Join us this Saturday for a Mother's Day Pre-Game

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It's a sweaty, self-care Saturday for anyone (from moms to those who just want a good sweat and spa day before Sunday's family time) produced by us and hosted by our partners at Hotel Zetta in San Francisco. The morning will start with a Pilates Bootcamp taught by MNTSTUDIO founder (and boss mom) Elaine Hayes, followed by Burke Williams manicures and our favorite new rose by Domaine de Cala

For details and to grab your ticket, visit Eventbrite. Be sure to use promo code WAblog for $10 off of admission! 

The 9 Best Mother's Day Gifts for Health-Conscious Moms

Buying your mom a special something on mother’s day should be simple enough, especially since you’ve known the woman nine months longer than even your dad. So you should understand her and her gifting preferences pretty well. But no matter how many birthdays and mothers days go by, getting her something that will tick all the boxes of being something she wouldn’t buy herself, something she will actually use and not break the bank is not as easy as it might sound. So, the following is a list of health-inspired treats that she likely wouldn't buy for herself.

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For the mom who wouldn’t splurge on herself: A weekend away at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, or at least a spa treatment with resident wellness expert.

Why? There is nothing better than being pampered by the best in one of LA's most oasis-like five-star hotels. The visiting practitioners are leaders in their respective fields and are invited to the property from all over the world.  Regular experts in residence include the London-based Reiki master Shaylini and naturopathic doctor Dr. Nigma Talib.

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For the mom who is diving into healthy cooking: The just-released Wicked Healthy vegan cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno and David Joachim.

Why? For moms who are working to ditch the meat or up their plant-based cooking without going full kale salad, this new tome is filled with stunning imagery and ideas for how to serve the gorgeous food on display.

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For the marathoner mom: New Speed Up sports bra by lululemon.

Why? Made of four-way stretch and sweat-wicking Luxtreme fabric, this new release from lululemon is a major gear treat with some of the highest support available. It works just as well for moms who clock miles before dawn to those who prefer a more casual morning walk.

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For the coiffed mom: A 10-free mani pedi at organic-luxe salons like tenoverten and Sundays.

Why? She may have her regular corner shop for a weekly manicure and pedicure, but tenoverten's spa-like digs and chic, chemical-free polishes should be an appreciated upgrade.

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For the mom who says she’s too busy for self-care: An at-home massage by Zeel or a local practitioner.

Why? A spa day is a lovely indulgence, but having the spa come to you is next level. Bonus points for including an at-home spa gift card in a spa care package with other goodies like a soothing candle and a creamy moisturizer.

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For the mom who digs a good soak: CBD bath bombs.

Why? Is there a mom out there who doesn’t deserve a solid hour tub soak with 35 grams of muscle-soothing CBD? 

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For the mom who needs some more shut-eye: A beautiful ceramic diffuser and essential oil kit from Canada’s Saje Natural Wellness.

Why? Because who couldn't use an extra dose of spa vibes in the bedroom? Also, Saje's signature Liquid Sunshine essential oil is a sure way to start the day on a sunny note.

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For the mom who’s still using Pond’s Cold Cream: The new 'it' face oil, squalene, like this cruelty-free version by Mirai Clinical.

Why? Squalene has been said to be one of the most easily absorbed face oils, and this sugarcane-based version out of Japan is the next big thing in skincare. 

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Gift: For the practical mom. Bombas socks.

Why? Even though they are all kinds of practical, this Mother's Day 8-pack is secretly luxe. Who buys eight pairs of premium athletic socks at a time, outside of Costco? The hoardes of Bombas fans who swear by the brand's Honeycomb Arch Support System and extra plush footbed, that's who.

Come Sweat With Us this Sunday in SF!

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This Sunday, March 25, we're kicking off our 2018 monthly rooftop fitness series at Viceroy's Hotel Zetta with a mindful bootcamp taught by our friends at Zenfit. In-store is a 45-minute bootcamp, followed by a meditation with aromatherapy featuring Aura Cacia essential oils. Afterwards, dig into healthy post-class treats from REBBL, Republic of Tea, Rise Bar and more. 

Nab your tickets here

Splurging on LA’s Best Vegan Ice Cream

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I popped by Brentwood Country Mart last week to grab a cup of dairy-free ice cream and accidentally spent around 45 minutes in the Goop shop smelling every bag of their very temptingly packaged new bath salts and then (prob on a slight bath salt high) seriously considered buying the entire apothecary merchandise thinking I could transform my tub and vanity games into GP’s. Which, thankfully, the staff ignored me out of doing. But back to the ice cream. I walked around the corner from Goop into Sweet Rose and ordered one scoop each of the vegan versions of dark chocolate and coconut, and left realizing I had just spent almost $10 on a one scoop of ice cream. Which made me think, ‘wow I could have just gotten an entire pint of Vegan Vixen or Van Leeuwen for that amount’. So in the spirit of totally overpaying for one of life’s great simple pleasures, here is a rundown of my favorite, overpriced-but-WORTH-it vegan ice creams in LA:

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Sweet Rose

A medium cup runs around $9, and the selection of non-dairy flavors like dark chocolate, bergamot basil and horchata coconut is small but mighty. There is normally a rotation of around four seasonal flavors, all of which taste like heaven. The place gets overrun with neighborhood kids and their carpool moms between 3-4pm, so plan accordingly. $4.50/scoop.

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Pressed Juicery

Honestly, this is more of a sugar splurge more than anything else. I mean, you’re walking into a juice shop with 10 flavors of green juice and ordering soft serve. Sure, no refined sugars are used in the process of making either the Freezes themselves (sweetened with dates) or the toppings like an amazing cacao drizzle that solidifies once it hits the frozen ice ‘cream’, but they taste pretty decadent. Flavors include a classic vanilla, chocolate, strawberry almond and matcha. $5.95 per 4 oz serving with toppings.

