Have You Heard?

My colleague and I are planning our first Pilates and Yoga retreat to Costa Rica from February 9-15th, 2020! The final date to reserve your spot is coming up on November 1st, 2019.
If you missed my previous announcements or posts, here is some information on what to expect. Full details and photos available at www.thesleepypineapple.com 
COSTA RICA YOGilates Retreat 2020-6
Details |
7 days and 6 nights
nutritious breakfast and dinner included daily
luxury villa with infinity pool
steps to pristine beaches
daily Yoga and Pilates
private and shared room options
concierge services
group zip-lining excursion included
additional excursions or massage treatments available
one hour private yoga or Pilates session included
includes transfer to and from the airport
This retreat was designed with both relaxation and adventure in mind. This unique approach to our wellness retreat allows you to customize your experience and create the retreat of your dreams.
Included in your package are breakfast and dinner daily, two Pilates or yoga group classes daily, a one-hour private session and a group excursion to nearby Rio Perdido for zip lining, thermal river and hot springs.
Transfer to and from Liberia International Airport is also included. Airfare is not included.
Additional excursions, day trips, private sessions or spa services are available at an additional charge.
What a typical day looks like at the retreat | example
7 am
morning yoga flow to prepare you for your day
8:30 am
a healthy and delicious breakfast is served
9:30 am
A guided run along the beach (optional)
11 am to 5 pm
Forest zip lining excursion with lunch of local delicacies (optional)
6:30 pm
Restorative Pilates class to wind down from your day
7:30 pm
Group dinner with our travel community
We want to encourage you to bond with the group, ask questions to the instructors, start discussions about health or fitness with others or take time out for yourself if needed. This is more than a retreat, this is a self-care experience. Embrace your wellbeing.
Pricing |
Oceanview King Room with balcony and ensuite (double occupancy)                    $2650
Shared twin room with ensuite                $1950
Shared queen room with ensuite             $2150
Prices are per person in CDN dollars. Taxes extra (13%). Shared rooms have two beds per room. Maximum 10 guests in the villa.
Please inquire for single occupancy pricing.
Room options are available on a first-come-first-served basis and are subject to availability.
Airfare is not included and is the responsibility of the guest to arrange. Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia is just 25 minutes to the property.
Excursions and massage services are available at an additional cost and can be arranged prior to the retreat. Should you wish to wait until you arrive or organize a last-minute excursion, there will be booking options available from the concierge and are subject to availability.
Please inquire for available options.
Individual or semi-private Pilates or Yoga sessions are available at an additional cost of $80 (cdn) per session for up to 3 people. This is a great option if you are unfamiliar with these modalities or if you want personalized clarifications, adjustments or modifications.
For bookings or more information please contact Shawn Marie by email at hello@thesleepypineapple.com or by submitting your inquiry below. 
To reserve your space a 50% non-refundable payment is required. The remaining 50% payment is due by November 1st, 2019 and is non-refundable.
We understand that there are circumstances out of our control but unfortunately, due to the nature of the retreat, all payments must be non-refundable.
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Travelling- Then & Now

