Caribbean Paradise

8.31.2012

After an English "summer" of rain, work and moving two years of stuff out of student accommodation, I am happy to be enjoying a late summer holiday in Guadeloupe!  Guadeloupe is a French island in the Caribbean Sea.  I've been to beaches in California and Italy, but Guadeloupe is like nothing I've seen before.  The island is divided into two parts; one side with beautiful beaches (white sand and clear blue water), the other side with jungles and mountains.

Sunrise in Guadeloupe

Sun Protection

On my first day in Guadeloupe, in my eagerness to go swimming, I quickly slapped on some sunscreen, missed a few spots, and got sunburned.  This sunburn was further neglected when, in my eager swimming, I was stung by poisonous seaweed (not joking... it does exist!).  For most of the year, I've barely seen the sun and have stayed extremely fair-skinned, so the Caribbean sun has been a bit of a shock to my system.  Since then, I have been much more diligent about applying sun protection first thing in the morning and reapplying it all day.  I've ditched makeup (on a particularly glamorous day I'll use waterproof mascara and a lip stain), and these three products have dominated my beauty routine:

From left to right: Mixa Lait Solaire Tolerance Optimale SPF 50, Biafine, Klorane Huile de mangue Nourishing and Repairing UV Filter

Mixa Lait Solaire Tolerance Optimale SPF 50: I picked this up from a grocery store on a shopping excursion with my in-laws... apparently this is a great brand of sunscreen, especially for sensitive skin. It is also waterproof, a must for Guadeloupe where you're constantly in and out of the water.  The formula is for face and body, and I use it on both.  It is also quite cheap -- I think the 100ml tube was about 10 euros.

Biafine: An extremely emollient cream for after-sun, especially good to put on sunburns.  Hospitals use this stuff for burn patients, so it is quite intensive.  One notable ingredient is huile d'avocat, avocado oil.  I use this after the sun sets on any areas that look pink.

Klorane Huile de mangue Nourishing and Repairing UV Filter: this is UV protection for your hair.  I've spent the last eight months waiting for my hair to grow long, and I'm not about to destroy it all now, so I went on a mission to find a protective oil to use every day.  This one by Klorane contains mango oil and smells very refreshing.  It comes in a spritz bottle, so it's easy to disperse all over your hair, and it is waterproof and (according to the bottle) protects from the damaging effects of sun, sea and pool.  I haven't used it long enough to know if it works, but I will keep you posted.

Salmon and Quinoa Salad

8.16.2012

Mr. E and I have been trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle over the past two weeks, so we have been cooking a lot of meals at home.  One of my favorites was oven-grilled salmon with quinoa salad.  It is super easy to make yourself: just grill the salmon in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and herbs and create a salad by mixing cooked quinoa with cut vegetables (we added tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados and mixed greens to ours).

How we make quinoa: Because we're still living in student accommodation and our horrendously outdated kitchen stove doesn't work very well, we have found a faster and easier way of cooking quinoa in the microwave.  After rinsing the quinoa, we put it in a microwave-safe bowl and add approximately 2 parts boiling water to 1 part quinoa.  It's better to start with slightly too little water and add more rather than attempt to strain out excess water.  We sprinkle a little salt on top and put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, we take out the bowl, give the quinoa a stir and keep microwaving the quinoa until the water has evaporated and the quinoa grains look translucent.  We like our quinoa to taste slightly "al dente," so we are sure not to overcook them.

We were really hungry before eating this meal, and afterwards we were extremely full and satisfied, especially knowing that everything we ate was good for us!

 

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