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Craig’s

I feel very strongly that one can never go wrong with a night at Craig’s. Unless you’re on a cleanse, I suppose. Martinis/vegan bolognese/hard-to-find wines/celeb sightings - it’s all right there. But most importantly, they serve a non-dairy ice cream made from a blend of coconut and almond milks brought in daily by a local vendor whose name they will not reveal. I think there are normally two or three flavors in rotation, but the signature peanut butter cup kills me with its richness and sweetness, so much so that I don’t even listen to the other flavors available on any given evening. $11 per massive bowl of ice cream

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Van Leeuwen

I really enjoy indulging in letting anyone/everyone who mentions Van Leeuwen know that I used to make almost nightly ice cream runs to the first Van Leeuwen truck on 75th Street and Broadway, 100 years ago. The thoughtfully designed but modest ice cream truck continues to service it’s OG artisanal best in flavors like vegan Sicilian pistachio, vegan honeycomb made without honey, salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie dough. And then when I moved to Williamsburg, so did the truck (nice of them), and then I eventually moved back to LA and thankful they already had four brick-and-mortar locations here ready to appease all of my Sunday treat cravings. $6 per scoop/$11 per pint.

For a full rundown of all of the vegan frozen desserts in LA, this awesome LAist post is pretty handy. And for a deep dive into Pressed Juicery’s Freeze, Passport to Friday had a wonderfully detailed post here.

 

SoulCycle's New HIIT Class is Murder, in the best way

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Right after our first set of intervals, as I gasped for air amid encouragement from instructor Laura Crago, I thought well, gym cycling classes are toast. After more than a year in a development by a team of master instructors, SoulCycle launched its new SoulActivate class on Tuesday, February 27. And it is a bitch (but in that I DID IT AND NOW I CAN DO ANYTHING kind of way).

Less about the sweaty playfulness and clubby choreography that put SoulCycle on the map, the hour-long, HIIT-style Activate class is the answer to critics who say Soul rides aren't scientifically optimal training for the cardiac system—a number of competing gyms and cycling studios have long focused on "smarter" programming that centers on increasing heart rate and strength training. Now, with an aggressive studio expansion and a following of veteran riders who could complete the traditional SoulCycle class in their sleep, the company is upping its game with the addition of this endurance-building class in studios throughout the Bay Area, New York, and Los Angeles.

The class begins as usual, with a warm-up song and a series of climbs and sprints with the brand's signature tap-back and push-up movements. At about minute 20, though, things took a more serious turn.

An extended weight-training session gave our legs a break but worked our arms using multiple, heavier weights than Soul's traditional rides. And then our instructor sprang it on us that we were in for some gnarly HIIT.

"This is how Olympic athletes train!" Crago shouted, pumping us up. "Pushing your heart rate as hard as you can, followed by real rest, is proven to make you a stronger rider, make you faster, make you better."

At what would have been halfway through a standard SoulCycle ride, we began a series of six intervals, turning up the resistance on our bikes until it felt like pedaling in quicksand. We spun as hard as we could for 20 seconds, then took a one-minute rest, our legs completely still, our chests heaving. After each run, Crago marked the number of sprints we'd completed on a whiteboard behind her; after the first, my legs felt thoroughly worked, my lungs like they were going to explode; after the sixth and final run, I felt like someone really should be handing me a medal.

After a brief reprieve sprinting on a lighter load, we rolled into a second set of intervals. I think I laughed as Crago announced what was coming—I'd barely finished that last set alive. (At this point in the class, a normal 45-minute ride would be over and I would be halfway down the street grabbing protein waffles at Project Juice.) But she wasn't joking, and we instead embarked on a series of eight sprints, 20 seconds each with just 10 seconds off. I honestly don't know how I made it through, but once we moved onto our final sprint song, I was high on my own oxygen and would do whatever she asked.

It's important to note that this class is definitely not for noobs: SoulCycle recommends riders take at least 10 standard classes before signing up for Activate. For experienced riders who already incorporate SoulCycle into a weekly fitness regime, the brand advises taking the new class about two times per week. For myself, I think once a week, as a way to really test and push my cardio system, is plenty ambitious.

Prices vary per market, more info at soul-cycle.com.

LA’s Vegan In-N-Out is in Chinatown (and it’s better than the real thing)

 @burgerlords

@burgerlords

It’s called Burgerlords. Across the street from a small framing shop that W+A art insider friends swear by, is Chinatown’s vegan-friendly burger joint Burgerlords. Orders get placed at an outdoor, fast-food styled walk-up window, behind which housemade vegan (and meat) burgers, and vegan animal-style fries called ‘lord of the fries’ are made. A handful of picnic-style tables sit in the middle of Chinatown’s Central Plaza for messily (and delightfully) stuffing thousand island-drenched fries, vegan burgers and cheeseburgers into your face. You can go nearly healthy with a traditional vegan burger on a lettuce wrap, or go full treat meal with a double vegan cheeseburger on a traditional bun with a full order of lord of the fries.

 @burgerlords

@burgerlords

It’s fun, worth-the-drive downtown detour for made-from-scratch burgers that are 100% our new favorite veggie burger in town. Fun fact: the whole Burgerlords concept stemmed from a Tumblr. Yup.

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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for your Healthy Boo

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You want to know how to mix it up this Valentine’s Day and you only have, like, 24 hours to get a gift that kills? No prob. Ditch the flowers (is it just me, or is it a bummer to receive a $100 arrangement and have to then cram it into the compost not even a week later) and embrace gifting outside of the Hallmark holiday box. The following are our favorite, sexed up gifts to give your boo TOMORROW.

Soooo get reading and prepare to hit ‘one day shipping’ on Amazon ASAP. Valentine’s Day gifting solved below.

