First Time Cruiser’s Experience and Tips

cruise

I took my first cruise in 2017 and it was a great experience. I wanted to share my perspective from a first time cruiser. I’ve always stayed at resorts at different countries but wanted to experience what the hype was all about. I’d have to say, it was one the best vacation experiences I’ve ever had. We got a room with a balcony since it’s our first time and we wanted to have access to the ocean view. We had a lovely view of the ocean and it was peaceful hearing the waves while sleeping. I wanted to share a first timer’s experience on going on a cruise. Also provide tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your time on and off the boat.  For an in depth review of my experience with the Carnival cruise line, (read my review here).

Carnival Cruise Ship
Our Carnival Cruise Ship

Staying at a resort is also fun because it’s usually all inclusive and there are tons of amenities at these establishments. There’s spas, beach access, and the option to take excursions at any given day. On a cruise, the ship has a schedule and stops at different countries depending on the package you purchased. During the week, there’s sea days where the boat is at sea in between each destination. There’s plenty of things to do on the boat so you won’t be bored.

On top of the ship
Sea Day

For our first cruise, we chose to go on the Carnival cruise line which stopped at Nassau, Bahamas, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turks, Turks and Caicos. Each stop is usually eight hours long so you have plenty of time to do an excursion. Here are a list of things to do when there’s a sea day or if you’re not into exploring the destination. You could take advantage of the following activities while everybody is out on land and it’s not as busy on the boat:

  • Casino
  • Pool & hot tub
  • Spa
  • Movie night
  • Comedy shows
  • Onboard activities
  • Bars
  • Club
  • Food counters
  • Gym

At our first destination, Nassau, Bahamas, we got off to explore the island. There were plenty of shops and restaurants. We walked quite a ways away from town until we finally found a bus stop to take the city bus. It was a little scary because we didn’t know where we were going. The bus took us back into town thankfully. We stopped at a restaurant there and had a couple of cocktails overlooking the beach.

Nassau
Welcome to Nassau

The next destination was Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, which is a little port designed for cruise ships. We got out and there were tons of gift shops. We decided to walk a little further into the street and there were a dozen of cabs waiting and charging half the price. We wanted to explore the famous 27 Waterfalls AKA Damajagua Falls. It was interesting seeing the hills and the natives of the country as we drove through. Once we got to the waterfalls, they were so beautiful. If you’re not a strong swimmer, I suggest letting your tour guide know. It was very scary especially when the water pressure of the waterfalls was pushing me down under. The tour guide kept a close eye on me and helped me swim; it was difficult even with a life jacket. We jumped down waterfalls and it was exhilarating but scary! I honestly would not do it again since it was that spine-chilling.

Amber Cove Dominican Republic
Amber Cove, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Our final stop was Grand Turks, Turks & Caicos. This was definitely one of my favorite islands during this trip! It’s a desolate and peaceful country to explore. We rented a moped right outside of the port and drove around the island for a couple of hours. We stopped at a beach, had a picnic, stopped at some gift shops, and ate at a little restaurant that served the best conch fritters!

Grand Turks

Turks and Caicos
Grand Turks Beach
Conch Fritters
Conch Fritters in Turks & Caicos (I took a bite already)

I’m actually planning my next cruise now and I am so excited thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still take vacations at resorts but if you’re on a budget, cruising is where it’s at.

Here is my comparison between cruises and resorts:

Cruise VS Resort

Hope this helps you choose your next vacation; it’s a quick comparison between the two. I still plan on going to resorts and cruises as long as my budget allows it! Luckily, I live in south Florida which is the cruise hub. That might determine my future vacations because I don’t have to worry about airfare expenses. If you have a layover or have some time before your cruise in Florida, read about; My 2017 Top 10 Favorite Places in Florida

Our First Cruise
My husband and I on our first cruise!

Thanks for reading,

Kimbodian Speaks

 

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Vacation Essentials:

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Tips For 5k Prepping From a Newbie

tips for 5k

If you personally know me, you would know that I really dislike running. I had no prior fitness background, I just dabbled at the gym here and there. I started CrossFit (Check out How CrossFit Changed My Life here) for a little less than a year but wanted to check off running a 5k from my bucket list in 2017. I signed up two months prior to make myself commit to the goal. In my mind, that is the first step to accountability. Once I signed up and paid for the registration fee, I knew I wouldn’t be able to back out. So here’s my tips for 5k prepping from a newbie point of view. You could take these tips with a grain of salt.

