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Monthly Archives: November 2014
9

Nepal Adventure Travel: The Ups, Downs, Highs and Lows

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Winging our way to the Himalayas

Winging our way to the Himalayas

Apparently Kathmandu–gateway to the Himalayas–is one of the top travel destinations on the rise. I know I rose early and often to catch amazing sunrises. But I get ahead of my story.

One of my main reasons for wanting to stay active and fit is to be able to travel the world. Recently my mom invited my daughter and me to join her in Nepal on a 10 day adventure organized by the Sierra Club. Nana is paying? Works for  my daughter and me!

3 Generation Swingers

3 Generation Swingers

Low Down on the Lows

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: the itinerary the Sierra Club set up was sucky wucky big time. Too much sitting in buses, planes, waiting rooms, and restaurants. Not enough time actually doing stuff. Yeah, surprised us too, given that our group was comprised of people who like to get out and about.

High Fives for the Ups

20141114_063613On the upside, the hikes, climbs, animal encounters, and land were breathtaking (literally in some cases when you consider the altitude and steep grades of this mountainous country). Other positives included the new travel clothes Lorna Jane Activewear provided us and the shoes from Ahnu Footwear. Our group may have arrived to places late and left early, but we were perfectly attired for the activities we squeezed in between!

My favorite adventures involved:

S-Elefie!

  1. Riding an elephant into the forest on a two hour journey that allowed us to see a rhino in the wild up close, plus peacocks, elk, and deer. Did you know elephants not only trumpet and huff, but also purr like a motor? Our elephant was the best and chattiest one of all!

 

Miles to go before I sleep, though I woke early.

  1. Hiking straight up an hour at a fast pace to beat the sun coming up over the Anapurna peaks. Twenty five of us set out; eighteen of us made it. Pant pant sweat sweat. I passed a teen girl in stilettos and a dress, a grandma with a big basket on her head, and young schoolboys in uniform. Yeah, I felt pretty good passing them. And only them.

hiking to sunrise

  1. Shopping in the historical district of Bhaktapur with its small stalls and colorful shops loaded with interesting, handmade items. My daughter bought a gorgeous, hand embroidered, midnight blue sari made with yards of material that is stunning. My mom and I found some masks and temple dragons we loved in the shops near our hotel.
  2. crocodile on canoe tripRiding a canoe down a foggy, quiet river past crocodiles, birds, and more peacocks followed by a two hour hike through a pristine forest. Spotted rhino number two on this walk, which we would have seen closer and longer but some people in our group had to keep yakking and scaring away the wildlife Please don’t hunt rhinos; Instead hunt down that one person in every group who can’t follow hike directions. Snipe snipe.

Speaking of yakking, Nepal is not the land of yaks, but of goats. And honest, nice, hard working people who take pride in their country and sharing it with travelers.

Last, but not least, we got to meet in person a young Nepali man whom I knew via social media. He spotted my #Nepal hashtag postings on instagram and offered to meet up and escort us about. Not only did he teach us more about Nepal’s culture, history traditions, and modern aspirations than our official guide, but also we now have a lifelong friend we hope visits us in California. Who couldn’t help but like a guy who cracks jokes in two languages, holds my mom’s hand to steer her through fast scooters and careening cars, and finds us the hidden gardens and restaurants in the busy, bustling, crazy city of Kathmandu?

Flying High in the Garden of Dreams: Jan and Sujan

Flying High in the Garden of Dreams: Jan and Sujan

Here’s to Sujan (forever Mr Nepal in our hearts and memories), my knees that held out on ever changing terrain, my mom for taking us to exotic lands across the globe, and to an unusual, interesting, country that dares you to define it.

What inspires you to improve or retain your fitness level? If it’s to travel, where do you want to go?

Now sit back or stand up and enjoy some travel pics.

Hiking through Chitwan National Park

Hiking through Chitwan National Park

 

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Rhino in the background; one of my new Lorna Jane outfits taking front and center

 

Chitwan NationalPark

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Lake Pokhara

Lake Pokhara, my Ahnus, another perfect Lorna Jane outfit, and a bit of upper body strength

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Temples at Bhaktapur

Prayer flags at Buddha's Birthplace

Prayer flags at Buddha’s Birthplace

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Need event speakers? We travel to you. Book us to present at your events: (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Want to see more of my Nepal photos? Check out my instgram feed at Kymberly’s instagram.

