Take the Risk, Get Away, Unplug

By Shannon Boatwright

Sometimes a break from the routine is the very thing you need. taking-a-break-quotes-2

As adults, we do indeed catch ourselves all too often thinking or saying, “I wish I could just run away…”, escape the stress of our busy days. I’ve most definitely had that thought, that desire, much more as an adult than I ever did as a child.

When it comes to tech issues, a last result is to always just unplug the device to get it working properly again. But do we think about applying that theory to our own lives??

I recently had the opportunity to get away. And I’m at my very busiest right now – which I know I’ve said that before, but like I’ve also said before, I always seem to manage to top myself each year in the busy department. It’s quite an amazing feat actually. Each year I think, I’ve got it this go-around, I’m not going to overwhelm myself! Ha! Boy do I never cease to amaze myself!

This school year, as I prepare for my big honors drama production, (which is always my busiest time of year, when I feel like I practically live at the school doing production work and rehearsals), I’m also in the middle of a move. I have my show one week and then 4 days later, the next week, I close on my house. Yep. Let’s just say that when someone made an offer on our house and requested the closing date, I literally almost had a heart attack. Dear goodness gracious alive…

So…that being said, to say my life is insanely busy, is definitely NOT an understatement. Let’s just hope that come mid-November I still have some sanity left.

Now getting back to the taking a break, getting away, and unplugging. My precious little sister traveled home from Texas to celebrate her 30th birthday and her request was that her closest girls get together for the weekend at the beach to celebrate.  This special weekend fell right in the middle of the time that I would normally spend an entire weekend working, packing and cleaning. The planner/organizer in me panicked, thinking, “OMG I cannot risk time away just to relax & play, I have too much work to do!” But, the big sister in me thought, “Wait a minute, I only get to see my sister maybe twice a year and we haven’t spent quality time together in years!”

This family getaway opportunity was way more important and special than all my busy-ness!  Though it was indeed very hard for me not to think about everything I should’ve been doing that weekend, at the same time, my heart was full because I knew I was doing the right thing. And now that my ultra-special, rejuvenating get-away is over, I’m back into my incredibly overwhelmed world of to-do lists, must-do tasks and little sleep, but I am ever thankful and grateful that I allowed myself the escape. I am proud of myself for putting my family first and realizing that I’ll cherish that special time together forever.

UnPlugAs adults, most of us don’t do it often enough – we don’t unplug, we don’t escape our busy lives and allow ourselves the opportunity to regroup, refresh and rejuvenate our mind, body and spirit. I was blessed with the opportunity to do a little bit of that with my get away weekend to celebrate with my little sister, and I am so thankful.

Take the opportunity to run away. Allow yourself to unplug. Make quality time a priority. I challenge you to get away from the busyness of your daily life and freshen your body, soul and spirit. It’s so good for you! Take the risk. 😉

A Toe-Sucking Experience in Cozumel

By Chaunte McClure

When I go on vacation, I’ve vowed to try something I’ve never done before, be it an adventurous excursion or some other out-of-the-box activity. This time, while in Cozumel I got my toes sucked.

Pic 1

My entire feet, actually, and around my ankles, as my husband sat beside me, watched and enjoyed the same treatment. It was a brief escape from the sun after swimming in the turquoise Caribbean ocean at Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club where we could enjoy everything from kayaking to horseback riding to massages and fish pedicures. I opted for a fish pedicure after my cousins raved about their experience. (They snuck away while my body finally got used to the ocean’s cool temperature.)

Pic 2

To the Islander Fish Spa I headed to get a feel for what it was all about. After getting my feet cleaned of the beach sand, it was time to simultaneously and slowly put my feet in the spa tank. Then the tickling began! A school of fish nibbled away at the bottom, top and sides of my feet. The bottom was the most ticklish but after a few minutes, I got used to the nibbling and kissing which lasted for about 15 minutes. It’s like a micro massage but from Garra Ruffa fish to help remove dead skin cells. Once the treatment was over, a technician (I guess that’s what they’re called) rubbed our feet with a cream that started out smooth and creamy then slightly dried before he wiped it off with a towel. The result: soft, smooth feet and a story to tell.

Pic 3

In hindsight, I should have taken sanitation into consideration, but had I done so, you wouldn’t be reading this post because the germaphobe in me would’ve forgone the opportunity. No regrets, though, and three days later my feet are just fine. Kissable, indeed.

Have you had a fish pedicure? How did you like it? If you haven’t, would you try it?


Better At The Beach

By: Lara Winburn

I recently read a satirical article from The Onion about how a vacation for a mom Beach vacationis really just the same old chores in a new locale. I have also heard many moms say “it is not a vacation, it is just a trip.” Though I agree with some of these observations, last week I was pleasantly surprised by the benefits of a beach vacation/trip that are often overlooked.

There was a definitely a time when my trip to the beach entailed multiple books, the latest celebrity gossip magazine, and not a care in the world. With children, as many of you know, that has all changed. However, I am not going to wax on about the tan, napping beach bum I once was. This year, I discovered something new. I noticed a few differences from our regular routine that I was particularly thankful for. We might be getting better at doing the beach.

  1. On the beach, there is nothing to climb. There are no ladders, slides, straight back chairs, or (even in the case of my one-year-old) coffee tables that one can venture on top of and proceed to fall off of. Except for maybe a low-riding beach chair, there was nothing for my adventurous toddler to climb. On the glorious sandy beach, I was not constantly “at the ready” to catch someone falling. I got a break from being full time “spotter.”
  2. After a trip to the beach, hosing your children off outside is not only accepted, it is expected.  An outdoor shower at our beach house was the only cleaning our kids got the entire time. There have been many times when I have looked at the kids after an afternoon in the backyard and wished I could avoid dragging their little dirty selves inside. You know, I wanted to “hose them off in the yard.”  But here, in Columbia, outdoor showers are rare and hosing them off seems a little pet- like (and may be against a city ordinance for all I know.)  At the beach, there may be sand, sunscreen and saltwater, but there is also outdoor showers. Suds up in the great outdoors and track nothing in for mom to clean up later.
  3. Beach play often equals very heavy sleeping. (Steady-breathing, possible-slobber kind of sleep.) We didn’t have a strict schedule at the beach, but when it was time to sleep it was some serious REM. Those little legs had carried the kids back and forth to the ocean to the sand castle back to the ocean again all day long. My husband said he thought our three-year-old walked miles on the same stretch of sand back and forth, but at the end of the day, her tired and clean (from the outdoor shower) self SLEPT.

So, I may not be the tan, well read or well rested beach girl I once was. Kids or not, my beach days were changing.  I have become more worried about sunscreen than tan lines. I worry more about what imperfections a bathing suit covers than the any assets it might have accentuated. But there are the things that I have and still embrace about being on the coast. On a beach trip, I still love salt air, no make-up, freckles popping up, and food tasting better than it does at home – whether it is a PBJ or fried shrimp. I maintain that the beach brings out the kid in most of us. I am happy to daydream and stare at the water, dig my feet in the sand, and even dig holes and build castles that I know will be washed away. With the discovery of these new beach perks and the constants of the beach I will ALWAYS enjoy, I think you will find me with my toes in the sand, watching kids play, and maybe even flipping through a gossip magazine before heading to the house to hose off and nap all together.