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What's in Her Bag?

Written by Pravassa founder, Linden Schaffer, this article originally appeared on Spafinder Wellness 365. To read full article with all 10 of her wellness travel essentials, click here.

I travel for a living. And while living out of a suitcase can often be challenging, I’ve found that the best way to ground myself is to bring along some of the comforts of home. My wellness travel essentials do double duty to comfort me and keep me healthy while on the road. Here’s what you’ll find if you unpacked my bag.

JADEtribe Bag
'Fashion with a conscience' is JADEtribe’s motto and their natural, organic, ethical textiles follow suit. You can find me wandering the streets of Thailand or Colombia with any one of the messenger bags– large enough to carry my water and camera, but not too big to be uncomfortably heavy. I often get stopped in the street and asked where I purchased the bag, as the feel of the hand-woven fabrics seems local no matter where you are in the world. The fact that JADEtribe employs small women’s co-ops in South East Asia makes me return for a new one every season.

Guided Meditations with Dr. Miles Neale
Technology isn’t inherently bad, it’s how you use it that makes all the difference. For me, my meditation practice is more consistent when I’m traveling. Whether I give myself ten or thirty minutes, I’m able to set aside the distractions of daily life when I’m by myself in my hotel room or in a comfortable spot in the garden. Dr. Neale is a Buddhist psychotherapist who teaches an Indo-Tibetan meditation lineage. All four of his albums occupy a prominent place in my iTunes library. My morning mood determines my playlist. Mindfulness, breath work, visualization, or the Lam Rim Prayers help me to start the day centered and aware.

Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Plus
My life changed when I started traveling with my Yoga Tune Up® balls. These grippy, rubbery balls created by Yoga Tune Up® founder, Jill Miller, are the key to my active recovery. From sitting too long on a plane to over using my legs on a strenuous hike, I use the Therapy Ball Plus' to give myself a welcome stress relieving massage. I roll out any part of my body – spine, sacrum, hamstrings, forearms, feet – that is feeling achy or sore and after a good night’s sleep I’m back to feeling better than normal.

iwilla remedy Bug Off Bug-Spray
From oily finishes to smelling like chemicals, I’ve tried every bug spray out there as mosquitoes find me no matter where I am. Finally I landed on an herbal insect repellent that not only smells good, but actually works. This Brooklyn-based brand uses certified organic ingredients including apple cider vinegar, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemongrass essential oil. The spray smells so good that on hot summer nights it can actually double as your scent.

Dr. Alkaitis Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil
The first time I tried this healing oil was in a dry mountain atmosphere where no matter how much lotion I was using, my face was left feeling dry. Dr. Alkaitis changed all that! This ‘miracle in a bottle’ is made from virgin cold-pressed organic oils including Jojoba, St. John’s Wart, Andean Mountain Rose Hip seed, and with some added natural vitamin E complex. Not only does it nourish dry and damaged skin, but I discovered you can use it as a scalp treatment to prevent stretch marks, and on your nails. A full sized bottle lives in my medicine cabinet and a travel size lives in my pre-packed cosmetic bag.

To read full article with all 10 wellness travel essentials, click here.


Wellness Wednesday Quote

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"Do it now. Sometimes 'later' becomes never."



Recipe: Summer Barbecue Salsa

Every summer I get this insatiable yearning to eat lighter foods. Independence Day, summer parties, and beach weekends are at our doorsteps, and whether it's a summer BBQ companion or weeknight scramble, this versatile side dish is one of my favorites. Healthy and easy, it's complete with cleansing cilantro, jalapeno, and tropical fruits to pack a unique, refreshing punch. You’ll leave the barbecue light and recharged instead of bloated and sluggish (while everyone asks for the recipe!).

The Ultimate Summer BBQ Salsa

1 ripe mango (here's a post on the easiest way to cut mangos)
1/4 pineapple
1/4 onion
1 orange bell pepper
1 can organic sweet corn
1 can black beans
1 handful of cilantro (more if desired)
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste

Prepare: (makes about a quart)
Chop all ingredients to desired size, mix, and devour! 

