How to Take a Vacation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how summer was already halfway over and how much I was looking forward to a few upcoming things on my schedule. One of them was a trip to Virginia Beach to see Dave Matthews Band – a trip that didn’t go as planned (it rained nearly the whole time we had planned to be beachgoing), but was still a good time. Until the air conditioner in Clay’s car died about 10 minutes in to our four hour drive home. Because of course.

The other bit of travel I was looking forward to was a trip to Wisconsin to visit my family and see cousins and aunts and uncles and play at my parent’s lake house. THAT trip went much more to plan and was just what I needed: an extra long weekend, spent mostly outside, with people I love.

Northern Wisconsin is beautiful – and my parents are enjoying calling it their new home. Trading Alaska for this place is a pretty good deal – it’s not The Great Land, but it’s still pretty great.

So, here’s how I take a vacation:

The view from my parent’s yard. I could stay here forever.

My sister and I made up this photo display of our family – earlier in the night we had a memorial table out, too, with photos of Grammie and Grandpa Jennings, my great aunt – AJ, my cousin Amy, and my Uncle Mike and Aunt Terri. We lost all of them but we still wanted them to be present for our day together.

When you have a big party with folks who couldn’t make it to your wedding – you bring your wedding cake to everyone! Round two turned out just as good as the original.

Sisters and cousins – well, two of them anyways. These kids we like my sibling substitutes while I was in college. It’s hard to believe now they are in college!

Mom and I got out for a short paddle on my last day. I can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring!

Momma. <3

The weather cooperated and we were able to play outside quite a bit – the paddleboards were the best!

I’ll be honest – I didn’t think I could do this.

Out on the boat with these goofs. Short fishing excursion – they all got skunked, but I landed a few small ones.

Dad with one of the better catches of the weekend. Not quite long enough to keep, though.

On our last night, Dad took us out for some sunset fishing – I didn’t catch anything, but being out on the lake at dusk was kind of magical.

Guys, my sister is cute.

I was reading in the hammock for about ten minutes… it was great, but there were more exciting things to do!

I’m already counting the days until I can go back and hang out on the lake with my family. There’s never enough time in that place with those great people.

Unsalted and Shark Free

About this time last year I got a late night text from a friend showing off a shiny diamond ring. I was so, so excited for my friend and couldn’t wait to hear all of the details. I knew that the wedding would be in Michigan since that’s where she’s from, but I also knew that it would be a small affair. Needless to say I was happy to be invited! I love this girl and couldn’t wait to celebrate her special day.

Fast forward to about a week ago when I was packing a bag and preparing to travel to Michigan. Though my family went on many road trips when I was a kid we never made it to Michigan, so this was a first for me. I got up dark and early on Saturday for a flight to Atlanta and then to Grand Rapids. I’ve traveled alone before so I wasn’t too worried about layovers and flights and things. Once I got to Grand Rapids, however, things got a little hairy. I rented a car for an hour and a half drive to the small town of Pentwater. I get extreme anxiety when driving, though, so I was a little worried.

I did okay, though. I mean, I’m alive and that’s all that matters! Once I got to Pentwater my main priority was a nap. I had been up since 3AM and was in serious need of rest. I love traveling and seeing new places, but it’s totally exhausting sometimes.

Once I was rested up I took a drive into Pentwater and walked up and down the…street. Because there’s only one. It was warmer than I expected. (I’m from Florida. I’m used to melting.) It’s a cute little town that sits on Pentwater Lake and Lake Michigan. I love a good view of the water and Pentwater didn’t disappoint. It also had some adorable shops and touristy places to check out.

Of course I found books.

Also I found some amazing coffee gelato.

After I toured the town myself, I went back a little later with a friend and her husband that arrived a little after me. We had dinner at one of the pizza joints in town (there were a few) and then headed to the state park to mee the bride and her family after the rehearsal dinner for a sunset on Lake Michigan. It was beautiful!

No filter needed.

After the sunset we headed into town for drinks at a basement bar. This was a new experience for me as we do not have basements in Florida. 🙂 I was exhausted after a long day of traveling and was so ready to climb into bed. I guess this is the part where I tell you I took workout clothes and got up early for a run, right? Well, you know I didn’t! I did get up early, but that’s just because of my internal teacher clock. After a quick hotel breakfast I…took a nap. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m in a brand new state and I should be exploring! But I was also on vacation and I’d been feeling a little down lately. Some extra rest was just what I needed.

