Surviving an All Inclusive Resort

Last week I went to Cancun with friends to celebrate our upcoming graduation from veterinary school. It was an all inclusive resort, meaning all of our food and drinks were included, aka unlimited food and drinks at all hours! The most dangerous combination when you are celebrating with friends and wearing a bathing suit!

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For most of the week, we just laid around on the beach, not moving. Occasionally, we would get up and swim in the water, but usually our adventures from the beach were for breakfast, lunch, and our snack. Not the best situation. Servers constantly came around to see if we needed anything to drink. Making it harder and harder to be good!

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I know myself and know that I have no self control when tempted. The best thing for me to do is to keep myself out of the danger zone. It is really easy to be laying in bed at night telling yourself, tomorrow you are going to be good, not snack and eat no dessert, but the other side goes, hey you are on vacation and celebrating.

Here are some things I learned over the week!

  1. Make time for the gym // I like to start my mornings on vacation with a workout. For me, it means I definitely got it done. Who knows what fun activity may happen later, and I never want to miss out because I need to work out. I tend to eat better if I have gone to the gym and worked out because it kicks starts my morning!
  2. Walk through the whole buffet // Most all inclusive resorts have a buffet restaurant. I get totally overwhelmed with all the options and before I know it, my plate is piled to the sky with food. Then, you look at your plate and say you won’t eat it all, but you might, and maybe you will even go back for seconds. Planning out what you want to eat can really help you limit what you are going to get.
  3. Gym with friends // As always, you are more reliable when you have someone counting on you or encouraging you to go. Make a plan with a friend to go to the gym, exercise on the beach, or attend a workout class! Some of us went to a water cycling class where the exercise bike was actually in the pool under water.
  4. Pick your drinks carefully // I don’t drink much alcohol. There are very few drinks I actually enjoy drinking and I stick to those. Unfortunately, the ones I love are made with so much sugar. At the beach, it is so easy to fall into drinking margaritas and daiquiris and anything else beachy, but these drinks aren’t great for you. Limit these drinks and pick something else to drink along side.
  5. Exercise outside // I am not great at working out in a gym. I spend way to much time worrying about everyone around me watching me then actually getting a good workout in. Those “weird” exercises I do at home make me uncomfortable and I can’t do them in the gym. I also loathe running on treadmills for more than 10 minutes (but unfortunately you can’t always run outside in strange places). I began moving my exercises to a location either on the beach (which was extra hard) or just a remote grassy location. I was more secluded than at the gym, making me less self conscious, and it was a beautiful view!

 

I took a lot of sweaty elevator selfies after the gym! Please share any tips you have!

Traveling with Dogs

I really run most of my day around Dizzy. I feel bad if she doesn’t have a great day every day because she kinda has no control over that. She goes everywhere with me that she can. Whether we are going just up to the grocery store or whether we are going to Vermont, the car has to equipped with what she needs!

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The hardest thing about Dizzy is that she loves to be dirty, and she has a real knack for getting dirty even in the cleanest places. It plays a huge part in what I keep in my car to protect my car and prevent it from becoming brown. Dizzy always ride shot gun when it is just the two of us. Her seat is always protected by a seat cover. It is super easy to put on the seat and you can unclip the part around the headrest if someone else needs to sit there. They can be washed in the washing machine and dried outside!

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I keep a bag in my car with necessities for having her with me. I always keep water in the car with this collapsable water bowl (I got it from Amazon). You never know if the weather is going to change, your car is going to break down, or if you are going to make some extra stops along the way. I also keep dog food or treats around. I am very lucky to have a dog that doesn’t get into things if left in the car, no matter what it is, so I can leave it in a plastic bag. If your dog tends to get into things, I would recommend putting it in a tight sealed container!

I know it may seem weird that there is a tarp in the back of the car. I started this when we were on a search and rescue team because everything got so incredibly dirty. It helps protect the trunk, especially now when dirty bikes shoes and bike wheels go in the car after riding. There is also a stack of blankets and towels. These are great to clean up Dizzy or protect the back seats if needed.

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Dog leashes are an important part of traveling with dogs. In the past, I have forgotten leashes when traveling because I don’t use one to get from the house to the car. I now keep a spare leash or two in the trunk at all times. It is important to always keep a leash because you never know where you might end up or what might happen. I also Dizzy’s everyday leash in the door for easy access. You don’t want to be digging around in the car looking for a leash when you need it!

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I love traveling with Dizzy. I look forward to many road trips ahead, especially to do some great hiking and exploring!

Staying on Track on Vacation

When I am at school living in Philadelphia with my brother, Heath, I fall into such a good eating routine. One of the main reasons is that he is there. As soon as I get something I shouldn’t, he politely tells me that I shouldn’t eat it. He tells me that there is “a ton of sugar in that” or “that really isn’t as good for you as it seems”.  He keeps me honest. When I leave that bubble, whether it be just to clinics where he isn’t or out with my friends or at home, I tend to fall into bad habits. I have gotten so much better at avoiding my old downfalls.