 

6

It’s National Family Caregivers Month. Are You a Caregiver?

Alexandra Williams, MA

Prepare to Care for caregivers bookletIt’s National Family Caregivers Month. As I’m a caregiver, I jumped at the chance to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about it (say that to yourself in a Walter Cronkite voice).

 

If you’re like most people, your mental image of a caregiver is of middle-aged women taking care of elderly parents. For me, only half of that is true. I’m middle-aged (or early Renaissance; medieval if you’re one of my boys). But I’m not caring for my parents; I’m now caring for someone who is only 57 and had a stroke in late September.

Without going into a pity party about what that means, especially when it’s completely unexpected, and therefore not planned for, I’ll just say that dealing with it has been made easier because I’ve accepted help.

It’s against my nature to ask for help. I’ve spent over 30 years in the health and fitness industry, helping others. I got an advanced degree in systemic counseling so I could help others. It’s more comfortable for me to give help than to receive it. Which probably makes me just like everybody else. Yet don’t we all immediately rush to help whenever someone we care about needs it? Heck, most of us rush to help complete strangers, and we don’t care about them. Until we do. Because we share the human trait of compassion.

According to AARP, more than 42 million U.S. caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care to relatives and friends. That’s a lot of compassion. Speaking from experience, I know this can be highly stressful. AARP reports that caregivers are also at higher risk for immunosuppression, cardiovascular disease, premature aging, and to top it off, financial problems. I know that after the initial stress and chaos of the stroke, I ended up with bronchitis. The financial problems are real too, even with supplemental disability insurance and full medical coverage.

But knowledge is power, and feeling more powerful and in control helps decrease stress (at least for me). And the extra support AARP offers through its community of experts and other caregivers at aarp.org/caregiving makes some of the chores easier. The detective work involved in figuring everything out was a depressing surprise, and I know that my sister will soon have this same issue with our mom. Trying to sort out paperwork when the only person who has the answers isn’t in a state to do so is crazy-making. Spending hours and hours on the phone and buried in paperwork, knowing that there should have been an easier way is exhausting.

AARP - Juggling Work and Caregiving booklet

That’s why I’m fully on board about the public service ads (PSAs) that AARP and the Ad Council have just launched that illustrate how the changing roles of parents and children can impact your life. I’m not caring for a parent, yet I have found these resources to be helpful, and recommend them to you:

Prepare to Care (Caregiving Planning Guide for Families)
12 Resources Every Caregiver Should Know About
Free eBook: Juggling Work and Caregiving
10 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays

As November is National Family Caregivers Month, why not help celebrate the more than 42 million people who are providing care? By “celebrate” I mean offer rides, provide respite care, bring a meal, do household chores, ask after both the person being cared for AND the caregiver, and understand when the caregiver is a bit grumpy or distracted or doesn’t send a quick thank-you note. And take advantage of these resources, because with demographics being what they are, you’ll probably be a caregiver one day too.

Special PSA from us: Walk. Move. Dance. Strength Train, Golf. Garden. Bicycle. Swim. Exercise keeps both your body and brain sharp and strong. If you don’t want someone else to have to care for you, then take care of yourself.

27

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Alexandra Williams, MA

Christmas display in Pacific Grove

Everyone has great ideas for avoiding weight gain during the holidays. Our ideas actually work. How do we know that? Well, I have been in the fitness industry for over 30 years, I know (and write professionally) about healthy eating, and I have a Master’s in systemic counseling. More importantly, we use these tips ourselves.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

To make it easy to share (and because I want to increase my Pinterest skills), I made a nice easy pin of our 10 tips to avoid holiday weight gain that you can access at the next big get-together.

10 tips to avoid holiday weight gain graphic

Let us know which tips were most helpful to you. And please follow us on Pinterest: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

12

Prepping for Holidays and Kathmandu: What About You?

Mountain in Nepalby Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Want an example of active aging?

