GOODBYE 20’S, WELCOME 30’S

This weekend I turned 30 and I’m over the moon excited and so ready to enter this new decade. Not to put any pressure on it, but I have a strong feeling my 30’s are going to be more amazing than my 20’s could’ve ever hoped to be. I’m not sure why everyone is so scared to leave their 20’s? Frankly, I’ve found this past decade to be somewhat unnerving.  I mean you get out of school and everyone is like, ok, you studied something random for four years, now go and be a productive part of society, ok?!  I mean entering the workforce at exactly the moment the economy took a dive has been interesting, to say the least. Plus, apparently I’m a millennial, I get that now and am actually ok with it thanks to this new podcast, the most recent episode, ‘Screw it, I’m going outside,’ basically sums up my career path thus far.

Thirty feels like the age of wisdom, maybe the path will begin to become clear, maybe not, and that feels more ok. NOTHING IS A STRAIGHT LINE! I trust that every step I take and every person I meet is moving me in the right direction.

I have to say, though, when I wrote down everything that I accomplished in my 20’s I realized two things:

  1. I’m really hard on myself. It’s never enough. Why do we do this (ladies, I’m looking at you)?
  2. I actually accomplished a lot and I’m pretty proud of it.
  3. I spend too much time comparing and that is pointless!

30 events that have transpired and lessons I’ve learned in the last decade that have helped shaped me:

  1. Lived in NYC for five glorious years
  2. Worked in theatre in NYC and saw more shows than I can count
  3. Travelled to Spain and Tokyo on my own on my first big adventure that forever changed me
  4. Switched career paths and left theatre to find my calling in health and wellness
  5. Worked for several amazing companies including Wanderlust, Integrative Nutrition and now sweetgreen making friends for life and gaining amazing experience
  6. Met and married a really cool guy that I met in a night club through odd circumstances. The odds were probably against us, but I love him more than ever and we’ve been married five years in August!
  7. Got married in Montauk on the beach
  8. Travelled a ton with above mentioned dude and have had a million incredible experiences with him in Australia, Indonesia, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Hawaii, Mexico and more states than I can count.
  9. Learned that travelling and experiences are the best things to spend money on
  10. Learned that obsessing over food gets you nowhere, balance is everything
  11. Became a health coach
  12. Quit smoking
  13. Lost my Grandma to cancer
  14. Moved coasts twice
  15. Welcomed my niece Anjali into the world
  16. Welcomed my baby sister August into the World and embraced my modern family
  17. Supported my Mom through recovery and my sister through pregnancy
  18. Went to Thailand to deepen my yoga practice and get certified
  19. Taught yoga at my home studio and others in Brooklyn
  20. Did the AIDS walk every year that I lived in NYC
  21. I actually get paid to write for amazing companies and people- what?!
  22. Built this blog and am writing for so many others that I don’t get to write here enough
  23. Wrote a musical about dance music culture
  24. Danced on stage at Red Rocks twice
  25. Danced on stages all over NYC and Denver
  26. Completed the full Landmark Education program
  27. Became a dog mama (twice!)
  28. Worked at Wanderlust festivals around the US and Canada, practiced with the greatest teachers and made the most amazing connections and friends
  29. Realized the importance of keeping the good people close and losing the ones that don’t build you up, inspire you and help you grow.
  30. Learned the importance of self-care!

This exercise of looking back was really powerful for me and a great reminder that we never give ourselves enough credit, never appreciate all of the work that we’re doing, all of the growth that we’re experiencing, all of the lives we’re impacting. Is every day perfect? No! Not by a long shot. Honestly, some days I want to just give up, I get worn out and anxious, I wonder what all of the hard work is for, but it’s coming, I know it is, and it’s so exciting to think about the possibilities.

quote

In my 30’s I’d like to give back more, find a company that I can really grow with (or create my own), extend our family, become a gardener, spend more time with friends and so much more TBD…

SISTER TRIP TO PLAYA MUJERES + A LOW SUGAR MOJITO RECIPE

The last couple of months have been really busy (indicated by my lack of new posts, oof)! I’ve been working almost non-stop, but thankfully my sister C is a super planner and she forced me to book a sister trip to Mexico several months in advance to celebrate our 30th b-day coming up in July. She truly is the Yin to my Yang and so glad she made me lock in a date as we were both very ready for a break when the trip finally came.

As most of my readers know I travel a lot but C has a 2-year old and works full-time so she hasn’t been anywhere in WAY  too long so I let her pick the spot she wanted to go and she chose Playa Mujeres in Mexico. Near Cancun, this was a much longer trip than Cabo for us, but well worth the long travel day!

