family in car

Here in Florida, we have summer year-round and beautiful beach destinations all over the State. Unlike people up North, we don’t have to board a plane for a nice beach vacation. I have done several road trips in Florida this summer. We have a lot of beautiful towns and islands on both coasts.  As a new mom, packing always took me forever especially considering all the extra stuff I had to take for the baby, I would take Fridays off from work only to spend half day packing and not arrive at my destination before dinner time. I was starting to get frustrated. How is this possible? I only have one baby boy. How do I see other families with more than 4 kids being packed and ready to go at the crack of dawn? I did my research on how to pack when going on a family road trip and have become more efficient. Since I can’t be the only one with that issue, I decided to share my tips. While summer may be over, I am sure a lot of you will be hitting the road for Thanksgiving or winter break.

  1. Pack lightly

Don’t overpack! When packing for vacations, people tend to worry about not packing enough. So they take too many things they don’t even need. To avoid doing this, I would plan out your outfits by day and maybe take two extra outfits in case of an emergency. If you have a washing machine at your destination, take some travel laundry detergent. That will allow you to take fewer clothes. If you do not have access to a washer, take Tide to go to fix any small stains. When it comes to shoes, don’t bring 5 different pairs of sneakers. Shoes take up a lot of space. See what kind of activities you’ll be doing and carry a maximum of one pair for each different activity.

2. Pack efficiently

Call your hotel or place of stay ahead of time to confirm what accommodations they provide. They may already have a baby crib, a microwave, etc so there will not be a need for you to bring any of these.

mom and son in car

Also, one of the best investments we’ve made for traveling is to get these Hanging Packing Cubes. It makes it easy to pack clothes and keep them organized in the suitcase as well as at your destination. You can just hang it up and put many used clothes in the included hamper.

3. Take packing as an opportunity to toss out things

Maybe if you are that overwhelmed with what to pack, you could possibly have too many things. Each time when I try to roam through my clothes before a trip and do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, I take this as an opportunity to do a complete overhaul, donate clothes, and organize my clothes. Having organized drawers at home will make it a lot easier to pack for trips and creates a good habit to stay organized in general. Also, I use a bit of an unconventional method to get rid of things. I may take a piece of clothing that is already damaged, wear it one last time at my vacation destination and leave it there/toss it out there.

4. Don’t pack on the day of

Have everything (or at least as much as possible) ready the night before. I can’t stress this enough. I don’t even know how many times I have thought: ” I can do this real quick in the morning.” The morning of is usually super hectic – never fails! You will have a lot of things to do. So pack as much as you can and then just add last-minute things such as your toothbrush to the suitcases. If you know you won’t have to add anything to certain bags on the day of, put it in the car already. Like this, you’re almost good to go when you wake up.

5. Bring Snacks and entertainment

Kids get bored and hungry during long road trips. To avoid too many stops, make sure you pack snacks and entertainment for them. Tablets are great to keep them entertained; however, if you do strictly limit screen time, you could alternatively take some of their favorite toys. Try to take snacks that cannot spill or create huge messes in the car. Either way, make sure to bring baby wipes just in case!

boy in car with headphones

6. Be flexible if things don’t go as planned

Last but not least, there is one thing I learned with kids! You can plan as much as you want but things never go quite as planned. It is important to try to relax and enjoy the ride. Try to come up with solutions to problems instead of getting frustrated. I know it’s easier said and done especially if you are already stressed. After all, this is supposed to be an adventure where your family creates memories. Don’t focus on making it perfect, focus on making it a great time and enjoy your vacation!

shark swimming in shark tank

Did you know that every first weekend Bank of America cardholders get free admission to select museums in their area? Check out the location finder on the Bank of America Museums On Us website to find a free museum in your city.

miami museum with kids

Perez Art Museum Miami

We love the Miami Children’s Museum in Miami
There’s so much to do and learn for kids. My son can spend hours there and still not get bored.
Some of the many things to do:
Shopping at their Publix replica where they can even create one of the famous Publix subs
Building blocks in the construction zone
Activities at the Bank of America replica
Dress up as a fireman and play on the fire truck simulator
Dress up as a vet, adopt a stuffed animal, or play pet groomer
Fishing
Go on a cruise ship, play with boats, and move some cargo
Get fit in the fitness zone with its own fenced-in toddler zone
A greenhouse simulation
Go down the slide
Visit their current exhibit. Currently: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Read in the Dr. Seuss reading area or play with Legos
Play with instruments
Check out their programs for different activities
Go to one of the sensory rooms when getting overwhelmed
boy playing with stuffed animal puppy

Miami Children’s Museum

Find out more about the museums in the Miami area by watching this video. Or if you are interested in learning about more free things to do in Miami in general, read this article that I wrote for Miami Mom Collective.

