Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

A Mother-Daughter Bonding Road Trip

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grand canyon road trip mother daughter

Upon deciding to move cross-country from New York to San Diego, I knew my mom and I needed a proper goodbye. We’ve always been super close and this was going to be the first time we weren’t living within a few hours’ drive of each other. After some thinking, I realized what could be a better send-off than a road trip? The logistics and costs of driving from coast-to-coast ended up not being ideal so I flew her out with me to San Diego and we rented a car. I planned out a route on Roadtrippers that included the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. We packed some snacks and we were on our way.

I’d always wanted to do a road trip in the U.S. But I’ll admit that after so much international travel, I was worried I’d be let down. I thought wrong.

Our first stop was Peggy Sue’s Diner. Super cheesy and touristy. But it set the mood for the rest of our trip as I realized that the Southwest was a whole new world I had yet to conquer. It became more apparent as we crossed the state line to Arizona. I can’t imagine having done this trip any other way as every mile was beautiful. Looking out of the car windows was unreal. Sprawling mountains, canyons, deserts, and valleys. It was really hard to focus on driving! Understandably, we never reached any of our destinations on the trip within an hour of when we were supposed to. We just couldn’t help pulling over everywhere.

road trip arizona grand canyon zion

As enchanting as the scenery was, it was far from the most memorable part of the road trip. In Williams, we had mother-daughter dates with wine flights and interesting locals. At Horseshoe Bend, my mom had the most embarrassing moment of her life (I assume). I’m not supposed to repeat the details, but I will say that it brought us closer together. After all, nothing brings two people closer than one laughing at the other’s misfortune, right?

In Zion National Park, I really wanted to do a lesser known trail. After doing some research I found one online that leads to a secret waterfall. Apparently, it was so secretive that the park rangers couldn’t even help us find the trailhead. Luckily, we eventually stumbled upon it on our own. The trail was obviously unkempt and we had to wade through the stream for most of it. After a little over a mile, we came to a dead end. A mini-waterfall and a wall of rocks blocked our path.

My mother, always protective, suggested I try to scale the boulders next to us so I could go up and over this barrier. It was far from safe. I managed to slowly wiggle my way up there while my mom spotted from below. Upon reaching the top, my mom began to follow. She struggled so, in a real Hercules moment, I used one arm to hold onto the tree behind me and one to help pull her up. It didn’t really work, but it was still an epic moment. At the top of the boulder, we realized there was no way to get around the barrier… and we couldn’t figure out how to get down! We eventually slid down the side and got a few cuts and scrapes along the way. Oh, and that little waterfall that blocked our path? Apparently, that was our destination, after all!

We definitely learned a lot about each other on this road trip that we didn’t already know. For the first time, I felt we had that “adult” mother-daughter friendship rather than taking on the caregiver and child roles. My mom would like to think we’re like the Gilmore Girls, but we’re probably more like Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in Snatched. We had a great time, but we butt heads a lot, too. She likes to blast the A/C while I’m shivering under blankets. I like to scream along to T-Swift and get annoyed that she doesn’t sing the right words. I learned that I’m a chip off the old block in that we’re both insane weirdos.

But I also learned that she’s way more adventurous and gutsy than I knew. And she got to see me at my best: planning and navigating trips. I can’t wait to go on another mother-daughter trip, but I think next time an all-inclusive with a swim-up bar might better suit our relationship.

 

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Becoming a Yogi in Bali

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bali yoga yogi indonesiaI’ve always enjoyed yoga as a casual hobby. My “practice” consisted of going to a class at the gym a few times per month. My motivation was completely physical and I rolled my eyes whenever I was in a class where the instructor started chanting. Needless to say, I was far from a yogi.

This all changed when I started going through some major life transitions. I had plans to quit my job and move across the country. Despite wanting to make this change for over a year, as the day came closer I began to question myself. I was beyond stressed. I decided it was time to get away. Maybe a weekend yoga retreat outside the city?

As I began to research my options, I realized that this city break was going to cost me a lot more than I would have expected. The average retreat cost about $500, not including transportation. I was discouraged until I found something even more surprising. For the same $500 I could spend a month doing unlimited yoga in Bali! Of course, flights were a bit more expensive than Amtrak but screw it. I booked the retreat and after quitting my job I was off!

