Moms’ Weekends Away – Good For The Whole Family!

There is no doubt that moms work hard. They spend the majority of their time making sure everyone in the family is taken care of, yet a lot of moms forget to take care of themselves. That’s why I think it is important for moms to get a weekend away every so often to have some time off and get a break from reality. Recently, I was lucky enough to get a little weekend away with some friends. I love traveling with my family, but every now and then it is nice to do something on your own or with your friends. For this recent trip, a group of girl friends from high school decided we needed to have a reunion in Vegas, after graduating over 20 years ago, it is nice to reconnect in “real life” with friends that you a haven’t heard from in years – other than on Facebook.

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

The ladies and I stayed in lovely suites at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, and it felt like a little slice of paradise. We sat by the pool in our rented cabana and did a lot of catching up, laughing and people watching! We enjoyed the nightlife (until 3 in the morning, which is pretty late for this mom!) and had a wonderful dinner at Valentino Las Vegas, sister restaurant to multiple James Beard Award-winner Piero Selvaggio’s world-renowned Valentino in Santa Monica

In the morning, I got up early and headed out to check out the fitness center and spa at the Canyon Ranch. For just $20 I was able to enjoy a 90-minute yoga class and all-day access to the amazing Aquavana spa, I was able to relax in the hot pools, steam rooms, herbal steam rooms, igloo and experiential rains. And because I got an all-day pass, I was able to head back in after sitting by the pool all day to recharge and get ready for our night out.

Las Vegas has a special place in my heart; when I turned 21, my mom, sisters, aunts, cousins and grandma all went down to celebrate and started a tradition that has lasted over 17 years with trips to Vegas and Palm Springs. Our family truly values our Girls’ Weekends! I know Vegas might not be everyone’s style; sometimes it might be nice to get away and have some quiet time and really reconnect with yourself.  There are so many resorts and spas to choose from and all will provide you with relaxation, balance, healthy food and activities. This list will give you an idea of the top rated spas all over America, from the folks at Travel & Leisure.

Pool at Miraval

Pool at Miraval

Two spas that have been recommended by friends of mine are Miraval and The Sanctuary, both are in Arizona, so the weather will be wonderful and both will leave you feeling relaxed, recharged and renewed. This type of weekend away will send you home as a new and enhanced woman.  When practicing yoga, meditation and other self-healing treatments and activities, you will learn skills that you can take home to your real life and help you get through the rough patches with ease. I have yet to visit a resort/spa like this but it is on my list, the big 4-0 is coming up pretty soon and I think this might be the perfect birthday gift to myself!

If you are more of an active Mom and want to move and laugh and really challenge yourself, you might be more interested in a weekend of surfing, hiking or learning a new skill. Last summer, some girl friends and I headed south to Oregon for Northwest Women’s Surf Camp – now I am hooked. The ladies and I are going back again this summer to learn some new skills. The camp includes all equipment (surfboard, wetsuit, boots, gloves, hood and helmet), nutritious organic catered lunch, beverages and snacks, morning Beach Yoga session, water-board-beach safety instruction, in-depth surf instruction both on land and two sessions in the water with coaches, a NWWSC T-shirt and our Camp Partners bag of gifts and info! And it’s not just for ladies; they have couples camps, family lessons and more.

Our Group with Northwest Women's Surf Camp

Our Group with Northwest Women’s Surf Camp

Yes, these weekends will take time to plan, a financial investment and some juggling of schedules with your partner, but in the end no matter what type of weekend you choose or even if you just take a day in your own city to recharge and escape, it will be worth it in the end to restore your well-being and keep you balanced throughout your days and beyond.

Surf Weekend: Feeding My Soul

Traveling and experiencing new things this is what my heart yearns to do. This weekend was one that I will never forget and that filled my heart to the brim!

This weekend myself and four amazing, lovely, wonderful ladies and mom friends headed down the Oregon Coast Friday morning in a quest for fun, relaxation, challenge and time away. We had all signed up for the NW Women’s Surf Camp and it was everything and more than we expected. It might sound cheesy and a little over the top, but our weekend was EPIC!  When we arrived at our rental home it was beautiful, with an amazing view overlooking the Manzanita beach. We could hear the quiet sound of the waves on the beach and nothing else. Which to me is my most favorite thing.

Our surf team (the 5 of us = Team Ballard) were all on the same page which makes travel and trips like this ever more amazing, no quarrels, no fighting, no judgment, just us being us and enjoying each moment. Our first night we headed out for dinner in Manzanita, which was great because we were able to walk to and from the restaurant on the beach – a little warm up for the next day’s surfing adventures. Dinner was simple and easy and then we had some dessert on the beach. We needed to turn in early for our big day. Saturday at 9am we started our lessons, first thing was the hike carrying our boards down the mile trail at Oswald West State Park (not an easy feat) then we learned about tides, did some yoga on the beach, practiced our moves and had an amazing lunch. The second part of the day was in the water, putting it all together.

I did not leave this weekend as an expert surfer – not in any way, shape or form. But what I did become was a surfer. I got the bug, I am now trying to figure out the next time I can rent a wetsuit and get back in that water. Every day, every wave is different and all I wanted to do was keep trying. Keep trying to get up, keep trying to plant my feet correctly, put my butt down the right way and keep my eyes on the beach. There is so much still to learn, which makes this sport so amazing.

After the first day of surfing, Team Ballard was beat, but us moms put together an AMAZING dinner, sat on our beautiful deck and took in the spectacular view, food, conversations and friendship. Sharing all the stories from the day, laughed at our epic crashes, praised each other for getting out there and doing it and got psyched for the next day of surfing.

The next day for me, started like a dream. Slowly getting up early (before the others) getting a cup of coffee and sitting on our deck enjoying my book and the sound of the waves. Why can’t I do this EVERY SINGLE DAY? There must be a way to fit that in somehow! As the ladies woke up, we all enjoyed the slow morning on the deck, then as moms do, we organized and motivated, got our boards and suits and headed to the beach for another day of playing in the water.

Day two was a lot tougher for me, my body was sore, the waves were bigger and I think maybe my mind was a little too relaxed. Surfing is about repetition and doing the same moves on the board every time, no matter what the wave is doing.  But it is also about getting out to the waves, which takes up a lot of energy; needless to say, I was beat by the end. And yet, I still wanted to keep going out (that is power of the ocean). But I felt I made a good choice after about 2 hours, it was time for me to realize that my body was done and no matter how much more I wanted to fight those waves, for my own safety it was time to come in for the day. Just for the day though, now it’s time to plan the next trip. Maybe a trip to Hawaii (with no wet suits – heavenly!) or possibly just another visit to the Oregon coast, which is probably more realistic and also amazing.

Bottom line: these types of trips, traveling, trying new things, getting out of your comfort zone a little bit to challenge your body, hanging out with amazing people and surrounding yourself with the beautiful nature that is right outside our door is what I need to do more of, it feeds my soul and helps me grow and become more in tune with what’s really important. Thank you to my friends for helping make this one of my best experiences, I will never forget! Until Next Time – Surf’s Up!