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.


Follow Skin Authority on  Instagram | Twitter | Facebook


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.

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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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)




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:

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!


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.




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.


Explore more at Canyon Ranch!


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!








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.


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.


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!

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

Twitter @DonnaSpaGal
Instagram/Pinterest @DonnaSpaGal



Up Close with Danielle Fryer: Nutrition, Movement and Inspiration

Sunday, January 8th, 2017 | Adventure, Healing, Manifesting, Meditation, Nutrition, Peace, Relaxation, Weight Loss, fitness, gratitude, healthy living, hiking, joy, love, mindfulness, stress relief, well-being, wellness | 1 Comment

Up close with Danielle Fryer

Join us for the entire interview regarding nutrition, movement and inspiration.
by Donna Adinolfi with Danielle Fryer

The Interview with Mindful Adventures Continues…

DA: What inspired you to go into nutrition, fitness and yoga?

DF: I was inspired to learn about food science after suffering with a dysfunctional relationship with food and my own body in high school. I used to binge eat and then purge through excessive exercise. It was a rollercoaster ride from hell. The shame, guilt, and blame of this behavior became my bondage.  It was only after I surrendered to the Lord, that He showed me that food wasn’t my issue.

My struggle for control was the real issue.

Food was merely a symptom.

My education showed me that food can help heal and nourish us.

With graduation of high school, my gymnastics “career” ended. I didn’t know what to do with all this new found time on my hands, so I joined the new health club in my hometown. Immediately, “fitness everything” became my new passion.

I began a Yoga practice while still a gymnast in high school in the 90’s. Then the postures came natural to me. Today, I love describing how the body might feel if it moves this way or that way. To teach someone to move in their body is quite poetic. I love that about teaching. It’s almost like teaching water how to flow. How do we do that? Ha! The best we can do is point to it with our words and allow our bodies to resonate with the words and the feeling inside our bodies.

DA: What tips would you like to share with my readers to enhance their fitness and nutrition/healthy eating needs?

DF:  I have a few for you:

My nutrition tip is to listen to your body’s intuition more!

Drink more Water! Half your body weight in ounces, per day!

Remember that nourishing food has no need for commercials.

LOOK at the “ingredient list” on EVERY food label.
*Calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. that are NOT more important than the ingredient list!
Think farm to plate.

Get familiar with the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen and toxic 20!
*There are apps called “Dirty Dozen” with this information at your finger tips.

Be aware of your emotions (mad, glad, sad, scared, confused) when thinking about food, choosing food, and even while chewing your food.

My fitness tip is move your body however you dig it! I encourage sincere exploration of different exercise types to move your body in a way that celebrates life.
Not everyone enjoys the same rhythm of movement. Just get IN your body and feel it!

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

DF:  One of my biggest life lessons so far is relinquishing control – surrendering.  I created an acronym called “J A R” that helps me. When I feel anxious, I am inside a JAR: Judgment, Attachment, or Resistance. When I can catch myself in that state of mind, I recognize that I am desiring to control something. I can struggle or I can surrender it. In that moment, I can choose between anxiety or peace.

I do use this life lesson in my work. It’s foundational. My soon to be published book, The Mindful Clean Plate: Food Freedom Sourcebook, goes into great detail on how to surrender control and find peace with food and body image.

DA:  If you weren’t working in the wellness/nutrition/yoga field, what would you be doing?

DF: I would be a professional Christian Rockstar!

I love to play my guitar and sing. If I could make a living doing that I would shoot over the rainbow. I was born for the performing arts. There is a lot of performing arts channeled with my retreats, events and classes.

DA:  What’s your favorite fitness activity (other than yoga!)?

DF: Anything with my dog, Sadie Pearl, is my favorite. We hike, trail run, walk, and Stand Up paddle board. I just bought a new road bike and am stoked to go pedal that bad boy. I also love strength training in the weight room and it is an essential piece of my weekly workouts.

DA: What do you do to stay educated about nutrition, yoga, fitness trends, research, etc.? What resources do you like?

DF:  In regards to my Nutrition credentials and my Strength Coach credentials, I attend annual continuing education conferences nationwide. I have been a regular attendee of SCAN Symposiums (Sports, Cardiovascular and Nutrition) for over a decade. I am an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics member under The Commission on Dietetic Registration.

I just attended the NSCA coaches conferences in Nashville, TN where I joined the leading community of S&C coaches for athletes and learned the latest practical coaching with hands-on sessions.

I have enhanced my yoga practice and teaching techniques by reading, applying it in my own practice, taking other yoga classes, enrolling in yoga immersions and workshops nationwide.

DA: What’s next for you in this field?

DF: My goal is to be contracted for 12 National Retreats in 2017. I am open to location and specifics of what they entail around my professional offerings.

The publishing of The Mindful Clean Plate-Food Freedom Sourcebook is my ultimate goal for 2017!
The Mindful Clean Plate is a food freedom memoir and how-to book/workbook that is rooted in faith and science.

Three grounded platforms are:

1.    Food: Eating farm to table food nourishes the body. Learn to use your senses to stimulate food satisfaction. This will enhance food choice quality, quantity and balance.

