Tag Archives: vacation

The Prescribed Vacation: Why Travel is Good for your Health

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Most people look forward to their yearly vacation. Whether it’s just a short weekend here or a week there, getting away can have a great effect on your overall outlook. However, did you realize that a vacation can also help you to improve your overall wellbeing? It may sound bizarre, but a week by the sea or exploring an ancient city can help you be healthier.

Many people are skipping their vacation because of work demands, money, stress, or the ill effects caused from the time away. On average, the U.S. employee takes about 16 days off per year as of 2013. In 2000, the average was 20 days per year. When you deprive yourself of a much-needed break, you can cause damaging effects to your health. The stress overload is enough to kill you. Being able to immerse yourself in new surroundings can boost your brain power and allow your body to recharge. Here are five reasons why you should take a break. Continue reading

Why Making Time for Vacation is Important

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Family vacations were a high point for me growing up. It was a time to explore and learn about the world. We didn’t have a lot of money and that required a bit of creativity. I consider myself lucky that my parents took the time for breaks in their schedule to spend time with us.

A simple definition of ‘vacation’ is a time when someone is away from home, school or work, in order to relax or travel. I like to think of it as an intermission from your normal, daily life.

Many of us have a tendency to push ourselves too much and ignore the chronic stress that comes with that constant drive to achieve something.  In the U.S. we tend to take “time off” for granted and treat it as a type of luxury. It’s not. We all need a break.

Expedia did a study called Vacation Deprivation and found that a vacation for most can just be “a remote office away from the office.” People are still engaging with work, taking calls, and checking email regularly (guilty!).  And a lot of paid vacation goes unused for various reasons.

We’ve all had a conversation about work-life balance and its relevance. But are you actually doing something to create that needed healthy balance?

After our recent family vacation before school started, it was a great reminder that taking a break – a vacation – is healthy and a key part of stress reduction. Here are 7 reasons why it’s important to schedule vacation on a regular basis: Continue reading

Recharge Yourself Daily for Optimal Use

iStock_000002911722XSmallBy Jan Bruce

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge—ever. No matter what phase of my life or career. I hold ambition, drive, and resilience high on my list of values, without question. But I’ve also experienced first hand what it is to drive too hard, demand too much from myself and others. There is a sweet spot between ambition and anxiety, the point at which you operate optimally. You know what that feels like: the adrenalizing challenge of being spurred on, but not so much so that you’re weighed down by exhaustion.

This is an ongoing challenge for me, and for you, I presume: Knowing when and how to push harder—and to back off. The key isn’t to just get bigger, tougher, stronger, nor is to eradicate stress (good luck with that!). It’s to recalibrate and recharge, which are often overlooked or postponed, until it’s too late. In fact that is why I’m so passionate about the work I do at meQuilibrium—because I believe there is a formula for managing your response to the world out there and the thoughts in here.

Given how connected and driven people are (or feel they need to be) these days, making time to rest can feel like slamming on the breaks when you’re going 70 miles an hour. Moreover, as we “work” longer and longer hours, the idea of taking time off to rest and recharge can become increasingly daunting, especially if this time off serves as a total contrast to our normal routines.

I love vacation, and I make sure to take them—but I, too, know the dread of walking away from your email, your desk, knowing it’s all going to pile up in your absence. If you’ve ever needed a vacation from your vacation, then you know what I mean.

It’s tempting to think that a day spent lounging in sweatpants, eating whatever you want and watching back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV series is the perfect antidote to six days of non-stop business. But instead of following the “feast or famine” framework of rest and effort, I challenge you to think about one little thing you can do every day to ground and renew yourself.

Case in point: My brother regularly pulls 12- to 15-hour days at his work, and I can’t remember the last time he took more than two consecutive days off, let alone the last time he had a vacation. I was always baffled by this. How did he keep it going without an escape?

I finally understood his secret when I visited him one weekday and observed his daily routine: He’s fortunate to live in a beautiful rural area and makes a point of spending a few hours outside each morning, swimming, running or just enjoying the solitude. In those few hours, he gets the benefits that most of us associate with a vacation: time unplugged, outdoors, away from the demands of the day.

Here’s the kicker, though: He does this every day, and that’s why the rest of his busy, high-pressure life is sustainable. For him, normal life and vacation cease to function as the two binary options for how he spends his time. Because he has found a way to get the benefits of a little vacation every day, he’s not caught between the competing pressures of rest and effort.

