Wellness Series: Healthy Skin & Beauty with Celeste Hilling, CEO of Skin Authority

Monday, July 17th, 2017 | Beauty, California Spas, Chicago Spas, Day Spas, Destination Spas, Expert, Healing, Michigan spas, Nutrition, Skin Authority, Skincare, Wellness Spas, facials, fitness, healthy living, skincare coach, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments


Celeste Hilling started a movement with Skin Authority.  Personally, her expertise has helped  me learn more about the benefits of Vitamin D for healthy skin and I’m also a fan of the Turmeric & Blueberry for Brightening Beauty Infusion.  She’s a go-to resource in the beauty and wellness industry so I was grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with Celeste to discuss what sets Skin Authority apart, the future of skin care and her wisdom.  I’m thrilled to share her tips and insight with you on natural beauty, green practices, and putting our best face forward.

Let’s get started as there is a lot to cover!

DMA: What inspired you to go into skin care and start Skin Authority?

CH:  My passion driver when creating Skin Authority was to put effective skin-health options and coaching within reach of everyone. Consumers want to like what they see when they look in the mirror. Skin Authority gives people access to amazing products, treatments, and coaching without breaking the bank or wasting their time.

The foundation for Skin Authority was built in an unlikely place – a sports medicine clinic. We formed a partnership that allowed our team to coach athletes in a clinic we opened inside the practice. This experience gave us a tremendous amount of experience in suggesting skin care products and coaching people through a routine.

The clinic became Skin Authority’s living lab, and within a year, they were coaching more than 10,000 people of differing ages, ethnicities and lifestyles. Through personal touches, our team learned that people needed products that really worked, were clean, multi-purpose for busy lifestyles, and they wanted someone to coach them throughout the process. There was no company to fill this need, so we created Skin Authority to do so.

DMA: What do you think is one of the best ways to maintain healthy skin?

CH: The best way to maintain healthy skin is by creating a daily skin care routine. Think of your routine like you think about an exercise regimen. After all, lifting a weight one or two times won’t create muscle definition, while wearing sunscreen only when on vacation is not the plan for building a healthy complexion! Consistency is key for addressing skin concerns and creating a healthy skin routine that becomes part of your lifestyle.

And, I encourage this habit to start early. I coach teenagers (and their parents) to start a daily routine during the teen years. When hormones become a factor, the skin begins to change. Daily sun protection and cleansing are good habits to develop early, as well as treatment products for conditions, such as acne.

DMA: What tips and new habits would you like to share with my readers to enhance their skin care routine?

CH: Just like every other form of self-improvement, a healthy skin lifestyle is a commitment to performing a daily regimen consistently. Skin care is like working out; you can’t just lift a weight once, or only cleanse your skin, and expect to look amazing. There are basic things you need to do daily:

  • Put your skin on a treadmill by resurfacing. You want your cells to turn over daily and resurfacing is the way to make this happen. I recommend using a natural resurfacing agent nightly, such as glycolic acid, to gently dissolve dead surface skin cells to be replaced with new, plump ones. My favorite is our Resurfacing Accelerator.

  • Whether it’s raining, snowing or the sun is shining, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or 30. UV rays go through glass – car windows, those in your home and office, etc. – so, even if you won’t be outside, you’ll still need to practice safe sun.
    Recommendation: Skin Authority Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 30

  • I also love Vitamins C and D. Skin Authority Super-C Serum is my face antioxidant and it’s an amazing multi-tasker. The Serum stimulates collagen production and helps absorb UV damage. I suggest putting it on in the mornings under sunscreen. Now to D, it’s a happy hormone and makes skin really bright. I use Skin Authority VitaD Fortified Topical Elixir daily for a natural, simple approach to D sufficiency.

    » Simplify with three to four steps in the morning and at night. In the morning, I suggest using a mild cleanser, an anti-oxidant such as Vitamin C, and sunscreen moisturizer. Before bed, use resurfacing ingredients such as AHAs and retinols, in addition to restorative peptides.

DMA: What’s one of your biggest life lessons so far and do you use it in your work?

CH: Forgiveness is my biggest life lesson. Holding onto the weight of things that didn’t work puts you in a place where you can’t be happy. In business and personal lives, forgiveness is not a one-time activity; you have to think about it daily. You have to forgive yourself, too, and give everyone the benefit of a doubt. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools you have.

DMA:  Tell us more about skin-care coaching at Skin Authority.

CH: Skin Authority redefines the beauty shopping experience by putting a skin care expert when and where people shop to help them select the best product for their unique needs. Skin Authority’s virtual coaching system, which includes the My Skin Authority App, are game-changers in how people shop for and experience beauty. My Skin Authority is the first free, interactive app enabling a live session with a certified skin coach.

The coaches give personalized guidance when and where the consumer needs it, including at-home; in a spa, salon or store; while traveling, etc. As today’s consumer yearns for personalization, Skin Authority’s coaches are trained to listen to not only the needs, but the emotional connection of the shopper in a way that a database can’t effectively personalize the experience.

Accessible 24/7 and from anywhere, My Skin Authority gives users access to skin care expertise via phone, live chat, video chat, e-mail, or a scheduled call back. My Skin Authority also features the ‘Beauty Workout Zone’ educational blog and several videos covering important skin care concerns such as sun safety. My Skin Authority is a free download at the Apple App Store and on Google play.

