly, coconut water (from the not-so-fancy gas station). My breakfast consisted of Ezekiel sprouted flax bread (AKA magic bread) and a fried egg. While this was being prepared I started in on my liquids — black coffee and a lemonade electrolyte drink. I know what you’re thinking…that combination would probably land you straight in the porta-potty. I know what works for me but that does not mean it will work for everyone! We must tread very lightly with our pre-race meals…

Tip: The morning before a race you want to stick to foods you KNOW you digest well…likely a familiar food in your diet. If you’re going to consume as much as I did, you need to get up early enough for your body to digest it! (2-3 hours prior to the race)

By 3:30 am I was loading up my scooter getting ready to hit the road. Under the seat I stored by race day bib along with my running belt and bag. I laced up my Asics, fastened my helmet, and eased my scooter onto the empty highway. I felt like Will Smith in I Am Legend as I cruised down a eerily silent West Bay Road en route to Georgetown waterfront…not a vehicle or pedestrian in sight.

Upon arrival at the waterfront, I was still getting ghost town vibes, but as I turned the corner toward the start line I began to hear and feel the unmistakable race day buzz as fellow runners and volunteers milled about to DJ beats. The clock counted down to 4:30 am, the official start time for all marathoners and some halfers. Despite the absence of spectators (due to COVID restrictions), everyone was in very high spirits, ready to race against the sunrise along the Ironshore. I checked the zipper of my running belt, adjusted my Bluetooth headphones, and queued up my unbeatable motivational Spotify playlist. Time to do the damn thing!

Tip: If music motivates you while running, make a playlist that lasts as long as the run itself. Give yourself a little leeway, but not much. I made mine exactly 2 hours in length. I told myself I HAD to finish in under 2 because god forbid I run without music. Song choice is everything! I choose only music that has meaning or pumps me up (ideally both).


At exactly 4:30 am our large running pack pulled away from the waterfront and started down South Church street with direction to Sound Sound. Lighting was sporadic, leaving stretches of darkness illuminated only by the starry sky. Luckily, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed the slightly cool morning air…(I’m still a Midwesterner, so cool to me means 40 degrees).

While there were no spectators allowed at the start and finish, the volunteers at the refreshment stations and the die-hards standing on the side of the road at the crack of dawn really made up for it. After a few miles of people yelling “Go Kate!” I realized that I was not as popular as I thought and that my name was printed large and bold on my race bib.

We ran all the way through South Sound, past Hurley’s, and finished the loop at the end of Old Prospect Road, actually running right past my school before hitting the halfway point. I did not think I would be a fan of back-tracking the whole course, but actually it was fun to be able to see who was leading the pack and who was following closely behind. 

If you have never taken part in an organized running event, it is something you absolutely have to attend. Either as a runner or a supporter. There is something so completely unifying about the experience. Endurance running is an activity that we have been taught to dread but  it is actually one of the most natural instincts we have as humans. It brings us back to our hunter-gatherer days when we had to chase prey over long distances without a break. While a marathon is not nearly as purposeful as what our ancestors had to do, I believe it still brings us closer to our roots and helps to eliminate social divide. As corny as it sounds, it feels so good when a random stranger cheers you on and says YOU CAN DO IT! No joke, I got goosebumps probably ten times throughout the race…the runners high is a real thing.  If you don’t believe me, go experience it for yourself! At the very least, you will get some free food and beer at the end. 


With amazing supporters, a straight fire playlist, and quite favorable running conditions, I was able to maintain my goal pace of 8:30 miles throughout the whole race, putting me in a position to break my personal best! Winding through the streets of Georgetown, under a cotton candy sunrise, I neared the finish feeling exhausted but elated. I crossed the finish and was immediately adorned with a finisher medal. Just like that, it was over!

I made a beeline for the free food, selecting without any hesitation a bag of Famous Amos cookies. Nothing ever looked as heavenly. I ate my cookies with the satisfaction that I had definitely earned them. I mingled about with some other runners and tried not to fall over. Because of COVID restrictions, we couldn’t stay at the finish for long. After snapping some pictures and finishing my snacks, I made my way back to my scooter and cruised away toward Seven Mile. I looked at my watch…it was only 7 am. 

In true Cayman fashion I went straight to the ocean after my run. The water is actually “chilly” at the moment as temperatures have dropped a bit and we are experiencing what the locals call a “Christmas Breeze.” I’ll take what I can get. Anyway, this cool water felt pretty much amazing on my muscles and joints. 