I approached training lightly by running and when I mean running, I really mean jogging, a few miles a week. I’m not going to lie, I procrastinated a bit and waited until 3 weeks before the 5k to officially train for it. We did a workout of the day at the CrossFit gym and tested out our quickest one mile run. My goal was to get it under ten minutes and I succeeded with a whopping 9 minutes and 27 seconds; better than I thought I was going to do. I started training a few times a week on top of going to CrossFit 6 days a week. Truthfully, it should’ve been more but I was slacking off.

My Quick Fix Goal:

  • 1 mile a day for 6 days for the first week.
  • 2 miles per day for 5 days for the second week.
  • 3 miles a day for 3 days for the third week.
  • Week 4 I’ll be prepared and ready for the 5k, hopefully.

What actually happened:

  • 1 mile a day for 3 days for the first week.
  • 1 mile a day for 4 days for the second week.
  • 1 mile a day for 4 days for the third week.
  • Fourth week, felt under prepared but better than not training at all.

Due to the lack of training and only three weeks to prepare, when the day actually came, I really didn’t feel ready at all. I still felt like I lacked the stamina and endurance I needed for long distance running. On the day of the race, I was so nervous. Thankfully I had a great support team; a couple of friends and my husband who were running with me. They were doing this run with me since it was my first 5k. I forewarned them that I will be slowing them down so they could run ahead without me; they were so encouraging and ran with me the whole time. Thank you guys!

5k run 2
My Support Team

We did a warm up before the run which was fun; then the real fun began. The whistle blows and off we go. There were all types of runners of all shapes, sizes, and ages. The first mile was easy breezy since I was preparing for it the last few weeks. However, once I got to mile 2, I could feel my lungs burn, my calve and ankle muscles tighten, and my heart beating hard. I slowed down a little bit to catch my breath but my main goal was not to stop jogging. I continued and it felt like the longest second mile ever. Finally, we reached mile three, I still kept going surprisingly. I noticed others were doing the run then walk method which I really wanted to join but I said to myself, “no, don’t stop jogging.”. The final stretch came, we got over a small hill and I saw what I thought was the finish line and started dashing towards it; come to find out, it wasn’t the finish line, I thought I was going to collapse at that moment because I exhausted myself for no reason. I had another 400 meters before I actually reached the finish line. I kept trekking along and finally made it to the finish line! Got my medal and collapsed with joy and pain.

5k run
I finally did it! Got my first 5k medal! If I can do it, anybody can!

Next time I would prepare myself a little better and give myself more time but I’m glad I got to check this off the bucket list for 2017.

My Prepping Goal Next Time:

  • Give myself 2 months to prepare and practice consistently and on schedule.
  • Jog a mile a day for 3 days for the first week. (M-W-F)
  • Jog a mile a day for 5 days for the second week. (M-T-W-T-F)
  • Jog two miles a day for 3 days for the third week. (M-W-F)
  • Jog two miles a day for 5 days for the fourth week. (M-T-W-T-F)
  • Jog three miles a day for 3 days for the fifth week. (M-W-F)
  • Jog three miles a day for 5 days for the sixth week. (M-T-W-T-F)
  • Jog three miles for 5 days for the seventh week. (M-T-W-T-F)
  • Jog three miles for 3 days for the eighth week. (M-T-W)
  • Rest two days before the 5k
5k run 3
Got my first medal!

Thanks for reading,

Kimbodian Speaks

My jogging essentials:

 

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A Cambodian Nightmare Turned American Dream

cambodian country

In 1975 through 1979, approximately 2 million Cambodians died from malnutrition, labor, and/or torture by the Khmer Rouge, a communist group. They murdered men,  women, the elderly, babies, people with glasses, artists, musicians, teachers; and anybody they thought were intelligent. They brainwashed and trained children how to be murderous soldiers. All of this occurred during a 4-year time-span; to put into perspective, while you completed high school or were going to college. What shocks me most is that the leader was Cambodian himself. He and his army had no regard for human life and no words could describe what these poor souls went through. Their goal was to wipe out the entire Cambodian culture. Today, the Khmer people prevail, they are still a developing country but it’s a safe and affordable destination for many tourists. The country is flourishing despite its painful past.

