Rails to Trails = Happiness

Rails to Trails = Happiness

We just came back from a wonderful ski trip to Boyne Mountain, Michigan.  The weather could not have been more perfect!  Several days of skiing in the sunshine, tasty tacos and cold drinks sitting at picnic tables at the base of the mountain, live music in dark pubs at night.  Perfection! Now that we are home, I’m anxiously waiting for the weather to break (lots of cold and rain right now) so that I can begin enjoying one of my favorite healthy passions – walking trails with my pup. Many areas (not just ours) have started to convert old railway trails to walking paths.  I LOVE this trend.  We have several in our neck of the woods, the most notable being the Monon Trail.  They are typically nicely paved so perfect for walking or biking, often have houses and restaurants along the way, and are a great way to get your exercise in a lovely setting. When we travel, I’ll often search out these types of walking trails as they are usually well maintained and safe.  Perfect for getting out and experiencing an unfamiliar area.  If you would enjoy the same, here are a few places to look: Rails to Trails – great resource to find trails in your area or wherever you want to travel Do a Google search using the terms “rails to trails” and your city If you are in the Indianapolis area, here are a few of my favorites: Indiana Trails Monon Trail Although I do love hiking (more on that in a future post), when I want a more social experience, a rail to...

How to find the BEST local restaurants

It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Florida.  The marina is hopping and you’re sitting outside, right next to boats coming in and out, fishermen selling fresh seafood right off the dock, tourists and locals strolling along the pier.  The margarita in your hand is made with fresh ingredients, icy cold and salted – and since it’s Happy Hour they are 2 for $8!  Just then the server brings you a plate of fresh oysters, fish dip made with freshly caught local fish and fish tacos overloaded with toppings.  Sounds wonderful, right?  Way better than greasy, unhealthy fast food.  That was one of our recent meals in Clearwater, FL. One of the things I love, both when traveling and when at home, is to try out new local restaurants.  I am very lucky to live in an area that has many stellar local places.  But even when traveling, I take the time to do a little research to find the best places to eat the area has to offer. Here are my steps t0 finding a great local restaurant:  First if it’s an area new to me, I check out Yelp.  Even when we are driving on a road trip, once the stomachs start rumbling, the phone comes out and the search for a place to eat begins (tip: use the map features to see what’s along your route).  I’ve even trained my kids to do this, so we’ll all start yelling out names of places as we find them.  Unless there aren’t any available options, pick someplace with at least a 4 star rating.  Check out the reviews, take...
How do YOU Want to Learn?

How do YOU Want to Learn?

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to learn something new this Fall – that it can be fun and improve your life.  What’s great about our lifestyles today is that we don’t neccesarily have to go to a physical building to learn something new.  For people who weren’t fans of traditional schools this can be a lifesaver. There are so many different ways we can learn – truly something for everyone. It can also be really fun to learn with others.  Got some girlfriends who are up for fun?  Why don’t you get together and take a cooking or painting class?  Or create a book club or wine tasting club?  There are dozens of fun ideas for learning with friends. Maybe you feel the need to spend more quality times with your kids (hello working mom guilt!!!).  Find out what they are interested in and research that topic – check out books from the library or attend an event or museum together to learn more. Date night fallen by the wayside?  Learning something new as a couple would be a fantastic way to spend quality time together, have something fun to talk about and plan, and it would ensure you get out regularly. Might be that travel and learning combined would get you excited.  All you need to do is type in your topic and the world travel or tourism and see what you find.  I’ve seen trips for cooking, history and even some our local zoo offers around animal or ecotourism education.  Fun stuff! Of course there is also the good old traditional school.  Most colleges and universities offer adult...
Does Your House Smell?

Does Your House Smell?

I used to have an obsession with the chemcial laden plug ins that promised a lovely scent in your house.  I’m not going to name names, because it doesn’t really matter which brand – they ALL have chemicals in them.  I have to admit since we’ve almost always had pets it was such a relief to walk into a house that smelled like cinammon or something beachy versus wet dog.  So even though I had concerns about what I was putting into the air we breathe, I kept on doing it. Thank goodness I learned about essential oils!  Now I have a way to make my house smell terrific without adding fake ingredients to the air. Although I use my essential oils in many ways, one that I consistently do daily is diffuse oils throughout the house.  There are so many varieties of diffusers out there, but as long as they use water and essential oils only, I haven’t found a huge difference in performance.  Most diffusers will last a few  years if you wipe them out regularly so they are very cost effective.  I love mine so much I travel with at least one when we go on vacation!  Tomorrow I’ll do a Facebook Live video sharing some of my favorite blends as well as how to use the diffusers, but attached below are reviews (and links) to the ones I own and use regularly: This InnoGear is a nice entry level diffuser – it’s reasonably priced (and often on sale), and the quality seems to be decent.  It has a light function too which is kinda fun...
End Summer Vacation with a Blast!

End Summer Vacation with a Blast!

How has your summer been?  Have you accomplished all the fun things you wanted to?  Or has it just gone by in a big blur and you really don’t know what happened?  Regardless, it’s not too late to end summer with a blast!  Even if your kids are back to school (or going soon), you can still enjoy the last month of typically hot summer weather.   For many kids, even though summer is shorter and school starting earlier (August 3rd anyone?), many of the sports and other extra-curricular activities haven’t started or at least haven’t reached their zenith of time consumption.  That makes August a great month to sneak in a little extra fun in the evenings and on weekends.  So, why not go out this year with a bang?  Make it an August to remember! What exactly can you still do?  It may be too late for a summer vacation, but I bet there are still some things you’d like to do left on your “bucket list.”  Or maybe there is something you have always wanted to do but never found the time or energy to get it together.  Have your kids been asking to do anything repeatedly?  Make a list of all the potential ideas and then survey your family – let them each pick out one they’d love to do the most.  If you have time, schedule them all, if not, write them down, put them in a jar and draw one.  Create a plan RIGHT away as to when you will do it.  If you can, draw again next week.  There are four full weeks...
Yes, You CAN eat Healthy in Las Vegas

Yes, You CAN eat Healthy in Las Vegas

Following up with my eating healthy at Disney post is a second one . . . eating healthy in Las Vegas.  Health and Las Vegas seem a bit opposite, don’t they?  Well, they don’t have to be! Every year, we take an annual “grown-up” trip to Las Vegas with friends.  A week of absolutely no responsibility.  However, I’ve learned that if I want to enjoy the whole week I do have to be careful about taking care of myself – lots of walking (we averaged over 20,000 steps a day!) and eating the best that I can while still enjoying a bit of decadence. My top tips for eating healthy in Las Vegas: 1.  Start with a decent breakfast.  There are several reasons for this – first if you eat well early in the day you will set yourself up for making better choices AND it’s always an easy time to find fairly good food.  When in Las Vegas, I typically have one of two breakfasts.  The first is a simple oatmeal with fruit and coffee.  Easy, inexpensive, full of fiber and very filling.  The second would be a buffet.  (Wait a minute – I thought we were talking healthy).  Hear me out.  A breakfast buffet is a terrific way to get a lot of veggies into your diet – which can be hard to find while traveling.  I always get a veggie omelet loaded up with extra spinach and very light on the cheese.  Add a side of fruit and you are good to go! 2.  Don’t feel that you have to have a big meal 3x a...

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