5 ways to showcase this salsa:

Fish Tacos: All you need is fish, taco shells, chopped cabbage, and fresh lime juice.

Salmon: Top the salsa with grilled salmon and lime juice– it's that easy. 

Chips & Salsa: No directions required. Marries nicely with chopped avocado and organic corn chips (blue ones for beauty points!).

Salad: Mix with Boston Bibb lettuce and top with a simple olive oil and fresh grapefruit juice dressing for a light summer salad.

Steak: Combine jasmine rice with fresh lime juice, grill up your favorite steak (mine’s skirt steak), add salsa and you’re set!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and are able to enjoy your own creative uses for it. Feel free to share them in the comments below. - Jessica

Jessica Geier is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and the co-owner of Raw Generation Juices. Raw Generation makes it more convenient to incorporate fresh juices into a busy lifestyle without being a slave to a juicer. Jessica trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and continues to educate herself daily on what’s new in the field of nutrition. In her spare time she runs, practices hot yoga, is obsessed with the Bar Method classes, and writes for her two blogs at Raw Generation & Plenty of Thyme. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter




5 Ways to Wellness In New Mexico

American’s Southwest is filled with vast sprawling landscapes and colorful floral oases that can be mistaken for mirages. New Mexico has an added air of Wild West and Butch Cassidy fused with healers and art galleries that make it unique in it’s own right.  We’re packing our bags and heading there in October. Whether you can join us or go on your own, here are 5 ways to get your wellness in New Mexico

image viaPhysical Activity: Rock Climbing
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, rock climbing is a year round sport in Taos (though morning shade is the best time to get started). Test your skills with the vertical to low angle granite cliffs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which offer beginners and experienced climbers bolted routes or multi-pitch climbs. Pack your gear and set out for an adventure on these un-crowded cliffs that offer magical panoramic vistas.  

image viaStress Reduction: Absolute Nirvana
Located in a quaint B&B and run by an ex-pat French who were inspired after numerous trips to Bali, this spa has an other worldly feel. Spas and healing treatments are available on every corner in Santa Fe; to stand out, Absolute Nirvana only works with Master level therapists (that’s 17+ years of experience) and only use green, chemical-free massage products. I’d give you more details, but I only remember being expertly rubbed down and coming out of the room feeling like jelly. 

image viaFood Education: Santa Fe School of Cooking
In its 25th year, the award-winning Santa Fe School of Cooking led the charge toward a local sustainable lifestyle tradition when it opened in the late 1980’s. Offering more than just hands-on cooking classes, you can make reservations for a restaurant walking tour or sit down and enjoy the spoils from a demonstration class. If you don’t have time for any of the above, just swing by for the market place and stock up on clay pots, cookbooks (written by the founders of course), and Southwestern spices. 

image viaSpiritual Connection: Ojo Caliente Hot Springs
Tranquilo. The sacred hot springs of Ojo Caliente have long been a gathering place for healing and rejuvenation. One of the oldest natural health resorts in the U.S., these springs have been generating geothermal mineral waters for thousands of years. The cliff side pools have transfixing, meditative views and the mud baths allow you to bake out the toxins under the desert sun.

image viaCultural Involvement: Taos Pueblo 
As the only living Native American community, this UNESCO World Heritage site is worth a visit. Local residents will give you a tour through the village and walk you through their oral history. The adobe buildings date back to 1000 A.D. with most of the structures having been preserved from their discovery in the 16th century. Take time to chat with some of the 1900 Taos Indians residents about their thoughts on advancement of modernization and how it will impact their cultural heritage. - Linden Schaffer

Pravassa’s 5-tenet wellness philosophy is rooted in these core concepts: physical activity, stress reduction, food education, spiritual connection, and cultural involvement. These principle concepts have guided our company’s wellness practices from inception and are the foundation on which we build our travel vacations and educational content. 


Wellness Wednesday Quote

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
~ Anaïs Nin