DMA: What else sets Skin Authority apart?

CH: Through its Clean Skin Care™ approach to product design, Skin Authority offers a complete line of skin care products for face and body that delivers results and lasting changes without the use of parabens, dyes, added fragrances, microbeads, or cruelty to animals.

  • SGF-4 Technology™ includes the brand’s star product – Wrinkle Reversing Serum. The technology taps the power of four completely natural body proteins clinically proven to restore the body’s ability to generate healthy, new skin cells and strengthen its immune defense against further deterioration.

  • VitaD Technology™ - Vitamin D is a fundamental building block of essential health and the VitaD Fortified Illuminating DUO infuses Vitamin D health and beauty from the inside out. The DUO offers people a first-of-its kind whole food source of Vitamin D for a complete ‘nutrition sandwich’ of an external Vitamin D Elixir and a powder which adds a daily dose of Vitamin D in any food or drink you consume.

  • Pioneered by Skin Authority, AOX Technology™ is the technique of combining groups of vitamins and antioxidants together to deliver a multiplier effect over individual ingredients. This technology is found throughout our product line to accelerate results.

  • Dry Finish Technology™ is a product formulation technique that ensures products go on clear and absorb easily, leaving the skin feeling smooth, soft, and dry to the touch. This technology is particularly useful for sun protection products that typically have a reputation for feeling oily or greasy after use.

DMA: What’s the future of skin care?  Are you working on any other cutting edge products that you can let us know about?

CH: Technology is transforming the skin care industry in every way: product development; communication with the consumer; and the way we, as a lifestyle brand, interact versus just transact. There is huge opportunity for brands that are current and relevant to the way consumers are living their lives. My background and passion is technology, so I’m leading Skin Authority to continue being a leader in innovation and consumer connection. At Skin Authority, we are passionate about unleashing the self confidence that comes from feeling great about how you look.

DMA: What are a few of the top spas using Skin Authority?

CH: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is a new partner and is our neighbor in Carlsbad. Kohler Waters Spa in Wisconsin was our first partner and is now the longest-running; we are also in their locations near Chicago and in Scotland. Great partnerships with St. Regis San Francisco, The Oaks at Ojai, and Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys. We also have long-term relationships with top day spa chains Gadabout SalonSpas in Arizona and Gene Juarez in Washington State.

DMA: What’s your biggest challenge in your work?

CH: Finding more hours in the day. Beauty and skin care are such dynamic industries, so I’m constantly reading and learning. Staying on the leading edge is a full-time commitment.


DMA: What is most rewarding to you in your field?

CH: I’m in the self-esteem business. When we can help people feel better about themselves when they look in the mirror, that’s the most rewarding.

DMA: What do you do for fun, relaxation, etc.?

CH: Working out is how I relax. I make time for fitness and currently love FitWall. Living in Southern California, we are blessed with great weather and fantastic places to hike and run.

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Follow Skin Authority on  Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey and will take a look at Skin Authority, connect with one of their skin care coaches, or take a look at their results-driven products.

Stay in touch with Mindful Adventures for more wellness interviews and podcasts from the top wellness and spa experts.

Follow Donna on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

To your health!
- Donna

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Mirbeau Inn & Spa: A Welcome Respite for Body, Mind and Spirit

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 | Beauty, Cooking Schools, Day Spas, Healing, Meditation, Nutrition, Relaxation, Skincare, facials, fitness, healthy living, massage, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

by Donna Adinolfi

“The dream was always running ahead of me.  To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”   – Anais Nin

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This quote came to mind as I continued my drive toward the Finger Lakes region of New York from Lenox, MA.  The 11 Finger Lakes are located between Syracuse, Rochester and Elmira-Corning, NY.

I needed to be on the east coast for an extended stay and my stress meter was in the red zone for a multitude of reasons.  For me, driving has always been the answer to reducing stress. So I decided to return home to Michigan by way of a much longer northern route, which would take me to Lenox, MA first and then through the Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls.  I also  knew I needed to do something to break the constant chatter playing in my head so a couple of ’spa’ stops were added to the journey. Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, NY had been on my spa bucket list for several years so everything lined up from being in the area to having the time to retreat.

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The Respite Begins

I was filled with anticipation as I drove up to Mirbeau Inn & Spa. I would finally see the property inspired by Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny and the 1897-99 painting, Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge, would come to life for me at this charming resort.


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The Resort

The property offers 34-rooms with 18 rooms in the main building and 16 within the four cottages.  I was in one of the cottages, which provided a sitting area with a fireplace, exposed ceiling beams, patio overlooking the gardens, luxury (king) bedding, large bathroom with a French-style soaking tub and European tiled-shower.  Muted tones in the rooms and bathroom created a comfortable and inviting oasis. The room set the tone for my stay!




My goal at Mirbeau was to find a way to relax, unplug and unwind.  Having always loved the French-country look I immersed myself in beauty from the colorful flowers around the property to the French-blue and Terra Cotta colors in the architecture.   As a water sign (Scorpio), I knew the close-by lake would be calming so I took a late afternoon stroll around the property and to the nearby village of Skaneateles, which has the 3rd deepest Finger Lake.   If more time allowed, I’d have considered one of the lake’s boat tours, a bike ride using one of Mirbeau’s on-property bicycles, near-by breweries, and a hike at Baltimore Woods.

