Our Long Weekend at Miraval Spa💆🏼‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️🚵‍♀️

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Recently hubby and I visited Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson. We went to celebrate my birthday and Valentine’s Day this year. And, although the resort was only 40 minutes from our Tucson home, it was as if we had journeyed much further. The tranquil environment, delicious food, beautiful setting and indulgent treatments were just what we needed! It’s no secret that Dennis and I are tremendously active, and our sore bodies needed a little TLC, in the form of massages 💆🏼‍♀️ and down time.

This is a popular spa and we had to plan our trip months ago. So far in advance that we sort of forgot what we signed up for😂. We had many options to choose from, and not just in the spa treatments, but the activities list was extensive! Everything from horseback riding to psychic readings was available. We tend toward active pursuits and stayed true to form. We did, however, avoid activities that we already participate in regularly.

The weather was a little cool, but we did get some sun from time to time. Our first goal was to orient ourselves to the property, so we set out to take a look around.

 

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View from the spa, overlooking one of the pools

 

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The mediation area, near the front entrance

 

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We didn’t have too much time because we were scheduled to take the slack line class! I was particularly excited about this one 🤩.

We started out low to the ground and them made our way up to the higher line. Dennis was pretty good at this!

I am really in love with this! It’s an excellent way to work on balance and strengthen the core. You will be seeing more of this on Instagram next month, as I already purchased one 😂

After our class, Dennis headed out to a yoga class that caught his attention. I decided to work on my own practice on the back patio at our room.

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And, continued looking around!

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We also spent some time in the pool 🏊‍♀️, and next to it reading. So great to just relax for a bit! We both had massages scheduled for later that night, so dinner was first.

Oh the food!! Have you been to a spa? If so, you know that the emphasis is on healthy, tasty meals😋. All dishes have the nutritional breakdown listed, and is appropriately portioned. Of course it is still easy to consume too much! It is a lot like going on a cruise, where the food is included, so you do have to police yourself😉

We (tried) to eat lite, as we had the massages later, and no alcohol since we had an early tightrope walking class the next day. Still, we had to try three desserts 😂

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The next morning, it was time to hit the ropes course. I had signed up for this experience and had them add it to my hubby’s schedule too, without telling him! That was two months ago, and I meant to tell him….really!

We went through the safety stuff, were fitted for our harnesses and the order of participation was set. Much to my chagrin, I was last😳, and Dennis was to go first.

So, up he went. The course is 35 feet above the ground and is effectively a slack line with ropes to grip as you make your way across the obstacle.

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Dennis had no trouble moving all the way to the last rope (on the right of the picture). The vertical support ropes start out close together but grow farther from one another as you progress.

As I mentioned, he was first, and I was to be 8th. So, we watched the other ladies for a while. Most made it all the way🌟

Finally, my turn!

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more clouds have moved in!

 

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Yep, I made it too! Dennis took this shot. I look like a spider in a web 🕷🕸!

We went for breakfast after this and I was in heaven. Breakfast is my favorite meal and Miraval did not disappoint!

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Pesto fried egg on a roasted sweet potato 😋

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And, steel-cut oats with more eggs! 🥚

We split up after this amazing meal. I went to the spa to hang out in the hot tub and have a facial, while hubby went to another yoga class. He had another treatment as well, so we did not see one another until the sunset hike later that evening.

The hike itself was fairly straight forward. Since we do live here half the year, we have been on many desert hikes, but never with a guide. She was wonderful and very knowledgeable about the desert environment. Not too much of a sunset though, as it was quite cloudy☁️

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She did point out this prickly pear that had a heart shaped lobe. Had to grab this image for Valentine’s Day ❤️

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We finished our 2 hour hike just in time for dinner. This time, there were no restrictions for time the next day, so we had some drinks 🍸🥃🥂 and, then a few more🤪

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We also continued to explore the menu! A few appetizers…..