Upon arriving at my retreat in Canggu, Bali, I definitely started to feel at peace. With ocean winds, open-air yoga studios, and a large pool to drink healthy smoothies by, how could I not? But I also started to realize that the yoga itself was not what I expected. I had assumed that the yoga would be fun and mostly for beginners. I also assumed that most of the other people at the retreat would be like me, casual exercisers who just wanted to escape life for a while. Boy, was I wrong. Nearly everyone was a pro!

My first day of yoga was exhausting. I just took one, 90-minute class (out of the 12 classes available each day) and I nearly passed out. The movements were challenging, the heat was intense, and the instructor really pushed me. In fact, he physically pushed me into positions that my body couldn’t handle. He told me that he could tell I was very flexible and I just wasn’t trying hard enough. I was not a fan of this guy.

aerial yoga retreat bali

I expected to be too sore to do any yoga the next day. I was surprised to wake up refreshed and eager to take more classes! Over the next coming weeks, I still found the classes difficult, but I was excited to push myself further and further. The instructor I hated my first day became one of my favorite people. I was starting to see physical and mental changes within me. My body could do things it never could before. I even became confident enough to try aerial yoga! More importantly, I was able to sit still and be calm, something that’s quite foreign for an anxious person like me.

Over the course of 30 days, I met inspiring yogis from around the world and kick started my own journey into spiritual wellbeing. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this in a weekend in New York.

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6 Reasons Backpackers Make the Best Employees

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Backpacking

World travel is far less valued in the United States compared to most other developed nations. We get fewer vacation days and have more financial obligations post-college (hello, student loans) so taking the time to do some serious traveling is not usually on our radar. Furthermore, it’s not generally respected by potential employers, who may perceive it as a sign of instability or lack of commitment.

As it turns out, these concerns are not only unwarranted, but they also cause companies to overlook some of the most amazing individuals out there who could really bring something unique to the team! After all, backpacking requires people to develop some skills that are essential to the workplace. So whether you’re an employer who wants to develop a more well-rounded workforce or an applicant who wants to play up your assets, here are 6 skillsets that backpackers hone on the road, making them excellent employees.

1. Planning

Although traveling often consists of last-minute decisions and spontaneity, there is still a lot of planning and research involved. Backpackers have extraordinary attention to detail because we analyze and compare the value of everything in our trip. This could mean anything from evaluating the cost to value ratio of several hostels or which attractions are worth our limited time in a given city.

2. Adaptability

Travelers are able to handle whatever is thrown at us. Delayed flights, undesirable hostel environments, and confusing metro systems are just a few of the unexpected situations we need to adapt to. We need to remain flexible because so much can change at a moment’s notice. This makes us great at working under pressure and dealing with last-minute setbacks.

3. Budget Management

bargaining market travel employees

Backpackers are notoriously skilled when it comes to budgeting. It requires talent to visit 10 countries in 4 months on $5k. In addition to our excellent planning skills, we are also great with negotiation. In many third world countries, prices aren’t fixed in the local markets. Personally, I’ve learned to love the art of bargaining and it has saved me a lot of money. We also occasionally barter our services, such as offering some copywriting help in exchange for accommodation.

4. Teamwork

Backpacking often requires living in close quarters, whether we’re staying in hostel dorm rooms or joining group tours. While this may drive some people crazy, frequent travelers learn to make the most of it and actually thrive in group environments. This leads to strong emotional intelligence, cultural awareness, and overall social networking skills.

5. Independence

On the other hand, we are also very independent and can work well with little guidance. There are plenty of situations where we have to figure everything out on our own, especially when language barriers come into play. My most difficult moment abroad was attempting to navigate the Vietnam public bus system when I first arrived in Ho Chi Minh. I had different people telling me different things until I finally just took a leap of faith and jumped on the closest bus. Luckily, I eventually got to where I needed to be. Overcoming these challenges takes our confidence to a whole new level. This means we’re ready to take on anything and step out of our comfort zones.

6. Large Worldwide Social Network

travel friends social meet people

While this is not a skill or personality trait, it is definitely an asset. Frequent travelers have a larger network than you could possibly imagine. In addition to meeting the locals in our destinations, we also meet fellow tourists from every corner of the world. And we stay in touch. I have places I can crash all over the world and friends in all industries.

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Do You: Getting Out of the Bucket List Mindset

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bucket list

In the age of social media, it sometimes feels like life is one constant bucket list. We check off items and casually brag about them on Instagram and Facebook. This is especially true when it comes to travel.