Playa Mujeres is about 30 minutes from the Cancun airport and we both flew in around the same time so we were off the plane and on the beach in about an hour, pretty awesome! We’ve both been to nearby Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and heard great things about the beaches and warm water and were happy with a less party-centric vibe, so we were super excited to check it out and have a stress-free week of sunning, lounging and eating.

Resort Highlights

We chose to stay at Excellence Playa Mujeres, one of three resorts owned by the same company on a long stretch of literally perfect white sand beach. Excellence is adults only and has insane reviews on Yelp so it seemed like an obvious choice, and overall, we had an amazing experience.

Rooms, Pools and Spa

The rooms are all similar in layout (or so we heard), but vary in location. In such a large resort there are several buildings that are a good walk from the beach, ours was one of those, but was right on the lazy river pool (see below) which was so peaceful and relaxing. We were also really close to the spa and gym so no complaints there! Rooms closer to the main building, beach and large pools are presumably much louder and less private but do offer a quicker trip to the beach. But let’s be honest, a few more steps on vacay never hurt anyone!

Our room was so nice, had a beautiful balcony, big whirlpool hot tube, giant bathroom and nice couch for lounging. The only downside was the terrible wi-fi, but it was kind of nice to disconnect! If you’re going for a honeymoon or big anniversay I’d say it’s worth the splurge for the first floor rooms with swim up access to the lazy river and private sun beds, but otherwise you’ll be happy in any room!

Deciding where to chill each day was a challenge…

We spent a few days laying on the beach and the water was a perfect temp, plus, the kayaks were free to take out which provided some nice afternoon exercise.

We also loved the spa! Each treatment starts with a hydrotherapy experience, similar to a Scandinavian spa with different temperature pools, a sauna and steam room to loosen you up before your massage.

Food in Review

Not gonna lie, all-inclusive resorts tend to make me a bit nervous, I’ve had not so great experiences before and as someone who tries to eat well, even on vacation, usually the food leaves a lot to be desired and is super greasy, processed and not very fresh. At Excellence I was really pleasantly surprised. With ten different restaurants on the property there is certainly plenty of choice.

C and I really loved that the portions were very small, after all, it’s super easy to overeat on vacation and the homemade bread alone was enough to make us super full. Our favorite restaurants were Basmati for Indian food, Toscana for both the fresh breakfast and lunch buffet (you know I love breakfast), and Spice for the Hibachi, Teppenyaki dinner, which is the only meal that has to be reserved. We also loved the Mexican restaurant with an open ceiling and amazing singer and guitarist who sang authentic songs throughout dinner. Most people also loved Chez Isabelle, the upscale French restaurant, and we liked it, but found it pretty heavy, plus, the wait was over an hour and we both hate going to bed super full.

Regarding booze, the options were pretty vast and the bars abundant. Apparently, you can get top shelf booze in the Excellence club, but C doesn’t drink and I didn’t want to overdo it, so we stuck with the basics. My favorite was a mojito called the Hemingway (sans sugar), I’ve put the recipe below, it was a really unique combo and dangerously tasty!

Day Trip to Isla Mujeres

One of our favorite parts of the trip was a day trip to Isla Mujeres on a catamaran. Isla Mujeres is just beginning to gain popularity (or so it seems), although, Playa Norte, has been named one of the top beaches in Mexico and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We started with a brief snorkel and were bummed that we couldn’t go to the Musa Museo an underwater art museum created after the last hurricane in the area to help re-build the reef. After the snorkel we docked near the downtown area and rented a golf cart to ride around the island, such a fun way to take a spin. The best stop by far is the turtle farm sanctuary founded by a fisherman to help protect sea turtles. Next stop was an amazing overlook to get a fresh coconut water and then the mayan goddess statues of which the island was named for.

In Closing…

While I generally prefer to travel farther afield from the all-inclusive realm to really experience all that a place has to offer Playa Mujeres was a really nice opportunity to just disconnect, completely relax and be pampered. We were able to workout in the nice gym, do a yoga and zumba class, swim and eat whenever we felt like it and that’s pretty freakin’ awesome!

Have you been to Playa Mujeres? Would love to hear what you loved here or on Facebook!

HEMINGWAY MOJITO RECIPE (SANS ADDED SUGAR)

Ingredients:

6 fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lime

Club Soda

1 shot Bacardi Limon

3 oz. champagne

Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish

To Make:

Step 1: In a rocks glass, add the mint leaves and lime juice. Muddle to release the mint oil.

Step 2: Add the rum and fill the glass 3/4 full with ice. Add a quick splash of club soda and top off with the champagne. Garnish with the mint sprig.