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Sexy Cannabis treasures

For us, somehow no-booze January has rolled into barely drinking February. Which means Wine Wednesday has become cannabis treat Wednesday (hmmm not the same ring to it), and that we are now totally buzzed-treat experts. Spice up your Wednesday, Feb 14 with our February faves, Dosist Arouse or Passion pens and Sensuali-Tea.

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Last minute Vday Getaway

Grab your boo and hop in the car headed south/north/east/west for a night at a gorgeous resort for spa, sunsets with a horizon and all the room service. From Los Angeles, we’re thinking destinations like Terranea, El Encanto or my favorite wellness getaway in Northern California, 1440 Multiversity.

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@Seedlip

Your new favorite spirit

Oh you’d rather stay in? How about gifting the UK’s beautiful, zero-proof spirit Seedlip and whipping up a couple of sultry, warming cocktails like any of these stunners put together by Food & Wine.

 @DedCool

@DedCool

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Scents are personal, sure, but when chosen well it can be one of the best-received gifts. And there’s not all that much at risk when shelling out sub-$100 for a cool kid fragrance from LA’s indie olfactory darling DedCool. Of the five varied scents, we’re suckers for the original number 01, but they're all beautiful.

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Luxe Fitness Tracker

We discovered the Nokia Steel HR when hunting for the best new trackers for 7x7, and cannot get enough. It's chic, tracks not just steps, but heart rate, sleep quality and one charge lasts nearly two weeks. Just in time for Vday, the brand has released a rose gold version.

 @foxandbond

@foxandbond

This bangin’ jewelry from Fox & Bond

So jewels might not be the first thing you think of when pondering gifts for your healthy SO, but they should be! We’re pretty sure gifting an F&B Ombre Ring from Fox & Bond will earn you some serious ‘thank you’ cardio!

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Wine all the time

Stocking your partner's wine fridge, wine cellar, or stash with a regular wine subscription is a sure-fire way to appear thoughtful when really it's  a gift for yourself as much as it is for them. Brands like Dry Farm Wines only work with natural wine producers, and some of the smaller subscriptions like Wine Trees seek out producers with minimal eco-impact.

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Powerdot

This new ‘muscle stim’ gadget is the ultimate recovery tool. It’s hot off of the presses, so your boo will be one of the first to delight in the twitchy, delightful benefits of pre-workout, post-workout or massage muscle stimulation.  

SF Babe Katey Yurko on Her Healthy Faves for 2018

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One of the things on our cleanse list this month is releasing things that don’t make us feel awesome and challenged and appreciated and like we’re living that high vibe life. The benefit of any purge? Creating room for more of the good stuff: practices and relationships that enrich and inspire. Which brings me to our guest contributor and founder of awesome, positive, real talkin’ women and wellness-focused site The Violet Fog, Katey Yurko. One of my favorite new friends and inspiring member of the W+A tribe.

Katey, take it away!

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I am STOKED to be a guest on Well + Away! Margaux has enlightened me about many new things in the wellness space so I am so happy to share MY personal favorites for the new year! Feel free to connect with me over my site or on Instagram- find me at @TheVioletFog. I LIVE to connect with other like minded women! Men, too, but we are a site full of girl talk. ;)

My Wellness Faves Taking Me into 2018

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1. GUA SHA TOOLS

Holy moly-- this practice is not only effective but it feels SO GOOD. With rose quartz tools (pictured above) you basically make upward motions on an oiled up face to increase circulation and ward off premature aging. In Ancient Chinese medicine, they believe that aging and bad skin comes from a lack of circulation. When circulation isn't in top form, collagen production can break down. Sagging happens. Breakouts happen. Gua Sha facials take TWO minutes and make such a difference. And not only is it good for skin health, it legit gives you a temporary FACELIFT in seconds. You'll love it. You can read my full article here or just skip to the video.

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2. VEGAN DELIVERY SERVICES

I will be honest. I'm a health nut who does NOT want to put in a lot of effort cooking. I'm just not super confident in the kitchen and although I know the basics- it's not enough to eat as healthy as I would like to. Using a vegan meal delivery service has saved me: 1, time. 2, money. and 3, a lot of health issues. Eating clean makes ALL the difference in how I feel and when I have healthy food already prepared for me, I am more likely to make healthy decisions. There are plenty of food options out there but my favorite is Thistle- an organization I’ve worked with throughout 2017. You can see my first article here on why I love them. If you are a health nut like me- food delivery services are an awesome resource. I promise.

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3. APRICOT OIL

I have always been a HUGE believer in oils. I truly think they are the fountain of youth and the best way to get nourishing ingredients into your skin. My favorite thing to do is a layer of oil and then a thin layer of moisturizer on top to really trap it in. Apricot oil is one of my favorites- it is SO HIGH in vitamin A (which our body needs but doesn't product naturally!) and is so gentle it works on every skin tone. It's anti-inflammatory and when you wake up in the morning after using it you just feel so soft and glow-y. It's incredible. I have gotten many friends hooked on it! You can see my full article here.

4. WELLNESS ESCAPE

I don't have set plans on where I am going to travel. I do have themes around the kind of travel I want to do though and those are: nature, wellness based, and unique culture. I am a very "play it by ear" kind of gal. This year, I would love to do a wellness retreat somewhere in Oregon. I am in love with that state. The people, the greenery. I could live there! I find that a lot of their beauty companies are more on the natural, earthy side- as opposed to more labby and high tech (which I also enjoy.) One shop I’m crazy about is Fettle Botanics in Portland. They have all these elixirs, oils, herbs, and spices. I have an immunity tincture from them that I use all the time. They’re huge on Eastern Medicine healing and in just one trip there you can learn a lot.

