Beauty Sleep

For many, many years I have had a lot of trouble falling asleep. Not sleeping, just falling asleep. Once I’m asleep, its all good. Even if I get up in the middle of the night to visit the “Little Lawyer’s Room” or to help my elderly pup use the “Little Weenie’s Room” I have no trouble falling back asleep. Its that first hour or two that I will toss and turn. My brain runs at a million miles per minute, which can be expected with my day-to-day routine and career. The hamster in my head, as I picture, is running on her wheel, doing her taxes, redesigning her kitchen, and planning her quinceanera all at the same time. I need help.

I’ve tried everything under the sun to get myself to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time excluding any prescriptions. I come from a long line of addicts who have struggled with various addictions so I have made a life commitment to try and stay away from any controlled substance that was not medically necessary.  What methods have I tried, you ask?  Let me count the ways…

I started with keeping the room dark for the last hour before I went to bed so my body could go through the cycle of producing melatonin to help me fall asleep. Fail.

I started taking melatonin supplements. At first it helped a little, but then it started to wear off no matter how much I upped the dosage.

Alcoholism wasn’t an option.

Then I turned to  turning off all “blue screened” electronics about 30 minutes to 1 hr before going to sleep. Nope.

The one thing that did help was Sleepy Time Weed, as it was known around my house. Don’t worry I only started this when medical marijuana was legalized in California, so don’t get your panties in a bunch. Also, my Grandpa knew about it, so it can’t be that bad, right? I’d meet my “dealer” (AKA the very nice guys from a delivery service) outside and exchange my cash money for something in a brown paper bag. No, I wasn’t rolling joints or doing anything cool like the kids did when I was in high school. Instead I vaped it. No pomp and circumstance here. This seemed to be a good method for getting sleep, but here’s the tricky part- although it worked for me when I was home or in the bounds of California, we also travel a lot. This put the lawyer into a very legal predicament. Do I take the chance and travel with it breaking all sorts of federal laws? I am too cute for prison. So instead when I traveled, and I know this is breaking one of my rules I stated above, I’d pop a Xanax. This was a solution, although not a good and viable solution. As you can see, I hit rock bottom and needed something healthier than smoking and dropping Xanies.

Thats when my weight loss doctor introduced me to NeuroScience Kavinace Ultra PM, a dietary supplement. Ready for some copied and pasted nerd talk? I’ve tried to explain as well as I can without a PHd. Here goes nothing… This magical supplement includes the GABA derivative, 4 amino-3-phenylbutyric acid, which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts as a GABAb agonist (a substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor). GABA is the body’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning it slows down the brain or a reaction. It also contains 5-HTP to support serotonin production, a precursor to melatonin. Serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals for regulating the sleep/wake cycles. Last, it also contains good ol’ melatonin to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promoting restful sleep. So, in a nutshell, this is like your grocery store bought melatonin supplement on steroids, which also takes care of what your body needs to do and produce before it can even effectively get to the melatonin stage.

I guess you can already guess what I am obsessing over this week- Neuroscience Kavinace Ultra PM. I have slept better than I have in a long, long time. I’ve been weed free since Thanksgiving 2018 and sleeping soundly. I take the supplement about an hour before I go to bed and wake up in the morning with no residue effect. It doesn’t “knock me out” so I am still able to hear when Audrey, my senior citizen dog, needs to powder her nose.

In addition to taking Kavinace Ultra PM, I also try to stay away from all electronics an hour before I go to bed. I have found that reading a good book helps to get my “sleepy process” started. Right now I am almost finished with “The Witch Elm” by Tanya French. Nothing like a good murder mystery to lullaby you into a great nights sleep, but it works for me!

The Chubby Traveler

Excuses, excuses.  I’m like Oprah.. You get an excuse! You get an excuse!  EVERYBODY GETS AN EXCUUUSE!  Its like a line outside a ladies bathroom- Excuses line up and wait for the bathroom door to open so the next excuse can come on in once the last excuse is done.  They range from “but it’s Shannon’s birthday” or ” I haven’t seen Ashley in awhile” or “but Amanda is going through a rough time so I need to be here for her” or “I don’t want to be THAT girl” and so on and so on… but  my numero uno of excuses is, drum roll please, TRAVEL!

It doesn’t matter if I am traveling for 24 hours or 24 days, I always take that moment to throw all the hard work out the window and pretend to be an 80 pound girl who “can’t gain an ounce no matter how hard I try” (insert eye roll here).  Recently this happened to me, and its going to happen to me again in a few weeks when I am on to the next adventure if I don’t get my metaphorical shit together.

In the past, my thought has been “well I don’t know if I will ever come back to INSERT TOWN, CITY, COUNTRY, WHATEVER HERE so I need to make sure to immerse myself into as much of the culture as possible”- i.e. eat and drink everything I can, plus some.  That’s all good, until you and your boyfriend have created the #GyroADay Challenge while you are in Greece for 15 days.   Count it, that’s 15 GYROS, 1-5.  Sure, your boyfriend whose family is Scandinavian and Eastern European can indulge since he went on a run last month and that takes care of him gaining any weight for the year, but not for the girl whose family is Italian and gains a pound looking at someone else eat pasta.  This leads me to wonder “how do people that travel for a living continue to look great in every photo they post on Instagram or their travel blog?”  Look, I know photoshop can do wonders, but they are bloggers not Kim K.  That stuff is expensive.

So today, Friday, September 7th, 2018, I am exactly 20 days until we go on our next culinary, I mean- cultural adventure.  At the end of the month we head off to New York City, home to Eataly, I mean- home to the Statue of Liberty and the bright lights of Time Square.  “N-Y-Ceeeeee. Just here this morning. Three Bucks!  Two Bags!  One Dreammmmm….” (Annie the musical. No, not the movie, the MUSICAL) I digress.  So I did some digging to get some advice….