TRAVELING AUSTRALIA: A GLIMPSE AT SYDNEY AND THE PERFECT WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS

When I was a kid my dream was to travel to Australia. For a few years I even collected koala bears and kangaroos in a variety of forms, from stuffed to porcelain and also started a piggy bank to save up. For some reason life got in the way and we never made it but finally, over a decade later I made it to the land down under and it was more amazing than I could have ever imagined! 10 days in Australia is just not enough. Choosing the perfect destinations was hard, to say the least, but we made a decision and got some great advice on must sees. We began our trip in Sydney and then headed up to the Whitsunday Islands and it was hard to choose what to highlight!

SYDNEY

There is a ton to see and do in Sydney, I had no idea what to expect, I only know a few people who have ever been so I had to do some digging for the top sites, not only tourist attractions but also more local, and of course, the best food!

We stayed at the Shangri-La in an area called “The Rocks”, on a hill above Circular Quay (pronounced Key), which is the popular harbor that you’ve probably seen photos of. The hotel was really beautiful and the view of the entire harbor was incredible. I was alone for the first few days of my trip, so I really got to explore my way aka see everything possible and walk everywhere! I wear my husband out with all my walking, seeing and doing, so it’s always nice to have a little bit of time alone to just wander and think and envision and explore, there’s nothing like it!

The Rocks is really interesting. It’s the most historical area in Sydney and holds a lot of historical buildings and interesting architecture but is also a hip nightlife spot and sits next to the cruise ship docks. I noticed equal numbers of tourists and locals flocking, here which gave it a much more authentic and local vibe.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia 

On day one in the height of my jet lagged unconsciousness I wandered out to the Museum of Contemporary Arts “Artbar” because I’d been told earlier in the day that the theme was Mad Max style dystopia and there would be rooftop drinks and DJ’s etc. I’m so glad that I went, it was really cool to see amazing art in a really interesting setting with some crazy costumes (pics here to see what I mean) and cool curation! I don’t know much about modern art (except that the creepy movie rooms scare me) but this museum, and the event especially were very unique, not to mention the view from the rooftop was absolutely incredible.

HUNTER VALLEY WINE COUNTRY:

Just 2.5  hours from the city is the beautiful Hunter Valley known widely for it’s Semillon production along with other varietals (Yep, fancy words, I know my wines…wink). Anyways, our guide Flynders (seen in the photo lying on the ground) was really fantastic and I got to meet some great people, primarily Americans living in Sydney, but also a German and young European couple who had been working on an organic farm, amazing! The wines were also great! Unlike wine country in the U.S. these wineries were much smaller and more laid back. We tasted several wines at each stop and then were invited inside to try anything else from the list that we liked; this made for a long day, especially since we also stopped at a chocolate  factory, vodka tasting room and cheese tasting room, OMG!

BONDI BEACH

Bondi Beach is really well known as a hotspot year round but we were lucky to be there during the Sculptures By The Sea exhibit with hundreds of works of art created by artists from around the World. There were so many stunning works and I’ve added a few of my favorites below, but I definitely recommend you check them all out on the website.

MANLY BEACH

I ventured out to Manly on my third solo day and I’m so glad that I did! The boat was jam packed with locals headed to catch some waves for the day. After a 40-minute ride we pulled up to the docks and I was really confused because I didn’t see any waves at all, in fact, just the opposite, totally calm mellow water. However, I quickly caught on that all of the hoards of people were crossing the street and walking along an amazing wide street lined with adorable boutiques, ice cream shops and cafes that led to the other side of the island which was indeed the total opposite. Rough, wavy, windy and full of surfers. Manly felt like a perfect beach town. I met an American nanny who asked about my shoes and we walked together for awhile while she told me her story. Next I did some shopping and enjoyed lunch at a small restaurant where plants grew on the walls and everyone was in a swimsuit, I loved Manly and could’ve stayed longer. If you go, you should try to spend a day or two there.

BLUE MOUNTAINS (AKA NO MOUNTAINS DUE TO RAIN):

Our Blue Mountain trip wasn’t all of the mountainous wonder that we’d envisioned when signing up. But, it was still a good time. This just so happened to be the same day of the Melbourne Cup, an event that seemingly all of Australia takes the day off for. Much like the Kentucky Derby, everyone puts on big hats and goes to a bar to drink all day. A local explained that each year there is one big race and many small ones, and this year a female jockey won the big race for the first time ever, pretty amazing! We also paid a visit to scenic world with many, many squealing Japanese tourists (my fave) and very little scenery. Finally, the highlight of the day, a trip to a wildlife park to say hello to some Australian wildlife! This was so much fun. We got to pat a koala bear on the booty (as instructed) and feed some wallabies. We also got to check out other native animals that I’d dreamed about seeing forever!

ONE & ONLY HAYMAN ISLAND & THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

…Skip to Wyatt and I re-uniting, heading back to the airport, flying to Hamilton Island. I have to start with thanking my friend Kelly for this amazing intel. I had never heard of the Whitsunday Islands until she told me I should check it out. Kelly basically said these were the best beaches she’d ever seen and I was sold! I’ve seen some great beaches so I was ready to be totally wowed!

The One & Only experience is just like it sounds, completely one of a kind. (p.s. they are not sponsoring this post, but I’d gladly come back :). We disembarked the plane at the tiny airport on Hamilton and stopped by the O&O desk and that’s it, they got our bags, led us to our taxi (a yacht) and we were on our way to paradise. We also got champagne for the trip, not a bad deal! Hayman Island is a tiny chunk of land that is super secluded and private for hotel guests only. The resort was recently renovated and is completely beautiful and luxurious. When the boat docked at Hayman there were golf carts waiting to take us to the main building and there each guest got their own guide to give us a tour and complete the super brief check-in to our room. Because we were celebrating our anniversary, we also had chocolate and more champagne waiting in our room. I was overwhelmed to say the least. This is why we go on yearly honeymoons, married life is hard!

Our stay was so magical. Giant breakfasts every morning, easeful but active days in which we took long walks out on the sand flats, laid in comfy beach chairs or big beanbags in the pool, took sunset hikes and a kayak snorkel trip and finally went to the Great Barrier Reef to Snorkel! I wrote a ton about the reef for GLDMNE, you can read that here, and I will here say I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m usually a wary snorkler but this felt so free and wide open. There is nothing around the reef so coming upon it by boat was remarkable, the water so clear you can see the fish and turtles right through it.

Leaving Australia was not easy! I felt very at home in this place across the globe which didn’t surprise me since every Australian I’d ever met has been so kind and generous. Hopefully we’ll make it back again some day and if you’re planning a visit I hope this will help you choose some great sites to see!

A CHARMING CHRISTMAS VISIT TO BERLIN

If you haven’t been to Berlin, I highly recommend adding it to your destination list! Recently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin wall, the city, which was once separated into East and West is now unified and a place of amazing culture, art, and innovation. Although the city still holds some immense heaviness from the destruction of both World Wars, but there are also uplifting surprises around every corner. I’ve travelled to Berlin during a couple of different seasons and it’s always so magical. The winters are really cold but the architecture and scenery make it amazing year round!

This trip was a whirlwind! Only 48-hour with my husband was such a whirlwind, but fortunately it’s very walkable so you can take in a lot in a short time.  Below are a few of my favorite spots, both top tourist stops and some more ‘local’ attractions as well.

START WITH AN AMAZING GERMAN, ASIAN AND EVERYTHING- IN- BETWEEN BREAKFAST

I may have mentioned it before but I love breakfast, like a lot, especially on vacation! Wyatt and I were thrilled to find one of the most amazing and vast buffets we’ve ever seen at the Intercontinental Hotel in Charlottenburg Berlin, I could’ve spent an entire day there eating not only German and American cuisine, but also a full spread of traditional Japanese goodies (my obsession with Japanese breakfast food is a post for another day)!

TIERGARTEN AND VICTORY COLUMN

Literally translated, “Animal Garden,” the 520 acre park is a great place to begin your walking tour. The park has been around since the 1830’s and was originally an electoral hunting reserve, hence the name. Today the park is home to multiple governmental and parliamentary institutions. As you stroll you’ll notice many statues and monuments, but the most visible is the Victory Column, a 70-meter-tall structure built on a roundabout with a gold statue of Victoria, the ancient goddess of Victory, now dubbed ‘Golden Lizzy’ by locals. Completed in 1873, it’s well worth climbing the 285 steps to the top of this magnificent monument for the sweeping views. Also, the leaves match my hair so that was an added bonus 🙂

BRANDENBURG GATE

Continuing the walk from the Victory Column you’ll get a great view of the approaching Brandenburg gate and Potsdamer Platz beyond it. The gate is a strong symbol of the immense change that Berlin has undergone over the years and is an important symbol of what the city has overcome. The gate is the monumental entry to “Unter den Linden”, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. Today the gate is a symbol of unity and peace and a meeting point for residents of the city to celebrate anniversaries such as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

UNTER DEN LINDEN BOULEVARD

After walking through the Brandenburg gate you’ll find yourself on a lovely tree lined pedestrian mall (if the season is right, that is), great for taking your first rest stop, having coffee or tea, and taking in the busy city around you. The trees, like the rest of the city, have had a long history of being cut down and then regrown, the current trees were replanted in the 1950’s.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL

Located one block south of the Brandenburg gate is the memorial to the victims of the holocaust. The site is covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stele“, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field, creating an eerie but amazing visual impression. There is also an underground museum in the information center which pays further tribute to the victims, listing every known victims name and displaying important historical timelines of more personal artifacts like letters and family stories.

EAST SIDE GALLERY, WALL MEMORIAL AND CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

All three of these sites are amazing to see, but if you can’t make them all, try to at least check out the memorial gallery for a great look into the immense history of division between East and West Berlin from 1961-1989. The East Side Gallery, established in 1990 and located in central Berlin, pays tribute to the freedom of Berliners after the collapse of the wall in 1989. The gallery is located on the so-called “hinterland mauer”, which closed the border to East Berlin. The gallery consists of 105 paintings from International artists and is the largest open air museum in the World. Checkpoint Charlie is the name given by the Western Allies to the most well known crossing point between East and West Berlin, and is now home to an open- air exhibit with information on the history of the wall, escape attempts and the importance of the checkpoint to military personnel.

EAT LOCAL

We’re lucky to have an amazing friend, (and DJ) Mike  as our guide for an evening on the town in Friedrichshain, a great neighborhood with a lot character. He picked a Russian restaurant, Cafe Datscha for us and the food was amazing. We skipped the Russian vodka selection but still enjoyed the atmosphere and authentic decor including huge piles of Russian newspapers, very authentic!

NEUE HEIMAT (“NEW HOME”)

The second stop of the night was a tour of this awesome food and flea market. Neue Heimat generally opens it’s doors on Friday evenings and lures locals in with food trucks, drinks and live music and local owned craft shopping, all of my favorite things! I was amazed by the design of the space, shipping containers and what Finding Berlin calls, ‘a gloomy but romantic indus­trial set­ting that was dec­or­ated lov­ingly,’ I couldn’t agree more! This market definitely rivaled our favorite Brooklyn holiday markets!

KAISER WILHELM MEMORIAL CHURCH AND CHRISTMAS MARKETS

If you’re lucky enough to visit Berlin during the holidays you’ll get a special treat, Christmas markets that pop-up all over the city! Warm up and stroll around the little shopping villages with Gluhwein, similar to mulled wine, but even better! We had pretzels and bought a giant ‘Berlin’ inscribed cookie to bring home. The market near our hotel also happened to be on the site of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which appears to be two churches in one, both the ruins of the original and a super modern new version right next to it. The site is now a famous landmark and war memorial in West Berlin.

Although 48 hours in Berlin is definitely not enough time to enjoy everything the city has to offer, you can still get in an amazing tour and a ton of steps, if you’re counting. Seeing the city by foot is definitely the way to go!

CABO SAN LUCAS TRIP DETAILS AND LOTS OF PHOTOS

Now that we  live in California the need to escape to the beach in the winter is not nearly as emergency level, but it’s still so nice to get away and take a break together and just re-connect with yourself and your significant other.

This post has a lot of photos, which I don’t usually do, but to give a little background, I used to love photo shoots. When I was a dancer we took pictures all the time in tiny costumes, on top of buildings, pretending to be super models. Growing up as an actor I feel in my element in front of a camera and although I’m definitely not a top model, I just have a lot of freaking fun shooting pictures, it’s a creative outlet for me. However, in the last few years I’ve stopped taking pictures almost altogether. I’m still in my twenties (not much longer), but I feel like my body is a lot different than it was in my early twenties so like every woman everywhere I guess I’ve become a bit self conscious. However, now that I’ve started sharing more about my life here at Fresh and Fierce I’ve also started taking more photos of my day to day and while traveling, and totally love it again! Wyatt talked me in to shooting some pics in my new high waisted swim suit on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico and we had so much fun! I was really happy to get some good shots of my Tattoo that I had done in Williamsburg over a year ago at Eight of Swords, the owner Dave is an amazing artist! More on that someday…but for now let’s talk about the beach…

Cabo recently experienced a really bad hurricane, but the area has rebounded surprisingly well. A lot of the resorts are still closed, but Cabo Surf, where we stayed, was back up and running with a whole new wing of rooms and a great beach! I loved the laid back vibe of Cabo Surf, there were only a few people on the beach each day and the resort was quiet and the staff very friendly and helpful. This hotel is not near the main tourist drag, so we were thankful the food was good and we didn’t really have much reason to leave. The rooms were very nice and we could hear the waves crashing every morning, so great!