Firstly, 2013 was not that long ago; a mere 6 years and yet when referencing travelling internationally and how much data and mobile usage have changed in that time, it might as well be a lifetime!
IMG_4742_editedMy first major experience of travelling internationally was in 2010 and we used hostel computers to send emails back home. The idea of mobile data was still a foreign concept to me, as I still had a basic flip phone and therefore, not having data access was not at all out of the ordinary for me. Flash forward to 2013 and my first iPhone (yes, I waited until the 5 to get onboard from my Blackberry) was practically glued to me at all times. The novelty of a smartphone had just been experienced and I was hooked. This new found freedom to Google wherever and whenever and download app after app to play addictive games to waste hours upon hours was such a new experience for me. Which is what made my 2013 trip that much more difficult to get through without the easy access I was now accustomed to. At the time, Rogers who is my service provider, had 3 package options while travelling. I can’t remember the specifics but each one came with talk and text plans but no data whatsoever. I easily blew through my plans each month I was away (4 in total) and would have to get another and sometimes another still. If you used one plan up, you had to wait until your next billing cycle to get that same plan again, which meant I’d have to get the increasingly less talk and text plans as the month went on. Calling cards worked too but they can be a hassle to purchase and dial in a rush, so out of convenience I’d use my cell phone. My biggest reasons for using the talk and text up was of course due to travelling alone, I’d call my mother or a friend to chat or tell them about some amazing thing I saw that day. But often, I’d also use up my plans to call my mother for help finding a place or a phone number I needed if lost. I had written out loads of directions to my hostels, etc. before leaving and yet, inevitably, I’d end up lost or confused and need help. Asking strangers for directions in a place you can’t speak the language, sometimes very early in the morning or late in the night, is not the best of ideas as a female travelling alone. About halfway through my trip I was introduced to City Maps which is an offline GPS mapping app that allows you to search for addresses or places, gives directions and shows you which direction you are walking. The issue was you had to download the maps while using Wifi so if you forgot (like I did in Bilbao at 11pm) then you were screwed and would have to use your data to download or find a traditional map. I had used maps prior to learning about the app but sometimes the map wouldn’t show enough of the city and would be essentially useless for me to find my hostel. Also, nothing screams #tourist more than a giant map. That evening in Bilbao nothing was even open to find a map, so I opted to download the map and was hit with a $65 charge at home for the 2 mins it took to download. It’s also worrisome until you get your updated usage to know if you’ve properly turned off all the data roaming and mobile data so you would not be accidentally charged. The whole experience was a dance of plans and phone calls and map downloading and timing it all as best as I could and there was much room for error. In total, I spent upwards of $1500 in extra charges and plan fees during that trip and remember I had no data usage except that one charge either.
A while ago Rogers announced a “roam like home” feature which essentially allows you to use your current plan to travel to the US and Europe for an additional charge per day. For the US it is $7 /day and to Europe, it is $12/ day up to a maximum charge of 15 days per billing cycle. After 15 days, you do not pay more and keep using your current plan as normal! That means in comparison my trip to Europe now would result in a bill of only $720 with data usage for 4 months. I only just got to use this new option as I hadn’t been away in some time and so I was a bit nervous and apprehensive that I’d somehow come home to a crazy bill again. I read and re-read the description and small print to verify I didn’t have to turn off anything while travelling or that I’d have a hidden limit. I still nervously checked my account during the first 24 hours for any extra charges but I was completely safe and was able to search, Google, use my phones GPS, hire Lyft rides and call my mom all for a fraction of the price it was in 2013. My mind was blown!
Now, if you do not have a large data or talk plan then you still might need calling cards, maps and Wifi or if you are travelling somewhere not covered by this feature. I also cannot comment on other service providers and their travel options but I was pleasantly surprised by Rogers on this one. I only wish this was around in 2013! #rogersroamlikehome
This blog was not written to promote Rogers as a service provider, as I’m sure other companies offer similar travel options (or they should), but only to acknowledge how technology has changed in the last decade in one particular way (as it’s changed in many other ways too).
I hope this post helps you in your travels and if you don’t have data options, then I highly recommend City Maps to easily get around and not stand out like an obvious tourist.
Of course, if you are like me and take a hundred photos a day, you still might stand out! #sorrynotsorry
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Comment below if you’ve had similar experiences or any tips you have for getting around in other countries, I’d love to hear about it!
xo Shawn

My Coachella Experience

Where to begin…
Let me preface this post by saying Coachella was my FIRST festival experience EVER! I know, I know, it’s shocking given my love of music and the lineup of concerts I have attended. It’s true though.
The reason I have never attended a festival before is that I have some issues with claustrophobia (I’ve left subway trains and elevators due to panic attacks before) and I’ve just been afraid of what to expect with the crowds. I had always wanted to go to Coachella because, like most, I have followed the plethora of Instagram posts and fashion #ootd that circulate before, during and after the festival. I’m not going to lie, the hippie fashion and the idea of wearing glitter absolutely everywhere was my ultimate goal when I bought my tickets. #noshame
Originally, I was meant to go with someone else but after that fell through my cousin Jeni ended up signing on to go with me! Although I have kept in touch and spent some time with my cousin over the years, we have not spent time alone together like that since childhood and I can honestly say (I hope she will agree!) that we had the BEST time of our lives!
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We started our Coachella adventure by driving from Venice Beach to Palm Springs for lunch (and a photo op) before heading to Indio and our motel. We did make a pit stop at Target and I fully understand the hype in the US. Nearly $200 later, a couple of pool floats and a few bottles of wine, we finally made it to Palm Springs. We had a nice lunch at LuLu’s (although it took too long to get served initially) and I saved room for dessert which happened to be the biggest cotton candy I have ever seen! We then continued on to our motel.
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The Western Sands Motel was the most expensive shit hole I have ever stayed in, obviously because it was Coachella weekend and everything was exuberantly overpriced. But it did the job, the bed was clean and we were a mere 8 minute drive to the festival entrance. I’d do it all over again too, so that’s saying something.
We arrived around mid-afternoon and got to work getting glittered-up for day one! I opted for a classic high-waisted jean short and poncho combo with a silver silk tank top, on-trend bum bag and black boots. I loaded up on accessories, a crapload of glitter on every surface of my skin and hair and added every necklace and bracelet I own plus a scarf. The dust is real but for some reason, I never actually used the scarves I brought to cover my face; they looked darn cute though at least. My hair which had previously been a bit frizzy from the ocean air in Venice Beach, now magically became Insta-worthy waves from the mix of salt residue and desert heat. I’m still daydreaming about that hair…
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Since neither of us had been to Coachella before, getting around took a minute to get used to. We may have also entered the beer tent (a couple of times) thinking it was our VIP area and wondering why the lineups for drinks were so long… *facepalm* But eventually, we figured out our way around and took in some shows! Day 1 highlights for us were Diplo, Janelle Monae and Childish Gambino, the latter being absolutely incredible and unexpected in his musical brilliance.
Getting back to the motel was a lot harder to navigate then getting to the festival grounds (ps. Lyft was the best for that) and our first night we ended up walking all the way back, about 45 mins in total. But keep in mind a good 15 minutes of that is just exiting the grounds themselves. We didn’t have the hook up for any after parties and being that we both wake up regularly very early for our day jobs, we called it a night!
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Day 2 saw us blowing up our pool floats (I forgot how hard that was by mouth) and attempting to get cute shots in our not-so-cute motel pool. Thank you portrait mode! And once again we got ready in our Coachella-finest as we drank some more wine and Straw-ber-itas. This day I chose my new favourite leopard-print skirt with a low-back ribbed bodysuit and matching scarf. Once again my bum bag and boots made an appearance, as did the copious amounts of glitter and jewellery. We thankfully had a locker on-site, as this night we needed to go back for warmer layers as the evening wore on. We were warned the evenings got chilly but the first night had been so mild that the second night took us a bit off guard. This day we also ventured more around the festival and found a second VIP area, taking in more artists along the way. Highlights from this day included Maggie Rogers, Wiz Khalifa, Billie Eilish (who we admittedly had not heard of prior, somehow) and of course Weezer. I cannot believe it took me going to Coachella to finally see Weezer live but they did not disappoint!
Seeing as Kanye was set to host his Sunday service for Easter the following day (which we did not attend) and Kid Cudi was playing, I knew he’d make an appearance and thankfully I was right. This was the first time the whole festival that we both got a bit claustrophobic because the crowd was just crazy and we were in the thick of it. Now I’m not the biggest fan of Kanye but when he performs, you cheer and sing along, it’s what you do. It was a pretty epic experience for us both and I’m glad we braved the crowd! Tame Impala was the headliner this night but after a brief stopover at his performance, we moved on, definitely not our thing. #sorrynotsorry
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And just like that, it was Day 3. By now we both began getting some stuffy noses from allergies we thought but we were both excited and sad for our last day at Coachella. My hair was still on point though and that’s really what mattered most, let’s be honest. My outfit today consisted of a crochet crop top, black shorts topped with a long fringe wrap skirt and the same bum bag and boots previously worn. I had brought other shoes but the boots were so comfy I decided not to chance it with other footwear. This was the first day I tried on multiple outfit options but I wanted to really go all out! I did bring another outfit for later on but decided against the effort of changing as the night wore on. This was by far my favourite day at the festival as Jeni and I really got to have a heart-to-heart and bond a bit more. By now I also knew the pizza place was the best for food and we found a bartender who would make us lemon drop type cocktails (shots aren’t allowed technically). I haven’t touched on that yet but the food was pretty hit and miss inside the festival and drinks were ridiculously tiny. Although nothing was particularly awful, it was severely overpriced and even more so when you consider it was in US dollars ($16 US for a minuscule glass of wine? *another facepalm* Ok, give me two, thanks).
The highlights from the performances this day were Khalid, Dermot Kennedy, Zedd and of course, Ariana Grande. Zedd brought out both Maren Morris and Alessia Cara to perform their songs with him and I was again pleasantly surprised. He puts on a great show with remixes of everything from AC/DC to Queen! We danced the most to this show and couldn’t get enough. Fun fact, we both grew up in Brampton which is where Alessia Cara is from too and it occurred to me how lucky we all were to now be at Coachella!
The headliner was Ariana and by gosh did she ever deliver! The group of guys behind me kept screaming how much better she was live than on the radio and I couldn’t agree more. That woman can SING! She performed for about an hour and a bit in total and even brought out the Biebs himself (Justin Bieber) to an eruption of screams from the crowd. Again, love him or hate him, you cheer when he comes on stage. She was probably my favourite from the whole festival but I really didn’t see one bad performance, it was an incredible experience.
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Truly, I would do it all again in a heartbeat and desperately want to! This was by far one of the best experiences of my life and I think it was only made better by my cousin getting to attend with me.
I think she said it best, “nothing will ever be the same again after this”. #coachella2019
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xo Shawn Marie

Why You Should Travel Alone​

“Travel far enough to meet yourself.” -David Mitchell
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As some of you may know, I just returned from an incredible trip to California! I have some more blog posts coming soon telling you about my favourite parts and sites worth seeing, but first I wanted to delve a little deeper and explain why I think it is so important to travel alone. Now, I don’t mean that you have to travel every single time alone, but travelling alone at some point in your life is necessary.
This was not the first time I have travelled alone out of the country, back in 2013 I backpacked through Europe for 4 months all by myself. At that time, I was using it as an escape and as a way to deal with my grief over losing my father. It taught me more than I can put into words. Travelling and seeing those spectacular places, sites and sceneries brought back a sense of joy into my life again. But travelling alone brought me back my sense of self, my independence, my inner strength and the ability to appreciate my life again. That trip put me back together emotionally, helping me to grow and heal. I was 28 during that trip. Returning home, I felt like I could do anything, I felt invincible.
This time around, at 34, something shifted and a new piece of myself appeared. It’s hard to explain but basically, I stopped caring what other people thought of me. I used to care a lot what others thought of me or if they liked me, etc. and was picked on and teased a lot during my formative years which only increased those feelings. As I have grown older, those feelings have diminished over the years and I’m now well aware that I can’t please everyone, nor do I want to anymore. However, like most, I’ve still had moments of embarrassment, self-doubt, people pleasing and unsureness. On this trip, those feelings all but disappeared. If I did have a moment of hesitation I was quick to shake it off and move on. Some of us are built to worry and question ourselves and others have an innate ability to be completely self-assured and confident. For me, travelling alone is where I’ve been able to grow and become a more confident version of myself and at 34, I can honestly say I’ve never been more self-assured. Travelling alone is where I see how capable I truly am. I can rent a car and drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I can speak up and let the front desk know when my roommate is freaking me out. I can go to a restaurant and have a meal by myself. I can avoid being hit (or spit on) by a crazed homeless man. I can trip and fall on a curb, take care of myself and not have it ruin my day. I can make new friends. I met two amazing women on this trip, both in their 30’s travelling alone also. As women, there is more concern for us travelling by ourselves and worry about our safety. It made me so happy to see these women just out there, living their lives, seeing the world and not letting fear stop them! Returning home from this trip, I am actively trying to keep that confidence, to not let thoughts of self-doubt creep back in. Like my cousin said (she joined me for Coachella!)- “nothing will ever be the same again”. Travelling changes you.
Seeing the world is important and I wish everyone could travel, widen their perspectives and expand their minds. My hope from this post is that even if you can’t backpack for 4 months or travel out of the country, you could at least go to a meal, a movie, a weekend getaway alone. Become okay with being alone sometimes and learn who you really are.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”- Freya Stark
April 12- 23, 2019

Arizona

Arizona is a magical place. You can feel the energy from the earth, mountains and wind. It is breathtakingly beautiful and unlike any place I have ever been, and I’ve been around. For my 30th birthday, my friend and I went to Las Vegas and on that trip we also visited the Grand Canyon. That was spectacular! This time around I visited Gold Canyon (near Phoenix), specifically we stayed at the base of Superstition Mountain. If that name doesn’t tell you about the beliefs of the land in Arizona, I don’t know what will. To be honest, we saw so many things in my short trip it is now blending into one lovely memory. We visited the Mesa Market, Tortilla Flats, Salt River, Saguaro Lake, Queen Creek Olive Mill, and Goldfield Ghost Town. I’ve probably forgotten a place but we drove through many little towns as well, stopping for lunch and taking in the winding mountain roads.

The main thing I noticed was that the attractions were generally free; they want you to see what they have and if you want to buy souvenirs, food, etc., then that is where they are making money. I thought it refreshing, to go to a landmark and not even pay for parking! That is how it should be and the places were busy.

The scenery was beyond stunning, yet the only words I could seem to find- “it’s so pretty”. Pretty does not do it justice and everywhere I looked was a picturesque landscape. Thankfully my uncle understood this more than most and stopped at many lookouts for me to snap away!

I stayed with my great-aunt and uncle in their RV. It was cozy and comfortable (I’d never stayed in one before) and their hospitality is next to none! They even got me vegetarian food and ate some themselves for dinner! I was very touched by the gesture and by the effort they put into giving me a great vacation.

Every evening starting at about 3-4pm we had Happy Hour, sometimes at the pool (where we also went every afternoon) and sometimes back at the RV in time for sunset. At the pool the drinks included popcorn and if you know my love of popcorn, then you know this was like heaven for me. A pool, sun, popcorn and wine= my idea of happiness!

The sunsets were just as stunning as the views and apparently I got lucky with some gorgeous ones. That is the problem, no clouds means no sunsets; we had little clouds a couple of nights that gave us picture worthy views.

Overall, I highly recommend Arizona to visit. My third time to the state will be to visit Sedona as I’m told it is spectacular and has even more energy to it. Given what I’ve seen already, I can’t wait!

February 13-18, 2016

NYC #FBF

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A while ago I was talking to some friends and it came out how I am obsessed with Regis Philbin… Not in a stalker way! Just in an admiration sort of way. I watched Live! back when it was Kathy-Lee and I watched as Kelly Ripa was selected as her replacement. I’m a fan, but I watched it mostly for Regis. His story telling is unparalleled, it’s a gift to be able to do that well. So in honour of #flashbackfriday I decided to recall my 27th birthday trip to New York City to see Regis live on his show!
To get tickets you send a postcard in advance requesting your day, and then you wait… And wait! We ended up booking our trip hoping we got tickets because it took so long. Obviously, I was ecstatic when they arrived in the mail a few days prior to our departure. It was really going to happen, I was going to see Regis in his final month of the show! He was set to retire in late November and my birthday is October 25, so I was cutting it close. My mother came with me, she had never been to NYC before so it was a real treat. I had gone a few years earlier for another birthday, but that’s the thing with New York; you can go twenty times and not see it all. To be honest, I don’t remember it all step by step, it was a blur. We stayed 3 days and 2 nights at The Salisbury Hotel, which is quite close to Central Park. We visited Rockefeller Center, the “imagine” stone marker, Time’s Square, Bergdorf Goodman and we took a tour bus of lower Manhattan. It was a bit rushed and obviously there is a ton you could do, but we had a blast. It was the first birthday after my dad passed, and I desperately wanted it to be memorable for any other reason. The day of the show was hurry up and wait, we bought nearly every item from the gift shop before being ushered into the studio. It was smaller then I thought it would be and we almost didn’t even get to sit beside each other. Our guest for the day was Tea Leoni and it was pretty standard as far as a show goes. I almost spoke to him but froze and then lost my chance. I was really disappointed by that and when he shook the hand of the person who was in my original seat! It was everything I had hoped for though and a couple weeks later I went to his book signing where I shook his hand and spoke actual sentences with him! Moral of the story?
You win some and you lose some, then sometimes (if your lucky) you get a second chance!

October 24-26, 2011

Santorini #selfie

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It’s hard to believe I have yet to post anything about Santorini, Greece! While stunningly beautiful, I actually had a rather unpleasant experience with my hotel owner. It was the end of the season and in (what I saw) as a last attempt to make extra money, I was taken advantage of and overcharged. It put a bad taste in my mouth but it did not define the whole of Santorini. I ended up meeting a lovely couple from London who took me under their wing and a very sweet taxi driver. Over all I ended up having a lovely time. What made Santorini a must visit for me was when I heard they had a black sand beach! I stayed in Perivolos which is on the south-east side of the island. Santorini actually has red sand and white sand beaches as well; the differences are due to volcanic eruptions. The black sand was absolutely spectacular to see in person. Like always I spent as much time as possible on the beach and since it was nearly off season, the beach was almost empty. It was on this beach that I took this self portrait. This is probably my favourite picture of myself, ever. To me it has a sort of haunting quality and if you look closely I look happy, but from a far it’s questionable. I love the composition of this photo as well, the placement of my hand in the foreground and the blurred effect. This blog is just as much about photography as it is about travel and I really loved this shot.

September 22-24, 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada

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(Sunrise from our hotel room)

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(Fremont street)

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(Glitter Gulch)

As promised, here are my adventures in Vegas! My friend Vanessa and I arrived into McCarren International at approx. 10:30pm on the Friday before my birthday. After checking into the Hard Rock Hotel, where we were surprised by a complementary room upgrade, we decided to explore. Being huge classic rock fans (especially Vanessa), the Hard Rock was the perfect place to stay. It was very windy outside and we opted to see what our hotel had to offer. It was a fun first night with a late dinner at Pink Taco, drinks and lots of picture taking. We went to bed pretty early for Vegas standards so we could get a good start the next morning. Saturday was my birthday! We started the day with room service coffee (amazing) and ventured out to the strip for some shopping. In the first shopping centre we entered, we discovered Fat Tuesday. One of many such shops, at Fat Tuesday you can buy almost any kind of frozen drink your little heart desires! When you see photos of people in Vegas with giant drink cups, this is probably what they are drinking. They also have $1 Jell-O shots, which we gladly did. The best part is you get to take your cup and continue walking around and shopping. You’ve got to love the relaxed drinking laws! This is what we did for the rest of the afternoon, finally returning to the hotel in the early evening for a (pretty drunk) nap. Note: daiquiris contain a lot of sugar, which equals a hangover. After dragging ourselves out to dinner (a delicious steak dinner in the Wynn hotel) we decided to try our luck at Tao nightclub. We quickly got our second wind and just as quickly we made some friends. A bouncer called us over to join a bachelor party in the VIP area. Normally this would not appeal to me but they ended up being the nicest group of guys. All from Texas, they were the epitome of southern gentlemen. We danced into the wee hours of the morning with our new friends before heading back to our hotel. Just to give you an example of the character of these men; we took a taxi back to our hotel and as we tried to pay, we learned they had already pre-paid! That group of guys, along with Vanessa, gave me the best 30th birthday I ever could have asked for!

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday was obviously a day of rest by the pool, which quickly turned into our third wind and we made some more friends with a couple from Orange County. We left just before sunset to head down to “old” Vegas also known as Fremont street. While I was in Ireland, I met a woman named Patti on a tour who actually lives in Las Vegas. We met up with her and she showed us all around Fremont street. It was so much fun and exactly what I thought Vegas would be like. The signs are all lit up everywhere you look. There is a different energy here too that’s hard to put into words, it really is the “Fremont Experience”. We saw all the landmarks that you associate to Vegas; including Binion’s, the Golden Nugget, Vegas Vic and Glitter Gulch (to name a few). We also saw the impressive canopy of lights and caught a Bon Jovi “concert”. Patti then drove us along the strip to show us all the sights we missed during our drunken daiquiri escapade. It was a perfect end to our Vegas adventure. I would like to return one day even if it’s just to eat! But really, there was just too much to do and see in such a short period of time. Still, I had the best time and I am beyond happy to have gotten to go and experience all we did see.
Happy Birthday to me!