Venetian Pool The Miami Mami

The Venetian Pool is a very unique experience in the heart of Coral Gables in Miami.

Venetian Pool The Miami Mami

I have been wanting to come here for a while with my son; however, they are really strict with their no-kids-under-3 policy. Once my son turned 3, I finally got to go – yay! And when I say, they’re strict about it – they really are. The second we entered before we even got to the cashier, they asked me how old he is, he had to stand against a wall proving that he is 38″ tall, and I had to show proof of ID. Once we got through that,  the fun began! I was a little bit skeptical coming here because I normally avoid places with a lot of people because … people! But I was pleasantly surprised by how big the pool is. This means, it did not seem crowded at all and there was tons of space inside the pool. The pool is made out of a coral rock quarry and has been a landmark of the Gables since 1923. Every day they fill and drain 820,000 gallons of fresh spring water from an underground aquifer. The amount of chlorine they put inside the pool is less than in our drinking water. Hence, you always have very fresh water in that pool. As a consequence, the water is on the chillier side. I found it very refreshing tho on a hot Miami summer day and not uncomfortable at all!

 

Venetian Pool The Miami Mami

Now back to the beauty of the pool: you feel like you’re going back in time to some old-school Caribbean pool. There are waterfalls, different types of gorgeous palm trees, cave-like grottos, loggias, and more. There is also a shallower area for kids. The facility has a beach-like area but the chairs sell out quickly. There is also a fast-food café that sells burgers, chicken tenders, and more. Parking is free but there is limited availability. The admission fee is $20 for adults and $15 for kids; however, Coral Gables residents get a discount and only pay $6.25 per adult and $5.25 per kid. The hours change depending on the season so check their website before going.

Venetian Pool The Miami Mami

For more information, go to the City of Coral Gables’ website.

Earth Day Miami 2022

Earth Day 2022 is officially here. Here are a few things to do in Miami and the surrounding areas.

Celebrate Earth Day in Doral

Join the City of Doral for an evening to celebrate Earth Day with nature-focused activities, art & crafts, a petting zoo, a ladybug release, and a screening of A Bug’s Life on our giant outdoor inflatable screen. Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy this classic, family movie.

Event is free and open to the public. Fodd & refreshments will be available for purchase.

 

Earth Day The Miami Mami

 

Earth Day Celebration in Dania Beach

The City of Dania Beach will host a beach clean-up day. Help us keep our beach pristine! #DaniaBeachPristine

This free family-friendly event will feature contests and prizes, an art contest for kids, and a surprise mural unveiling!

Light bites and water will be provided to all volunteers.

Take home a free T-shirt.

Free Parking.

Earth Day Dania Beach The Miami Mami

 

Party for the Planet at Zoo Miami

CALLING ALL SUPER KIDDOS, HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO BE A PLANET HERO!

Join us for Party for the Planet* at Zoo Miami this April 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a mobile in-park scavenger hunt to save our planet from environmental threats. Visitors who complete the scavenger hunt can redeem their special Zoo Miami-themed prize. Make sure to visit our sponsor booths to learn about the different ways you can help the environment.

Guests can come in FREE of charge when they turn in a cellphone** as part of our ECO-CELL phone recycling program. These donated cell phones will help gorillas by hopefully reducing the need for coltan – a mineral extracted in the deep forests of Congo in Central Africa, home to the world’s endangered lowland gorillas. Fueled by the worldwide cell phone boom, Congo’s out-of-control coltan mining business has in recent years led to a dramatic reduction of animal habitat and the rampant slaughter of great apes for the illegal bush-meat trade.

* Included with Zoo admission.
** *Limited to one free admission per cellphone and one cellphone per person. Admission ticket must be used on the date the discount is given. Not valid for groups or with any other discounts.

