Brain Brawn & Body
Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.
Bali is a tropical, exotic location. Few words can describe it but special and unique do it best. For those of you not fortunate to have traveled there yourself, at least not yet, your familiarity with Bali may have come from a book or movie. Let me give you a more personal experience of Bali through the eyes of a gifted photographer, and you will see Bali in a whole new way.
First of all, let’s get our bearings in relation to geography. Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Unless you are familiar with Indonesia, that description was not helpful. Let’s try again. Bali is an island situated north of Australia and south of Japan. Bali is the most famous of Indonesia's 17,000 islands and has been a tourist favorite for decades.
Summer is winding down and the days will get shorter, cooler and darker. But don’t let this mean your workouts will get shorter, less frequent and less intense. Instead use the change in seasons to revamp your workout and increase your positive self-talk.
How do you keep yourself going to the gym when it gets colder outside? Working out with a friend or buddy is a fantastic way to make sure you get to the gym (they keep you accountable and call you on it when you slack off) and make sure you have more fun. Fun you say? At the gym? Yes, absolutely.
If an African safari is on your bucket list, sit back and over the next 12 months, go on safari vicariously with us! We started off with Hippos in Africa - Vicariously and now want to share the fabulous Victoria Falls with you.
Victoria Falls is shared by the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. My sister and her husband went to Zambia specifically to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World. To say the falls are SO BIG would sound like a statement one would make to a toddler, but how do you describe something this massive and breathtaking?
Spring always makes me think of France, and specifically Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverny. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Paris twice and take a day trip to Giverny both times. One visit was in the month of May and the second was in June. The gardens were glorious both times.
In the spring months including May, you will find the garden blooming with amazing flowers. Beautifully arranged are daffodils, tulips, poppies, cherry and crabapple trees, wallflowers and pansies, fritillaries, irises and so many more.
I started running in high school. As kids we always chased each other, but running in a straight line was new to me. I lived out in the country on a long, hilly road. Once I started to run on my own, my normal route was to run to the highway and back – 1 mile out and 1 mile back. To get there, I had to go up a little hill, then go up a really big hill to complete the first ½ mile. It was always a challenge but one that I enjoyed. Now when I run races and see a hill coming, my adrenaline surges. I’m so excited to charge that hill because I’ve been doing it all my life!
The race landscape has changed over the years. There are many 5K runs, some 2 mile fun runs and walks and this year I heard of my first quarter marathon. Whatever your preferred distance, realize that you can run any distance you want. Really you can! The healthy human body is so amazing and is limited only by our mental attitude. We like to ask newbie runners if they can run a mile. Usually they respond yes. Then we tell them that if you can run 1 mile, you can run 3. Then, if you can run 3, you can run 5. If you can run 5, you can run 10. If you can run 10, you can run a half-marathon – 13.1 miles. So, if you can run 1 mile, you can run a half!
My sister, the world traveler and scuba diver, shared one of her favorite dive trips so I could share it with you. On the other side of the world in between China and Australia lies Indonesia. The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago containing more than 13,000 islands. On the way to their scuba diving trip in Wakatobi, they first stopped on the island of Bali.
Their experience in Bali was a very spiritual and peaceful one. They stayed in the southern part of the island called South Kuta because it was near the airport. Dubbed the Detroit of Indonesia , it was crowded, dirty and didn’t make them feel safe.
This holiday season you may find yourself traveling near or far. Whichever it is for you, travel safely. Try to put aside any family discontent and enjoy each other. Be positive, kind and compassionate.
Some of the stories I’ve heard over the last month have saddened me…a man dying unexpectedly at the age of 47; a young mother in our school district passing away. She was only 40. Then yet this week, I heard of another person dying who was only 30. Life is short, so live it with gusto.
There are some of us who love words. Vicarious is one of my favorites. “Living vicariously” allows one to experience things through others without having the experience firsthand. In this case it is witnessing the amazing hippopotamus in Africa.
With her husband, my sister recently took one of her bucket list trips. She went on an African safari. Prior to the trip, she received a new camera with an amazing lens and took photography classes to enhance her picture taking skills. What she did next was wonderful.
With photo sharing on Facebook, friends and family can stay up to date on trips and photos. My sister took over 600 pictures each day on her safari, then each night she would edit them and post her favorites for family members to enjoy. We took a virtual safari with her, thus, experiencing the safari vicariously.
We have been looking forward to this vacation all summer. I always wanted to take a vacation right at the end of summer and have one last big hurrah before the children start school. Then our memories would be fresh, we’d be rested and happy to start the school year. So, this was the vacation!
For some reason, my daughter thinks it is fun(?) to get up super early and go to the airport. That is just what we had to do for our great fare deal out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Myrtle Beach. It’s also nice to have friends who will pick us up at 4:00am to get us to the airport in time. I guess if one is trying to get as much fun out of a day as possible, this combination of my daughter’s excitement and the energy of our kind friend is a great way to start.
You may think I am being facetious. I guess it depends on your ability. There is the Joy of Cooking, the Joy of Baking, the Joy of Painting, but the Joy of Golfing? Much to my surprise, there is a website titled thejoyofgolfing.com. I actually love golfing. I am a moderately skilled golfer, although the golf instructor at my local course thinks I bought the lifetime lesson membership! You are here for lessons again?! Let me tell you why I am serious in my belief that there is much joy in golfing.
I know of groups of men who live for early Saturday morning golf, our own editor Eric Von included. They thrill for the long drives, sinking the putts and in some cases, enjoying a stogie in their carts. They enjoy getting away, relaxing and testing their skills. This is great “guy time”.
