Traveling is a huge passion of mine and I’m always planning my next adventure. Over the years, my ideal vacation schedule has definitely changed and I now appreciate a more relaxing, low key trip. I also pay more attention to my physical and mental health and avoid overdoing anything. My energy level is way higher, I don’t feel sluggish, and I’m actually recharged when I get home. I certainly enjoy a few adult beverages and don’t count calories or anything like that, but I do try and take care of myself and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tried and true tips that help me feel my absolute best and stay healthy on vacation:

  1. Plan Ahead. A day of travel can be tricky to navigate. Thankfully, I’ve seen healthier options at airports, but they are pricey and hard to find. I recommend packing a few snacks (cut up veggies, dried fruits, your favorite crackers), and have them ready to go in a backpack or carry-on. Also, I usually opt for hot green tea instead of coffee, especially if I have a long flight, as traveling can be super dehydrating and hard on your immune system. Drink five times more than you think you need in flight. Avoid airplane snacks and meals–usually processed, sodium-rich, and cheap. Carry hand sanitizer (I use EO organic) and take natural immunity supplements. If possible, sweat when you get off the plane (a quick workout, sauna sesh, or walk/ run) to release those toxins. Also, melatonin is known to help with jet lag.
  2. Sleep. This is imperative and non-negotiable. We lead such hectic lives and are often sleep deprived. When I’m on vacation, I don’t set an alarm and just wake up naturally. I even squeeze in nap time and just let my body relax. Especially after a day of traveling (time zones, carrying luggage, etc) it’s important to give your body a break. If you have a daily itinerary, try to schedule enough sleep to recharge and conquer your day. Sleeping for hours is beyond rejuvenating and much needed.
  3. Hydrate. Drinking H20 can be easy to forget if you’re out of a routine and exploring new territory. I pack a stainless steel water bottle in my backpack that I take everywhere (the airport, beach, excursions) and try to constantly refill. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, chug a glass of water. You really will feel better and your body will thank you.
  4. Find balance with food. When traveling, I like to try new foods and authentic, cultural cuisine. I definitely deviate from my normal diet to thoroughly enjoy tasty treats and flavorful dishes. I don’t beat myself up over some indulging, but I do try and swap out certain foods for healthier options when I can (especially for breakfast and lunch). For example, if the burger comes with fries, I’ll order with fresh fruit instead or just opt for a vibrant, colorful salad or smoothie. I don’t believe in a restrictive diet, especially on vacation, but I stay aware of my body which typically craves nutritious food.
  5. Do your research. Scope out local restaurants that offer healthy + tasty options (farm to table or restaurants that value sustainability) and use good judgment. A restaurant that looks unhealthy probably is. If you’re cooking for yourself, even better! It’s so fun to check out local produce and plan a healthy, delicious meal. Or, opt for a picnic where you can scoop up your own groceries–this is a great way to stick with those nourishing staples. Pro tip: Having issues with digestion? Take SBO probiotics to help get things moving!
  6. Get active. Go for a run or walk on the beach, explore a new city on foot for miles and miles, hike some trails, or crush a quick workout. Sometimes I’ll take my yoga mat to the beach and relish in a few sun salutations or just take off for a quick jog.  I also love finding local studios when I travel or taking classes at the resort (water aerobics anyone!?). Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or need a break; however, don’t underestimate the power of movement…even if it is a short walk or stretch break to keep you energized. Just have fun while doing it!
  7. Protect Your Skin. If you’re traveling somewhere warm, have that sunscreen ready. There’s nothing worse than getting burned the first day of vacation –it can literally ruin your trip. I buy sunscreen in advance (they’re usually overpriced at the hotel) and opt for natural lotions and sunblock. I don’t settle for anything less than SPF 30, slather on every couple hours, and I swear it’s kept my skin looking young and vibrant. I also wear a sunhat and take extra care of my skin so I don’t feel uncomfortable or dry.
  8. Unplug from technology. Vacation is the best time for a digital detox. If you’re constantly glued to your phone or computer, switch to airplane mode and give your tech a rest. Pick up a book instead or soak up every second of a foreign, vibrant culture. You’re much less likely to worry about what you’re missing back at home or sending everyone updates. There’s time for that later–just live in the moment and enjoy your travel adventures–it goes by so fast!
  9. Practice gratitude. Whether it’s a quick road trip or a luxurious getaway, having the means to travel is a blessing. I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to escape, explore, and decompress. Take time to meditate, pray, take a solo walk, practice yoga, or whatever grounds you.
  10. Know your essentials. When traveling, so many things are outside of our typical routine. Go into a trip knowing the top three things you need in order to feel good—your bare essentials—and do whatever it takes to protect those essentials. Mine are good sleep, a decent amount of vegetables, and some sort of movement. If these essentials are met, then I can be flexible with everything else.

