My husband and I recently celebrated 16 years of happily ever after. I decided to plan a quick weekend getaway close to home with an abundance of nature and resort - style activities. This is one place you will want to visit!
Where To Stay
Stonewall Resort is a short drive from Pittsburgh. Options for overnight accommodations include: campground, luxury cabins, and lodge. The cabins are a bit larger (2 bedroom) and harder to book, so we stayed in the lodge. The rooms are updated and comfortable with great views and windows that open so you can experience Lake Life.
Weekends can get busy. Plan to visit through the week for the best experience.
940 Resort Drive
Roanoke, WV 26447
Where To Dine
The resort offers three on-site restaurants. The menu is amazing and they offer plenty of Gluten-Free options. I highly recommend the yogurt bowl for breakfast!
Reservations are required for all restaurants.
What To Do
The resort offers amenities such as a lake-side pool and hot tub, tiki bar, lawn games, fitness center, fire pit, and miles of trails for hiking.
Purchase a day pass for $15 to access paddle boards, kayaks, and mountain bikes.
The resort also houses a small day-spa and painting venue.
A foam party for adults was hosted on Friday night.
Will I visit again?
This was a great get-away only 2.5 hours from home. I will certainly visit again. Next time, I will plan to visit through the week, pack snacks, and probably venture off the property to explore a neighboring town.
I love to get lost in a good book. My favorite genres are non-fiction / inspirational and dark psycho-thriller. I know. It's quite a contrast. This summer I picked up a few selections that are certainly worthy of the share. If you want to borrow, I'll leave them in the studio.
If you like a good psycho-thriller, Check out the author Lisa Jewell. I recently read two of her books Watching You and Then She Was Gone. Jewell has authored several books and I appreciate her writing style so much I'll be adding more of her books to my upcoming reading list.
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. This is another thriller with a touch of sweet revenge. I blew through it in literally 3 days. Here's the funny part. As I was nearing the end of the book, I seemed to catch a hint of familiarity. The characters and plot sounded like something I'd heard before. It just so happens I loaded this to my kindle and read it several years ago. Hopefully I don't buy it a third time.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A coming-of- age tale about love, loss, and resilience. I was captivated by the main character, Kya (Marsh Girl). This was a different choice of genre for me, but I'm so glad I expanded my horizons. Let's get this in theaters please! It would make an amazing movie.
Check out Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey on Audible. McConaghey shares his life stories from childhood to present. The man has stories and a great voice! My husband and I listened to this on a recent road trip. We enjoyed every second of this book. The only problem, we couldn't find anything we wanted to listen to once it was over.
"Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time." - Katrina Mayer
Spending time in nature is not only grounding, but healing. This was certainly the best vacation of my life. If you've never visited the Great Smoky Mountains, I'm going to give you the details so you can experience this amazing location.
Where To Stay
Located a short drive from downtown Gatlinburg, we stayed at a resort with all the comforts of home. The villa (I refer to it as a luxury cabin) had all the comforts of home including laundry in the unit, full kitchen, and central AC. There is a grocery store located down the road which worked out great because I prefer to prepare my breakfast and lunch. The resort kept us entertained after our long morning / afternoon hikes. You can look forward to pools, hot tubs, mini golf, gas fire pit, and activity center. The activity director had a schedule of craft projects, guided hikes , yoga classes, games, and other family fun. I booked through VRBO.
Mountain Loft Resort
110 Mountain Loft Drive
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Visiting the National Park
Keep in mind the trail heads tend to be a little congested and parking can be tricky. Don't let this deter you. We didn't have any issues. Download the app All Trails. You can read reviews of the trails and determine what works best for you. Hint: You can use this app to find trails close to home that you never knew existed.
Be sure to take a drive on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. A baby black bear ran right in front of the jeep.
A Night On The Town
We found amazing German fare at the Wild Bear Tavern. I highly recommend this place! You must try the mashed potatoes.
4236 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
If you are looking for shops, restaurants, and other family amusements, make your way to The Island in Pigeon Forge. You will also find Margaritaville. I can't review the restaurant because I'll never wait two hours for a table.
We didn't make it there this time, but we did pay a visit to Dollywood in the past. If you like amusement parks it a must visit at least once. I really appreciate the hospitality. They encourage you to stay hydrated and will provide a free cup of water at any vendor stand.
Downtown Gatlinburg features your shops, restaurants, and family friendly amusements. We typically dine at the Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina. While you wait for your table check out Jonathan's "The Bear Necessities" to pick up some thoughtful gifts. You can park in one of many lots for $15.
Rules Of The Road
Enjoy the journey, my friend.
It's the stuff I wish we didn't have to talk about, but we must. "Copy-Cats" are snagging pictures and duplicating social media accounts of businesses and public figures in an effort to scam supporters. It's not only happening to celebrities. It's hitting closer to home. Unfortunately, social media platforms are very slow to respond to reports of fraud. (I personally made a report recently. Facebook wouldn't address it for about a week.)
