Summer Style Shape Up Giveaway!

I fell in love with taking care of myself last summer.  It had been a while since I worked out on a regular basis, I'm talking since before my wedding, that's about 12 years!  And last summer I realized I couldn't keep waiting for a window of opportunity to open for me to exercise.  I was also feeling inspired by my friends who were prioritizing working out and they seemed healthy inside and out!  So I decided I had to create the opening and I had to put it before this blog.

I made a plan.  I could get my endurance up by riding my bike and then when I felt comfortable I could go to a studio class to get my strength up.  My very good friend, Jennifer, is an instructor at DEFINE Body & Mind, a growing studio.  I thought going to her class might not be so intimidating because she would be my built in buddy!  And she was!  My plan worked, the rest is history and I fell in love with fitness in the summer of 2014.

So when I heard Elaine Turner and DEFINE Body & Mind were partnering up for a HUGE giveaway I jumped at the chance to spread the word!  This is an awesome chance to make your window of opportunity and get a summer wardrobe, too!  Here are all the details:

For Houston and Woodlands Area readers only:  Get summer ready with Elaine Turner + DEFINE! One lucky winner will receive 6 months of unlimited DEFINE classes, a $1,000 Elaine Turner shopping spree, and a complete DEFINE Activewear outfit, tell it to your neighbor!!!

Enter to win May 13 - May 27 at the following locations:

Online HERE 
Elaine Turner Stores -  CITYCENTRE, BLVD Place, Rice Village and Market Street (The Woodlands)DEFINE Studios - West U, Montrose, River Oaks, Tanglewood and The Woodlands

If you're curious about DEFINE Body and Mind and if you'd like to get to know Elaine Turner, check out the latest episode of Elaine's Big Life - DEFINE fitness!.  Elaine is glamorous and hilarious and I've enjoyed watching her behind-the-scenes video diary series on YouTube.  Subscribe to the Elaine Turner YouTube Channel, new episodes come to your inbox and you'll be the first to watch and laugh!  I like to watch it on my phone when I'm getting all cozy and winding down for the night.

It was a pleasure to meet and workout with these two inspiring entrepreneurs, Henry with DEFINE and Elaine with Elaine Turner.  Their businesses "give back" like I've never seen before!  Check them out and good luck with the GIVEAWAY!!


Just A Few Things About Grand Cayman

Some say, "Variety is the spice of life."  But for me, "VACATION is the spice of life!"  And a vacation with my girlfriends is VITAL!  This post is about our most recent trip.  We were all set to take a road trip but our planning took an exciting u-turn when we decided to fly to Grand Cayman!!  I hope this post has you booking a trip to Grand Cayman and knowing what to do when you get there.

Travel Time:  When I only have 3 nights away for fun I want to get to my destination fast!  For Houstonians, United Airlines offers non-stop flights to Grand Cayman and the flight is only 2 hours and 50 minutes.  That's faster than my frequent road-trip to Dallas!  For other major cities, several airlines offer non-stop flights, here's a chart to give you an idea:

Cab System: I've never met a cab driver in GC I didn't like! This was our method of transportation. The drivers would give you their card and ask you to call them if you needed a ride.  If they weren't available they'd call their friend for you.  This all started with the very first cab we stepped foot in upon arrival at the airport.

Where To Stay, Good Question:  We had the hardest time deciding where to stay.  I created this map  and a cost comparison to help us figure it out.  It was between a Deluxe Oceanfront Room at the Westin Grand Cayman (top green pin on map) or a Garden View room at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman (bottom green pin on map).  The two hotels looked like they had about the same linear feet of beachfront but the Ritz was a much bigger resort (so maybe more crowded on the beach?).  At the Westin we'd be able to slide open our patio doors and walk onto the beach or at the Ritz, the walk to the beach from the room (red pin on map) was estimated at 5 min. per the website room description.  So it was The View vs. The Luxury.

We chose the Westin where this was our view, morning, noon and night!  Can you hear the relaxing ocean waves slowly rolling in?!

And when you choose the less expensive hotel, then you're more inclined to reserve a private cabana for two days!  This is where we ate lunch both days and when a short storm blew through we just closed the drapes and rode it out. :)

Red Sail Sports: One of the benefits of staying at the Westin is access to Red Sail Sports.  These are the people who put the adventure into your vacation!  In my opinion, they are the best way to get out to Stingray City (see below). After seeing the other sailboats I was happy we were in the hands of Red Sail Sports,  I was impressed with their practices and felt safe.  We took the 9 am sail on one of their 65' luxury catamarans out to Stingray City and then to snorkel on a reef.  The trip was about 4 hours and cost us $80 each.

