Travel Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman was one of those trips on my “list” and it did not disappoint. We traveled from November 10th-17th. A great time to visit the island because the weather was perfect and crowds were small. The flight is very easy and we were in Grand Cayman by 2pm. My tip for flying is to always take the earliest flight…yes I know it sucks to get up at 3 or 4 am, but you are less likely to be delayed then and you get to your destination earlier. Plus it allows you extra time for travel hiccups without stressing out and the morning the flight crews & airport staff are happy.😉 If you are traveling with young children you can check out a previous post I wrote on Airplane Activities!

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HOTEL: Another thing I never fully appreciated before having a child was the service and excellence of a hotel. I didn't always choose and still don’t choose the most expensive places to stay because I am usually not in the room long enough to care. The Westin went above and beyond to make us comfortable, feel welcomed, and the amenities were spot on with a small child. If you want to take a closer look at the hotel you can HERE. Check in was great and all of the staff were so friendly.

The beach is clean, the water is calm for the most part with an occasional knock me on my butt wave but I don’t swim much in the ocean because I don’t like not knowing what is underneath me 😬 A fear I need to get over. Honestly. It is not all inclusive and I am not sure there are very many there anyways. The poolside umbrellas have a button on them that you an push and someone will come to you promptly and take your food or drink order. I think we maxed out our daily strawberry smoothie orders! They have plenty of chairs around the pool for everyone and around the beach, which is something I always love because as much as I love the beach, I do not like sand 😬

The hotel has a fun challenge in their elevator that you take a selfie and tag them #westingcayman and we obviously had to participate. (Photo below)

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They pay attention to details! Of course I do social media influencing and it has it’s perks, but they were so kind to bring us wine, fruit and even a sweet little stuffed sting ray for Rowan. The kindness is appreciated and obviously shared because when you find something you love, you want people to go and love it too.

The one thing that could be better is the gym. Now that I actually use the gym, if I am in a warm place with an ocean view, I want to see it. Especially when I am doing something like working out. The gym is small and faces a parking lot but I suppose if I wanted to see the ocean I could just run on the beach.

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The hotel’s location is perfect! It is situated on Seven Mile Beach far enough from town the tourism isn't crazy but close enough for a taxi ride to shop.

Across the street are a few great restaurants including a sushi place and The Sunshine Grill (mentioned below). Also there is an equivalent to a Costco or Sams Club which is a great place to stock up on room snacks and drinks.

The shopping was very “touristy.” Rowan and I took a taxi into town one day while my husband was in his work conference meeting. Did you know chickens liked ice cream?? Haha we didn't either!

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THINGS TO DO:

Stingray City with Red Sail Sports: And I only say this because I was a huge scaredy cat at first and I survived, and it was so worth it! They pick you up at the hotel and drive about 10 minutes or less to the dock where you board a catamaran with several other guests. TIP: Take the early morning departure and check the cruise line schedule. Yes, I am a morning person but you will thank me later. The water is less crowded, so you get to hold the stingrays faster and you get there before all of the cruise ships arrive. You head out to the location and then you sail back….it takes a long time to get back which gives you time to soak up the sun and relax.

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Grand Cayman Tour by 4x4 Including Pedro St James and Botanic Park: A huge thank you to Marriott Rewards for sending us on this excursion! I was the perfect activity to end our vacation with on the Island. An open air jeep takes you on a tour of the Island, where we were able to learn some history and see the infamous Blue Iguanas. We started the tour with landscape and ended it with a little impromptu Rum tour at Cayman Spirits. I mean you get to try all of the varieties shown below for….wait for it….$5 🙌 We did take our daughter with us, and she is 5, but I would say it is not very entertaining for children. The riding in the jeep is fun but the walking tours are a little much for them.

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Those were the only two things we ventured out of the resort and did, but my advice is to grab one of these free Explore Cayman books (pictured below). They are outside of grocery stores and on the magazine stands all around the town! They are filled with things to do and restaurants.

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Places to Dine:

Gelato & Co. was a yummy find in Downtown Cayman where the cruise ships dock and shops line the streets. Don’t forget to feed the chickens! Haha! They serve gelato, Italian ice, pastries and cakes here!

Sunshine Grill If you are staying at the Westin or near it, this place is a little hidden gem behind the Sunshine Hotel. I didn’t find the ambience that great as their patio is the hotels pool, but when you are on vacation you want to sit outside. They are know for their fish tacos and you know I love them and try them almost everywhere I go! They were definitely good, but not my favorite. Tip: they serve you this coleslaw which is just cabbage. Take the sauce for the tacos and put it in your “coleslaw”. (Pictured below.)

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Craft We took a taxi into town to check out this place for the local brews. They were ok. Not worth the trip in and the food was good but not great. I would say you could skip this place and maybe try Peppers, as everyone suggested.

Blue by Eric Ripert This place was epic and actually kid friendly but I would not bring her back if I had the option, so we could enjoy the ambiance a little bit more. First off, it is located in the Ritz Carlton Hotel and it is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in the Caribbean. We booked this on a whim. I opened up my OpenTable app, which I love, and saw that there was a time slot at 6:30 for 2 people. Well, we had 3 technically but how much room can a child take up? Soooo we booked it anyways. We were seated at a 4 top so it was no big deal, thankfully. TIP: They are closed a few months of the year and we happened to book our reservation the first day they opened back up and they are only open Tuesday-Saturdays. The food and experience is one of a kind but it is pricey.

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The Beach House & Ferdinands These are both on the Westin’s property. Convenient and delicious. The room service is also from Ferdinand’s and the hamburgers poolside are yummy!