I started this whole plan for myself for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I am moving out and in with my sister, and we tend to bring out the worst in each other in terms of eating habits. We will OK the other to eat that extra cookie or eat the after dinner dessert we don’t need or go to Starbucks just twice in one day. All things we don’t need, but that we do anyway because no one is looking. The other reason is that I am going on vacation with my friends to celebrate us becoming veterinarians. We are going to an all inclusive hotel in Cancun.

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I have been eating really well, working out consistently, and losing weight. I feel great about myself, and I don’t want this to change in the upcoming weeks. You can always justify why you think you need that extra drink/snack/treat when you are celebrating, but that really just opens you up to continue to struggle and lose you way.

Here are some things I do to try and keep myself on the right path while on vacation and celebrating these upcoming weeks!

  1. Bring healthy snacks //  In my suitcase, I am going to pack some healthy snacks that I can eat whenever. For me, I enjoy eating granola bars, my favorite are Nutrigrain bars. If I can bring some of these along, I can have a healthy snack available. It helps to avoid the Wawa run where you run in and grab a pack of M & M’s because I have my snack with me. If you are driving to your destination, you can bring some fruits or vegetables along the way too. Other things I like to have are trail mix and nuts, like cashews.
  2. Bring a water bottle //  It took me a while to grasp this concept, even though everyone kept telling me about it. Sometimes we think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty. Bringing a water bottle allows you to always have fresh water on hand and might help you to avoid that soda, alcohol, or extra coffee run. Make sure it is empty before crossing security.
  3. Avoid being oh so hungry // I am one of those people who goes and goes and then suddenly realizes that I am way beyond hungry. When I sit down for dinner, I end up eating everything in site, aka the whole bread basket. Then, if you are me, I eat my entire meal and am stuffed! Try not to let yourself get that hungry! This goes back to my first point of keeping snacks. Maybe eating that small snack will help to tie you over to your meal and prevent you from eating it all!
  4. Make time to work out // Most hotels have a gym for guests to use. I know running on a treadmill is not always fun, but it is often the safest place to exercise. (My dad and I once went for a four mile run which turned into an eight mile run when we got lost in Hawaii. We ended up way too hot and dehydrated and cranky.) Hotels often have weights and medicine balls to help you do other exercises other than cardio.
    Rely on your friends and family you are traveling with to get everyone to the gym for a workout! It helps to keep you honest and not just snooze your alarm when everyone makes a plan. Most likely, they want to get there and are struggling to stay motivated.
  5. Do you really need that dessert? // My family loves to celebrate on vacation. Many times, we got south to the beach and love to eat their key lime pie and compare across the trip. But, do you really need it? Instead of everyone getting a dessert, try sharing with a friend. Or instead of eating a whole meal, share some appetizers and then go out for ice cream. Also, be careful because sometimes the habit of eating dessert every night caries over to when you get home.
  6. Watch what you eat in the airport // What you eat in the airport can set the tone for your whole trip. Most options in the airport are fast food, candy, and junk food, none of which are good for you. Many airports now have some healthy food options for you to choose from, just choose wisely! You can often bring some healthy snacks with you through security, no liquids of course, that can help you get through the trip and save a ton of money. While it can be an easy way to pass time, eating in the airport is tricky!
  7. Get in some strength training //  I went on vacation with my mom to Charleston a few weeks ago for the Bridge Run. We were running Saturday and spending the rest of the time out exploring, so I wasn’t concerned about being active. We even biked over 35 miles on Sunday. My mom of course ad to think of one extra thing to keep us motivated, she brought a medicine ball in her carry on suitcase to do her morning ab exercises. It was an easy way to get in some strength something amongst our cardio, not that you have to bring a medicine ball, but there are always ways to workout that aren’t cardio options! I like BBG workouts because you can do them usually do the workouts without equipment. A beach is a great place for squats, crunches, and pushups!

How do you stay motivated while on vacation?

Phriends in Philly

One of my best friends, Caitlin, was able to come up and visit me in Philly this weekend. Her boyfriend came too and we had a wonderful time exploring the city. I love having friends here because it gives you an excuse to go out and explore. You sometimes take for granted the things that you are used to! With only a few weeks left here, I really wanted to make the most of my time here.

On Saturday, we spent the day catching up and walking around sight seeing. We ate lunch and hung out at Yards brewery. I love taking tours places, I definitely got this from my mom, and they have a great quick tour there! After lunch we walked down the waterfront under the Ben Franklin Bridge and over towards Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in America. I had never been over here and was stoked to go. The houses are so beautiful and full of so much character. I couldn’t imagine living there with people looking in your windows all day! I loved this drawing that was in the window and talked about the history of the street. img_2388

We stopped at Betsy Ross’s house for a short while. It really is amazing how much history is in Philadelphia! Then, the three of us headed towards Reading Terminal Market to get some snacks and coffee. It was beyond packed in there, probably because it was so windy outside!

Our evening was spent at the Phillies game with some friends from school. We ate so many crab fries, the best game food! The game was crazy because the Phillies scored twelve runs in the first inning. Fun Fact! The record for most runs in a single inning in seventeen! The Phillies ended up winning the game, not to anyone’s surprise. It started to get a little chilly towards the end of the game, and we ended up switching out our beer for hot chocolate to stay warm!

