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Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Generous Curves and Clothes That Fit

    Tailors of Hoi An

    Hoi An is known for its inexpensive tailor shops , where the tourists spend their money on fancy suits and dresses fit to order.  A souvenir to wear next summer at your niece’s wedding and say “I had it made in Vietnam.”

    I had a suit made a couple of years ago when I was in Beijing. It was dumb of me to choose a suit, since I haven’t worn a suit since I left my job. So that lovely hand tailored grey suit sits in storage.

    In Cambodia wearing my favorite linen pants.

    Instead,  here in Vietnam, I thought I might consider duplicating a couple of pieces of travel clothing that work really well for me.

    Now that we have been on the road for a while, I find myself falling back on my tried and true pieces – many of which I have had for decades and have traveled around the world with me on many trips.

    New pants in royal blue

    I’m a big fan of linen for travel, at least when traveling in hot climates.  Although it wrinkles in the suitcase, as soon as you put it on the wrinkles fall out.  With me on this trip I have two long sleeve linen blouses, one short-sleeve and one sleeveless. I also have one linen dress and one linen sundress.  In addition I have two pairs of drawstring cropped pants that I wear over and over and over.

    I’ve been keeping my eye out in shops here for something similar I could pick up cheap.  For me, however, the problem is always my “junk”.  I’m endowed with a delight “full” derrière which often makes its abundant presence known when I’m

    My fav linen dress

    shopping for clothes.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love and accept my body as it is. And in the words of Meghan Trainor “I can shake it shake it, like I’m supposed to do.”

    However, off the rack clothes in teeny tiny Vietnamese sizes are just not for me in all my glory.

    So instead of having something fancy made, I took

    Redesigned linen dress minus the sleeves

    my tried and true pants and one of my loose dresses to the tailor and had them make me new ones in a different color.

    My hot pink linen dress was duplicated as a sleeveless bright yellow chemise and I added a royal blue pair of drawstring pants to my collection.  I expect you will see me wearing both of these items a lot in photos in the months ahead. I spent $50 to have them made.

    I should mention the first tailor I went to wanted $125. I walked out.  We ended up at Tâm Thu, a small shop in the heart of old town.

    My son had a beautiful suit made for $85.  He has a wedding to go to next fall and he had nothing to

    My son looking pretty handsome in his new duds

    wear. He also had a custom pair of leather shoes made for $35. He will look super “fly” at the wedding.

    But for me my Fabulous Fifties Life calls for casual, loose and comfy. Not to mention practical, packable and posterior pleasing!



    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Thailand – Final Days

    Chapter Five – Three Weeks in Hua Hin

    Staying in one place for three weeks has been great. I don’t think I have felt this healthy and relaxed in…well…maybe never.

    Although Hua Hin does not have the most beautiful beaches in Thailand  (Phuket and Koh Samui both had clearer and more blue water) we have really grown to love it here.  Our little condo has been perfect (and cheap – $40 a night). Easy walk to the beach and a fabulous pool big enough to swim laps in. This has has been a plus. I have also made good use of the equipment in the exercise room.

    Funny though how different it feels than the night we arrived three weeks ago in the middle of a monsoon.  All the roads were underwater and trying to get to our condo seemed nearly impossible.  Remembering what it looked like when we ventured out for a walk the first few days – it’s not even the same place. The storm surge had flooded the beachfront restaurants. The high surf had washed in millions of shells and jelly fish. The roads and sidewalks were lakes and access to stores or taxis was impossible. Restaurants were closed. For the first few days we lived on food from the 7-11.

    It was kind-of-an adventure.

    But now we know the real Hua Hin; the night market and the weekend markets and the Songthaew, and the vendors. We met lots of guests at our condo from all over the world (we are the only Americans). We have been spoiled by the great staff as well as the owner of our condo (Autumn Condo if you ever find yourself in Hua Hin).

    We’ve eaten in most nights, in an effort to be frugal and also to be  “normal”.  And healthy.  I hope I have lost a few pounds – given all the exercise.

    But it’s time to go.  On to the next adventure in Southeast Asia (Chapter Five) – Vietnam.  We won’t have a chance to spend three weeks in one place while in Vietnam. In fact the longest we stay in one place now until May is 9 days.  I’m sure by the time May rolls around we will be ready to sit still for awhile.

    So, if you aren’t bored yet with My Fab Fifties Life Grand Adventure I hope you are ready for four weeks in Vietnam, one week in Laos and six weeks in New Zealand – this will take us through April.

    Come along! It’s fun having you follow!

    NOTE – We expect Facebook, Twitter and Word Press (our blog is Word Press) to be difficult and possibly impossible in Vietnam.  We won’t know for sure until we get there.  Please follow us on Instagram which we understand is a little easier.


