Category Archives: OTHER

Family Vacation: Hawaiian Style

ALOHA!!!!

I have been in Hawaii with my family over the last two weeks and took the opportunity to relax, unwind, and unplug. Sorry that I haven’t written in a while, but I’m back and am looking forward to sharing my travels with you!  

What a fabulous 12 days we had exploring and cruising Hawaii.  Over the course of my trip, I got to visit and explore Honolulu, Maui, The Big Island (Hilo & Kona), and Kauai.  With 10 of us traveling, cruising was definitely an easy and convenient way to explore all that the Hawaiian Islands have to offer. Our trip was certainly filled with lots of fun, adventure, and family bonding. For this week’s blog, I thought I’d recap my trip and highlight some of the fun things I did while away.  I would also like to take this opportunity to give a special shoutout to my mom, Judy. Without her, this trip would not be possible. I have the best mom!!

Planning a trip to Hawaii? Here are some things you may want to know before you go!

MY FAMILY VACATION:

We visited the Hawaiian Islands via cruise ship. We cruised on the Norwegian Cruise Line’s- Pride of America.  It was an older vessel, but was recently updated and seemed to be well maintained! The ship had lots of amenities and accommodating staff that were happy to help provide you with anything you needed to make your trip the best it could be.

I booked this trip from a great friend and former colleague of mine, Heather Hamed.  Heather and her husband own American Discount Cruise and Travel. I highly recommend this company to help with your next vacation and am not just saying that because she’s a close friend. We have booked several trips through them and I have not been disappointed.  The staff at ADCT is highly knowledgeable and can help find you the best trip to meet your needs and budget.  They do it all; from helping to not only book the cruise, but they can support you with air travel, transfers, sightseeing recommendations, travel tips, and much more! Be sure to check them out at: www.americandiscountcruises.com/index.html

CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS:

There was lots to do or not do. You could relax and lay by the pool, sunbathe, sit in the ship’s library, relax in the observatory, play video games, see shows, participate in daily games and activities (i.e. wine tasting, beer tastings, hula dancing, lei making class, dance parties, pool volleyball, magic shows, etc…), get a massage, visit the salon (i.e. hair, nails etc…), or go to the gym. I certainly had a lot of fun laying on the deck or in the gym!!

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

OAHU:
Prior to setting sale, we spent 3 nights at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort in Oahu. This hotel was only steps from the famous Waikiki Beach and very close to Diamond Head Crater.

marriottOahu is often referred to as “The Gathering Place”, Oahu is the third largest Hawaiian island and home to the majority of Hawaii’s diverse population- a fusion of east and west cultures rooted in the values and traditions of the Native Hawaiian people. Oahu is a fun place to visit and explore.

Highlights:

Honolulu has a lot to offer and a ton of places to visit. Having been to Hawaii before I opted out of some of the more traditional/popular excursions that my family did- i.e. Visiting Pearl Harbor & the USS Arizona Memorial, Dole Plantation, and Jurassic Valley at Kualoa.  

Instead, I spent the three days running along the coast and Diamond Head Crater, renting city bikes and exploring the city, shopping on Kalakaua Avenue, drinking delicious smoothies from Lanikai Juice, taking a challenging yet fun paddle board yoga class at Yoga Floats, and visiting CrossFit Oahu. It was perfect!!

MAUI:

After 3 days in Oahu, we boarded the Pride of America and traveled to Maui.

Maui is known as the “Valley Isle,” and is dotted with quaint towns and artist communities. Maui offers shimmering beaches, tons of waterfalls and hiking trails, and incredible sunrises from the top of Haleakala.

Highlights:

Maui beaches: Maui has more than 80 incredible beaches with a combined shoreline that spans 120 miles.

Maui Waterfall and Rainforest Hike: Experience authentic Maui and adventure with it’s lush rainforests and stunning waterfalls.

Haleakala National Park: Watch a memorable sunrise from 9,740 feet atop Haleakala Crater.

