Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

Three Chicago Cubs notes


First, the Convention

Chicago Cubs convention, White House and Spring Training notes. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Chicago Cubs convention, White House visit and Spring Training notes. Photo by Jodie Jacobs


You know Cubs Convention 2017 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago is sold out. But you can catch some highlights and commentary on WGN-TV Saturday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. CT.

The program, hosted by WGN sports commentator Dan Roan, will show some of Friday’s opening ceremonies, player and coach interviews, Cubs legends interviews, some of the seminars and a bit from “Friday Night with Ryan Dempster.”

If you miss the Jan. 14 Convention special watch the show Sunday, Jan. 15, on CLTV at noon.

Or watch both times. After all, you’re probably still replaying the final out in the Cubs World Series Championship game.


Secondly, the White House

You know the Cubs were invited to visit President Barack Obama at the White House. It’s been delayed due to schedule conflicts but it is finally taking place Jan. 16, a few days before the White House changes hands. So catch the coverage of the historic meet and greet event Monday on Chicago stations’ news reports.


Third, Cubs Spring Training

The Cubs open their Spring Season in Arizona on Feb. 25 with a split squad. The games are against Oakland A’s in the Cubs’ Sloan Park in Mesa and against SF Giants in Scottsdale. Both games start at 1:05 p.m. For the complete Spring Training schedule click here. For tickets visit Cubs Tickets.



How to beat January cabin fever blues

Cabin fever? It’s early January but cold and snow have already moved Spring up high on the wish list.

We can wait with fingers crossed until Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2015, to hear what Punxsutawney Phil has to say in Pennsylvania or Woodstock Willie in Illinois when they predict Spring’s coming. Or we can bring spring closer with these steps.

Woodstock Willie predicted lots more winter last year

Woodstock Willie predicted lots more winter last year

1. Go to the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show Jan. 17-18 to collect ideas and colorful brochures on places to go for spring or summer vacation. The show is in the west suburban Donald E, Stephens convention center in Rosemont. Turn it into a mini break by staying at the nearby Loews Hotel near the upscale Fashion Outlet mall.

2. Breath deeply a botanic garden’s indoor spaces. The Chicago area has the historic impressive Garfield Park Conservatory west of the downtown Loop and the lovely Lincoln Park Conservatory north of the Loop.  In the northern burbs there are lush tropical and flowering desert plants in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s greenhouses in Glencoe.

Feast the eyes on colorful plants and breath warm air inside a greenhouse when outside temps dips way below freezing.

Feast the eyes on colorful plants and breath warm air inside a greenhouse when outside temps dips way below freezing.

3. Host a Super Bowl party with a desert theme. NFL’s Super Bowl XLIX is February 1 in sunny Arizona at the U Of Phoenix stadium, Glendale. Turn up the heat, wear shorts, serve margaritas and be inspired by some of Phoenix’s Mexican restaurant menus.

4. Or just celebrate winter with a trip to Lake Geneva, WI for the National Snow Sculpting Championship the last weekend in January. Teams come from across the United State to sculpt amazing, fantastical forms and vignettes.  The town will be celebrating Winterfest with lots of food and fun. Stay the weekend at the Grand Geneva Resort for its ski slopes and spa.

Three tips to help plan your Spring Break now

If you live in one of the states that felt winter’s arctic temps or wild winds or unpredicted floods (and that is most of the United States), you deserve a treat.

So, don’t wait until you can actually escape to somewhere fun, interesting or colorful for Spring Break. Start planning now while the skies are grey or work impinges on sleep. Part of the fun of getting away is thinking about where to go and what to do when you get there.

Here are some tips to help you decide but they require fairly quick action because spaces and tickets go quickly.

Become familiar with cruise line deals. For example: Go to Princess to find half-price fares. The cruise line delivers what it promises. However, other cruise lines such as Norwegian also do last minute deals. The lines want to book their cabins and some of the destinations are perfect for a spring break.

Tie your spring break with something you’d love to try or do such as expert cooking.

Members of a food enthusiasts class who wanted to learn more about Southwest dishes and preparations are at the San Antonio CIA site

Members of a food enthusiasts class who wanted to learn more about Southwest dishes and preparations are at the San Antonio CIA site

The CIA, not the spy organization, but the Culinary Institute of America, offers food enthusiast courses at its Hyde Park site in New York, its Napa site in California and its San Antonio site in Texas. The places are in interesting vacation destinations.