On Saturday, my mom is taking my daughter and me to Nepal. As in Kathmandu, exotic locale on the other side of the world. Land of the Himalayas. She just turned 85 yesterday and has long wanted to travel to Nepal. So off we fly with a Sierra Club group for a 10 day journey through national parks, temples, cities, and villages.

Dive Into Some Fitness Classes; Sub Out Ohers

Lorna Jane and Kymberly

Taking flight sorta in my Lorna Jane active and travel wear.

To prep for this trip, my mom has been attending aqua aerobics classes at least twice a week, sometimes thrice. No, we are not trekking up mountains where the air is thin, unlike me! But we will be doing much in those 10 short days that will demand a lot from an 85 year old. I prepped by finding subs to cover my group fitness classes. Oh, and by gathering up my new Lorna Jane activewear, Ahnu shoes, Purple Frog insect patches, and Garden of Life organic energy bars and fondling them all lovingly. Into the suitcase they go, coming out on the other side of customs and the world!

Sneak Peeks Into Nepal

Nepal red panda

Red panda = Yup, already got a selfie!

If you want to track pictures from our adventures, follow me on instagram: @KymberlyFunFit. Not only will you get photos of an unusual, tantalizing place, but also shots of what an active life allows. Stairs, hikes, cityscapes, early mornings, long days of adventure, a three-generation trip of a lifetime! Maybe someone out there (probably someone needing new reading glasses) will even confuse me with my daughter in the rare air of Nepal. She turns 22 on our trip. Pretty sure you’ll have a hard time figuring who is nana, who is young pup, who is the Boom Chicka Boomer.

Holiday Gift For You: It’s a Wrap!

Other prep involved completing a booklet for YOU and new subscribers just in time for the holiday season: 34 Guilt-Free Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Getting Through the Holidays without Stuffing. This free booklet is loaded with practical tips that are reasonable and non-judgy. (Remember that my twinnie sissie does have her Master’s Degree in Counseling so she has some good mind tricks!)

Read, Do, Look Good, Feel Even Better

Avoid Holiday weight gainIf you have a goal to Break on Through to the Other Side of the season feeling good about yourself, this booklet is for you (who knows the song and band reference?)* Details on how to get your copy coming via our Facebook page and future blog posts. New subscribers will automatically get 34 Guilt-Free Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.

This gift from us to you offers action items, realistic tips, and great strategies to:

  • keep the ell-bees off as you make your way through food-centered celebrations;
  • feel full and satisfied, not stuffed and self-recriminatory;
  • maintain healthy movement and eating habits even if you travel;
  • resist temptation without feeling deprived;
  • use your habits and strengths to stay fit
  • train your brain to send messages you want to hear

Odds are pretty darn good you will find ideas you have not seen elsewhere nor thought of yet. Get ready to open new *Doors once you open your copy of our holiday booklet (ha ha ha hah that is the ultimate hint for the question posed above).

As for me, I plan to move as much as possible in Nepal so I return ready to greet the holidays with excitement and no extra pounds waiting under the turkey or tree.

7

Who Wants Perfect Hair? Our Trip to the Sally Hershberger Salon in Los Angeles

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

picture of Alexandra and Kymberly in the early 1970sAs the years pile on, we look less and less alike even though we are identical twins. That is neither good nor bad, though it’s a bit disconcerting when people are surprised that we are related, much less twins. After all, our entire life experience has been based on people knowing the relationship.

But of course, over time things change, and one thing that has definitely been different for the past few years is our hair. One of us has gone to the salon for highlights for years, while the other does an all-over color at home. Which means that both of us think the other sister has “deviated” from the original look. Truth be told, we’ve spent our lives focused on being individuals, though our identity as red-headed twins is set, solid, and immutable. Even when every single hair on our head is grey, we shall refer to ourselves as redheads. It’s who we are.

When we were recently invited for a complimentary color and cut at the Sally Hershberger Salon in Los Angeles, we jumped at the chance to return to our roots (so to speak, because in addition to our hair, our childhood roots are in L.A. This is actually quite a clever word play right here, so feel free to admire it). Since we have a strong desire to keep our red hair for as long as possible, and not go grey into that good night (boomers will get this Dylan Thomas reference), we accepted the invitation (and who wouldn’t). We both like and appreciate our Santa Barbara stylist, whom we totally trust. But a new experience topped with a gift bag of hair products got us into the car and onto the freeway.

