Tokyo, Japan: The latest in Art… and SPA

Do you enjoy saunas and art? Who doesn’t? Take my favorite things: self-care, water, massage, and the inspiration found in immersive art, and Japan has just delivered one kickass experience to uplift us after the post-Covid blues! Pair an illuminating museum experience with a unique experience staying at some of Tokyo’s finest hotels like the Hotel New Otani Tokyo, complete with a waterfall! It has 1,479 rooms in a variety of types with fantastic views. 

The art collective teamLab has created an exhibition in Roppongi, the likes of which the world has never been seen before. This new exhibition gives you a nuanced experience as you view artwork in saunas. You’ll be able to enjoy several works, including a new group of pieces based on teamLab’s latest project “Supernature Phenomenon.” The exhibition runs until August 31. Tokyo is always the best place to enjoy the latest creations of teamLab.

Needless to say, teamLab Borderless and teamLab Planets, both of these are must-visit museums in Tokyo!

The show lasts until the end of August and June tickets are on sale now, so time to book your summer trip to Tokyo:

https://reconnect.teamlab.art/en

Wellness + Adventure: Covid Style

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort, Scottsdale

Let’s face it. Times have been extreme. So what better way to learn new skills and embrace new experiences than to focus on a well-tuned mind and body? I sure as hell could use it too! Among other benefits, meeting a new challenge head-on, whether physical, mental or both, fuels creativity, helps slow cognitive decline, and builds confidence. Balance that new adventure with a spa retreat and you’ve got the makings of an extreme wellness getaway. Here are a few great travel ideas that combine skills, thrills, and (spa) chills for those looking for something new and ambitious in 2021.

Triathlon Training in the Sonoran Desert. Train with an Olympian instructor by day, unwind at one of the nation’s premier resort spas by night. Who’s in? Plus, I’m an AZ local and can attest to the fact that it’s an incredible place to get active and get relaxin. At Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, pushing one’s physical limits comes with world-class rewards. Sanctuary’s three-night Triathlon Training package includes three days of training with the resort’s team of experts. On the first day, Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman shares the best swimming strategies for endurance and speed in Sanctuary’s 25-yard outdoor lap pool. Day two is a guided desert bike ride, and day three a tandem run with a fitness instructor. A power breakfast each morning fuels the day’s workout, while each evening brings a 60-minute spa treatment to restore muscles and joints impacted during training.

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island

Shark Diving at Singer Island. With the world’s third largest barrier reef practically at its doorstep, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is the perfect base for a thrilling shark-diving adventure. Cage and free shark dives, offered through numerous local dive operators, let adrenaline junkies of all skill levels share the water with predators ranging from Florida’s abundant sandbar and lemon sharks to massive tiger sharks. After, guests can de-stress at the all-suite resort’s SiSpa, named one of the top 10 resort spas in the country by Condé Nast Traveler readers. A Capture the Moment Package, complete with a GoPro Waterproof Action Camera (Model Hero4) also let’s you document all the action, and includes daily beach chair and umbrella rental for stays of two or more nights. Luxe Recess also has this to say, “From the moment plush turtles greet you in your family suite to when you meet the magnificent creatures at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center down the road, a vacation at the Marriott Singer Island is all about slowing down to a turtle’s pace while connecting with the authentic richness of the Palm Beaches: its seashore.”The Whiteface Lodge – Lake Placid, NY

Bikes, Biathlons and Bobsledding in the Adirondacks. Seek peak wellness high in the Adirondack Mountains at Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge, an all-suite resort just a short drive from the Olympic Village in this two-time Winter Games host city. Among the Olympian-worthy local activities is a brand-new Bike & Biathlon experience, which debuted June 29 and combines an hour-long mountain bike lesson with professional instruction on the Olympic Biathlon Range, building skills and confidence for participants of all ages (biathlon rifles for those 13 and up; paintball for those 12 and under). In the winter, the action shifts to the Olympic bobsled run, where thrill-seekers can hurtle down the track with a professional driver and brakeman in the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience. Just don’t forget to relax and recharge at the award-winning Spa at Whiteface Lodge with an Alpine Retreat treatment. It includes a hot hydrotherapy soak and slow massage, both with Naturopathica Ginger Oil to melt away a day of adventure, followed by a warm oil scalp massage. I live for warm oil scalp massages. JUST SO YOU KNOW.