Stop thinking about rest as the opposite of effort and start thinking about it as the foundation of effort. What can you do every day to build in a little more relaxation or pleasure, to draw you out of the moments that wind you up and leave you so tight you feel like you might snap? It could be as simple as indulging in a really good latte every morning or a walk with your dog. Find something energizing to come back to every day or every week to help you to recharge without forcing you to disengage. You’ll be well on your way to finding a more sustainable balance.

Like this article? Follow these similar intents on Intent.com

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Jan Bruce is the CEO and founder of meQuilibrium.com 

How to Keep Your Mind and Body in Shape While Traveling

Yoga in MalaysiaBy Kendra Thornton

Heading out of town for a business trip or vacation can be a stressful time, but you should really try to minimize this stress and focus on the experience of being in a new place. Here are a few tips that can help you stay mentally and physically prepared for whatever journey is ahead of you:

1. Keep it Nutritious

Nutrition is a very important factor to be conscious of when traveling, especially during the warmer summer months. When I travel alone, one of my top priorities is staying happy, healthy and focused, which is why I make sure that I bring along some nutritious snacks, like cut up fruit, trail mix and similar treats. These kinds of foods are easy to carry around and have the added bonus of helping regulate body temperature, which is ideal when you’re in a hot airport or on a warm hike!

2. Select the Right Hotel

You can find some hotels in W. Scottsdale, Arizona that offer complimentary yoga classes, even to those that aren’t staying at the hotel! They’ve created a partnership with Lululemon Athletica to make 60-minute Vino & Vinyasa classes available two times per month. Before I pick a place to stay, I like to skim through Gogobot’s travel review site to find places like this that offer similar perks. For example, when I went to California I found a ton of really great San Diego hotels by looking through their reviews! I found out that the Porto Vista hotel had sunset yoga on their rooftop terrace – how cool is that!

3. Don’t Slack on Your Yoga Time

Even if you’re about to head out for a vacation, business trip or family adventure, you don’t have to leave your yoga routine at home. Take a yoga mat, a few candles and some of your favorite tea with you to get your yoga on wherever you find yourself. A happy mind promotes a healthy trip, so feel free to set up your mat right in your hotel room!

4. Stress Doesn’t do Anyone Any Good

It’s no secret that flights rarely go off without a hitch, be it due to excessive turbulence or a rowdy passenger. So, in these situations, I like to help relieve stress by focusing on my breathing. A bit of meditation right in your seat can do wonders for travel anxiety. Just focus on your breathing or put on some relaxing music, let your thoughts pass and you’ll be feeling more at peace in no time.

5. Regulate Your Sleep

Find yourself jetlagged in a new time zone? Get used to your new surroundings by exploring as soon as possible. If the sun is out on a nice day, head over to the beach and soak up some rays! MacGregor of Yoga Journal attests that your internal rhythm is rested when spending time in the sunlight, so get to it!

Keep in mind that a vacation or trip should be enjoyable and stress-free, so utilize these tips and keep your mind and body in the best shape possible to maximize your fun!

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HeadShot 8.38.02 AMFormer Orbitz Director of Communications, Kendra is now a full time mommy of three. Before becoming a mom, she traveled all around the world – 28 countries on 6 continents. She has been quoted in the news about seasonal travel trends and destinations all over the United States, and she is excited to share some of her favorite tips on how to travel in a peaceful and balanced mindset.

Visit her website for more!

5 Mindful Dining Lessons from an Italian Bistro

Pizza Salsicce close-up - Tiamo 2 AUD16.90 mediumUpon arriving in Bologna for a conference, I was determined to make every minute count: I checked into my hotel, checked my email, took a quick nap, showered and left for some sightseeing. At this point it was about 3:00pm and lo and behold, it was siesta (an Italian tradition when most businesses shut down for a few hours to ‘rest’).  As a result, I was forced to stop my touristic whirlwind and took my own siesta in one of the few open bistros, choosing to eat dinner early so that I could take advantage of my “Perfect Storm” of jet lag, hunger and nothing to do.

At RosaRose I ate local fare and watched the Fords, or shall I say bicycles and mopeds, go by. As a European, this time off is custom. As an American, however, this is foreign (pardon the pun). But yet, with no cellphone to answer… no laptop on which to type… no internet to distract… you somehow acclimate quite easily. So easily in fact, you quickly find yourself dreaming of this lifestyle as your own.

Although I clearly had other plans for my day, my new agenda was quite appealing and I was in no rush to leave my little Perfect Storm Haven. My storm became a calm: my jet lag seemed to dissipate, my hunger was satisfied and my ‘nothing to do status’ became my very own enjoyable siesta. After a couple of hours, I left recharged and ready for another several hours on the go. Maybe there really was something to this siesta after all!