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your next travel adventure. Have a blast, stay healthy, and enjoy every minute!

If you’re on the hunt for the fitness fanatic, natural beauty guru, or wellness warrior in your life, this gift guide is for you! I’ve listed some of my favorites (both online and local) that will leave whoever’s on the receiving end with an elated smile. Or, treat yo’ self and add to your holiday cart. You’ll love the quality and uniqueness of everything listed. Happy shopping!

Beyond Yoga

holiday gift guide

These have literally been my favorite purchase this year. I own two pairs and they are so soft, high-quality, flattering, and versatile. I love that you can wear them for a lower impact class (yoga or barre) or even when you’re simply out and about. The material feels buttery soft and they’re just stretchy enough where you don’t feel suffocated. On the Beyond Yoga website, there are tons of options. The Spacedye Take Me Higher Long Legging is my fav pair and go with pretty much everything. I also have my eye on Plush Side Pocket High Waisted Long Legging (hello pockets!) and the Velvet Motion High Waisted Midi Legging –can you really go wrong with soft velvet leggings!? BONUS: Beyond Yoga has incredible company values that I really appreciate. They promote inclusivity by never retouching the shape of a woman’s body. Their sizes range of sizes from XXS to 3X. Two-thumbs up in my book!

To & Fro Activewear

holiday gift guide

Image via @tofroshop | Instagram

If you’re looking for a store that has it all, To & Fro Shop in Ada is your spot. They have SO much to choose from and you can pretty much gift anything you find. Think candles, water bottles, cute gym bags, leggings, jackets, hats–you name it! You’ll find plenty of stocking stuffers and quality merch for the busy woman on the go. To & Fro is a local store owned by military Veteran Carrie Papke. She has impeccable taste and is passionate about clothing that will help you love YOURSELF. They hand-select all of their clothing and carry over 18 luxury brands. They recently decorated for the holidays and the space is just beautiful. It will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. I own serveral pieces from To & Fro and wear them all the time. The quality, attention to detail, and style is on point. BONUS: They gift wrap too!

Simply Curated Candles

holiday gift guide

Image via @simplycurated | Instagram

The first thing I do when I’m ready to cozy up, plug away at some work, or just relax at home is light a candle. They are so therapeutic and make the perfect gift. I recently discovered Simply Curated Candles I’m obsessed with this company. First, they’re local (all candles are hand-poured in Grand Rapids) and are made with natural fragrances and essential oils.  They are also phthalate free & 100% soy. The candles themselves are beautiful–love the modern look and brass aesthetics. The comforting smell of Vanilla Lavender is my personal fav (I’m a sucker for anything vanilla) and burns up to 60 hours. They also have the cutest travel candles that are great for stocking stuffers. You can shop these lovely candles online or at Posh Petals, Jean Stoffer Design, Blackbird East or Schuler Books in Grand Rapids.

Fox Naturals

holiday gift guide

Image via @fox_naturals | Instagram

Holla if you’re a natural beauty babe! This is spot is not only adorable + local, but they ONLY carry holistic, healthy skin care products. Fox Naturals is committed to both quality and ethical standards. Their ingredients are vegan-friendly, use natural preservatives, and are listed on their website–no secrets or toxins! If you haven’t stopped by this adorable shop off Wealthy St yet, you’re in for a treat. Patrick (the owner) is beyond helpful, offers stellar skincare advice, and will guide you in the right the direction. Each product smells heavenly, feels fresh, and tailors to a variety of skin types. I’m hooked on the Rose Gold Facial Serum and the Charcoal Face Mask is divine. You can shop online or stop in–either way, you’ll easily find the perfect gift for the beauty guru or skincare junkie. BONUS: As we all know, skin care products can get REAL pricey. Fox Naturals is reasonably priced and you can find several items for under $30 (or shop their sets for even more of a discount)!