If you met a Cambodian (aka Khmer) person, they will tell you that they or their families were affected in some way by this genocide. In honor of the approximately 2 million people that perished, here is a piece of my story told to me by my family members who survived and from a first generation Cambodian American outlook. Check out why I started blogging here.

Cambodian Landscape
Cambodian Landscape|Picture By: SamAntonioPhotography.com

My maternal grandma took five out of her six children and walked to the Thailand border; from Battambang, Cambodia to Khao-I-Dang, Thailand, that was roughly a total of 81 miles. My aunt, who was 6 years old was suffering from Kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition which causes a swollen stomach but skinny elsewhere. My grandma lost touch with her eldest son for a few years because he was in the military; thankfully he is alive and well. My father was a child when he saw his own father murdered right in front of him by one of the Khmer Rouge soldiers. My father said that he was going blind and couldn’t see anything during this time; a farmer gave him cooked beef liver and he regained his eye sight. He escaped alone to the Thai refugee camp. The conditions were not good even once the refugees got to the camp; it was cramp, dirty, with limited supplies. However, the Khmer people were safer in these refugee camps than in their own Country. After a while, the Cambodian population were brought to different countries to live out a new life. The most popular countries were the United States, France, and Canada.

family
Left to Right: Grandma, Uncle, Mom, Uncle, Uncle, and Aunty (Missing one uncle in Cambodia)

 

My family arrived in America in the early 1980’s. They always taught me to be grateful growing up because they came to American as war refugees with nothing. They were poor, didn’t speak English, and didn’t know anything about American culture. My parents were teenagers but they had to start high school and learn English at the same time. They worked in factories making very minimum wages. My mom used to tell me that they got clothes and food from local churches. They saved up as much as they could and stayed with local relatives that were already in the country. They rented apartments in the not-so-nice areas in town and eventually saved up enough to purchase their own house and live the American dream.

1280px-Angkor_Wat
The Angkor Wat|Picture by: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

I was lucky enough not to experience such misfortunes and horrors that my family and many other people went through. I was born in Rhode Island and learned from the values that my parents, grandma, aunt, and uncles instilled in me. Not a day goes by that I take living in a developed country for granted. I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities that surround me such as:

grad
Left to Right: Brother, Sister, Me, Sister, & Brother

 

  1. Education-my parents never had a proper education because they were pretty much forced into slave labor. I took the opportunity to go to college and become the first to graduate college with a Bachelor’s degree in my family.
  2.  Career–  My parents had to work right away to survive so they took whatever odd and end job. My dad worked as a machine operator and my mom worked as jewelry maker at a factory; both with minimal wages just to provide food and a roof over their heads. So I am appreciative to have steady employment that provides me immense benefits with the freedom to travel and have the necessities to survive and thrive in life.
  3.  Healthcare- Most of the doctors were executed so if you got ill, you would most likely perish in those conditions at the time. I’m immensely grateful to have access to healthcare today, to prevent and treat any health issues I may have.

In the end, when life seems rough at the moment, I reflect back on what my parents went through. I look at the grand scheme of things and remind myself that no matter how hard life could be or how imperfect it may be, situations can be worse.

625px-Flag_of_Cambodia.svg.pngUnited States

Cambodian Culture Essentials:

With love,

Kim C. Vig. aka Kimbodian Speaks

This post may contain affiliate links; for details, click here .

I Got Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!

Sunshine Blogger Award 2017 



I’m honored to announce that I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Miranda Chang. She has an awesome travel blog that documents her trips to as many as 33 countries! When you get a chance, go check her blog out and let her know you found her blog through mine. Thank you Miranda! Young Traveler


I wasn’t sure what a Sunshine Blogger Award was but after some research, I am honored to have been nominated for such an award. The award is about spreading positivity, inspiration, and sunshine to our fellow bloggers, new and old. The award is given to bloggers by bloggers from all walks of life. 


The Rules 


-Thank the person that nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog. 

-Answer 11 questions from the person that nominated you. 

-Nominate 11 bloggers for this award and give them 11 questions to answer. 

-Notify the bloggers you have nominated.

-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo. 


My Answers 



1. How did you start blogging? 

I was yelping a lot and writing reviews to everywhere I went. I decided to use some of the energy to write about my food and travel adventures. I am also interested in lifestyle and fitness so I decided to launch a blog about it. 



2. What is the one thing you pride yourself on most? 

My determination to set a goal and reach it no matter what it takes



3. What is your most beautiful memory in life so far? 

Every moment I shared with my mom and grandma when they were alive; pretty much my entire childhood and parts of my early adulthood. I miss them very much.

4. Favorite funny movie? 

Bridesmaids was hilarious! 


5. Favorite Food? 

All, but if I had to choose one, it would be Cambodian cuisine. 


6.What’s the funniest thing that happened to you? 

Truthfully, hearing someone fart in public. 


7. What’s your favorite book and why? 

Into the Wild, because I love the character’s outlook on life. He needed less material possession and more life experiences. He went out into the wilderness to learn how to survive and thrive off the land. Although, I would do it a little bit differently than him, I would have been more prepared and strategically plan before going out into the deep woods of Alaska


8. Where is your dream destination? 

Harbour Island and its pink sand.


9.What animal do you most identify with? 

A tiger, cautious, stubborn, feisty, and strong (it’s also my Chinese Zodiac).


10.Can weather affect your mood? 

Yes, if it’s rainy or snowy outside, I just want to be indoors and relax. 


11. How do you relieve stress

I do CrossFit, eat, get messages & facials, and/or nap to reduce stress.


Here are my Nominees, Congratulations! 

I had to narrow it down to 11, but loved each and everyone’s blog who entered. 


1. The Art of U – Rebecca

2. Totally Camille – Camille

3. Chasing Patches – Sydney

4. The Solo Tripper – Shei

5. It Happened Once -Sofia-Maria

6. The Super Mom Life – Heather

7. A Lifestyle Created From Being Too Sassy – Paul

8. Daring to Explore – Dominick

9. Gone Dog Mad – Karly

10. Lemons & Lavender – Cher

11. Kelsi Carma – Kelsi

Bonus Nominations (I couldn’t just pick 11!)

12. Degustace – Ayu

13. Aline Made – Aline

14. My Inspiration Blog – Mao

15. Yvan Agno – Yvaneich

16. One Focus One World – Christy


My Questions 

What do you do for a living? 

Why did you start blogging? 

What’s your favorite food? 

Where would you like to travel to next? 

What’s your favorite tips for a new blogger? 

What’s your favorite book? 

What’s your favorite website? 

What’s your favorite movie? 

What are your goals for 2018? 

What do you want for Christmas? 

What are your hobbies?

My 2017 Top 10 Favorite Places in Florida

I’ve only lived in Florida for less than three years so I’m still exploring Florida as I’m typing this. I grew up in a very small state so exploring a state the size of Florida could take me quite some time. I love checking out new places and taking adventures with my husband; sometimes weekend trips or even stay-cations. I’m very grateful to live in a state like Florida because it is a vacation destination. There are so many things to do. I’m an outdoorsy person so there are so many activities to do that involves nature. The main attraction here are the beaches! Parking is super cheap compared to other places and is plentiful if you get there early enough. Here are my top 10 favorite places in Florida 2017:


10. Shinju Japanese Buffet

1269 N University Dr
Coral Springs, FL 3307

Phone number(954) 752-3406


If you love sushi and have a big appetite, then this place is for you. They also offer a section of regular buffet items as well as a hibachi station. We went in on a Friday at 6 pm and it was pretty busy. However, we only waited about 5 minutes. When we left was when it was super busy with a line out the door, so I suggest going in before 7 pm. 

Once we sat down, the waitress took our drink orders and we were ready to go. The sushi is as fresh as it can get. They have sushi chefs constantly rolling and putting out new sushi rolls. There are all different types of sushi such as sashimi and fried rolls. My favorites are the eel roll and spider roll. I am a glutton so I pretty much try a piece of every roll and stuff myself silly. On the hot foods section, I usually pick up some crab rangoons, dumplings, general tsao chicken, fried rice, and tempura shrimp. I also load up on the eel sauce and spicy mayo. Yum. I see so many people devouring the king crab legs but that’s too much work for me. My mouth is watering thinking about this place. 

I suggest to go hungry to get your money’s worth. It’s about 20 dollars per person and one plate of sushi may be worth that alone. I usually eat two plates full and tap out. It is definitely worth the twenty something dollars and I will be back often!



9. Flamingo Gardens

3750 S Flamingo Rd

Davie, FL 33330

(954) 473-2955

I love nature, animals, wildlife, parks, and the great outdoors so this Flamingo Garden was right up my alley.