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And, two more desserts to sample 😂

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We crowned the dessert winner….This sweet potato tart with white chocolate ice cream 🏆

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At some point, during another round of drinks, I noticed that I was feeling a little off.. a cold perhaps? Oh well, not tonight!

The next morning however, ya, I was starting to feel a little yucky! But no matter! We had mountain biking to do 🚵‍♀️🚵🏻‍♂️

I don’t have any photos of this as we were too busy mowing over obstacles, but believe me it was a sight to see hubby on a bike😂 definitely not his comfort zone! We did not fall and had fun, all you can ask, right?!

Dennis went off for a massage and I headed to my yoga class. I signed up for a yoga wheel experience, but when I got there, it was just me😳 I ended up having a private session in the most beautiful yoga studio.

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Just the teacher and me

 

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What a view!

By now, I was limber and feeling the full effects of my cold 🤧 Time for some hot beverages

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And, another round of hot tub soaking, and my final spa treatment. I had a sugar scrub and was all set for, more hot beverages, and dinner.

This would be our last dinner, so we wanted to have our favorite dessert one more time. As well as something really tasty for the appetizer and entrée.

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The farm fresh egg appetizer

 

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Roasted shrimp with forbidden rice entrée

Afterward, we took a walk around and saw a beautiful sunset!

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By now, I was ready for bed, with my cold in full bloom!

Our last morning at Miraval and Dennis had one more spa treatment, while I went to the core blasting experience. So glad I didn’t cancel this one!

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I had never used one of these boards before! It was fun, not super hard, but I may have been in need of a tougher class for this one. Many other folks seemed to be hurting 😂, at least I got some exercise in before we left!

One last stroll around the beautiful grounds.

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This long exposure almost looks like a cartoon

 

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And, with that, we left for the short drive home 🏠😊

Such an amazing experience. We truly felt rejuvenated, and rested. We chose a mixture of relaxing treatments and fun activities for our experience, but you could truly go more indulgent or more active. We recommend Miraval, and the spa experience in general.

I’m already looking forward to our next visit🌟

 

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Seven Days Photo Challenge, with a twist 📸😉, Day 4

The lovely Dominique at 3C Style has nominated/tagged me in a photo challenge. And, we all know how I can’t say no to a challenge😉

Apparently the rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

No Explanations!! Ok, I will let this one speak for itself, but will include the color version and ask for feedback. I am taking a photo class and am looking to improve 😊

Today I would like to nominate/tag Lisa from lismorepaperco. I know she has some gorgeous shots to share😉

Holiday Cocktail: The Hot Apple Pie

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A couple weeks ago, the hubby and I went to happy hour at a local restaurant. I had a drink called a hot apple pie. It had spiced cider, orange infused vodka and butterscotch schnapps! A very sweet drink but so good on a cold, rainy night 🙂

Then, a few days ago, my daughter told me that her boyfriend really wanted hot apple cider. I saw my opportunity to recreate (or at least attempt to) the hot apple pie.

I decided to use my crock pot, since I was also making a beef bourguigon in my dutch oven, and I wanted extra!

I combined allspice, cloves and nutmeg in a coffee filter (I was out of cheesecloth) and tied it with cooking twine. The sachet was added to 1 gallon of apple cider along with cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange and lemon slices.

 

I set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours and let the flavors steep into the cider.

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By now the house was smelling wonderful! The spiced cider was delicious on its own, and even better with a few embellishments!

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I did not have orange infused vodka, but used my vanilla flavored one instead. I added 1 oz. of each of the vodka and “Buttershots” (which is the butterscotch schnapps).

 

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I was quite happy with the end result! I do recommend this one 🙂

 

Hot Apple Pie Cocktail

  • Servings: 10 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Take your spiced apple cider to the next level with this sophisticated and elegant cocktail, perfect for the holidays!