Now that I’ve tried out a high waisted suit, I think everyone needs one! This one was around $20 on Amazon. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it so I didn’t want to spend a lot to try it out. Sun glasses are from Urban Outfitters and hat is from Amazon as well, and was great because it could be totally scrunched up in my bag. The earrings I got in Thailand at a market and unfortunately lost one on this trip, sad! The whole ensemble was very affordable.

Ok , so moving on from my silly posing to the coolest thing we saw while on the trip, Whales!! I’ve seen a lot of sea life before, but this was a first and totally amazing experience, I can’t even describe it. We went on a super cheesy, but admittedly fun pirate boat and got great views of the whales. We (W) got these awesome shots. As soon as we left the dock a baby whale and his mama were playing in the bay, jumping and flipping their tales, so cool to watch! At one point the whale swam right under our boat!

Every year several whale species migrate from the chilly Arctic waters to the Baja Peninsula where the temps are just right to give birth and rear their babies. I totally get that, I’d rather have a baby in warm water than cold! I’d recommend going out on a small inflatable boat in you get the chance to get even closer to the action!

Food: For me, the most important part of visiting any place is experiencing their food, and finding a good salad if at all possible. We ate some amazing food in Cabo, which kind of surprised me since I haven’t had that experience in every part of Mexico. Our resort had great food and we went in to San Jose Del Cabo with friends to have a meal as well.

Flora Farms was my favorite. It’s a really popular farm to table spot where Adam Levine apparently got married. I see why he would pick the venue, it’s so gorgeous, and although we got there just as the sun was setting still got to see the beautiful gardens in their full kale-growing glory.  This restaurant was certainly a highlight of the trip. Such great food and ambiance, it’s like a trendy New York hotspot, but in the middle of nowhere. We had an amazing meal in the garden and I got some shots of the surroundings including this over the top palm tree, farm stand of veggies grown on-site, and my tasty carrot margarita.

We were so lucky to have some friends in Cabo as well to show us around. They took us to the beach one day where we lounged around and drank beer and ate guac. Ahhh, vacay, how I love you! If you find yourself getting married in Cabo and need amazing bridal hair and makeup you have to check out our friend Neysa, she is so talented and will definitely make you look fierce on your big day!

Hope you enjoyed this photo filled post, I certainly had fun writing it! Look for more travel posts on the blog soon!

Have you been to Cabo? What did you love? Let me know in the comments.

THE TREMENDOUS HEALTH BENEFITS OF TRAVEL

I’m addicted to travel. As soon as I return from a trip I’m brainstorming the next. I’ve been so fortunate to travel to some of the coolest places on Earth, including multiple trips to Asia and Europe. Fortunately, travel is one of the healthier addictions to have! I believe that globetrotting improves our lives in powerful ways, affecting us on emotional, psychological, and spiritual levels.

If you’ve had a restorative vacation or inspiring adventure abroad, you can relate to the sensation of total wellness that travel brings. And if you haven’t, that’s even more reason to pack your suitcase and buy a ticket!

Health Benefits of Travel

The benefits of succumbing to wanderlust are countless and very personal to each traveller, but here are the top 5 reasons I recommend booking a trip for your health.

1.    Travel helps you recharge and de-stress.

The instant we step off the plane and into a new place, we feel lighter and our minds let go. This mental transition can have a positive impact on our performance at work as well, as studies have shown that employees who take more time off are far more productive and healthier than those who don’t use their vacation days (no more excuses!). Plus, according to Forbes, “not taking vacation has been linked to increased chance of heart disease for both men and women. The cost of stress-related health care is estimated at $344 billion a year.” Taking the time to get away helps us relax and frees us from the constant stream of thoughts and to-do lists we experience in our daily lives. While this clear-headed feeling may not last indefinitely after a trip, it does hit the reset button in your brain and serve as a potent reminder to live mindfully and in the present moment.

