How to Have an Epic Family Vacation in Squaw Valley

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After traveling multiple hours on ground or air, with restless children in tow, many parents want a one-stop shop for fun, food and accommodations, happy if they never have to look at their crumb filled vehicle the entirety of the trip.

Squaw Valley has answered this prayer, crafting a village that offers nosh for all palates, ski runs for every level of courage, hotel rooms with a mix of luxury and minimal breakables (I’m looking at you mischievous tots) and live music that makes even the tiniest of feet burst into dance.

If family vacations full of equal parts thrill, relaxation and simplicity are your jam, use the following guide to relish the goodness of Squaw Valley.

Find Your Peace at Wanderlust Yoga Studio: This studio has multiple classes geared to prepping your body (and mind, and spirit) for a stellar day of skiing, and for restoring your muscles after that last run. The variety of offerings sprinkled throughout the schedule allow flexibility for you and your fellow child-sitter to each catch a class.

Entertain Your Kids at the Children’s Program: Because most children loathe being taught sports (or anything) by their parents, let a trained instructor ignite your child’s passion and skill for skiing or snowboarding. This program accommodates children three to thirteen years of age and ups the fun ante by utilizing kid-specific tools and games during instruction. And because we parents are nosy, the instructors provide a post-lesson report card detailing your little skier’s skill and cognitive-based progress.

Read more on Vagabond Family! 

The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to June Lake, California

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Most vacations to extreme sports destinations, while pregnant, are annoying – you can’t do much but eat, sleep and be bummed that you’re not participating in the adventure seeking. But not at June Lake – while famous for its family-friendly downhill skiing, this cozy mountain town offers plenty of ways for “with child” ladies to have an envy-worthy snow sojourn.

Just thirty minutes away from the chic resort of Mammoth, June offers a slower pace and amble amounts of relaxed rustic vibes. This isn’t a town where you need to feel pressure to have the cutest winter gear, “put on your face” to go out, or be fearful of your bank account being drained during your stay.

June Lake is just the place for you – you hardworking “baby maker” you – to recharge for the remainder of your epic journey into motherhood.

Read more on Vagabond Family!

5 Motivational Lessons From Supercross Legends and Rising Stars

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Ryan Dungey in Anaheim (Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment)

When I think about common sources of motivation, phrases like “meditation”, “self help books”, “my grandmother”, “that yoga guru”, and “affirmations” pop up – “supercross riders” have never been on my list, but maybe they should be.

 

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a supercross legend, Ricky Carmichael, the current star Ryan Dungey, and two up-and-comers, Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac, about what it takes to build the courage to compete in a sport wrought with unpredictable danger, frequent injuries, and intense rivalries, and how to settle into the sweet mental state that often results in a big win.

 

As we talked, I expected a slew of technical terms I wouldn’t understand to be thrown at me, but instead, I received poignant and thoughtful responses on what it takes to go all in when committing to the challenges of supercross, and a life riddled with obstacles.

 

Following are gems of wisdom from a few dudes who have made a career out of conquering their mental doubts and physical limitations.

 

1. It’s Not Failing, It’s Learning. The term “failing” is not in Ricky Carmichael’s lexicon, instead, he uses the term “learning.” He views a mistake as an opportunity to wipe the drawing board clean and build a new and better way to tackle the challenge at hand.

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Ricky Carmichael (Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment)

Ryan Dungey seconds this sentiment, believing that his ability to objectively view a mistake, tweak his strategy, and fully commit to implementing that strategy during practice allows him to move into his next race with a refreshed mental state, which is important because . . .

 

2. Success Comes With a Sound Mental State. As Ryan Dungey puts it, “You can be the fittest guy out there, but if you don’t have it going on mentally, the physicality doesn’t mean anything.”

 

When life throws you into a high intensity situation, be it on a field or track, in a boardroom, or even a tense conversation with a spouse, a healthy mental state is the best tool to not just make it through, but find favorable results on the other side.

 

But, that healthy mental state doesn’t live in the realm of overconfidence, or the domain of timidity – it lies somewhere in the middle. As Eli Tomac says, “You don’t want to bring overconfidence because you might get caught sleeping, but, you don’t want to be too nervous and lose your way – try to find the middle.”

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Eli Tomac (Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment)

 

Sounds great, but how to do we find that mental middle ground . . .

 

3. Preparation Is Key. All four riders reiterated that preparation is, as Ryan Dungey says, “the best way to be ready for the challenge.” And when asked if he had any rituals before a race Ricky Carmichael reminisced that his only reliable ritual was preparation.