Castle Hotel and Spa – Terrytown, NY

Fly a Helicopter over the Hudson. High-flying adventurers can test their mettle at the controls of a Robinson R44 Raven II with Wings Air Helicopters’ 30- or 60-minute Discovery Flight at Westchester County Airport, just a short drive or train ride from New York City. Now, I’m afraid of heights so, as one like me is prone to doing, I tend to challenge my fears head on. I’m not saying it works, but it can certainly be thrilling to climb a mountain or fly in a copter! The lesson begins with a ground briefing before taking to the sky with a professional flight instructor who, once airborne, will hand over the controls. Students can also bring up to two friends to ride along for an additional fee. Roundtrip hotel transfers between Manhattan and Westchester can also be arranged. Two top choices for a post-flight spa getaway are The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester (White Plains), home to Synergy Spa, Westchester County’s largest destination spa, and Tarrytown’s landmark 19th century castle (!!) turned luxury Castle Hotel & Spa, with its sweet riverside digs, French cuisine, and Sankara Spa.

The Maldives: Your Uncrowded Covid Safe Island Retreat

Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa

With the lowest villa density in the Maldives, Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa is one of the most private islands in the archipelago. You know what that means? Less people, less chances of catching Covid!

Prioritizing safety and seamlessness, Emerald has launched a series of new private experiences, each included in the Deluxe All-Inclusive offering – from private Teppanyaki classes to luxury boat trips.

The stunning Maldives property from above

One of the archipelago’s most exclusive all-inclusive, The Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa has launched a selection of new, private experiences for couples, families and small groups of friends looking to re-connect after a year apart. Here, privacy doesn’t have to cost the earth – each experience is included as part of the island’s Deluxe All-Inclusive offering – from private boat and snorkelling adventures, to cooking classes and private dining on the beach.

You’ll find me here

The island, which spans just 250 acres, possesses the lowest villa density in the Maldives, offering guests a completely private and undisturbed experience. Head out onto the tranquil Indian Ocean on a luxury boat and prowl the pristine lagoon in search of tropical fish and manta rays, rubbing shoulders with the resident marine life and exploring the colourful coral on snorkelling trips. Adventurous travellers (like me, of course) can head out into the deeper ocean on a diving excursion, or try their hand at wind surfing, kayaking or jet skiing.

I’m hungry for some island time already

Back on dry land, I plan to start my day with a floating breakfast in my private pool, or enjoying an exclusive private dining experience on the beach (inspiring photo above). For a hands-on foodie experience for someone like my amateur chef hubs, they have private Teppanyaki cooking classes with one of Emerald’s expert chefs at Le Asiatique Restaurant; learn to prepare fresh-from-the-ocean seafood and island ingredients with true Teppanyaki flair. While children are under the watchful eye of Dolphin Kids’ Club, I’ll finally be able to relax with a private yoga session or toast to my island escape experience with a creative cocktail in the Sunset Pool Café with views over the azure ocean. Now who’s paying?

20% off best available rate for a minimum of 7 night’s stay for a maximum of two adults and two children, applicable for all bookings received before February 28th 2021. Offer includes deluxe all-inclusive package, complimentary 60 minutes massage for two adults OR 1x cooking class for the whole family and 1 x in-room family breakfast.

Rates start from £700 (approx. $955) per night on a deluxe-all-inclusive basis

http://www.emerald-maldives.com

Explore Alaska’s Most Scenic Wonders in Winter

Alaska Awaits

Alaska is open, y’all, and it’s ideal for families and friends who dream of exploring America’s greatest wildernesses free of crowds and against a pristine white canvas. Imagine skiing through forests, wildlife spotting, flightseeing above multicolored geysers and glaciers cresting on the snow, and a vastness only available in the quiet of winter. Abercrombie & Kent’s U.S. Luxury Tailor Made itineraries, which can be customized to your private party’s interests, feature handpicked local guides, fun activities that naturally lend themselves to social distancing, and luxurious accommodations. You can even book with confidence knowing you can reschedule your journey due to COVID-19, and that they have enhanced protocols in place to safeguard your health while travelling. This is numero uno in my book since I’ve been sheltering in place for almost a year and need to know things are on the up and up.

Our recent travel dream favorite is their Call of the Iditarod series because I’ve always been obsessed with riding a husky driven sled through the snow like a Russian Bond Girl.

You too?

Well, we can celebrate Alaska’s famed Iditarod dogsled race, watching the participants prepare and depart from Anchorage on their 1,000-mile trek, witnessing their arrival at an important checkpoint near your remote wilderness lodge. You can dogsled yourself along the rugged Iditarod trail on this independent journey filled with the splendors of Alaskan wilderness.

