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My favorite time of day during our vacation in Jamaica was sunset.

Unfortunately, the first day we arrived I missed sunset because I passed out cold on the beach in sheer exhaustion. But each day after that my favorite thing to do in the evenings was shower, change into comfy clothes and have a cocktail on the beach as I watched the sunset.

Sunset was the time of the day when I didn’t need to be reading, listening to music, swimming or going for walks. The activity on the beach slowed and after a long day in the sun I felt relaxed,  happy and so grateful to be in such beautiful surroundings with someone I love.

I don’t slow down very often to appreciate the moment that I’m in and I found myself doing that a lot in Jamaica.

I took a lot of “pauses” to soak it all in and create mental memories. My life has been so crazy and busy lately that I really wanted to be able to take home the feeling of the peace and contentment that I experienced during our vacation.

A lot of you ask me how I fit it all in between working full-time, teaching commitments, the blog and my marriage and social life. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how I pull it off but I’m so ridiculously happy with the direction that my life is taking right now that I just keep pushing forward. There are definitely days when I feel like I just can’t keep going at this pace but I don’t know what I would possibly give up.

I feel extremely blessed to have a good job, a strong passion for health and fitness, good friends and a loving and supportive family. It’s taken quite a while for me to feel like my life has a clear direction and purpose but I think I have finally found it.

Despite long days and busy schedules, I can’t even believe all of the amazing opportunities that have come my way since getting settled in Charlotte. I am so thankful that I had time to slow down and reflect on all of this while we were in Jamaica.

When do you slow down and take stock of your life? Is there a certain time of day that inspires you?

Happy Friday friends! Enjoy the long weekend! (And thanks for letting me be mushy.)

I posted a Beach Yoga album on Facebook!

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Megan@eatmybeets May 26, 2011, 10:37 pm

    ahh sooo jealous! Your vacation looks absolutely amazing!!

  • 2
    Kayli (Running on Sunshine) May 26, 2011, 11:14 pm

    Great post and great photos!
    Oddly, my favorite slowdown time is first thing in the morning. I usually get up really early- the world is calm and quiet and I have that rare feeling of being “ahead of the game”. I run, stretch, sip coffee, and enjoy my bowl of oats while watching the sun rise. ahhh…

    • 3
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:52 pm

      kayli – i get the first thing in the morning thing. when i’m not on vacation that is definitely the time of day i enjoy the most!

      have a great weekend!

  • 4
    Alaina May 26, 2011, 11:46 pm

    What beautiful pictures!! I could use a tropical vacation soon.

    When I worked in Harvard Square, I loved walking through the square before my shift at 7AM. Everything was calm, I’d be sipping my pumpkin latte and just taking it all in. Those were always my favorite mornings. 🙂

    • 5
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:53 pm

      alaina – there is something special about being in a usually busy setting when it’s quiet. mmm pumpkin lattes 🙂

  • 6
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad May 27, 2011, 7:56 am

    great post jen! those sunsets are unreal. i take stock and think about all the things i’m grateful for during a run. the longer the run, the more appreciative i feel. i guess it goes along with the whole “zoning out”.
    have a great weekend!

    • 7
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:54 pm

      kristy – i can totally relate to the long runs. i commented this below to emma too but i think that on long runs your body gets tired and doesn’t fight away emotions as much. i get that feeling at the end of long, hard yoga practices too.

      i hope you enjoy your weekend too!

  • 8
    Brittney May 27, 2011, 8:29 am

    Gorgeous pictures Jen! I need a week like that. So glad you got a chance to stop and appreciate the moment 🙂

  • 9
    Becky May 27, 2011, 8:52 am

    What a beautiful vacation and an opportunity to be in the moment with your husband, reflecting on your life. It’s sounds like you are exactly where you should be right now. Cheers to that happiness!

  • 10
    Becca B May 27, 2011, 8:55 am

    amazing photos! I am a morning person for sure. early morning workouts, getting to work before anyone else so I can focus and get a lot done, and enjoy being distracted as the rets of the day gets in the way later on!