In Italy, life seems less hectic… more simple. Undeniably, it becomes easy to think of adopting their lifestyle. Turns out, there were several life lessons to be learned during my time in a simple Bolognese Bistro:

  1. Take a Break: We tend to busy ourselves constantly and forget how important it is to take a break, decompress and relax. Being forced to stop and relax because there is NOTHING ELSE to do, gives you an opportunity to really understand how wonderful it is to do nothing.
  2. Eat GOOD Food: This means good in quality and in taste. If the quality is good, there is a good chance it is going to taste good too. The higher the quality of food you eat, the more likely you will eat less. My siesta meal was prosciutto, tomatoes and mozzarella…although a bit higher in fat than I would normally eat, as an appetizer it made me full for the rest of the day!
  3. Drink Just Enough: Often, I feel that many people over indulge in alcohol in the United States. In Europe, drinking is a social aspect of the culture. A glass of red wine with dinner is very normal. That said, you rarely will see binge drinking among locals.
  4. Slow Down: In the United States, especially in coastal cities, I feel that we run at a million miles a minute. Slowing down helps you enjoy more in life. For instance, when eating, don’t scarf…savor every morsel in a slow and purposeful fashion. You’ll feel satisfied on less food.
  5. Love the Ones Your With: During my time at RosaRose, it was apparent that people really enjoyed being together. They were smiling, laughing and chatting up a storm. Even the waitstaff were jovial. Whether it be friends, family or your partner, make time together special and fun.

Have you traveled to Italy or any other place in Europe? Did you have a similar experience? What valuable lessons did you learn from time abroad?

 

Originally published July 2012

How to Maintain A Healthy Diet on Vacation

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Vacation time is often an excuse to let healthy lifestyle habits relax a bit, if not go completely out the window. We let ourselves indulge, try new things, and get off a steady routine. And our healthy habits tend to suffer as a result. Many experts will tell you that the occasional indulgence can be quite good for your health – a sweet treat every now and then, a day sans exercise, etc. But getting too far off track from your routine can also create imbalance and lead to health and self-esteem issues.

What can we do, then, to maintain healthy habits – particularly healthy eating habits – while we are on vacation? Two quick essential tips: plan ahead and keep moving. If you have a backpack full of fruit, trail mix, and cut veggies, you won’t be so dependent on those taco trucks or crepe stands on every corner. And if you have a hankering for a croissant but arrange your day so that you’re walking two hours through the streets of Paris to get to that little patisserie, the indulgence will seem all the more rare and special.

Here’s a roundup that will be your go-to guide for healthy eating on the road:

Road Trip! Eat Healthy — anywhere (CNN)

10 Healthy Eating Travel Tips (Natural News)

5 Tips for Fun and Healthy Summer Travel with the Kids (Ace Fitness)

10 Healthy Habits For Travel (Tara Stiles – Huffington Post)

Eating Well and Staying Active While Traveling (Independent Traveler)

 

So remember: be prepared, keep moving, get creative, and don’t beat yourself up if and when you stray from the healthy routine. More important than maintaining a rigid diet plan is to act with intention and be confident in the decisions you make.

Are you traveling this summer? What tips do you have for maintaining healthy habits on the road?

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18154748891333272199-3Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

Sparks Will Fly With This 4th of July Homemade Ice Cream!

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By the time 4th of July rolls around, we’re in the thick of summer. It’s hot; our kids are getting restless; and it’s been a few weeks since the last good summer party. Lucky for us, the joyous, rowdy national holiday arrives just in time, complete with parades and fireworks to set the festive mood. Like many celebrants, you may be hitting the beach or the park this year for a picnic, then catching fireworks once the sun sets. It’s a common and beloved routine, so perfectly simple you might find yourself searching for a way to spice things up…

Ever made ice cream from scratch? That’s right, no more excuses. Let this summer be an opportunity to undertake some new projects you’ve had your eye on but haven’t had the time/patience to try out. Case in point: homemade ice cream!

Ginger and peaches come together in this refreshing recipe to create the perfect summer dessert. Your kids will love it; your friends will beg you for the recipe; and Independence Day will go off will all the spice and spark it deserves.