Platforms utilized for operations:
Appoint Scheduling is done through Acuity (Powered by Square)
Payments are accepted through Square
Mailchimp is utilized for email communication
Virtual Classes are offered through Zoom
Social Media Handles:
Facebook: Sincerely Yoga & Massage
General Payment Procedures:
Massage Therapy appointments are paid for at the time of service.
Membership Sign-ups are conducted via our website. If you prefer to complete in studio, you may.
No-Show Massage Therapy Appointments will receive an invoice via email. (Powered by Square)
Yoga Class Passes may be purchased online or in the studio. Please visit our website to conduct this transaction. (verified above)
Gift Certificates may be purchased via our website or in studio
Sincerely Yoga & Massage, LLC will never call you to request banking information. Also, we do not utilize Paypal, etc. Hey, I think you are super cool and more than deserving, but I'm never going to wire you 1 million dollars in exchange for your bank account numbers.
Play it safe and if you see duplicate social media accounts, please speak up.
I'm going to share a story about the time I failed at something and how it ended up working in my favor.
Several years back I sent in my application and scheduled my audition for a position as a Master Trainer with a company that was a leader in the fitness industry. Essentially a Master Trainer is the trainer of the trainers. I truly believed my purpose on this planet was to serve my community in the fitness and wellness industry.
I picked out my outfit, rehearsed until I couldn't get it wrong, and stepped onto the stage with energy and confidence that day. It went pretty well. However, during the interview it was noted that I didn't teach enough classes through the week and my social media following needed to be bigger, as well.
It took awhile, but I finally took a step back did some soul searching and asked myself "Why I wanted this."
I knew what I didn't want.
I didn't want to burn out teaching 15 fitness classes a week.
I didn't want to break down my own body with high intensity work every day.
I didn't want to spend all of my waking hours stuffed in a gym or driving from gym to gym.
I didn't want the stress of constantly pushing the sale (in this case trainings) to my clients.
It turns out I didn't want this particular accolade. I wanted to design my own programs and pair gentle movement with body work. It was time for me to make a big shift.
Fast forward several years: I am now the founder/owner/operator of my own wellness boutique that offers Gentle Yoga and Massage Therapy. Bringing pain relief and relaxation to my clients is my dream job and I'm so excited for what the future holds.
The company I auditioned with completely closed up operations a few years ago. I don't believe that things happen by accident. Perhaps that denial was the universe putting me right where I needed to be.
If you are stumped on the perfect gift idea this year, don’t fret! I’ve curated a list of my favorite things. These are items or services that have added value to my everyday life. Happy Shopping!
1. LEVOIT H13 True HEPA Air Purifier
You may have seen this gadget at the studio. It was rather impressive. I also bought one for home. Great for anyone suffering from allergies or wanting to purify the air in their home. If you’ve been cooking a little more, this will help with lingering kitchen odors.
2. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
I’ve incorporated this reading into my AM routine. This short and sweet read is a great way to start your day. Do you want to WOW the recipient? Tell them you picked up this book, turned to page xyz, and immediately thought of them.
3. Younique Rose Water Toner
This toner is great for reducing redness on the face and it leaves your skin feeling so soft. It’s been a part of my skin care routine for years. My hands were becoming chapped and irritated from hand sanitizer. A few spritzes of this toner on the affected area and I was healed in a few days. AMAZING!
4. Blue Apron
If you are suffering from food fatigue (eating the same boring thing every week) it’s time to introduce your palette to some gourmet food. Each meal has 2-4 servings. Recipe card and all ingredients (with the exception of salt, pepper, olive oil) are delivered to your door. Purchase a gift card for your out of town relatives.
5. Revive Oils
My clients are always greeted to the studio with a light aromatherapy in the hallway. This year the fan favorites are:
Summer of Love (smells like orange creamsicle)
6. Paint kits from Paintly
Paint and sip from the comfort of your home. Choose from a wide variety of pictures. All materials will be shipped to you and you will be given access to the instruction video. Perfect gift to send to out of town relatives! You all know I LOVE hospitality. They included a hand-written thank you note and a bag of snacks with my carefully packaged order.
7. Sound Machine
This is another tool at the studio, which helps create a serene atmosphere. Choose from a variety of sounds including: babbling brook, rolling waves, birds, crackling fire, and more. Makes great background noise while reading or falling asleep.
8. Music Lessons - James Diller
My husband wanted to get out of the house and work on his guitar skills, so he took some lessons this year. He thoroughly enjoyed them! James also offers virtual lessons for anyone that can’t make it to the studio.
9. Pet Grooming Gift Card - Tiny Cause Grooming
Pet grooming is just about aesthetics, it also important to your pet’s health and comfort. These amazing humans keep my Lhasa Apso looking and feeling great all year long.
10. Misfit Markets
Organic fruits and veggies are delivered to your doorstep weekly. You can customize your order and also select add-ons such as pantry items. Less time at the grocery store is a win. Am I right? Gift Certificates available.