Credit: Invisible-no-more.com

Ingredients

-1 gallon apple cider, filtered or unfiltered

-1/2 cup brown sugar

-2 Teaspoons whole allspice

-3 Teaspoons whole cloves

-2 dashes of grated nutmeg

-4 cinnamon sticks

-4 star anise

-2 oranges, 1 cut into half and the other sliced

-1 lemon, cut into slices

-1 oz. Vanilla infused vodka, or orange infused vodka

-1 oz. Butterscotch schnapps

 

Directions

  1. Add the 1 gallon of cider and brown sugar to a crockpot and stir to mix.
  2. In a coffee filter or cheesecloth, place the allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Carefully fold up the coffee filter, making sure none of the spices can fall out. Tie up with butcher’s twine and place into the cider.
  3. Slice an orange in half and place sliced side down into the cider, along with the additional orange and lemon slices. Add in the cinnamon sticks and star anise.
  4. Cover and heat on low for several hours before guests arrive, or can be heated on high for an hour or two until it’s hot enough and then turn the heat down to low.Keep spice bag and orange halves in the cider the entire time.
  5.  Add the liquors to a glass and fill with the hot spiced mixture.

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Black & White & Color, Photo Challenge

Last night we went to a Meet Up Tucson group. The goal was to meet some of our new neighbors and, finally, start getting to know some people locally. We met up with the “off the couch gang” at a Zona 78, an Italian restaurant. I had this raspberry martini (to start!)

It was delicious and the company was great, we really did have a fun time! I got to thinking this morning about using the drink for this challenge, but wanted to take it a little further with some animation, so which do you prefer:

 

 

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The color version of the raspberry martini with bubbles

or

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The black and white version with bubbles

Grab your camera or phone and join Linda from Everyone Else has the best titles and Take the “Black and White and Color” photo challenge!

Road Trip, First Stop: Eugene, Oregon

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We are heading back to Tucson for a month of sun and our next half marathon. This time we are driving down with a very full car. Our goal is to bring a few things, ok a lot of things, from our house in Washington and we want to have our own car while we are in Arizona.

You might be wondering why we stopped in Oregon on the first leg of the drive, since Eugene is only about 5 hours from Redmond, Washington. This is a legitimate question as we have 20 more hours to go! We stayed overnight in Eugene because my husband has a presentation at the local office this morning.

We have never been to Eugene before. We have spent a lot of time in Portland over the years. Our daughter was a competitive gymnast and son was a competitive rock climber, so they both had many meets or competitions all around Oregon. Eugene is beautiful! Perhaps it is just the fact that our hotel is along the Willamette River, or that fall leaves make every place pretty. Either way, we are impressed!

After 5 hours in the car we were eager to stretch our legs. We started out for walk along the river path.

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It was a sunny day here, which makes everything better!

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I just love this bridge with the clouds behind it

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All of Oregon is biking and walking friendly. This is just one of many pathways used by numerous pedestrians 

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Near this bridge is McMenamins Restaurant. We had never heard of this chain before, but they are all over the Oregon area, there is even near us in Bothell, Washington which we will have to visit when we get back. This chain also includes hotels, breweries, and wineries as well as the restaurants. Ours was specifically McMenamins North Bank Restaurant. We weren’t sure what to expect but what a pleasant surprise!

It was set right on the shore of the Willamette River, with an incredible view! It must be truly stunning in the summer!

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We made it in time for happy hour, of course 🙂 So, I started with a blueberry infused vodka cocktail and the hubby went with a craft beer of some sort (mine was so tasty I forgot what he had!)

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We were starving, so I went with the goat cheese, pesto and sun dried tomato torta. This came with four perfectly toasted crostini and balsamic vinegar- I loved this!

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My entree was the salmon topped with coffee-bacon jam! Unique and delicious!

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By now we were getting quite full so I chose to drink my dessert! I had this seasonal pumpkin infused cocktail. It was like a pumpkin milkshake. Just amazing!