2.    Travel helps you reconnect with what matters.

In our modern, go-go-go lives, it’s very easy to disconnect from the things that matter most: our partners, nature, our creative passions, our families. When we travel, we re tap into these things. Activities like hiking through mountains, swimming in the ocean, and walking barefoot along a beach allows us to appreciate nature. Similarly, planning a getaway with someone we love helps us reconnect with that relationship while also strengthening it through new shared experiences.

mevolcanomuc

3.    Travel encourages spontaneity and self-discovery.

Chances are, you’re so caught up in your hectic schedule that you can’t remember the last time you tried something new. Travel can really help you get out of a rut and re-gain some of the spontaneity that gets lost in the daily grind of life. Being in a new place, and with more free time, gives us an opportunity to discover new things about the world and ourselves as we experience things for the first time. When I graduated from college, I visited Tokyo alone and learned so much about myself through exploring this very foreign, very beautiful city. I visited museums, temples, and shopping malls, learned to navigate a complex subway system and found out a lot about myself through those experiences. When we try new things our bodies are filled with adrenaline and energy and we get a confidence boost along with a sense of achievement that we did something new.

4.    Travel exposes you to new cultures and perspectives.

The first time I traveled out of the United States, I was amazed by how different lives in other parts of the World could be—and I was right next door in Mexico! I love seeing how different cultures live, what they eat, how they spend their free time and how they interact with one another. In Bali, my husband and I were invited to have coffee with a family who grew vanilla in their backyard,  saw some local theatre and went shopping for art. All of these experiences were amazing and taught us so much about the Balinese way of life. What’s really incredible is to discover that, despite these lifestyle differences, humans are all remarkably similar, and we all share the same basic needs for food, shelter, expression and love.

5.    Travel gives you a hands-on education.

Travel often brings you to parts of the world that have rich history and fascinating cultures. Although it’s impossible to remember everything you experience in one visit to ancient ruins or gothic cathedrals, the experience stays with you for a lifetime, and can help put historical events or current political situations in context. Travel also introduces us to new cooking techniques, exotic local produce, and dishes that we might otherwise never encounter! All of this information contributes to your overall knowledge as a global citizen of this Earth. I’d have to say that my greatest learning experiences have all come from traveling.

How has travel improved your health? I’d love to hear your globetrotting stories in the comments!

HOW TO PACK FOR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING ABROAD-THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE

It’s been almost one year since I went abroad to do my life changing 200hr yoga teacher training in Koh Phangan Thailand with Drishti Yoga International. In honor of this anniversary I wanted to share some of the things that I appreciated having with me during my 28 day training. Some of these I carried with me (packing light? what’s that?) and some I acquired on my travels. Even if you don’t plan on going to Costa Rica for a training, or Bali for a retreat, a lot of my must haves are good for any trip and will come in handy when you find yourself wandering away from the comforts of home. During my training lots of things came up that I didn’t expect but fortunately I was well prepared, and now hopefully you will be too!

#1 HAPPY BODY

1) Doterra Essential Oils- These little bottles of love are like a new age pharmacy. I had peppermint and grapefruit on me, but I would’ve taken more if I had known just how necessary they’d be. Thankfully, one of the other trainees was an oil expert and had most of the product line with her so we were all set (Thanks J!) ! I also love the ‘On-Guard’ beadlets, they are great for staying healthy in-flight.

2) Roll-On Fragrance- I’ve talked about these fabulous scents from heaven before. The Goddess Line is my favorite scent line ever, they are small and portable so you can simply throw them in your bag and go. Also good for those sweaty, showerless days during a retreat or training!

3) Traumeel- This stuff comes in pill and cream form and works great for muscle soreness, bruises, sports injuries and inflammation. Another benefit is the lack of aroma of most muscle goops, it’s basically odorless.

4) After Bite- I have a serious aversion to mosquito bites that developed in my twenties and now appears to be a full blown allergy. I discovered this on my honeymoon, when I left a window open on the first night resulting in giant welts all over my body, super sexy. I found this anti-itch product in Thailand. It brings the swelling down and keeps the itch at bay. Benedryl tabs are a great option as well, but often when the itching gets really bad a topical treatment is preferred.

5) Organic Coconut Oil- We found some locals that make their own coconut oil so I went a little crazy and got a huge bottle which I actually used most of in a couple of weeks. I put it on my hair and body and didn’t need anything else all day. Did you know that coconut oil is a natural sun block as well? Best product ever! Just make sure to go for the good stuff, organic, unrefined, extra virgin is the way to go!

6) Mozzie repellent lotion- Mozzie aka mosquito (that’s the Aussie term) repellant is a must have. I like the lotions because you can be more precise in application. Avoid Deet whenever possible and admittedly this one pictured smelled kind of nasty and perfumey and probably was not a super healthy option, I’d recommend searching for a more skin friendly version.

7) Nail Polish- Our schedule was pretty crazy for 28 days so finding a salon on the island and sitting down for a pedi wasn’t really happening. Save some time and money and just bring your favorite polish for touch ups. My sister and I love this Essie polish in Watermelon. All Essie nail polishes are DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde free, Essie.com.

