Wow! What a fabulous trip! I was able to successfully navigate another adventure on only juice (read part 1 about my Juice Feast here; trip was on days 63 & 64). I must say, it sure is an amazing feeling to return from vacation feeling completely refreshed, rejuvenated, and not all bloated from eating and drinking far too much as we often tend to do on vacations! The quickie one nighter trip to Phoenix, Arizona was jammed pack full of fun and healthy activities and a little pampering too! One of my besties and former college roommate Tara lives there, as does her sister Amber of Sage Organic Skincare who I had booked to micro-blade my eyebrows [Note: this is a semi-permanent eyebrow tattooing application]. I’ll do a separate post here for all of the girls who are interested in hearing more about that. It’s seriously amazing!
Tara was a doll, and picked up the 2.5 gallons of juice that I pre-ordered from Necter Juice Bar so it was ready and waiting for me. Upon landing, I was able to drink some of my yummy juice, and we headed off to Piestewa Peak (formerly known as Squaw Peak) for a nice 1.5 hour hike (elevation ~100 floors according to my Fitbit). It was gorgeous at the summit, with a beautiful 360 degree view of downtown Phoenix and the surrounding area.
After this came more delicious juice for me and a tasty little lunch for Tara before we headed off to enjoy a little acupuncture! I’d only done acupuncture a handful of times back when I was 1,000 weeks pregnant with Landri in an (unsuccessful) attempt to induce labor. So I was really excited to give it another shot. It was a community clinic which just means that it’s one large room where you and a small group of other people all rest and relax with your acupuncture needles in. They do a good job of still making you very comfortable; everyone gets their own plush reclining arm chair and the room is typically filled with enough white noise machines to drown out the soft whispers of the acupuncturist as he or she greets new clients as they arrive. The benefit of the community clinics are that they they are less expensive than if you had your own private room for your acupuncture. Acupuncture uses many different healing mechanisms in the body to treat a wide variety of pain conditions and internal diseases. Acupuncture stimulates the release of pain-killing and anti-inflammatory substances from the brain and changes the way your brain responds to pain, and can modify internal organ functions to heal and treat dis-ease. Acupuncture has many local effects including relaxation of contracted muscles and increase in blood circulation. Basically you explain to the acupuncturist what brings you in – is there a specific pain or issue plaguing you? Is it just overall a need to de-stress? In my case, I felt it appropriate to share that I’m clearly in a state of extreme detoxing and explained my Juice Feast. I also mentioned that I currently happened to have a light rash on my legs (which happens from time to time during my Feast as I rid my body of toxins), and had just eliminated my first ever tonsil stones the night before. [Note: Yes, this really happened and scared the heck outta me at first until I researched and figured out what it was. I do believe it to be yet another detoxing symptom.] The acupuncturist took this information into account and placed the very small needles in places on my body known for help with cleansing. As it so happened, I had 4 or 5 inside my right ear, one in each arm and wrist and some in my legs and ankles (I think?? I can’t remember exactly). The needles are super thin and tiny and do not hurt. They only take a fraction of a second to be put in your skin and they stick out and just stay put while you sit quietly. It’s an extremely relaxing environment where no cell phones are allowed unless they are in airplane mode to listen to headphones only. So for this reason I don’t have any photos to share from acupuncture. I was so comfortable that I quickly drifted off into sleep. I don’t remember what my dreams were, but I do remember waking up thinking that they were quite lively and vivid for being a short 40 min or so nap. I awoke refreshed and rejuvenated feeling completely relaxed and blissed out. I enjoyed the experience very much and hope to go again sometime if I can find an affordable community clinic near me.
After acupuncture we headed off to Lifetime Fitness to enjoy their awesome outdoor pool under the gorgeous Phoenix sunshine and spend some more time catching up and reliving old memories. More juice of course and after we’d had our share of rays, we headed off to the mall to do some shopping. Tara grabbed dinner before we headed off to our next great adventure: True Rest.