Sting Ray City: I wanted to go to Grand Cayman just for the sake of Sting Ray City.  It's an area of sand bars where the stingrays come to interact with the people (because the peeps bring easy food).

I suggested it to my friends even though I had no idea how I'd have the courage to do it.  A couple days before the trip I led an Al-Anon meeting for the first time and chose the topic of Courage in hopes of combating the fear.  Then on the sail out to the sandbar I talked to a 6 year old girl who had nothing but joy and excitement and she couldn't wait to get in the water with the Rays!  I also knew my God did not want me to live in fear and worry.  And with my friends, we were in it together, not alone!

By the time we anchored at Sting Ray City I was that 6 year old and could not wait to have my turn to hold the Stingray.  The fear was gone, completely!

Does this look like courage?  I hope so!  Now, how many tries does it take to get a selfie with a Stingray? Lost count! Ha!

Can't wait to look back at this one when we're Golden Girls!  What an adventure! Write Stingray City on your life's to do list!

Dinner at The Wharf:  This restaurant is touristy but you've gotta go to it!  It's oceanfront and located at the start of Seven Mile Beach.

You'll get to watch the sunset as you eat dinner, glorious!

AND the biggest draw is all the tarpon fish!  You can feed them if you want, fascinating to watch how they go from 0 to 60 in 5.0 as they dart through the water at The Wharf.

Dinner at Calypso Grill:  This restaurant was recommended to us by everyone!  And we will do the same for you!  If you're going to have one fancy dinner, make sure it's at the waterfront Calypso Grill at Morgan's Harbour, West Bay.

The ambiance inside and outside is charming and the food is delicious!  After you book your flight for Grand Cayman, send an email to Dine@CalypsoGrillCayman.com to reserve your table for dinner. "Order the Sticky Toffee Pudding!"

Friday Night at The Ritz-Carlton's Silver Palm Lounge: This is a must if you like to dance and people watch.  Do you see the glowing light in the picture above? That's where the DJ was and they got started around 10 pm.  For a while no one was dancing, but it only took one!  If you know my friend Laura, you know she has the courage to start a dance party at the Ritz-Carlton.

And before we knew it, the whole lounge was on their feet, no backs against the wall.  And the night was unforgettable!

Seven Mile Beach: Amazing relaxing water that we loved hanging out in as if it were the pool.

George Town Yacht Club:  This is a great place to hang out if you have a few hours to kill between hotel checkout and airplane departure.  And no worries if you realize you don't have time to wait for a  cab to take you to the airport, you can walk. Ha!

Reward, Relax, Rejuvenate and cherish Relationships. These are the 4 Rs I've come up with to motivate us all.  Whether it's a staycation or a trip to Grand Cayman, if you want it, YOU can make a vacation happen!  We booked this trip mid June and were on a plane at the beginning of August.  Forward this post to your girlfriends to get the ball rolling!

If this post has you feeling sporty, I selected a few rash guards I'm loving right now!  Click on the thumbnail picture above to shop it.


Recommendations for Seaside!

Last year around this same time we didn't have any plans for the summer.  But somehow before the Summer was over we went on three amazing vacations that I've been wanting to share with you.  I'm telling you this because it's never too late to plan a vacation and it is so important to take time off, tell it to your neighbor.

So, the first of the 3 vacations was to Seaside Beach, Florida.  I fell in love with this magically simple but luxurious place on 30A! If you've seen The Truman Show then you've seen Seaside.  It is a thoughtfully designed community along the beach and centered around a thriving town square with everything you need in walking distance.  While we were there I kept thinking, "this is how life is supposed to be!"  Here are some of my recommendations for the destination:

1. Getting There.  If you drive and if you're driving from Texas, research the traffic in Mobile, Alabama.  Depending on the day of the week and time you are traveling, the tunnels in Mobile are known to back up, so try to find alternate routes if you don't want to delay your vacay.  Also, this On-The-Go Drawing Kit, unavailable online but I still see them at Target, was a midway road trip surprise our kids loved.  It could easily be put together on your own in a zippered pouch with a doodle book, skinny markers, colored pencils and a sharpener.  #crayonsmelt!