8) Fingernail clippers- You’ll want these for sure. The baby ones are nice and easy to carry so your toenails don’t get freaky and distract your fellow retreaters.

9) Body Lotion with Sunscreen- Before I obtained my giant bottle of coconut oil (or even realized its sun blocking abilities) I found this cream. It was nice to put it on in the am and be moisturized and good to go through the morning sweat sesh. Absolutely bring sunblock as well to add during the hottest part of the afternoon and don’t forget sun rays can getcha’ in the shade too!

10) BB Cream- Getting up with the sun means no time (and a who gives a crap when you’re there to get your asana on) attitude around makeup. I like having some sunscreen on my face at all times and love the consistency and coverage of Tarte’s product. Two second application and you’re on your way!

11) Not pictured: Imodium…I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say the whole group went down for a few days straight. Just bring it, you’ll thank me.

#2 ADORNMENT

1) Headbands- I’ve always loved a good headband. After all, there’s nothing worse than having a hair meltdown all over your face. Violet Love does a killer job with fun designs.

2) Earrings- Notice how location and theme appropriate these styles are. *winks*

3) Mala- Great for meditation and to just feel more yogic in general. I got mine from the lovely Silver and Sage collection.

4) Wrappy Bracelet- Thanks to my mom-in-law Pat for this lovely piece. Great for when you’ve worn the same yoga pants 5 days in a row and just want to mix it up.

5) Alex and Ani- The go to line for mindful jewelry, they’re also treated with some kind of energy healing (who knows) they’re cool and you can layer them up for a night out on the playa.

6) A Crystal Necklace- I freakin’ love a good crystal necklace, seriously more than anything, dress it up, dress it down, just rock it, period.

#3 PROVISIONS

1) Pretzel Sticks- These ones are so so, but a healthier version if you’re Gluten Free.

2) Chia- As much as you can carry and more if possible. Chia is great to add to almost anything, provides a ton of fiber, antioxidants, and protein so you can’t lose.

3) Purely Elizabeth Granola These little mini pouches rule, especially when you discover breakfast on day 1 is literally a plate of fruit you’ll be thanking your favorite deity that you packed this.

4) Dark Chocolate!– Most important thing on this list. Just do it, but eat it quickly and maybe share with your friends so the bugs don’t get it!

5) Nut butters- Seriously, what is a vegetarian life without nut butter, it’s nothing, that’s what. Now there are super small jars and even pouches that are easy to carry.

6) Granola Bars- Some afternoons the gap between lunch and dinner is just too much, be prepared with some bars. It’s hard to find a good one that is totally clean, so just do your best and let people judge you, oh well.

7) Organic Tea- Our retreat location was totally coffee free with the closest caffeine quite a hike away. Losing coffee for a month was great for me, but a couple of afternoons I just really wanted a boost. Enter green tea stash. My friend Leisha from Crop Tops And Kale also sent me with the Aveda tea that is simply to die for, that flavor always reminds me of my trip now.

#4 A FEW EXTRAS

1) Probiotics- One of the toughest parts of traveling is keeping your digestive system happy. Always pack a probiotic, and if you don’t have a fridge, be sure to get a shelf stable version and keep them in a cool dry place to maintain effectiveness.

2) Muscle roller- While packing up your trusty gym foam roller may not always be plausible, the good news is  there are some amazing portable options as well. I love Soma System products, they have are a variety of shapes and sizes so you can find the right one for your sore muscle needs. Fortunately, getting a massage Thailand was super easy as well, but sometimes it’s nice to have your own personal masseuse available on demand.

3) Re-usable tote bag- Always have a reusable tote bag, it doubles as a beach bag, grocery bag, carry-on separator for things that may spill, and a day bag for all of your yoga essentials. I love my trusty Integrative Nutrition bag that folds up super small when you’re not using it, which is never.

4) Water Bottle– If you were stranded on a dessert island you’d definitely want to have a good water bottle. I’ve talked about my love for bkr bottle, it comes in lots of cutesy colors and because it’s made of glass can add hot and cold water and won’t have to worry about drinking plastic toxins.

5) Bobby Pins– I learned the importance of bobby pins in my theatre/dance days, you can never have enough. Probably a no-brainer but these are easy to carry and your fellow yogis will thank you immensely for supplying extras.

6) Not Pictured- A nice journal to jot down all of your favorite experiences, lessons, and teachings. I filled mine up, so be sure to bring a big one!

I’ll get into my must have yoga clothes in another post…stay tuned for that!

Anything that you loved that I missed here? I’d love to hear. Please share in the comments!

Happy Travels yogis!