This 60 acre land has a wildlife sanctuary, aviary, and a botanical garden. Once we parked, we walked into a gift store and bought our tickets; it was $19.95 per adult. This was also a great place to bring children since it’s like a mini zoo. For 25 cents, you could dispense bird food and feed the birds! In the aviary, it’s a caged in large area where the birds roam free; you could get up close and personal with ducks, squirrels, rabbits, and various other birds.

There are guided tours, tram tours, and you have the option of casually strolling through the park. They had peacocks walking around freely throughout the whole park. When we went, there was a summer camp festival going on.

The most notable attractions were the bear, panthers, owls, otters, alligators, flamingos, bob cats, and pelicans/birds in the aviary. 

The trees in there were majestic! They also had a koi fish pond, tortoises, eagles, and falcons. I noticed most of these birds/animals were injured and rehabilitating. They also had a mini amphitheater where they were hosting an educational show.



8. Gator Park in the Everglades

24050 SW 8th St

Miami, FL 33194

(305) 559-2255

It’s great to get away from the hustle and bustle of South Florida. The air boat ride was exhilarating because it hydroplanes across the water. There were plenty of alligators lounging around if you look hard enough. What I love about this part of the Everglades was, the sawgrass were super tall and there were more mangroves and various of other plants and trees. When I came here, I saw baby gators, they were so cute; I didn’t see the mother gator but I knew she was lurking nearby. 

There’s a gift shop that sells food. There were tons of alligator heads to buy if you’re into that stuff; and some various of other nic-nacs. They also serve gator meat; the popular dish was the gator bites which looked like mini chicken nuggets. Always look online, I always find coupons for a discounted price on admission tickets. The staff were very thorough and organized with loading us onto the airboats. They also provided ear plugs because those airboat engines were large and loud. They also offer wildlife shows while you wait for your airboat. The guide would show us a bunch of wild animals, reptiles, and insects.

This is by far my favorite airboat tour that I’ve been on. It’s a trek for me but every time we have out of town guests, we like to bring them here so they could experience the true Everglades!


7. Arun’s Indian Kitchen

10278 W Sample Rd

Coral Springs, FL 33065

(954) 227-1123

It’s a small restaurant with about four tables inside and three outside. We went there around 9 pm on Saturday and it was still packed. We got up to the counter and was greeted by some friendly faces. We took a quick look at the menu and ordered; my favorite Indian dish in general is the goat vindaloo. I ordered that and went to grab a table outside. The food came out so quick and my dish came with basmati rice. I love spicy so they asked me from a 1 to 10, 10 being the spiciest, which would I be comfortable with; I ordered a 7 and it was spicy but I could’ve handled spicier. The vindaloo was so fresh and saucy. The goat meat was very tender; there were pieces of potato in there as well and it absorbed the delicious flavor. The portion was big; I ate all of mine and I was full. 


6. Wynwood Yard

56 NW 29th St

Miami, FL 33127

(305) 351-0366


It’s a big yard with food trucks surrounding the perimeter. In the middle, there’s a bar and there’s also a mini stage. Some of the food trucks actually looked like mini restaurants, anchored to the ground. There were a ton of food truck options to choose from; vegan, sushi, BBQ, Brazilian, shaved ice, green tea, charcuterie, etc.

We went during happy hour so sangria was $6 and well drinks were $5. There’s actually mosquito sprayers throughout which was pretty neat since it’s an outdoor venue. Out back, they had a restroom trailer which was pretty cool since there were stall toilets in this trailer. The place was meticulously clean throughout; there were trash cans everywhere.

There were quite a few tables to hang out and eat/drink. There was a garden donated by Whole Foods. The garden was so cool with tons of edible herbs. Everyday there’s a different event; when we were there on a Wednesday, they were doing yoga. I’m looking forward to the next time I go there! Just find metered street parking nearby and you’re golden. I recommend going in the evening because it could be really hot during the day with limited shade. This is a definitely hip spot to get some drinks and food. 


5. NY Grilled Cheese

2207 Wilton Dr

Wilton Manors, FL 33305

(954) 564-6887



Holy moly! I’ve heard good things about this place and had it bookmarked for a while. We went in one weekend and I was afraid it was going to be busy due to the ravings and reviews. I was pleasantly surprised when there were a few tables available. They serve beer here as well. The waiter was quick and attentive.

