Winter Wellness Travel: Escape to Rancho Mirage

Wellness Travel | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

According to the experts, wellness travel is a fast-growing market with travelers realizing the need to rest and rejuvenate is key to living a happy, balanced life.

Wellness travel involves planning a trip with the purpose of improving your physical, emotional, and mental health, and an escape to the warm and dry southern California desert in the middle of a winter Bay Area rain storm sounded like just what the doctor ordered.

 

Where shall we stay?

As an AmEx Platinum card holder, I always check out the Fine Hotels and Resorts in the area to maximize on perks like resort credit to be used for dining, spa treatments, etc. during your stay, early check-in, late check-out, a daily breakfast credit, and a complimentary room upgrade when available.

We chose the Ritz Carlton at Rancho Mirage for our stay. The resort itself is nothing short of lovely. Upon check in, we were offered a glass of champagne as the layout of resort was explained to us. As a Marriott Gold Elite member, (another perk of the AmEx Platinum card if you haven’t achieved this status through actual stays) we were given daily access to the spa grounds to enjoy the plunge pools, steam rooms and other amenities.

Sunset in Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Sunset at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage – Source @WellnessScience

We did not receive the complimentary room upgrade to my knowledge. I had booked a desert view, and the room was on the second floor. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have requested a ground floor room which would have given us a private fire pit. I could tell that the people who had these rooms enjoyed using the fire pits, and we would have probably spent more time outside enjoying the property if we had been in one of these rooms.

 

Incorporating wellness into your trip

One of my goals during this trip was to shake of the blue feelings I was having from being trapped inside after weeks of rain and cold weather. My first mission was to scope out a decent hike in the sunshine to get the endorphins flowing.

Walking Path at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

The resort itself was a lot smaller than I expected. While there was a beautiful walking path facing the desert side of the property, I had to actually exit the resort and head down the hill a bit to find walking trails.

Hiking in Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

The key to wellness travel is really just to focus on what you’ve been neglecting, so the sunshine and exercise did me a world of good. The beautiful desert views were a nice backdrop to connect with nature and really did make me feel grateful for the beauty around me.

 

The Spa

Massages were booked for day two. I booked a 50-minute Stress Relief massage, though again, in hindsight I should have booked either the 80 or 100-minute options. The spa attendants were very helpful upon arrival, and my massage therapist brought me a glass of champagne after my treatment to enjoy in the co-ed lounge area.

The spa had three AromaSense shower heads in the ladies locker room area. I found the Eucalyptus shower very relaxing, and the spa is equipped with hair dryers, flat irons, etc. to make it easy to get ready after showering if you don’t feel like rushing back to your guest room. There were also nice complimentary teas, fruit-infused waters and healthy snack mixes on offer in addition to a Spa Menu if you wanted to order lunch and enjoy it before or after your treatment.

The fitness center, located inside the spa, offered a daily group fitness class including sunset yoga, a barre class, and a stretch class.

 

The Food

Breakfast was my favorite time of the day. The views from the restaurant were serene, and since it was winter the heat lamps on the patio were fired up so you could enjoy dining outdoors if you wanted without being uncomfortable.

Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

Again, as an AmEx platinum member we were given a $65 breakfast credit daily. The buffet offerings on Saturday and Sunday were a treat with a made-to-order omelette station, options of pancakes and French toast along with healthier choices of yogurt, an array of fresh fruit, pastries and smoked fish. The coffee was strong (a major plus in my book) and tasty, so it was a nice way to start a relaxing day.

In addition to the spa, lunch was offered at the adult pool as well as the main restaurant, State Fare. My club sandwich with sweet potato fries was my favorite lunch of the entire stay.

State Fare at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

We treated ourselves to room service on our last night, finishing off the meal with the signature Ritz Carlton Cake – a must for any chocolate lover.

 

Wellness Travel Essentials

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing stay and we headed back to the still stormy Bay Area happy to have soaked up the sun for a few days.

