Yipeee for gratitude and passionate living. I just had the juiciest vacation in Jamaica and I am still basking in the benefits. When I returned, Hay House had sent me their new Mindful Living book to review – how perfect! Let’s talk about mindful living, mindful eating, being a highly sensitive person and being healthy at every size. Check it out…


Greetings Sacred Bombshell, 

One would think that a coffee table photo book from a spa would either be filled with fluff or serve as just an ad for the center.Mindful Living” by Miraval is none of those things. Miraval Resort and Spa, for the uninitiated is a spiritual ground zero and healing base with an exemplary group of personal development specialists. This book gives us a front seat to these experts with tips, advice, recipes and step-by-step how-tos on how to live more mindfully. I felt like I was there with them in Tucson, Arizona!

Mindful Living Advice Guide - Miraval Spa and Resort

Mindful living has been key to my personal practice for the past couple of years. Warning: this approach to passionate living may cause a soulful revolution! I haven’t had the pleasure and honor of actually visiting the all-inclusive destination retreat but I look forward to doing so in the future, both as an empowerment coach and as a student of joy. Oh — and the book is a lush and gorgeous feast for the senses as well.

[Link if you want to buy the book on Amazon.]

Mindful eating helped me “lose” 55 pounds and keep it off. Eating for me is a prayer. I trust that every bite nourishes and enriches my body temple. More on how to do exactly this in the future.

Meanwhile, here’s how the “mindful life” rocked my vacation.

I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica last week for my brother’s wedding.


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My brother is very private so I won’t post his photos here, but it was a gorgeous and perfect wedding.

Here’s the cute Kate Spade necklace I bought for my brother’s new bride, my new sister-in-law and sister, from Lord & Tayor. Isn’t it cute? Shhh. Don’t tell her. She hasn’t received it yet. (If you want one FYI, I  just found out that they carry it on Amazon.)

Kate Spade Mrs. Necklace

Here’s how I rocked my Jamaican vacation:

1. Shopping for my bikini.

Passionista Affirmation: “I love and accept my beautiful body.”

 Bathing suit shopping is a hellish experience for most women. When I was 180 pounds it was agony. Now my weight moves between 125 and 130 pounds. This year, I had no need to pour over special sites for Spanx-like garments or to see which Victoria’s Secret suits would suck me in on the bottom, pad me out on the top or hide anything on my body.

I just feel good in my skin so it was fun to just walk up to a rack and find a basic triangle bikini and buy it in a couple of colors. I had plenty of cute cover ups from my years of trying to cover up. I forgive myself for hating my beautiful body all of these years.

I made an advice video while there that I’ll share soon about body love and body acceptance. SO did having less body fat make wearing a bathing suit a less harrowing experience? Sure, but the bigger point is that doing my inner work lets me know where my true beauty lies. It felt amazing to prance around the resort, play in the pool and ocean without once wondering whether I looked good enough.

Since I no longer flat iron my hair, I had the additional pleasure of not fearing my hair getting wet. My hair was out to play and so was I. When I got home, lovingly lavishing my hair with healing oils to combat the chlorine and salt water was a meditation on self love.

So can wearing a bikini actually be therapeutic? Yes! It was the most comfortable thing to wear in the Jamaican sunshine while also wearing an who cares this is me sense of self and wellbeing. It didn’t even matter that I was (TMI ahead) bloated and menstrual!


Abiola in Berbice, Guyana, July 2010

Before: This was Summer 2010 on my birthday in Guyana, South America. We were in the beach in Berbice, on the coastline, and I was wearing some sort of mumu-style suit. I was pretty cute (if I may say so myself) but I didn’t feel that way. Clearly, I relegated myself to capturing everyone else’s joy rather than creating my own. My brother took this picture, actually.



After: The best thing about being on the beach in the Caribbean is seeing happy, healthy bodies of every size.

2. No foods off limits.

Passionista Affirmation: “Food loves me and nourishes my gorgeous temple.”

