Category Archives: Vacation
Happy Memorial Day!
I hope you’ve been making the most of the holiday weekend. Today’s post will be a short and sweet one as I continue to enjoy a getaway to Pompano Beach, Florida with my parents, aunt and uncle. Here’s what I wish for everyone today:
1) Take some time to stop and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could continue to enjoy our way of life here in the USA.
2) Fit some fitness into your holiday fun. I’ll hit the elliptical, bang out a Tabata Derby and probably take a long walk on the beach today. (Click here if you need a few reminders on how to squeeze some exercise into your day.)
3) Whether you’re at the beach like me or just planning to be outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen!
4) Regardless of whether you’re celebrating Memorial Day indoors or out, stay hydrated. If you do plan to drink anything with a kick, make sure to designate a driver to ensure everyone gets home safely after the Memorial Day fun.
5) Hitting a BBQ today? Don’t arrive hungry! Click here for some reminders on how to keep your healthy habits in check while you celebrate.
Wishing everyone a great holiday and here’s to the summer ahead and all the chances we’ll have to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe seven days ago at this time I was sitting on the beach in Aruba. In fact, the only times you wouldn’t find me sitting under a small but shady hut on the soft, white sand staring at the turquoise sea during my three-night getaway were:
- Between 7 – 8:30 am ET when I was at the hotel fitness center getting my cardio, core and Tabata training in before turning into a slug for the remainder of the day
- The 45 – 60 minutes I’d abandon my lounge chair and stroll along the gorgeous stretch of paradise known as Palm Beach
- Happy hour or any other hour of the day when I simply had to satisfy my craving for some kind of frozen concoction
There was only one item on my agenda for this particular vacation: rest. While the trade winds, swaying palms, blue skies and starry nights created the perfect peaceful setting, there was one other factor that made this a true escape. I refused to pay the crazy international rates for roaming charges to keep up with texts, tweets, status updates or emails. My iPhone remained in airplane mode the entire trip. I used it only to take pictures or listen to music while working out or chilling out. In other words, I shut myself down for three-and-a-half glorious days.
While going on vacation no doubt offers enormous benefits for both our physical and mental well-being, I realize we can’t just escape to our happy places at the drop of a hat. We all have financial burdens, professional and / or family obligations and part of being a grown-up is dealing with our responsibilities. So, if a getaway isn’t in the cards for you right now, why not look at another escape plan? Find a minimum of one to two hours this week where you turn the world off.
Yes, it’s a bold idea, but you can do it. I’m sure some of you parents or physicians are shaking your heads at me right now, but I know even doctors get a day off from being on a 24-hour call. If you must have your pager or cell phone with you for work, only take the call that’s from work. Leave the texting and other typing behind. Parents, you can “warn” your spouse or another family member you’re going off the grid for a bit.
Seriously, you can find an hour to shut down. Then take those 60 minutes and use it to focus on a workout, focus on the backs of your eyelids or focus some attention on a family member or friend. You’ll escape a bit of the daily grind that burdens us all. In our over-stimulated world where we not only watch a TV show, but tweet and post about what’s going on almost simultaneously, wouldn’t it be nice to give some of our senses a break for a change?
I came back from Aruba rested and ready to tackle new goals, new workouts and chase down new dreams for this spring and beyond. I’m going to do my best to find times in the work week to slow down – even just a bit – so the daily grind doesn’t get the best of me. At the end of the day, if you’re making an effort to eat well, exercise and take care of yourself, you simply cannot neglect the importance of down time as part of the plan to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe at this time last week, I was just starting my five-day escape to Texas. The trip was everything I hoped it would be: good times with good friends from different parts of my life. The fact that I got to enjoy some much-needed 70-degree sunshine for a few days was an extra bonus!
Here are a few of my favorite things from my trip to Texas (in no particular order):
- The three-cheese Texas toast grilled cheese at 24 Diner.
- Blueberry pancakes at Kerby Lane Cafe.
- Celebrating National Margarita Day at the Hula Hut and Chuy’s.
- A simply fabulous dinner at the Driskill Grill.