All you really need to make any trip a wellness getaway is the intention to focus on your wellness while you are away. A destination away from the hustle and bustle where you can disconnect from the day to day and connect with nature is ideal. But as long as you can find time to connect with yourself and treat yourself to relaxation and rejuvenation, you’ll come out on top.

Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

What are your thoughts about wellness travel? Do you have any favorite wellness destinations? Have you ever been to a wellness-focused resort or on a wellness retreat? Any plans to do so in the near future?

The Best Quotes About Life, Happiness, and Forgiveness

The end of the year always causes me to start reflecting. It is easy in those moments to start to think about the past. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes obsess a little about wishing the past could be different. This is an exercise in futility, because of course there is nothing we can do except to move forward and let go of things that no longer serve us.

I hope these quotes about life, love, gratitude and forgiveness inspire you to focus on and enjoy the present. 

2016 has been a particularly difficult year for so many people that I talk to, so give yourself the kindness that you need to see it through to the end. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it! Remember to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to continue caring for the others who need you.

Give-up-on-a-better-past | The Wellness Scientist

 

 

 

 

Instagram Challenge: Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of October! This is my favorite month of the year. I love it for many reasons … those first few crisp days when you realize need a sweater or a blanket, noticing the leaves changing colors, but mostly because it’s my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!

Starting today and continuing through Thanksgiving, I’m setting a goal for myself each day to find one thing I’m thankful for. Scientists who study happiness have found that people who keep gratitude journals (daily or even several times per week) consider themselves happier than those who did not.

Think about it … Don’t you always feel good when you focus on something positive? What is more positive than recognizing something that you consider a blessing?

Attitude of Gratitude Instagram Challenge | thewellnessscientist.com

I’ll be posting my daily “Thank You’s” on my Instagram page & using the hashtag #attitudeofgratitude.

Join me and discover if this boosts your happiness quotient for the next month!!

 

 

Five Things Friday: Fitness, Funnies, and Random Ramblings

Wow, Friday came along FAST this week! I’m linking up again this week with the DC Trifecta (Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run, and You Signed up for What?!!) and their Friday Five Linkup! It looks like EVERYONE was busy this week!

Today is “Free Friday” with the Friday Five, so I’m sharing a little fitness update & randomness with you.

One:

First, I’m happy to say that since I listed a summer goal of kicking up my fitness a notch that I actually did some kind of exercise EVERY DAY this week! The weather has been SO nice this week for running/hiking/walking. I even logged a 2nd Pilates session this week. And, I’ll be taking my VERY FIRST class at Soulcycle in Palo Alto on Sunday! When I put my goals on paper, I really take them seriously! 🙂

Two:

Yesterday was a REALLY good day! I don’t know if it is because the past couple of weeks haven’t been that great, but all sorts of good things happened yesterday and I am GRATEFUL!

In addition to getting several new writing assignments (yay!!) I found out that I was chosen to be a new Sparkly Soul Ambassador! I’m so excited to be representing this awesome brand. Every girl deserves a little bling, right?

Today I Am Grateful | thewellnessscientist.com

 

Three:

Ok, were you one of the 10,000,000 people who saw the “Dear Kitten” video on YouTube this week? If you haven’t seen it, I am SO JEALOUS! You get to see it for the first time now! If you have cats, have ever had cats, or just like cats, you will CRACK up when you watch this video. Seriously, watch it now. If you are like me, you will watch it at least 20 more times. And still laugh. Every time. Seriously.

 

Four:

June is the month for peonies, and I LOVE PEONIES!!! If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen the beaucoup photos that I have posted of my peonies. I love the way they look, the way they smell! I can’t get enough!

Peonies | thewellnessscientist.com

Five:

Happy Father’s Day weekend to everyone, especially to my Daddy! Wish I could be there to spend it with you, but I will see you in August — Love you!!