The next morning we walked the dogs over to Federal Donuts for breakfast! The only way to eat these donuts is immediately, when they are hot and fresh and oh so delicious. We enjoyed sitting outside and soaking up the sunshine. My favorite donut is the strawberry and lavender, but you have to eat it right away when it melts in your mouth!

It was a wonderful and way too short of a weekend with these guys visiting! I am happy they live so close to where I am moving back to so I can spend more time with them. All in all, it was a jam-packed weekend of fun!

The Holy City

This past weekend my mom and I were fortunate to travel down to Charleston for the Bridge Run. It was a wonderful city and we had a blast. We had been here once many, many years ago, and we actually more on Kiawah Island and not really Charleston. The photos you see do not do this city justice. It is a must see.

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The weather was absolutely perfect the whole time we were there. On Saturday, it was 86 degrees and sunny, and on Sunday, it was 77 degrees. Perfect weather to be out exploring. It was definitely warm compared to the 40 degrees and rain I left in Philly. I was not complaining one bit. Everyone we talked to said that the weather in Charleston is perfect expect for in the heat of the summer where you sweat buckets as soon as you walk outside, something I would not do well with because I am always hot anyway.

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After the race, we spent the day just walking around and exploring. We walked down King Street where they have a ton of shopping. We walked in and out of stores and bought some things. We found so much great artwork that was really hard to keep walking by. Some things were shipped home to decorate the house I am moving into (sorry, Dad!). The Charleston Market was full of local artwork and handcrafted homegoods and cooking supplies/food.

One of my favorite places we went to was Rainbow Row. The houses were full of so much color. I loved it! I could definitely move into one of these.

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It was great just to spend time with my mom and catch up. We had fun just talking about life and nothing and laughing about everything. We spent a lot of time just wandering around. We had no plans and no where to be, which allowed us to be free to explore.

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On Sunday, we rented bikes to get around. We biked from downtown to Sullivan’s Island and to the Citadel. We also biked through the College of Charleston. These bikes were extremely welcomed because of how sore we were. It also allowed us to see so much more. My mom brought her Garmin running watch and tracked how far we biked. We ended up biking almost 35 miles in total!

I know Charleston is full of amazing restaurants and food, but we spent most of our time out exploring and not much time eating! We would get snacks and small things along the way as we needed without sitting down for a long meal. We will definitely have to go back to eat more local food.

This city was really hard to leave. Everyone was so welcoming and happy, it was infectious. I really want to make this run a tradition, to give myself an excuse to go back and visit. There are so many unique places here that behind every turn in a new place to explore. I am counting down the days until I return!

Philadelphia Bucket List

I have just three months left in Philadelphia before I graduate which is so little time. In my first year, my friends and I made a bucket list of all the things we wanted to do and see here. Now that there is only three months left, I realized that there are so many things that we didn’t get done leaving us with a jam-packed few months.

  1. Go to a Phillies game 
  2. Go to a Flyers game  (Just went last week)
  3. Visit the Barnes Foundation (we went for a young professionals gala)
  4. Visit the Magic Gardens
  5. Go to Love Park 
  6. Run the Philadelphia Half Marathon 
  7. Run the Rocky Steps
  8. Visit Redding Terminal Market
  9. Tour the Yards Brewery
  10. Visit the Liberty Bell
  11. Watch a Rowing Regatta on the Schuylkill River
  12. Visit the Eastern State Penitentiary
  13. Relax in Spruce Street Harbor Park
  14. Visit the Franklin Institute
  15. Eat at Pat’s and Geno’s
  16. Explore the anomalies at the Mummer’s Museum
  17. Visit Independence Hall

The Travel Bug

Social media makes it really hard not to be jealous of everyone’s traveling. It has helped me create the longest list of places I want to visit, especially after having no weekends for the last year. My sister loves to travel and is always willing to try anything, so I know I have a travel partner for life. My sister, mom, and I made a pact to visit a new place each year by running a half marathon. This way we have an excuse to travel there. Plus, it helps to keep us in shape! This upcoming year I have some places to check off my list!
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San Diego // My sister has always wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo, so we are going as a graduation present to ourselves as she gets her master’s degree and I get my veterinary degree. I want to take a detour over to Los Angeles and make the classic Hollywood sign hike! And as a major plus, two of my friends live in the area that I do not get to visit often!

Nashville // I love country music, so going to the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must on my list. I also want to stroll through Centennial Park and visit The Parthenon. Plus, there is a ton of great shopping! (sorry, Mom!)

Charleston // This spring, my mom and I are going to go to Charleston and run the Cooper River Bridge Run. It gives us an excuse to tour this amazing city and soak up some southern charm.

Boston // I have been to Boston twice, so it’s not a new place for me to check off. But each time I go, I cannot wait until I get to go back. I love how easy it is to get around and see so much in such a short amount of time! I really want to go to the Boston Public Library!img_3206

Now, I just need the time off to get there!