The Float Spa is something I’ve been wanting to try ever since I heard about it several months ago. It is a type of wellness therapy similar to acupuncture in that it can help the body do certain things such as work to mitigate body aches, de-stress, aid those who suffer from insomnia, increase creativity, help relax, improve circulation, manage pain, and many other benefits. The place we went to was very nice and we thoroughly enjoyed that experience as well. Upon arriving and completing some paperwork, we were ushered into a very comfortable and peaceful lounge to view a 5-6 minute instructional video explaining how the therapy works and what you do. Basically, it’s a large white pod that is filled with 10 inches of water and one thousand pounds of Epsom salt. Yes, you read that correctly. Each person’s pod has ONE THOUSAND pounds of salt. This makes for some extremely salty water. The video warns you to be careful, as this will burn your eyes pretty badly should you get any in them (yes, I did a poor job with this and burned my eyes on accident several times). I also learned the hard way that you don’t want it in your mouth either. While it doesn’t burn there like it does in the eyes, it sure tastes horrible. It’s so salty that it tastes like a nasty chemical or something. So if you go float, just be extra careful of your eyes and mouth. Anyhow, as the video explains, before floating, you put in your putty earplugs that they provide, disrobe, and then shower with soap, and shampoo your hair (no conditioner) to remove any oils, dirt, lotions, etc from your skin. Once this is done, you’re free to climb into the pod. You can float in the nude or in a swim suit. The salt concentration is so high though, that I personally wouldn’t recommend a swim suit (would probably make your suit kinda nasty) and you don’t need it anyways because you’re in your own private and locked room for this entire experience. In the pod, you simply lay back and float! Because the water is so salinized, you will float very, very easily with zero effort at all. The ear plugs are a nice touch and keep the water from going in and out of your ears and bothering you. The pod does have a soft glowing underwater light that you can cycle through different colors or turn off completely from inside the pod. There is also an intercom button in the pod to use to communicate with staff should the need arise. At our location, the float was exactly one hour (unless we purchased a longer session) and it started when we were left alone in our rooms. This is important to note because the longer you take to shower, the less time you have to float. Unless otherwise requested, this facility played soft spa-like, relaxing music in the pod for the first 10 min and then again the last 5 min to help wake you up. They have underwater speakers (super cool!) and it is played loud enough that you can still hear it with your earplugs in. Should you wish, the pod does have a low lid that closes, which does completely encapsulate you. Closing the lid is optional, however the optimal floating experience is to be enclosed in the dark in silence. Since this was what was recommended and I’m not claustrophobic, that’s what I went ahead and did. I really enjoyed my float and the feeling of being completely weightless. It’s like floating in the clouds in a way!!! No matter how hard you try to sink yourself by letting out all of your air, it’s impossible! It’s a pretty cool feeling. Anyhow, I remained as still as possible, not moving and focusing on my breath, counting slowly to 300 (which by the way took me the entire hour as a dozed off here and there along the way). A few times I accidentally involuntarily flinched which was kind of funny because it made waves and I definitely woke myself up and just started counting again from the last number I remembered being on. A few notes…it was interesting how slimy my body felt in water that salty! Also, as an FYI, the water is about 93 degrees which is apparently about the same temperature as your skin so it’s very comfortable. I also liked the music very much and would request that it be played the whole time on my next float until I perfected my ability to concentrate. Tara agreed with this sentiment because we both felt like our heartbeats and breathing were so loud in that super dark and quiet environment that it was almost distracting. But like the acupuncture, stepping away from life and technology for a solid hour and doing absolutely nothing but relaxing is well…very relaxing!!! It’s kind of what I imagine being in the womb is like before you get too big and are all scrunched up in there!
Overall, the hour flew by and I was almost a little sad to hear the music kick back on signaling me that my time was almost up. When the float is over, a gentle jet kicks on and it’s time to exit the pod and shower off the salt. This is where you must be extra careful with your eyes. They did provide a fresh, dry wash cloth and spray bottle of water in the pod in case you need them and my recommendation would be to sit up and immediately reach for the towel, head back, eyes still closed and dry your forehead first thing to ensure that no drops of water run down your forehead into your eyes. Next, you’ll want to shower off, rinsing well with water and lastly conditioning your hair. They don’t say to shampoo your hair and I’m guessing this might be because that could be too drying (?); we didn’t ask. I followed their instructions though, only conditioning after, and my hair was just fine. Be sure to keep your mouth closed in the shower. This was where I accidentally tasted the salt, whoops!