It seems like every other travel website has an article about the new must-see travel destinations, or places you “need” to visit before you reach 30. While these can definitely be helpful in giving you ideas, they can also give you a lot of unnecessary pressure that goes against the point of travel in the first place. Even more importantly, you could fall into the trap of doing things because other people say you should rather than doing what you want to do.

I’ve fallen into this trap myself and, honestly, I’m still working on how to get out of it. I first realized this when I went to Amsterdam. I just wanted to have my idea of a good time: partying with the locals, people watching in cafés and seeing some cool architecture. But I kept getting lists from friends of all the museums I just had to see. It really got into my brain and made me start thinking, “How could I come back and say I’d gone to Amsterdam without seeing all of the sites?”

Ultimately, I didn’t go to any museums on that trip (unless you include the cheese factory tour I did on a day-trip to Zaans Schans). And I don’t regret skipping them. I’m just not the type of person that generally enjoys museums. It took me a long time to admit this. It feels low-brow of me. But I think it’s important for us all to accept what we enjoy and make our own travel plans based around that. While some may prefer museums, art, and music, I prefer thrill-seeking activities, nature, and architecture. There’s no shame in that.

What’s been an even bigger challenge for me is getting over the checklist mindset of the bucket list. Travel shouldn’t be about just checking places and experiences off and thinking, “Been there, done that.” It should be a continuous exploration. I should spend as much time in a place as I enjoy and continue to revisit places I’ve fallen in love with. I should also be able to fully immerse myself in each new place and experience without rushing so I can move onto the next.

I’m not quite sure yet how I’ll get over this. I’ve met several people on my current Southeast Asia trip who have asked why I’m not going to Thailand. “Well, I already visited Thailand a few years ago.” “Did you like it?” “I loved it.” There’s inevitably a pause and I realize how silly I sound. While I sadly won’t have time to revisit Thailand on this trip, I now know that I will prioritize it in the future.

Looking back, my most enjoyable travel moments weren’t when I was rushing around and sightseeing. Instead, they consisted of late-night conversations with new friends or people watching at an outdoor café. That’s not to say I don’t cherish the amazing sites I’ve seen. But I think the best moments in life aren’t planned. By getting out of bucket list mode, travel can become easier to appreciate. To quote the wise Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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Hiking Upstate: Greenwood Lake

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First of all, my posts may be a bit sporadic for the next couple of weeks as I adjust since I have a new job! Woohoo!

To celebrate this new beginning, I spent a lovely weekend upstate. I spent some time relaxing by the lake, warming up by the fire pit, and “sampling” at the winery, but the main purpose of the trip was hiking! I think active get-aways are so important for both mental and physical health (especially when you live in a hectic city) so I’m trying to do this more often.

upstate hiking new york lake

View from the deck at the B&B

We stayed in a lovely B&B in the small town of Greenwood Lake (where Babe Ruth used to stay!) It was beautiful and, more importantly, quiet! It was cold, but so peaceful by the fire pit. We spent the first day at Warwick Winery. $5 for wine tasting? Count me in! It was a great day, although we may have had a bit too much!

hiking appalachian trail mountains nature

The next day we went hiking on the Appalachian Trail! The views were amazing and the bright colors of the Fall foliage were unreal. Seriously, some of the leaves were so pink they looked like they had been painted. I’ve said it before, but I honestly think that hiking is one of the best workouts there is! In addition to being a social activity that puts you in touch with nature, it’s also challenging. It combines cardio with strength training due to the steep hills and mountains. This part of the trail was definitely steep and a bit tricky! And it’s hard to want to stop when the views are so pretty.

hiking appalachian trail nature views

After the trail, we stumbled upon a schoolyard playground. After reading Autumn’s post on active recess, I was inspired to sneak in! I’m not sure if that’s what she had in mind when she emphasized the importance of just letting loose and playing, but it was so much fun! After running through the jungle gym and swinging on the swings I was surprised that I was out of breath because I had completely let myself go. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was exercising at all.

This weekend really taught me the importance of active rest for the body and soul. I didn’t have any formal workouts, but I was probably more active than I would be on days where I just had one prescheduled workout. And I completely let go of all the stress I was feeling the week before.

What does an active rest day look like for you?

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Adventures in Ireland (Part 2)

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Read Part 1 here.

