Friday Faves: Miraval Edition

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 early morning desert hike

Last week my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and I had the incredibly good fortune to hop a plane to sunny Arizona and spend a few days at Miraval, an amazing resort and spa outside of Tucson that I’ve been referring to as “Oprah’s Spa” (Oprah and Gayle went a number of years ago, and then Oprah sent an entire audience full of groups of girlfriends during her final season – if you were wondering).  Our days went a little something like this: breakfast, fitness class/hike/yoga, coffee/juice/smoothie bar break, classes or lectures (fitness, nutrition, cooking, mental health, photography, you name it), lunch, spa treatment, more classes or lectures, maybe some pool time, happy hour, dinner, bed.   Needless to say, our trip wasn’t nearly long enough and I can’t wait to get back.  A few highlights:

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life in balance spa – my new happy place

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hummingbird mama and her babies in their nest in the courtyard (in a kumquat tree!)

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pool time (not pictured: my prickly pear iced tea, so delicious!)

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desert sunset

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cooking demo with the pastry chef – lemon raspberry cookies and arugula salad with honey dijon vinaigrette (recipes coming next week, get excited!)

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downtime at the villa

Friday Faves

Happy Friday and Happy March! Is anyone sad to say goodbye to February? I know I’m not. I tried to escape the February blahs by spending a few days in Arizona with my family last weekend, so the majority of my highlights from the week (besides Indiana’s loss on Tuesday night!!) are from our mini-vaycay. Our trip was short and sweet, and even though the temperatures were only in the mid-60s (10 degrees lower than average for the end of February), it still felt so heavenly to see blue skies and sunshine. And since it wasn’t really warm enough to lay by the pool (at least, not without a sweatshirt on), we had the chance to do things we wouldn’t normally have done had we been busy working on our tans.

Per my friend Kristy’s recommendation, hiking Camelback Mountain was on our list of things to do. There are two trails that go up Camelback, but the more difficult of the two was closed for renovations so our only option was the “longer, but less steep” Cholla Trail. All I can say is, I would recommend no one ever try the steeper route, unless you have a death wish. Or unless the renovations include some pretty serious guardrails. Because whoa, that mountain is a lot steeper than it looks. We had to abandon our water bottles about two thirds of the way up, because we needed both hands for climbing. I think at that point we decided we weren’t so much “hiking” as we were “rock climbing” (the website calls it “rock scrambling,” which sounds even worse). Despite being completely terrified, however, it was so much fun and I’m so glad we did it – but when I met some friends for dinner that night and they told me people die “all the time” when hiking Camelback, I wasn’t at all surprised.

I think spring training is going to be a new annual tradition of mine. I get so excited for baseball season to start each spring, even though lately the Mariners have been so bad that our season is beyond hope by the time it’s actually warm enough to go to a game. But spring training games are warm (or warm-ish) even in February, and tickets are $7. You can essentially sit wherever you want, and even the beers are cheaper. And parking is free if you show up after the first inning, like we did. Peoria Diamond Club, here I come! (PS – at the time of this posting, M’s are 6-1! Maybe this will be our year, after all!).

Another bonus of our trip was that every single meal was delicious. We had some recommendations thanks to my sister’s friend Shannon, a Scottsdale native, and all of them were great. North has all-day happy hour on Sunday, so we headed there after the M’s game for an early dinner and half-priced wine. Two of our app orders, brussels sprouts and “zucca chips,” arrived in these mini cast iron casserole dishes that I’ve been obsessed with for quite some time – now I want them even more. And/or these, and/or these. And then I’m going to throw a party and serve zucca chips in them, because they are adorable and delicious. I can’t wait.

I know I already talked about enamel bracelets last week, but oops! I bought another one. I love anything with a “C” on it (Anthropologie is a very dangerous place for me) so when I saw these on the C. Wonder website I decided to splurge. I’m going to buy a couple more for gifts, and I probably need the “E” for my middle initial too, since orange and pink are so fun together! Or rather, now that I know my dad is reading this, I’m not going to buy anything else, and save all my money for retirement.

I know technically spring doesn’t start for three more weeks, but I’ve always felt like the seasons should be cleanly broken into months. Spring starts in March, summer starts in June, etc. It just makes so much more sense that way! It’s still dumping rain here in Seattle, but all the tulips at the market make it feel like spring has already arrived. Also, I love these little bud vases I got at CB2 last year – they were a total impulse buy, and truth be told I think one was supposed to be a gift, but when they arrived I decided they were a set and kept them both. Now if only it could be as springy outside as it is in my apartment!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I’m looking forward to laying low – maybe beginning some spring cleaning/closet organizing – and hopefully trying out some new recipes to share with you on Monday! TGIF!!