- Tabata training in the Westin’s fitness center to counter some of the calories ingested in the highlights above.
- Countless laughs with my Northwestern gal pals Tracy, Molly, Evva, Lisa, Jessica and Irene! (Laughing doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as my typical workouts, but it certainly felt good!)
- The “Five Meat Treat” at Red Hot & Blue BBQ.
- “Bleeding Heart” margaritas and Baja fish tacos at Ochos.
- Sipping pre-Oscar Prosecco with my lifelong friend Jeanne Marie while her husband (and bona fide “Grill Master”) Paul fired up a delicious steak dinner.
- Getting to know their four-month-old baby Charlotte!
- Watching the end of the Oscars while sipping red wine and sitting in their hot tub.
- Rolling out of bed and burning some calories from the above-mentioned highlights in their home gym.
By now, you’ve probably noticed a common theme in my vacation-related posts: Laura loves to eat and drink! This is why I always pack the workout wear and get in a couple of calorie-busting sessions wherever I go.
However, along with the moisture-wicking gear, I also work hard at letting my vacation mindset take over when I arrive at my destination. That means realizing the opportunities for these special get-togethers don’t come around as often as we’d like and since we enjoy catching up over fun food and cocktails, it’s definitely not the time to obsess over counting calories!
After a little bit of decadence, I actually look forward to getting back on track with my normal healthy eating habits and kicking it up a notch at the gym. On that note, I encourage everyone to enjoy whatever memorable moments present themselves in the weekend ahead. Life’s simply too short not to embrace all that you love in this world. If that includes chocolate and red wine, dig in, sip and enjoy and remember, even indulgences have a place in our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I end this week on a short note of personal reflection, but it’s one I hope many of you loyal readers can relate to.
Thanks to President’s Day, this started as a four-day work week. Then it hit me that I’d be spending even less hours at the office because of the Northwestern gal-pal getaway planned several months ago. The mini-reunion turned into the perfect excuse to take a couple of extra days off to visit another lifelong friend and her husband who welcomed their first baby a few months ago. As you read this post, I’m either watching TV in my JetBlue seat or already having fun in Austin, Texas. No doubt there will be plenty of laughs and a few cocktails involved in the extended weekend ahead!
Somewhere in the midst of my excitement, an unwelcome visitor crept in to my mind: worry. I started worrying about getting everything “in order” before I left. Specifically, I found myself worrying about writing for my blog and scheduling a few posts while I was away. On top of that, I started worrying about making extra time to burn some extra calories before what’s sure to be another high-caloric good time. That spiraled into worry over whether I’ve had a few too many of those good times lately without enough time in between to reset my “healthy living” button. Then I took out my mental sledgehammer and smashed all that worry to pieces.
These are all “issues” not worthy of a second thought. This blog is supposed to be one of my outlets. If I don’t post on Monday, Wednesday AND Friday next week, the world will keep spinning. Working out is an even bigger outlet in my life, so why in the world would I waste time and energy worrying about that? Finally, if having one too many margaritas with friends I haven’t seen in years is a problem, well, then I’ve got much bigger issues to deal with when it comes to embracing some fun in this all-too-stressed-out world!
I guess sometimes we all need to step back and realize it’s okay to let go once in awhile. Reality will be waiting for me when I get home, along with the gym and my favorite group exercise classes. For now, the workout wear is packed and I’m ready for my Texas adventures. While I’m not sure what day my next post will appear, I am certain about one thing: I’m not going to worry about it while I’m away.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend so we can all face the new work week with even more energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
This particular Workout Wednesday marks a first for me. Depending on what time you read this, I’ll either be getting ready for or in the midst of flying to Amsterdam! As I write this post, I’m beyond excited to meet up with my lifelong buddy Ania and her pal Tiffany for what’s sure to be a fun-filled adventure!
While I’ll be skipping the workout today, I do plan on making use of our hotel’s fitness center during the trip. While I’m gone, if you need a shot of motivation, don’t hesitate to scroll down to the “Search This Site” box on the right side of this page. If you type in anything from abdominals to Zumba, hopefully you’ll find something helpful from one of my previous 200+ posts.