After a morning of running and swimming, I basically felt like Iron Woman. This feeling didn’t last for long as I collapsed into bed and slept for 2 hours…getting up only because we had brunch reservations at the Kimpton. 

If ever there is a day you are entitled to an overabundance of fancy food, it is following a full or half marathon. It is essentially the 21st century equivalent of catching and eating your prey after a 13 mile chase. (I am only kidding, of course.) The other girls at brunch had also run the half marathon and we took our brunching very seriously that afternoon. 

All in all, it was one of the best days I have spent here in Grand Cayman. If I haven’t convinced you to run in the next Cayman marathon…or any marathon at all…hopefully I have at least convinced you to come cheer on the runners! Or at the VERY least not call us crazy 🙂

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about running in Cayman or running in general I would be so happy to answer! 


How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

While Thanksgiving 2020 was a strange one for many around the world, it was a particularly interesting one for me as I celebrated it away from my family for the first time ever in the least thanksgiving-esque setting you can think of…the Cayman Islands. 

To be honest, Thanksgiving was not even really on my radar. Living on this island is like Groundhog’s Day in the weather department. I realize that to most people 86 and sunny every day of the week sounds pretty darn good. No need to cuss at the weatherman with a forecast like that. And of course, it IS wonderful. However, for someone who is used to extreme seasonal changes, this Groundhog’s Day vibe has me very mixed up.

The other reason Thanksgiving wasn’t totally on my radar is because it is not really celebrated here. Cayman is a British territory and we know of course that Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Whereas in Wisconsin I would have enjoyed Wednesday thru Friday of vacation, here I had to work the whole week! (Poor me).

Alas, despite my lack of seasonal awareness, I must accept that the holiday season has arrived. However strange this year may be, 2020 has taught me to stop wishing for a different reality and simply make the most of what I have. While I wish I could have celebrated Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was able to take part in the next best alternative: Friendsgiving…Cayman style!

While I have participated in a few small Friendsgivings while living in the Midwest, Cayman Friendsgiving 2020 definitely will go down as the most special and memorable one to date. What really gave it WOW factor was the amazing lady who made it possible…my good friend and fellow American, Christine! I cannot tell you how many people I have met in Cayman that I initially suspect to be American but then later find out are Canadian. (Classic mix-up). The fact that Christine “sounds American” and IS actually American (New Jerseyite to be more specific) is such a comfort to me. Not to mention she is one of the most warm, kind people you will ever meet!

Christine hosted Friendsgiving at her place on Black Friday. When I walked into her apartment the first words out of my mouth were OH. MY. GOD. I thought for a moment that I had driven myself to the Ritz Carlton by mistake. She had rented banquet tables complete with linens, table settings, lights, and candles. She lined the living room with fresh flowers and added a finishing touch with name tags at every spot. While helping her with the final details, I spotted her open excel spreadsheet complete with guest names and their respective dishes. (Yes, she is an accountant…and also basically the Martha Stewart of Cayman).

I had signed on to prepare apple crisp (to honor my family’s tradition) and an autumn salad to add some green to the line up. My autumn salad called for sweet potato, a product I KNOW they have in Cayman. However, on the particular day I went to the supermarket they informed me they did not have the AMERICAN sweet potato but they DID have the JAMAICAN sweet potato. This was a learning moment for me as I never thought of the sweet potato as being classified by country. My ALDI days did not prepare me for this. Anyway, dazed and confused I purchased the Jamaican sweet potato as recommended by the produce man. Upon cooking it, I realized it does NOT provide a pretty orange color pop, but rather has an ugly yellowish, gray-speckled color. NOT something I wanted to put in my autumn salad. So, with a sigh of defeat I decided not to add it to the salad. But upon trying it a bit later, I can report that it DOES taste a bit similar to the “American” sweet potato and is rather yummy.

ANYWAY, back to Friendsgiving. Thanks to Christine’s spreadsheet, we all prepared something a bit different and had a wonderfully delicious variety for our Thanksgiving dinner. We were greeted at the door with welcome shots which we renamed “Gobblers” as their original name was a bit too explicit for a Thanksgiving celebration. They are made from Kahlua, Irish cream liqueur, and whipped cream. This really set the tone for the evening as we mingled about among our group of 14 friends. I even got a bit crafty myself in the mini bar department (AKA the washer and dryer covered with a festive sheet), preparing my brother’s Negroni recipe for a few people to try…shoutout Chase!!

