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How to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise

How to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise_Alaska Celebrity Cruises

How To Pack Confidently For An Alaskan Cruise

If you’re anything like me and freeze at the thought of packing for the unknown (or even just packing in general), join the club. Never have I been as far North as Alaska and when the time came to pack, I froze. It throws you for a loop when you’re told “it’s summer in Alaska but you’ll be around ice, snow, sea and sun. Oh and bring a swimsuit.” Lucky for you, I learned from my recent Alaskan cruise how to pack confidently and can share my tips on how to survive this packing fiasco. Head into the last frontier knowing you’ll have all the required necessities.

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12 Must Do Things At Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Seattle Pike Place Market Farmers Market Washington
Seattle Pike Place Market Farmers Market Washington

12 Must Do Things At Seattle’s Pike Place Market

1. Rub Rachel the Piggy Bank – Located under the iconic neon Public Market Center sign is a giant copper pig. Feel free to rub it, ride it or drop a few coins inside. The piggy bank takes donations for the Pike Place Market Foundation and supports social services in the neighborhood.

2. Catch A Fish By Hand – One of the big draws at the market is the chance to catch a fish from the local vendors. If you don’t trust your own butter fingers with a slimy fish, just watch the vendors do it as they yell orders back and forth.

3. Sample Your Way Through the Market – Walk up to one of the seafood vendors and ask for a small sample of salmon. Your taste buds have never tasted something so fresh. Ship some home if you like! Don’t forget to try all the fruit!

4. Visit the Original Starbucks – If you are a Starbucks fan, check out the original Starbucks store. It’s nothing fancy but it does come with some bragging rights. Be prepared for a 30 minute wait in line. 
Note – the original original Starbucks was at a different location 5 years earlier.

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Health & Wellness

Into The Deep. My First Float Tank Experience.

I cautiously lifted the hatch door and one by one slowly dipped my toes into the warm murky water. It was as if I was stepping into a futuristic glowing space capsule. As I crouched down, I pulled the door closed behind me. I decided to fully experience the pod and completely close it from any outside distractions. I thought to myself “Goodbye world, I knew I shoulda left my parents a note of my whereabouts.”

The one foot of water slowly crept up the sides of my naked body and lifted me into what felt like weightlessness. It was like the Dead Sea, I couldn’t sink if I tried! The salty water almost had a slick texture as I ran my hand down my arm to the stinging paper-cuts on my fingertips. I laid my head back and looked up at the top of the pod. Water immediately flooded my ears. So much for the ear plugs that I obviously didn’t put in very well. The pod wasn’t claustrophobic at all. I’ve had it much worse riding middle seat on a plane. Just in case, I kept the purple hued light glowing. I wasn’t ready for the complete darkness. I paused and waited for the alien ship to beam me up and into the deep I went.

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Four Unique Hiking Adventures Near Anchorage, Alaska


Four Unique Hiking Adventures Near Anchorage, Alaska
Explore Areas within Minutes of The Anchorage Airport with Knight S.

Your afternoon flight lands in Anchorage, Alaska and your boots are itching to hit the trails. But where can you go in such a short window of time? Alaska is very large and expansive state. It would be impossible to see most of this beautiful state without a lot of free time and resources because only 20% of Alaska is accessible by road. You’d have to know someone that can fly a plane or book yourself onto a cruise ship. But there are still a few great options to take advantage of within one hour of the Anchorage, Alaska airport if all you have are your own two feet, four wheels and  a couple hours. Take a step outside the city and you’ll find yourself in a whole new land.

But first, let me introduce you to my fellow globe trotting friend Knight. I met Knight via the world wide web during my Xanga blogging days. He’s a fellow adventure lover and free spirit that you can’t keep cooped up for too long. He was one of a few people that I really connected with and almost 12 year later, we still keep in touch.

On my family’s recent trip to Alaska (for a cruise), I finally got the chance to meet Knight in person. I mean really, what were the chances he was in Alaska and free the one day I was?? I know, the coincidence was too good to pass up. So we chatted for a couple hours (after I saw he wasn’t a serial killer….just kidding!) and later decided to hit the road and drive into the midnight sun. It was like we knew each other but didn’t. The conversation flowed and the exploration commenced. It was a weird collision of worlds.

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Standup Paddle Board Bloopers – Santa Fe Lake

My sister Andrea and I took to the standup paddle boards again. It just wouldn’t be summer without it!  Santa Fe Lake in Kansas may not be the Caribbean but it’s better than nothing. It’s a great excuse for a lot of upper body exercise, stability work and the occasional swim. We don’t claim to be professionals AT ALL so we turned it into a blooper reel with zero seriousness. Enjoy!

If you would like to SUP in Kansas and embarrass yourself like we have, check out Flatwater Fitness for times, locations and pricing.

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Essential Oils

Five Gift Ideas To Spoil Mom This Mother’s Day


Moms give everyday to the needs and wants of their families. Spoil the mother in your life with a day of her own with these five gift ideas that’ll make her feel re-energized, relaxed, loved and ready to conquer another day. These gifts are almost as good as giving her a giant bear hug!

1. Water Bottle with Lemon Vitality
This beautifully etched glass water bottle is perfect for an on the go mom that is trying to get her 8 cups of H2o in on the daily! She can stash it in her car, purse or keep it at work. Fill it with fruits for like strawberries, blueberries or cucumbers. Plus, with the bottle, she’ll get a Lemon VitalityTM oil to instantly bring flavor to any water.

