Posts tagged ‘vacation’

February 28, 2014

I’ve Got to Get Away!

this way out

Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here. Is busyness overtaking your life? Are you constantly weary and running on empty? We all have so much to juggle that we barely have time to breathe. If you can get away on a vacation, sweet! But what if your schedule or your wallet is a bit pinched? You don’t need a whole week away at a 5-star resort to get some peace in your life, though it would be a great start! Here’s my personal plan for getting away, if only for a little while.

1. Nature

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Go where the wild things are. Go where you can take a deep breath and actually smell the air. Find the wind, search the wide open sky, find some water, or surround yourself with your favorite kind of plant therapy. To a nature-starved soul trapped in the city, even the greenhouse at Home Depot is warm, loamy, and vibrant. I could never articulate why my soul resonated so deeply with watching a fire burning in my fireplace or standing on the deck of a cruise ship, gazing at the horizon as the wind whipped my hair and the waves  broke below me. Then I found Martha Beck’s description of the soothing power of nature in The Joy Diet: “If your body is tired, seek out some fluidly moving part of nature: a fireplace, a river, a field of wind-blown wheat, a thundering surf. Watching and listening to the patterned disorder of the universe is one of the deep soul’s favorite pastimes.” Lovely . . .

2. Loved Ones

My sister, Paige, and I--love her so!!

My sister, Paige, and I–love her so!!

Find the person or people you love the most and just marinate in the happiness they bring you. You don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, unless doing so will bring you joy. My heart bubbles over in the presence of loved ones—it is therapy like none other for the craziness in my life. When I’m with people I treasure, I love to linger and no amount of time is ever enough. You know the quote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow . . .”? Absolutely true!

3. Animals

animal collage

Seek out some animal friends ASAP! If you love creatures like I do, there’s nothing that makes me more deliriously happy than petting an animal. Some people go crazy for (human) babies—for me, it’s animals. If I can’t touch a creature, I’m begrudgingly content just to watch them. My favorite hotel in Miami, The Biltmore, is famous for its two beautiful, old-fashioned finch aviaries. These cages are in the lobby, are home to at least 20 finches, and are the first things you see when you step into this glorious hotel. If you’ve not heard the sounds finches make, the tiny chirps are soft, constant, and sweet. I could watch and listen to those winged charmers for hours—so very soothing.

4. Free Time

If you are a spontaneous sort like me, having time unplanned is a precious thing. Having an end point at the end of a stretch of time (even for something fun) makes me feel boxed in and anxious. So, on a recent trip to see my sister and her family, we found ourselves momentarily without plans and it was heavenly. When you keep time unmarked by expectation, 1) you can relax and simply be and 2) you leave room for unexpected joys. We enjoyed our free time by visiting, chilling out, reading, and then lucky for me—a puppy play date happened! See, you never know what will happen when you relax your grip on life! 🙂

5. Joy Reading

A few of my favorite things . . .

A few of my favorite things . . .

This seems to be an obvious choice, but for hyper-achieving, busy people, setting down whatever instructional, educational thing you doing can be the first step to getting away for a bit. I’m always studying or preparing for something, and of course there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. So, when I need to escape, I pick up my favorite books that make me laugh and am transported.

This list is my go-to plan for escaping for a little while and regaining some sanity and joy. What do you do to find some peace in your life? I’d love to know! Find me at Brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

May your weekend be blessed and filled with joy,

Brooke

August 19, 2013

Afternoon Ritual

Fun and romance in Miami

Fun and romance in Miami

Recently, my True Love and I escaped on a week-long and desperately-needed vacation to beautiful Miami, Florida. Imagining Miami conjures up many things, namely the turquoise ocean, the deep influence of Central/South American, Cuban, and Caribbean cultures, old money, new glam, lush tropical vegetation, and waterfront skyscrapers  gleaming in the sun. But if you are like me who often grows weary of this modern life, I have just the place for you. John (my husband and aforementioned T.L.) and I discovered a magical place years ago when we first came to Miami, and we have been enchanted ever since.The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel

As you make your way through the lush, sleepy Coral Gables neighborhood, imagine huge banyan trees arching over the roads and dripping with vines. Whatever you are expecting as you turn the corner and first glimpse the magnificent Biltmore Hotel, you will not be expecting this. Built in 1926, the Biltmore Hotel is a portal to a golden age long vanished. Over the years, the hotel has hosted socialites, presidents, foreign dignitaries, stars of the silver screen, and many more who’ve admired its Tuscan- and Moroccan-inspired architecture. The lobby is so lovely and vast that it evokes the hushed reverence of a cathedral, even amid the soft trills of the resident finches. This lobby is also the site of yet another delight—afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at the Biltmore

Afternoon tea at the Biltmore

Another Age

Now, if you hang around me for any length of time, you will soon come to see I am an old soul who is deeply in love with the past. In fact, I’m 97% sure I was born in the wrong time and place. My heartbeat quickens for the 1910s-1940s, especially the 1920s. I can’t explain it—it just is.

Fun in the 1920s!

A little bit of the 1920s in modern-day Frisco

And as a raging Anglophile, I adore all things English—their culture, society, architecture, history, fascination with Princess Diana, cool and cloudy weather, and most belovedly, Dame Agatha Christie and her murder mysteries. As you can imagine, the well-loved ritual of English afternoon tea is the height of refinement and glee for me.

Afternoon Tea

During our stay at the Biltmore, we cherished our afternoon tea as a harp strummed nearby. Our treat was glorious, relaxing, and intimate—a wonderful respite from everyday life to enjoy time with each other. We loved it so much that we have now instituted tea time in our house! It is something we look forward to and hurry home for. On weekend afternoons, we gather our rarely used tea cups and dishes from our wedding china and set about our ritual. I love my Earl Grey and John loves Gunpowder green tea, and until recently, we had cobbled together store-bought scones and other treats to enjoy with our steaming cups. Last night, I actually made homemade scones!! I was thrilled at how well they turned out until I took them out of the oven and immediately dropped almost all of them on the floor. $#@*&!

Cream scones and strawberries--delightful!

Cream scones and strawberries–delightful!

Oh well, my floor was mostly clean, and the scones and fresh strawberries were out of this world. Then we popped in Downtown Abbey, settled in to our evening, and away we slipped into another era. Happiness!

May you find your special rituals that bring joy to your day. XO, Brooke

Afternoon tea at home

Afternoon tea at home

June 5, 2013

Life is a Beach Run

 

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The fishing pier at Port Aransas, Texas

The entire trip down to Port Aransas, Texas, I anxiously awaited running on the sand at the beach. I crave beach running, and every time I’m seaside, I wonder why it took me so long to get back here. As I started out on my morning run, Memorial Day weekend, I anticipated traffic on the beach; however, I found a nice, empty, clear path along the thickest part of the beach sand. Yay me! I’ll be getting a good leg workout today for sure

It’s always a struggle to cut coffee time short on the breezy patio and get my run in before enjoying the day lounging at the beach; however, in true runner-addict form, I had my one cup of coffee as I braided my hair, assembled my running outfit and tucked my toes in my low-profile sneakers. (I’ve gotten good at separating my toes to where they slide into the “web shoes” perfectly. Anyone who has a pair of “web shoes” appreciates this statement.)

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Necessities for the beach: plenty of water and sunglasses!

As suspected, the sand absorbs each step of my run, and my quads, hamstrings, and calves yell out a rally cry with each mile. As I look over to the water’s edge, I imagine the waves scooping up every worry from my mind and the tide carries all of them out into the ocean. Ahhh… breathing in salty air seasons my soul and it’s a feeling I crave. Deep breath in… big breath out… waves pull toward me to gather the stress on my shoulders, and the water leaves the shoreline peaceful and clear.

Four miles later, I return to the beach house and hang in ragdoll to pray. “Thank you Lord for reminding me how strong my body is even when I start to second-guess myself.”  Stretching is one of the best things you can do for your body post-workout. I find shade because now I am a dripping, salty mess and want to give my skin a chance to cool down and my breath to return to normal.  After a few yoga poses (especially for the hip flexors and hamstrings), I’m ready to take on the world.