I also love Oregon-based Seagape Soaps. It's basically a trip to the Pacific Northwest coast in the shower. They make minimal makeup, balms, and of course- soaps. They are incredibly clean. My favorite product is their healing balm, which another Violet Fog writer recommended to me. It’s incredible! 

Come say hi anytime on www.VioletFog.com or at @thevioletfog on Instagram.

 

 

We Just Discovered Healthy Cruising and are Obsessed

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Outdoors-y Cruising is the New Glamping

A travel-savvy friend recently took a cruise on one of Viking’s new ocean ships from New York to Puerto Rico, raving about it enough to convince me to pen a Spas at Sea story for RobbReport based on her trip. It also inspired me to try to find a healthy, sea-bound holiday for myself. With the generous help of the Viking Ocean Cruise PR team, I booked a fourteen night sailing through the Norwegian fjords, from London to Bergen, to health and millennial-hack the AARP set’s favorite way to vacay.

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True to expectations, my fiance and I were the youngest couple on-board. Which translated into a surprisingly blissful setup: complete lack of iPhones at meals throughout every dining room, zero laptops in public spaces and no rude conference calls in random places getting in the way of my seafaring zen.

But what about the food? And surviving for 14 at sea with just my fiance and our 900 silver-haired new friends? And what did we do all day? Read on!

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Dining

Meals were leisurely and a nice way to meet some of the crew - many of whom were in our peer set. The kitchen teams consistently went above and beyond to accommodate my dietary restrictions at all restaurants onboard. While the standard buffet items at the Star’s World Cafe were upgraded versions of continental fare, the kitchen team customized all meals for us making it a bit like private dining - especially because we were one of the very few couples to hit the dining rooms 'late night' - after 8pm.

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Activities

My fiance and I easily found ways to age-down the scheduled activities in port stops or DIYd where they weren’t active enough for us, and filled our sea days with gym, reading and spa. A lack of city access while cruising the North Sea wiped out any of my normal weeknight FOMO at home, making it easy to turn in early for another day of exploring (the midnight sun, on the other hand, I never fully adjusted to…). Small fjord town ports were light on fjord-chic shops or temptingly scene-y happy hours, which made it even easier to get ourselves out into nature via hike, kayak or ATV to soak in the fjords from above, below, in and around. Unpacking once and waking up to new wonders of nature almost every morning  never grew old.  

But what did we do when we got off of the ship?

The Trip

Day 1 + 2: London! Highlights were East London Juice Co, Dishoom Shoreditch and White Cube

Day 3: Edinburgh - Highlights included turmeric lattes at Burr & Co, the most filling veggie lunch in town at Henderson’s Vegan and the National Gallery. Accidentally happened upon a whiskey flight at Scran and Scallie, which turned out to be the best part of the afternoon.

Day 4: Sea Day - After sleeping in and reading through Scottish author Jenni Fagan’s Panopticon, I hit the gym using audio workout app Aaptiv followed by the steam/sauna and snow grotto in the LivNordic Spa. The bartending team at the onboard World Cafe made me my first of many custom smoothies using my BYO Sun Warrior protein powder. A leisurely lunch, hot tub time with almost 360 degree sea views, an even more leisurely dinner and after-dinner scrabble matches topped off the first sea day.

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Day 5: Orkney - Not really knowing what the differences between the included tours and ‘optional’ (read: $$) ones were, we signed up for the included tour not realizing it was one long scenic drive. Fine for those who aren't super mobile, less so for those with endless ants in their pants. Three hours total in the back of a coach with limited legroom is not my idea of an adventure, no matter how knowledgeable or charming the tour guide (ours was both). We saw just one of the sites we wanted to see (Stones of Stenness, older than Stonehenge!) and should have rented a car to explore on our own. Lesson learned.

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Day 6 + 7: Two sea days, one was a surprise after a visit to the Shetland Islands was canceled due to a combination of wind and a slowing of one of the engines. While relatively rare, this is part of cruising. More time for steam/sauna/cold plunge!

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Day 8: Lofoten: I was unsure of which excursion to book, and a planned hike was sold out by the time I tried signing up, so I DIY-d a six-mile hike in Tromso. After fretting over a car rental and the cost of taxis in Norway (insane at the current conversion rate) a local guide pointed us in the direction of an amazing hike, 10 minutes from where we docked. It was free, beautiful, there was nobody else in sight and I met a family of adorable sheep.

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Day 9: North Cape: I opted to sign my fiance and me up for an ATV tour of the North Cape area, the northernmost point in Europe and the coldest place I've ever visited in summer.  The tour itself was a rainy and scenic ride through town and up the mountain to ridiculous viewpoints of the fjords below and moon-like terrain surrounding us, but some issues that happened with the ship at the dock cut our excursion time in half. Despite the hiccup, the visit itself was a blast and the only way I would want to do the North Cape.

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Day 10: Tromso: After hiking and ATV-ing, we felt ready to take on a Husky trek on the outskirts of Tromso. An orientation introduced us to the  working dogs, as well as puppies and teenage dogs who were going through a sort of finishing school for sled dogs, and prepared us for the logistics of strapping ourselves to these super strong animals trained to pull-pull-pull. The trek itself was the most adorable resistance training-meets-cardio I've experienced.

Day 11: Geiranger: I am not the best at maps, and probably should fine tune those skills before renting a kayak and trying to DIY my own fjord-by-kayak excursion of the Geirangerfjord and its De syv søstrene (Seven Sisters). The trip was magnificent and it was surreal to look up at massive waterfalls from the inside of a tiny kayak, but the 6 km ride that turned into 14km due to a faulty navigator made for some sore shoulders the next day.

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Day 12: Sea Day: Snow grotto all day! And a facial, with a side of Scrabble and tea. Spa and Scrabble day in the middle of the Arctic Circle is now my preferred way to unplug. 