  • 11
    Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) May 27, 2011, 9:10 am

    Gorgeous post- the pictures and the words. As I get older (27 isn’t OLD, but as each year goes by) I try to focus more and more on soaking in moments and creating mental snap shots. So glad you got some time to relax and reflect in beautiful Jamaica!

  • 12
    Jen May 27, 2011, 9:14 am

    What lovely pictures! So glad you two had a great time and you got to take it all in.

    I think you shared a very important lesson: to be happy with your own life, you have to put in a lot of hard work! 🙂

    • 13
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:50 pm

      jen – that is SUCH a great point. i definitely feel like i’ve put a lot of work in to get where i am but it is all worth it! 😛

  • 14
    Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) May 27, 2011, 9:24 am

    LOVE this!! I’ve always wondered how you managed it all too haha! On long runs was when I would think and take stock of life and think about how much I have to be grateful for! 🙂

    • 15
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:49 pm

      i find that a lot of emotions come up for me during long runs too. lots of time to think and your body is so tired it can’t fight it! 😉 happy weekend emma!

  • 16
    Sara May 27, 2011, 9:29 am

    i LOVE this post. i feel the same way since moving to charlotte about 3 years ago. there’s definitely something about this city that inspires!

    • 17
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:48 pm

      agreed!!!!!! i’m so happy here.

  • 18
    Katie May 27, 2011, 9:31 am

    Hey Jen! I’ve been reading through your older posts the last few days (just came across your blog), and I love it all! You are an inspiration. I have a passion for yoga that is growing every time I get on the mat. It’s a shame that I can’t practice it more (money and time). But, someday, when it feels right, I want to get my certification. I have also started to pick up running. I am going to be doing some 5ks this summer and a half in the fall. I can’t wait!

    Keep the great posts coming…you are a breath of fresh air to my google reader!

    ps: i have been making your broiled cheese sandwiches and they are so good!

    • 19
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:48 pm

      Katie – thank you so much for your comment. I’m so happy that you found me and are enjoying my blog!

      I’m always especially happy to hear from fellow yoga enthusiasts. I totally feel you on the expense of yoga and the time commitment required to get to the studio and practice – it can be challenging! The great thing about yoga is that you can practice at home though. Do you have a home practice? If not, it might be something to explore. It can really deepen your practice.

      Have a great weekend!

      • 20
        Katie May 28, 2011, 1:07 pm

        I’ve done videos, but I can’t stand the repetitiveness of them (for example, the person saying the same thing and just the obviousness that it isn’t real). Are there any great sites that I could get a home practice from?

  • 21
    Kamaile May 27, 2011, 10:39 am

    Beautiful pictures! I love the early morning to meditate for at least 10 minutes. In my mind I take myself to the beach in Hawaii or anywhere that makes me feel peaceful. I end my meditation with thinking of all the things I am grateful for.

    • 22
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:45 pm

      I love that you meditate in the mornings. I really want to add meditation to my routine but it’s so hard for me for some reason.

      Have a great weekend!

  • 23
    Angie (Losing It and Loving It) May 27, 2011, 10:57 am

    Negril has the best sunsets! I’m so glad you took the time to relax on your vacation. Such pretty pictures that bring me back there. We will miss this year (cue the tears) but it will make it even better in 2012.

    Absolutely beautiful beach yoga photos.

    Life IS good!

    • 24
      Jen May 27, 2011, 1:46 pm

      Angie – I thought about you so much while we were there! Glad you enjoyed the pictures. I’m going to do a full review of the resort this weekend!

      Have a great weekend!

  • 25
    Sarah May 27, 2011, 8:00 pm

    Hi Jen, just wanted to let you know that I also have recently found your blog and have been enjoying reading about your journey!

    I had googled recipes and found your sinfully delicious grilled chicken/bacon/cheese recipe, and was so pleasantly surprised to find that you are an avid runner and workout fanatic like myself! 🙂 I admire and am inspired by your dedication to taking care of yourself and finding happiness and balance in your life.

    Personally, I know I’m on the right path in life, and I hope that I can find that same utter joy and happiness that you have found!


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