This was wedding day, so there wasn’t a ton of time to explore. My friend Cristi and her husband Jose were staying at the same hotel so we ventured out together again. We tried a little coffee shop in Pentwater and did some shopping before driving to Hart and finding a cute little brewery for lunch.

Cristi and I enjoying the view in Pentwater.

After our little excursion I had enough time for a power nap before getting ready for the wedding. The bride’s family has an adorable cabin which is where the wedding took place with a gorgeous view of the lake. It was a perfect setting and a beautiful ceremony.

Florida friends with the beautiful bride.

Ice cream themed tables.

Michigan brew with a view.

Monday was my last day in Michigan so I drove an hour south to where my friend Jenn was staying with some old friends. (All of my friends that I spent time with in Michigan are friends I work with in Florida.) Jenn and her family/friends rented a boat in Spring Lake, so I went out with them for that Pure Michigan experience. It included a boat ride, some choppy waves, and a floating trampoline!

I, of course, had to do a little SkirtSports photo shoot.

I jumped off a boat and swam to that. Go me.

Bumpy selfies with Jenn.

After a great day on the lake with friends (and friends of friends) I made the trek back to Pentwater to get ready to leave the next morning. I was flying out of Grand Rapids at 6:45 and had to drop off my rental car, also. This is the part where my anxiety kicks in and I don’t sleep, but at least there was no traffic when I left at 3AM! The drive was smooth, security was a breeze (besides me leaving my license at security), and my flights were on time. My layover was in Detroit where I landed at gate A73 and had to hustle to A9 to my next flight back to Florida.

I loved being away for a weekend and being able to do a little exploring while celebrating a good friend. I didn’t workout while I was away, but technically none of those days were running day so I didn’t feel too guilty about it. Sometimes you need a break from all kinds of stuff (even if you’re on a vacation as it is), even marathon training. I’m getting back in the habit now and also getting into the mindset of going back to work. I’m saving my “Day in the Life” until my day consists of something other than Netflix and large amounts of coffee.

Michigan is a beautiful place and I’d love to go back and visit and see what other trouble I can get into. There doesn’t even have to be a wedding!

It’s Summer and I’m Lazy

I’ve been sitting here for about an hour thinking of what to write about and also what to name this particular post. I remembered multiple times yesterday that I had a post scheduled for today but I kept getting distracted. I even texted Mer this morning to tell her I was working on it. Only I’d just gotten up and had barely made my coffee. It was 10AM.

I just love summer break, y’all.

I’m the type of person who goes all school year round. This year was definitely a busy one for me with coaching cross country for my first time ever, clubs, tutoring, and all other things that just kind of fall under teaching. I’ve only been out of school for a few weeks, but I already know of some changes that are going to happen next year and some really exciting things that I get to do. Yes. It’s June and I’m already planning for August. It’s how a teacher brain works.

So. I’ve been lazy lately. It’s not a difficult as I thought it would be.

I’ve still been keeping up with my training schedule. I mean, mostly. I’ve had some hip pain so I’ve scaled back a little on my running. This is a huge deal for me, as knowing when to take a step back from something is not my strong point. I’ve also been seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever to work on some adjustments that are really needed. It’s been nice just taking it easy and relaxing. Of course, I’ve also been binge watching the early 2000s show One Tree Hill, just for fun. Yesterday I didn’t even get dressed until 5PM and that was only for a quick visit to the Target a mile away from my house.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well. First of all, I can’t think of anything else to tell you! That’s really about it, sadly.

I can be the queen of go-go-go and doing things until there’s nothing left to do. I know there are a lot of people like that. Maybe I’m telling you to slow down. That if you want to watch TV all day in your pajamas, you can. (Unless you have a job. Go to work.)

Take care of yourself. Take a break if you need to. Last week I wrote about celebrating yourself, which is hard for some of us. I know taking a break and relaxing is hard sometimes, also. We always feel like we have to be doing something. Whether it’s for ourselves or for other people.

The thing is that we don’t.

Lately I’ve been doing nothing for myself. I’m sure, eventually, I’ll get bored of doing it. Eventually I’ll start painting my bathroom or wallpapering the guest room or even (ugh) planning for next school year.

Until then I have six and a half seasons of One Tree Hill to watch.

Do you have any summer plans?

 

A Case of the Mondays

I don’t know about you all, but March has felt like a million years long and I’m pretty sure I just need a nap.

Between winter finally deciding to show its face and my man being gone for the first half of the month, March has felt really dreary and blah and basically made me want to escape. Which I did last week – my mom, my sisters, and my sister’s friend met up in Arizona for spring break. It was fantastic. 80-degree temperatures, laying by the pool, reading, shopping, visiting with friends… I would like to go back now please and thank you.