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Day 13: The Troll Church hike instantly sold out to the tour group, so we hopped on another hike to a local waterfall which was lovely but could so easily have been DIY’d and saved tons of time with slow bus ride and a funny, too-long lunch stop at a roadside dining hall for tourists. Lesson? Research in advance what they most popular excursions are and book them as soon as they open up.

Day 14: Bergen: So happy we added a few extra nights here! Ate lunch and a couple of dinners at delightful and sweet Dwell vegan restaurant - which has amazing food and healthy drinks list. The museums are huge and beautiful and wonderfully organized - we devoted a whole day to exploring the buildings of the glorious Kunsthall. Another day was devoted to following Ingrid Williams’ NY Times 36 Hours In story that was hugely helpful and totally walkable. It’s also how we found the gorgeous apparel shop T-Michael, where T Michael himself helped book us a dinner table at Bare Vestland’s upstairs dining room, an eatery with some seriously glam ambience. Pre-dinner, we spent 30 minutes in the attached bar, it wasn’t nearly enough to soak it all in.

All in all, I'm a cruise convert. Viking's ocean cruises visit some ridiculous destinations, and I would argue that visiting them by ship is the only way to do it. I was Googling 'Viking Cruises 2018' as soon as we got to the airport in Bergen waiting for our plane home. I cannot recommend the whole experience enough, and can't wait to do it again.

The Only Detox Guide You Need for a Clean AF 2018

 @Goop

@Goop

There is nothing we love more than a solid, slightly depriving but wholly delicious and all-encompassing cleanse. The way our gut feels, the way our workouts are on point, the mental acuity that comes from it all, and of course the taste of the first glass of wine or piece of pie post-cleanse. But doing a DIY detox is, at least for us, an overwhelming and unnecessary prospect. Knowing what to cut, what to add, how to make our now limited arsenal of ingredients taste amazing and how to stay inspired throughout an entire 30-ish days? Yikes.

So we turn to the experts who develop and fine tune their own cleanses year after year to give us the best recipes, meditations and workouts from which to design our own extra-customized Franken-cleanse of sorts - built from the things that help optimize gut health, fitness, mental well-being and take as little time as possible.

So what are we bookmarking on our browsers and pinning to the fridge this year? Read on:

 @ToneitUp

@ToneitUp

Love Your Body 2018 Series, Tone It Up

As exciting as discovering new, up-and-coming cleanse programs or nutrition and fitness ‘challenges’ are, we always end up back at Tone It Up when looking for commit to something for more than two weeks. The recipes are easy to make and useful for getting out of a flavor rut (normally marinara, taco seasoning or tahini sauce on everything). New recipes for the January challenge include almond butter and cookie shakes, tofu cacciatore and chocolate protein donuts. An accompanying set of daily workouts and encouraging blog posts make the Tone It Up challenge equally immersive and accessible. If you’re the kind of person who like social support, you could spend an entire day on Instagram reading through motivational posts tagged #TIU.

 @Goop

@Goop

 Annual Detox, Goop

The more restrictive - no caffeine, gluten or soy on this detox - and slightly more time intensive recipes of the Goop detox make it sort of like the older sister with a private Pilates instructor and wine cellar to Tone It Up’s beach vibes and rose on ice. Goop’s Detox may be a bit more advanced user, but that might be what is so special about it. It’s not trying to meet anyone and everyone ‘where they are’. The women behind this program are living healthfully year-round and are stepping it up with the annual detox to squeeze every last drop of wellness possible from a 30-day program. Recipes like a sweet potato pancake with coconut and berries and a simple sunbutter satay will be in heavy rotation in the W+A kitchen.

 @UrbanRemedy

@UrbanRemedy

Metta-Morphosis Program, Urban Remedy

If you’d rather not with the whole cooking thing, or you want to do a shorter and more intensive cleanse, Urban Remedy’s Metta-Morphosis provides juices, nut milks, wellness shots, tinctures, warming soups and texture and flavor-packed salads as part of a three or five-day program. Called a ‘mind and body transformation’ by UR, the program includes prepared meals as well as meditations and movement videos. As far as delivery cleanses go, it’s so much more satisfying than a juice-only cleanse, and the beautiful colors in the food and mind-body focus of the program overall make it easy to stay inspired throughout.

 @Sophie.Jaffe

@Sophie.Jaffe

Learning to Release, The Philosophie

Something that these cleanses don’t really talk about but that can a huge part of starting the year fresh is letting toxic shit go. Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie has a powerful, thoughtful blog post on the importance of ditching relationships, beliefs and practices that just aren’t doing it for you in the new year.

 @SimpleHabit

@SimpleHabit

31-Day Fresh Start Series, Simple Habit

We love this one because it’s 100% focused on the mental components of a detox. Want short, theme-specific meditations served in the style of a 31-day program? Simple Habit’s 31-day Fresh Start Series has new year’s themed meditations including Foundations of Mindfulness for beginners, as well as Find Happiness, Start Your Day with Gratitude, Living Your Truth, Sleep Patterns, Better Self Control and others. Most meditations are between 5-10 minutes.

 @CodyApp

@CodyApp

Journey to Handstand, Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna via The Cody App

Yes, keeping up with a normal fitness routine is already a time and energy-consuming endeavor. But you know what? This is January when unhealthy distractions are at their least invasive. So why not try to pick up a new physical skill during the month? It can give a cleansing routine more structure, and just be plain old fun. Nothing feels more self-loving and juicy than the January flow of meal prep on Sundays and a little bit more on Wednesday nights, meditation in the morning before the work day, regularly scheduled workouts and new skill work in the evening before or after dinner. The Cody App videos are for the most part sub-30 minutes and a productive cap on the day.

 @Scribe

@Scribe

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Margareta Magnusson

This Northern European take on decluttering, inspired by the morbid but practical ‘what kind of stuff and how much of it do I want to leave behind for my family to deal with,’ is at the top of our detox reading list this month. If you’ve already KonMari-d, give yourself a refresher and check out how the Swedes do it.