The skinny:

  • Join Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous festival, giving the Iditarod teams a ceremonial send-off
  • Take in the buzz of Iditarod mushers and their teams arrive at a remote checkpoint
  • Choose from an array of outdoor activities, including the option to drive your own dogsled team
  • Discover the history of Alaska’s indigenous culture and art in Anchorage

Itinerary at a Glance

DAY 1

ARRIVE ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 

DAY 2

ANCHORAGE | CELEBRATING THE IDITAROD

DAY 3

WINTERLAKE LODGE | SCENIC WILDERNESS FLIGHT

DAYS 4–5

WINTERLAKE LODGE | IDITAROD MUSHERS’ ARRIVE

DAY 6

WINTERLAKE LODGE | DOGSLEDDING & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

DAY 7

ANCHORAGE | EXPERIENCING INDIGENOUS CULTURE

DAY 8

DEPART ANCHORAGE
INCLUDED WITH EVERY LUXURY TAILOR MADE JOURNEY
  • One-of-a-kind Itinerary Designed for You
  • Driver-guide and vehicle
  • Hand-Selected Accommodations
  • Exclusive Insider-Access Opportunities and Inspiring Sightseeing
  • English-Speaking Local Guides
  • Airport Meet and Greet with Private Transfers
  • Full Breakfast Daily
  • Entrance Fees and Taxes
  • 24/7 A&K On-Call Support

Want more info? I don’t blame you.

Check this link and get on it: https://www.abercrombiekent.com/tours/luxury-tailor-made-travel/2021/alaska-call-of-the-iditarod

Daily Rituals: Essential Oils Set

Eight Saints Skincare “Daily Rituals” set

Customize your vibes. Morning, noon, and night and tap into the power of essential oils. Just in time for the holidays Eight Saints Skincare drops their Daily Ritual Essential Oils Set ($79), three unique essential oils for three parts of your day or mood.

Eight Saints Skincare products are all derived from the chosen “eight saints” including highly effective and proven skincare ingredients. These ingredients can also be found in their new aromatherapy products, made to boost circulation, reduce headaches, soothe anxiety, and help to fade scars and stretch marks.

The set include three scents:

WOKE UP LIKE THIS – Energizing notes of geranium, French lavender, a punch of jasmine and uplifting ylang ylang are meant to jumpstart your day, evoking feelings of peace, well-being, and self-confidence. You don’t need to be a morning person to have a good morning. This blend is also good for boosting circulation and reducing headaches when applied to pulse points. The Chamomile can be especially beneficial in helping calm anxiety when flying and Geranium acts natural mosquito repellant.

ISSA VIBE– Sometimes a day can get away from you… You’re vibin’ and suddenly you hit a wave of anxiety, a wave of unsteadiness. Take a moment to soothe and comfort your psyche. This blend mixes sophisticated, sweet, and woodsy varieties like balsam and sandalwood that counteract stress and help ground your mood. Vibe out the rest of the day, you got this. Tip: Apply before happy hour, why not improve everyone’s mood? For centuries sandalwood blends have been the preferred choice for meditation. Roll on palms and work through ends of hair for added shine and restored moisture.

NIGHTY NIGHT – WE MADE IT! Unwind and settle into the chill zone. Blended with calming lavender, frankincense, and comforting chamomile, this blend encourages relaxation and sweet, sweet dreams.

Bonus: We love this aromatherapy blend for PMS and cramps. Apply directly to painful, achy joints. Massage onto feet hitting various reflexology points.

Directions: Apply to temples, wrists, and behind ears. Additionally, Roll-ons work well when applied to pulse points like inner elbows, sides of the neck, or backs of knees. Keep in mind, these are not perfumes, so they won’t be strong and, even for aromatherapy scents, they’re on the subtle side, but the notes work with with one another and I can’t resist a good ylang ylang.

Price: $79

Eight Saints Skincare

24 Hours in Sonoma, California

Vintage Plane Spotting with my sweet ride, Black Truffle, in Sonoma

I needed a break. Work was all encompassing. It was time to take matters into my hands. I had to channel the Layla I used to know and love. The Layla I had ignored for structure, order, and responsibility. It was time to throw caution to the wind and channel my inner spontaneous bon vivant.

I went onto Hotel Tonight on Friday night. The next thing I knew I was spending 24 hours in Sonoma at the Sonoma Hotel, a quaint historic inn smack dab in the center of Sonoma Square.

Sonoma Hotel… ain’t it cute?!

