5 Can’t Miss Places to Travel in February

It’s cold.

At least it’s cold here in the northeast. Cold, snowy, and slushy. And with January soon turning into February, there’s no reprieve in sight.

But there are places where February is the best month of the year. If you’re over winter weather (I certainly am) then you should check out these 5 places where February = hot, sunny fun!

1. Costa Rica

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February is the height of the dry season in Costa Rica, which makes it the perfect time to go. And might I suggest hitting up Tabacon- Costa Rica’s famous hot spring spa to ward off what remains of your winter chill. Two hours there and I guarantee you’ll forget all about the two feet of snow you shoveled off your driveway.

2. New Zealand

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Because it’s ‘down under’, New Zealand’s seasons are opposite ours… which means February there is like August here. It’s the tail end of summer (and the tail end of season) aka the best time to visit.

3. Aruba

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From boutique shopping in its quaint capital Oranjestad to sprawling beaches and water sports galore, Aruba is a great vacation destination. February average temperature: 86 Degrees Farenheight

4. Rio de Janiero, Brazil

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Not only is Rio warm and sunny in February, the biggest festival of the year Carnival runs February 13-17th. If you’re into festivals, this is the place to be. Think New Orleans Mardi Gras but 1000x bigger.

5. Hawaii, The Big Island

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There’s never a bad time to visit Hawaii, but if you’re not a big diver and you can stand to stay out of the freezing cold Pacific in February this is the time to hit it. The Big Island is particularly beautiful this time of year, and you might even get a good deal on a hotel. This is the time to book the extremely popular volcanic helicopter tour.

Busy Girl’s Guide to Eat Pray Love

Although the movie came out in 2010

and the book in 2006, the Eat Pray Love mentality is alive and well.

As much as we may want to, most of us don’t have the time or flexibility to take a year off to cleanse our souls and travel the world (we’re too busy trying to conquer it 🙂 ). So for the time crunched adventuress, here’s our solution:

The Busy Girl’s Guide to Eat Pray Love

homecookingEAT.

This is the first stop on the book’s journey, and it should definitely be the first stop on yours. Good food fills the belly and warms the soul. If you’ve been eating salads and green juice for lunch for the past 5 years, it’s time to branch out.

 

 

  • TRY A NEW RESTAURANT EVERY WEEK. And I don’t mean a new American restaurant where you order the same chicken pot pie you’ve been ordering since your were 16. I mean a new cuisine: Indian, Polish, French, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Burmese.
  • TAKE AN ITALIAN COOKING CLASS. If you live near an Eataly, I highly suggest taking it there. If not, your local Williams Sonoma hosts cooking classes weekly!
  • LIMIT YOUR TAKE IN OF TAKE OUT. Rinse out the ol’ saucepan and give cooking a whirl. I know it’s hard when Chinese takeout is only a seamless click away, but cooking can be fun. And if you have a man in your life, cooking together can be pretty sexy.

2487291_e60843a4e7_zPRAY.

It’s not a religious thing; it’s a spiritual thing. We can get so caught up in the busy-ness (or business) of our lives that we forget to put down our phones, computers and tablets and check in with ourselves. Living at such a fast pace leaves little time for self evaluation and reflection… which is why it sometimes seems completely sane to have an internal meltdown when the lady next to you on the subway steps on your new shoes.

  • MEDITATE NIGHTLY. You don’t have to ‘ohm’ if you don’t want to, but taking 10-15 minutes each night before going to bed to relax the mind and body is great for your health. Put on some calming music, sit or lay on the floor, and breathe. Don’t think, just breathe.
  • YOGA. Yoga is wonderful. It tones the body, relaxes the mind, and releases stress and emotional pain held deep within the body. Feeling extra daring? Try a Bikram Yoga class!
  • STARE AT THE STARS. When was the last time you laid down in the grass or sand and stared at the stars? I was 10 years old. When you can get out to somewhere peaceful, take 20 minutes to stare up into the sky and think about the universe. It can make your problems feel way less terrible.

14737169709_bf3172de2f_zLOVE.

Love yourself. Love your friends. Love those around you. I wish for this portion of your journey I could recommend going to Bali and falling in love with a handsome Brazilian businessman, but I’m not so sure it always works out that magically. This part of the journey is about opening yourself up to love.