Amazon Teddy Coat

holiday gift guide

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you’re well aware that teddy jackets are pretty much the best trend ever. They’re incredibly soft and perfect for quick trips to yoga, girls night, brunch, a low key date, or even bundling up on the couch. I don’t recommend if you plan to spend extended time in frigid temps-they aren’t meant for shoveling the snow. But they are super convenient for running errands, etc. I found mine on Amazon and love it. The coat is longer and covers the bum (which I prefer), looks great with a cute scarf, and extra shaggy. I ordered in black (my go-to color), size medium (i’m usually a small but wanted a lil extra room) and it looks fab! Gift this teddy coat for someone who appreciates comfort and style–it’s only $50 and better quality than other options out there.

Hanky Panky BARE

holiday gift guide

These make for the best stocking stuffers and they’re pretty much miraculous. Anyone who gets super annoyed with having to constantly maneuver their underwear during a workout class (or in general) will LOVE the comfort and quality of this brand. I describe their thongs as ‘lace butter’ and they’re so beautiful. Scoop up a few pairs at To & Fro Activewear (they have a variety to choose from) or online–promise you’ll never go back.

Sorel Boots

holiday gift guide

I’ve had a few pairs of Sorrel boots over the years and love the quality, comfort, and style. Since I have a very active dog, I go on a ton of walks in the chillier temps and need boots that won’t leave my feet feeling cramped or cold. I do have a heavier pair for skiing or snowy trail hikes, but lately, I’ve been loving the Slimpack Lace Boot in black/kettle. They go with everything, are easy to take on and off, super warm, and great for brisk walks or running errands. I love wearing them with leggings and cute socks. If someone has a pair of boots on their list, then I highly recommend the Slimpack Lace by Sorel. Oh, and be sure to size up! I normally wear an 8-8.5 and ordered a 9.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35

holiday gift guide

I was way overdue for a new pair of sneaks and recently ordered this pair (well, a few) from Nike and these are my new go-to. They’re made for running, so expect a little bounce with the perfect amount of cushion. I have a higher arch and they conform really well to my foot. I love the rosé color (I’m a sucker for everything rosé ) and overall comfort and quality. I’ve owned many, many pairs of sneaks over the years (I’m an avid runner and always looking to upgrade), and these are definitely in my top 3. They’re worth every penny and make me look forward to a jog or longer walk.

River Locks Pom Beanie

holiday gift guide

Stay cozy warm with this chunky knit beanie with a cute plush pompom from Free People. I love the black and white mix to spice things up. Most of my winter gear is black (surprise, surprise) so it goes well with everything.  The coral option is also adorable and would look great skiing or if you want to add a pop of color. I wear this beanie whenever it’s chilly and I’ve gotten so many compliments. This would def make for a perfect gift!

321 STRONG Foam Roller

Holiday Gift Guide

After a really tough work out or if I’m feeling extra sore, I foam roll. I’ve used a variety of foam rollers, but I really love the  unique massage zones of the 321 STRONG. It replicates the thumbs, fingers, and palms so you can get the exact massage you’re looking for. This would be an awesome gift for an athlete or for somone who just needs some extra theraputic benefits. Foam rolling is great for decreased recovery time from injuries, deep tissue massage, increasing mobility, healing damaged soft tissue, and reducing pain and soreness. I ordered this one in gray off amazon and highly recommend!

GR Natural Health

holiday gift guide

If you haven’t checked out my recent blog post about GR Natural Health, then read it over stat. They offer a variety of holistic health and beauty services including acupuncture, light therapy, health coaching, massage, organic facials, and even energy healing. Their team of holistic health practitioners and estheticians are incredible and I always feel amazing after stopping in for one of their services. They’re offering an awesome special for the holidays–purchase a $100 gift card for only $80. Treat that special someone to some much-needed self-care and rejuvenation. Or check out their online store of natural skin care and organic makeup products–they carry a variety of options with only the highest quality, organic ingredients.

