Post-Vacation Healthy Reset

I recently returned from an awesome vacation to Sonoma, CA with some close friends and I still find myself laughing when I recall some of our adventures. We went wine tasting, biked through downtown Sonoma, made it through an escape room, and had our “fancy dinner night.” We had such an amazing time and I am so glad that we have made this an annual event.

Me and my lovely friend Zoe at Domaine Chandon, Yountville, CA.

Me and my lovely friend Zoe at Domaine Chandon, Yountville, CA.

Beautiful vineyard at Starmont Winery, Napa, CA

Beautiful vineyard at Starmont Winery, Napa, CA

The backyard at the AirBnB we rented in Sonoma, CA

The backyard at the AirBnB we rented in Sonoma, CA

The Reset

Now that I am back to reality, the jet-lag, dehydration, and inadequate fuel has has made it a bit of a struggle to get back on track with my healthy habits. I was lucky enough to be able to take a couple of days off after we returned to Virginia, and it has given me some time to think about what I can do to feel at my best again.



Getting re-hydrated is at the top of my list when it comes to my post-vacation healthy reset. I had been working really hard on my water intake recently (especially with my hyperhidrosis) and although I had great intentions of drinking lots of water on this trip, I think I really fell short of my goal. I usually travel with a re-usable water bottle and I’m not quite sure what got in the way of me bringing it with me and refilling it every time we went out.

Now I am starting each morning with a big glass of water (sometimes with sliced lemon), before breakfast and coffee.

Healthy Fuel and a Proper Schedule


While I wouldn’t say I ate totally poorly during the trip, I can definitely say that I probably didn’t eat enough. This all culminated in an almost-melt-down when we arrived at SFO airport to go home. (No stress management tool in the world can save me from turning into a monster when my blood sugar gets too low.) There was always plenty of food but I think my eating schedule got so skewed to the point where I didn’t realize I wasn’t fueling properly.

We had nothing in our pantry and fridge when we got home, so I took this as an opportunity to stock up on lots of fruit, veg…and maybe a bag of vegan chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s. I already feel better after a few home cooked meals eaten at my normal intervals.



Coast to coast jet-lag is no joke. It’s all fun and games when you travel east-west and you’re waking up early (with no alarm clock other than the rooster that lived next door) and going to bed early. It’s a whole other story when you make the return trip back to the east coast. We landed at around 1230 AM and didn’t make it home until around 130 AM. When I woke up the next morning (afternoon?) I almost didn’t know what planet I was on. As a night owl, it was challenging not to stay up until the wee hours of the morning and curse myself after inadequate sleep.

Getting back on a regular sleep schedule is really important, especially after being in a different time zone for a longer period of time. Staying up a little later and getting up early was really helpful in making sure that I would be tired when it was time for me to go to bed.

Is there anything you do to get back to your healthy habits after vacation? What makes the most difference for you in getting back on track?

The Book of Extraordinary Things

"We do not need magic to transform the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have power to imagine better." - J.K. Rowling

I so, so excited to share with you a project that I have been working on for the past 6 months. I have actually been sharing a little over on Instagram and the LWW Facebook Community but I also wanted to make an official announcement here on the blog.

I have created a daily journal called “The Book of Extraordinary Things” (BET) with prompts to inspire self-awareness, positivity, and well-being. The BET was made for the introspective adventurer and was designed to evoke a sense of wonder about our daily lives. I was personally inspired by the fantasy tales of ordinary individuals accomplishing extraordinary feats and the books and scripts that hold these tales.

The Book is extraordinary because we, as humans, are extraordinary. The book is alive because we are alive. Each high and low, victory and defeat, and all the spaces in-between are opportunities for the author to decide how their story will be written.


Journaling has always been a habit that I’ve wanted to include in my daily routine, but, even as a creative, I have been overwhelmed with how much time it may take. I personally wanted something that I could use that would have prompts built in and also include some free space. Structure for guidance and flexibility for creativity. It was also important that this project be aesthetically pleasing to my right brain- the result being something that you might find in a rare books collection, on a shelf at Hogwarts, or in the well-worn bag of an explorer. 

The first section of the BET is comprised of a set of exploratory questions which were designed to support the author in creating a detailed picture of where they are beginning their quest. There is also a blank space to bring visons, goals, and dreams to life. Following the self-reflective questions, there is a section for short, medium, and long-term goal setting. These questions ask the author to describe what they might like to be celebrating in three months, six months, and one year.