I was supposed to write about vacation workouts today. But you know what? I just didn’t work out on vacation. I was gone for a week and maybe truly exercised one day: we went for a short hike/walk and I did an ab circuit. But other than that? I just relaxed. Because it was vacation.

I struggle with this mindset though, I’ll admit. I get it in my head that I need to make time to work out, no matter what I’m doing. I need to stay on top of my workout regimen and my diet so that when I get home I’m not playing catch-up.

All that thinking does, more often than not, is ruin my vacation, because I get a little obsessed with what I’m eating and how much I’m moving, and I forget to relax and just enjoy myself.  I had one morning while in Arizona that I focused on exercise… and then realized that I was there to chill out. And all I really wanted to do was be in the sun, read my book, work on wedding-related things with my mom and sisters, eat good food and drink margaritas. So I did. And you know what? I got home, and felt a little unfit, but a lot more relaxed and even though I’m super tired and not ready for Monday, I do feel a lot more prepared for what we’ve got coming down the pike. A new workout schedule, the Whole30, a wedding.

So, no, I don’t have a post about “Six Super Easy Vacation Workouts!”, but I do have some words of affirmation: You are enough – so enough that you deserve a break. Enjoy it.

Happy Monday.

Danke Switzerland!

Last Friday I shared our Germany adventure and today I’m back with the Switzerland portion! Guys, Switzerland was absolutely incredible and I’m anything but neutral about it. (See what I did there?)

My husband, Jay, has been visiting Switzerland for many, many years. Without me, much to my dismay. Granted, he was there on business. And granted, he wasn’t able to do much in the way of sightseeing, but still! We made up for that in spades on this trip.

Our hotel was in Lenzburg and it’s where Jay considered home base when he’s there on business. It had a great view of Castle Lenzburg!

hotelochsen

We grabbed lunch at the courtyard restaurant in the hotel before hiking up to the castle.

Aubergine Cordon Bleu

Aubergine Cordon Bleu

Castle Lenzburg from our balcony

Castle Lenzburg from our balcony

IMG_5717

Live life, make waves! I just loved this guy.

Live life, make waves! I just loved this guy.

Girls and boys, yes. Sorry dragons.

Sorry dragons.

We took it easy the first day because we had a big journey planned for the following day! Why? Because we got the golden ticket! (Shout out to Gene Wilder, may he rest in peace.)

merandjaylucerne

This golden ticket had little in the way to do with chocolate but did include a boat ride, cogwheel railway (at times a 48 degree angle!), aerial cable car, and panorama gondolas. We started in the city of Lucerne and took an hour boat ride to the base of Pilatus.

boatride

There was some down time before we were able to take the cogwheel railway up to the peak of the mountain but we had lunch and entertainment.

The majority of the time we were on our excursions we heard more German than anything else (which makes sense, of course). However, our ears perked up on the cogwheel railway where we sat with a few members of the Cleveland Orchestra. We spent the ride chatting with them and checking out the views.

Up we go!

Up we go!

uppilatus

Once off the cogwheel railway, we climbed to one of the higher points.

I can’t fully explain the feeling once we reached the top of Pilatus. We were surrounded by clouds and it felt as though we were touching the sky.

IMG_5781

After we returned back to the city of Lucerne, we did get our handmade Swiss chocolate at Max Chocolatier; our golden ticket was truly complete!

The following day we took some time in the morning to visit the Swiss division of Jay’s company, which was fantastic. It was wonderful to put faces to the names and one of his coworkers even drew a map for us to follow while we visited his hometown of Zurich.

Zurich was my favorite of the “big” cities we visited. Driving there was a bit daunting (thankfully, I wasn’t driving!) but once we got situated, it was absolutely gorgeous.

zurich1

zurich2

zurich3

I think what I loved so much about Zurich is that we had no agenda. We wandered through the streets, visited a few churches and towers, and took in the sights.

The view from Grossmunster.

The view from Grossmunster.

That evening we had a reservation at restaurant blindekuh; this was something that we had been planning since the very inception of our trip. It is a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness.

blindekuh

So much of our vacation had relied on our sense of sight. Experiencing great heights and views, as seen by the photographs. However, this was completely different. We had to rely on our other senses, which became hyper focused. Our waitress, Laila was visually impaired, as was all of the wait staff at blindekuh.

blindekuhcow

Once I got over a mild panic attack after being lead into the darkness (not exaggerating – there was a moment I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay), I got a sense of where I was in the room, where Jay was in the room, and somewhat of what was going on around me. It was a bit jarring because the majority of the conversations around us were in a different language but Laila spoke English, which helped immensely.

