2018 Book Challenge Results

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone is having a great start to 2019. In spite of a few hiccups, I’m happy to say that so far my 2019 Happiness Project has been going well! How are you sticking to your resolutions?

Every year, I aim to make time for reading. My perfect weekend day involves a trip to the river walk by my apartment with a cup of tea and a good book. Because of graduate school (and then my subsequent recovery from graduate school), reading was sadly not as big of a priority for me in 2018. However, I did reread an old childhood favorite and discover some amazing new page turners. I’ll mark the best books of 2018 with a * below!

Books I Read in 2018

  1. Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman (3/8/18)
  2. Every Day by David Levithan (4/7/18)*
  3. Total Leadership by Steward D. Friedman (4/14/18)
  4. Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole (4/20/18)*
  5. The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin (4/22/18)
  6. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk (4/30/18)
  7. How To Be Well by Frank Lipman (5/26/18)
  8. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (6/9/18)
  9. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (7/4/18) – Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves
  10. Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen (7/31/18)*
  11. The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda by Sahara Rose Ketabi (9/8/18)
  12. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron (11/16/18)
  13. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (11/30/18)*

To keep up with my current reading list for 2019, visit the Book Challenge page on my top menu or click here. (Click for recaps from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 20152016, and 2017!)

Have you read anything good lately? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Link Love December: Holiday Takeover

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Happy Hump Day! With Christmas just around the corner, you may have noticed a holiday theme here on the blog in recent weeks. Although my content will soon transition toward more wellness and goal-setting posts for the new year, I wanted to cap the holiday season with a festive Link Love for the month of December.

As far as life updates go, since our last Link Love post in October, I’ve been keeping busy with fun local adventures and have some exciting surprises for you coming to the blog in 2019. Since our last Link Love, I made a pound of chocolate at Farris & Foster, watched a UCF football game from directly on the field, dolled myself up for the Pineapple Ball, and so much more. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 will bring!

What have you been reading lately? Check out some recent favorites of mine and share your own in the comments!

What links are you loving lately? Sound off in the comments section!

Link Love September: Salvador Dalí, Trader Joe’s, and Environmental Consciousness

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Happy October! To me, there’s always something poetic about the first of the month taking place on a Monday. It feels more than ever like the time to begin anew, and I’m excited to see where the month takes us. September was a great month — I spent time with family, celebrated my birthday, checked a few items off my 28 at 28 bucket list, took a mini vacation, made an on-field appearance at a UCF football game, practiced yoga with baby goats, and much more — so here’s hoping the adventures continue in October.

What have you been reading lately? Check out some of my favorite links from September and share your own favorites in the comments section.

What links are you loving this month? Sound off in the comments below!

28 at 28: Let the Good Times Roll

Hey readers! With my birthday just around the corner, it’s time to close the books on my 27 at 27 bucket list adventures and make way for a new year. (For anyone asking, I’m turning 21 again.) Every year, my birthday bucket lists expose me to so many new experiences, and I’m excited to see what the next year brings. 🙂

IMG_2335.jpegFeel free to follow along here or by tapping that 28 at 28 link on the main menu. I’ll also share links as I blog about my experiences!

Things I’d Like to Do While I’m 28

  1. Visit the Casa Feliz in Winter Park.
  2. Tour the Oak Haven Winery in Sorrento and go strawberry picking.
  3. Take our annual mother/daughter trip.
  4. Go to Top Golf.
  5. Take a coding class.
  6. See a movie at the Enzian.
  7. Tour the Howey Mansion.
  8. Tailgate at a UCF football game.
  9. Take a class at Total Wine.
  10. Visit the Avian Reconditioning Center in Maitland.
  11. Travel to a new state.
  12. Attend a performing arts show.
  13. Take the Mr. Rogers Walking Tour at Rollins.
  14. Get my writing published somewhere new.
  15. Complete another round of Whole30.
  16. Take a Christmas tour of the Pinewood Estate at Bok Towers.
  17. Attend a non-UCF sporting event.
  18. Finish an old writing project.
  19. Hike the Shingle Creek Trail to Pioneer Village.
  20. Take a Downtown Sanford Ghost Tour.
  21. Celebrate Smithsonian Museum Day.
  22. Visit the Bronze Kingdom art gallery.
  23. Take a weekend trip to St. Petersburg.
  24. Visit the Back to Nature wildlife refuge.
  25. Take an Art Deco tour in Miami.
  26. Visit one of the local springs.
  27. Go out for Magical Dining Month.
  28. Do the annual grape stomp at Lakeridge Winery.