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Best vegan restaurants in SF, our favorite clean prix-fixe meals and digital workouts

If you’re on the road this month, these resources should give you a leg up on your healthiest year yet.




 

Healthy Weekend Plans to Kick off your 2018 Resolutions 

 Courtesy @caligirlgetsfit

Courtesy @caligirlgetsfit

Oh hey, 2018! Now that we’re all living our wellness resolutions to the letter: eating lean and clean, going to the gym 5x/week, meditating 4x/week, Marie Kondo-ing everything and sleeping 8.5 hours a night (right??) - what is left to do on the weekends? If you’re local to California, here are our picks for inspiring, local wellness events this weekend. And wherever you are, check out the launch of our favorite new, game-changing fitness and wellness app Everfit!

Jan 5-7

Bay Club: Fitness Open House | daily
Free for members and a guest
Have you had a Bay Club membership and let it sit there, unused, while you galavented from holiday vacation to family celebrations to January 4 ‘ohmygodmyinboxiscrazzzzzy’? Then make a point to stop by this weekend’s Open House festivities at all Bay Clubs from Northern California down to San Diego for new class previews (foam roll, HIIT, Plyojam)and light bites from onsite Cafe Vida. //  All Bay Club locations 

Jan 6

Mattress Firm: Be Well, Sleep Well fair | 10am - 3pm
Free
Take a one-on-one “upgrade your sleep” assessment (with the chance to win a new mattress) and learn some fit tips from local pros while munching on healthy snacks. Sleep specialists will be on-hand to talk neck support, ideal temperature between the sheets and the quality of your current mattress to ensure you have all the comfiest tools to optimize your sleep resolutions. And because who can sleep well if tomorrow’s healthy meals are unplanned, local blogger Cali Girl Gets fit will be talking meal prep and serving her favorite energy bites. Icing on the wellness resolution cake is a fitness Q+A with trainers from OrangeTheory Fitness, as well as an invite to take a free post-fair class at the nearby FiDi location from 11:45am – 12:45pm. Additional sips and snacks will be provided by organicgirl.  //  Mattress Firm Nob Hill, SF

The Pad: Power then Restore with Bryant | 2-4pm
$30
Bryant Resch is leading an hour of high charged, high vibe power yoga followed by a restorative practice designed to help you relax and reset. For us, 2018 is all about recovery, so we’re all about deepening our yin yoga practice!  //  The Pad, SF

Yoga Flow: New Years Resolution & Detox Flow with Libby Murfey | 6-8pm
$30 in advance, $35 day-of
Libby’s detoxifying and intention-setting flow class is meant to solidify 2018’s commitment to breathing in goodness and exhaling toxicity. Lots of twists and balances are used to embrace challenge (and sweat).  //  Yoga Flow, Union Street, SF

Where to Book the Best Vegan New Year's Eve Dinners

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No matter where you’re slipping on your sequins, chances are you’ll probably need a few bites before the big countdown. In our humble opinion, this is not the night for a protein shake chugged over the kitchen counter while last-minute RSVPing to a friend-of-a-friend’s sister’s rager. A beautifully prepared sit down meal among those who love you most, along with besparkled atmosphere and festive flourishes, is our favorite way to send off the year and look ahead to the next. Here are some of our favorite choices for where to dig into the last meal of 2017.

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Crossroads, Los Angeles

A 6:00pm, five-course seating for $75 makes it easy to have festive meal on the early side and finish in time for any new year’s revelry across town. A later six-course seating at 8:30pm for $95 is a swell option for celebrating with a tummy full of plant-based decadence and a midnight toast, if celebrating with a civilized meal with friends and family is more your style. Menu items include buckwheat blinis, beet and farro tartare with Crossroads’ famous yellow tomato ‘egg yolk’ and a chestnut and porcini ravioli with a sage butter.

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V-Eats, Dallas

For a more casual start to your New Year’s evening, Dallas’ V-Eats has a $40 prix fixe menu full of veg-only comfort food. A four-course NYE meal is served at three seatings at 5:30, 7:15 and 8:45pm. Dishes include a French onion soup, ‘calamari’ and a spinach with Hen of the Woods mushroom ravioli with sage butter.

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Little Octopus, Nashville

Nashville’s super chic Little Octopus is serving a four course veggie and non-veggie menu on New Year’s Eve for $75/pp. Making an appearance on basically every list of ‘best in the South’, this is the ultimate crowd pleaser destination for a group of vegans/omnivores/design nerds/burger fiends/those with allergies. The veg meal option kicks off with a glass of Champagne and features a vegan miso cassoulet entree.

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Soul Tavern, Miami

Oh, you’d rather fly by the seat of your pants sans-reservation in Miami? Soul Tavern’s no reservations policy and a la carte menu makes it easy to pop in for a bite on your way to South Beach festivities. Everything on the menu, from hemp-crusted edamame cakes to jackfruit gyoza to naughty gnocchi and soulful ramen are all 100% plant-based.

If you are looking for other restaurant recs for the last night of 2017, let us know below. Happy almost new year!


 

The Perfect Fitness Apps for Holiday Travel

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I'm back east this week, celebrating the holidays with in-laws in suburban Pennsylvania. While I'm squeezing in some local workouts: Orange Theory Fitness and Corefit, both in Wayne, I'm also dusting off some my favorite fitness apps for when it's too cold to leave the house. For the price of one boutique fitness class (often less), you can get access to nearly a bazillion expert-led workouts via app and web. I've been a believer ever since I tried out what felt like allll the fitness apps under the sun as a contributor to 7x7's 2017 Wellness Guide

As someone who is regularly trying new workouts in new places (and who generally just craves variety when it comes to fitness), finding consistency among the trend-chasing has been a challenge. The following five digital fitness platforms are my new at-home and on-the-road go-tos, helping me not only with consistency but also to push myself further on solo workouts. 