Road to Hana: With 600 curves and 54 bridges, this is one of the world’s most scenic drives.

My favorite part was swimming in the waterfalls near Haiku and watching the sunrise from the top of the world before biking 26 miles down Haleakala.

THE “BIG ISLAND”:

After two days in Maui we headed to the “Big Island”- spent 1 day in Hilo and 1 day in Kona.

IMG_5202To avoid confusion with the name of the entire state, the Island of Hawaii is often called the “Big Island,” because it is nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined. The Big Island is not only the largest, but also the the youngest in Hawaii’s chain of islands. Whether you’re visiting Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the worldnight lava (you can actually see it flowing into the ocean- we watched it from the cruise ship!!), visiting local shops, or walking on a black sand beach, snorkeling, or sailing along the Kona Coast; The Big Island, is filled with lots of adventures.

Hilo Highlights:

While there, my husband and I decided to walk around and explore what Hilo had to offer. We visited:

Hilo Farmers Market:The Hilo Farmers Market is one of the best open markets in Hawaii, featuring fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and local crafts.

Downtown Hilo, Hawaii Island: Downtown Hilo is Hawaii Island’s biggest small town featuring century old wooden storefronts, galleries, shops, and restaurants. The local juice and coffee shops are something you don’t want to miss!


Kona Highlights:

While visiting Kona we decided to take a much needed beach day. Once we docked, we took a tender to Kailua Kona beach. The weather was dry and sunny and the white sand beaches were perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, going on an outrigger, and swimming. Visit Kona Boys for all of your beach day needs!!

KAUAI:

We spent the last two days of our cruising adventure in Kauai. I truly believe we saved the best for last. If it were up to me, I would have spent an entire week here.

Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is sometimes called the “Garden Isle,” which is an entirely accurate description. The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys and jagged cliffs. Tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls have developed over the last hundreds of years. Kauai only has one road that is 18 miles long, so the majority of the island is preserved land and is only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination. We had the opportunity to take in some of the sights along the Napali Coast as we traveled around the island on the ship. It was incredible.

Highlights:

Visiting Kalapaki Bay Beach and going into the quaint shops.

Walking through the Fern Grotto where Elvis was married.

Exploring a 30-acre botanical and cultural garden.

Experiencing a true hawaiian luau at the Smith’s Family Luau.

Between the wonderful landscape of the islands, fun activities for the whole family, and welcoming attitude of the Hawaiian people; Hawaii is a wonderful place to visit. My trip to Hawaii was certainly filled with lots of fun and adventure. Together my family and I created memories that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go back. Hawaii is a beautiful, magical place and worth a visit!! 

A Hui Hou Kākou (Until We Meet Again)

 

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Getting Ready For Summer Vacation

Last weekend was Memorial Day, or the unofficial start to summer.  This marks the opening of pools, school years winding down, barbeques, and beach parties.  As we prepare for summer and get ready for summer vacations, here are some tips to staying healthy during your summer travels.

Like most of us, I always look forward to summer vacation. It’s a chance to sit back, relax, go to the beach, spend time with family and friends, read a book and do the things we don’t get to do during the rest of the year.  When done right, traveling is the perfect way to detach and de-stress from our busy lives.

However, when we go on vacation, it’s important to remember not to over-indulge too much and throw away all of the good and healthy habits we’ve created throughout the year. So be sure to enjoy your vacation responsibly. It’s about finding that balance and not feeling guilty when you need hit the reset button when you get back.   

Here are a few tips to ensure you return from your trip happier and healthier than in years past:

Get up and move:

“Sitting is the new smoking” is one of the most popular catchphrases these days regarding one’s health. In fact, many offices are now offering standing desks and waking meetings to their employees.  Studies show that any extended sitting (i.e. plane, desk, car, etc…) can greatly increase one’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

So when you head out on vacation this year, be mindful of how much you’re moving. If you’re taking a flight, get up every hour or so and walk around, long car ride- stop at a rest station, get your muscles moving.  Maybe even do some of your favorite yoga poses! Maybe you’ll meet some cool people and discover some interesting places!

