Mr. Charming and I have been talking about going on a Wellness Retreat for a while now. These past few months have lent a bit of stress, through a career change on my part, to a new job with increased hours on his part, and we have been feeling a bit stretched and frazzled.
Always a fan of traveling whenever humanly possible, I finally made it a point to sit down and decide how we were going to use our timeshare points this summer. (we are NOT timeshare holders normally, I want to buy a house first and have a couple of littles before we think about something like that), however, we did purchase a "sampler package" that allows three getaways in a year for a lot less than what we would have spent taking them on our own.
Anyways. After booking an out of state resort for our wedding anniversary in the Fall, and another weekend away for my birthday with Mr. Charming and our closest friends, I was left wondering where and when we could use the third vacation. Use it to escape the Arizona heat in July or August? Save it for if we feel spontaneous? But then I remembered that we've been needing to disconnect from the daily stressors and connect to each other, so I booked us a room for this past weekend. There is a local resort in Arizona, that we love, and I thought what better way to spend a long weekend with my love.
I thought about how important this is to do, and the fact that it really doesn't cost a whole lot to do this, since we already had the points to get the room. Read on for tips on how to have a R&R Retreat for less.
1. Travel Bargains & Accommodations :
Look for travel deals ahead of time if you can. I love Kayak.com for hotel and flight deals that I have found to be cheaper than most other travel sites. If you are a last minute get-away girl like myself, an app called Hotel Tonight shows you discounted rooms for that night, as hotels just want to fill rooms. Also, when we want to stretch our traveling dollar we opt for places we can drive to, for us, living in AZ those places are within the state, California and Vegas. Leaving us plenty of fun options. We bought our car with traveling in mind and good gas mileage, and gas and healthy road trip food is a lot cheaper than flights. If you want to save this expense all together, your home can be a wellness sanctuary. Light candles, clear an area, throw down a yoga mat, soak in a tub and use fresh, soft linens in the bedroom. For our retreat we chose Cibola Visa Resort and Spa in Arizona. I highly recommend.
One thing I love about giving myself a chance to retreat and relax is cooking healthy, detoxifying food. I booked a room with a kitchen and took my own groceries so I could prepare the freshest meals. This also saved me a lot of money from having to dine all weekend at high-end or vegan restaurants where I could get food. If you're road tripping look for roadside farmers markets or fruit and veggie stands to stock up for cheap on the way to your destination. If you don't have the option to prepare your own food however, opt for lean meats, veggies tossed in olive oil and salads rich with fruit and veggies as your primary menu items during your stay when dining out. And remember, lots and lots of water. You can view my weekends menu and see photos, here.
3. Fun & Relaxation:
This is where all-inclusive retreat hotel packages get you on cost. I was thinking of signing up for a retreat put on by a company, but when I saw the hefty $3,000.00 price tag on just 3 days away, and staying in a room not even as nice as the one I booked myself for much, much, much, much less I knew it was the "in room massages" "yoga on the lawn" and the fact they take your cell phone forcing you into a tech-free zone that hiked the price up so much. So, I was determined to save. Some ideas to turn your hotel room into your retreat away from home.
- Bring your yoga mat and yoga DVDs. Set aside each time during your stay for "class". Our hotel even had a nice lawn that I planned on doing some poses on, but it was quite warm when I was there, so I opted to read on the lawn and did yoga in my room with the doors and windows open for fresh air.
- Most hotels have very nice bathtubs. Toss some LED candles in your luggage and set them around the tub, use lavender and epsom salt for a nice detox soak, and have a plush robe waiting for you when you emerge.
- Read or immerse yourself doing something spiritual. Whatever your belief, take time to just be. Being quiet and meditating can be so healing and rejuvenating. For me that meant starting each morning with breakfast in the quiet, with my devotional and in prayer before I started my day.
- As for the massages, resort spas charge a hefty amount for massages, pedicures, etc. Check for nearby spa, like an Elements Therapeutic Massage, who provide quality massages for considerably less, and for nails, I invited a girl friend to lay by the pool for part of the day, soaking up girl time that we get so rarely, and we kicked back in the room and did pedicures ourselves with my new Pixi polish. Not only did we save around $100 by opting out of pro pedi's, but we got to bond, chat and catch up on Cougar Town episodes that we never have time to watch.
4. The Extras:
- You can set the rules however you like. I didn't take the computer, because as a writer, I would have been too tempted to turn it on and work, check email or write. I took my phone for emergencies because I do work with a lot of staff, but I informed those who may need me that I needed some time away, and I turned my phone on silent while I slept, during meal times, meditation, devotionals and yoga.
- If you want to add adventure to your getaway look for nearby hiking trails, or excursions offered in the area. The resort we were staying at was near a lake with water toys, and offered horseback riding. This weekend for us however was about rest and relaxation, so we opted to stay in, watch funny movies and catch up on our reading.
To see the menus, recipes and photos from our retreat click here.
So, this past weekend Mr. Charming and I embarked on a Wellness Retreat. Read my post here on how to have a Budget Friendly Retreat.
There were definitely things I'd do different in the future, (this is the first one we've planned on our own) but it was nice to get away. I share below some of the activities, some photos, and of course, the food. The yummy, healthy, amazing, food.
I adored the quality time with my husband, and my friend Kym came by to lounge and swim and do mani-pedi's for girl time while Mr. Charming had to work. The food was delish, and the grounds were an amazing place to read. I could have done without the horrible cramps that threatened to ruin my entire weekend, and though I turned off the phone and left the computer at home, I'm going to aim for less TV time and complete removal of phones from the room next time to be 100% tech free. But all in all, a nice getaway.
We stayed at the Cibola Vista Resort in Peoria, AZ, near Lake Pleasant. The grounds were so pretty. I adore the expansive lawn and I spent time reading and catching up on books that inspire my writing. I also love fountains. So calming and serene. I thought about doing yoga down here, but it got quite warm out, so I opted to stay in and do yoga in my room.
This was the view from my rooms balcony. I left the doors and windows open while doing yoga and enjoying our meals. The weather was beautiful and we swam and soaked up some sun for natural vitamin D.
And of course, onto the food. Click each title to be taken to the recipe. Would love for you to share how you rejuvenate or what you do on your little weekend getaways in the comments section!
And of course I had to plan one decadent dessert. Completely refined sugar free, this deconstructed apple pie uses Nana's Cookie Bars crumbled to mimic a pie crust for a topping that is heavenly. Click here or click on the photo for the recipe.
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.