Just finishing up this post makes me want to book it again! There are some places that I love to visit, and then there are places that one visit is enough. Grand Cayman is definitely worth another visit and I look forward to exploring more of what the Island has to offer!

I hope this post helps and please if you ever have any questions drop them below in the comments! Cheers until my next journey! XO

Cauliflower Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Soooo as I was craving pasta and stuffing my face with a leftover donut as I was looking for something to make for dinner. I came across one of my favorite recipes, Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti. Then I thought I should probably avoid the pasta and maybe find a substitute to keep it “Keto” friendly. A small miracle that I actually had fresh mushrooms on hand and also cauliflower. So that’s how a new recipe was born!

12oz spaghetti - I substituted for 1 head of cauliflower. I cut it larger so it didn’t get mushy.

1 28oz jar spaghetti sauce

1 lb ground beef

1 container fresh sliced mushrooms

1 tsp Italian seasoning- I didn’t have the official seasoning but used Oregano, basil, rosemary & onion powder. About a few shakes of each. See how precise my cooking is? Haha

1 clove garlic- I used 1 Tbsp minced garlic

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated- I just used Colby jack shredded cheese because I didn’t have parmesan.

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, brown the ground beef until cooked, drain. Stir in mushrooms and spaghetti sauce. Set aside. If you like the mushrooms more cooked like I do, I let them cook with the beef until tender.

2.) Cook spaghetti or cauliflower, drain. Add the cream cheese, spices and garlic. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Make sure you really drain the cauliflower as it is more watery than spaghetti noodles. Mix sauce and meat mixture with the cauliflower.

3.) Lightly grease a 9X13 pan. Spread mixture in the pan, add cheese to the top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

I would have loved to serve this with garlic bread but that is not Keto friendly and I didn’t have any on hand. This dish was even better a few days later warmed up for lunch!

Enjoy! Make sure you tag me on Instagram if you make any of my recipes! @ladyandredstyle

Made in Iowa- Shop Local Gift Guide

If you are looking to support small businesses, look no further! I love giving and receiving unique gifts and what better thing to do is to gift something made for your state of Iowa! They usually come with a little story or history to them and people appreciate something that has meaning behind it. I think the white elephant and office gifts are the hardest things to find unique gifts for and I hope with this list below, you can cross off just about everyone from your list this season! Remember to shop small and support local businesses!

Below I have highlighted just a few of the gifts available on the Travel Iowa website! Even if you are not in the market for a gift at this time, definitely check out the website as it highlights Things to Do, Places to Stay, Trip Ideas, Travel Regions and of course Gift Ideas. Click HERE to take a look!

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I love these shelves for your basement bar or man cave! They are made from the barrel ends of used Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels. They are 21" diameter and 1" thick and theshelf is 8" deep. Made in Bondurant. $125. Purchase HERE

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Hello perfect housewarming gift, hostess gift or gift for that Grandma who has everything! These are made by Dirt Road Candle Co. in Atlantic, Iowa! $24 for a Holiday sampler of 3 candles. Select your gift HERE

The image below is another great hostess gift! For only $5.95, add a few of these to your cart to accompany a bottle of wine as a gift set. Zaza’s Artisan Pasta is made in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Shop HERE

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The older I get the more I love receiving experiences as a gift. Seven Oaks is a great place to ski, snow tube and snowboard in the winter, and to kayak/canoe, river tube and paintball in the summer, all in central Iowa! It is located in Boone – a quick drive from the surrounding cities. Choose your gift certificate amount HERE

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Everyone needs a shirt from Raygun, so start em young! This Iowa-adorable shirt is for the littles in your life. Raygun is located Downtown Des Moines and they are known for their T-shirts with style….and sayings! Purchase yours HERE for only $20.

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Are you really from Iowa if you have not had a Dutch Letter from Jaarsma Bakery? Looking for that perfect gift to take to the office for the staff or bring into your ladies or mens groups? Grab 12 dutch letters for $27 so everyone can experience a little bit of Pella, Iowa. They ship well. Click HERE to browse their website for other tasty treats too.

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I love these printed candle holders $12 each, made by Kara Lynn Schlabaugh out of Iowa City, Iowa. I also think they would be really cute to keep salt and pepper in on the table as decor! Browse all of the styles HERE.

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One of a kind sculptures from Davenport, Iowa are made by Isabel Bloom. Choose from designs that are whimsical, children, animals, inspiring angels, and outdoor statues. Each sculpture comes with a card perfect for the occasion. Looking for something to get a teacher, a mentor, a retiree, or need a gift in a time of sympathy, Isabel Bloom is timeless and sure to make a lasting memory. You can search for the perfect occasion gift HERE.

I have only highlighted a fraction of the gifts available through their website! Start your own search by clicking HERE for a full tour of the website, Travel Iowa.

Amana Woolen Mill Throw-$85

Amana Woolen Mill Throw-$85

Bannor Toys Iowa Rattle- $19.99

Bannor Toys Iowa Rattle- $19.99

Iowa Outdoors Magazine Subscription- $15

Iowa Outdoors Magazine Subscription- $15

Great River Maple Syrup- $20

Great River Maple Syrup- $20

Teenage Girls Gift Guide

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!! We went to dinner and are so lame we are back home and I am working away trying to work on posts to help you all shop!!I hope you are all shopping your little hearts out already and if not, add these to your cart for when you are ready to shop. This was the second most requested gift guide on my Instagram poll and I hope this makes things easier for you all and you avoid the dreaded eye roll 😂

Click on the image below and it will take you directly to the product to shop and add to your cart. XO