After we had finished eating we migrated to our gender role areas: the men outside on the patio smoking cigars, the women sitting on Christine’s king bed in slumber party mode. In typical Thanksgiving fashion, we were too tired to move but were very happy to be chatting away in each other’s presence. And yes, that is a cup of coffee in my hands in the picture below as that is exactly what I would be drinking after Thanksgiving dinner at home 🙂

In total, there were 14 guests representing 8 countries: USA, Spain, South Africa, Slovenia, France, China, Canada, and England. I am so grateful to have shared Friendsgiving with this amazing group of people. We were first and foremost incredibly lucky to have the freedom of getting together freely and safely due to the near non-existence of COVID on the island. I also feel very fortunate to have made such good friends in my short time living on the island. Sharing with them the sentiment of togetherness and family that Thanksgiving brings during a time when I can’t see my own family was something I will never forget.

Thank you so much to Christine and to all the other lovely people who have made Cayman feel more like a home to me. 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next edition of Island Diaries by Kate!

Happy Holidays!

5 Reasons You Should Join Paradise Pizza’s Wine Club

5 Reasons You Should Join Paradise Pizza’s Wine Club

How does a girl go from gulping franzia from red solo cups to swirling biodynamic Portuguese wine at Grand Cayman’s only natural wine club? This Cinderella story is brought to you by none other than Paradise Pizza, a deceptively sophisticated pizza garden that is brand new on the Cayman restaurant scene.

Trust me, I know the kinds of ideas that can be conjured up by the words “Biodynamic Wine Club.” Maybe it sounds pretentious….or like an event that would be put on by organic yuppies who frequent Whole Foods. But trust me when I say that attending a Thursday night wine club at Paradise is one of the best things you can do in Cayman — and I am going to give you 5 reasons why. 

Reason #1 to join the club —


Where else are you able to share a table with fashion designers, architects, chefs, teachers, and lawyers from all around the world? (Oh wait, who invited the accountant??) Even more importantly, when have you ever been able to do this without feeling the pressure of labels and status? This club is a place where all walks of life come together and talk over wine and pizza like old friends. You will learn not only about the wine you are drinking, but even more interestingly, about the people with whom you are sitting and how their experiences have landed them on this island.

Reason #2 


Although currently unable to travel in the literal sense, we can still take our taste buds on a trip through international vineyards. Every Thursday Paradise chooses a region. For example, we have already explored Spain and Portugal, Eastern Europe, and California. They select three to four wines from the region which are presented to you by the coolest lawyer turned sommelier you have ever met. She totally won’t even judge you for your dark days of drinking franzia straight from the box. After one or two Thursday nights you may even be firing off wine vocabulary you never knew existed like skin contact, tannins, and acidity. But if you’re not into that, you can just smile and nod while downing your glass. Each wine selection is paired with a unique Neapolitan style pizza such as the Habibi, Cayman Veg, or my favorite — the Mr. White.

Reason #3


Anyone who has visited or lived in Cayman knows that good deals on this island are few and far between. I stopped looking at most of my receipts because they were breaking my frugal little heart. So when I come across a hidden gem like Natural Wine Club, it’s hard to keep it to myself. For just $30 you will try three or more high quality natural wines and at least three pizzas with the freshest ingredients all while mingling with some of the most interesting people on the island. Of course, as with any successful dining establishment, you come for the food but you stay for reason #4…

Reason #4 


The friendly and open environment is what draws people in at Paradise. Upon arrival the hosts and club goers greet you with open arms and warm smiles. You will not escape without at least a few hugs. It’s kind of like a family reunion…but one that everyone is excited about. Once seated, you will find yourself in an outdoor pizza garden surrounded by vibrant colors and bursts of greenery. The intimate picnic table seating creates a sense of immediate inclusion and all around good vibes. All that is left to do is sit back, relax, eat some ‘za and drink some vino! 

Reason #5

Did I mention the PEOPLE?

I mean…they are truly one of a kind. You could come in with zero friends and leave with ten. On an island that is so transient, it’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community. That is what the Paradise Pizza Natural Wine Club has become for me and I would recommend it to anyone who is craving wine, pizza, and good friends. I mean, WINE NOT? 

See you at Wine Club! Cheers!