After dressing and leaving your float room, there were a few additional private rooms with toiletries such as lotion, cu-tips, etc where you could freshen up. Next, we were led to the Oasis room, where we enjoyed freshly brewed hot herbal tea, and were treated to a complimentary oxygen bar (another new experience for me). There were five fragrances to chose from or you could enjoy just plain oxygen. I of course sampled all of them and liked them all, haha. In the Oasis room, they had adult coloring books and journals where you could write about your float if you liked. It was a great experience and I look forward to trying out a different float franchise closer to home. We found a Groupon for our float and so I hope to do the same back in San Antonio sometime. PS. For the folks out there in Phoenix or a location with this particular franchise, we were at a True Rest Float Spa.
I feel that it’s important for all of us to purposefully unplug and take a time out every now and then. Honestly, the more we can do this, the better. Many of us live very busy, chaotic, stressful lives with kids, work, activities, sports, travel, and all kinds of unending craziness. Throw in the ever present smart phones and other technologies, and we are oftentimes over-scheduled and over-stimulated! Acupuncture and floating both proved to be great options for this, as is massage, but don’t about another great one that is free and available to all of us: meditation! Sometime I’ll have to do a blog post on that too if you guys are interested. I’m no expert, but it is something that I believe in and try to incorporate into my life on an ongoing basis.
After our evening float, we went home and just hung out a bit more before heading off to bed. We slept in the next morning and went for a nice little 24 minute jog around Tara’s house and saw some really pretty murals (see one of them in the photos). Juice of course continued to enter the picture and I must note that I was excited to try a few new kinds that I had not had before. One was a black colored juice that had coconut charcoal in it which was kinda cool and made into a lemonade and the other unique ones were milks; one made with cashews and one with almonds. Both had dates and cinnamon/nutmeg-typed spices and were PHENOMENAL. They were seriously like watery milkshakes and were delicious. They were definitely much higher calorie than usual at 340 a pop and had a way higher fat content than I would have liked. However, I was on vacation and considered this a splurge. I would never have even ordered these had I had the choice, but they came as a part of the cleanse package that I had purchased (which because it was done in bulk, was cheaper than picking and choosing my juices). I did enjoy them though and look forward to trying the chocolate, strawberry and vanilla cashew milks at my local juice spots upon the completion of my Feast. I also had a turmeric lemonade with black pepper that was a quite tasty combo that I plan to attempt to recreate. Oh and I have to mention that my juice came in three cute little cooler bags that I got to keep!
Alas, I digress with my juice talk! Next we hit up the real reason for the trip in the first place which was to have my eyebrows micro-bladed by Amber, Tara’s sister. Like I said, that in itself deserves its own post, so here that is. But the short version is that Amber is super talented and amazing. I love the end result!!! I’ll put a teaser photo below!
Next was more shopping and then off to SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) on Tempe Town Lake. We were blessed again with beautiful weather and despite the strong wind, we enjoyed the exercise, the pretty lake and just being out in nature! I usually like to do some yoga on my board, but since I needed to keep my brows dry, I decided that risking a dip in the lake wouldn’t be the best idea that day, LOL! It reminded me how much I love SUP though and how I can’t wait to take the littles to Boerne Lake this summer to do it! Landri and I went last year but not the boys. I know they will enjoy it too.
Anyhow, I love trips that don’t require a vacation after the vacation if you know what I mean. It was great to get away and be completely stress-free for 48 hours. It was also great to catch up with Tara who is such a gracious and thoughtful hostess. And lastly, I enjoyed being able to just unplug and then recharge my batteries. I’m proud that I was able to continue with my juicing again just like I did during my recent trip to San Francisco – it feels incredible! And I’m so thankful to Scott for holding down the fort at home. Apparently Ty only got lost once!
Anyhow, let me know if you have any questions about any of my Arizona adventures!