Zoo Miami Earth Day The Miami Mami

 

Come celebrate Mother Earth at the City of Plantation’s Inaugural Earth Day Celebration Celebration on Saturday, April 23rd from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at Volunteer Park, located at 12050 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation, FL 33323.

The celebration will be a fun yet educational day where attendees will be exposed to the environmental work taking place in their local area! There will be vendors present as well as a tree giveaway sponsored by DHL.

The fun doesn’t stop there – this family-friendly event will also feature a DJ, live shows, a Kids’ Activity Area with hands-on activities, vendors, inflatables, a rock-climbing wall and our weekly Farmer’s Market.

The event is FREE and all members of the community are invited to attend.

Plantation Earth Day The Miami Mami

 

Earth and Arbor Day in Hollywood

Hollywood’s Sustainability Advisory Committee will celebrate Earth and Arbor Day on Friday, April 22nd at ArtsPark at Young Circle in downtown Hollywood from 5:00 p.m. to – 7:00 p.m. before the weekly Friday Night Movie at 8:00 p.m. The theme of the celebration this year is sea turtles. Bring the family for fun educational activities and giveaways that will help you help these endangered marine animals. 

  • Exhibitors with activities
  • Giveaways
  • The Lorax (PG) is the Friday Night Special Feature at 8:00 p.m.
  • The event is free and open to the public

As a reminder, City parks are plastic and foam-free. Single-use items, like plastic water bottles and utensils, are prohibited at the park. For more event information, please call Elaine at 954.967.4526.

 

Celebrate the Best Earth Day with us!

Experience gardening and composting education, yoga, dance empowerment, eco-friendly shopping, university environmental program projects, educational panels, a kids area, delicious plant-based food vendors and other initiatives created to empower you to change your life and inspire those around you to do the same.

Earth Love Fest will be raising money for Aguacate Sanctuary of Love Farm and Animal Rescues. We are collaborating with County Commissioners and local groups to encourage businesses to promote reusable food ware and increase plant-based food options.

Speaker Stage Schedule

12:00: DJ Sunny, event host

12:15: Opening Ceremony to the 7th Directions, Steph and Jeanne

12:30: Opening Prayer Emilia Garth

12:30 Francisco Torres, Compostable

1:00 music from Marquise Fair

1:30 Tony Jones of Lumio, speaking on solar panels, clean energy.

2:00 music from Amaru Mora

2:30 Nicole Gazo speaking on Climate Change

3:00 music from Free Bison

3:30 Ocean Conservationist, Adam Roberti

4:00 Yoga, Breath, Meditation with Nikki

4:45 music from Emilia Garth

5:15 Kirtan by Kishor Rico

6:00 music from Kaylan Arnold

6:45 Activated Dance by Natalia

7:00 Drums with Fire Dance Performance by Ecstatic Flow

7:30 Afrobeta

 

Wellness Schedule by Womb Temple

12pm Opening Ceremony to the 7 directions w/ StephJourney & Jeanne (main stage)

1:11pm Goddess Gather

1:30pm Oils & Grounding into Earth Womb Meditation

2pm Sacred Skincare – Ancient Gua Sha Detox Ritual w/ Karina $22

3pm Feminine Blueprints: Following the Vital Forces with Jeanne & StephJourney $11

4pm Waves of the Womb: Yoni Steam StephJourney $11

5pm Clearing Innerspace: Energy Healing with Stephanie

6pm-6:40 Medicine + Song Circle & 528 DNA Repair Guided by Niki and StephJourney $11

Earth Love Festival The Miami Mami

 

Heal the Planet Day in Fort Lauderdale

Join us for the 7th Annual Heal The Planet Day!!

Heal The Planet Day will take place on Sunday, April 24th, 2022 in Esplanade Park, Ft. Lauderdale from 10 am to 4 pm. Join us as we celebrate Earth Day by bringing together the South Florida community for a day of family-friendly activities. Heal The Planet Day is a great event with an amazing array of activities for all ages, food vendors, and live entertainment.

Please wear comfortable clothing. 

We will have the following Wellness and Fun Activities For All Ages:

KIDS ZONE

Worldwide Web, Transformational Art Project, Yoga for Kids, Face Painting, Singing Bowls, and Much Much More!

GROW YOUR OWN ZONE

Learn About Easy and Efficient Ways to Grow Your Own Food, Gardening, Sustainability, and other Farming Techniques.