The goal – get our color and style more aligned with each other. You can decide if that happened.

Getting hand painted hair color at Sally Hershberger Salon

Freehand balayage hair painting

Alexandra: Both of us had Jessica Gonzalez as our colorist. She paints color on freehand, without using foils, which I had never heard of. It’s called balayage in case you want to request this technique. So the cotton you see in my hair is to keep the strands separate while she worked. I asked her to make mine a bit more red to make my sister happy. I found out the hard way a few years ago that coloring red hair is a challenge, when a stylist in Santa Barbara made so many mistakes that I had to come back and get all-over color to start over. Looking brassy and fake is not for me. I really just want to keep the color I was born with.

waiting at Sally Hershberger Salon for a color and cut

Working hard to look extremely “before” so the “after” is more dramatic.

Kymberly: Did any of you experience a change in your hair with your “change,” i.e. menopause? So far I seem to be the only person to have my hair get thicker and curlier post-meno. Everyone else reports coming out on the other side with thinner hair strands and fewer of them to boot. So my main request to my stylist, Marcos the Magnificent was to use his magic wand to de-frizzify me. And to cut off the split ends while creating a style that leaves my hair as long as possible without needing blow drying, and that frames my face without having hair fall in front of my face, accounting for my glasses and that I teach fitness classes every other day in a pony tail. In other words, I might have just become the client from hair hell. But did Marcos flinch? He did not. He produced! Too bad I did not produce an “after” picture that gives my new cut and color justice.  Suffice to say that when I entered my step class this morning to teach, several people exclaimed over the fabulosity of my color and cut. And since I plan to never wash my hair again as it looks so nice, you can all decide for yourselves in future posts.

As for Jessica, she recommended a color with a hint of copper for me. Her advice was spot on. No wonder, as we discovered that Jessica first attended beauty school then spent FOUR, yes 4 more years assisting (basically apprenticing) at the Sally Hershberger salon before passing an in-house test to become a color specialist. Nick (Alexandra’s stylist) and Marcos similarly had to undergo years of apprenticeship before graduating to the floor as stylists.

hair style and cut from Nick Flores at Sally Hershberger

Alexandra’s hair is so amazing it takes 2 people to style it. Or…they give everyone lots of attention.

Alexandra: My stylist was Nick Flores. I asked him to keep my basic style, but make me look 39 and HAWT. Vanity and unrealistic requests work well for me. As you can see, Nick rose to the challenge. Not only that, but he has a rescue dog and a loving heart, so I adopted him. He’ll receive all my selfies that have good hair as his inheritance.

Marcos Trueba at Sally Hershberger Salon, Los Angeles

Marcos expertly styled Kymberly’s hair without using a straightener.

Kymberly: Do you value good customer service along with top level color and cut? Then, you would be in happy hair heaven here! Just one example of our good experience: Assistant Aaron, a darling young man who asked what I’d like to drink, toodled off to make me the requested decaf iced coffee with cream and sugar. He showed up with my refreshing beverage, asking whether I’d prefer to have him dissolve my sugar first in warm water rather than have it sit in cold crystal form at the bottom of my glass. Who can’t appreciate that attention to detail?

Both of us were happy. Beyond happy. We were overjoyed at the way we looked. We had heard that the salon was very chic, which can sometimes translate to snobby in L.A., but this was NOT the case. Everyone was as nice as could be. Throw in the customer service and overall atmosphere, plus the organization at the salon, and you’ll understand our smiles.

Twins after their color and cut at Sally Hershberger, West Hollywood

Looking red-carpet (and orange divan) ready in our new hairstyles.

And if anyone now has trouble telling us apart, here’s a hint – Alexandra has bangs; Kymberly has glasses.

And of course, if you are in LA near Melrose on North La Cienega and wanting to go glam, this is the place for you. Ask for Jessica, Nick and Marcos. Then ask the paparazzi to please step back and give you room!

Now that you look fabulous enough to invite people over, you might want to clean your hardwood floors with ingredients that are hypo-allergenic, and scent- and dye-free. Enter our Bona Hardwood Floor Care giveaway right here if you are in the U.S.
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