What are you looking forward to this year? Share in the comments section below!

27 at 27 Bucket List: The Year in Review

Happy Saturday, readers! With a busy start to the month of September, I’ve been enjoying a quiet weekend to relax, reorganize, and regroup. We’re in the midst of Virgo season, and next weekend will be a lot less low-key as I celebrate my birthday!

For those who are new to the blog, every year I create a new bucket list of things I’d like to do before my next birthday. I think it’s a great way to prioritize the things you want to see and do, and having the list always gives me something new to look forward to. I’m in the process of creating my 28 at 28 bucket list, which will be posted soon on the blog (please comment with your suggestions!), but I also love to recap the previous year and all of the adventures that took place.

27 at 27 Bucket List Recap

You’ll notice that I didn’t check off everything on my list this past year. During that time, I was juggling work with a challenging second year of grad school, so time for myself was limited. I did experience other exciting adventures, such as throwing the first pitch at a UCF baseball game, attending the most adorable goat stampede, getting splashed by the penguins at SeaWorld (my first visit to the park since childhood), hosting a volunteer meal-packing event, taking an impromptu trip through St. Augustine, and much more.

Below is my recap of my 27 at 27 bucket list. (Check out my older posts recapping 25 and 26 as well.) Stay tuned for 28 at 28, and share your own suggestions in the comments below!

27 at 27 Bucket List Recap

  1. Travel to New Orleans for our annual mother-daughter tripMy mom and I traveled to New Orleans from 1/12 to 1/15/18. Check out the recap and travel tips here!
  2. Visit the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge in Lake NonaI didn’t make it out there this year, but it will be on the list for 28.
  3. Take a class at Total WineSee above. 
  4. Travel to St. Petersburg to visit the Salvador Dalí MuseumA trip is in the works very soon! Stay tuned.
  5. Visit a salt room for halotherapy. Tried halotherapy for the first time at Antidote Apothecary & Spa on 11/18/17 and felt amazing! I have since been back for other visits. Check out my recap of the experience here.
  6. Spend the day in MiamiThis was another one that was hard to schedule this year because of school and limited time in South Florida.
  7. Take a boat tour of Winter Park. Took a tour on 8/26/18 and had a great time. I learned a lot about the area’s flora, fauna, and history.
  8. Hang out with the flamingos at Flamingo GardensVisited Flamingo Gardens with family on 3/31/18. 🙂 I also was nearly attacked by a peacock.
  9. Graduate from my MBA programGraduated from UCF on 5/5/18 – we did it!
  10. Take a bioluminescence tourSomeday!
  11. Complete another round of Whole30Accomplished this! I started my Whole30 on 5/14/18 and have been living a more healthy post-graduate lifestyle ever since.
  12. Go on a ghost tour through Downtown SanfordThis one is in the works!
  13. Visit New York City. Visited NYC from 10/6 to 10/9/17. Check out the recap here!
  14. Host a tea partyHosted a birthday tea party for my 27th birthday at AntiquiTEAs in Winter Garden on 9/17/17. What an amazing way to celebrate!
  15. Go kayaking in WekiwaOutdoor adventures were limited because of allergies and other concerns.
  16. Visit the Maitland Art CenterVisited the Art Center, History Center, chapel and grounds on 6/3/18.
  17. Take a post-graduation vacationTook a trip to Seattle and Victoria, BC, from 7/11 to 7/15/18. See my recap of Seattle here and my recap of Victoria here!
  18. Attend a performing arts showAttended Godspell and saw my friend, Danielle, perform on 7/22/18.
  19. Visit the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. Stay tuned!
  20. Pursue public speaking opportunitiesI did a lot of public speaking this year, but a few highlights include serving as a panelist at UCF Career Fest, speaking at the Graduation Reception for the Burnett Honors College, serving as a panelist for new PMBA students at their orientation, and being a guest speaker for Athena Women Empowered at UCF.
  21. Take a limo cycle tour. Went on a pedal pub adventure around Downtown Sanford with my MBA class on 10/21/17.
  22. Finish an old writing projectThis was hard to embark on in the midst of graduate school, but I did begin dedicating a lot more time to writing this year, especially on my blog.
  23. Get my writing published somewhere newI wrote two articles for STRIVE Magazine on financial wellness.
  24. Take a DIY classMaybe next year!
  25. Stroll through the Albin Polasek Sculpture Gardens. Visited on 11/10/17. Recap coming soon!
  26. Tour the Stetson Mansion in DeLand. Visited on 11/19/17 for the Christmas tour — so beautiful! 
  27. Visit the Orlando EyeComing soon!

