Author Archives: Julie Dodd

lavender bike and lavender

Willamette Valley Lavender Festival

The Willamette Valley Lavender Festival was a treat for the senses with fields of purples and a range of fragrances. The two-day event (the second weekend in July each year) included more than a dozen lavender farms near Portland that were open to the public. At Mountainside Lavender Farm, the fields of lavender stretched for […]

hikers at Alum Cave

National Park hiking tips

A recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a wonderful time of hiking and enjoying nature. I first started hiking in the Smokies with my parents and had my first camping experiences and backpacking trip with my Girl Scout troop. My time on the trails and in the Sugarlands Visitor Center on […]

Cliff Tops sunset photo by Julie Dodd

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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

Castellers build human towers

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

Gegants perform in Barcelona festival

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

You need to sleep — but do you want others monitoring your sleep?

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

Tips for healthy eating

“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.