Tie the spring break to a sport your family loves such as baseball’s spring training.

Go to Major League Baseball for the schedule to see what ties in with your spring break. By baseball definitions these are warm vacation destinations. The Cactus League is in Arizona and the Grapefruit League is in Florida.

Bonus tip: Have fun so don’t worry about what you can’t change.

Three spas that will help you manage the holidays

Thanksgiving is just the beginning of our annual holiday binge days

Thanksgiving is just the beginning of our annual holiday binge days

Of course the holidays practically shove yummy temptations in your face so what is a fun, food and party-loving person to do to not gain what feels like 100 pounds between Thanksgiving and January 2?

Well, aside from either feeling deprived when out or staying home, there are ways to curb the appetite such as eat a favorite raw fruit or protein snack before heading out the door.

However, another choice is to move your annual January SOS trips to fitness centers up a month or two to November or December.

But instead of merely thinking local work-out place, take it to the next level. Seek out a spa that does more than massages and facials. You need one that also has a nutritionist on staff and trainers or work-out gurus whom you can consult.

No Junk Food? Will I survive? A couple of days later the answer was a resounding yes!

No Junk Food? Will I survive? A couple of days later the answer was a resounding yes!

You may have a good place near you. But you have a better chance of listening and following nutrition and workout advice when away from home and away from familiar temptations and distractions

Here are three spas with very different atmospheres. Each of them is worth traveling to any time of year but they all take nutrition and individually tailored workouts, seriously.

Heartland Spa

The most casual of the three spas,  even  likened to an away camp, is The Heartland, about 90 minutes south of Chicago in Gilman, Ill.

Leave the designer clothes at home when coming here. You don’t even have to worry about bringing fresh workout clothes. Shorts, Ts, baggy sweats (top and bottom) are handed out upon arrival and replaced when left outside the room’s door after wearing.

A highly lauded destination spa since the mid1980’s, Heartland covers a range of healthy body and mind issues from lifestyle discussions and fitness classes to body assessments and diet consultations.

Inspiring messages accompanied healthy snacks.

Inspiring messages accompanied healthy snacks.

Situated on a former dairy farm, the spa is small so guests tend to get to know each other, particularly because they gather in the small dining room at the same time. Healthy snacks were always available in an inspiration-filled hallway.

Everyone gets the same meal unless there is a dietary restriction. However during a recent visit, lunch was a delicious Italian roasted chicken breast on top of roasted vegetables topped with golden melted mozzarella. Dinner was tomato lentil soup, a yummy grilled chili salmon with sweet pepper salsa, garlic mashed potatoes, delicate asparagus and a three berry crepe for desert.

Calories and fat content are listed on the side. Meals and snacks each day are vegetarian with an add-on of chicken or fish totaling 1400 calories for women and 1500 for men. Activities here are mostly in the spa’s facilities with a few hikes along the farm roads.

Lake Austin Spa

About 35 minutes from downtown Austin, Texas, Lake Austin Spa Resort was named the Number One Destination Spa in the United States in Conde Nast Traveler’s poll in 2010 and 2011.

Dress is whatever guests want to wear. Activities are on the resort’s 19 acre property but with additional choices along the lake and on the lake.

Meals are nutritious and offer several options that often include burgers, salmon, pork loin and sea scallops. Diners can eat alone or at a communal table. Calories and fat grams are listed but choices are up to the guests.

Nutritionist Terry Shaw will work with guests to design meal plans and holiday eating approaches to take home.


Desert, mountains, accommodations and philosophy make MiravaL a retreat

Desert, mountains, accommodations and philosophy make MiravaL a retreat

Spread across a desert landscape outside Tuscon, Ariz., Miraval is the SpaFinder Magazine Crystal Award winner for 2011. The spa ranked fourth in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s 2011 World’s Best List.

However, it is Miraval’s understanding of healthy eating, the right workout program and mind-body connections that makes the spa a popular destination.

The spa reflects the philosophy of Integrative Health and Healing Director Dr. Andrew Weil.

Dinner is sit-down but lunch is an attractive buffet with calorie and carbs listed. Guests can also have lunch with a registered dietician.

The spa’s desert location and meditation areas give Miraval a retreat atmosphere. Guests are comfortable wandering the grounds in robes or workout clothes.

Photos by Jodie Jacobs

Subscribe By Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow Me on Twitter