Once at your destination, plan activities throughout your trip that will force you to get up and move- take a hike, snorkel, kayak, bike ride, walking tour, plan some activities that will force you to get up and move.

Stay hydrated:

Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, and anxiety, which can put a damper on your vacation. Dry, recycled air in airplanes and consuming alcohol while flying can lead to dehydration. To prevent this, drink plenty of fluids before your flight and be sure to have at least one cup of water per hour on the plane.

At your destination, be aware of climate changes. Altitude, humidity and high temperatures can all cause you to dehydrate very quickly. To prevent this and the effects that come along with it, be sure to drink lot’s of water. It’s also a good idea to carry water with you at all times. Be sure to drink often to keep up with your needs. When you become thirsty, you are most likely already dehydrated.

Watch what you eat:

Eating on vacation can be a challenge for a lot of us. We have a tendency to overindulge and eat items we may not eat when we are home. To help you stay on track with your healthy eating habits even when you are away, plan ahead. Know where to find healthy options, bring your own healthy snacks (i.e. fruit, nuts, etc…), and avoid restaurants that offer fried or overly saucy food.  If you do want to indulge, think about what else you ate that day and how it fits in with your calorie and fat consumption. It’s easier to eat dessert if you’ve been active and eating healthy. Think moderation and you should be fine!  

Unplug:

Remember, this is your vacation and your time to relax. It’s hard to relax when we are constantly being overstimulated by our cellphones, ipads, etc.  These technologies can often cause us stress, anxiety, and poor mood. So unplugging for a while and be present where you are, it can be a nice change of events. Emails, FB. and IG, will all be there when you get back.  Now is your chance to rest and unwind. Remember your mind needs this just as much as your body does.

If you can’t go a week without checking in, perhaps allot yourself a specific amount of time each day to check your phone and email.  Spend the 20 minutes you need and then put it away and get back to your vacation.  If faced with a position where you need your phone on, maybe modify your notification settings so you can experience some moments of relaxation, without frequent interruptions.

And remember, don’t over schedule yourself. Give yourself ample time to sleep. It’s your body’s chance to recharge from all you’ve put it through over the course of the year.

The benefits of taking a vacation include, improved physical & mental health, and overall functioning. If you follow the steps above, you’ll come back from vacation feeling  refreshed and renewed.

Happy Travels! 

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Break Up With Your Poor Body Image!

Most of us are not very kind to ourselves, myself included. When we look into the mirror we hate what we see. We think things like – I am fat, I’ve got a big head, big butt, small breasts, big breasts, too many curves, not enough curves etc… whatever it may be, we always find something wrong.  However, coming face-to-face with ourselves and confronting these negative beliefs can be one of the most difficult things, yet one of the most critical steps in our journey to true self-awareness and self-love. Continue reading Break Up With Your Poor Body Image!

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Thank You To My Family & Friends

I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to you; my family and friends. If you’re a new reader to my blog, you may not be aware that last weekend, my husband and I opened our very first business, a yoga studio- Empower Yoga.  I have been talking about starting this business for over two years and now my dreams have finally come to fruition.  I have so much to be grateful for in my life, particularly for all of the wonderful people in it; who have been a part of my journey, helping me get to this point. This letter/blog is for you! Continue reading Thank You To My Family & Friends

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Happy 35th Birthday to Me!

As my birthday approaches, I am excited to say that I will be 35. I am happy to admit it and am looking forward to celebrating it. I know that birthdays for a lot of people can be scary. Not everyone likes to admit it’s their birthday, they hate admitting how old they are, they don’t want to celebrate, and it’s all because, for whatever reason, birthdays have a tendency to make us feel bad about ourselves. I think most people feel that they aren’t in the place they thought they’d be at their age which is why, as we turn another year older, we start to feel down. It seems to some, that time continues to pass, but they’re standing still. Common things I’ve found that people are often unhappy about are: how their body looks, their weight, their job, their relationship, or the fact that they aren’t in one, they haven’t started a family, etc… So birthdays tend to be a reminder of all the things we don’t like about ourselves or what we don’t have in our lives, so I’d like to change that. Continue reading Happy 35th Birthday to Me!

