A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation – Salty Hair, Tanned Skin, Sandy Bottoms, Soft Bellies and Smiles!

Oh Vacation….what an amazing and delightful concept! Some say that vacation is a state of mind, some say it’s important to make life your vacation, but I have a whole different outlook on this holiday from life. When I used to think of vacation, I would picture perfection…perfection in every way. The perfect views, the perfect food, the perfect swimsuits on perfectly tanned bodies, perfect memories to laugh perfectly at in the future. Picture perfect everything, a vacation from the imperfection that we call life, a vacation from busyness, ugliness, messiness, stress, hatred, and self loathing, a vacation from the shackles of my Eating Disorder. But in reality, these perfect expectations only tightened those shackles even more.

A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation
White sand, and blue water!

But isn’t this how so many of us look at vacations, or holidays? We expect perfection, and once this ideal implodes so does our ability to adapt. The bathing suits, sandals and sarongs that we pack unfold into unrealistic expectations, stress, worry and imperfection, when in reality, a perfect vacation is imperfect….just like life! This past week was the first vacation that I have taken away from those perfection ridden expectations, it was the first vacation I took in the absence of my Eating Disorder and in the presence of self-compassion, self-forgiveness and imperfection….perfectly imperfect!

You may be wondering what I mean by a vacation free from my Eating Disorder…..and what I mean is this…

I wore a bikini on the beach with confidence and pride

I stood tall on my paddle board proud of my softer belly and stretch marks and cellulite

I didn’t work out, because I simply did not want to

I ate when I was hungry, and drank when I was “thirsty”

I stayed up late and laughed until I cried

I hopped on a paddle board and giggled every time I fell off…which was a lot

I made mistakes and held too high of expectations, and it was OKAY….my vacation did not implode

I cried until I laughed

I let go

AND….

When I returned home I did not kill myself at the gym, instead I went for a walk on the beach and nourished my body with food. I was gentle with myself…I eased myself into the reality of life.

A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation
Wet hair, tanned skin, sandy bottoms and soft bellies!
A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation
Imperfectly Paddle Boarding!
A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation
Shrimp all day every day!

The Trip

My parents took my two sisters and all of our significant others on a beautiful and luxurious trip to the Emerald Coast. This was one of the most special vacations I have ever been on. It was the first time our family has taken a trip together in about six years, with no agenda, no holidays, no weddings, just us. We played in the water, walked on the beach, drank lots of pina colodas, chardonnay and mojitos and ate amazing sea food, fried treats and fresh sweets, we laughed until we cried and we cried until we laughed….it was perfectly imperfect….!

I thought I was taking vacations the past twenty six years of my life….but it was never vacant from my Eating Disorder. Every vacation or trip I took was ridden with expectations, harsh judgement on how I looked and felt. My Eating Disorder put restrictions on not only what I could eat, and what my body could do, but also, what I could and could not wear, when, where and how I laughed, it consumed my every move, and nothing was ever perfect enough, imperfection was not an option, and therefore expectations were never met. Vacations were not vacant from stress instead they were filled with triggers and shame.

A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation
So much laughter this trip!

What Was Different This Time?

This past week, on the white beaches of the emerald coast, I was free from those shackles, I was free from my Eating Disorder, because I chose freedom, I chose recovery. Full recovery is possible, it is hard, it seems impossible, at times, it does not seem like a choice….but it is! With hard work, a treatment team, support and determination I chose to be free and to let go! I can now go on vacation, and wear a bikini, have a soft belly, eat and drink whatever I want and have no shame when I return home! I eat when I’m hungry, work out when I feel like moving, drink when I’m thirsty, sleep when I am tired, cry when I am sad, and laugh when I am happy! I have a bikini body by simply putting a bikini on my body! I have a beach body by simply having a body and going to the beach! I went on vacation by vacating my expectations, and perfections! I had a perfectly imperfect vacation…and it was imperfectly wonderful! I dare you to try approaching your next vacation or holiday with imperfection!

A Perfectly Imperfect Vacation
Beach Body: Have a body, go to the beach

Read more about my tips and tricks while on the go here! 