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What suggestions do you have for 28 at 28? Sound off in the comments below!

National Yoga Month: 5 Ways to Celebrate in Central Florida

Can you believe it’s almost September? My birthday month is just around the corner, and yet it feels like just yesterday I was writing out New Year’s Resolutions and celebrating UCF’s Peach Bowl victory. September is a happy month for me for a lot of reasons, but here’s a lesser known one: it’s National Yoga Month!

Introducing: Wellness & Wanderlust

As someone whose mind races at a mile a minute, I enjoy practicing yoga to center myself, with the added benefit of strengthening my body. When it comes to yoga, there are countless health advantages, and in this day and age, there are many different ways to practice.

5 Ways to Observe National Yoga Month

For my readers in Central Florida, I’ve rounded up five different ways to celebrate National Yoga Month right here in your own backyard! Read below for some awesome local yoga events, and share your own suggestions in the comments.

  • Yoga in Lake Eola Park (Every Sunday)
    For just $5, enjoy a beautiful morning of yoga on the northeast lawn of Lake Eola! Every Sunday from 11-12, community yoga classes are hosted in the park with no registration required. It’s a great way to start your Sunday! Check out the official Facebook page for more information and regular updates.
  • Goat Yoga Classes (Various Dates)
    Goat Yoga has become all the rage, and it’s exactly what it sounds like — yoga with goats! The classes are incredibly therapeutic, and will add the cuteness factor to your day. A few local farms that host goat yoga classes include Wildflower Farm OrlandoPatty’s Parrot Palace in Deland, and Sawgrass Acres in Mims. If you haven’t tried goat yoga already, I highly recommend it!
  • Cabernet + Namaste at Quantum Leap Winery (September 21)
    Yoga and wine? Yes please! This event takes place monthly at Quantum Leap Winery. Your $21 registration gets you admission to the class, plus two drink tickets, and $8 of the registration is donated toward the non-profit of the month. For September, proceeds will be donated to A Gift for Teaching, an organization that provides free school supplies for local teachers. Pop over to the event’s Facebook page for information on how to purchase your tickets.
  • Rooftop Yoga at The Balcony Orlando (September 25)
    This is a class I’ve been dying to try! Taught by instructors from YogaMix, the classes cost just $7 and are available for ages 18 and older. Rooftop Yoga is a great way to take in views of the city from downtown! Check out the Facebook event for more info.
  • Yoga in the Sculpture Garden (September 30)
    If you’re a fan of art, this event is the one for you! The Mennello Museum hosts monthly yoga classes in their sculpture garden for $10 apiece ($5 for museum members), with their next class taking place September 30 at 9 a.m. The class registration also includes admission to the museum for the day. More information can be found here.

How are you observing National Yoga Month? Share your favorite events, studios, and other suggestions in the comments below!

Link Love August: From Van Gogh to Travel Essentials

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Photo Credit: Brooklyn Paper

Rise and shine! This weekend, I’m bringing Link Love back to Wellness & Wanderlust. For those of you who are fairly new to the blog, I used to regularly post a roundup of my favorite articles, videos, and other external links that I thought my readers might enjoy. As grad school began, the blog posts began to disappear, and so did weekly features like Link Love. However, now that I’m back to blogging, I’ve decided to bring back Link Love as well — this time on a monthly basis.

What are some great articles you’ve been reading lately? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Got any link love you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments below!

Things I’m Loving Lately: Halotherapy

Happy Wednesday, readers! Those of you who know me in person (or who have come into contact with me in the last week or so) are fully aware that I’m a long-time allergy sufferer. As much as I love the Sunshine State, it can be rough living in a place where something you’re allergic to is pretty much always in bloom.

Of course, I’m a regular at the allergist’s office, but recently I learned about a more holistic allergy treatment and decided to give it a try.