Aaptiv

The only app with no visuals, Aaptiv also happens to be the most natural to use. Audio-based and covering three main categories: run (tread + outdoors), strength and yoga; Aaptiv covers the bases for a general workout regimen from beginner to pro. Propping up a phone or tablet at either a home or public gym can be awkward for me, and I've found that Aaptiv's audio instruction model played over a motivating background soundtrack is simpler and allows more focus for the workout at-hand. Class difficulty is color-coded, and the instructors vary in style from pretty chill to all-business. To download, use code WellandAway for a month free.

Zenrez

Handy at home for last minute workouts, Zenrez is an amazing tool for finding day-of boutique fitness and yoga, especially when traveling, and at a nice discount. When there’s not enough time pre-trip to research all of the local fitness studios, Zenrez is an easy way to browse and book into classes nearby. Starting at 9pm on workout-eve, the Zenrez system populates with available classes to book the next day at discounts of up to around 30%. It's also a fun way to explore new studios at home.

Fitplan

I am always curious to know more about the workout routines behind the physiques of Instagram's most followed fitness personalities. While I think we all know that genetics (and sometimes a medical tweak or two) can play a part as much as diet and exercise, it’s impossible not to wonder, for instance, ‘What would happen to my ass if I tried Jen Selter’s personal workout program for 30 days?' Fitplan provides the tools to find out just that with 30-90 day programs for Full Body Blast, Summer Shred and of course Jen Selter’s Lower Body and Booty Guide. Each plan is a subscription that you commit to for a specified duration, and daily workouts are broken down into reps and sets with a short demo video showing each move. Use code WELLANDAWAY30 for a month free.

Cody App

I love, love, love Cody App and the insane amount of variety they offer. I started with Kino McGregor’s Ashtanga bundle, then moved into her handstand bundle, then into a little Acroyoga series binge one weekend when my fiancé obliged, and then into Ashley Galvin’s flexibility series - my new favorite. Cody has been around for four years, but somehow it’s new to me. And it's forever changed my at-home and hotel room workout routines. It’s great for traveling to places that don’t have the exact style of yoga or fitness classes you’re looking for, so instead of spending $20+ on a class, you can spend the same on a series of classes with people like Kino. Cody recently went subscription-based, which means all subscribers have access to the entire gallery of workouts. New users can enter code WELLANDAWAY for 30% off of their first purchase.

Gixo

The newest app on this list is Gixo, a new SF-based app that is sort of similar to Aaptiv, but with scheduled virtual classes. You can sign up for classes on the half hour, and most are between 15-40 minutes. The coaches are good, and it's a departure from other apps to be able to communicate in real time with a virtual instructor.  The workouts are all intended for all-levels, so there isn't an option yet for beginner, medium advanced. I'm still exploring Gixo, and while it hasn't knocked Cody or Aaptiv out of the top spots on my rotation, I'll be watching them to see what features they launch next.

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Have you tried any of these apps? What did you think?? Let us know in the comments below. 

Playing Tourist on the Napa Valley Wine Train

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As a general rule, I'm an off-the-beaten path kind of woman. When touring friends around the Napa Valley, we'll skip Mondavi and Silver Oak and for Ancien and Covert Estate, and at lunch choose Yountville's Redd Wood over Bottega. When it comes to non-drinking activities, which in wine county translates to 'things to do that include wine plus something else', we'll hit trails around Napa and Yountville instead of a hot air balloon ride or a roundtrip journey on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

But, I've recently learned that the Wine Train has new management and they've  begun mixing it up with crazy things like driving the train to nighttime concerts at some of Napa Valley's grand dame wineries. So, for the first time maybe ever, I chose the road most traveled - far from the hidden gems on that less beaten path - and set my GPS to Napa's number one tourist attraction to check out the new Wine Train and celebrate a friend's birthday.  

After an easy drive north from SF, we queued up for our 5pm boarding time with a group of visitors from all over, dressed in a wide interpretation of Wine Train Chic. Lesson 1 of the day: don't stress about the dress code - nobody else knows what to wear either and it's hard to go wrong. There were stilettos and bandage dresses (okay those actually did seem a little out of place), there were Tommy Bahama shirts, some cowboy boots and plenty of business casual. 

Once we boarded and found our seats in the Wine Train's version of the VIP room, the Vista Dome, servers poured glasses of bon voyage sparkling for the entire train, and we got to know our table-mates. The Vista Dome is a beautifully restored vintage train car with an extended domed glass ceiling for uninterrupted views of our 18 mile journey up to Charles Krug. Lesson 2: the train is great but the Vista Dome is the place to book if you really want to soak in the views. It's about a $50 upgrade from standard seating but it's worth it to have the full experience.

We had complicated-ish dietary restrictions that were shared with the train's team in advance: vegan for me and vegan-ish ketogenic for my birthday-celebrating friend. We had three courses and an additional glass of wine during the 90-minute journey north. Lesson 3: the food is better than the off-the-beaten path crew gives it credit for. The vegan, gluten-free option was lovely and thoughtful, though because it was pretty much straight up roasted vegetables, I definitely ate a protein bar alongside my entree. 

At Krug, we disembarked to total darkness and mini-festival setup. Artisan pizza truck here, wine stations there and white lights strung from tree to tree. We found a 50th birthday celebration, loads of boomer-age fans of the bands playing who followed them when they toured the first time around and something I never thought I would see at a wine train shindig: LOCALS. We made new friends, enjoyed some throwback tunes and went in with a 'when in Rome' attitude to wine drinking. The pours were large and we were so thankful that the train was driving us home. The bands: someone from the Eagles, another from Flock of Seagulls and the lead singer from Kansas to name a few - were stoked to be there. After a couple of hours of drinking and dancing at Napa Valley's oldest winery, we boarded the train for our return trip to the station while sipping espresso and talking about our dream for a yoga train day (Vinyasa yoga on one car, healthy vegan eats in another and DJ-d yoga at a beautiful winery... note to Wine Train team, lmk if you need any help planning!).

