Have a happy, healthy holiday!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving officially over and the rest of the winter holidays around the corner I thought I’d do a post on how to make your holiday just a smidge bit healthier. No one wants to be counting calories or worrying about how much they eat during the holidays, especially when you’re surrounded by so much good food!

Here are three simple ways you can have a healthier holiday and still enjoy yourself :

  1. Participate in a holiday run. Yesterday morning my sister and I ran a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k but there are other runs you can sign up for around Christmas and New Years day too.

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  2. Have a colorful meal. Generally, the more color you have on your plate the more nutrients and antioxidants you’re consuming and that is good for you.
  3. Clean up! Before plopping down to watch the game or take a nap, do some cleaning! It’s a nice gesture to the host/hostess and it gets your body moving and burning at least a few extra calories. (:

Hope everyone has great holiday season!

5 Things I’m thankful for:

  1. My family and friends
  2. Cats
  3. My new iPad!
  4. That I have a job
  5. That I don’t have student loans I need to start paying off!

And soooooo much more!

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Five Things to Do: Taormina, Sicily

olivia leigh gaggiHere are my top five things to do in Taormina, Sicily:

1. Have cannoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner (:

2. Walk to Isola Bella (it means beautiful island in Italian)
The guy who sells you the ticket to walk around the island is going to make you feel like you have a special discount by saying, “for you, tickets are two euro.” Then you’re going to realize that the sign that clearly states that the price for everyone is two euros (oh, those Italian men).
While you’re there, break the rules a little and climb over the sectioned off rope to explore the parts of the island that are “forbidden” to tourists. (:

3. See the Greek theater

4. Meet new friends and make a wine cooler with rocks on the beach
SIDE-NOTE: They say “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and I think that saying should stand for anywhere you go while travelling.  So, if you feel the desire to lay out topless on a European beach – go for it. I won’t judge and it’s actually quite freeing… Plus, you won’t have to worry about tan-lines (;

5. Stay at Hostel Taormina!
The staff was super nice and helpful and told you where to get discounts in town! Plus, look at the view from the terrace!

One last thing! I didn’t get a chance to visit the Turrisi Bar while I was there, but if someone could check it out and let me know what this “famous penis collection” is about, I’d appreciate further clarification, thanks!

Friday’s focus and fairy tales

I’ve always loved fairy tales, ever since I was little. When I was three, I was a princess for Halloween and continued to wear the costume as much as I could possibly get away with after that. Now, I’m 22 and my favorite show at the moment is ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

What everyone loves about a good fairy tale, is that they give us hope. Hope that no matter how bad things may seem to be, they can get better. Hope is something everyone should have. Especially when times seem difficult in the world. There are natural disasters and crazy people on our news every day that makes it difficult to see all the good and possibilities in the world.

I do believe that there is more good in the world than bad.

This weekend don’t just try to be hopeful for yourself or the world, but be the hope for others. Talk to someone you don’t know very well, or at all. Everyone can use a friend and a simple smile at stranger could be the lift they need. Take time for others this weekend and help them see the hope in the world; Help them believe in fairy tales.

Love,
Liv

Words to Liv by

The best advice I’ve heard.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

I like these words from our First Lady as well:

“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.” -Michelle Obama

Liv’s Top 12 Workout Songs Right Now

For me, when it comes to running everything begins and ends with Cascada. Also, I love old Lil’ Wayne music, so usually my mixes include a couple of each of those artists.

Here are my favorite songs to run to currently:

  1. Every Time We Touch – Cascada 
  2. Sky Is The Limit – Lil’ Wayne
  3. It Get’s Better – Fun.
  4. Bootylicious – Destiny’s Child
  5. Die Young – Ke$ha
  6. Everybody Loves Me – One Republic
  7. Up All Night – One Direction
  8. Work Hard, Play Hard – Wiz Khalifa
  9. I Want You To Want Me – Letters to Cleo
  10. Upgrade U – Lil’ Wayne
  11. Live While We’re Young – One Direction
  12. San Francisco – Cascada

(If you click on the songs you’ll be able to listen to them on Grooveshark!)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Love,
Liv

Free Fitness and Health

“Letting down barriers to be open to existence”

I always feel better after yoga. However, when I get busy it tends to be the first thing to go. Plus, the cost of classes can add up fast, especially when you have an entry-level job and are trying to save your money!

A lot of cities have opportunities for free community group fitness classes. You just have to know where to look! Do a Google search with your city and the type of class you’re looking for. On the top of my head, I can think of two weekly free yoga classes, a couple running groups and a CrossBoot class just in the Tampa area.

This past weekend, my friend Angela and I went to a free yoga class in downtown Tampa being put on by Downtown Tampa Yoga. It was a great class on a beautiful Florida Fall evening and the perfect way to start my week!

Towards the end of the class the instructor recited this quote:

“Letting down barriers to be open to existence”

I love this because in order to live a life full of loving people and experiences, you have to be able to let down barriers and let others in.

It’s always nice to have a reminder. It helps keep your mind and heart balanced on what is most important.

Love,
Liv

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

My First Homecoming as Alumna

Earlier this month I visited Boone, N.C. for the first time since graduation last May. I had been missing college, my small college town in the mountains and most of all my friends. I hadn’t seen any of my friends from school in over four months.

I love my friends so much and I have a wonderful group of girlfriends from school. We are all scattered now which is really hard. Towards the end of my final semester I was worried that we would get distracted with our lives and find it difficult to stay in touch. I know that the older we get the more time and effort you have to put into all of your relationships in order for them to last.

I was inspired by the Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and dragged my friend, Laura with me to all the thrift stores in Boone because I insisted we were to find a pair of jeans that fit all of us so we can keep in touch like they do in the books. In reality, there are a couple problems with this. One, it’s not possible and two, even if it was, about 90 percent of jeans at thrift stores are hideous.

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About mid-summer I came up with a plan B to magical pants, a more realistic one. I started a group chat with our group of friends on Facebook. It was a perfect alternative to magical pants! We all contribute to an ongoing conversation about funny stories, dates and life updates. It also has made planning trips together so much easier.

Homecoming was our first trip and now that we all have jobs we can hopefully begin planning more. It was so good to see them all again. We had so much fun returning to our favorite bar, tailgating and going to the football game. Since I’m in Florida where we see almost no Fall, I forced myself to get up early a couple days to go for hikes and see the changing leaves in the mountains. I can’t wait to go back to Boone again and I definitely can’t wait to see all my friends again.

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It’s so strange visiting your college town. I feel like I’ve only been pretending to be a grown up! Maybe that’s why they say “fake it till you make it?” I don’t know!

Love,
Liv