ENTERTAINMENT

Live music, Healing Modalities, Breathing Exercises, and Wellness Speakers.

CONSCIOUS VENDOR VILLAGE

Crafts, Clothing, Healthy Food Choices, and Beverages. Food Trucks, and More!

The event is free of charge; however, we rely on donations and fundraising events in order to continue providing free programs to the community.

 

If you are interested in more information on how to save the ocean in Miami, read this article.

Legoland Florida The Miami Mamii

Legoland Florida is super fun for small kids and toddlers. Like their slogan “Built for Kids”, there’s stuff to do for the little ones at every corner and plenty of rides. Normally, we are more of a Disney family but we definitely wanted to check Legoland Florida out with our 3-year old before he grows out of it. Here is my recap.

Entrance Legoland Florida

Where to Stay

A day at a theme park can be extremely exhausting. And the last thing you want to do after a day full of riding roller coasters is drive a long distance. Luckily, Legoland has three resorts that you can stay at. The original Legoland Hotel and its newer extension, the Pirate Hotel, are located right at the entrance of the theme park. If you stay at one of these properties, you’ll have 24/7 access to kid-friendly activities such as scavenger hunts and pajama parties. Moreover, you get to choose a themed room. The lego-filled lobby is so high energy that you feel like you are in a nightclub for kids.

For that reason, we decided to stay at the much calmer Beach Retreat across the street. It is also a Legoland hotel but you get to stay in your own Lego-style cottage with a cute front porch. You can eat at Sandy’s Castle, swim in the pool full of huge legos, and have s’mores by the fire at night. There’s a shuttle that takes you over to the park or you can take your own car.

Beach Retreat Cottage

Good news for the parents: all rooms have separate sleeping areas for the kids and include lego toys. As a Miami mom, I totally appreciate that the coffee maker had Bustelo cafe. Cool extra perk: there were also organic juices and hot chocolate for the coffee maker so the little ones don’t feel left out.

Legoland Florida Hotel

Separate Sleeping Area for Children

Staying at a Legoland hotel for a minimum of 2 nights includes 2-day tickets to the park and you can add extra ones for only $25 a day.

Legoland Florida Theme Park

The Parks

The main Legoland park is very big with lots of different sections, rides roller coasters, shows, and activities. If your kids have Lego figures, they can trade them at the park’s coffee shop. Tucked in the back of Legoland, you will find the waterpark. Since you have to go all the way through Legoland, it is not possible to buy a ticket for the waterpark only. Right next to Legoland is the newly opened Peppa Pig park which is even better suited for very small kids. My son is obsessed with the TV show and had a blast. The park itself is very small with about 4-5 rides; however, it has a huge splash pad and other fun opportunities to play. There’s not a lot of shade so I recommend wearing a hat and bringing water. FYI you are allowed to bring a cooler to the park. The park is very inclusive and sensory-friendly. Also, if you have a special needs child, you can obtain a HERO pass at Guest Services allowing you to skip the line similar to the Fast Track pass.

Peppa Pig Theme Park

Peppa Pig Theme Park

What to Eat

The Legoland hotels all have breakfast included. The breakfast is buffet-style; however, they bring you a platter to the table with the option to order more. Legoland has several options to eat: pizza, pasta, sandwiches, funnel cakes, and a lot more. A total must-try is Granny’s Apple Fries. So delicious! They come with whipped cream and you can ad soft serve for $2. The Peppa Pig park, on the other hand, has very limited options with huge lines. As mentioned above, you can bring a cooler with your own food and drinks which I definitely would. Continue reading

Dark circles

Some get them after not sleeping enough, others after partying too hard, and then some people have them permanently. But everyone has had them at some point: unsightly dark under-eye circles. For moms, it is a rite of passage to be sporting those panda eyes after many sleepless nights with their babies. I am one of those less fortunate people who have them genetically. Originally, I wanted to call this article “How to eliminate dark under-eye circles.” However, this would be very misleading for those who have dark shadows genetically as there is nothing that will cure them completely. Nothing. Trust me, I tried everything. The good news is: there are 5 ways to reduce unsightly under-eye circles significantly.

  1. Plenty of Sleep

Ok, Captain Obvious – is what you probably think now. But I could not have started this article without the most important factor. For me, who always has dark circles, there is a huge difference between sleeping 5 or 8 hours. Our cells regenerate at night so allow your skin plenty of rest and time to recover. Also, sleep is the only natural remedy for undereye circles that you can get for free.