My First (True) Week As An Islander

My First (True) Week As An Islander

Gone are the days of cohabitating with rodents at the Comfort Suites. I am free! And so are all my fellow travellers. Everyone at the hotel tested negative for COVID and we were released on Monday, June 2nd after 17 days in government quarantine. The staff and volunteers who took care of us during our stay were very kind and helpful but I was beyond ready to bust out of my fifth hotel room and finally see Bryan up close and not from a hotel window! Now that I have spent a full week outside the walls of quarantine, island life is feeling a bit more real to me. Cayman still has many regulations in place to prevent the spread of COVID but even so, Caribbean life has been treating us well. In this blog I will share with you what life has been like reunited with Bryan in my new home!

New country, new hobbies? 
I don’t know about you guys, but I have never in my life lived within walking distance to a beach with a reef where you can snorkel. In St. Paul I lived next to a Super America which was cool. In St. Cloud I lived near a convenience store called the Slide-In Mart where they sold gyros alongside bongs…also pretty neat. But never have I been able to leave my house in a swimsuit and flip-flops, carrying only a towel and a snorkel. Well, I guess I could have if I was going to a themed party or something. MUCH stranger things have occurred in St. Cloud, MN. Anyway, snorkeling is one of the new hobbies I am referring to. I never thought it was something I would love doing ever since the Disney Cruise in the 2nd grade when I didn’t realize that snorkeling was not the equivalent of scuba-diving and I basically inhaled a gallon of salt-water. 16 years later I am finally ready to try it again and now I can’t get enough! Literally a three minute walk from mine and Bryan’s current apartment is Smith Cove — a small beach with a reef that is just a short swim from the shoreline. It boasts all kinds of beautiful marine life! As a lake girl, I kind of forgot that fish can actually be other colors than that grayish-green lake color. So far, I have seen: parrot fish, surgeonfish trunkfish, yellow jack, four-eye butterflyfish, blue tang, a needlefish, and many more! Of course prior to this week I didn’t know the names of all these. When I was leaving the beach the other day some beach-goers asked me what kind of fish I saw and I told them “blue fish” and “long pointy fish.” Rookie mistake. I went right home to explore where Caribbean fish are indexed by color, shape, and size. Very elementary but good for someone like me! I feel like I should create some flashcards and quiz myself before and after snorkel sessions 🙂

Snorkeling is definitely the safer and easier of the two hobbies Bryan and I have been trying out in Cayman. The second hobby is…(drum roll)… Skimboarding! It might as well be called “skin-boarding” as my legs have not been this scraped and skinned since my soccer days playing on artificial turf. A skimboard, (pictured below), is basically a shorter, wider version of a surfboard. But instead of starting in the water like a surfer would, you take a running start on the shoreline. To be honest, the end-goal of skim-boarding has not made itself apparent to me. I think you are supposed to stay on your board long enough to catch a little wave and hopefully not fall in the process. We have been watching some YouTube tutorial videos and hopefully can gain a better understanding in the coming weeks and months. But for now it is kind of fun just to run and jump and fall in the water (if we are lucky). The scraped skin has been the result of falling on the sand and pebbles on the beach. The best part of an afternoon of skim-boarding you ask? Rewarding yourself for falling 50 times by watching the sunset from Veranda Seven Mile Beach accompanied by some cocktails and ceviche. Worth it! 

Not ALL new

Moving to a new country doesn’t mean you have to reinvent yourself. My preferred form of exercise is still going out for a run. However I have traded Mississippi river views for ocean views. And instead of running in a comfortable, cool climate, I am powering through 90 degree tropical heat. That means running a quick 2 to 3 miles instead of 6+ … Cayman does have a marathon in December and I am contemplating signing up. But after only 25 minutes of intense sweating, I am wondering how in the world I will ever adjust and run 2-4 hours straight on this island. I have until the end of August before they hike up registration fees, so we shall see how I progress this summer! 