Mirbeau Inn offers a number of group and private fitness classes and other activities, so if/when you go, I’d recommend a 3 night (or longer) stay for a chance to immerse yourself in their offerings, the spa and off-property adventure.  The resort offers yoga, Pilates, spin, stretch classes and a number of other classes on the schedule and while this isn’t a destination spa with meals and spa services included, it is an affordable option in northern New York and you can create your own retreat.
Tip: Check out the Yoga & Bio-mechanics class.


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Ah, the Spa!

I was pleasantly surprised by Mirbeau’s spa with its 18-treatment rooms, as it was much larger than I imagined and quite lovely.  The warm colors provided a relaxing ambiance and the European theme continued with roman-columns, a stone fireplace, herbal-infused sauna, and a heated foot pool.  Aqua Terrace has a full bar and offers a lighter menu during the day.  The outdoor area provided a hot spa pool, waterfall and ample space to relax and enjoy nature as this 12-acre resort is surrounded by 100-foot high spruce trees.

Two spa services called out to me including Monet’s Favorite Fragrance Massage (yes, lavender) and the Divine Indulgence Massage, which utilizes the Caudalie brand Divine Oil, a blend of grape, hibiscus, sesame and argan oils.  An antidote to stress is aromatherapy!  It’s also important to note that Mirbeau Inn & Spa offers lower pricing for their treatments during the week and they are well received in the community for the spa, restaurant and the number of workshops and special events offered.

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The Bistro & Wine Bar

There are a few options for dining at Mirbeau and when I travel solo, I opt for the wine bar, a great place to connect with the local community. This turned out to be one of the most relaxing, engaging and memorable nights for me.  Many of the patrons knew one another and the bartender, of course.  I also found out the proper way to pronounce Skaneateles, which is Skinny-At-Liss, so now you know, too.

The restaurants source local and organic products with a focus on clean cuisine.  There are French-inspired menu items and an extensive wine list.  I chose the Chicken Paillard, a wine bar favorite, for my dinner along with a glass of  2013 Grenache-Syrah-Mouvedre, Famille Perrin, France – when in France (or when you feel like you are!).

Something else that is unique to the Wine Bar is the self-service wine station with 24 wines to consider, and these are premium wines. They change up the wines with different themes, too.

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While my time at Mirbeau Inn & Spa was short, the memory of my stay still lingers.  I did leave there feeling a little lighter in body, mind and spirit and often reflect on the beauty that surrounded me.

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If you go:

- Summer rates average $340 per night (weekends higher) and spring/fall in the $270 per night range
- The resort is about 20-miles southwest of Syracuse
- Special events are offered frequently, including a Mom’s Night Out (check calendar for all details)

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Spring Spa Retreat: Spa Cleanse Weekend at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort April 27 – 30

Friday, April 14th, 2017 | Beauty, Healing, Meditation, Mineral Pool, Nutrition, Relaxation, Skincare, facials, fitness, healthy living, massage, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

A Springtime Renewal Retreat at Carillon Miami intended to inspire, energize and create mental clarity.

This wellness weekend includes a three-day detox program, daily fitness and meditation classes, unlimited access to one of the country’s largest Thermal Experiences, wellness lectures and workshops, and a cleansing spa treatment.

Certified health, fitness and spa professionals are available to guide you to a healthier, happier and more elevated state-of-being.Pricing Details:
Retreat weekend pricing per person starts at $1500
Retreat weekend pricing for a suite starts at $2700 per person

Sample schedule:
http://www.carillonhotel.com/content/pdfs/april-3-9-2017.pdf

Note: Based on availability and subject to change.

A Spring Reset for your body, mind and spirit.

About The Spa at Carillon Miami: A luxurious, 70,000-square-foot integrated wellness space surrounded by breathtaking views of the Atlantic. The Spa offers an empowering, holistic approach to well-being, carefully calibrated to suit your needs. To help you find your path to wellness, they offer well-thought-out packages designed to heal, relax, and inform.

Thinking about going?
Let’s connect!

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Spa & Wellness News: New Mother Daughter Retreat at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 | Adventure, Beauty, Destination Spas, Healing, Meditation, Mineral Pool, Mineral Springs, Nutrition, Peace, Relaxation, Skincare, Spirituality, fitness, healthy living, hiking, joy, massage, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

With Mother’s Day just over a month away it’s a good time to plan a little rest and relaxation.

Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, NM recently announced their package in honor of Mother’s Day. This three-night offering includes several bonus amenities including the Women’s Wellness Gift Basket with herbal eye pillows and lip balm made with ingredients from the resort’s garden.  The package also includes skin care products from Round Barn Apothecary and homemade Paraje Tea.  Mother-daughter pairs will also receive a private Medicine Wheel experience, which could help them discover more about one another.

This affordable retreat also includes:
-  Choice of a spacious casita with local artisan touches, gas fireplace and private courtyard or a charming garden view room with private balcony
-  All farm-fresh gourmet meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
-  Unlimited access to all daily activities including yoga, meditation, art and culinary experiences
-  $150 spa credit per person per visit, to be used toward any available service from the spa menu, including a private pool at the new Ojitos open air soaking experience

The Mother-Daughter three night retreat starts at a total for two rate of $1638 (plus tax)

“This is a unique opportunity for mothers and daughters to spend quality time reconnecting and exploring new experiences together,” said Wendi Gelfound, Director of Marketing at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort. “Many of our activities, for example the Journey of the Medicine Wheel, are designed to promote self-discovery and connection, while other classes in expressive arts, and puppy enrichment are meant to encourage fun and playful interaction. Additionally, these ladies can arrange time with our Medical Director, Dr. Sally Fisher, for personalized health consultations, or lead counselor Michael Schroeder if they are interested in gaining clarity and insight about their mother-daughter relationship,” says Gelfound.

