Tag Archives: Healthy

Lagos, Portugal

Our Portugal itinerary was super packed but everyone who knows me can testify it’s a normal vacationing for me. It was not easy but I was able to squeeze a one night trip to Lagos (Lagos – pronounced La-goosh in Portuguese) in Algarve (the southernmost region of Portugal, known for its amazing beaches). We started our day super early (6:00 am) and took a train from Lisbon Oriente to Lagos.

(Oriente train station)

It was pretty ride and it took us about 3 hours to reach Tunes station where we had to switch trains. We waited for about 30-40 minutes for our next train which was very slow by the way (took another hour or so). Finally we reached our final destination – beautiful Lagos. Be prepared the train station is somewhat small and there were no taxis available nor were we able to locate any Ubers. We dragged our enormous amounts of luggage to the main road and I was lucky enough to spot a taxi. So if you can plan ahead for your pick up I suggest you do that.

We stayed at Aqualuz Suite Hotel and we loved the location as you could walk everywhere and the pool area was nice, the staff was very friendly and accommodating (we checked in early and checked out late without paying extra). But the way it was built it reminded us some sort of maze or labyrinth- let’s just say it took us forever to find exit.

https://www.aqualuzlagos.com/en/hotel-overview.html

After we dropped our luggage we had no time to waste and proceeded to the nearest beach – which happened to be Praia Donna Ana (about 15 minutes walking from our hotel). On the way to the beach we stopped for lunch – I highly recommend the rooftop restaurant at Carvi Beach Hotel. We grabbed table outside and just enjoyed the views. Our server was super nice and we really liked our food.

https://www.facebook.com/CarviAlgarve/

After we had lunch we walked down to the beach – so just to let you know most of the beaches we went had tremendous amounts of stairs. Praia Donna Ana happened to have only 100 steps down and it was very intimate and not too big of a beach. We walked around and snapped some photos. I can’t even describe the beauty of that place – I felt like we stepped into a paradise.

After our visit to the beach we decided to explore the town itself. Lagos is a small city so you can walk pretty much anywhere, just prepare to wear comfortable shoes as some of the roads were either up or down the hills. We made our way through winding streets covered in mosaic to a marina. I wish I had enough time to do some gifts and souvenir shopping because they had market filled with local vendors.

We grabbed a coffee and a glass of wine at the main square, its a little charming square with lots of cafes and the sculpture of the Boy King (Dom Sebastiao) in the middle of it.  That evening we had dinner at the restaurant inside of our resort as we all felt the sunburnt and tired (but definitely satisfied).

Next morning my husband and I woke up very early as we planned to have a mini photo shoot on the beach. While our teenager enjoyed his nice sleeping in we were walking down to Praia Donna Ana. What a beautiful and amazing surprise it was when we learned that we were the only ones at the beach. There was not even one foot print on the sand and the entire beach was our playground.

Later that morning all three of us decided to explore another nearby beach. We walked for about 30-40 minutes until we reached Praia do Camilo. This beach is very secluded, if you travel by car there is nice parking lot. We were blown away by the beauty of this beach – we probably stood a good 10-15 minutes on the top of the cliff just eyeing the surroundings. Water looked crystal clear and numerous grottoes made that place look absolutely magical. I should also mention that the entire time both of my men seriously were contemplating to alter the rest of our trip and just stay in Lagos till the end of our vacation.

We heard that Praia do Camilo is one of the best beaches in Lagos for snorkeling (maybe one summer when the waters warm enough we can do that). Ok let’s talk about the access to the beach. I consider myself very physically fit person whose gym routine consists of mandatory 20 minutes stair-master warm up however… these were some extremely challenging-stairs. It definitely was a good morning exercise to go up and down these steps.

Highly suggested place for lunch was the restaurant Camilo, it’s famous for its fresh fish and it’s right off the entrance to the beach. It was a bit early in the morning when we explored so the restaurant was unfortunately closed.

http://restaurantecamilo.pt/en/

That afternoon we decided to grab some snacks, cold drinks and enjoy the beach so we went back to the closest to our resort beach – Praia Donna Ana and had absolutely amazing afternoon.

Things to enjoy in Lagos:

Take a stroll along a coastline of Lagos, there are many paths with absolutely gorgeous views.

Go into old town and enjoy walk through small cobblestone streets. During our walk we stumbled upon The Castle of Lagos, also known as Castelo dos Governadores (The Governors Castle) and Moorish walls that are going back to the 16th century.

Wander through endless shops, restaurants and bars or simply sip some sangrias or wine and people watch. Few interesting facts: alcohol was cheaper then water and servers would bring you some small dishes before you even get a chance to look at the menu and leave them at your table. We learned that they are not free and you will be charged for them so if you are on the budget make sure you tell the server at the beginning you do not want them.

(One of the fun bars in Lagos)

You can wander through many vendor tents at a marketplace near marina and get souvenirs or gifts made by locals.

Walk down to the main beach in the downtown area (Praia da Batata) – it is absolutely beautiful. On your way there is the historic beachfront fortress of Ponta da Bandeira, it was used to guard Lagos by protecting the river from attack.

I cant believe we only stayed one night in this absolutely stunning place but we are coming back!!!! As we drove away from this magical place, we all felt sad. We definitely found our little paradise! If you traveling to Portugal then Lagos is a must-visit!!! I would love to hear your stories.