Things I'm Loving Lately: Halotherapy

Meet halotherapy (also known as salt therapy), an old-world remedy that uses salt to treat various conditions. Most of the health claims surrounding salt therapy focus especially on treating respiratory ailments, such as asthma and allergy symptoms. Although research in this area is still being conducted, some studies have begun to show that halotherapy can have positive therapeutic effects for patients.

A few months ago, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I soon learned that Antidote Apothecary, a spa in downtown Sanford that focuses on holistic beauty, had its very own salt room for visitors to take advantage of. I quickly booked myself an appointment.

Things I'm Loving Lately: Halotherapy

How It Works: You’ll enter a room completely filled with salt, and choose a seat. At Antidote Apothecary & Spa, you book a 45-minute appointment, and the room will seat up to four adults. I was especially lucky to have the room to myself! Dry salt is dispersed through the vents to breathe in and out. Bring a book or a set of headphones, and simply inhale and exhale. The setting is relaxing and can be a great place to meditate. Wear light-colored clothing (I made the mistake of wearing all black on my first visit, and left with salt quite noticeably on my clothes!) and bring a pair of socks.

The Verdict: I absolutely loved it! While I’m still not sure how long-term the effects of halotherapy are, I left my first visit with my sinuses feeling clearer than ever. As an added bonus, my skin felt a lot smoother as well — something that anyone else with eczema will surely appreciate. The visit was relaxing and worth every minute.

Since that first visit, I have returned to Antidote for additional salt therapy treatments, and look forward to more in the future. For those of you who are local to Central Florida, Antidote offers other spa treatments, which can be accompanied with tea service from The Rosie Lee Co. I will definitely be back for more!

Have you tried salt therapy? How was your experience? Sound off in the comments below!

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Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves

Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves | Wellness & Wanderlust

An avid bookworm, I was especially excited when someone recommended Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis. This book hit especially close to home for me, as it focused on the lies we tell ourselves that hold us back in life. Like most people, I tend to suffer from imposter syndrome and can often be my own worst enemy, letting my inner mean girl speak the loudestGirl, Wash Your Face is a refreshing read that breaks down those negative thoughts with the goal of helping us move past them.

Three chapters in particular stood out to me, so I thought I would share them with my readers. Each chapter addresses a different lie that we tell ourselves, and how to reframe our thoughts. Depending on your own life experiences, other chapters may impact you more deeply, but I wanted to share these insights from which so many of us can benefit.

  • The Lie: I’ll Start Tomorrow
    I’ll be honest — I’m a sucker for kicking off new goals on a Monday or on the first of the month. There’s something I love about having a clear line of demarcation between the old and the new. However, this also gets me into trouble, sometimes causing me to put off my goals with the excuse that I’ll start tomorrowHowever, as Rachel Hollis explains in this chapter, “Your subconscious knows that you, yourself, cannot be trusted after breaking so many plans and giving up on so many goals.” Many of us are great at keeping promises, unless those promises are to ourselves. We’re accountable and reliable for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we can become complacent and give up easily. However, when we tell ourselves we’ll start tomorrow or we push back our goals, we are really telling ourselves that we can’t be relied on. To combat this, Rachel suggests starting with small, more attainable goals, and building over time. We also need to be honest with ourselves about why we choose to put things off, and take the time to be intentional.
  • The Lie: I Should Be Further Along By Now
    This is a lie I constantly struggle with. In certain areas of my life, I feel like I’m not living up to the mental timeline I’ve created for myself, and it stings. However, when I step outside of myself and take a more objective look, I am reminded of how much I’ve accomplished: I graduated with my Master’s degree while working full-time, I’ve reached new milestones at work, I’ve been blessed with some amazing travel experiences, and so much more. Taking inventory of what you have done and setting goals, rather than time limits, will help guide you in the right direction.
  • The Lie: I Am Defined By My Weight
    Since graduation, I have been working hard to reframe the last 27 years of negative thoughts around body image. It is so easy to tell ourselves (especially as women) that we won’t be happy or won’t have the things we want in life until we reach a certain clothing size or a number on the scale. In truth, it isn’t our weight that makes the difference — it’s the way we treat ourselves and our bodies. What we eat and how we exercise matters, and it’s important to fuel our bodies with the foods that make us feel our best. As Rachel says in this chapter, “The lie I used to believe was that my weight would define me, that it would speak volumes about who I was as a person. Today I believe it’s not your weight that defines you, but the care and consideration you put into your body absolutely does.” You are worthy of love and happiness and success at any weight or dress size, but eating the junk foods that you know will make you sick is an abuse to your body.  Your weight does not define you, but the way you treat yourself does. It can be a struggle, but for the last couple of months, I have focused more on listening to my needs, eating intuitively, and incorporating more movement into my day because it makes me feel betterWhether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight, or simply feel your best, treating your body with respect and listening to what it needs is always going to benefit you in the long run.