    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Out Of The Way And Worth It

    Chapter Five

    As a special treat on my birthday we decided to rent a car for the day and get out of the city.

    I’m so glad we did. We headed to the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, about an hour south from Hua Hin. We had heard about a hike to a cave with a hidden shrine. Sounded fun.

    We drove for about an hour, seeing some beautiful areas, very rural with lots of fields of pineapples.  We arrived at the hike entrance where we paid 200baht each (about 6 dollars- surprisingly expensive) to enter.  There were not many people, but the ones who were there were queueing for the boats that transport visitors around the headland to start the hike to the cave.

    Beginning the descent into the first cavern.

    We chose however to go over the headland, on a very steep and very rocky path. Once over the first mountain we began the straight up hike to the Phraya Nakhon Cave. It was only about 500 meters but it was unrelentingly steep. I’m sure I sweated gallons.

    The passage into the second cavern

    Oh but was it worth it. As you enter the cave you go deep down, first into a large cavern then through a passage way into another cavern. And then there it is. Like something out of a fairytale. A beautiful little shrine, sitting in the sunshine peeking down through the opening above the cave.

    I have had a few experiences in my life where I have tackled a physical challenge, to be so perfectly

    The gorgeous shrine

    rewarded. As I stood in the cave admiring the beauty and relishing the silence with only a handful of people, I thought of all the people back in their

    Ta Da!

    lounge chairs at the pool or on the beach. Those who can’t or won’t attempt a challenge despite the reward on the other side.

    I will strive to always be willing to at least try. The reward is so great.

    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Sparkler in my Forehead

    Eight Weeks of Shingles

    It’s been eight weeks today since I felt that first funny little pain in my forehead. That first little bit of fire under my skin. But it wasn’t until five days later that I knew what was happening and headed to the doctor.

    Shingles had moved in.

    Eight weeks later I’m astonished how long the pain has lingered. Today I can say I am 99% well. But that little stinker shingles is a fighter. There is still some irratation. It’s definitely been harder and longer than I ever could have imagined.

    Because shingles visited me on my face, nose and right eye, I was in particular danger of corneal damage. I did experience for several weeks a halo effect in my right eye when looking at lights. But fortunately that has passed and my vision seems back to normal.

    My shingles made their home primarily on my forehead, right eyebrow and hairline.  I had hair loss in one half of my right eyelashes as well as my right eyebrow.

    For several weeks the itching was intense and felt as if there were bugs under my skin. The pain meds helped. Two months in to a four-month anti- viral treatment, I will continue on this regiment to protect my cornea from reinfection.

    I had not gotten a shingles vaccine. I always thought of shingles as an “old” people’s disease. Funny.

    As soon as I can I will now be vaccinated and I highly recommend you do too. At least if I get it again I will know immediately what it is. I wish I had figured it out sooner and gotten to the doctor. Maybe then the pain would have been less and it would not have lasted so long.

    But here I am, being fabulous in Thailand, and shingles only slowed be down in the very beginning. I’ve kicked my shingles to the curb. Farewell and good riddance.

    And All the Rest  --  Health, Fitness & Fashion

    No More Excuses – My Year

    What Are You Waiting For?

    As I tackle this year-end blog I have just learned of the passing of a man I have known for many years back in my hometown of Gig Harbor. He was my eye doctor for years and had a son the same age as one of mine.  He was a Wollochet Bay neighbor and a kind and generous human.

    He was 62 years young.

    His unexpected death has shaken me.  But it has also given me assurance. Assurance that our choices this past year are the right ones.

    January in Burkina Faso
    February house for sale
    March farewell with neighbors
    April Arne retires

    There has been a lot of talk on social media this past week referring to 2016 as a horrible year. The deaths of several celebrities, police officers and election depression has weighed heavily on many people.  Searching for light at the end of the tunnel the New Year beckons with hope.

    But for me, 2016 was a most remarkable year.  It will go down in my personal history book as monumental.  I am incessantly proud of 2016 – the year we let go of our baggage and launched.

    May trip to Sacramento
    June trip to Hawaii
    July Cycling trip
    August in Ireland

    I try not to preach too much on this blog, but sometimes I want to grab people and shake some sense into them. Because if 2016 proves anything at all, it is that life is short. Stop making excuses and get out there and be happy.

    The choices my husband and I have made this past year are ours.  We sacrificed a lot to get to where we are.  What makes you happy and the sacrifices you will make are completely different.  You alone must determine what that is.

    I find it a little frustrating that some people think we are able to live this life of travel because we are rich.

