L’Auberge de Sedona: the loveliest of pauses

Abby Tegnelia

Getting some sun on my cabin’s balcony at L’Auberge de Sedona.

In this world of online projects and juggling a million things at once (let alone my full time job, two rambunctious big dogs, plus three to four fancy fashion soirees, magazine parties, and premieres a week — and I try to save some time for friends), I think it’s become extra-important to take a pause every once in awhile. Stop time, turn everything off (most importantly my brain!) and just … pause. Recently I was lucky enough to land in gorgeous Sedona, Arizona, at the decadently peaceful L’Abuerge de Sedona.

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Good New Mexican Food Was Worth Risking My Life, Quince Jerome

Quince JeromeI lived in New Mexico for only two years, although now that I’ve been visiting there for more than half my life, I consider it home. But two years or not, it was long enough to make me a food snob when it comes to the food. Ask anyone who’s put in any time in the “505”: We take our green chile VERY seriously. The first time I brought a jar home to a friend in NYC, I was horrified when I learned later that it had been poured into a bowl, mistaken for the sort of chile you eat at a football game. The New Mexican chile is an obsession put on everything from pizza at Dion’s to cheeseburgers, even at McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. But I digress. During a recent American Southwest roadtrip with my friend Diana, we received a restaurant recommendation for a good New Mexican restaurant called Quince (Jerome, Arizona( outside of Sedona, where we staying. What we didn’t know what was that the road to Jerome was a death-defying twist of asphalt heading straight up.

For New Mexican food, it was worth it.

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Drive carefully: charming Jerome, Arizona sits at 5,000 feet (straight up).

Abby Tegnelia

Relaxing in Sedona before our death-defying drive to Jerome, Arizona.


Since I already hinted at a stop in the charming mountain town of Jerome, Arizona, I thought I’d go buck wild and kick off my recent Southwest road trip there, although it was technically our last stop. Diana and I went there on a whim (following a restaurant recommendation, of course), with zero expectations. As we climbed higher and higher towards this town that sits at more than 5,000 feet, my hands sweating as I rounded a few bends guarded by a barrier I just didn’t think was thick or high enough, I decided this was my first and last trip to Jerome. Diana drove the rest of the way! Once we were safely parked, however, we both fell in love with this historic mining town.



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I met a shaman in Utah

Red Mountain UtahDuring my quick trip to the Red Mountain Spa in hippy-dippy St. George, Utah, I had a one-track mind: to visit their shaman who I’d heard so much about from my friend Diana. Betina was a calm soul with a smile that lit up the room. I enjoy trying these spiritual treats and never turn down a touch of magic. (This was just a few months after trying hypnotherapy for the first time.) So I walked into Betina’s suite with an eager, open mind. The sweeping southwest landscapes were the perfect backdrop for this kind of adventure– being surrounded by miles and miles of untouched earth put me immediately into a peaceful state of mind.

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Fall in love with the Southwest landscape

Red Mountain Resort Utah Labyrinth

Meditation labyrinth

When I look out my office window, I can see clear to the Strip on one side — and clear to nothing on the other. (In the middle is the sprawling suburbia where all of us locals live and play, those of us who don’t “live on the Strip.”) Yup, there’s a line in the sand so to speak, a drop-off point where all of the buildings and roads of razzle-dazzle Sin City end, and the desert begins. Outside of Las Vegas, there really is basically nothing. Between the towns that have been built in Nevada, there are miles and miles of dirt and sand. Depending on the time of day, this landscape can be the most beautiful shades of orange or pink. It is so peaceful being out there, with nothing to see all the way to the horizon.I just love this Southwest landscape.

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Five-course dinner? My kind of spa!

Miraval Arizona spas

Low-cal filet mignon.

Lest you think we deprived ourselves, Miraval is not that kind of spa. After a delicious three-course meal at the Cactus Flower restaurant the first night (yes, with wine), we opted for the “Cooking with the Chef” class on the second night. Five courses with wine pairings! Starting with an amazingly healthy, crisp and delicious Caesar salad, we were amazed at all of the things you can do to cut calories in the kitchen. The girls at our table diligently took notes, vowing to cook the whole shebang for their husbands when they returned home to Canada. But only the travel blogger took photos! Pictured here: angus beef filet mignon with roma tomato, basil and shallot salad, drizzled with vinegar reduction and topped with a goat cheese ball.

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