I ordered the Wall Street grilled cheese sandwich and the tomato soup came with it. Definitely the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. I could sip a gallon of that in one sitting. It was perfect and the flavors were very balanced. The Wall Street grilled cheese was out of this world. It was breakfast style with bacon, eggs, cheese, onions and a waffle style bread. My current favorite is the sweet cheese grilled cheese; it has Brie and a couple of other sweet cheeses and bacon. There’s a perfect balance of sweet and salty. I always order the next size up of the tomato soup because what they offer as a side is kind of small. My friends who were with me were raving about this place too. Whenever I’m craving a grilled cheese, I make the trek to visit here to satisfy my cheesey craving. There is parking on street and across the street there is a pay to park lot. After you’re done eating, you pay up front. Overall, the service was good and the food was amazing


4.  Tavolino Della Notte

10181 W Sample Rd

Coral Springs, FL 33065

(954) 509-0046


I had the lobster ravioli ($24). The ravioli was striped with dark squid ink, there were quite a few lobster pieces in the ravioli. The sauce was a pink sauce which I think is a vodka sauce with green peas; amazing flavor and very fulfilling. I couldn’t really taste squid ink but it was my first time consuming it. Let it be known, I finished the whole dish, I was full but I didn’t want to waste any food. The service was great, it was definitely five stars quality.



The pear pasta was a crowd favorite. It was on the appetizer list for $15 but I really wanted it for my meal; I asked the waiter and he said that they could double the portion and it would be $30. I opted to just have it as an appetizer. Wow, it was amazing as everyone was saying. The white creamy sauce, the pears, and the pasta filled with cheese. The balance of salt and sweet intermingled with each other. It was right up my alley since I love sweet and savory.


3. Schnebley’s Redland Winery

30205 SW 217th Ave

Homestead, FL 33030

 (305) 242-1224

When we got there, there was a big building with a restaurant inside. We first checked in at the front desk then proceeded to the bar. We were greeted by the bartender and she explained how the process works. She gave us each a wine glass and a peice of paper listing the different types of wines you could try. You’re allowed to choose 5 or 6 tastings. My favorites were the hurricane, avocado infused, and lychee infused. After wine tasting, we went outside to the outdoor patio. It was huge and it had waterfalls and a koi pond. The yard was wonderfully landscaped. 


2. Fury Water Adventures 

241 Front St

Key West, FL 33040

 (888) 976-0882

It was a three hour tour so bring snacks, towels, sunscreen, and sunglasses. I also suggest taking Dramamine because I got sea sick which never happens to me and wished I had some at the time. 

Once they sailed out to a safe area, they anchored and started to unload us into the water. They provided a protective spray for your goggles so it doesn’t fog up. They also provided water noodles and life jackets that makes you float but it wasn’t like a normal life jacket because you still sink a little.

Since I’m not a strong swimmer and this was my first time snorkeling, I was petrified so I took two water noodles for reassurance. For the beginners, I suggest doing the same! Better to be safe than sorry; the deck hands were watching us like a hawk, they were great swimmers if one of us were in distress.

Once I got into the water, it was the most amazing experience ever! The water was warm and so clear. I saw coral reefs and so many beautiful fishes. They even swam up to me and was so curious and intuitive; I reached my hand out and they swam to it. I heard other snorkelers saw a shark (don’t worry, they said it was the harmless kind lol.) I had a waterproof camera and started to snap pictures underwater. 


1. Epcot

200 Epcot Center Dr

Orlando, FL 32821

 (407) 824-4321


I’m not big on rollercoasters so this type of park is for people like me! There’s three rides, Frozen, Soarin, and Test Track. Unfortunately, we did not have time to ride those! However, we stopped by at every country to have a drink, except for Norway. I’m going to have to plan another trip so I could check out the rides and Norway!

We got there about an hour after it opened and it was packed. They did a great job with organizing the lines and making the lines move fast. First they checked our bags; while I was waiting in line for that, my husband went to wait in line for the tickets. 

Get a gift card and load it up so there aren’t tons of transactions on your bank card. What a genius idea!

We started off in Canada and watched the circle view movie. I got a little dizzy from that but it was pretty cool! I got myself a maple syrup, cranberry, and apple juice drink from there, that was delicious. Then we stopped at England and got myself a PIM’s drink at the pub. We also got the orange Grand Marnier slushy drink at the stand outside. We stopped at Italy for sangria and a slice of pizza. I got the most delicious hefeweizen beer and bratwurst in Germany. I stopped to get some wine and macaroons in France. We had hibachi in Japan, it was delicious but overpriced. We watch acrobatics in China. Our last stop was Mexico, had to get a spicy margarita there. Unfortunately, we were too full to eat there. There weren’t too many lines and if there were a line, it moved fast. 