2.    Movement: Intentional exercise that celebrates life. Choose an exercise type that works for you. Motion is lotion for the body.

3.    Mindset: Training the mind to embody healthy lifestyle behaviors. Practice shifting your thoughts and recognizing your emotions. These actions will empower healthier choices.

I also have a vision to establish a missions based yoga community here in Gadsden, Alabama. My mission is to lead worship in motion through yoga asana and provide a healthy environment where my community can praise through movement & music.

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

DF: The Lord has blessed my life with so many impactful and trustworthy advisors.

There are two names I’d like to mention:

Tom Brown. He was my gymnastics coach for 13 years. He showed me by example that following your passion will lead the way toward a successful creative business. One thing that really sticks out for me about Tom was when he entrusted me to lead strength and conditioning sessions for our gymnastics team. He knew I loved S&C. With doing this, it empowered me to learn how to get super strong and help others do the same.

The other I’d like to mention is Mary Baun. She was my first RD mentor. I never knew any real life RD’s before I was led into my field. But, the first one to touch my heart was Mary. She is a clinical RD, diabetes educator in Pittsburgh. She hired me right out of college. She was extremely patient with me and I learned some wonderful counseling techniques from her that I still use today.

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

DF: Being in service with the specific tools that I feel anointed to make use of, while making a difference in another person’s life. It’s breathtaking to me to plant seeds for better health, that in turn brings a quickening in the mind and body!

DA: Anything else you’d like to share to assist others to refocus on their fitness/nutrition or enhance their current program?

DF: Awareness, Surrender and LOVE are the three most potent ingredients for enhancing anything! Often, we have not because we ask not. To focus your mind, ask in prayer every single day. Ask for faith, comfort, healing, restoration and quickening of the body.

Make a plan. Write in pencil because life happens. Be self disciplined in a sustainable plan. Take this step. Then this step. Take the steps and It will be given to you freely.  You are NOT stagnant regardless of your past or current condition! You have what it takes. You are lovely.

Affirm this:
God doesn’t call those that are prepared. He prepares those that are called.

Danielle’s personal message:

I’ll see you at one of my next retreats in 2017 or via Skype: Nutrition Rockstar Coaching

Contact Danielle directly with questions about nutrition, lifestyle coaching, or retreat information at www.DanielleFryer.Rocks

Nemacolin Woodlands Retreat info:

Visit us on Facebook.
Danielle Fryer
Donna Adinolfi at Mindful Adventures



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10 Wellness Retreats to Create a Healthier Lifestyle

Friday, January 6th, 2017 | Adventure, Ayurveda, Beauty, California Spas, Canyon Ranch, Challenge Course, Cooking Schools, Destination Spas, Energy Work, Equine Therapy, Healing, Meditation, Mii Amo, Miraval Spa, Nutrition, Rancho la Puerta, Red Mountain Spa, Relaxation, Skincare, Weight Loss, Zipline, fitness, healthy living, hiking, massage, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being | 1 Comment

Are you ready to take action and create positive change for your life?

Get ready to challenge yourself, nurture yourself and reinvent yourself using travel and spa as a ‘tool’ to wellness.

From Cali to the East Coast, these are some of the best in the world and 10 of the best wellness resorts in the U.S. (with one just over the border in Tecate, Mexico!).

What are Your Intentions for this New Year?

It starts here! Are you ready?

Canyon Ranch – Tucson, AZ and Lenox, MA

The healing power and energy of the Sonoran Desert and the tranquility of the Berkshires will inspire you to nourish, challenge and pamper yourself.  From hiking, biking, nutritious dining, workshops and consultations by wellness and medical experts to a full service spa for relaxation and renewal.  Trouble sleeping? Consider going to one of the sleep seminars or a private session with Dr. Param Dedhia, Director of Sleep Medicine.  Dr. Dedhia also championed the relaunch of the Weight Loss Program at the Life Enhancement Center. Programs at the Life Enhancement Center offer a small group opportunity to focus on your goals for one full week (Sunday-Sunday).  Perhaps you’re more interested in a Spiritual Journey.  Stress, Healing & Spiritual Awakening might be a good session for you with Spiritual Wellness provider, Pamela Dintaman and learn how the spiritual journey can help you with steps toward transforming your life.

Vera Via, Carlsbad, CA

Vera Via offers one of the most unique and intimate programs amongst destination/health spas. Since it’s in a ’boutique size’ setting at the Park Hyatt Aviara, the program helps guests accomplish specific  goals including weight reduction, overcoming stressors, personal fitness and programming for long lasting health and well-being.  Guests meet with their experts and create an individualized plan that helps them realize success during a stay with continued progress when guests are back home.  We know that treating the ‘whole’ person leads to long lasting results.   Melissa and Wyatt Chapman, Co-Founders of Vera Via, are committed to the success of the program along with their team.   There are several packages to choose from depending on your schedule and goals. There’s also a spa on property offering a la carte services.