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Creating Successful Resolutions

With the new year upon us, it’s time to reflect on the year that’s passed and begin thinking about the year ahead. Whether or not you have taken the time to think about your goals and aspirations for the next 12 months, a new chapter is here. So it’s important to ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish in 2017? What are you satisfied with in your life, and what changes would you like to make? Continue reading Creating Successful Resolutions

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Cultivating Gratitude

What are you grateful for? Have you thought about it? Do you show gratitude in your daily life?

At times, I often feel that we take so much for granted and forget about all the good that is present in our lives. Instead, we think about all the things our lives are lacking. However, when we stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing and we have so much to be grateful for.

In an effort to remind myself and others of all the things we should be grateful for, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to the idea of gratitude! Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading Cultivating Gratitude

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Keep a Contented Heart

happiness-projectA couple years ago my husband and I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I recently revisited this book because I’ve begun to find myself needing a few reminders about what happiness means and how to find happiness in our life, especially when things become difficult for us.  

So I decided to pull the book back out and revisit the chapter, November. Keep a Contented Heart is the heading for this chapter.  I started reading and thinking about this idea. What does “keep a contented heart” mean? Well literally, according to the dictionary, “contented” refers to happy and at ease, and “heart” is the organ that pumps our blood and is also the central or innermost part of something.  So having a contented heart means to be happy at your core.  Would you say that you have a contented heart right now? My immediate answer is no, but after some more thought, I would answer yes and I am sure you might too.  At first, keeping a contented heart can feel like a giant task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact I think it can be easily attainable.

I think one of the most important things that leads to happiness is attitude; which Gretchen writes about in the chapter.  I believe attitude speaks volumes about how to achieve a contented heart.  If you can master a good attitude about whatever comes your way, good or bad, it can go a very long way to building your happiness level. I work daily on keeping and maintaining a positive attitude about life, even when I feel derailed or when life gets hard.  I awake each day with the mantra, “It’s a great day to be alive” and work hard to live up to that mantra by trying to achieve greatness each day.

And when I refer to greatness, I do not mean having power or wealth.  To me, having greatness can mean something a little different every day. It can include setting small, attainable goals that I set for myself.

For example:

attempting a new arm balance

running a faster mile

PRing my deadlift

complimenting someone

acknowledging someone’s hard work

It can also mean having the courage to stand up to injustice and the ability to help and be kind to all (i.e. people, animals, the environment).

For example:

being a vegan or vegetarian

not polluting our environment

offering support to someone who needs it

being a voice to the voiceless

As a former learning consultant and now yoga teacher and studio owner, I have spent my career caring for and teaching others. I believe in the importance of helping, supporting, and being kind to all beings and share that belief with my students through my words and actions.  I try to not take anything for granted and appreciate the small gifts in life.  This positive attitude, will, and desire to live a good, strong, and kind life has helped me to work towards achieving a contented heart.  I believe that it is important to be grateful for the things we have, tell the people in our lives that we care about them, and do something each day that will challenge us and help to make us better, because we never know if this day will be our last. Live it up!

November after all is the month that contains Thanksgiving, and it is a great time to work on having a contented heart. It’s a month that focuses on gratitude, thankfulness, and counting blessings both big and small. What better time to work on this?  There is no time like the present!

What can you do today to help you have more of a contented heart tomorrow?

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Breakout of Your Fitness Rut!

Did you used to be a regular at the gym, on the road or on the trails until injuries, work, kids, time or just normal life got in the way? Whatever the reason, we have all been there at one point or another.  When your exercise routine is derailed for a chunk of time, it can be hard to start again, but here are some ways to help get you started again. Continue reading Breakout of Your Fitness Rut!

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