Think before you pack

Ask me about the time I packed a glue stick for my vacation.

No, I wasn’t planning any arts and crafts. I’m awful at packing. My recent trip to Hawaii came with a bonus weekend in Seattle. Did I pack for those two days? No.

Started in Seattle. Janice, Lora, Tara, Betsy and I had brunch at Pike Place.
The outfit was cute enough, but my shoes were all wrong.

I wore a sweater and jeans on my Friday night flight, and I patted myself on the back for layering a fleece under a trendy coat. I also packed my Seahawks hoodie for the Saturday playoff game. So I had an outfit for Saturday, but not Sunday. So I recycled my plane outfit, pairing it with my ice-skating shorts and leggings (because I thought I needed ice-skating clothes in Hawaii?), but I didn’t pack shoes for that look. I also had to wear my summer pajamas: A tank top and short shorts because I didn’t think to pack a warmer pair.

I did well for warm-weather clothes. I packed bathing suits, flip-flops, dressy sandals, a few sundresses, shorts, tank tops and running clothes (yes, I actually used them). I remember holding yoga pants in my hand, wondering if I might like them for evenings at the house. Should have brought them. They could have doubled as jammies in Seattle. I also didn’t think to pack a cardigan or light jacket for breezy island evenings. I figured I had the hoodie and jackets from the plane, if I got cold. I failed to consider that the jackets would be too warm and the hoodie would look silly with a dress. The night of our luau, I had to bring the Seahawks hoodie to throw on over my cute dress. Dressy night: FAIL. Luckily it was dark by then.

Navani and I let the headbands control our untamed Hawaii hair.
This dress with a Seahawks hoodie over it. Silly Candace.

I did pack a few smart things: My water bottle is always in my carry-on. I love to fill it up at the airport, so I can have a sip of water on the plane if I fall asleep during beverage service (often). That went with me every time I left the Hawaii house. A bag of trail mix was another good choice. Since I was 90% gluten-free, it was good to have on hand when gluten-free snacks would be hard to pack, like for a hike. I debated whether I’d actually use the running clothes I brought, but I figured it was worth the risk. I wore my board shorts for a morning run and for a day of paddleboarding.

So I had some weird outfits and a glue stick.

Answer: The reason I had a glue stick is because I was packing up unnecessary items from my desk at work since we’re moving.  I didn’t take it out of my bag before leaving for the airport.

No vacation from exercise

Workout Wednesday is colliding with Hawaii Week on the Living Life Big blog!

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I’m all about being active on vacation without it making it feel like work. Hikes to lookout spots, walking through major cities and paddleboarding through turquoise water are some of my favorites.

Hawaii would be a fantastic place for a weight-loss camp. The food is so fresh, light and healthy. My friends and I started our days with protein-packed scrambled eggs with veggies tossed in most mornings to power our activities. We noshed on shrimp, fish tacos, sushi, fruit and salads later. We didn’t snack a whole lot because we were so busy running around and getting distracted by gorgeous sights that we forgot about eating. We didn’t crave heavy comfort foods, but we did indulge in mai tais and ice cream.

Hawaii also has endless fitness activities. Even hauling gear on uneven sand or rocks to the beach was a workout. We also rented boards and kayaks, snorkeled with fish, took a hula lesson, splashed around our backyard pool, hiked a crater and practiced yoga poses on the dock. We followed my friend Nicole’s lead and practiced yoga everywhere.

I declare Operation Aloha a huge success.

The yin to my yang

I’m a city girl. I love the urban lifestyle: Walking to yoga, the grocery store or work. I love that I don’t have to go far for a baseball game or show. I love feeling part of something bigger than me. I love that public transportation takes me where I want or need to be.

But there are two sides to every coin and the concrete jungle has its cons: it’s crowded, noisy and expensive, to name a few.

"The Strip" in Waikiki
“The Strip” in Waikiki

So my recent trip to the Hawaiian island of Oahu was just the getaway I needed. Before I moved to New York, I always wanted city vacations. I visited London, Copenhagen, Chicago, Washington, Paris, Geneva, Denver, Dallas and more that are escaping my mind right now. I never sought out a tropical vacay.

This time, however, all I wanted was quiet playtime. I had dreams of surfing, zip lining and eating pineapple on the beach. None of those things happened, but I don’t care one bit. I had just the vacation I needed. It was like a yoga class, a massage and a glass of wine all wrapped in six days of sleeping on the beach, calling sandals dress shoes and playing with my favorite activity buddies.

We had 0 interest in visiting the city of Honolulu. We went to Waikiki one afternoon and got out as quickly as possible. These New Yorkers didn’t want to shop at Hermes, fight for space on the beach or go to an overpriced karaoke bar.

Watching waves crash on a remote beach. Ahhh!
Watching waves crash on a remote beach. Ahhh!

We wanted the opposite of New York. We wanted quiet, serene, sparse stretches of clean sand that didn’t smell bad. We found it and made ourselves comfortable quickly. Along the way, we made friends with sharks, turtles, fish and one whale. We got used to evening dips in our backyard pool with a glass of wine or a mai tai. Life is good.

Putting on pants and shoes with socks before heading to the airport was a sad moment. I might need a Hawaiian vacation every year for the rest of my life. The yin to my yang.

If annual trips are not possible, I have a zillion photos and mental images to call up when I need a reminder to find Island Time. Ahhh!