We didn’t want to drive once we started tasting (obviously), so, after searching for hotels in the center of town that were available last minute, reasonably priced, and walking distance to tasting rooms, we settled on the Sonoma Hotel ($200/night). It was adorable and just what we thought it would be. Quaint. Simple. Clean. Reviews were accurate about one thing. The walls are thin. Thankfully, after several tastings and general parenting exhaustion from the week/years, we fell asleep at around 10pm and didn’t hear a thing.

Tasca Tasca

Since this trip was completely spontaneous, we didn’t make a single reservation, but that wasn’t a problem. We headed for a late lunch at Tasca Tasca, a Portuguese tapas & wine boite served in a charming, European space. The above photo (from left to right) is their 7 item sampler. Perfect for two. We ordered kale salad (I’d probably pass on this next time or get the dressing on the side as it was a bit tart for my taste), blood sausage (husband loved it), ceviche (good and healthy since we wanted to drink our calories), crab empanadas (solid), Queijo de Sao Jorge cheese (I’d pass and try something else), Linguica Caseira (delicious traditional Portuguese sausage), and Bacalhau (salt cod cakes… can I get a ‘Si?’)

Sonoma Goods

We then walked off the food by visiting the Mission and reading about the history of Sonoma. One thing missing – the history of the Miwok and Suisunes people. All mentions of indigenous culture appear erased. Note to the Sonoma Tourist Board: rectify that situation, please. First, you see the servants quarters of General Vallejo’s home, La Casa Grande, built in the 1830s which later became the center of social life north of San Francisco. General Vallejo was born in California, but Mexico controlled the area at the time. In 1846, he was confronted by leaders of the Bear Flag Party (yes, that’s where the Bear Flag originates!). California was home to American settlers who didn’t trust their Mexican rulers. When rumors of an impending war between the US and Mexico came to California, according to Wikipedia, The California Republic, or Bear Flag Republic, was born as an unrecognized “breakaway state” from Mexico. For 25 days, the Sonoma area was controlled by the settlers and the breakdown of Mexican rule began.

Passagio Wines

After our tour of the town’s Mission and history, we were thirsty. Next up: wine at Passaggio Wines in the Sonoma shops. Since I’m a lover of white wines, I’d read that Passaggio had a nice selection. My tasting included their 2019 Sauvignon Blanc from Albini Vineyards in Sonoma, their 2019 Chenin Blanc from Heringer Estates in Clarksburg (my favorite tasting for its light clean aftertaste), and the 2019 Tempranillo rose (aka. Rose Colored Glasses). Steve, the sommelier, gave us a great history of the wines and the shop. Apparently, the owner used to work in law enforcement and, later in her career, decided to study wine making to eventually open the shop.

Life goals!

Day Boat Scallops

We then took walk around town to burn off calories and moved onto dinner. Since we enjoyed the tapas spot, we decided to try their sister restaurant, La Salette. I guess we were in the mood for Portuguese. My husband ordered a Wood Oven Roasted Octopus with sweet onion purée, red wine vinegar, and fried potato ($16) to start and he said it was delicious. I ordered the Chouriço Crusted Day Boat Scallops, Japanese sweet potato purée, leek confit, and molho cru ($17). The scallops were fantastic and cooked to perfection. The chourico (chorizo) crust was an excellent touch with its the firm consistency and succulent flavor. I also loved the leek confit mixed with the Japanese yam purée. Everything tasted filling, yet fresh and healthy. For our main, we shared the Bacalhau no Forno, a traditional baked casserole of north Atlantic salt cod, potatoes, onions, and olives ($27) because we love Bacalhau. What can I say? We ate it twice in one day! The other items looked wonderful, but we were pretty full from eating and drinking throughout the day. That said, we finished with a port flight and dessert because… rice pudding with cinnamon, madeira braised fig and toucinho do céu (an almond cake that almost tastes like caramelized fluffy oranges).

La Salette’s traditional dessert tasting

From there, we took the short walk through the quaint city square, made it to our warm hotel room above The Girl & The Fig (another local fave), and it was… 24 hrs. of bliss.

Protective Masks for Travel

HALOmasks

In the search for comfortable well made masks with filters, I came across HALOmasks. They feature proprietary SETA Nanofilter technology, proven to capture 98.8% of virtually all airborne pathogens and contaminants, including coronavirus.

Since I’m always on the hunt for lightweight, but effective, it’s 95% bamboo and 5% spandex for shape retention and stretch. The other nice part? HALOLIFE gives back to its community. For every purchase made, the company donates a mask to someone in need.

The mask, usually $34.95, is currently on sale for $29.95, as well. Reusable, washable, comfortable, filter-ready, and giving to the community… I call that a win win.

https://halolife.io/

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