Ginger Peach Ice Cream – Two ways

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh ripe peaches diced
  • 1 Pint Heavy Cream or whipping cream
  • 1-2 Cups Half and Half or Whole Milk
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup sugar depending on preference
  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp. Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Powder (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Lightly whip heavy cream to aerate for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add sugar to blend
  3. Pour into a large bowl and add additional milk
  4. Puree half of the diced peaches and add ginger powder to taste
  5. Stir in diced peaches and puree until well blended
  6. Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions

Or have some fun and make Ice Cream in a Can!! Here’s how:

In a 1 lb. coffee can mix all ingredients. Seal can lid well with duct tape. Put small, sealed can inside larger 3 lb. can. Pack ice and 1 cup salt around small can. Put lid on large can and duct tape closed. Roll back & forth on a large towel (optional) for 15 minutes. Open large can and dump ice and water. Wipe small can dry and open. Stir mix, scraping sides of can. Additional ingredients, eg. cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, can be added now. Reseal small can and place back in larger can. Repack with salt and ice. Continue rolling for 10 minutes more. Open large can and dump ice and water. Wipe small can dry and open. Enjoy!

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308415_642560165773441_1538239119_nWakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

July 4th is right around the corner, and now is the perfect time to stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic ginger powder to use in your favorite recipes! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to find more healthy recipes (like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops) and stock up on Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger to use in your kitchen. 

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

Vacationing in the Caribbean? Educate Yourself Before You Go

Heading off for some sunshine and relaxation in the Caribbean? Nothing is better for the soul than sunshine, beaches, and great food and company. These cultural tips will help you blend into most Caribbean cultures for the most rewarding vacation:

Always Say Hello First

Image via Flickr by jennicatpink

Before asking directions, ordering food, or doing anything else, always wish good morning, to whoever you are talking to. Whether in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, or Creole, Caribbean cultures always put greetings first and business after. Residents are very proud of this tradition and appreciate when their visitors do their best to remember it as well.

Enjoy the Music and Dance

Image via Flickr by vinylmeister

The Caribbean is known for its soulful music and energetic dancing. Here are two types of music and dance you should discover:

Soca: An offshoot of traditional calypso, soca music was born in Trinidad and Tobago. The sound combines Indian music with calypso for something rhythmic, energetic, and perfect for dancing. As one of the most popular forms of music in the Caribbean right now, you are bound to hear plenty of it. Don’t be afraid to jump into the dance!

Merengue: Extremely popular in the Dominican Republic, merengue is a Latin dance favored in all Spanish-speaking Caribbean nations. To experience the music and dance for yourself, ask the locals for their favorite dance club and head there for an evening. Many cultural events and festivals will also have merengue dance performances.

Dress Up for the Town

Image via Flickr by fensterbme

When packing for Caribbean cruises, remember that you are packing not just for the boat but for the ports of call. While athletic wear and bathing suits are perfectly acceptable on an expedition or at the beach, these clothes are considered too informal for wearing in town. Cover up a bathing suit with a summer dress, or wear board shorts with a shirt and shoes anywhere in town. Scruffy jeans and sweats are also too informal and can offend local citizens or business owners. Most people wear lightweight clothing, so khaki shorts and a T-shirt can’t go wrong.

Celebrate Carnival with the Caribbean Islands

Image via Flickr by globewriter

Traditionally just before Lent, Carnival is the last big festival before the Catholic tradition of 40 days without meat. It has turned into more of a celebration of the cycle of nature and an opportunity to unwind and relax, however. Like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival is only complete with tons of dancing, music, parties, and wonderful foods.

Every Caribbean nation has its own specific traditions and time for Carnival. Trinidad celebrates Carnival in February with parties, dances, and parades while Barbados celebrates Carnival in August, usually with pageants and soca music. Join in the festivities wherever you are by dressing up in colorful dresses or costumes and going out on the town to dance, drink, and enjoy all the excitement.  You can usually find cheap hotels near the action, but be aware of the fact that tourists will likely be approached regularly by locals with offers to purchase souvenirs and various other items you may not want.  Be respectful and direct and everyone will have a good time.

Holidays, greetings, and music are just the beginning to the varied and vibrant cultures found in the Caribbean. What other cultural tips do you have for travelers?

 

Resources:

http://worldmusic.about.com/od/genres/p/SocaMusic.htm

http://www.seaworthy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=473&Itemid=509

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art59853.asp

Hot Summer Rituals to Celebrate the Solstice

242/365  SummerCan you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s celebrated by jumping over bonfires as a way to gain courage and embrace the power of light and fire. That tradition dates back to pagan times, long before the Catholic church arrived to taint it with negative views about the appreciation of nature and the power of the five elements.