2.  Arranging your stay.  You could find a house to rent through VRBO but I recommend the convenience of the on-site rental company, Cottage Rental Agency.  Their welcome swag bag was SWEET! The name of our cottage was Gentle Breeze and it was perfect for our family of 4.

3.  Chair rental.  You might give some serious thought to splurging and renting chairs and umbrellas on the beach from the Cabana Man.  There's a pretty big climb of stairs up and over the sand dune to get to the beach and you're hands are already full with a cooler, sand toys, beach bags...  Pamper yourself and arrive to an area on the beach all set up for you by the Cabana Man.

4.  Food Trucks.  I have picky eaters, so I loved this.  To feed my family, I could get a grilled cheese for my daughter at The Melt Down on 30A truck, chicken fingers for my son at Barefoot BBQ and my Husband and I could get whatever we want, too!  And then we can all eat together at a picnic table and get #BlueLips from shaved ice at the Frost Bites truck.  Like a food court at the beach that you can walk to from your cottage! PS-We saw Tony Romo in line here!

5.  Handcut Fries from Pickle's.  One of my favorites from Seaside was the fries at Pickle's, I think I had them three times while we were there.  The seasoning is perfect and my Husband has the same opinion.

6.  Charlie's Donut Truck.  My kids are in their PJs here because at Charlie's the early bird gets the worm.  Charlie's Donut Truck at Alys Beach is a little bit of a drive from Seaside, but so worth it.  I'm a donut person and these donuts were delicious!

7. Duckies.  This toy shop was so FUN!!!  Best one in the area!

8.  Go Exploring.  Drive through beautiful Alys Beach and check-out Rosemary Beach.  Or just go to visit and have a treat at The Sugar Shak!

9.  The Amphitheater.  A big open green space for kids to run around in by day and concerts by night.  The Barefoot BBQ truck uses frisbees as their plates, you get to keep them and the kids can throw them around, genius!

10. Ono Surf Shop.  It was around Father's Day so we got Joseph a Boogie Board he had his eyes on at the Ono Surf Shop.  Great selection of gear and sporty swimwear!

11.  Sand Toys Bag.  Find and use a mesh pop up hamper for the sand toys.  Ours was from Ikea but I can't find it online.  The sand just falls out and everything dries quickly.

12.  Bring Puddle Jumpers or Life Jackets even for the not-so-little ones.  The water advisory was a Red Flag the whole time we were there.  I had to give up on riding waves because I ran out of strength and the water beat me up!  Kinda scary.

14.  Scooters! (previous post) Bring them from home so the kids can get around easily and it's a small thing to pack compared to a bicycle.  However there is convenient bike rental!

If you're looking for a vacation where you can go to the beach everyday and take a nap every afternoon and then walk to dinner, Seaside is your vacation spot!  And it's never too late to schedule a vacation or a staycation at home.  Stay tuned for posts on our other 2 destinations!  And in the meantime, if you've been missing recommendations like these, I do mini "TITYN" posts on Instagram all the time, see you there! Or you could go straight to the links on my LIKEtoKNOW.it page!


the SALE is This Weekend

There's an event this weekend you're going to want to tell your neighbor about, it's called the SALE.  The BEST boutiques in Houston are bringing their end of season merchandise to one location and they are offering it at dramatic discounts!!  I know, you're already excited and I haven't mentioned the best part:  the SALE is a philanthropic event benefiting The University of Texas MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital!  All of this genius-ness is brought to us by Houston Tri Deltas.

Now I know you have a few questions so here's the who, what, when, where, how:

Who will be there?  We will!  Houstonians who are looking for a bargain and would rather shop to cure childhood cancer than shop at the mall.
What boutiques will be there?  Some of my favorites from the list are Julie Rhodes, a Bientot, DYI, Elaine Turner, Presmer and Tootsies.  And I can't wait to check out the home boutiques that will be there, too!
When?  This Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 10 & 11.  Noon to 6 pm.  There's also a preview brunch from 10 to Noon on Saturday!
Where?  The Bayou City Event Center, just south of NRG Stadium, 9401 Knight Rd., Houston,TX 77045, 281-501-6720.
How?  Purchase tickets now for $15 or at the door for $20.  Click here for tickets.  I just purchased mine and there's also an opportunity to just plain donate!

I'm excited and I hope to see you there!  Here's a pic from my summer trip to Grand Cayman with these sweet, courageous Houston Tri Deltas I love: