Monday, October 22, 2018

11 Ways to Treat-Yo-Self in the Palm Beaches

I'm not fancy. 
I can be, but I like dive bars and hot dogs. 

So, you do the math.

Hence, why I hadn't ever made The Palm Beaches area of Florida a travel priority. I usually gravitate towards relaxed beach destinations with budget friendly options and feeling-like-I-belong vibes. I had been to Florida several times, but it seemed there was a prim + proper stigma attached to PB...and I didn't own any flamingo embroidered pants, so would they even let me in?

Turns out I was wrong. Palm Beach, although it has fancy pants status, did not, in the least, feel like they were snooty fancy pants. I should also mention that I'm not a spa person. I never choose to spend money on myself that way. My spending focus usually errs toward the food side of ice cream or mozzarella sticks. 

Though I've had a few massages, never have I indulged in a facial, let alone spend an entire day wrapped in a luxurious white robe drinking champagne with a full line-up of treatments ahead of me. I mean, twist my arm. But, to be fair, I was a little bit scared.

So when I was invited to experience a preview of Spa + Wellness month, (which occurs in October- who knew?) with Discover Palm Beaches, I figured it was time to give this Treat-Yo-Self travel mindset the ole college try. I channeled my inner Tom and Donna from Parks + Rec. 

Spoiler alert: it wasn't that hard. 

It wasn't all Spa though, it was also Wellness...which meant exercise and getting scolded about sunscreen. But- another story, another day.

Alas, here's my round-up of the 
11 (probably best) Ways to 
Treat-Yo-Self in The Palm Beaches
Pool at Eau Palm Beach

Slumbering like the Kings and Queens we are, is, perhaps, the best thing we can do to treat ourselves...because like pizza, a good night's sleep is  
e v e r y t h i n g. 
The Eau Palm Beach ticks that box like the boutique resort boss that it is. Chic beachfront bliss with abundant onsite food options, a welcome glass of champagne, spa services, and a bucket swing on each balcony. Oh, and steps to a sandy sunrise. Um, can I live here?

Yeah ok, sounds silly. But at the Eau Spa, the first thing you do before your treatment is make a "self-centered wish" with a candle in their rubber ducky pond. And while that seems, well, self-centered... it's kind of nice when you're instructed to do something for you. I mean, that's why you're here, at the spa...right? Also, the rubber duckies though.

At no point in my workout life have I felt like exercising was an enjoyable party; not even an un-enjoyable party, mind you. And then this guy invented CarD.O. Drum Fitness. Where you can bang the S*it out of some tires with sticks to super upbeat jams and scream in surprise joy when confetti is blasted all over the GD place. (Or maybe that's just me.) 

I'm not a yogi. In fact, before this jaunt to Palm Beach, I had never done yoga.  *gasp*  So, you could say I was fairly new. In the span of 72 hours, I managed to survive an outdoor yoga class as part of the District Fit program, and another with the famous Leslie Glickman, called Yoga Journey. Boy was I sore. Namaste.

'Eat' and 'Treat' rhyme for a REASON. More than one way to treat-yo-self is, without a doubt, all the delish food options. 

Some of my favs:

- Breeze Ocean Kitchen at Eau Palm Beach 

outdoor seating where everything- EVERYTHING on the menu is good.

- Farmer's Table in Delray Beach

farm to table goodness. 
Also, I ate two breakfasts in one sitting. (not pictured.)

- Lynora's 

legit Italian fare. (and that's coming from an Italian.)

I know I made a solid push for 'sleep' at the top of this list, but there is something to be said for a sunrise start to your day. So if you can manage the early wake-up, definitely take advantage of being on the right side of the coast for optimal sunrise viewing. Sunrise swim anyone?

It's pretty much a rule to have a drink by the beach, and Palm Beach is no different. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, and even if it wasn't, you're treating-yo-self, so get sippin'

...with a bar. You heard me right. Island Company will mix you a drink (if you're of age, obv.) while you peruse their cooler than cool beach chic store. I don't know about you, but I make some of my top shopping choices when I'm liquored up. 

What better way to cap off your relaxation efforts than with a sunset catamaran boat cruise whilst sipping some adult beverages? FlaMingle Happy Hour Cruise with Visit Palm Beaches is the best way to do some fiery sunset viewing. Because, boats.

I know that seems oddly specific, but this was quite possibly the best mani-pedi I've ever had. My regular (not gel!) manicure lasted 2 weeks! TWO. WEEKS. The Delray Beach Marriott knows what's up. Oh, and they just added a Himalayan salt-scrub room. 
Interest level piqued. 


- Eat amongst the fishies at the aquarium bar (or communal table) at the onsite Seafood Bar restaurant. HOW COOL IS THAT.

- Their spa is ridic. Treat-yo-self to a delightful day of pampering, or just hang out in the skinny pool like I wanted to. 

- Take a nap on their private beach.

- See and be seen at HMF. You'll basically feel like you're part of a secret club.

Palm Beach makes a hard case for treat-yo-self travel...and who are we to argue? I may be jumping on the bandwagon myself because I did feel those relax-juvenation vibes I had been missing. 'Twas a nice lil break. And I didn't once feel left out because I lacked a sweater tied around my shoulders. 

