Cliff Tops sunset photo by Julie Dodd

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park always is special for me. The wonderful views. The challenging hikes. The chance viewing of wildlife, from ravens to black bears. I experienced all of that during a recent hiking trip to the Smokies. I also enjoyed seeing so many people appreciating their time in the Smokies. […]

Castell being built in Placa del Pi

Building castells (human castles) is a Catalonian tradition dating back to the 1700s, with more than 100 people working together to build human towers that can reach six levels or even higher. I watched the castellers build their amazing castells during the Festes Sant Josep Orio in Barcelona.

Petit Gegants del Pi

The gegants (giants) are part of Barcelona’s culture and history – and are such fun to see. I was unaware of these Catalan icons until my first visit to Barcelona. After seeing photos of the gegants, I visited  La Casa del Entremesos (The Giants Museum) to see them in person. The gegants are constructed with […]

Why We Sleep book cover

As part of your approach to personal health and fitness, I’d encourage you to read or listen to Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.” Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California/Berkeley and a leading sleep researcher, explains how sleep impacts our daily lives – from driving […]

healthy food choices

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
That was the theme of a nutrition workshop led by Garreth Smoak and Elizabeth Burt to encourage healthy weight loss. Smoak, a physical therapy assistant, has written a cookbook of healthy recipes. Burt lost 70 pounds by following a new healthy eating plan. I’m sharing strategies from their workshop.

books on bookshelf

I love books and reading, but I realized that I needed to downsize my book collection. I’m offering some tips about reducing the number of books that you have.

Spin class with Santa

I’m wishing you a holiday season of good health and good cheer. Let me offer a few encouragements for your good health. I realize these suggestions can be difficult to follow because of travel, family eating traditions, and all the demands of the holidays. More activity, less sitting One of the challenges of the holidays […]