In the end, we snagged an awesome spot to watch the fireworks; best fireworks show we’ve ever seen! We took the shuttle back to our hotel and I was so happy to be able to experience Epcot for the first time. It was expensive but worth it since we got to travel around the world!


These were my favorite places to go to in 2017. I’m sure they’ll remain a favorite for many years to come. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for me and hopefully in another year, I’ll have an updated list to write about! Thank you for reading.


Sincerely,


Kim C. Vig. 

aka 

Kimbodian Speaks

What To Do With All This Leftover Turkey?

Congee! aka Babaw! aka Rice porridge!

I actually had leftovers for a whole week after Thanksgiving. The best way to utilize all that turkey meat is to throw it into a pot and make babaw aka congee. Babaw is a comfort food and it’s perfect for cooler weather. Growing up, instead of chicken noodle soup, my family would make babaw. It’s so soothing and it’s just a bowl of goodness. Babaw had a long history in the Cambodian culture. During the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s, which was a genocidal war, many people were enslaved and exposed to harsh labor. People were only given a ration of babaw with no flavor, just rice and water.

Current recipes are robust, flavorful, and full of fresh ingredients. Here’s the ingredients for my special batch. It’s nothing special, I kind of just threw the ingredients together.

Ingredients:

Leftover turkey meat

1 quart of chicken broth

2 cups of water

1 cup of rice

Half a chopped onion

4  chopped garlic cloves

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp black pepper

3 diced green onions

Optional:

Bean sprouts

Fermented soy beans

Chili paste

Directions:

Pour water and chicken broth into a pot and bring to a boil

Pour a cup of rice in

Cook garlic and onion in separate pan until golden

Once rice is soft, reduce heat to low

Pour in black pepper, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and onion in the pot

Stir then add the leftover turkey meat

Place babaw in bowl and add the garnishes; bean sprouts, fermented soy beans, chili paste and it’s ready to eat!

If you’re looking for some authentic Cambodian recipes, click the image below for details:

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. Clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money. Thank you for your support!

How CrossFit Changed My Life

CrossFit was not always a thing I loved, I actually hated it at the beginning. It took me three attempts to finally commit and I’ve only committed because my husband swore by it. It’s intense and has a mixture of weightlifting and cardio. I went to the gym prior to joining CrossFit but wasn’t yielding the results I needed. I just did the bare minimum, the standard 30 minutes on the treadmill and then the weight machines; did this for 4 months and saw no results.


I joined CrossFit because I wanted a challenge and I wanted to see results. I’ve committed to it for a year and couldn’t be happier. The workouts consists of 20-60 minutes and I go 6 days a week. The workouts, also know as workout of the day aka WOD, is scaled down to your level. Eventually you would increase the weights as you get stronger and better with the movements.


I’ve gotten stronger and it has even prepared me for my first 5k run this year.  Most of the workouts were named after a fallen solider that used to do these workouts.The classes usually start out with a warm up then it goes into the actual WOD. The CrossFit gym is called a “Box”. There’s a lot of body weight and barbell workouts.



What I’ve accomplished this year with CrossFit in my life:

  • A 5k (3.1 mile run)
  • Toes to bars 
  • Push ups 
  • Banded pull ups
  • A personal record, 250 lb deadlift
  • 185 lb back squats

What I’m looking to accomplish in 2018:

  • Pull ups 
  • Handstand
  • Pistol sits
  • 300 lb deadlift
  • 250 backsquat
  • 150 bench press
  • Spartan race
  • Double unders 

Benefits of CrossFit:

  • Better sleep
  • Lower blood pressure 
  • Higher stamina and endurance
  • Toned muscles

Cons of CrossFit:

  • Whole body soreness
  • Expensive monthly membership
  • If workouts are not done properly, risk of injuries

I’ve got a long ways to go and I’m looking forward to learning more; I’ve set goals and accomplishing it little by little. If you’re looking for a new and challenging workout, I highly recommend CrossFit; give it at least a week and don’t give up on it no matter how hard it seems. This is coming from a newbie who wasn’t fit or active but now I love it so much I can’t see myself not doing CrossFit.