I hope this helps with your holiday shopping and maybe you even found something you want to try out for yourself. Enjoy and happy holidays!

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to and fro

If you’re looking for versatile pieces that are perfect for any activity, then you must check out the newest athleisure store in Ada–TO & FRO Activewear. Shop 18 brands that will give your day-to-day activities a refreshing boost.  Stock up on high or low impact leggings, fun graphic tees, comfy joggers, fashionable + supportive sports bras, scalloped leggings, and even winter apparel. They just rolled out a few seasonal items, including Sorel boots and high-quality down jackets & vests. Not only will your wardrobe thank you, but you won’t have to hibernate in your super-warm, fashionable winter gear.

Visiting TO & FROTO & FRO Activewear

The store is absolutely beautiful complete with modern fixtures, comfy seating, and plenty of natural light. You’ll love the softer, neutral color palette and range of clothing that will make you feel comfortable, trendy, and outstanding. Looking for a new tank? To & Fro has plenty to choose from. Add to your weekend look, lounge-wear, or high-intensity collection– you won’t lack options.

High-Quality, Stylish ApparelTO & FRO Activewear

I especially love the vast selection of leggings. They carry Beyond Yoga (my personal fav–literally haven’t taken them off) which are so soft and flattering. Every pair has unique detail & stylish + functional features. Opt for floral patterns or stick with black, gray, or neutral tones–regardless, TO & FRO offers high-quality brands that fit and feel fabulous.

Find What You’re Looking ForTO & FRO Activewear 1

Don’t forget to scope out their collection of gifts & accessories. They carry everything from gym bags & backpacks to sneaks, socks, mugs, candles, and luxury skin care. Stop in for the holidays and pick out the perfect gift for the health, wellness, or fitness warrior in your life.

Shopping local is so satisfying and TO & FRO makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Their incredibly friendly staff will point you in the right direction and give you the inside scoop on their favorite brands and pieces. You will love this store and values –they’re all about passion, positivity, and kindness. I can’t get enough and always look forward to my next visit. Be sure to stop in, meet the owner Carrie, and have fun shopping!

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Running solo can be zen-like and peaceful, but sometimes, it can also be plain boring! If your workout routine needs a little variety and socialization, joining one of Grand Rapids’ fun and local running groups may be right up your alley. There are a variety of running groups that are not only dedicated to getting their sweat on, but are also welcoming and focusing on community-building and friendship!

Accountability is a major part of keeping up with a regular running routine and by joining a community of runners, you’re pounding the pavement for reasons beyond yourself. You’re also inspiring others, making important community connections, and having a good time doing it.

Looking to crush the Riverbank Run, beat your PR, or join together for a pint and a cheers in Beer City post workout? There’s a group for that. Whether you’re training for the Boston Marathon, your next 5K, or something in between, there’s a community in Grand Rapids running at your pace and with your goals.

RunGRrunning groups grand rapids

RunGR is a Grand Rapids’ area running group who lives, trains and runs to become better athletes. They are a group of everyday people accomplishing amazing things together on the road and the trails. Their club training coach, Michael Wojciakowski, is a Level 2 certified USA Track & Field coach and has an awesome reputation in the local running community for asking for and getting the very best from his athletes.

RunGR is a membership based program with annual fees, but the membership grants you access to a ton of stuff including: coach led workouts focused on building strength, endurance and speed, Saturday morning long runs with water and gatorade stations, event specific training programs, and entry into the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run. If you’re serious about getting better as an athlete and want to join forces with some like-minded folks, this is the club for you.

Wednesday Night Hills & StairsGrand Rapids running

This group is in it to win it! Wednesday Night Hills & Stairs meets in front of Founder Brewing Co. EVERY Wednesday year-round, no matter the weather to tackle some gnarly hills (on Lyon, Fountain, and Michigan St.). Once that heart pounding session is over, the group gathers at the top of Michigan Street and heads over to the stairs by Division and Plainfield, doing as many sets of stairs as is humanly possible! (But they leave it up to each individual to decide that.)