 2. Use the right concealer

I never leave the house without applying concealer. Let me correct that: I never leave the house without TWO concealers. To conceal my dark circles the best way possible I need to apply two different shades. I have Mediterranean/Middle Eastern skin so I first apply a color corrector. However, to conceal the circles completely, I need to add a light-shade concealer on top of it. These are the products I use:

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Vanish! Color Corrector Medium 

Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer Oat

Obviously, it has to work pretty well because each time I do not apply any concealer I get asked if I’m tired or sick.

3. Apply hydrating creams and serums

Dehydration is another common cause of under-eye circles. Hence, it is important to stay hydrated. You can hydrate from the inside by drinking plenty of water. I know some people swear by adding collagen supplements to their beverages. I personally think this is more of a marketing gimmick. But you can try it if you believe it could work for you. And you can stay hydrated from the outside by applying serums and creams. I have tried so many products and spent a fortune on them and can attest that none of them will magically make hour circles disappear. However, under-eye creams and serums with caffeine can significantly help reduce the appearance of dark shades. Also, I noticed that it is a lot easier to apply concealer on hydrated skin. Some people also swear on Vitamin K cream which is fairly cheap but it didn’t work on my genetically predisposed dark circles.

Dark circles

4. Fillers

The most hardcore – and IMO most effective way – is an under-eye filler aka tear-through or teardrop. Never in a lifetime would I have ever thought I would do such a procedure given that I’m more of a natural gal and terrified of needles. But in late 2020, I had the opportunity to try it out for free through a blogging gig. This type of filler is very challenging and can be dangerous when done by the wrong person. The procedure itself is not for the faint of heart. Nonetheless, I was so happy with my results. While this also didn’t eliminate my circles completely, it made that whole area look a lot lighter. All in all, it gave me a more youthful look. 

Before you go and make your appointment, I have to add a huge disclaimer. You really need to do your research and pick a good, qualified injector. Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there doing fillers with no talent or necessary medical knowledge. If you do not see any pictures that prove that the provider has actually done the tear-through filler before, do not even bother. Not only can a botched filler look terrible, but it can also be dangerous especially in a delicate area like the eye. My first filler looked so great that I was keen on getting refilled after a year. However, the first location was very far so I tried out a new med spa that has all sorts of beauty treatments. It should have been a red flag for me that they were very hesitant about doing that filler and kept pushing for something else instead. Also, they completely blew my first appointment because they didn’t have the right filler there. I somehow thought it was a good sign that they told me they want the doctor to do it instead of the RN. However, it seems like the doctor had no experience at all. I ended up with two filler pockets under my eye. So on top of wasting money, I will now also have to go again to get it dissolved. Do yourself a favor: avoid medspas and go to a reputable place with an experienced doctor. 

5. Facials and other treatments

Before you completely avoid medspas, the one place you want to go to them for is for facials or similar treatments. While not a complete cure for the panda eye problem, a good facial can help improve the entire appearance of hour skin including the area under the eyes. Personally, I love hydra facials. They are so relaxing and my skin looks amazing after. Most places will offer you to add the “eye perk” for an extra charge. This tool will help hydrate the eye area and you get to take home the remaining liquid. Other types of facials can help as well. I’d suggest doing a consultation and skin analysis first to choose the right treatment for you.

 

 

fall things to do with kids in miami

It can be difficult to get into the fall spirit in Miami because the only temperature we have all year round is HOT. But thanks to all the different family-friendly events in Miami-Dade County, you will have plenty of options to go to experience fall, pumpkin spice, and everything nice. Here 5 things to do this fall in Miami:

1) Pumpkin Patch at Pittman Park, Coral Gables, on Saturday, October 16th from 2 pm – 6 pm.                          Celebrate fall in the City Beautiful! Hundreds of pumpkins of all sizes will take over Pittman Park.
Enjoy live music, pumpkin decorating, face painting, food and beverages for purchase,
and adorable picture-perfect fall portrait areas.
The event is FREE.
2) Pumpkin Patch at Pinto’s Farm on Saturdays and Sundays until October 31st. Admission includes 1 pumpkin, unlimited rides, photo ops, hay maze, magic show, and petting zoo.