Notes: The minimum age at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort is 18 years and older.
This package is valid seven days a week and is subject to availability.
Package includes arrival dinner, departure breakfast, and all meals in between.
Complimentary Wi-Fi.
No Resort Fees.
This package expires May 24, 2017.

More about Sunrise Springs Spa Resort:

The only destination spa in enchanting Santa Fe, N.M., Sunrise Springs Spa Resort is a tranquil natural springs sanctuary that has been a source of rejuvenation for centuries, weaving ancient wisdom and healing traditions with modern wellness. At the heart of the resort’s 70 acres is a sacred Medicine Wheel surrounded by 20 spacious casitas and 32 garden view guest rooms; the new Ojitos, open-air soaking experience; an integrative spa; greenhouse; yoga, fitness and expressive arts studios; puppy studio and chicken coop; and a breakfast café and restaurant serving nourishing farm-fresh cuisine. A passionate team of credentialed wellness professionals and Thrive Guides empower guests to discover their unique path to creating harmony amongst the four aspects of wellbeing: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. All-inclusive offerings range from the one-night Refresh + Recharge package to multi-day Girls’ Getaways, Couples’ R+R and Wellness Exploration experiences.

Thinking about going?
Let’s connect about this new Mother Daughter retreat or one of the others at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort.

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Wellness Series: Exploring the Outdoors with Randy Kinkade

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 | Adventure, Beauty, Canyon Ranch, Challenge Course, Destination Spas, Healing, Meditation, Relaxation, Spirituality, fitness, gratitude, healthy living, hiking, joy, mindfulness, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Visiting Arizona during the month of March when the desert is in bloom is transforming.  There’s an abundance of activities to enjoy including hiking and biking, and for me, the physical connects to the spiritual when in the desert. There’s a calling and an awakening of my senses when I’m there and Canyon Ranch offers a number of opportunities to enhance this experience.

I recently connected with Randy Kinkade, the Outdoor Sports Manager at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ.  He’s been in this position at The Ranch for the last 7.5 years, however, he’s worked for The Ranch on and off since 1986.  The desert is alive with color and beauty so March is a busy month for Canyon Ranch and Randy’s team as the weather is great for outdoor activities. Randy’s insight is invaluable and I have a feeling this interview will inspire you to get out more and maybe even consider a visit to the Arizona desert.

Let’s Explore!

DMA: What inspired you to go into Outdoor Activities (park ranger/outdoor educator)?

RK:  I went on my first camping trip with some friends when we were 11 and felt a connection from which I never turned away. There was a freedom that drew me then and draws me still.

DMA: What tips would you like to share with my readers to help them reconnect to nature/spirituality and go outside more?
And, where do you like to hike?

RK: In its simplest form, though we’ve tamed it down, we all have an innate connection to nature. Consider what draws us to having a pet which merely is a toned-down version of an animal from the wild. Or why do we have live plants in our townhouses in the heart of the city? I believe we crave the connection we have to the natural world. Multiple scholarly studies have shown the benefits of connecting to the outdoors: We think more clearly, we heal faster, we have less stress, we interact better with one another and we return to our “regular” world refreshed and better prepared to handle the challenges of our day.

Nearly all of us find a spiritual connection in nature as well. Though there are many ways to approach this aspect I am convinced we are connected to being outdoors because we descend from the people who inhabited the original garden. We are drawn to the outdoors, no matter how distorted it has become over time, because we have the experience ingrained in us generationally. I am comfortable going out with little or no gear and sleeping on the ground and you may only care to sit on the patio sipping wine and watching the sunset but we are being drawn by the same thing.  That thing is our natural connection to the environment.

When I’m asked about my favorite hike I quote one of my mentors, Phyllis Hochman. “My favorite hike is the one I am on now.” I have the opportunity to hike the same trails over and over again and I see new things, encounter new people and experience the familiar in new ways every time I go out.  If one will be open to the experience the trail will show you things worth venturing out to see.  More often than I can count I have been asked by people heading up the trail I am returning from “Did you make it to the top?” and “Was it worth it?” When you are on a fitness hike you should already know you can make it to the top by picking the right trail for your fitness level. And I can think of no time where being out on the trail wasn’t worth it.

DMA: What’s one of your biggest life lessons so far and do you use it in your work?

RK:  My biggest life lesson is that one shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. In my work, I have the utmost dedication to keeping people safe in the wilds but I am sure to have fun and keep people smiling throughout the experience. I have a cap I wear that has one word on the front. It simply reads “Play.”  I do all I can to make life “play” and not “work.”

DMA: If you weren’t working in outdoor sports/activities, what would you be doing?

RK: When I’m not engaged for hire in the outdoors I am out doing similar things at my level and pace. Nearly all my vacations are bushman’s holidays. I hike, kayak, mountain bike, climb and practice primitive skills because it is what brings me joy.

DMA: Tell me more about your Primitive Outdoor Skills program – how long have you’ve been offering it, the upcoming dates, what inspired this and what is the connection to your Willow River Wilderness School.

RK: All of the primitive skills we offer at the Ranch have been taken from my history of teaching wilderness survival skills based on hunter/gatherer techniques. We started offering Primitive Fire nearly 5 years ago and the interest in this type of skill allowed us to keep on building the program. Currently we are the only wellness resort in the world to teach survival skills in this manner.

DMA: What do you do to stay educated in your field?

RK:  I sit at the feet of the elders. In its simplest form this merely means that I take the time to work with people who are more skilled than I and learn from them. I find that I can only get better by practicing my craft and being challenged by those who are better than me. I have been called an expert in the skills I practice but the term makes me uncomfortable. There are many who know so much more than I and I look to them to be the experts. It is sitting with these experts that keeps me educated.

DMA: What’s next for you?

RK: We have some changes percolating at The Ranch and given the opportunity I’d like to see us expand to doing more adventure type offerings. I can see us hiking and biking farther, dipping deeper into the back country and connecting in a more intimate way with nature.

DMA: Do you have a mentor?  If so, how has he/she helped you?

RK: I have one mentor in this field and that is Phyllis Hochman. She created the department I now manage and gave me the opportunity to succeed here. She helped me to better understand the people I serve, the staff I am responsible for and the way these things connect in the context of Canyon Ranch and outdoor fitness. When it comes to not taking myself too seriously I give credit to an old Park Ranger Named Ed Bernstein. He taught me how to keep the park safe from the people, the people safe from the park and the people safe from each other. But to do it with an air of joy, fun and humor.

DMA: What’s your biggest challenge in your work?

RK: Helping people understand the gravity of choosing the proper level of activity. When we talk to people about our hiking and biking levels we combine 3 things: distance, elevation gain and pace. If one doesn’t understand the connection that all three play in their choice they will be at best uncomfortable and at worst unsafe. Even though being in the beauty of nature is a major reason to go out, we focus on fitness and we still must factor that into our choices.

DMA: What is most rewarding to you in your field?

RK:  I find that seeing people embrace the natural world and then allow it to make a lasting imprint on their lives, gives me a feeling of great reward.

DMA: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into this field?

RK:  I best way to get into this field is to be a part of it as a daily practice. We’ve all heard to pursue the things we love. The same applies here. I can tell very quickly when I talk to someone about joining our team if they have a desire to serve the people we work with and a longing for the environment we work in.

DMA: Is there anything else that you’d like to share to assist others with getting outdoors more for wellness and fun?

RK: Start slow, make a plan and keep going. Sit at the feet of the elders in your particular community to learn what you can then go out and interact with nature and let nature interact with you.


Tip: Consider a private hike to Saguaro National Park or Sabino Canyon on your next Canyon Ranch journey.

More about Randy Kinkade:
Randy spent his career working in the outdoors and in various customer service programs. In the outdoor field he has had the pleasure of working as a park ranger, outdoor educator, guide, wilderness survival instructor and challenge course facilitator.

In his role in the corporate world he has led as a manager and executive director. He created the Willow River Wilderness School with his wife, Susan, and used the combined skills of management and wilderness survival to teach corporate teams how to excel.

He is the author of several articles related to outdoor skills and wilderness survival and the book The Quest for Spiritual Truth, published by Xulon press in 2007.

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Explore more at Canyon Ranch!

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Are you ready for your Canyon Ranch adventure? Would you like some insight?
Let’s connect
and mention this Wellness Series for special pricing over certain dates.

Let your journey begin here!

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Wellness Series: A Discussion with Dr. Nicola Finley, Integrative Physician at Canyon Ranch Tucson

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 | Adventure, Ayurveda, Canyon Ranch, Destination Spas, Healing, Meditation, Nutrition, Relaxation, Weight Loss, fitness, healthy living, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Healthy habits are key when it comes to heart health, however, I wanted to go a little deeper so I reached out to Dr. Nicola Finley of the integrative wellness team at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ.

And, since February is Heart Health Month, it’s a good time to think more about wellness as I know it’s been on my mind, too.  Managing weight and stress are important, however, there’s more we can do to create a healthier lifestyle and we’ll explore that in this next installment of my wellness series with the experts at Canyon Ranch.

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Let’s meet Dr. Nicola Finley.

Dr. Finley is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and Brown University.  She also completed the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine program at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Finley is a specialist in internal medicine and has been with the integrative wellness team at Canyon Ranch since 2013.

DMA:  What inspired you to go into Medicine/Integrative Health?

NL:   I decided to change the focus of how I practice medicine to integrative medicine after realizing the traditional way of practicing wasn’t allowing my patients to achieve optimal wellness.  I used to see at least 20 patients a day in the office in my prior practice.  In the past, I felt rushed seeing patients and I didn’t have the time to fully understand all the factors influencing their health.  Now, at Canyon Ranch, I have the time to hear the patients’ stories.  I now can understand how their health is impacting their lives and how their lives impact their health.  I also enjoy focusing in on prevention through lifestyle approaches and stress management.  As a physician, I feel that I’m making a more significant impact by taking a holistic approach and by being a partner with my patients to help achieve wellness.

DMA: What do you think is one of the best ways to maintain good health and wellness? Any tips to share?

NL:  One of the best ways to maintain good health is to exercise. The key is to find a form of exercise that the person will enjoy.  Exercising reduces the risk of heart disease in many ways like lowering the blood pressure, increasing blood flow in the arteries and improving cholesterol numbers.  My tip is to move daily.  By making movement a daily habit, it becomes second nature – it’s part of a person’s daily routine.  Every amount and form of exercise count towards moving daily as there’s a cumulative effect.  If someone is not motivated to exercise, then find a friend/family member to exercise with.  Many people will follow through when there’s someone else depending on them.

DMA: If you weren’t working as a physician, what would you be doing?

NL:   If I wasn’t a physician, then I would be a school teacher.  I was inspired to enter the field of medicine so I could make a difference in the health of my patients.  And, teachers make a difference in the lives of their students.  Students are successful when they have teachers that make learning fun and believe in their students.  That’s the type of teacher that I would be.

DMA:  At Canyon Ranch, how do you assist guests with their health?

NL:    At Canyon Ranch, I work with guests with one-on-consultations that are usually 50 minutes long.  I assist with whatever health concern they have – high blood pressure, diabetes, achieving a healthy weight, reviewing lab abnormalities and offering a 2nd opinion.  Some guests have specific symptoms and I offer management suggestions from an integrative medicine viewpoint.  Other guests don’t make doctor’s appointments in their hometown so at Canyon Ranch they will have a physical exam with treadmill stress testing and lab testing.  Other guests, will make an appointment with me as we offer testing that’s not easily found elsewhere.


DMA:  What’s the future of Integrative Health? Do you believe we’re closer to seeing more doctors practice Integrative Health and treat the ‘whole’ person; body, mind and spirit?

NL:  It seems like there’s a trend of more physicians incorporating integrative medicine into their practice of medicine.  More and more patients are requesting integrative medicine physicians.

Looking for an Integrative Health Physician in your area?
Click here for a directory.



DMA: What type of diet/nutrition do you recommend for a healthier heart/overall wellness?

NL:   For a healthy heart, I recommend a Mediterranean diet.  It’s a plant based diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables.  Also, there’s a high intake of fish and olive oil.  There’s minimal red meat and moderate whole grains.  Another important aspect of a Mediterranean diet is the social component – sharing a meal with others.  Talking over a meal slows us down which allows us to know when we’re full so we’re less likely to overeat. Also, it minimizes social isolation. That’s the idea of the importance of the family meal.

DMA: Do you recommend any ‘go-to’ herbs/supplements when it comes to heart health/wellness?

NL:  I embrace the concept of food as medicine so I don’t have any specific supplements that I recommend for heart health.

DMA:  What is most rewarding to you in your field?

NL:    The most rewarding aspect of my job has been working with guests in the area of female sexuality.  It’s a topic that many physicians and patients don’t discuss often.  I incorporate the topic of sexuality and intimacy as a component of wellness.  This is one part of wellness that many guests want to discuss but don’t have a physician to discuss this with.  It’s been rewarding to me to have a positive impact in this area of wellness.

DMA:  What do you do for fun, relaxation, etc.?

NL:     I love to dance!  Dancing allows me to exercise while having fun.  Both the music and the dancing allow me to relax.  It’s a great way for me to manage stress.  Also, I enjoy the sense of community with the other dancers in the class.  One of the perks of working at Canyon Ranch is being able to exercise there.  So, I’m often in the Zumba and DJ dance classes there.

Tip:  Consider a session with Dr. Nicola Finley on your next visit to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ.

Are you ready for your own journey at Canyon Ranch?
Let’s connect and mention this Wellness Series for special pricing over certain dates.


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Wellness Travel Podcast: A Spiritual Dialogue with Stephanie Ludwig, Canyon Ranch Spiritual Wellness

Friday, February 3rd, 2017 | Adventure, Canyon Ranch, Energy Work, Gratitude and Inspiration, Healing, Peace, Spirituality, healthy living, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Are you seeking more on your life journey?
Are you looking to enhance your Spiritual practice?

If so, then we hope you’ll take some time today ‘for you’ and listen to our latest Wellness Travel Podcast with our special guest, Stephanie Ludwig, Director of Spiritual Wellness at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ .

Stephanie shares her tips and insight to better assist you with enhancing your spirituality goals.

Canyon Ranch offers a number of group classes and meaningful private sessions such as Soul Journey, which was referred to in our conversation. I’ve included more details for you in the link below.

If you’d like to delve even deeper then you may want to consider the Inner Spirit Retreat in July.

Canyon Ranch Spiritual Wellness Offerings

Do you currently meditate or journal?
Leave a comment or ask a question and I will get back to you.

Thank you for joining us!

Special Offer: Contact MindfulAdventures.com for your next Canyon Ranch journey for access to special rates over select dates.

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Wellness & Spirituality: Insight & Inspiration with Stephanie Ludwig of Canyon Ranch Tucson

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 | Adventure, Beauty, Canyon Ranch, Destination Spas, Energy Work, Gratitude and Inspiration, Healing, Healing Music, Meditation, Peace, Spirituality, healthy living, joy, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Spirituality is always top of mind for me when I travel to my favorite wellness spas.  Going more deeply into a spirituality practice helped me to overcome dark times after a significant loss and over the years it has become a time to immerse myself in classes, meditation and the act of just ‘being’ while surrounded by the beauty of nature and the sound of my breath.  It’s grounding and helps with my creativity. It isn’t easy for me to quiet my mind and go to the deepest part of my soul, however, when I’m at a place like Canyon Ranch in Tucson, I find that I can be more fully present.

Spirituality has always been a core part of the Canyon Ranch experience, however, the Spirituality Center at Canyon Ranch is fairly new and it’s an oasis of tranquility.  Prior to this new building the classes and private sessions were offered in a separate area.   I wanted to delve a little deeper into spirituality and so I recently connected with Stephanie Ludwig, PhD, MA, MDiv.,  Director of Spiritual Wellness at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ.

I’m grateful for the opportunity we had to connect further about spirituality and Canyon Ranch and think you’ll enjoy Stephanie’s insight, tips and authenticity.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

DMA: What inspired you to go into Psychology and Divinity?

SL: Some early life experiences of loss and trauma led me to start asking the “big questions” at a young age.  The need to make meaning out of my own overwhelming experiences met a natural curiosity within me, and an innate sense of life being more than meets the eye. This led me to both a spiritual path and a profession where I can explore those big questions with others seeking meaning, healing, and growth.

DMA: What tips would you like to share with my readers to enhance their spirituality and meditation goals, needs and mindfulness?

SL: Take time every day to connect with your deepest spiritual self and with whatever you experience and name as the source of your life, whether that’s the Universe, Spirit, God, Ultimate Reality, Great Mystery or some other name. Use whatever practice creates that deepest sense of connection for you. Meditation, journaling, walking in nature, yoga, prayer, gardening, dancing, reading a sacred text – these are some of the many rich possibilities. Spiritual deepening doesn’t generally happen by accident. Like any relationship, it requires a commitment of time and space in your days. It requires dedication and attention.  And there is no right way to cultivate that deepening. Look for a practice that calls you to it, rather than imposing something on yourself, and then remember that the practice is simply the means to connection.  Do it daily, but hold it lightly. If the only thing you do each day is maintain awareness of your breath, of your connection to Spirit (the word Spirit in English is related to “breath” in Latin), from the moment you awaken until the moment you return to sleep you will be transformed!

DMA: What is one of your biggest life lessons so far and do you use it in your work?

SL: Don’t try so hard. I trust there is a natural and divine order unfolding (I experience those working in harmony) that I may not be able to see or understand that I am participating in. When I let go of trying, pushing, controlling, and knowing in a purely rational way, I am carried in that current and experience peace. Even when life is painful, uncertain, and confusing. I use this daily in my work by listening deeply to another’s experience, listening for what is unfolding for that person spiritually, and offering the assure that whatever is happening is trustworthy even if it is uncomfortable.

DMA: If you weren’t working in Spirituality, what would you be doing?

SL: Either running a bakery or teaching ecology or geology.  I love the magic of mixing ingredients in a bowl, subjecting them to heat and watching them change form! Plus, I have a sweet tooth. My spiritual life is deeply rooted in reverence for the natural world that sustains our lives. I spend time each day in the desert canyon near my home and love learning the science of it, or any place I am inhabiting. Inviting others to discover and appreciate the power, beauty, and curiosities of the earth brings me joy.

DMA: At Canyon Ranch, how do you assist guests in exploring and nourishing their spirituality?

SL: Our Spiritual Wellness department offers individual consultations that range from a Spiritual Dialogue about a person’s spiritual life to a Soul Journey, which is a guided meditation experience that incorporates sound, music and going on an inner journey.  We also offer lectures that teach guests about spiritual topics, and workshops which delve more fully into a topic like forgiveness or becoming spiritually whole in a more intimate atmosphere with other seekers. In all of these settings we use conversation, reflection, visualization, meditation, prayer, direct teaching and other ways of inviting guests more fully into the spiritual life.

DMA: What do you do to stay educated in your field?

SL: Most importantly, I attend to my spiritual life by staying faithfully dedicated to my own practices, receiving regular guidance, and continuing to learn in ways relevant to my path. This is essential, to bring integrity to accompanying people spiritually and teaching. I also attend continuing education workshops and trainings and conferences in the areas of spirituality and transpersonal psychology. Maintaining membership with Spiritual Directors International is also helpful as they publish a wonderful professional journal and offer continuing education.

DMA: What’s next for you?

SL: I am very challenged and content where I am right now so I am not making any plans to change my professional path. But I am beginning to plan my annual trip to Hawaii to visit family and enjoy warm blue-green water.  Some of my childhood years were spent on Oahu so returning always feels like going home.

DMA: Do you have a mentor?  If so, how has he/she helped you?

SL: Fortunately, I have had wonderful teachers and mentors, some who are alive today and others who are not. They have included renowned theologians, psychologists and spiritual guides. Right now my most important mentor is the natural world.  As I mentioned earlier, I spend time daily in places of wild beauty and I continue to learn how to be more spiritually human and loving through encounters with canyons, creeks, mountains and the creatures of the desert.

DMA: What’s your biggest challenge in your work?

SL: Caring for myself fully so I can be fully present each moment to the person before me and listen for, and respond to, what they are seeking. That requires daily attention to eating well, getting plenty of exercise and sleep, nurturing myself mentally and emotionally, working on my relationships, and attending to my spiritual life. It’s like keeping an instrument tuned so it can be played well. You can’t neglect yourself.

DMA: What is most rewarding to you in your field?

SL: Accompanying someone through a loss or trauma. These are the most difficult experiences for us as human beings. We often feel profoundly alone and alienated from others. To companion someone on that journey through darkness, hoping with them for the return of light, is a gift. Having journeyed through darkness many times in my life, and having something to offer someone in that place, is a gift.  It is also very powerful to witness someone experiencing a significant shift in perception, a shift in how they see reality that moves them toward healing or greater wholeness. Seeing differently can change everything in our lives for the better.

DMA:  Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into this field?

SL: Pray for guidance and listen deeply for a response. Enter into a conversation with someone who can listen with you, a spiritual guide or companion. This is also known as discernment. If this is your work to do in the world opportunities will present themselves to you.

I hope that our conversation has helped you think more about your own spiritual practice and give you a glimpse of what Canyon Ranch offers in their Spirituality program.

Questions or comments?
Let’s Connect.

Stay in touch with Mindful Adventures for more wellness interviews and podcasts from the top destination spa experts.  And reach out to us if you’re considering a Canyon Ranch journey in Tucson, AZ or Lenox, MA as we have special rates and savings for specific weeks.

Follow Donna on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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Wellness News: Hyatt Hotels Corporation Acquires Miraval Group for $215M

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 | Miraval Spa, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Hyatt Hotels Corporation Acquires Miraval

Wellness travel has been showing growth and it’s even more evident with today’s news that Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corporation has acquired Miraval Group.

Miraval has been one of the leading wellness-focused resorts in the U.S. and their programming has helped guests create a healthier and more balanced life.   Miraval recently acquired Travaasa Resort in Austin, Texas and Hyatt will continue redevelopment plans and will also pursue the acquisition and redevelopment of Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort in Lenox, MA.  In addition, Hyatt’s acquisition also includes the Miraval Life in Balance Spa brand at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA.

The acquisition includes an initial investment of $215 million for the Miraval brand and the resorts in Tucson and Austin. Hyatt expects to invest an additional $160 million over the next two to three years to fund the expansion of the Tucson resort, the redevelopment of the Austin resort and the acquisition and redevelopment of the Lenox resort. Hyatt will fund the investment with current operating cash flows and proceeds from the sale of existing assets, consistent with Hyatt’s asset recycling program.

According to Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, “We know that wellness is an area that is becoming increasingly important to our guests and we share Miraval’s belief that wellness is more than fitness and nutrition – it’s a lifestyle. Adding Miraval to the Hyatt family creates a great opportunity to advance the Miraval brand expansion while building a greater depth of expertise in wellness and mindfulness.”

Miraval will form a distinct new wellness category within the Hyatt portfolio of brands.

Today’s announcement continues Hyatt’s commitment to a holistic health and wellness strategy as an extension of its purpose, to care for people so they can be their best. For example, since 2014, Hyatt chefs around the globe have been championing Food. Thoughtfully Sourced, Carefully Served, a program featuring menus evolved with an eye on sustainable health. This includes options such as grass-fed meats, sustainable seafood and organic fruits and vegetables. Additionally, many Hyatt hotels worldwide are offering more options for travelers to maintain a healthier routine, including healthy refreshments at arrival, curated in-room amenities, increased fitness offerings, expanded menus and nutritious to-go alternatives.

“Our shared purpose makes Hyatt the ideal acquisition partner,” said Rudnitsky. “This transaction will unlock Miraval’s full potential by joining us with one of the foremost global hospitality companies fully committed to wellness. Consistent with Hyatt’s strategy, Miraval offers destinations for guests who take an active role in seeking inspiration and self-improvement for a life in balance.”

In information received from Miraval, they say the experience will not change and that the specialists, instructors, guides, yogis, therapists and culinary team that guests have come to know and love will continue to guide, challenge, center and nourish guests on their journey.

Interested in visiting Miraval?

Contact our Wellness Travel Expert, Donna Adinolfi, for the latest insight, rates and assistance with planning your personal journey.

E: donna@mindfuladventures.com
Facebook: @MindfulAdventures
Twitter/Instagram: @donnaspagal

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Wellness Podcast Series: An Interview with Danielle Fryer – Nutrition and Fitness Rockstar

Sunday, January 8th, 2017 | Adventure, Healing, Meditation, Nutrition, Weight Loss, fitness, healthy living, hiking, joy, mindfulness, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Join us for this engaging podcast with Danielle Fryer, a Nutrition Rockstar and Healthy Living Advocate.

Danielle Fryer is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, Certified Sports Specialist in Dietetics, Yoga, Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and Speaker/Seminar Leader.

In our latest discussion we reviewed several healthy living tips, her upcoming retreats at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and several life lessons she learned along the way.

Listen to our inspiring and fun podcast
to kick off the year and learn more about Danielle and her insight
to create a healthier lifestyle.

Are you ready?  You’re in the best place to get started!

More insight:
And the conversation continued between Danielle and I after the microphone was turned off.

Click here for the full interview:
Up Close with Danielle Fryer: Nutrition, Movement and Inspiration

Join our social communities!

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Follow Danielle for information, speaking and retreats.
Follow Mindful Adventures for spa, travel & wellness retreats, news and inspiration.

Twitter @DonnaSpaGal
Instagram/Pinterest @DonnaSpaGal

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