October 24- 28, 2014

Grand Canyon, Arizona

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(Eagle Point)

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(Guano Point)

I know, I know… I’ve been delinquent with my posts. At least I have a good excuse! I recently celebrated my 30th birthday! My very good friend and I took off to Vegas for four days and it was incredible. Yes, I’m aware of the mantra of “What happens in Vegas..” But I fully intend to share the details of my experience. Not today though! That’s for next week. I’m starting off with the Grand Canyon because that’s the part of the trip we were both most excited to see. We started our day at the crack of dawn, having to pack before leaving to get our rental car. We left our road trip for the last day, I’m still not sure that was a wise decision. The sights are stunning for the majority of the drive, and the drive is fairly uneventful. Our rental car had satellite radio which was a blessing and we sang along to the hits of the 90’s as the desert flew by us. To say the sun is bright is an understatement, it is the brightest light I’ve ever witnessed in my life. There is no escape from the sun either, and the drive to the canyon is blinding in the morning (even with sunglasses and tinted windows). I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. The drive to the west rim of the canyon is actually only about two and a half hours from Las Vegas. Originally we thought it was around five hours, hence the super early start to the day. About half way there, we stopped at a little diner. It was your typical greasy spoon in the middle of nowhere and it was delicious! We took our breakfast to go and kept driving. We just wanted to get there. As the canyon started to come into our vision, we could hardy believe our eyes. It is magnificent! The colours, size… everything, it’s breathtaking. Pictures don’t begin to do it justice. There is a spiritual experience that occurs when you visit, that is unexplainable. We drove to the parking lot and paid for our tickets ($43 US approx.). We then boarded a bus that takes you to three stops along the rim. The first is Hualapai Ranch, which mostly for children. Our second stop was Eagle Point, that was my favourite. The rocks actually form an eagle with its wings spread. At this point I was still beyond terrified of the edge and was shaking like a leaf; but it was stunning nonetheless. After a bunch of photo op’s, we ventured over to Guano Point which is where they mined for guano beginning in the 1930’s and created a tram that went over the canyon 8,800 feet. There is an actual pointed rock formation that delivers 360 degree views and makes for really neat pictures, but it is treacherous in flip flops (I’m aware I’m an idiot for that fashion choice). We stayed for quite awhile here before heading back, stopping in town for a souvenir spoon (they were sold out at the canyon). We also took a little detour to the Hover Dam on our drive back to Vegas. Parking was a bit of a nightmare and we found a little place to stop for pictures on the way out. After that we got some dinner and then killed time at Starbucks until we could head to the airport. Being the only licensed driver, I was pretty exhausted and didn’t want to drive anymore, but we both were by this point. The flight home was cold and uncomfortable but I passed out once I got home! Over all it was an incredible trip with the perfect travel buddy; I couldn’t have asked for a better way to ring in the big thirty!

October 24-28, 2014

Pilates

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Teaching my first class in August!

As anyone who knows me can vouch for, I am an avid supporter and encourager of all things Pilates, because it’s done wonders for me. When I was in high school, I remember seeing infomercials for Windsor Pilates; it peaked my interest but I couldn’t afford the tapes at the time. Over the years I continued to hear Pilates pop up here and there in conversation or on television. Finally about four years ago I bought a Stott Pilates DVD; I began doing it regularly and I really noticed my body firming up. Laziness kicked in though and eventually I stopped the DVD. I’m definitely not the best at self motivation. After my dad got diagnosed with cancer, I needed an outlet for my stress and took up running. The problem was I didn’t know how to run properly and it caused a whole host of issues for my legs. My new ailments combined with some recurring back pain caused so much physical pain, it made me miserable. There was no release for my stress anymore and I was suffering on every level. When I decided I was travelling to Europe it concerned me that I wouldn’t make it for four months, not in my current physical state. As it so happens, there is a very reputable Pilates studio up the street from my home and I decided to give try. It was like a light bulb switched on in my head and I was hooked. The back pain eased and my legs got stronger and (as we all know) I made it through those four months in Europe. It was such a positive experience and I loved it so much, I decided to continue when I returned. This February, I took it to the next level and began their instructor training program. It’s not an easy road, but I believe in Pilates and it’s effectiveness. When I’m able to do an exercise that I wasn’t able to do before or I notice a muscle I didn’t have a year ago; I feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment. My whole body has transformed; I’m stronger, leaner and more flexible. That has fed into my eating habits and, over all, I’m a much healthier and happier person. I have a long way to go physically and with my training but I know I’ll get there eventually.
This is my passion.