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Now that I’ve shared one of my favorite summer workouts with you, I want to share the best part… shower and recovery meal! For my sun-kissed, salty and sweaty skin, I love lathering up with Dial soap. That’s right… good old-fashioned Dial anti-bacterial soap is safe for your entire body—even face! For my hair, it’s Wen brand hair care. The cleansing conditioner provides a no-nonsense, quick cleansing solution for my dry hair. No separate conditioner needed. Sometimes, I will even leave a small amount in my hair as a leave-in conditioner for the day.

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I moisturize my skin with a mixture of Kiss My Face brand sunscreen and Lubriderm lotion. This replenishes moisture to the skin and protects my skin from the sun.

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Finally, I apply Nars-brand tinted face moisturizer to my face. This, and a little bit of waterproof Maybelline mascara, acts as my only makeup for the day. (Did I mention how much I love the beach?)

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I create a cute braided up-do and it’s about time to refuel my muscles. My fuel of choice, post-run is either an Advocare Meal Replacement Shake with added wheat grass. (I promise it’s yummy.) Or I make veggie eggs and green juice. Check out the recipes and helpful tips below, and let me know your favorite beach hang out.

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Veggie Egg Muffins

  • 2 cups Eggbeaters (or four whole eggs)
  • 4 oz Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Mushrooms
  • 1 cup Spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup Red peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice mushrooms, spinach leaves and red peppers. Mix Eggbeaters, cheese, all veggies (feel free to add more). Spray muffin tin with butter/oil then fill each muffin cup evenly with egg, cheese and veggie – I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to evenly fill.  Each cup should be about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Muffins will keep in the refrigerator for about a week within freezing. Egg muffins can be frozen and reheated in the microwave—they make a great, quick breakfast or morning snack!

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Sand Running Tips:

  1. Start slow—your muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to get used to running on sand, so shorter distances are best.
  2. Never run on sand twice in a row. Further, I hesitate running on back-to-back days. Give your leg muscles some breathing room, and reduce injury that could result from over-working a specific muscle group.
  3. Alternate the use of low profile shoes (web shoes) and regular running shoes. Most people’s feet are used to having padding and support.
  4. Keep high cadence and do not worry about stride length
  5. Alter the depth of the sand, if possible. Hop from the thick, loose sand to the patch of thinner, pact sand… and back to the tough stuff.
  6. Be sure to download some Beach Boys tunes for your run!
February 4, 2013

Time away….how to handle anxiety over a childless vacation….

I don’t know about you, but my husband and i have not traveled much without our children. Last year was the first time for both of us to be away from them at the same time. Yes, I travel for work, but I don’t blink an eye, because they are safely at home with my husband, their daddy. And last year, when we went to the Bahamas for 3 days, I was anxious at the though of leaving them. I of course managed to get over it as I sat beside the crystal blue water and clean white sand and was able to enjoy some much needed alone time with my spouse. But this year, actually in just a few days, I will be traveling to Argentina and Uraguay for 8 days. 8 days!!!! And 8 days with limited phone access due to the cost of international calls. And, to top it all off, my daughter’s 7th birthday is while we are away. Talk about major mom guilt! So what is a mom to do. I firmly believe that as a parent you should not lose your identity simply because you have children. Yes I love my children, and they are a top priority, but especially when you are married, you have to have some quality alone time to continue to build and nurture that relationship. 

So, how does a mom deal with anxiety over leaving their children for a much needed vacation? Here are a few tips that should help.

  1. leave your children with someone you trust without question. I know that seems like a given, but the last thing you need to worry about is the well being of your kids. 
  2. write out notes for every day that you are gone for their lunch boxes. Just a little reminder that mommy loves them. 
  3. use face time or skype to your advantage..instead of just calling the kids to check in, get in a video chat for a few minutes so you can hear about their day
  4. don’t spend your whole vacation talking about the kids…use the time away to renergize your marriage
  5. Choose a special and meaningful souvenir to bring home as a surprise. 
  6. remember that this only one week out of their entire lives. You get to be their mommy forever. 

 

I know its tough…when we become a mom we always want to put ourselves last and our families first. But you can’t…you are important, and if you are in a relationship, your relationship is important. You are modeling for your children, hopefully, what a healthy, loving  relationship looks like, which in turn will set them up for healthy relationships when they get older. 

 

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