From there, they zig zag  around downtown, ending back at Founders for some food and libations. The whole route is about 5.5 miles end-to-end and makes for a fun and challenge weekly workout! There is no cost associated, save for the beer post-run!

Westside StrideGrand Rapids running

Every Tuesday at 6:00pm, join Westside Stride at the corner of Summer and Bridge Street for a community fun run! The course is designed as a 5K and allows for running and walking at all paces. Post run, join the group for food, socializing, and high fives all around!

This is totally free to participate and the post run meetups change every week and include The Anchor Bar, Jolly Pumpkin, The Sovengard, O’Toole’s, New Holland Brewing, and more. P.s., October 30th is their Halloween Costume run – not to be missed!

West Michigan Trail RunnersGrand Rapids running

The West Michigan Trail Runners was born from the Gazelle Sports Dirty Herd and West Michigan’s community interest in running trails more often than just on Sundays. This group of fun-loving trail enthusiasts run on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as most Saturday mornings, when there isn’t an event in town. Their members cover a wide range of speeds and ability levels, and are always up for an adventure! Join their Facebook group to learn more.

Dirty HerdGrand Rapids running

The Dirty Herd is a trail running group put together by Gazelle Sports. They encourage all levels, novice or skilled single track navigator, to join them every Sunday at 6 pm for a woodsy adventure with friends! You can join them for sponsored trail runs in Grand Rapids (meet at

Robinette’s Apple Haus), Holland or Kalamazoo. To learn more, jump onto their Facebook group and get ready to run with the herd.

The Rapid HerdGrand Rapids running

Also coordinated by Gazelle Sports, The Rapid Herd is a group focused on speed training and agility. They met once a week for one hour of serious speed power. If you’re ready to take your races to the next level, this is a great opportunity. The herd is led by a Gazelle sport coach and it’s completely free to participate. Try out a tempo run, long interval training, short track interval running, hill sessions, and more. They currently meet at the David D. Hunting YMCA every Tuesday at noon and run a minimum of six miles total! Taking your work break with the herd? All participants also have free access to the YMCA locker rooms afterwards to clean up.

Mikkeller Run ClubGrand Rapids running

The Mikkeller Run Club Grand Rapids Chapter is an international running organization with chapters all around the world! The big idea is to stay fit, run with friends, and drink good beer. Speed isn’t the big focus and everyone is very much into having fun and making friends, while getting a good sweat on of course. They have coordinated running events the first Saturday of the month and locations vary, but they always finish up at a bar or house that serves Mikkeller Beer. Join the Grand Rapids chapter, make some friends, get healthy, and enjoy a cold bevvie when it’s all said and done.  

Bagel Run GRGrand Rapids running

Bagel Run GR loves running, community and bagels. Members meet every Tuesday morning at 6 AM at GR Bagel in Eastown. The group typically runs 3-5 mile routes, and offers plenty of support for runners along the way, including bagels from GR Bagel following their run! If you’re an early bird with a penchant for cream cheese and carbs (you earned it!) this is for you.

Grand Rapids Running Club (GRCC)Grand Rapids running

(GRRC) is focused on promoting running for all ages and activity levels, supporting the community and working as a communications liaison between runners and events, helping encourage everyone interested in getting fit through running! The annual membership fee is only $25.00 and gives you access to regularly scheduled training runs, community events, mentorship groups and more! The club is also open to both walkers and triathletes. Get outside and have fun with GRRC!

Grand Rapids Running ToursGrand Rapids running

 

Grand Rapids Running Tours believes that the best way to experience Grand Rapids is by moving at street level, accompanied by a savvy guide who can share history, trivia and fun facts about the people and places you encounter along the way.  Each of their guided tours has been designed to maximize your exposure to Grand Rapids’ most interesting and beautiful sights. Their tour ambassadors lead the way as you traverse downtown and the rolling hills of the Grand River valley.  They offer many year-round tours as well as a changing array of seasonal tours (too many to list!) and provide participants with a great way to combine friends, fitness, and learning together!

You could probably run every day of the week with different clubs around Grand Rapids if you tried – seriously! We are so lucky to be part of such a vibrant and welcoming running community. Get out there and start making some RBFs (running best friends) and let us know how it’s going below!