It was an incredible 3 hour experience.

It was an incredible 3 hour experience.

For the record, carrots and radishes have a very similar texture and I’m still not sure which one was in my salad.

I had a pasta dish, Jay had chicken (which was slightly more challenging), and we let them pick our ice cream because we weren’t quite to the point where they gave us an entire mystery meal.

The following day was another “easy” day – we spent more time in Lenzburg before heading to Hallwyl Castle in Seengen.

hallwyl1

Even the audio guide did not help us understand what exactly was going on here.

Even the audio guide did not help us understand what exactly was going on here.

hallwyl2

hallwyl3

That evening we enjoyed an incredible dinner at Jay’s boss’ home. His family was gracious and lovely and really liked giving me alcoholic beverages.

saturdaydinner

The following day was our last full day of our vacation and we had big plans. We drove 2 hours to Grindelwald, primarily to do this.

A tip from me, if you ever go there… don’t wear a dress unless you like constantly doing the Marilyn Monroe pose. I had shorts on underneath my dress but even still. It was breezy!

Breezy but worth it!

Breezy but worth it!

first1

first2

first3

We couldn’t have asked for a better last day on First Summit.

Next time I’ll do that!

We’ve been back home in New Jersey now for a week and with school starting for my kids on Wednesday, I’m back to being mom, cook, home project doer, and all the other responsibilities that were forgotten for just a little while on our vacation.

It’s good to be back with the experiences that I was exposed to while in Germany and Switzerland. They won’t soon be forgotten!

Happy Labor Day and enjoy each other.

Hitting the Road

Tonight, I embark on a journey. I know that as I travel this journey, some parts will be smooth and others will be rocky. Some parts of it will fly by, and other parts will slow to a crawl. It will have its ups and downs. And at the end of the journey…I will never want to get in my car again.

That’s right. This isn’t a figurative journey. It’s an actual road trip. A six day road trip from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and back, with my husband and our two kids. (If you just got visions of National Lampoon’s Vacation in your head, I promise, you are not alone). My husband and I lived in NC when our daughter was born, but we moved home to Massachusetts when she was two and a half, and we haven’t been back since.

You guys, I’m scared. We’ve never done a vacation like this before and I’m really hoping we don’t all want to kill each other halfway down the Eastern seaboard.

Our typical summer vacation includes a three hour drive to North Conway, NH, where upon arrival, we unload into the family summer house, a condo with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a FULL KITCHEN. This is approximately four times the driving hours, hotel rooms and a whole lot of eating out.

Which brings me to the oh-so-important part of this post. How the HELL am I not going to gain 47,000 pounds????

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kind of control freaky. Wipe that shocked look of your faces. Part of having issues with disordered eating, for me, means that I really crave control when it comes to food. I don’t even have to be ‘on program’ to want this control. I pretty much always want it. But especially when I’m trying to stick to an eating program, which I am. And even if I had control over where we were going to be eating, and had a kitchen to prep my own food, my standard vacation mode means eating everything in sight, finding the stuff out of sight, and eating that too.

And as if that weren’t enough, we’re going back to the place where I got fat. I gained over 100 pounds in the almost five years we lived in NC. There was a time when I could tell you the exact location of every fast food restaurant in the Fayetteville area.

BUT…

I’m a different person now, and I need to remember that. This trip is about the experience of taking my daughter to her birthplace, not a six day excursion to Krispy Kreme. I can make health(ier) choices even under less than ideal circumstances. I’ve made sure every hotel we’re staying at has both a gym, and a pool, so I can still get exercise in. I’m packing up a bag of portable road snacks so that I won’t get over-hungry and thus, more prone to bad choices. I’ve got the WW app on my phone, so no matter where we wind up eating, I can check the points and plan accordingly. I’m as prepared as I can be in this scenario. And if I decide to say the hell with it and eat whatever I want, points be damned, for six days? That’s okay, too. (Being totally real, I can see this happening).

My Weight Watchers leader said something last night that hit home, and was relevant to this. She said that when you feel like you’re slipping, you should ask yourself “Is this worth it?” Sometimes, you will find that the answer is no.  And sometimes, the answer will be ‘yes’, so you eat it and move on with your life. So, that’s what I’m going to try and do.

For the record? Sonic? So worth it.

How do you stay on track on vacation? Suggestions for healthy road snacks? Give Bec your tips!