Rancho la Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

Rancho la Puerta offers an abundance of fitness classes, hiking opportunities for the beginner to advanced, cooking demos, lectures and plenty of options for pampering in their health centers. Meals are nourishing and vegetarian and simply delicious.  The ‘rooms’ are really casitas and they’re spacious and decorated with folkloric Mexican art and they’re very comfortable. Take the time to ‘meander the paths’ at the Ranch and you might just find your life will open up to unlimited possibilities.  This is a beloved wellness resort and the original destination fitness resort and spa as it all started in 1940, founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely.  Spa time?  Consider the Feldenkrais Method and Watsu.
More about the Ranch in this article.

Miraval Arizona, Tucson

Find inspiration and learn how to live in the moment.  Be present, rather than worry about the past or the future.  Different experiences present choices for nutrition, fitness, stress management and meditation.  Explore challenging activities, inspiring classes and relaxing moments to help you create a healthier lifestyle.  Some of my ‘go-to’ experts include Anne Parker as she helps me stay grounded and her perspective helps with my own transformation.  For a deep tissue massage, Stephen is my go-to and Lolita for her insight and nurturing style.  First time?  Consider the Equine Experience and be sure to experience the meditation options.
Miraval’s Life in Balance profile on us in this article.

Red Mountain Spa, St. George, Utah

This wellness resort is only 90-minutes from Las Vegas and is surrounded by majestic red mountains, vivid blue skies and the peaceful setting of the Utah desert.   Adventure awaits guests with activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking as well as healthy living classes, fitness, healthy dining and pampering spa services to soothe your body, mind and soul after a fulfilling day.  In addition to a great list of property hikes, you might want to consider a guided hike at Zion National Park Hike and explore deep canyons and sandstone cliffs.  Canyoneering and Rappelling are also offered.  At the spa, look at the Desert Dreams Ritual (night time bliss).
More about Red Mountain Spa in this article.

Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, TX

Located on Lake Austin in Texas Hill Country, this highly rated resort is a rare find in the Austin area and a unique setting for a destination spa.  It is truly like going to your best friend’s lake cottage!  Fitness classes, healthy living classes, nutritious and delicious dining are available.  If you’re looking for a unique program in healthy cooking, then the Culinary Experience is one to look into for an interactive experience, which is another opportunity to take action to create positive change in your life.  One of the best values is the Power of 7 program, a customized 7-day program
focused on your personal goals.  What about the spa?  Look at Texas Starry Night (pleasant dreams!).

Mii Amo, Sedona, AZ

Mii Amo, a Native American word meaning “journey,” is located at Enchantment Resort and surrounded by the awe-inspiring red rocks of Sedona.  There is a sense of healing and feeling of life-changing energy in this magical space in the desert.  There are different “journeys” or programs that you can choose from for a 3-, 4- or 7-night stay such as the Healthy Body in Balance, Spiritual Exploration, Transformational Wisdom.  Journeys include all meals, classes, activities and spa services.  A stunning and inspirational setting creates the stage for change.  At the spa:  consider the Psychic Massage and Hozhooji, the Mii amo Blessing (specialty service).

Hilton Head Health, Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head Health (H3) has over 40 years of experience with their weight loss program and their newer Live Well Program.  Beginning on day one you’re assessed by H3’s fitness experts and given a personalized program, one that is effective and tailored to your needs.  Scheduling features healthy eating, fitness, behavioral health and they’re offered in private and small groups.  H3’s all-inclusive program is effective, empowering and fun.  At Indigo Spa, try the Fit and Firm Transformational Facial with Skin Authority products (best facial I ever had!).
More about my personal journey here.

Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, CA

Recently renovated and one of the best values in a destination spa vacation.  They offer up to 16 exercise classes and fitness activities per day, a 1000 calorie-a-day spa food plan, spa services, and healthy living classes and an opportunity for (mostly) women to make positive changes and return home renewed and rejuvenated.    The Dance Week and Mother/Daughter weeks are popular and their visiting speakers.  The Oaks is one of the most affordable retreats, which takes away even more stress.  At the spa, try the Joint Health Arnica Massage (or Aromatherapy Massage).

Cal-a-Vie, Vista, CA

Located in the rolling hills outside of San Diego, this intimate European villa-inspired resort offers guests the tools to create a more balanced lifestyle with nutritious meals, fitness classes, stress management classes and a luxurious spa.  Contemplate the changes you’re ready to make while doing a walking meditation in the labyrinth or within the quiet walls of their 400 year-old chapel.  The vineyards are beautiful and Cal-a-vie is simply beautiful.   Take time to walk the labyrinth.

Life is a Journey….that we can all agree upon.  Take the first step to create the positive change you desire and keep on walking!

Let’s connect!
Twitter/Instagram: DonnaSpaGal

Having experienced all of these destination spas I’m happy to share more insight and details to help you on your path to wellness.
If you’d like to connect: Email me directly:

Last Minute Mindful Holiday Gift Guide – Wellness, Spa and Travel Ideas

Thursday, December 15th, 2016 | Adventure, Beauty, Canyon Ranch, Cooking Schools, Destination Spas, Energy Work, Healing, Nutrition, Peace, Rancho la Puerta, Skincare, Weight Loss, facials, fitness, gratitude, healthy living, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Mindful Holiday Gift Guide
by Mindful Adventures

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