The daily journal pages are composed of three parts. First, there are a series of 5 prompts that are based around the PERMA model in positive psychology- Positivity, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. Although there is not a specific prompt for Vitality, there is blank space to create a tracking method for physical metrics such as water intake or daily movement. Below the prompts is a space to track your mood. The daily journal pages are intended to last for three months. On a page facing the prompts there is a blank section entitled “Field Notes.” This space is for authors to use for drawing, writing, collaging, or tracking. Below the “Field Notes” there is a structured “To-Do” list. The “To-Do” list area is made up of the top three most important quests of the day and subsections for AM and PM tasks. The final section of the BET consists of several blank “Field Notes” pages for authors to use for notes, projects, artistic endeavors, to-do lists, or anything else for which they might need room to create.

I firmly believe that there is a kind of everyday magic in both the ordinary and extraordinary. I hope that the BET can be a container for this magic and a creative outlet for the authors who wield it.  

                                                                                                                                     the book of extraordinary things 1.0

                                                                                                                                     the book of extraordinary things 1.0

The book is currently in a prototype phase as I work on final content edits and layout adjustments. In addition to the journal, I am developing stickers to enhance creativity and Quest Cards- a deck of cards with small, additional quests to build courage, confidence, curiosity, hope, and resilience. The final version will have a black vegan leather or linen cover with gold foil. It will also include a ribbon and pocket in the back cover (perfect for holding your Quest cards, receipts, pictures, etc.) In order to bring the BET experience to life, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign sometime during the fall of this year (September/October). For more information and updates on the Book of Extraordinary Things, you can follow me over on Instagram, Facebook, or sign up for the Living Well and Wild Monthly Newsletter.



3 Meal Planning Tips for Beginners

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As a wellness coach, meal planning is something that comes up quite often with my coaching clients. Most people want to make healthier choices and figure out how to set themselves up for success. Planning and its big sister prepping are intended to be strategies to help streamline the decision making process and cut down on time spent on meals during busier days. 

That being said, there is an incredible amount of information on this topic out there and as with anything else, too much information, or strategies that are too complicated can lead to an effect known as "analysis paralysis"- there is so much information that you don't know where to you don't.

Meal planning has many benefits and for me, the most important one is saving time in the evenings. If I have a busy day, I don't like having to decide what to have for dinner at the last minute. Chris, my husband, is really talented at throwing ingredients together, but I don't have as much practice. (Did I mention how lucky I am to have a partner who cooks amazing vegan food?!) It makes it much easier to have a plan and be prepared with all of the ingredients I'll need. In addition to saving time, I believe that meal planning saves money. Cooking at home is usually much less expensive than eating out. If I have a meal plan and the ingredients, I am much less likely to go out to eat. (And see Tip #2 below if you find yourself running out of time to cook due to a varied schedule)

The three tips I'm sharing with today are extremely basic- and this is the point. To give you a place to start if meal planning is something you're curious about.

Tip #1- Break Up The Week

In my experience, it has always been easier to meal plan for a few days at a time, rather than try to look at the whole entire week all at once. If I'm meal planning on a Sunday, I will usually meal plan through Wednesday evening. Then Wednesday, I will plan through the weekend. Fridays are usually the "takeout" night in our house (with delicious vegan Chinese food as the default) so that helps break up the planning even more. Breaking up the week into 2 sets of "mini-planning" makes the process a lot less overwhelming. It does require a potential second trip to the grocery store, but you aren't buying as many things, so hopefully you're out more quickly.


Tip #2- Have an Easy Backup Plan on Hand

Sometimes I will plan on these awesome dinners where I am trying a new recipe that might take a bit longer than usual to prepare. I also know that there are days where plans go awry, schedules get changed, and suddenly you don't have the hour you had set aside to make dinner. This is why I always have easy meal ingredients like pasta*, veggie burgers**, and salad fixings on hand. As I mentioned above, this will help to prevent an unplanned trip out to eat.

* I like the Organic Black Bean Spaghetti from Explore Cuisine- 25 grams of protein/serving!

** Another household favorite is the Morningstar Roasted Garlic and Quinoa burgers



Tip #3- Leftovers are Your Friends

99% of the time I plan on leftovers for lunch. It's so much easier to make a little extra of dinner the night before and pack it up in a container to grab the next day. Whether you work from home, in an office, or out in the field, it's really helpful to not have to worry about cobbling something together for lunch. Sometimes Chris will also take leftover quinoa, rice, and/or veggies from a previous meal to make a nice stir-fry with tofu. Using what you have in your fridge also reduces food waste and saves money.


Do you have any meal planning tips that have helped you to be successful?