Have any of you read Girl, Wash Your Face? Which chapters stood out to you? What lie are you working to overcome?

 

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Things I’m Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida

Happy 3rd of July! I’m excited to celebrate tomorrow in the best way I know how: poolside with a burger. 🙂 How are you guys celebrating your 4th?

Now that I’m done with grad school, I’ve been working hard to get my health back on track, and I’m proud to say that I’ve made some great strides. From hitting the gym to eating cleaner (less inflammatory) foods, I feel stronger and healthier than I have in a long time. I completed a round of Whole30 shortly after graduation, and am now working toward a higher goal of balance and eating intuitively. Knowing what works well for me (protein, veggies) versus what doesn’t (gluten, sweeteners, legumes) has changed the way I fill my plate or look at a menu, and I’m excited to continue down this path.

Of course, in keeping up with the theme of balance, I have been especially excited to discover healthier restaurants in the Orlando area that cater to different dietary needs and restrictions. In today’s post, I’ll share some of my favorite finds for all of you local foodies (and visitors, too!). 🙂

Things I'm Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida
Fresh Kitchen
I discovered Fresh Kitchen in Waterford Lakes after a UCF event last year, and was so impressed with their bowls that I kept coming back for more! Fresh Kitchen’s concept is similar to that of Chipotle: You walk up to the counter, choose your bases, pick your vegetables and proteins, and add sauces as needed. The difference? Their entire menu is gluten free, most of their food is free from dairy and processed sugars, and their meats are antibiotic free. (They also sell paleo cookies and zucchini brownies if you’re looking to splurge!) My favorite menu items are the coconut rice, the pesto chicken, and the broccoli, but they have fresh seasonal veggies and other proteins worth a taste as well. They recently opened a location in Downtown Orlando, and are also located in South Florida and in the Tampa/St. Pete area.

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BOCA
Located on Park Avenue across from the Morse Museum (check out my recap here), BOCA is a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its food locally and offers seasonal menus. I loved their Smoked Cachaca Chicken, but they offer a variety of market specials, including many menu items that are gluten-free or vegetarian. I’m excited to go back for brunch!

Things I'm Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida

Olea Mediterranean Grill
I’m a big fan of Greek food, so I was especially excited when Olea Mediterranean Grill opened up in Sanford. Much like Fresh Kitchen, Olea offers a variety of options — customers can go up to the counter and choose a pita, lettuce, or grains, and add in their favorite spreads, toppings, and proteins. I’ve had to cut back from hummus, but their lemon herb tahini and their tzatziki are absolutely addictive. Each food item is labeled for those who have food restrictions, and if you’re gluten-free or vegan, there are tons of delicious options for you. Olea has locations in Sanford, Maitland, and Orlando.

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Farm & Haus
In the back corner of the East End Market in Orlando is Farm & Haus, which doubles as a café and meal delivery service. Farm & Haus has a menu that changes regularly, but offers healthy meals created from scratch. Farm & Haus delivers meals near its Audubon Park location in the East End Market, so when I took classes downtown, I often ordered dinner from there! Their café, which serves breakfast and lunch, is also home to Orlando’s best avocado toast (I swear–you can Google it).

Things I'm Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida

Infusion Tea
Although not exclusively vegetarian, Infusion Tea offers some amazing meatless options, and is known as Orlando’s “organic tea café.” I am absolutely in love with their roasted pear salad, and the space is also great for parties and events. The restaurant also has its own Arts Co-Op inside, where you can pick up some fun gifts, and when you visit on a Saturday, you can also enjoy the College Park Farmers Market outside. If you love tea, try the pineapple bliss tea — I promise you will not be sorry!

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Orlando foodies, what are your favorite healthy options in the area? Sound off in the comments below!

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