 I don’t eat meat or poultry and I only eat fish maybe once or twice a week. I do eat cheese and eggs however. I also limit gluten, white, corn, white rice and white flour for health reasons.  For this reason, I consider myself to be an 80/20 vegan. This means that I eat completely clean for 80% of my life and eat what I want for the other 20%. I was on vacation so I ate fish every day and also indulged in white wine and sugary cocktails.

One of my half sisters said, it’s exciting that you’ve lost so much weight and yet you still eat. Yaaas, dahling! I love food and love eating. Releasing weight has nothing to do with that for me. I don’t diet, I simply made lifestyle changes a year and a half ago that resulted in me releasing 55 unhealthy pounds from my frame.

So what was piled on my plate when my sister said this? A bodacious and sexy salad with tons of arugula, baby spinach leaves, chick peas, black beans, red salsa and tortilla chips.  It was beyond yummy.

With buffets everywhere at an all inclusive result, my old tendency would have been to eat only cakes and cookies every meal every day. However, that no longer feels good to my body. I crave the good stuff along with my sweet potato fries. On the day when I wanted to try the desserts, however, I took a bit of each and enjoyed the savory tastes.

When you eat something mindfully, indulging your senses of sight, smell and taste fully, you just can’t eat as much. I only took one bite of a couple of the desserts, leaving room for what I really enjoy. In other words, I was feeding my soul, not just my face. Now that I’ve healed most of my food allergies and skin issues through healthy living, life is juicier. 

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I tried Jamaican ackee! It’s a fruit that tastes like eggs. I think that I’ll just stick to eggs. I’ll be eating my saktfish with Guyanese bake.




Obviously, I love my tortilla chips. I ate kale chips at home. Gotta learn to make a healthy version of these.

3. Actually enjoying my family.

Passionista Affirmation: “I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love.”

I am thin-skinned and sensitive like most of the people I love. Family and weddings generally equals drama. Were there issues? Sure! Was this the place? No. It was freeing to be in the moment with people I love and to open my heart. This allowed me once in a lifetime joyful experiences like getting to laugh with my “Big Cousin” Lorraine and party with my sister, Miss Damali.

Family also can make us nervous if we fear being judged. When you’re comfortable in your skin, not worried about being perfect or impressing anyone and just thinking, this is me, there’s no need to feel anxious! Go figure. When one family member wanted to go into a conversation about where I am headed personally and professionally, I just smiled, stopped that path of conversation and said, I am happy — and on vacation. End of story, end of anxiety in that situation.

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Abrams girls.

4. Expressing emotions openly.

Passionista Affirmation: “I now feel comfortable enough to express my emotions.”

Usually we try to contain ourselves and our emotions around other people. Emotions make people nervous. That’s why we numb, avoid and distract ourselves from feeling what we really feel. When we make an agreement with ourselves to feel all of our feelings, there’s no need to try to numb or distract. For an emotional eater like me, this is important for recovery.

I pretty much bawled when emotions led me to bawl- my brother is married!! (Laughing at myself.) And I giggled whenever I felt the need. I also kept up my self love practices like journaling and keeping a food and gratitude diary. This is part of my mental health.

Abiola in Jamaica - wedding

My wedding look and my chocolicious Jamaican tan. Ow! lol

Abiola in headress at wedding

5. Move it or lose it activities and more, more, more.

Passionista Affirmation: “I embrace and enjoy the present moment to the fullest.”

Being present is a part of healthy consciousness. Having a healthy living vacation is a part of harvesting the good and being present. I took a dance class in the pool, another dance class on the sand, and spa exfoliated my entire body in the warm and loving ocean. I also spent lots of time sitting in a tree alone (yup), laying out in the sun, picnicking on beach chairs, making new friends, deepening family relationships and laughing my booty off!

Life doesn’t get any better than that. Actually – let’s revise. I am looking forward to it doing just that. It’s not about having fun on a layaway plan.


FTC Disclosure: I received the book Mindful Living for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment.

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