There’s a whole history of rituals related to this day and ways to honor and capture some of the magic of this mystical portal into summer. For centuries people have gathered at Stonehenge to welcome the season. Author Deborah Blake who writes on magic and rituals says, “The earth is at its most fertile and life is bursting out all over.” She advises that this is the best time for magical work “for abundance, fertility, and any kind of growth.”

I love it both as a time that presents an opportunity to burn away the old habits and baggage that no longer serve. And at the same time it’s a moment where the whole world feels alive with the vibrant, radiant energy of sunlight. It feels like a time of great possibility and a moment to enjoy life to its fullest. In France the day often coincides with the “Fete de la Musique”, a country-wide music day where  you’ll find people playing harps on street corners, rock bands pound out a rhythm from pubs, and orchestras spontaneously set up in open squares to play under the rising moon.

How will you spend the solstice? Make a plan to turn it into a special day. Go to the beach for a picnic with your beau. Maybe create your own mini-bonfire in a jar and burn away obstacles or jump over it. Dance with girlfriends under the moon in a grove of trees. Paint or write on a project that your heart yearns for you to create. Kiss a loved one. Plant a tree. Join me at Esalen Institute June 21st-23rd for a magical writing retreat. Play! Happy summer.

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Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

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photo by: martinak15

5 Stunningly Beautiful Road Trips to Embark on This Summer

The air is fresh, the sun is out, the kids are on summer break – it must be time for a road trip! Arguably the most popular form of leisure travel in the U.S., road trips capture the spirit of adventure most of us only daydream about the rest of the year. Powered by a full tank and your own hands and feet, this is a form of travel with no departure times, no pricey tickets, and no layovers. Hungry? Pack snacks or stop at a food stand on the side of the highway. Carsick? Pop Ginger Ease and drink plenty of water. Drowsy? Stop off at a campground or a cute bed and breakfast – because, after all, there’s no rush to get anywhere in particular. It’s just you and the open road (and maybe a chatty kid or two in the back seat.)

No matter your personal preferences for landscape and climate, there is a road trip out there that will be perfect for you. Here are our top 5 U.S. road trips, based on exactly which kind of nature-lover you happen to be:

For the Desert Lovers: The Red Rock Southwest and New Mexico’s Hwy 64.

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Explore the rocky desert of the Southwest, giving special road time to US Route 64 along the northern border of New Mexico. You’ll pass through three state parks, as well as the historic and culturally rich city of Taos. Dip down on Hwy 285 for a bit to visit the secluded hot springs, Ojo Caliente, for a spa treat, and take a longer detour to Santa Fe for some amazing gallery-hopping and thrift store shopping!

For the Ocean Fans and Beach Bums: California’s Pacific Coast Highway

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Starting from the north or south, California’s coast is just waiting to be traversed along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway. You’ll hit up the state’s urban gems – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego – with all the culture, cuisine, and diversity they offer. But you’ll also pass through countless quaint seaside towns, experience the majestic beauty of this rocky coast, and have plenty of opportunities for splashing. Once you get up north, take a jaunt east to Napa and Sonoma for a few days in the wine country.

For the Mountain and Forest Seekers: The Blue Ridge Parkway

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This lush highway connects the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, covering over 450 miles of rich green forests and impressive peaks. This drive – which may go a bit slowly due to the 45-mile speed limit – will offer you all manner of natural delights, as well as plenty of opportunities for cultural and historical enrichment. Check out the Grand Caverns in Virginia, and don’t miss North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain!

For the Lake Hoppers: Going-to-the-Sun Road and Glacier National Park

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Montana is called “Treasure State” for a reason, and Glacier National Park is right up there among the jewels. Over 200 lakes, waterfalls, ice covered peaks, and thick forests make this park a must-see for road trippers everywhere. The “Going-to-the-Sun” route crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and is fairly short – just about 50 miles. So you will have plenty of time to camp, explore Glacier Park further, or even hop up into Canada if you feel so inclined!

For the River-Hungry: Great River Road Along the Mississippi

Mississippi River at Neely's Landing 10-20-2012

The mighty Mississippi has captured our collective imagination for centuries, and exploring the river’s course is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. Luckily, there are infinite ways to do this trip. The Great River Road is a network of state and local roads running through 10 states: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin. If you go north to south, then finish the trip off with an immersion in the cultural richness of southern Louisiana. Listen to some blues, eat some Cajun food, and send us some photos when you get back home!

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308415_642560165773441_1538239119_nWakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

Summer is finally here, and now is the perfect time to stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic ginger powder to use in your favorite recipes! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to find more healthy recipes (like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops) and stock up on Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger to use in your kitchen. 

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

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