Monthly Archives: November 2016

Best Budget Beaches

Living on a budget, but still craving a beach vacation? Luckily, the 2 are not mutually exclusive — but you do have to plan wisely. Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.

Shop discount booking sites such as Liberty Travel, Apple Vacations, and

Buy a package of air, hotel and rental car. You usually pay less than you would if you purchased the components separately. Check the companies listed above for deals, plusExpedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and individual airline sites. Just be sure to do the math before you click.

Check the official tourism sites of the state, island or region you want to visit. Many feature sections offering discounts on lodging, dining, activities and more.

Think outside the hotel box. Vacation Rentals by Owners and Craigslist eliminate the middleman, and B&B-cum-social-networking sites like and iStopOver offer wide selections of rooms at bargain rates. Many hostels [] now offer private rooms and cushy amenities, and some are located in prime beach destinations. For the truly frugal, there’s Couchsurfing, andHospitality Club, whose members offer up their sofas or spare bedrooms for free. Checking references is key.

Focus on towns or regions that feature low-key cottages and motels, or are near state and national seashores. Instead of Miami Beach, for example, try the Florida Panhandle; instead of Santa Monica, try California’s Huntington Beach; instead of Cape Cod, try Rhode Island’s South County. Info on each is below, along with a couple more of our favorite budget-friendly strands.

Emotional processing as an important part of the wildlife viewing experience

 Visitors to parks, protected areas and other natural settings are commonly awed by big mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and turquoise green lakes, yet often it is the chance sighting of a wild animal that ignites a feeling of excitement and passion.

This research examined wildlife viewing experiences in the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks to identify which factors contribute to a meaningful wildlife viewing experience and to explore the value and meaning of that experience. Using a qualitative research approach designed to elicit rich descriptions of wildlife viewing experiences, key factors such as proximity and species emerged as important aspects which contribute to meaningful wildlife experiences and which are consistent with previous research.

More importantly, however, was that making meaningful experiences appears to be a result of the emotional connections that are associated with a wildlife encounter and the emotional processing of that experience. This finding suggests that truly meaningful wildlife experiences may be developed through a series of stages from pre-encounter, to the actual encounter, to post-encounter and finally, longer-term reflection.

Consequently, managers of parks and protected areas may choose to pay greater attention to visitors’ emotional connections with wildlife and use these relationships to facilitate more meaningful visitor experiences.

Management implications

1. The information obtained in this study demonstrates that visitor interactions with wildlife are important in creating meaningful nature experiences.
2. If park and protected area managers can encourage and enhance such types of experiences, several positive benefits may include such as increased visitation, positive economic impacts, and increased awareness, concern and efforts towards education and conservation.
3. Potential strategies include encouraging visitors to make an emotional connection with the wildlife they encounter and developing ways in which they can reflect on those experiences.
4. Additionally, managers can aid visitors in continuing to process their experiences after they occur.

7 Tips to Get You Running Again

 There is nothing like a run outdoors to reduce stress and improve your mood. The combination of breathing in fresh air and getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping seems to cleanse your mind and body. No matter how hard it is to get out the door and get started, after you are done, don’t you always seem to feel much better?  After a break from running, easing back into it is important. I have compiled some of my favorite tactics for getting back out running!

1. Mentally Prepare
Stop making excuses! Coming back from a break is tough, but rather than talking yourself out of it — talk yourself into it. Remind yourself how much better you will feel once you get out there, and how your body will thank you. You may even want to list the benefits in a place where you will easily be reminded to get running! I recommend writing some Post-It notes, and sticking them on your bathroom mirror and the door of your fridge.

2. Ease into It
If you’ve been parked on the couch over the last few months, begin your exercise routine slowly with a 30-minute brisk walk.  Or alternate 1-2 minutes of running with 1-2 minutes of walking to avoid injury.

3. Schedule It
Like any other meeting or appointment, take a look at your calendar, and schedule your runs. It’s easy to let the days slip away and convince yourself you don’t have time or that you’ll do it tomorrow. Make running a priority, today.

4. Make It Fun
Plan to try a new route you want to explore, or revisit an old one you love. Map it out, and get psyched. Creating a great music playlist or inviting a running buddy along can help inspire you. Running with a friend is a great way to catch up rather than spending an hour sitting on a couch or bar stool!

5. Prepare Your Gear
Pick up a new article of running apparel that you are excited to wear, and lay out your clothing the night before so you don’t have to think about it. Also, make sure you have shoes with good stability to avoid injuries. If you skip the run, you will have to face your clothing and your awesome kicks staring you down.

6. Write and Record
Write down your goals, and take action. After each run, write down where you went, how you felt, the temperature. I even add a few notes on how I was dressed in certain temperatures, so I can reference in the future.  There is nothing worse than being over or under-dressed – you want to be as comfortable as possible. Plus, recording your progress allows you to see your accomplishments which is a huge motivator.

7. Change Your Diet
Changing your diet will also make getting back into running easier. Natural, whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains, will give you all the fuel you need to get back into running. Fuel with a small snack like a banana half an hour before running, and don’t forget you hydrate.  If you run in the mornings, here is an idea for great post-workout breakfast.

Physical, Social, Emotional & Intellectual Benefits of Outdoor Recreation

 Outdoor recreation is enjoyable for men, women and children of all ages. Performing physical exercise while outdoors provides a way to get outside and enjoy your natural surroundings. Aside from breathing fresh air and discovering nature’s many wonders, the outdoors provides various activities to keep you wanting to go back outside for more. The benefits of outdoor recreation are endless and will help keep you and your family physically and mentally healthy.

Better Body

Outdoor recreation provides a multitude of advantageous physical activities that may be performed in solitude, with several friends and family members, or with your local recreational sports team. Sports such as hiking, canoeing, swimming, racket and ball sports and numerous other physical activities give you more choices for enjoyable exercise, which is likely to keep you motivated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense activity every week.

Social Benefits

Adults and children alike benefit socially from outdoor physical activity. Participating in sports and recreation provides kids to seniors with an opportunity to meet and build relationships with others. Participating on a team will help you to form lasting friendships with people who share your passion for outdoor recreation.

Feel Good Factor

Physical activity helps reduce stress and prevents some cases of depression. Exercise reduces anxiety, and consistent activity provides more relief for anxiety and depression. Better self-esteem often results from consistent recreation, partially due to a decrease in stress and to the overall feeling of well-being that occurs from regular aerobic exercise. Breathing fresh air in a natural, serene environment also helps many people to relax and reduce stress and anxiety.

Mind and Movement

Studies show that people who exercise regularly experience longer, deeper, more restful sleep. Better sleep results in more energy and alertness the following day, allowing better concentration and ability to think on higher levels. Along with better rest and rejuvenation for your body during the night, regular physical activity that reduces stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression will help you to concentrate more during the day.