    We are not rich.  We sold everything we own to

    September with “Betty”
    October Route 66
    November saying goodbye
    December together in Thailand

    make this happen, not to mention we planned and prepared for years. Don’t tell me I’m rich when you are sitting in your house with a boat and a camper and several cars in your driveway.  I’ve made the choice to give up all that for  different life.  I feel lighter and richer than I ever have before.  All that “stuff” is so 2015.

    Money doesn’t make happiness. People make happiness.  Travel doesn’t make happiness. Love makes happiness. It’s time to take an inventory of your life and find your personal happiness.  Right now.  Before it’s too late.

    I’ve said this before – my life got so much better when I stopped trying so hard. When I stopped being what I thought people wanted me to be. When I stopped caring who likes me. When I just enjoyed who I am.  Finding a rhythm and enjoying the ride has made me a better person.

    I refuse to dwell or wallow in despair over things I cannot change.  That is not to say I don’t have moments of sadness and frustration and even alarm.  But the thing I have learned that keeps me joyful and optimistic is always coming back to where I am in the moment.  Being present.

    Putting my physical and emotional health first helps me be a better wife and mother.  Because you can’t fill someone’s glass if your own pitcher is empty.

    I will turn 57 in two weeks.  That does not scare me. I’m happy to be here.  Proud of my accomplishments and looking forward to the unknown.

    So I throw the door open!  2017 show me whatcha got.  I will live with no excuses and no fear and no regret.  I expect the year to include less make up and more beach time.  Less stress and more comfy loose clothes. Less worry and more quality time with my husband.  Less list making and more living.

    I will Go. I will Be. I am Fabulous.




    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Feeling Healthy, Fit & Fab

    Chapter 5

    I am always the first one to get sick when we travel. Knock on wood. Because I’m feeling great while both my sons and my husband have come down with head colds.

    Could it be the anti-viral I am still on for the shingles?


    Swimming everyday

    Trying to both stay healthy and be healthy are top priorities in my new Fab Fifty Life. I know there will be times I am sick. Reminding myself this is not a vacation but a lifestyle, there are bound to be illnesses and injuries along the way – just like there would be if I were living back home again.

    Just the same I already feel a difference towards healthy living by committing to working out and eating healthy. I had put a few pounds on again before we left the USA. Particularly on that cross- country trip where we ate too many burgers and fries while spending hours sitting in the car.  And the three weeks home where we wined and dined with family and friends. I was feeling it – in my clothes and energy level.

    Now I have no excuses. What could keep me from working out everyday? Certainly not the weather. No pressing engagements.  No to-do list.


    Healthy Thai Food

    There is junk food available, but it isn’t appealing. So far we are eating fresh Thai food everyday, including lots of fruit. I am also experimenting with homemade teas. This week it’s turmeric tea. Supposedly good for inflammation.

    I am running again and one day I did over 19,000 steps. I also am swimming laps and trying to plank and do yoga.

    Running and walking miles and miles.

    Running and walking miles and miles.

    I will never be a teeny girl. This I know and accept. But I also know my body and I know I can feel better, fitter and thinner with a few tweaks to my diet and activity level.

    It should be easy. And fabulous.

    Traveling girl = fit & fab mama.

    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Hurt So Good

    Chapter Five – Fish Food and Bruises

    Once I had a massage by a blind woman on the Isle of Zanzibar.

    Once I had a man give me a massage in Ethiopia – he was a little too friendly.

    Once I had a private massage on the beach in Maui.

    And then there was the time I had the hilarious experience at the Korean Spa in Dajeon (read it again here).


    Those crazy fish

    But here I am in Thailand. Where I had to try letting tiny fish nibble dead skin off my toes and tiny women walk on my back. Ah Thailand you hurt so good.

    The little fish really did go crazy for my feet. It was $3 to have them chew on me for 20 min. It tickled

    Fish food

    Fish food

    like crazy at first, and then after you got used to it, it felt like little electricity running through your feet. Weird.

    I’d never heard of the fish thing but I’ve heard so much about Thai massage. So of course I had to try it. So on day nine I had my first (and not my last) Thai massage.

    Me and my son Dane getting our foot massage

    Me and my son Dane getting our foot massage

    And it cost $3.

    Thai women are itty bitty things. So it is astonishing how strong they are. Holy Cow! At times it was all I could do not to yelp with pain. And yet, it also felt good. In a excruciating way. Sharp elbows digging in to my back, neck, calves and butt. She actually was on all fours on top of me at one point.

    I had a 30 min body massage followed by a 30 min foot massage while my son had a 60 min foot massage. The total was 350 baht or about $10.

    My foot massage

    My foot massage

    I’ve run the last three days in a row so I was hoping the massage would soothe my muscles. But honestly I think I will be more sore tomorrow from the massage than the running.

    But I will still try it again. As soon as the bruises are gone!