** I was hosted as a writer on this trip, sponsored by Discover Palm Beaches, but all opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

#5: run in some sort of race in another country

I was clad head-to-toe in unforgiving red felt, breathing more heavily than I should be, all while questioning my level of fitness...and sanity. To make matters more ridiculous, I was galloping with a horse head on a stick between my fashionably on fire Santa skirt. And it was all happening on the south island of New Zealand

Why was running on my list? Certainly not because I was good at it. 

I'm not going to lie and say that running is a source of positive inspiration and I feel amazing if I go for miles upon miles, blah blah blah. It turns out it's the most effective form of all around exercise in one shot kind of deal, and lessens the guilt involving my pizza habit. Once in a blue moon a genius idea pops into my head whilst pounding the pavement...I'll give it that. Speedy brilliance. (Ok, slow and steady brilliance.) 

The other thing that should be noted is that the conditions have to be just right for a run to be successful in any sort of sense. (Or to happen at all, actually.) The perfect combination of sleep, hydration, and not having eaten for 3.4 hours. 

On this day, the conditions were close, but not quite. They were: 
- "slept" in a hostel for 2 nights.
- sustained on peanut butter and pretzels for 24 hours.
- drank a fair amount of local beer the night before.
- weather was 20 degrees warmer than it should've been for that time of year. RECORDS WERE BROKEN, PEOPLE.

So, here we were in Lord of the Rings land, with a semi-forced KJ signed up for the Great KidsCan Santa Run as my running buddy. Because she's a great sport, she had agreed. It was meant to be 5K of holiday spirit fun, draped in Santa garb, for a good cause. I could get behind that for sure, and the fact that I'd be checking number five off THE LIST was a bonus. 

With numerous cities hosting the Santa run, and the video of throngs of jubilant Santas running the previous year's race on their website luring me in, we landed on Invercargill. It was also the only location that lined up with our itinerary. 

We needed props, obviously. That's how we found ourselves in the local dollar store. It did not disappoint. Steve and I fell in love hard and fast. He was the reindeer on a stick I didn't know I needed. One that now had the privilege of joining our escapade

We arrived at the park in the small hamlet of Invercargill, on the very south of the south island in New Zealand. Nevermind I was wearing a ridiculous felt suit- I was going to jog around in it in NEW ZEALAND. NEW. FREAKIN'. ZEAL. AND. I should also mention there were mystery prizes on the line here. I didn't know what the categories were, but I knew that I was, in no way, shape, or form, going to snag a gold ribbon for crossing that finish line first. I hoped to tick off another category and trotted away with Steve towards the starting line. 

I took a solid gander around, sizing up the other Santas. There weren't so many as hundreds or thousands of people ready to run this thing as there were about 45-50. And that's being generous with my holiday math. 

Much to my dismay, it was not a booming "HO, HO, HO!" that kicked off the race, but rather a regular dude on a microphone with questionable dance moves to the thumpin' jamz, yelling "Go!" 

KJ and I started off strong for about 60 yards. That's when the felt fabric took a turn for the worse, heating our bodies well past comfortable.  We were sweating, and panting and looking at each other in disbelief. 

"Are we that out of shape?!" I asked KJ. 

"It does feel that way!" she exasperated. 

Tiny kid Santas passed us. Dogs with hats smirked knowingly at us. It was embarrassing. 

If only Steve was a real horse, I thought. I spent the next 32 seconds angry at Steve for not having the magical ability to transform into a living breathing animal of his kind. And then I remembered something. 

Who thought that running in a skirt would be a grand idea?
I pressed Steve's antler. And with that Steve's power song was activated. We galloped along to the reindeer stylings of Jingle Bells, over, and over, AND OVER again. By the time we rounded to the finish line I never wanted to hear Jingle Bells again and I wouldn't have minded throwing Steve in the nearest bush. 

But this was it, the shining moment where I was, in fact, shining with immense sweat. Steve and I took our places and I summoned the last shred of energy by way of the promise of the beer that was only about 20 minutes away from that moment. We cantered our as*es through that finish line like the stars that we were

KJ, Steve and I collapsed on the grass thankful to be done with this exercising in third grade arts and crafts materials thing. I would've left straight away because beer, but there were prizes to be had and I felt as though I deserved one. Also, why is felt SO ITCHY. 

It was prize time. I'm not great at math but by my calculations I was not to be accepting the first place award. Whatever else they had up their sleeves was keeping me in suspense. And the award for 'MOST SPIRIT' goes to...

I'll give you a wild guess.

And that's how I became the owner of a fantastically ridiculous and hefty coffee table book of weird fashion trends. 

Totally useless but also hilarious. One day, when I had a coffee table again, I'd glance at it, and remember this moment where I received a book of high fashion for running slow but with loads of spirit in the lowest of low fashion, on a stick reindeer in New Zealand. And that? That was something. Getting it into my already stuffed to the gills luggage was going to be another story however.

Beer me.

**Run in some sort of race in another country? CHECK! Run in a felt skirt with a reindeer stick that cost $1 and win a hefty book for my efforts? CHECK, CHECK!