The ride back seemed longer (we were more buzzed than we'd anticipated), and also quieter because the locals who had taken the train up had cleverly called ride share services to take them home. Lesson 4: You can totally take the train up and call a car to get to any of the hotels up-valley. 

After returning to the station, we checked into our downtown hotel, passed out, and slept right through our early morning hiking alarm. Whoopsie! Instead, we grabbed a couple of expertly made almond lattes from Miminashi's new counter service window and headed back to the city. 

Next time you're pouring over Google and group email threads about cool things to do in Napa, consider going off the beaten path all day and then topping it off with an evening on the Wine Train for a touristy-fun way to celebrate with friends. 

 

 

Dream Wellness Escape: Scottsdale's Best HIIT, Mid-century Digs and Cold Plunge Recovery

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While I'm currently wrapped up in extra puffy Patagonia, en route (after some serious delays) to chilly Pennsylvania, I'm day dreaming about a recent winter trip to sun-drenched Scottsdale. The opening of mid-century stunner Mountain Shadows in Scottsdale's Paradise Valley is what inspired a trip to the desert, but the active adventure around every corner is really what put the area on my list of new favorite wellness escapes. 

The just-opened desert resort with mod-glam rooms, weekly SUP yoga and a house Tesla that regularly shuttles guests to the trailhead at Camelback Mountain and Sanctuary Spa, is the ultimate home base for an outdoorsy long weekend of self-care. And because all it takes to get me jazzed are are the words 'nighttime SUP' and 'soaking tub overlooking the mountains', I decided to try my hand at the mid-century outdoor retreat.

Originally opened in 1959 as a desert escape for Hollywood jet-setters including Lucille Ball and Elizabeth Taylor, the original Mountain Shadows hotel was purchased by Marriott in 1981 and then shuttered in 2004. After years of sitting vacant, the resort was demolished in 2014. This past spring, backed by new owners who know a thing or two about operating mid-century heritage hotels (they also own downtown Scottsdale property Hotel Valley Ho), Mountain Shadows reopened it as a sprawling mid-century desert dream, complete with a buzzy pool scene and three-par golf course. Cap the day off with a nightly Champagne sabering and toast; because that's how desert dwellers cool off.

Nearly every local I spoke with on a recent visit said they start their day as often as possible with a mountain trek. Likely because the trails are stunning, but also because going at any other time is advised against—this is the desert after all and can get up to 120 degrees in the peak of summer. So, after a cold-pressed green juice from an onsite juice bar, I began my first morning with a 6am, 4.5 mile trek up the Sonoran Preserve with a guide from local outfit Arizona Outback Adventures. After getting scooped from Mountain Shadows, we hit the road for a 20 minute drive to the trailhead—which interestingly had the fanciest trail bathrooms I've ever seen—and started our hike up the mountain on the 'Gateway Loop' trail. After a heart rate pumping uphill climb and a few stops for photo opps at the top (as well as lessons on flora and fauna along the way) we ventured back down in time for lunch and recovery spa treatments.

And as far as hearty healthy meals and 'wtf-amazing spa treatments' go, Scottsdale is impressively innovative. Each day, I treated myself to post-hike spa time to melt sore muscles and prompt a speedy recovery. (What even is a winter getaway without some serious sauna action and bodywork, right?) I explored a combination of acupuncture and cupping at Scottsdale classic Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Princess, and a combo of craniosacral therapy and hammam (human car wash as I like to call it) at the Mediterranean-inspired Joya Spa down the street from Mountain Shadows at the Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia. Both felt so decadent and restorative. The icing on the cake was a meditation/B-12 shot combo at Second Nature Clinic's new Thursday night 'Zen Lounge'. As many afternoon and evening meals as possible were eaten at anti-inflammation eatery True Food Kitchen, the Bay Area newcomer that started in Scottsdale. After the yin-yang combo of activity and recovery each day, the best part was a soak in Mountain Shadows' soaking tub with a view (inside every room).

For a slightly more hardcore approach to the activity-recovery duo, or one better suited to getting up and out after dawn, Scottsdale's downtown fitness scene is like SF's brunch scene: legit and serious. About 10 minutes from Mountain Shadows, downtown's BODI gym is a combination of bootcamp and Crossfit with you and 60 of your closest friends. Instructors range from former NBA dancers to Nike master trainers. I left drenched in sweat, and skipped the BODI team happy hour for a visit to neighboring Balunsd for some recovery time. Here, I indulged in the cold plunge studio frequented by elite athletes, bodybuilders and those popping by casually from the gym next door. It works just how it sounds: inspired by Nordic ocean bathing, you hop into a miniature cold pool and sit in it as long as you can stand. For me that was four minutes, but for the experienced (including new friends I met while fearing my internal organs were shutting down), it can be closer to 20. The pain was worth it, and everything including my tweaky lower back felt born again.

For some help in planning how to continue new healthy habits picked up in the desert, Well & Being Spa's Fitness Prescription is an in-depth approach to make it a regular thing: a Bod Pod body fat measurement and Basal Metabolic Rate test to assess a baseline, and customized fitness and nutrition recommendations to achieve wellness goals. Pro tip for carrying that wellness vibe back home? Nab some of the Red Flower bath salts from Mountain Shadows soaking tubs on the DL for a DIY retreat throughout the holiday season. // Mountain Shadows rates start at $239. 5445 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley (Scottsdale). www.mountainshadows.comwww.experiencescottsdale.com