3) The Little Farm Fall Festival on Saturdays and Sundays from October 9th until October 31st. $12 admission includes a pumpkin patch, animal interactions, hay maze, children’s playfield, butterfly garden, local food vendors, and pony rides.

4) Walkthrough Spooky Safari Tour & Covid Safe Pumpkin Patch at Animal EDventure & Safari, Boynton Beach. 2nd Spooky Safari (walkthrough) with private Covid safe pumpkin patches. Tours have to be scheduled via text at 561-350-6948.

5) Tinez Farms Fall Festival: Pumpkin Patch & Fall Shows from September 10th thru November 7th, 2021. Enjoy pop-up vendors, photo ops, kids’ activities, live music, hay bale castle & maze, animal barnyard, and more.

 

For more suggestions on things to do with kids (or without) in Miami, follow me on Instagram here.

Brickell City Center Gather

One of the many reasons I love being a mom in Miami is that there are so many fun activities to do for the whole family. This Friday, we went to the Brickell City Centre to participate in the Trousseau Paint-A-Pillow event at their pop-up Gather playground. Gather is BCC’s community and family programming platform dedicated to bringing unique, safe, and fun interactive experiences for all ages in and around the Brickell community. Brickell City Centre, in general, is a very family-friendly place as there a several dining options, kids’ stores, a movie theatre, and a lot more. Gather playground is a nice addition where the whole family gets to take a break and play. This playground offers both locals and tourists opportunities to play, explore, and dwell as they enjoy activities such as hopscotch, crawl tunnels, jump steps, Connect 4, life-size Jenga, and cornhole. Located at Brickell City Centre’s Garden Deck on Level 2.

Brickell City Centre Gather

Painting a pillowcase at Gather BCC

The Trousseau Paint-A-Pillow event

On Friday, we took part in one of Gather’s special events: Paint-A-Pillow in partnership with Trousseau. Parents got to decorate a pillowcase together with their kid(s). Brickell City Centre’s Trousseau store provided the pillows. Since it was the first week of school, these pillows were meant to become the child’s personalized school pillow. After my son was running around the Gather playground, he had a blast painting the pillowcase with his mommy. Together we created a very Miami pillow with a palm tree, flamingo, pineapple, and sun. Afterward, we strolled around the beautiful Brickell Centre to get some toys for our little painter and to grab dinner at one of the BCC Eats restaurants. 

Brickell City Center Gather

Gather Playground – check it out now until September 15th

If you missed this event, don’t worry! Gather playground will still be open until September 15th and there are more family-friendly events to come. On September 10th at 4 p.m. and on September 11th at 12 p.m., Gather will be hosting Family Game Days. The afternoon activities will include interactive games, live music, sweet treats, and giveaways prizes. 

Brickell City Centre Gather

See you at BCC!

Bella Behar Stay fit on vacation

If you have read any of my previous articles, you know that I am all about a good balance in life. I do not deprive myself of anything. So far, this approach has worked out for me. Clearly, I am a firm believer that living by strict rules and restrictions will eventually lead to splurging. Ever since the Garden of Eden, humans have tended to want things, even more, when considered a “forbidden fruit.” Thus, I do not ever restrict myself and do everything in moderation. When it comes to diets and nutrition, I do not believe in “cheat days.” When I feel like eating something sweet, I eat a bit of it to curb the craving. I do not deprive myself all week to pig out on one day. It makes zero sense to me. Evidently, this method has worked for me as I have maintained my weight despite having given birth and being a big-time foodie (my Yelp account is the living proof of that). I am not a huge fitness fanatic and clean eater. Hence, this way of life makes it easy for me to do moderate, shorter exercises every day and eating fairly balance. 

Now that summer has arrived, we love going on weekend road trips in our home state Florida. While I thoroughly enjoy this quality time with my family, it also means getting my normal routine out of whack. While I normally try to get on 7-8 hours of zzz’s per night, there is usually no chance of that happening when sharing a hotel room with my toddler who decides to crowd surf on top of us in the middle of the night. Also, I simply cannot say no to the amazing Pina Coladas and coconut fried fish from Florida. I do believe that a family vacation is a designated time to enjoy life so going to the gym or missing out on scrumptious food is just not on my agenda during that time. However, I sincerely enjoy how balanced my life is. Therefore, I try to not fall too much off the wagon during vacations. If you share that sentiment, here are some tips on how to stay on track during your vacation while still having fun.