2,400 miles. 6 tanks of gas. $4.19 a gallon. $157 round trip. These were the numbers I worked with as we debated to drive or fly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had been there a few years ago with some dear friends. We stayed only one night, but loved the ocean and the area. I have always wanted to return, so this year we hoped we could.
If we drove the 2,400 miles from Milwaukee to Myrtle Beach, it would be take about 6 tanks of gas costing about $75 each fill-up for a grand total of approximately $450. It would also take about 2 days and 19 hours of driving. My son would have his license, so there would be three drivers, but the thought of spending that much time in the car didn’t thrill me.
For Father’s Day, my boyfriend’s son is planning on giving his father a juicer. (Don’t worry, we won’t spoil the surprise as he already asked if it would be used before purchasing it!) His son made us a “green” drink this past summer and it tasted surprisingly delicious. See picture. I hadn’t given it much thought since, but then my “butts and guts” class instructor who is also my yoga teacher mentioned we should Google Green Smoothie Girl. This is how the story continues.
I’ve always been a good student, so if my teacher asks me to do something, I do it. I learned that Green Smoothie Girl is a website developed by a woman, who while currently a best-selling author, used to weigh over 200 pounds and had over 21 chronic health problems. Through her green smoothies diet and switching to whole foods, she is now a 135 pound athlete with no health problems. That was of interest, so I kept reading.
I hope you know I am talking about the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Maui. Both are beautiful places to visit and are a part of the eight major Hawaiian Islands. A friend recently asked me where I recommended she go on her upcoming vacation to Hawaii. Here is what I told her as well as the advice from another frequent Hawaii traveler.
Fortunately for my travel enjoyment, my sister lives in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. She has been there for 6 years and I have had the opportunity to visit three times. Going to a vacation spot multiple times gives you a certain level of comfort and familiarity. While I am, by no means, an expert on the island, I certainly did develop a fondness for certain beaches, restaurants and locales.
Current nutritional guidelines advise eating between 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. At first glance, that may seem difficult but broken up throughout the day into meals and snacks it’s doable.
How much of the servings should come from fruit and how much from vegetables?
A person can typically eat as many vegetables in a day as they want as long as they are prepared in a healthy way without deep frying or too many sauces or dips. Always look for variety, although green leafy types should be the preference.
We had many plans and ideas for spring break – visit my sister in Hawaii, go to Mall of America, fly to Mexico and stay at an all-inclusive. In the end, we vacationed at home to allow us to be available for practice for my son’s high school tennis team.
If you think about it, there is usually a good reason why you chose to live in the area you do. How often do you take advantage of all that your city has to offer? A few years ago, we visited a dear friend in Durham, North Carolina. Before we arrived, we had researched the top 10 things to do in Durham. Our friends who lived in Durham had not done them either, so he felt compelled to make sure we crossed out every item on that list before we left. It was fun for us, and it showed our friends some things in their own city that they had neglected. That seems to be the case with many of us.
We have a joke about “going to the club” and “going to the jungle gym”. It sounds uppity to call it a club, yet it is short for health club, so I call it the club. My counterpart calls it an adult playground, hence the name jungle gym. Whatever you call it, health and fitness clubs have inundated our country and are available no matter where you live.
Why should you belong to a health and fitness club?
If you remember the basics for living a healthy life, they are eat well, get enough sleep and exercise, and in my world, be happy. To focus on just the exercise part, it is recommended that a person get 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Exercise helps your body function well, keeps you healthy, elevates your mood and can be fun. Exercising in a fitness club with other people around can be fun because studies show that whether you are exercising, commuting, or doing housework, everything is more fun in the company of others.
As soon as the plane landed on the tarmac, I had the most comforting feeling. I felt like I was home! My relatives have always claimed Swiss heritage, but on one Ellis Island document, a person with my relative’s name claimed to be French, but living in Switzerland. Maybe I was French after all, and that explained my comfort and excitement in being back in France and Paris, my favorite city.
Paris, the “city of love,” is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. With its bright lights, great dining, and rich history, Paris is definitely an exciting city. The air feels different there, the energy is different, like it is in many European cities. I am happy just walking the streets and mingling with native Parisians and street vendors. No matter what your interests are, you can fall in love with Paris too!
Paris represents culture, fashion and high class. But it also represents a way of living that has a lot of merit. People buy their food fresh each day to cook that night. They value the importance of family and friends. They work hard and they play hard. They go on vacation (holiday) religiously. I still find it amazing that in the height of summer, when the warm weather should bring the most customers for their delicious ice cream, Berthillon, my favorite ice cream store, closes shop for the month of August.
After 6 long hours of driving from Milwaukee, we pulled into downtown Detroit as the sun was setting. We circled the ice skating pond in the center of the city and passed the Hard Rock Café on the way to our hotel. The Westin Book Cadillac proved to be a nice choice as it was only three blocks from the Cobo Center – the location of the North American International Auto Show.
The Detroit Auto Show is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world. New car launches, concept cars and displays of the automakers vehicles fill up the convention center. Up to two months of design and build go into creating the perfect exhibit for each of the cars on display.
Some of this year’s interesting displays were: the newly designed Corvette Stingray - mounted on a wall looked fast standing still. The auto show is just the place you'd expect to find the world's fastest man's car - Usain Bolt’s Nissan GT-R was spinning behind a roped section. The fabulous Lincoln MKZ glistened in its glass enclosure. The displays were eye-catching, impressive and fun.