2. DIY Bath Salts
We all know how hard it is to get a little alone time. After a long hard day, let mom get away to a 20 minute essential oil filled bath. Combine 2 cups of sea salt or epsom salts (or a mix of the two) with 15-30 drops of an essential oil. Try lavender for relaxation, spearmint for energizing and eucalyptus to soothe achy muscles and open sinus passages. After a bath like that, she’ll come back a new woman!

3. Home Diffuser with Custom Essential Oil Blend
A new home diffuser is always fun to have around the house. Does she already have one? Now she can have them in different rooms! Or perhaps replace a not so well working store bought one with one that is powerful enough to fill a larger area. Diffusers are a great way to create a spa-like atmosphere wherever you take it. This gift can be made extra special with a custom springtime blend. This diffuser comes with 5-ml bottles of Peppermint and Tangerine essential oils.

4. Stress Away Roll-On
Any of these roll-on blends are like gold in the pocket. But Stress Away oil has a unique light blend of Vanilla, Lime and Copaiba for a relaxing fragrance that one will crave whenever life gets a bit crazy. The roller bottle fits in a purse, pocket, kids backpack or any other small space. Roll it on wrists or behind the ears before bed for a great sleepy time routine. Like I said, gold in the pocket.

4. Infused 7
Infused 7 is a boxed kit of seven therapeutic-grade essential oils that brings together personal and professional development principles with the seven F’s –  Fitness, Finance, Family, Field (Career), Faith, Friends and Fun. Life is complex and always changing but we always want life to be balanced in these seven areas. Each blend has been formulated to help you connect on a spiritual and physical level as you take action towards your dreams. Gift this to a mom that wants to see more balance in the different areas of her life.



Stress Away

Some moms can be hard to buy for but there isn’t a woman who can’t deny the chance to be pampered. Buy it for her or buy it for yourself. Leave a comment below and let me know which one you’d want to give mom! Have any questions or want more information on essential oils, feel free to email me at christy(at)thechristinmarie.com.

Interested in getting a Premium Starter Kit or becoming a Young Living member? Click here for more info!
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Reverie | What Is Coffee Cupping?

Reverie Roasters, Coffee Cupping Class, Wichita Kansas, Coffee Shops

As a coffee lover and a frequent coffee shop visitor, I was excited to see that a local cafe, Reverie Roasters, was starting to offer some legit educational classes in their updated “Tasting Lair” located up above the main cafe. I rushed at the chance and signed up for a one of their many Caffeinated Lab classes, specifically their cupping class. I might as well fashion my taste buds and become a bit of a coffee snob and ruin any future chances of enjoying other places terrible coffee ever again! I kid. I actually welcome the chance to learn something new and developing a more educated coffee palate (pinkies up!). But what in the world did I sign up for? What is coffee cupping? All I knew was that it involved sniffing, slurping and spitting. You think I’m kidding? Sniff. Slurp. Spit!

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Travel Video

Puerto Rico Yoga Retreat – Part 2

Utuado Puerto Rico Yoga Retreat Casa Grande Mountain Retreat_Pool Palm Trees
This past October I went on a trip that at one point I only dreamed about through a couple photos I had saved in a drawer. I had wanted a trip that involved some kind of physically challenging activity. I wanted to go do it on my own, make new friends, feel a sense of peace and boost my confidence and self esteem. When the words “Utuado, Puerto Rico Yoga Retreat” came across my screen, I knew I had found the perfect escape with all the right ingredients.

The first day of the yoga retreat was themed Earth and it defiantly was the most memorable. I’m talking all kinds of surprises in the Puerto Rican jungles. If you haven’t read it yet, you have to check out Part 1! Days 3-5 were themed Water, Fire and Air. The theme of water sounded like a good time but fire? I guess we’ll see!

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Travel Video

Puerto Rico Yoga Retreat – Part 1

©Christin Gnad_Utuado Puerto Rico Yoga Retreat Casa Grande Mountain Retreat_Hammock JungleA magazine article read “A Road Trip Down Puerto Rico’s La Ruta Panoramica” with a subhead promising a rugged 167 mile “scenic route” that leads to waterfalls, coffee plantations and a wild side of the island you won’t forget. The images were of adult tree houses set in the jungle, horses on the side of the road, green landscapes and delicious coffee. I said to myself “This looks fun! I want to do this one day!” So I cut out the photos and saved them deep within my dresser drawer.

“Waterfalls, coffee plantations and a wild side of the island you won’t forget”

That was five years ago. Fast forward to today and I’m looking for a trip with two requirements. 1) It had to have some kind of fitness aspect because moving my body always puts me in a good mood and yet it would be a challenge. 2) Go solo. I wanted to prove to myself that I could! I wanted something that would boost my self esteem, build confidence and I could say “hey I did that all by my awesome self!” I wanted to step outside my crippling comfort zone.

I casually searched online for a few months and nothing really caught my attention till one day an image showed up along side the words “Utuado, Puerto Rico Yoga Retreat.” It was THE porched-in tree house hotel with heavenly hammocks and jungle covered mountain tops that looked so very similar to a certain article I cut out years before! Now who says dream boards don’t work?!

I’m defiantly not a yogi by any means so this seemed a bit of a stretch (no pun intended)! But this retreat was unresistible. Perfect price, perfect timing and in a perfect location. The universe set this one up just for me. I took it as a sign and BOOKED!

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