Travel Adventures—My Stay At Opal Sands Resort In Clearwater Beach, Florida

Travel is a HUGE part of my Healthy, Crazy, Beautiful lifestyle journey. To get out of the “normal” day-to-day routine and explore new places while allowing myself to feel wild and free from the very rules I created back at home—yes, that’s definitely part of healthy living for me. Something about being on an adventure is so enlivening, so profound…and it helps me experience a SHIFT within myself.

Every time I return home, I feel more balanced. Refreshed. And oftentimes, in need of lots of green juice. Maybe even a quick run through my 10-Day Body Purifying Course. ☺

Maybe that’s where one of many pleasure links (that I’ve mentally created) about traveling come from. My diet is much less strict, my boundaries broadened. Overtime, I was able to link various foods to health issues my body would experience after indulging. For example, too much sugar makes me feel anxious and dairy thickens my throat with mucus and causes my nose to run. Gluten makes me itchy. All three of these together sure sound fun, huh? LoL

Still to this day, I wonder why I crave these indulgences. Is it that the pleasure highs from these foods are so insanely HIGH that my body delights in feeling that again…even with all those nasty sides?

I have totally pondered that question a million times. Not only watching myself fall into indulgences that bring temporary pleasure—guilty pleasures!—but also seeing hundreds of clients I’ve worked with make the same choices too.

That’s just one of many reasons I’m such a HUGE supporter of SUPPLEMENTS! High-quality ones. Not those OTC crap quality ones that have more “fillers” than the good stuff you think you’re paying for.

If you’re going to indulge, it’s critical to combat your body against some of the “bad stuff” you’re going to be putting into it. If I had to choose one supplement out of them all, it would be probiotics. Digestive health, in my opinion and that of many other experts in this industry, is the #1 most important thing to focus on. Hello, your gut is nick-named your “second brain” for good reason. Your First brain (you know, the one in your skull) cannot do anything without your second brain (aka gut, colon, intestines, digestive tract). So I NEVER leave home without my little supplement box of combat soldiers.

I could talk about gut health and supplements all day, but this post is NOT solely about that. It’s about TRAVEL! And since travel is such a huge part of my healthy lifestyle, I’ve decided to share some of my adventures with you. ☺

20160918_165637For my hubby’s b-day, we went to Clearwater Beach for a nice little getaway. We’re HUGE beach lovers. In the beginning when we first started dating, my hubs wasn’t a very big beach person, but through the years he’s come to love it I think as much as I do. Or that’s how he acts now anyway.

So we came to Clearwater Beach for this particular birthday trip. And while I do find the gulf to be pretty, for me personally it isn’t as magical as the East coast where the waves are much more lively. But don’t get me wrong, the gulf is still plenty beautiful and the resort we stayed at was pretty cool too—The Opal Sands Resort.

20160920_143416The hotel itself is shaped like a horseshoe so all the rooms have Ocean (gulf) views. Some of them offering partial city views and the others are direct oceanfront. The room we stayed in was direct Oceanfront and the balcony was a good size with two comfy chairs and a small table. Depending on where you’re sitting on the balcony you could still get some city view along with the ocean, which is really good for night time because after you watch the sun set, there are all those sparkly city lights that you can see instead of just the black ocean.

20160918_170206The resort was modernly decorated and our room—we got a basic Oceanfront room—was bigger than your typical hotel room. It boasted a small living room with a couch, a small table with chairs, and a open bedroom area with a king bed that opened to the balcony and ocean. Very much a studio feel. The bathroom and shower are both good-sized (some modern hotels go skimpy small here) so that was definitely a plus for us.

20160920_114040The main restaurant at the hotel—Sea Guini—offered a loungy-chic atmosphere and incredible food. A lot of it homemade! If you’re going to have a cheat meal this is a good place to do it. Yes, it was that good. They have homemade pizzas, homemade pasta, fresh salads, fresh fish (diver scallops rocked!), and even yummy desserts. Everything was just absolutely delish! We loved the Farmers Kettle soup, Opal and Caesar salads, the Rustica Pizza (I got some red sauce for crust dipping). I already mentioned the diver scallops, but the grouper was also really good. Burger was juicy, fries crispy. See what I mean by needing green juice when I get home?!

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Another bonus was the impressive wine list. I’m a wino and I’m picky. Especially with my reds. It takes a lot to make me super happy with wine choices—or at least to impress me with wine choices—and I gotta say their list here is fantastically impressive. The pricing wasn’t too bad for a restaurant (usually you’re upcharged pretty crazily for nice wine) and they even offered reserve wines by the glass. Normally I would have to commit to an entire bottle since my hubs doesn’t drink wine anymore (he prefers bourbon) so when I come to a place that offers amazing wines by the glass, I am one happy girl! That means I get to have several different amazing wines without having to commit to the bottle or the price of an entire bottle (in the event I don’t drink the whole thing, Ha!). From Mt Veder, Jordan, and Faust to Platinum Sterling and Col Soleil…and lots of others too! Cheers!