If you want to fly out from Lagos you have to make your way to Faro airport which is about an hour away by taxi but you can take train or bus as well – airport has plenty connections.

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Friends and reasons I need them…

Have you ever thought about the role that friends play in your live? This is obviously my thoughts and my feelings about friendship, but I am pretty sure some of you can relate to me. This bunch of creatures that make me laugh, cry, happy, angry, proud…who don’t share a drop of blood with me, but somehow became so close as if we are related, I call them my friends. Our lives and stories are very different and we all have unique backgrounds and personalities but somehow there is that strong connection between us that keep us together. There are some truths you have to know about my friends or best to say the types of friends that I have:

JOYERS usually the first ones to get a text or a call from me when something good or exciting happens in my life. For me sharing a joy and celebrate it is so much better in the company of friends (“joyers”). The joy is not complete if not shared with your friends.

MOTIVATORS are my biggest cheerleading squad and motivational speakers. When difficult decision needs to be made I have motivators to cheer for me from the sidelines. Even though they may not believe or have the same visions as me, they never get on the way of me achieving that goal.

EYE OPENERS are the type of friends that constantly introducing me to new ideas, cultures, people…help me in so many different ways to open my eyes to new things in life.

SUPPORTERS somehow always find the right words to say when I need it the most. I may doubt my own decisions but never my supporters! They believe in me it helps to build my confidence.

WINERS are always ready to share that $2.99 bottle of wine from Trader Joes with me. Winers can turn my bad day around and turn good day into the best day of my life! I call winers when I need a laugh or when I need to boost my spirits.

KEEPERS are my best personal therapists! We all been through the darkest moments of our lives and who do we turn to during those times? The keepers because no matter what our darkest and deepest secrets are safe with them.

LISTENERS are the only creatures who can tolerate hearing your daily rants (especially the amount of daily complaints). They usually have enormous amount of patience and advice to every problem you may face.

TRAINERS are the best gym buddies, nutrition consultants and personal trainers. I find more motivation to stay healthy and fit when I have my trainers to do it with.

You might say that “I already knew all that and I have friends like that” but that’s not the point I am trying to make – the point is that it’s very important to remind yourself of their importance in your life. Our need in friendship can be compared to the need for food. We love the feeling of being appreciated, needed and being accepted so it’s very crucial to remember to give the same in return. It’s a known fact that one key to your happiness is staying connected in a positive way with a people you care about. We need to make efforts to spend time with your friends, find time to let them know how important they are to you, be grateful because that time together is precious. Friendship is a gift that should be cared for with lots of love.

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Morning heavens…..

I am one of those people who struggle with getting up and moving in the morning……. it’s one of those things we have to do but not necessarily enjoying doing. It took me few month to get myself into a routine where I am actually looking forward to each morning! Yes yes you heard me right!!! My alarm is set for 6:30 (the goal is eventually move it to as early as 5:45, but hey few months ago it was set for 7:30) I start my morning by immediately doing my 20 minute ab workout (I promise to get into detail about it in one of my next blogs) then I jump into every girl routine: shower, makeup, hair…… But here comes the part that I am super excited about!!! I love love love creating my morning breakfasts!!! That’s where my Healthy Pretty Yummy comes in play … I became obsessed with creating my smoothie bowls and I would love to share my passion for Healthy Pretty Yummy breakfasts with you too!!!

How do I make them:

Step 1

              I always make my Chia Seed Pudding the night before. As you may know chia seeds packed with all sorts of good stuff like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, protein and antioxidants. The reason why we need to make this pudding the night before is that chia seeds absorb up to 10 times their weight in water (well I use Greek yogurt or almond milk or combination of both). I mix these ingredients all together (I use 3 – 4 table spoons of yogurt, splash of almond milk, 2 table spoons of chia seeds and one tea spoon of flaxseed):

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This is how my pudding looks like after I mix all the ingredients together.

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Step 2

            In the morning when I am ready to eat my Yummy breakfast I blend fruits/vegies (I use Nutri Ninja Bullet to make my smoothies). I always freeze the night before few fruits (banana and pineapple, or any other fruits you planning to use that morning) the reason behind freezing is that it gives your richer smoothie taste (you can pretend you have ice-cream or slushy for breakfast). On the picture below I used frozen banana, few slices of frozen pineapple, few frozen strawberries, few slices cooked beets, not frozen (you can boil or bake it) and few cherries, not frozen (don’t forget to remove seeds) and I added a splash of almond milk.

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So your smoothie would look like this

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Step 3

My favorite part of making Yummy breakfast is decorating, mixing and adding fruit. This is the photo of that exact smoothie with Chia Seed Pudding that I described above. Enjoy this Healthy Pretty Yummy!!!!!

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These are my smoothie bowls that I made in the last few weeks:

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Blueberries, banana, blackberries and almond milk along with chia seed pudding

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Banana, pineapple, strawberries, cherries, beets and almond milk over Greek yogurt chia seed pudding

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Orange, banana, pineapple, mango and almond milk

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Cherry, blueberries, banana, pineapple and pomegranate smoothie and vanilla chia pudding at the bottom

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Banana, mango, pineapple, spinach and splash of almond milk