Happy Friday, y’all!

Share your Friday Randomness below!!

 

 

Running and Eating My Way Through The Long Weekend

Last weekend was Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend, one of the much-needed long weekends we get every year. I feel like this year is flying by already, and I don’t know where the time has gone! Finding balance with writing, half-marathon training, and spending time with friends & family has been a challenge. The long weekend was JUST what I needed to get back on track.

I started Friday off baking these Valentine’s Day M&M/Chocolate Chip cookies

M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thanks to an awesome recipe from Averie at Averie Cooks. She has some of the most delicious-looking food pics I have ever seen!! Packed up a couple to take to my amazing Pilates teacher, and I was off for my Pilates session at 3.

Ending the evening with a little bubbly and the yummy Champagne & Cheese Fondue that I posted last Monday.  You can see the hubs hard at work making sure the cheese doesn’t stick 🙂

veuve-sm

fondue-prep-sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kicked off Saturday with a 4-mile run to prepare for Sunday’s long run

sweatshirt

and then headed down to Kula Sweet in Los Altos to visit with Courtney and do a little shopping 🙂

Image courtesy of Kula Sweet Boutique

Image courtesy of Kula Sweet Boutique

Ended the evening with dinner at Palo Alto Sol with Jason. Basically had to roll ourselves home, but it was SO good!

Sunday aka Long Run Day with Jason, Andy, and Courtney. We’re all doing the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon in just a couple of weeks (gulp!)  We all did a half marathon last year, but I haven’t kept myself in top training shape since then. This will be my first time to Palmetto Bluff, and I’m really looking forward to staying at The Inn and exploring the area.

Planned to run 9 miles through & around Stanford campus. Weather was gorgeous and luckily we had Andy to weave us around the most interesting parts of campus and keep the run fun. BTW, no filters used on this pic – it was this clear & this blue!!!

stanford-campus-feb

 

After the run, we had a great and well-deserved brunch at the Coupa Cafe at the Stanford Golf Course (yep, still eating!) I was thinking about the French toast I was going to order during the ENTIRE run!!!  Gotta stay motivated, right?  LOL

Ended the day with a quick shop for dinner at home and a nice soak using the Aches & Pains relief bath salts that Village Naturals Therapy sent me.

Village Naturals Therapy Bath Salts

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to walk on Monday after the long run, but these soaks did the job! So happy that I wasn’t stiff the next day.

Monday, last day of the long weekend (sigh), but I guess it had to end … Took a MUCH NEEDED rest day from the past couple of days of training. Last big ticket item on the long weekend agenda was a drive up to San Francisco to meet Audra, Jonathan, and Parker for dinner! My first time meeting this little guy!!

Parker

He is a doll & hilarious! Definitely kept the waiter on his toes :-))))

All in all, it was a great weekend spending time with the hubs, laughing while catching up with friends, keeping up with half-marathon training, and of course eating along the way 🙂

What did you do over the long weekend?

Was it action-packed or did you take a much needed time-out?

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why Laughter is the Best Medicine

 

Does your best friend, partner, dad, or someone in your family make you laugh every time you talk to them?  If you said “YES,” then you may want to spend time with your favorite jokester.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I spent a couple of hours the other evening catching up with a group of friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in about a year.  I swear, I laughed so hard my cheeks were sore the next morning!  It was well worth it, though. And guess what? Research has shown that laughing boasts lots of health benefits.  Some of them include:

1) Calorie burner.  10-15 minutes of laughing burns off about 50 calories.  Nothing compared to running, but not bad for sitting around having a good time.

2) Immunity booster.  Stress takes a huge toll on our immune systems.  Some studies have shown that laughing may boost the number of antibodies and immune cells we produce.

3) Tension tamer. Laughter can also stimulate blood circulation and help our muscles relax.  Both help reduce stress symptoms!

4) Pain reliever.  Scientists at the University of Oxford found that a good laugh is linked with feeling less pain, likely because laughing causes a release of endorphins (which can also act as painkillers.)

5) Memory sharpener.  In a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Maryland, humor during instruction led to increased test scores.

What makes you laugh? Got something funny to make us all crack up? Leave it in the comments!!

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10 Fun Things To Do This Summer

School may have started already, but we still have Labor Day to look forward to and a whole month of summer left.

Before summer’s end, try a few of these fun summer ideas.

10 Fun Things To Do This Summer | thewellnessscientist.com

Having fun makes us happy, and happiness is a part of good overall health and wellness.

Summer Fun

  1. Have a barbecue & eat outdoors
  2. Watch the sunset
  3. Go swimming
  4. Play mini-golf
  5. Go to the beach and build a sandcastle
  6. Buy produce at a Farmer’s market
  7. Ride a bike (or trike)
  8. Go for a hike
  9. Take a weekend road trip
  10. Turn off the AC and sleep with the windows open

I’m sure there are tons more summer fun ideas.  What would you add?

 

Live With Intention

When I woke up this morning, as many other mornings, the first thoughts I had were of course my to-do list.  While I was having my cup of coffee, I started thinking about how easy it is to let the day pass by while just living passively.

I decided that I wasn’t going to do that today!  Instead, I was going to make sure I was living with intention.

Live-With-Intention-sm

You’ve probably hear this saying before … it was made famous by Mary Anne Radmacher years ago.  Her entire quote is:

“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”

Did you live with intention today?  If you did, that’s awesome!  If not, think about what living with intention means to you and what you can do differently tomorrow to really make it count

 

The 10 Best Quotes To Rev Your Motivation

 

No matter what your goal is, if you aren’t really motivated to achieve it then you probably won’t.  It’s that simple.

Who are the best motivators?  Great leaders, that’s who!

Here are some quotes guaranteed to get you off the couch and running towards any goal that is really your heart’s desire.

Tony Robbins Quotes

 

Steve Jobs Quotes

 

Thomas Edison Quotes

 

Winston Churchill Quotes

 

Benjamin Franklin Quote

 

Socrates Quotes

 

Abraham Lincoln Quote

 

Eisenhower Quotes

 

Aristotle quote excellence

Harriet Tubman Quote

If you liked these, check these out too:

10 Quotes When You Need a Boost of Motivation

 

 

 

An Intelligence Gene? High IQ May Be in Our DNA

 

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Always been the smarty pants in your group?  Awww, SNAP!  Chances are, it’s in your DNA.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

A study of Dutch families (Gosso MF et al., 2006) found that Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) rs363050, located on the SNAP-25 gene is associated with “performance IQ” (i.e. non-verbal IQ).

Each copy of “A” at rs363050 in a person’s genotype increased the subjects’ performance IQ by an average of three points compared to those with no copies of “A”.The authors estimated that rs363050 accounts for 3.4% of the variation in performance IQ between people.

I learned this little tidbit while exploring my Health Traits on the 23andMe website.  A single user-posted question, “Is There Anyone Else with 2 Copies of the Gene for Intelligence?” sparked over 260 replies from users sharing their genotypes, those of their family members, as well as IQ scores, SAT/GRE scores, levels of degrees obtained, and much more to both support AND oppose the findings of this research.

When you get down to brass tacks, no one who fancies him/herself as intelligent wants to look at their own genotype & have it read otherwise … anymore than someone wants their Kindness Gene genotype to tell them they can’t be empathetic.

Of course for this and other similar discussions, there is the nature vs. nurture debate … it can be challenging to study heritability or genetic differences in intelligence due to the fact that it is difficult to rule out other factors such as environment and opportunities (Rowe et al., 1999; Turkheimer et al., 2003).

What are your thoughts re: intelligence and heritability vs. outside influences such as environment?

Have you been tested on 23andMe?  If yes, was your genotype what you expected?