Being that I am not working (in the traditional sense) this summer and international travel is still closed indefinitely, there are no major upcoming events to anticipate and no set schedule I need to follow. This means that my days will be filled with snorkeling, reading, and spending too much money at the grocery store. Not a bad way to spend a summer, right? One thing that IS on the agenda for Bryan and I is moving to a new, BIGGER apartment on July 1st that is MUCH better suited for two people (AND for visitors…wink-wink, nudge-nudge)! We are both very excited about this new place as it will be great for the both of us as far as location and amenities are concerned. Until then, I will be taking full advantage of our proximity to Smith’s Cove and filling my days with sun, sand, and booze…oops, I meant books. See you soon — much more to come! 🙂 Happy summer my beautiful friends and family <3

Return of the Mice + COVID Test

Return of the Mice + COVID Test

Hi there. Thought I wouldn’t be posting again until I was released from isolation BUT writing proves to be therapeutic for me and the last 48 hours have been quite traumatic for someone with a recently self-diagnosed rodent phobia. While I thought I was safe in my new room, I couldn’t hide for long. That’s right. The mice struck again. And this time…not just one. 

The clock struck 11 pm, seemingly the hour in which mice like to wake from their slumber and scavenge for vegan leftovers such as chickpeas and sweet potato. I had just brushed my teeth and was heading for the bedroom. I had tried so hard for the past few days to correct my sleep schedule and I had my sights set on a solid 8 hours of sleep. The mice had a different plan. I turned the corner to the living room and SCREAMED. NO! NOOOOOO. A mouse scurried in front of me, his little tail flapping in the wind. F*CK!! I sprinted across the living room to the bed room, slammed the door shut, and stuffed towels underneath the door. Safe. I was safe…or so I thought. I called Bryan practically in tears and directed my obscenities and “why me’s” at the phone. I began to calm myself and sat down on the bed, ready to call the front desk yet again. And then…ANOTHER ONE!?! I jumped up on the bed, any feeling of tiredness had gone out the window. I wished the mice would do the same. 

Prior to seeing the second mouse, I had (for a fleeting moment) considered riding it out in the bedroom until morning. I thought about what my mom and I had talked about. That part in the Green Mile when he befriends a mouse and names him Mr. Jingles. Could I adopt the same mentality? There were some similarities in our story except of course the part about being on death row for a crime I didn’t commit. No… sorry Mr. Jingles. We couldn’t be friends, you had been too intrusive. 

So, I repeated the same routine as a week ago. I sprinted back and forth across the room, packing up, throwing things in garbage bags. Security came up to deliver yet another key to a new room. Upon arriving at the new room, I did not feel any sense of relief. It was on the same floor, directly across the hall from my first room where there was a mouse. This is so ridiculous, I thought. After a bit of complaining, the next morning the facilities manager proposed that I be transferred to a new hotel. YES!!! Please!! Nope, just kidding…that was not a good idea after all. But, they could move me to a higher floor. Sure…I mean I was already packed. My entire life was still on the luggage cart inside my room. So, later that day I moved to the third floor where I am apparently the only person on the floor. In room #4 I shoved towels into all the crevices where a rodent could possibly enter. I sprayed the room with clorox (kills viruses, deters rodents?) I forced myself to eat all the food they delivered (they provide huge portions) so that I did not have any residual food smells in my room. I couldn’t understand how this seemed to only be happening to me! I guess I am just the fan favorite.

Being that I hadn’t slept well in days, I was actually tired enough that I felt I would fall asleep without problem. If you have ever stayed in a hotel, you know the frustration of getting into bed when they tight-tuck all the sheets and comforter under the mattress. Well, when you are being actively pursued by a gang of vegan mice, you find comfort in being securely tucked in. So I slept for almost 12 hours and awoke with a clear mind and less anxiety. I concluded that if I went to bed before 11 and didn’t get up for anything, there is no way I would see a mouse. So that is my strategy for my last night of quarantine!

It is now 10:40 am, I am awaiting the call to go take my COVID test. I put on mascara and everything. I simply could not be more excited to have a swab stuck up my nose!

[Update] 11:30 am, May 30th

COVID test has been taken! Funny that we had to wait 2 weeks for a 2 second test. For those who haven’t had the test, they basically stick an extra long q-tip up your nose, but like, really far up there. I wouldn’t say it hurt but it was definitely a weird feeling that I continued to feel even after they removed the swab. The staff was very kind and tried to calm my nerves. If they only knew what I had been through the past two weeks. Hehe. 

I returned to my room, celebrated the completed test, now awaiting the results. The staff here is confident our results will be back by tomorrow morning and we will be able to leave sometime later in the day. (I am knocking on wood as I type this.) 

This time, I really hope you do not hear from me again. PLEASE let the next 24 hours be uneventful and blissfully boring. See you on the other side!