And, as always, #SelfCareItOut!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga – Being a Charleston Local, Facing Fears and Embracing Dreams!

A Day Out on Folly Beach, Tackling My Fears and Embracing My Dreams

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a yogi, but I am absolutely a lover of all things yoga! I am also an avid lover of all things beach! This past Monday I combined those two loves, I took a stand up paddle board yoga class at Charleston SUP Safari! This is something that I have always dreamed about doing, but my fears and insecurities got in the way, welp, I went for it, and oh my goodness was it worth it! Keep reading to hear about my experiences at Charleston SUP Safari, out on the water, and some great places to stop by after your stand up paddle board experience out on Folly Beach!

Starting The Day Off Right

I made sure to start my day right with confidence, courage and of course coffee at Black Magic Cafe. I had a delicious iced soy latte and pastry to compliment my workout out on the water! This cafe is a great local spot out on Folly and promises to use only wholesome and fresh ingredients!

This coffee sure is magic!

This menu is life!

Croissants all day everyday!

Becoming a Local

Ever since I moved to Charleston, I have made it my mission to start facing my fears, be more active and embrace everything local, as I truly believe in community over competition! Charleston SUP Safari is an all inclusive, incredibly laid back, locally owned, beach town wonder! For an incredibly reasonable price me and a group of friends paddled out on Folly creek and took a yoga class on our paddle boards!

Dolfriends for sure!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

My worries and anxieties surrounding failure and incompetency were completely calmed once I spoke with the staff at Charleston SUP Safari. They answered all of my questions, made sure we were all safe, and guaranteed a good time! The paddle out from the dock was fun on its own, as the scenery was truly breathtaking! Once we anchored our boards we started the yoga class.

I couldn’t believe it, I was in a bikini, out on the ocean, floating on a paddle board, and doing yoga without a care in the world about my body or my ability to “succeed”. If I took this class a few years back, I would have been worried about how my body looked, stressed about falling and embarrassing myself, and looking ridiculous to others, I would have loathed the entire experience due to my own insecurities and fears. Now, because of the forgiveness and compassion that I hold near and dear to my heart, I can do a freaking back bend, on a stand up paddle board, in a bikini without a care in the world if my back fat is hanging out, or if I fall into the water! I was able to, not only conquer my fears, but fulfill a dream of mine and truly enjoy doing it!

SUP Yoga in Charleston, SC!

 

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

The class was challenging but not overwhelming, and within seconds I became one with my breath and the water. All of the awkward giggles subsided, and in unison, all of our bodies were flowing with the motion of the waves and slight breeze. This may sound woo woo to some people, but this stand up paddle board yoga experience changed me in a small way! It is proof that the power of movement, breath, forgiveness and courage is paramount when we feel insecure and fearful! AND I now have a new hobby!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

Don’t get me wrong, people were falling off of the paddle boards left and right, but you know what? The water caught them, and the waves embraced their “slip-up!” With one quick pull up to the board, they were back to their practice! We took a phenomenal private yoga class, from a local free-lance yoga instructor, and she was truly skilled and amazing within the entire process! I highly recommend checking out her page here!! 

I will absolutely be a returning customer to Charleston SUP Safari, as they offer their own Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga classes as well! Check out their website here!

Good Eats and Great Waves

After the class was over we went to the Lost Dog cafe, and oh my gosh, it was fabulous! It is a small, locally owned, and dog friendly restaurant, with quality and wholesome food and incredible service! I had the Grapefruit Mimosa and the Chicken Salad Sandwich on a croissant (If only everything could be on a croissant, I’m somewhat obsessed)!

Dog Friendly Beach Cafe!

The Lost Dog Cafe

After I was well worked out, and properly nourished I went to the beach and played in the waves until the sun went down, the waves were insane and the water was perfect!

RecoveryLoveandCare.comFacing Fears and Embracing Dreams!

In one day I learned so much about myself, and the city in which I live! With a little bit of courage, and self-compassion I faced my fears and fulfilled a life long dream of mine! I cannot wait to get out to Folly Beach and Stand Up Paddle board my heart out! I challenge you to overcome one of your fears with the power of self-love and self-compassion, I promise you will thank me!! #selfcareitout my friends!