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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How I chickened out on a challenge course at a five-star spa

At first glance, this might look like a tame enough photo, boring even. But something enormous had just happened in my life: I had majorly chickened out on a challenge course I’d committed to. Of all of my trips in the past few years, of overcoming long-held fears such as riding a horse at Grand Canyon Ranch, embracing nerves, doing things like hypnotherapy that are way out of my comfort zone… I never thought that I would so disastrously wimp out on something.

At a spa.

Yes, I have traveled far and wide, and during a posh weekend at a five-star spa, I met my match on its challenge course.

And you know what? It was fine. The world did not end, and my ego survived not being able to call everyone I know and go, “Guess what I did today!!” I met a friend, Michelle, and she and I had a grand time helping others reach safety. Just look at us: having a ball!

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Low-calorie tricks from Miraval

low calorie recipes Miraval

Miraval: my kind of spa.

My trip to the personal growth-pushing Miraval spa included a three-hour class that I sort of glazed over in an earlier post: cooking. Now, if you know me, then you’ve already guessed that this was about as out of my comfort zone as you can get. (I’ve always been way more into my career than anything domestic.) I also don’t take great food photos. After digging through my notes, however, I ran across so many low calorie recipes and tricks that Chef Chad Luethje uses to cut calories in his foods, that I really wanted to include one actual recipe. Plus, the class rocked for another reason: We made friends! After our class, we headed straight to the bar for the first of many fun times with the friendly Canadians. Girls, did you ever cook your husbands the five-course dinner you promised?!

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Miraval: Different Kind of Arizona Spa

Aaron Rasmussen Abby Tegnelia Miraval Arizona spasMiraval Resort & Spa, outside of Tucson, Arizona, is an unusual place, sort of a hippy-dippy summer camp for adults. But I only wished this camp was a three-month, all-summer-long affair! Instead, I spent a relaxing long weekend there, soaking in the calming desert landscapes and melting away at the spa. Miraval stands out among Arizona spas; it is the type of place where everyone is either strolling the serene walkways in a robe on the way to and from the spa, or donning their cutest Sporty Spice wear to the gym, a hike, or one of the activities the retreat is famous for. But we’ll get to that.

First, I want to show you the grounds.

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