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We ended the evening strolling back along the river to our hotel. I took one last shot of the sunset. There were quite a few clouds, but it was pretty nonetheless!

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Today we have 10 hours in the car to Fresno California-wish us luck!

 

Hiking, Sailing and Drinking our way through Kauai

This was our first trip to Kauai. We have been lucky enough to visit Maui many times when our kids were young. Hawaii in general is a great spot to take young kids with the beaches, the ocean, swimming pools… its just so casual and fun for the whole family. This time it was just the two of us and we decided to do some serious exploring.

Of course we were treated to some of the Hawaiian Island iconic images right away!

What is with the feral chicken population? They are pretty aggressive pan handlers!

 

We first arrived just in time to check out the sunset and plan our first hike for the following day.

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We got a fairly early start, thanks to the three hour time difference, and drove an hour to Waimea and Kokee State Park where the trail head for the Canyon Trail begins. This hike is not too strenuous (~3miles round trip) and ends at the Waipoo falls. The canyon itself if quite impressive! The colors are vibrant and there was some serious depth to the canyon.

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A scenic overlook before the hike 

 

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I just love the color of this volcanic, red clay

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Waipoo falls marks the end and turn around point of this hike.

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It took us an hour and half to hike down and 45 minutes to make our way back up! Not too bad. We made our way back to the Sheraton Resort, where we stayed for the 5 night vacation, cleaned up and headed out to the Beach House Restaurant for a very  nice dinner!

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The Beach House version of a Mai Tai

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My hubby loves his Manhattans!

 

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After the drinks and appetizer we enjoyed a delicious dinner! Of course we were also treated to a glorious Hawaiian sunset!

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The next morning we relaxed by the beach for awhile.

 

We had a sunset dinner cruise scheduled for the evening so we set out for Blue Dolphin Charters to meet our boat. This was a 4 hour cruise that took us past the north shore area of  Na Pali coast.

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We had beautiful weather (to start with anyway!)

 

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The colors were impressive to say the least! Notice those clouds moving in!

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The prehistoric look of the rock was stunning, there is no question as to why so many movies are filmed here. Of course there was a sunset!

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Despite the light rain, and the not so light seasickness experienced by some on the cruise, it was another great day in paradise!

The next day was the big test! We planned to hike the Kalalau trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls. This was going to be an all day affair to remember!!

We drove an hour and half north to Kee beach to pick up the trail head.

This hike was going to take the majority of the day. 8 miles round trip! The first 2 miles would lead us to a Hanakapi’ai beach. This portion of the hike was not too bad and we were rewarded with this view!

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the view from the beach back toward the hills

There were quite a few folks at this point, and many stayed here to play in the surf, have lunch and then return to the trail head. We decided to push on the next two miles to the waterfall. These next 2 miles were tougher, steeper and slippery from the periodic rainfall. It was slow going, but the scenery was spectacular. My favorite portion of this trail was the bamboo forest.

 

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After a couple tough hours we were rewarded with this! Hanakāpīʻai falls is ~300 feet long, and worth the hike!

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There were people everywhere, even though it looks like we were alone in my pictures. Many were swimming in the water and playing in the falls. It looked so refreshing but we did not want to hike back the 4 miles with wet feet. We stayed a little while, but knowing how difficult the terrain was, we started back soon after seeing the falls. We definitely wanted to get back to the car before dark or, more likely, before the afternoon showers!

We were really wiped out after that hike! Our feet, legs, knees, ankles…you get the idea! All we had the energy for was dinner! We got back, cleaned up and went to Keoki’s Paradise for dinner and more drinks! I really liked this spot, and the live music helped relax us after a really busy day.

 

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This brings us to the final day, where we just wanted to stroll along the beach and take in the beautiful sites one last time.

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We spent time at the ocean, by the pool and lounging around in a cabana, hiding from the heat.

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We truly loved Kauai and recommend all the restaurants and hikes in this post. We will be back!

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