 

  • DO WHAT YOU LOVE. And you may not know what that is, yet. That’s ok! Try different activities until you find something you love. Snowboarding, pottery making, painting, writing, whatever! Find passion in your life. Passion is the key to love.
  • TAKE ‘ME’ TIME. You don’t have to double book yourself for Sunday brunch every week. Take some time to yourself -at least one day each month- to enjoy being you. Do things only you like to do, visit places only you like to go, and don’t worry about what anyone else wants or needs from you. ‘Me’ time is necessary.
  • FIND LOVE IN EVERYONE. Because there is something new to love about every person you come into contact with every day. You can love your husband’s messy hair in the morning or the sloppy way your daughter eats her breakfast or even the way your local butcher says “Hi there miss” every time you walk in the store. To live a fulfilled life is to fall in love every day. At least, that’s what I think.

 

 

Toasted Coconut Popcorn

It’s National Popcorn Day!

Who even knew that such an amazing holiday existed? Popcorn is delicious, nutritious and easy to make which is why it’s the perfect snack. Want to add a sweet twist to your regular ol’ popcorn recipe? Try this JUARA Girl Favorite:

Honey Coconut Popcorn

INGREDIENTS

-5 cups air or stove popped popcorn

-1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

-1 tablespoon organic honey

-1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

-1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

-Transfer freshly popped popcorn into a large bowl

-Add coconut oil, honey, toasted coconut and sea salt to the popcorn

-Shake to combine all of the flavors, and enjoy!

Ingredient Spotlight: Banana

Banana

A sweet, yellow fruit. An amazing addition to bread pudding.

You mash it up for your baby, so it must be good for your insides, but did you know this potassium-rich fruit can do wonders for your skin? Take a look at this impressive list of benefits:

  • Helps keep blood pressure under control
  • Naturally exfoliates the surface of the skin
  • Rich in B Vitamins = age delaying properties
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Rich in Antioxidants = free radical protection
  • Softens and conditions hair from the follicle

Impressed by all of the amazing things Banana can do for you, but not quite sure which products contain it? Here’s a quick list of my favorites:

The Body Shop Banana Conditioner $8

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JUARA Avocado Banana Moisture Mask $35

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Organic Banana Chips $19.35/ 5lb  bag

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3 Steps To The Best Bubble Bath

Bubble baths are my favorite winter activity.

And with this mother-of-all-coldfronts hitting the northeast, a nice bubble bath is at the top of my dream to-do list.  And I’m sure it’s at the top of yours, too.

Since the winter months are also the busiest time of year for most, when you do find a sliver of time for that dream bubble bath it is imperative you make it count. Get the most relaxation bang for your buck with this way easy guide to taking the BEST bubble bath of all time.

1. Create an Escape

An escape from the world, an escape from the dishes in the sink downstairs- it doesn’t matter. Your normally bright, white bathroom can turn into an island paradise with the use of a dimmer switch, candles, bluetooth speakers and some accessories.

  • If you designate certain items (a super fluffy towel or a bathmat the same color blue as the ocean water on your honeymoon) as ‘me-time’ items, you’ll feel an instant shift in mood when you bring them out.
  • If you like to read, bring a great book to the bath with you. Nothing gets you out of the worries of your own life like a good book. Afraid of getting it wet? Try designating this great bath bookstand as a ‘me-time’ item.

2. Streamline Your Scent Experience

Scents are very important to relaxation, yes, but too many different scents can leave you with more of a headache than you came in with.

  • When you find a scent you love, purchase candles, bubble bath and post-bath body cream from the same line. Not only will the line keep you from overwhelming your nostrils, it will also train your brain that this scent = relaxation. Don’t have a favorite yet? Try these three products from JUARA’s Candlenut Line to transport yourself to paradise.
  • Your signature ‘me-time’ scent should ONLY be used during relaxation time. The scent memory will aid in the relaxation process and melt your tension away.

3. Set a No Talking Timer

None of these relaxation tips will work if someone is walking into the bathroom, knocking on the door and asking you where the dryer sheets are every 5 minutes.

  • To create peace of mind and keep your housemates at bay, set a No Talking Timer for the amount of time you’d like to be left alone. Until the timer goes off, no one is allowed to bother you unless it is an absolute emergency. Have the same timer set in the bathroom with you so you can turn your mind off for a while. Having a set back-to-reality time allows your mind to relax and stop thinking about folding laundry and your big meeting tomorrow.
  • Make sure you leave enough time for relaxation from start-finish. The zen of your bubble bath can be ruined in an instant if you’re not ready for that No Talking Timer to go off. Leave time to dry off, lotion up and dress yourself at a leisurely pace.