I leave you with links to some “oldies but goodies” that offer tips on key training concepts. I hope they’ll help as you continue your hard work on turning those New Year’s resolutions into routine behavior:
- Core Training
- One Area That Almost Always Needs a Good Stretch!
- Healthy Eating Tips
- One of My Go-To, No-Brainer Workout Routines
My next post will appear on Monday, January 28th. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments or email me with any questions or with any topics you’d like me to touch on in the weeks ahead. Wishing everyone a great week and I look forward to returning with even more energy to continue on this journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Who says you can’t go on vacation and make smart food choices?
If you’re soaking up what’s left of summer with a getaway that lasts a weekend or longer, you can have fun and not throw all the hard work you do at home out the window home!
Here are a few easy tips to help that help me make the most of my getaways:
- Breakfast: First of all – don’t skip it! It’s pretty common to be able to order egg whites almost anywhere these days. Instead of loading up on pastries or other sweet starts, try a veggie egg-white omelette and fresh fruit. However, if you simply cannot resist the chocolate croissant calling to you from the buffet or bakery shelf, go ahead and have one. (Better than scarfing down three tomorrow morning when they’re calling to you again, right?) Speaking of buffets, fill your plate with fruit first so there’s not as much room for the bacon, home fries or other high-cal, high-fat items in the spread.
- Lunch: You also shouldn’t skip lunch in anticipation of a big dinner. One of the biggest and most common mistakes people make is fasting all day before a “special” dinner later. This is a surefire way to sabotage any effort you’ve made to not overdo it. Why? Because by the time you sit down for what would have been a “big” meal, your hunger can make it colossal. If the only options at your vacation spot are burgers, hot dogs and fried foods, share something with someone. If you can “stock up” on any fruits from breakfast to snack on during the day (e.g. bananas, apples) that can help make lunch a little healthier, too.
- Dinner: Go for the fresh, seasonal specials like seafood with veggies. Not only will the catch taste great, but you can spend the extra calories on the wine or cocktail(s) you’ve been looking forward to all day!
- Dessert: Well, why not? You’re on vacation! I won’t lie, I eat dessert pretty much every day while I’m on vacation. If I’m lucky, someone might split it with me. If not, it’s just the extra motivation I need to make sure I keep my workouts going while I’m away.
- Snacking: If you can, pack a few “safe” non-perishable go-tos like raw almonds or high fiber cereal bars. (I always have a few Fiber One bars in my bag.) If you’re going somewhere with a fridge, make a stop at a local farmer’s market or grocery store for some fresh fruits and veggies including carrot and celery sticks, berries, bananas and tangerines.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated – preferably with water – and keep moving! Whether you’re spending some time by a beach, pool, lake, campground or someone else’s backyard, these are all perfect spots for a game of tag, volleyball or paddle ball.
Whatever you still have in store for the summer, make the most of it and remember: it is possible to go on vacation, enjoy some good food and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Still riding a high from my Montauk vacation, I thought I’d use this Workout Wednesday to remind everyone to soak up what’s left of summer by getting some exercise outside!
I know I’ve written a lot about my new obsession with Tabata training. Well, here’s another chapter in that love affair! (In case you forgot, the idea behind this four-minute high-intensity formula is eight continuous intervals of 20 seconds of maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest.)
Here are two Tabatas I banged out four out of the five days during my recent beach getaway. There’s nothing particularly fancy about either of them. They just happened to be extra rewarding with the feel of the sun on my skin and the sand under my feet. Of course, let’s not forget the ultimate reward: being able to cool off in the ocean when the hard work was done!
- Plank Tabata: I got my mom to use my iPhone to capture me doing one. Enjoy!
- Beach Sprint Tabata. I know, I’m not a runner, but I actually motivated myself to use the beach as a distraction from an activity I normally don’t like to do. So, in true Tabata fashion, here’s how I worked it: For the 20-second max intensity portion of the interval, I simply ran as close to a sprint as possible while keeping good form on the uneven surface of the sand. Then for the 10-second “rest” period of the interval, I simply slowed to a walk. On the last two days of the trip, I managed to pull off a mini “Tabata Derby” by doing three sprint Tabatas in a row (with a minute of rest in between).
The kicker was that I got my “regular” elliptical and weight training workouts in at the fitness center each morning before 8:30. Then, usually just before or after lunch, I would use the beach for the Tabatas. Getting two workouts in on a day was another huge treat during my vacation!
Even if you’re not a beach lover, you can still do exercises like squats, lunges, side planks and crunches in a park or in your own backyard! Whatever the season, there are plenty of ways to take your favorite exercises to new places and find exciting ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I don’t think I realized how badly I needed a vacation until it actually started.
Yes, I’m a pretty upbeat and positive human being, but we all have our moments. Between stress at work and in my personal life, I had more than my usual share of those moments over the past several months.
As I start this new work week fueled with more energy than I’ve had in what feels like forever, I believe a lot of that stress got lost at sea in Montauk.
I made a very important decision before escaping the concrete jungle I love to call my home. I left everything behind. My production job, this blog and even the new project I hope to make a serious dent in this fall. (Stay tuned.) Being a creature of habit, I did check my office email a couple of times while I was on the beach. In response to my responses, my boss kindly told me to get back to vacation. So I did. (Thanks, Larry!)
So what did I focus on while I was away? Taking care of myself. That included:
- Working out
- Trying a new Zumba class at the fitness center
- Taking long walks on the beach
- Catching up on back issues of People
- Indulging in a 90-minute massage
- Cutting back on the social media scene
Finally and perhaps most importantly, I also made a point of writing in my journal everyday. Like exercise, writing has always been a cathartic experience. I may be too afraid to say things out loud, but sharing those thoughts on the blank pages of my journal helps me see things more clearly, especially with a little help from an exercise-induced endorphin rush and some sea air.
It was during one of those moments that I wrote my first poem in at least 15 years. I realize I’ve never shared a poem here on my blog, so I hope you’ll indulge me in this shift from the ordinary. Before you dive in, let me say I realize taking week off from work or life may not be possible in your life right now, but make sure you find some time to focus on taking care of yourself amidst the madness we call life. Sometimes an extended workout or escape to the backyard to catch up on some reading is what the body and soul need to recharge so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
“Wash Over Anew”
Staring out into the black night,
White foam stretches across the sand, only moments after the crash of a wave.
Another crash, another ripple of white foam,
All the while, the bright stars hidden in the city somehow shine down upon me from this night sky.
Each crash, each ripple of white foam, each sparkling star – a reminder -
Good times, bad times
They come and go,
Enter and retreat from this life,
Yet the rhythm of the ocean stays constant , just like the penetrating stare of the stars,
As does the fire burning within us -
The fire we cannot allow to die.
Use your inner strength to keep it aglow -
And just like the sea, the power to retreat and the power to wash over anew,
As many of you read this, I’m either headed to or have already started basking in the sunshine at one of my favorite places on the planet: Montauk, New York.
So begins a week-long vacation and some long-anticipated downtime! That means I’ll be taking some time off from blogging, too. (I also plan to be a little less active on the Twitter feed and Facebook timeline.)
A big part of my vacation will be enjoying some non-time-restricted workouts and hopefully getting some of my exercises done at the beach. Stay tuned for posts later this month on how that all plays out.
For now, I leave you with some feel-good music that I’ll be sure to listen to while staring at the sea, taking long beach walks or reading. Some are new, some are fast, some are true “summer” anthems and some are the old-standbys that always make me smile!
- “Vacation,” the Go-Gos
- “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama
- “Shake It,” Anane (feat. Mr. Vegas & Tony Touch)
- “Let’s Go,” Calvin Harris (feat. Ne-Yo)
- “The Fire,” The Roots & John Legend
- “Time of My Life,” 3 Doors Down
- “Boys of Summer,” Don Henley
- “Scream,” Usher
- “How You Like Me Now,” The House That Dirt Built
- “Heat of the Moment,” Asia
- “Shout,” Tears for Fears
Here’s to a great weekend ahead! I look forward to my extended unwind time so I can return to reality with new energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!