 

So folks, if at first you don’t succeed, do as Eli Tomac does and “go all in with preparation.” And the more you prepare, the easier it is to . . .

 

4. Keep your cool, and focus on yourself. In our social media obsessed culture it can be easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing – becoming despondent if someone scored a goal you’ve been vying for, feeling “less than” if a colleague is able to log more hours of prep than you, or getting distracted by irritation if a competitor seems adamant to goad you. Ryan Dungey battles this by “keeping my cool, and focusing on myself.”

 

So, if you become overwhelmed by the doings of others, circle back to your own unique talents and abilities, devote your energy to putting in the work towards your goal, and allow the resulting sense of power to return you to a lovely state of equilibrium.

 

And above all else . . .

 

5. Be in it for the long haul. In supercross (and most things in life worth working for) a championship is not won in one race, it’s won over a series of races. Losing perspective, by becoming ruled by the outcome of one event in a series, pulls you out of the long-term focus and lasting spirit you need to conqueror the ultimate win. Ken Roczen described it as, “Being out of for blood, but not overreacting.” Love it.

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Ken Roczen (Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment)

 

Want to see how this advice pans out for these boys? With the exception of retired Ricky Carmichael, these three riders just began their 2017 supercross season that is sure to offer an intriguing seventeen rounds, leading to the crowning of a champion.

Article also available on Huff Post

How to Have the Ultimate Christmas Family Vacation in Downtown San Francisco

I’m addicted to the spirit of Christmas – so much so that I would happily pull up roots and move to Santa’s Village if the big guy extended an invite.

 

This ever-present craving for all things jolly, cheery and evergreen-y pulled me to downtown San Francisco two weeks before The Big Day. I wanted a chance for my young son, husband and I to get away for a mini and merry trip before we were absorbed into the loving chaos of our extended family.

 

While most Christmas themed areas leave me wanting more (more mistletoe, more lights, more hot chocolate, more classic holiday tunes, more wreaths, more red, more green, and more cheer) I left my holiday getaway to SF full of joy, wonder and peppermint flavored spirits.

 

Have a hankering for your own holiday themed sojourn? Here are events and activities in downtown San Francisco to help you create the ultimate Christmas family vacation.

Read more on Huff Post!

Best Musical Festivals in New Orleans

Did you know that the yum factor of coffee and beignets ramps up exponentially after grooving your groove thang to a few sets of live music?

Do your taste buds, and ears, and eyes, and heck, your everything a favor and head to New Orleans for one (or all!) of the following music festivals, sure to leave you blissed-out and figuring out how to extend your trip by a few days.

“Sorry boss, (cough cough) I think I pulled my hamstring doing a wicked version of the Cajun Jitterbug and couldn’t possibly sit on an airplane.”

The following festivals offer audible treats for every palate, so pick your pleasure and book your flight.

Read more on Huff Post!

How to Mix Adventure with Relaxation on Your Cabo San Lucas Vacation

Have you ever gone on a vacation and felt a need for a vacation when you returned home? Or, gone on vacation and arrived home feeling like you missed out on memory making during the trip? Cabo San Lucas, Mexico offers a lovely alchemy of relaxing and adventurous opportunities sure to send you home feeling rested, yet electric with memories of stimulating experiences.

Cabo’s desert climate, warm waters, luxurious yet playful accommodations and activities in water, sand or spa, create ideal conditions for vacation magic to grow. If you’re looking for a destination that will “magically” strip your inhibitions, and give you a tender loving massage (or mud bath) in between your bursts of adventure, get on the next plane to this land of milk and honey (and tequila.)

The following activities will help you and your Cabo getaway develop undeniable chemistry.

Margaritas Beach 4×4 UTV Adventure

Burst your “safe zone” bubble right out of the gate by hopping in a UTV and exploring the desert that flows onto white sand beaches. You’ll feel much more deserving of that margarita by the pool after coating yourself in a few layers of thrill, and dirt.

Read more on Huff Post! 

Virginia City Is the Ex-Metropolis You Must See to Believe

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Did you know there is a quirky haven tucked in the mountains above Reno, Nevada where you can watch camels and ostriches race, spy on ZZ Top bearded locals sipping pints of brew under colorful chandeliers and explore mines where millions of dollars worth of gold and silver were precariously pulled from the Earth in the mid-1800s?

All this goodness is living in Virginia City, Nevada.

When the mining industry went bonkers in the 19th century, Virginia City provided the means for forlorn prospectors to become mining-millionaires. Subsequently, many of their wives became widows- the average life expectancy of miners in this time was 45 (if they breathed some luck in with all the dust.)

Read more on Huff Post!