Day 6: Ring of Kerry

One of the highlights of my trip was the Ring of Kerry, but it wasn’t accomplished without difficulty. Once I got to Killarney I kept hearing from other travelers how the bus tours are pretty awful and you need to rent a car to get the full experience. I was terrified of driving on the left side of the road, but that ended up being the least of my concerns. After lots of phone calls I ended up getting the last automatic car available in the area… But I had to pay nearly €200 for one day! People who rented in advance paid less than €20 a day for a stick shift. But after moping about it for awhile I decided to just do it because it’s a once in a lifetime trip. I’m so glad I did!

I spent the day driving around the southern peninsula of Ireland. The roads there are scary! They’re just slightly big enough for one car, yet they’re meant to be two-way streets. So whenever a car came the other way, one of us would have to slowly back up to make room. Yikes!

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But at the same time the roads are so beautiful. Driving the winding roads along the cliffs over the ocean was amazing. I would stop every once in a while to explore and take pictures. I also made a number of detours whenever I saw an appealing sign. This included a trip to Ireland’s best chocolate factory and even a trip to a subtropical jungle (who knew?) I also stopped by a few farms to “play with” (read: gawk at from a distance) the cows. A highlight for me was when I found an empty beach surrounded by cliffs. I took the time to take a break and relax, while I took in how small I felt (in a good way) compared to the world.

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Later, I stopped in the quaint and colorful town of Sneem for dinner on the river. As I made my way back to the hostel, it was starting to get dark but I wasn’t done with the adventure yet. I spotted another place to stop and started to take a little walk when I realized there were wild sheep all around me staring me down! I briskly (read: cowardly) walked back to my car. But I have to say it’s hilarious to look back on!

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Days 7-9: Kilkenny

Finally I made it to Kilkenny, the town where my great grandmother is from! This beautiful city feels more like a small town and, from what I gathered, most people seemed to know each other. That being said, Saturdays here are a little…well the only comparison is Vegas. Stag and Hen Parties (translation: bachelor and bachelorette parties) like to come here for debauchery and the pubs turn into nightclubs for that one night a week. Let’s just say I wasn’t a fan. But by Sunday and Monday, everything was back to normal.

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I spent some time exploring the cute little shops, walking through the park, and seeing Kilkenny Castle. I stopped in friendly, local pubs for meals and drinks as I did everywhere else, but somehow it just felt homier here. On Sunday night, I stopped in a pub that had fun Irish music playing. As soon as I sat down, I found myself in a conversation with an elderly musician who frequently plays in New York and a few other men closer to my age. That’s one of the great things about Ireland. It seems that age isn’t a barrier and everyone is friendly with everyone. Anyway, they taught me a lot about the music and the town. That night, everyone in the bar seemed to come together, from the “posh” girls to the farmers, in the name of music (and maybe a few too many pints). Either way, it was a sight to see.

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Off to Ireland!

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irelandtrip

Well, there won’t be any new posts this week because…I’m heading to Ireland today! I am beyond excited to explore my heritage (and maybe indulge in some whiskey!) I will be sure to take a ton of photos so make sure to follow me on Instagram for updates while I’m gone!

In the meantime, here’s what you have to look forward to when I get back:

  • How to stay on track when traveling (and how strict should you be?)
  • A recap of my trip and advice for anyone planning a trip to Ireland
  • A guide to NYC’s healthiest and tastiest restaurants
  • A new series called “The Health Debates,” in which I’ll conquer controversial topics, like supplements and juicing
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Welcome to She Powers Through!

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Hi! My name’s Danielle and this is my fitness/nutrition/health/lifestyle blog.

About me:

I’m 25 and I live in NYC. I work in marketing, but healthy eating and fitness are my passions! I live on quite a tight budget, so I’d love to share how I maintain a healthy lifestyle without spending much. I also hope to share a bit about my journey to complete wellness: body and soul.

Another thing that’s important to know about me is that I have some digestive issues and food sensitivities. I’m still working on figuring out what is safe for my body to eat. Most nutrition websites are of a one-size-fits-all variety. But while kale might be super healthy for some, it could cause gas and bloating in others. Everyone is different and I hope to share recipes that fit all types of eaters. I think most people have some digestive issues whether it be aches, cramps, or bloating. So I hope to share with you my journey and some recipes that are friendly for all types of eaters and maybe you can figure out which foods are best for you, too!

Now on to the more fun stuff. In my free time I love to travel, watch classic movies (big Hitchcock fan), explore nature, and hang out with friends and family.

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