Sincerly,

Kim C. Vig. aka Kimbodian Speaks

 

Here are my CrossFit and Weightlifting Essentials  (click on image for details): 

  1. Belt

2. Wrist Bands

3. Knee Sleeves

4. Gloves

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. Clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money. Thank you for your support!

Our Asian Thanksgiving

I don’t consider myself a cook by any means but can follow a recipe that is thrown my way. I’m still learning as I go and want to be an expert with cooking Cambodian food. Growing up, I always see my grandma, mom, and aunt cook; they were awesome with creating Cambodian AKA Khmer cuisine!


This inspired me to learn the art of cooking this type of food. So it would only be natural for me to incorporate Asian style cooking for this huge feast.


The Turkey


I used my aunt’s recipe that she’s used for many many years and I loved it so much I had to borrow her recipe. My aunt is so good at cooking, she does not need measuring cups; so everything is done on a whim and just by taste. The turkey is red because I used Chinese char-siu barbecue seasoning. I also brined the turkey for two days prior to baking it.


Here are the ingredients:

2 packages of Chinese char-siu barbecue seasoning

2 tbsp of brown sugar

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of paprika

2 tbsp of salt


Mix all the ingredients together and dry rub the seasoning on the turkey inside and all over the skin. Put it back in the refrigerator for two days. I baked this for about 3 hours and 15 minutes then the last 45 minutes I turned the turkey over and placed it back in the oven. (This also varies on the size of your turkey). I would like to thank my husband for helping me brine and flip over the bird. The end result: the turkey was so tender and flavorful!


The Fried Rice



I love making fried rice! It’s so easy and toothsome! It’s always a big hit in this household.


Ingredients:

3 cups of white rice (cook first)

1 package of Chinese sausage

1 package of frozen vegetable medley

3 large eggs

Soy sauce (use until it’s lightly brown, I would say 4 tbsp)

1 tbs of salt

Half of a small chopped onion


Cook the sausage first then add the onion. Add the frozen veggies and stir until it’s soft. Then add the cooked rice in and the rest of the seasonings. Then add the eggs. Stir for a few minutes.


The Stuffing



This is also my aunt’s recipe, yes, she’s my role model. This dish is also a big hit and it’s so flavorsome. It ties in with the Chinese barbecue turkey and the fried rice.


Ingredients:

2 packages of cornbread stuffing mix

1 package of kielbasa sausages

1 packaged of frozen vegetables medley

Half a of a chopped onion

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp butter

1 qt Chicken broth or water


First melt the butter and add the sausages, cook until light brown then add the onion; cook until soft. Then add the frozen veggie mix. Add the broth or water and bring it to a boil (1 quart). Finally, add the cornbread stuffing mix and remove the pan from the burner. Stir Stir Stir.


I added other sides to this feast such as macaroni and cheese (frozen), Pillsbury crescent rolls, homemade mashed potatoes (thank you husband for mashing them) and of course desserts. I wouldn’t have done this smoothly without my husband so a big shout out to him!


If you try out one of these recipes please let me know how you like it! Please subscribe and follow my social media accounts! Enjoy.

How Yelp & Food Inspired Me to Start Blogging

My name is Kim and this is my first blog post ever! You’ll be reading posts through the eyes of a first generation Cambodian-American.

kimpic

I packed up and moved to Florida with my husband leaving all of our friends and family behind. We did this for new job opportunities and because of the beautiful weather year round. I dabbled with Yelp in Rhode Island but have gotten more serious with it since moving to Florida. It’s helped me discover new places to go while I explored uncharted territories. I’ve always had a severe passion (possibly unhealthy) for food in all shapes and sizes from all over the world.

After immersing myself in Yelp and reviewing pretty much everywhere I go. I figured why don’t I use some of that energy towards blogging? And for that, I thank Yelp for introducing me to a world of awesome restaurants, people, and writing.

I wanted to showcase my experiences and thoughts about food, fitness, and lifestyle. My dream career is to travel and eat like Andrew Zimmern; one could only dream. My main objective is to write about the best places for food and drinks, recipe ideas, fitness especially CrossFit, and my foodie adventures throughout the United States and beyond.

My goal is to post a couple of blog posts a week so please come back for more. I never thought I would like writing this much! Please follow my social media accounts below and hit subscribe if you’re interested. Warning: be prepared to salivate and learn tips on how to lose those calories that were consumed!