20160919_140522The pool is elevated so you have a panoramic view of the ocean. For lounging, there are several spots to choose from with either direct Oceanfront, pool view, or both. They do have service and food that is a little more limited than what your choices are versus being that the main restaurant but it’s still decent offering. No majorly impressive wines but if you’re super sweet to the pool staff, they’ll figure something out to make you happy (like they did for me). You could still get some of the pizzas, burgers, and salads on the menu, along with some other bar food type bites.

Downstairs from the pool they have this little Tiki Bar that you can hang out at. More expansive ocean views. From the Tiki Bar you have to go downstairs again to get to the actual Beach. This hotel does not have private beach access so once you get on the beach it’s all public and it does get crowded and feel a bit touristy. That one little thing I wasn’t so happy with, but there were so many good things to focus on, I didn’t let this bother me the slightest.

Speaking of things that make me happy—I sure do love my beach walks! And this beach is a great beach for walking. It’s pretty extensive with powdery white sand and as you get closer to the ocean it’s more compacted and easier to walk on.

There’s a pier that isn’t too far from the hotel so that was totally a fun, shorter walk for us. In fact, I did it several times throughout the day. However, there’s plenty more beach if you’re more of a long distance beach walker (sometimes I am). This beach is not broken up by anything so it seems to just keep going.

20160920_143409Along the street in front of the hotels, there’s a nice walking/biking trail with various shops and restaurants and boat rentals, etc. It’s a pretty walk, just for me it was hotter compared to walking right on the beach. Florida gets so hot and humid, and even though I’m a native here, I still have never gotten accustomed to that.

It’s a very cool area you can tell it’s taken care of. There’s not a lot of trash or rundown buildings like some beach towns seem to have. It definitely had a safe and fun vibe versus an older, stuffy, and/or shady one.

The gym was a good size and it featured everything I needed to get in a killer workout. YES I worked out! I totally needed to sweat out some of those toxins! LOL :-) The spa was also nice, though I didn’t get a service there. But I did shop in the little boutique and grabbed a couple things for my mom.

ashley-robertson-3Another reason that being at the beach is just so special for me is it helps me connect more deeply to myself and find answers and comfort to the crazy heaviness that life can throw at you. With every blessing there is also a burden that comes with it, and you have to choose which one you’re gonna put your focus on. The blessing or the burden.

In counseling many, many years ago, I was given a print out with the Eagle and The Wolf.

It read:

“There is a great battle that rages inside me.
One side is the soaring eagle. Everything the eagle stands for is good and true and beautiful, and it soars above the clouds. Even though it dips down into the valleys, it lays its eggs on the mountaintops.
The other side of me is the howling wolf. And that raging, howling wolf represents the worst that’s in me. He eats upon my downfalls and justifies himself by his presence in the pack.
Who wins this great battle?
The one I feed.”
(author unknown)

How deep is that? I’ve never forgotten those words, and though I’m not perfect, I try my best to watch WHO I FEED.

Sadly we don’t grow personally and spiritually from life being easy so it’s these challenges that we face that actually grow us into better versions of ourselves. It can be so uncomfortable and challenging at times, trust me I know, but it’s critical to continuously find things to be happy for. See the blessings. Watch WHO you feed. Happiness is a choice. Every day you decide if you’re gonna be happy or not. You can let life weigh you down or you can choose to be happy and overcome the obstacles you’re facing.

You’re not alone. All of us face challenging bullcrap. There’s always someone else who’s been through what you’re going through. Never forget that. None of us are really alone. That’s just a mind trick our ego tries to play on our brains.

20160920_090956The beach is a place that I can dig deeper within myself and I feel one with nature…the magnificence of the ocean, the waves, the salty air, and just something about being there helps me just get rebalanced, re-centered.

It enables me to stay more positive and be a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better person…the kind I NEED to be. The kind I WANT to be.

Wherever you are in life, whatever “personal growth” you’re working through, maybe a beach getaway is something that you should consider. If not the beach, maybe somewhere else in nature perhaps. It’s definitely worth giving it a shot if you’ve never done it before. Anything that can help get you outside of yourself and open your mind and heart and soul to love and light. To meaning and purpose.

Sorry I rambled a bit, but that’s just one of the awesome, crazy things that happen to me at the beach. I get totally inspired, fired up, and ready to share what I’ve been through with hopes it helps someone else. If I help one person with this post then it was all worth it.

How do you tap into your spiritual side? Are you a beach lover like me? Have you been to Clearwater Beach yet?

Have fun rock’n your healthy, crazy, beautiful lifestyle by adding in some traveling experiences. I’d love to hear your fave beach spots too. Drop a comment if you get a chance.

PS: I’m ecstatic about my WILDLY POPULAR HCB 10-Day Body Purifying eCourse! Everything You Need to Know to Purify Your Body in 10 Days—Without Being Hungry or Feeling Deprived and Overwhelmed. Move at your own pace from the comfort and privacy of your home. Get more DEETS here!

PPS: If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend who could benefit from it!

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