1) Eat what you want but implement nutrients

As I said, there is no way I am going to say no to my favorite fried foods and frozen drinks on my vacation. However, there is a way to enjoy them in moderation. During my last vacation, I would usually order a small salad upfront (I actually like salads). The veggies would not only nourish my body, but they also prevented me from eating too much of the “fun” food. Try to eat the rainbow by implementing fruits and veggies when you can. Your body and your overall well-being will thank you later. You will see that you will transition a lot easier into reality once the vacation is over when you maintain a balance. 

Bella Behar The Miami Mami Marco Island

2) Drink plenty of H2O

I know you have heard this a million times: you have to drink more water! Water can be a bit boring especially when you can have drinks instead. But, ESPECIALLY when you consume alcohol, it is the time to make sure you stay hydrated. Alcohol combined with the sun is no Bueno. People tend to drink more without noticing while having fun in the sun. But that can lead to serious dehydration and a nasty hangover later. So try to drink plenty of H2O during the day. You’ll be happy you did!

3) Bring healthy snacks 

In order to control your hunger, you should never go too long without eating. By the same token, overly hungry people tend to lose all self-control and eat whatever is in front of them and too much of it. I like to bring healthier snacks such as nuts, protein or granola bars, and fruits to snack on in the morning or during the day. Also, I do not really like to start the day with a heavy breakfast that will have me sluggish for the rest of the day. Hence, I like to bring individual oatmeal packages. I usually heat up the water in the coffee maker provided by the hotel and use disposable cups! Voila, A healthy breakfast that will you keep you full until lunchtime!

4) Implement exercises into your activities 

Obviously, vacations are meant to be fun! Most people do not consider going to the gym fun. However, if you are one of those who cannot live without the gym, you can take advantage of the hotel gym to mix it up a little bit. Or you can go for a run in the surrounding area for a change of scenery. I usually like to soak up every minute of my precious vacation time. But I sneak in some exercise-like activities every here and then. My go-to is going for long walks at the beach right in the water. The resistance from the water is one of the best calf and booty firmer for me hands down! And as a bonus, I always come back from my beach power walks with a nice tan. Not only that, it gives me a much-needed break and some me-time that mommy needs! Speaking of being a mom, when my son was still a baby and wanted to be carried a lot, I used to do squats while holding him in my arms on the beach. Now, he is WAY too heavy for that but now, I have to run after him all day which is a workout in itself.

Thank you for reading, mis amores! Hope you are all having a fabulous summer with lots of vacation time! 

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World Ocean Month The Miami Mami

World Ocean Month is here! Since I live and breathe all things Miami, every day is Ocean Day in my books! Without a doubt, Miami is famous for its beautiful beaches and its blue ocean water. The Atlantic Ocean merges with the Caribbean Sea in Miami. The part of the ocean that you can see in every movie or TV show in Miami is called Biscayne Bay. It is the heart and soul of Miami. Unfortunately, in recent years, this lagoon has become more and more polluted.

Background story:
In August 2020, the biggest fishkill ever recorded occurred as a result of years of massive pollution and dumping into Biscayne Bay. Thousands of fish were gasping for air and eventually suffocated. Many activists have already warned that the water is at a tipping point and worked to preserve the idyllic lagoon. At the end of 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine-Cava finally announced that $20 million would be invested in protecting Biscayne Bay.

It is not only fish that suffer but most of the marine life in Biscayne Bay. All too often plastic single-use utensils, plastic straws, or bags are being used at the beach and land in the ocean. Poor little sea turtles cannot differentiate between plastic bags and jellyfish, one of their favorite foods. Even tiny amounts of plastic can be fatal for baby sea turtles.

Here are a few ways how you can help save Biscayne Bay and its marine life:

  • Ask your Senators and Representatives in Congress to support policies that reduce single-use plastic and drastically increase recycling in the United States: Take action
  • Donate to Ocean Conservancy or Surfrider Foundation
  • Report Pollution on Miami Waterkeeper
  • Look up if there are any beach clean-ups in your area or get together with some friends and clean the beach up together
  • Try to avoid using plastic when enjoying Miami’s beautiful beaches. Try to stick to reuseable bags, paper straws, and reusable water bottles.

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