First, I started with some of my friends who I know travel a lot, whether it was for something creative like photography or writing their own travel blog.  Here are some tips that I got from my network of kick ass people:

Where in the Blonde? by Megan Gagnon “Europe today… where in the blonde tomorrow?” God, I love a good tag line.  I met Megan a few years back through some of my friends in law school.  She’s lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and most recently moved South of the Border.  This beautiful blonde walks every where and believes in lots of h20, “If there’s a church steeple to climb, I do it.  I think walking tours are key!  I also get a huge liter and half water bottle and make sure I drink two of them during the day to counter my drinking… I don’t like to monitor my diet while traveling so exercise is where its at.”

Make sure to check out her blog at: and her instagram can be found at @whereinintheblonde

Sean MacCuish, Photographer / Designer:  I’ve known Sean for many years. He was my roommate back in LA about 10 years ago, and he is one of the most creative guys I know.  It doesn’t matter if its photography, designing clothing, or even painting and designing surfboards (yes, you read that right- surfboards).  Sean admits that its very easy to stay healthy when you are traveling for work because most hotels now have great gyms, but only when you take the time to use the gyms. Yet “eating out can be tricky on the road, especially in smaller cities.  You don’t have access to healthy take-out food as often.  It takes planning and prep.” Recently, Sean and his girlfriend bought a van, completely renovated it, and traveled across the country.  During their month and a half journey, they stopped at great locations taking some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen (you definitely have to check out this instagram for the photos, info below).  While traveling in the van, “we had our share of unhealthy meals but whenever we had the chance we’d prep healthy snacks and meals for a few days out.” Their favorite healthy snacks are cacao energy bites and almond butter balls.  If he’s makin’ those I may need to get the recipes! I know he is a good cook!

You can find some of Sean’s great work at and on his instagram @seanryanmac

Great advice: walk, lots of water, and prep some healthy snacks when you can.  So far I am liking that no one has said they stay away from the local cuisine.  So I decided to dig into this more, and looked for more advice…. to the GOOGLES!

The Road Les Traveled by Lesley Murphy:  Many of you may remember Lesley from the Bachelor and Winter Games, but everyone should follow her on instagram at @lesleyannemurphy.  She is inspirational and one of my favorite alums from the franchise (my #1 is reserved for someone very special to me. Oh, you know who you are…).  Lesley’s blog has some great health resources.  For example:  ways to use your hotel room as a gym, her favorite exercise videos (with photos of her even working out in her PJs, she is my type of girl),  keeping up her 4 days a week of exercise while away, and a guide to running on the beach (start on hard wet sand then move your way to the more dry sand).

Lesley’s website can be found at:

PsychoTraveller by Aly: Aly doesn’t just talk travel, but about a way of life.  She emphasizes living your life the way that you want it.  Aly is located in England and gives great advice on things to do and how to get there.

Aly’s website can be found at:

The Blonde Abroad by Kiersten:  I must have a thing for blonde travelers?  This California native gives you travel tips, packing guides and much, much more.  Her blog is the “go to blog” for solo-female travelers.  After taking a break from her corporate job, she made the decision to leave it all and travel.  She  even allows other women to collaborate on her website to give their own tips on travel.  Bad ass.

Kiki’s website can be found at:

Alright, I know at this moment you are all on the edge of your seats, screaming!  The moment you’ve all been waiting for…. Based on the research I have done and the advice I have been given, below you will find…

“This Chubby Traveler’s Top 10 Travel Commandments”

  1. Eat local cuisine, but do it in moderation and be reasonable.
  2. Make sure to carve out time to work off those local delicacies.
  3. Once you indulge on a local delicacy make sure to stay near the lighter side of the menu for the rest of the day.
  4. Walk, walk, walk- this is a great way to see a new city.  Is there a great place to explore and hike?  Even better!
  5. If you don’t or can’t use the local city as your “gym”, make sure to workout first at your hotel before exploring. That way its over and done with and doesn’t get forgotten.  Remember, no more excuses. Tell them to take a hike!  (See what I did there?)
  6. Live by this- Bike over Car, but Walk over Bike.
  7. Again, if you use your hotel gym make sure to plan short, high intensity workouts so you don’t feel like you are missing out on your holiday.  A lot of great examples can be found online or “there’s an app for that!” Take a look at Aaptiv, Grokker, Apple, even ol’ trustworthy Youtube.  Thank God for technology.  Helps with the no excuses theme I’ve been throwing around a lot.
  8. Keep your “at home” workout routine/schedule, but with fun and new exercises.  Maybe check out a local gym or studio? If you are going to dive into local culture, don’t just stick to food and drink- why not learn a new workout craze!
  9. Pack some healthy snacks from home.
  10. And the Golden Rule… Remember and repeat to yourself #nodaysoff

Usually at the end of each blog I ask you to try something new, but here I am going to make another commitment to you.  When I go to the lake next weekend AND when I go to New York at the end of the month, I am going to live by  “This Chubby Traveler’s Top 10 Travel Commandments” and put them to practice.  Because like the Golden Rules says #nodaysoff.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 159.4LBS, Chest 37.25, Under Boob 30.5, Belly Button 33.25, Below Hips 38.75, Largest Part of Butt 42.  Considering my weekend away, this isn’t bad and there was muscle gain.  Wahoo.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “A Life That’s Good” by the Nashville Cast

Two arms around,
Heaven to ground me,
And a family to always call me home,
Four wheels to get there,
Enough love to share,
And a sweet, sweet, sweet song
At the end of the day,
Lord, I pray,
I have a life that’s good
Sometimes I’m hard on me,
When dreams don’t come easy,
I wanna look back and say,
I did all that I could.