11. Ellie Active Wear
I’ve been ordering my workout gear and athleisure from this company for years. Get a top, leggings, and sports-bra for $45. You can subscribe and have it delivered to you monthly (they have quite a selection) or skip a month. Gift Certificates available for a box containing a 3 piece outfit and two accessories. Also worth noting, the packaging is really cute.
I don't share recipes very often because my ingredient list would read:
approximately one handful of tomatoes from your garden
Cooking is my passion and I'll make an effort to share more of these recipes in the future.
Let's start with this nutritious creation that I put together in about 5 minutes.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time: approximately 10 minutes
Serving Size: 1
2 Eggs (whisked with a dash of pepper & 2 TBSP Almond Milk)
Handful of Grape tomatoes (halved)
2 TBSP finely chopped Onion
2 TBSP Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 TBSP Fresh Parsley
1. Coat your pan with olive oil, Heat over medium. Add the egg and cook until the bottom is set. (approximately 3 minutes) Top the Omelet with Tomatoes, Onion, Cheese & Parsley. Fold the Omelet and cook approximately 2 more minutes. Garnish with additional Parsley.
Chef Tip: If you don't have fresh herbs on hand, substitute with dried herbs. Mrs. Dash has an Italian Herb Medley that I use frequently.
Were you ever hesitant to book a massage therapy session because you were concerned the therapist wouldn’t meet your expectations? You want to know you are going to receive quality work before you drop a chunk of change. Right?
I'm not only a Massage Therapist, but I also receive regular body work, as well. I'll give you some pointers on what I look for before scheduling my own appointment and also how I communicate with my Massage Therapist.
Do your homework.
Run a google search to find local practitioners in your area. Visit their website. Their bio section should give you an idea of their specialty and who they serve. Their website should also answer questions such as:
-Is it easy to schedule an appointment?
-Is this your desired price range?
-Do they offer loyalty rewards or memberships to encourage regular bodywork?
-Is the location convenient? Is it easy to find parking?
-Do the hours of operation work with your schedule?
-What is the cancellation policy and procedure?
The key to a great massage therapy session is communication.
Discuss your goals before the start of your session.
Here is an example of how I will communicate with my Massage Therapist: “I’m looking for full body massage. I’ve been prepping for a half marathon and logging more miles lately. My legs are feeling fatigued and I have tension radiating to my lower back. I’m also looking forward to head and face massage.” Thoroughly communicating before every session reduces your risk of disappointment.
Communication during your session is also important. Is the pressure is too firm or too light? Did you suddenly become too warm or too cool? Do you dislike the music? Did you get congested and you need a tissue? Don’t hesitate to speak up during your session. A good Massage Therapist cares about your comfort.
Did the session go well?
If you plan to schedule with the therapist again, be sure to let them know what you appreciated about the session or what they could do differently next time. Always keep in mind Massage Therapy is a broad profession. If you are in the market for a Massage Therapist that specializes in Prenatal, Reiki, Aromatherapy, or Rolfing never hesitate to ask them. If it's not our area of expertise, we would be happy to point you to one of our trusted colleagues.
Cupping is a traditional Chinese therapy that’s been used for thousands of years, but it gained even more popularity in 2016 when everyone noticed that Michael Phelps had large perfectly round discolorations on his back while competing in the Olympics. Many people before that had never heard, or never been exposed to this type of bodywork. During a cupping session, the therapist may use cups made of glass, silicone, or plastic. The vacuum pressure is created with either a manual pump, electronic pump, or even fire. Every therapist is different in how they approach cupping and will adjust treatment to the needs of their client. Some prefer stationary cupping which means leaving each cup in place for several minutes. Others prefer to keep the cups moving to get a broader effect and reduce the likelihood of marks being left on the skin. And still others prefer a combination of both stationary and moving cupping.
Cupping can be used to decrease swelling by stimulating lymphatic flow and increasing superficial blood circulation. It creates negative pressure instead of positive pressure; so instead of pushing into those tight tissues in an attempt to separate and realign fibers, those tissues are being pulled apart. This offers a far less intense feeling of pressure and discomfort than a typical “deep” massage, but with similar effects.
Cupping is great for several reasons:
Neck pain is common and there’s a variety of things that can cause it. If you spend time working on a computer, carrying a small child, or doing hard labor you may suffer from neck pain on occasion. I’m sharing my top tips to help ease the discomfort.
Neck pain is frequently the result of tension within the muscles. When the muscles are tight, they bear down on blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to areas, resulting in even more pain, like those nasty tension headaches that can come along for a ride. Stretching can help loosen that tension and improve blood flow, overall decreasing your pain levels. Slowly tilt your head forward, back, and side to side, until you feel a good stretch in each position. Hold it for several seconds and breathe deep. Release and keep moving through the motions and stretching. Listen to your body and find the places where the stretch really seems to be the most effective.
Heat & Cold Therapy
Heat can help to improve blood flow and relax the muscles, while applying cold can decrease inflammation. You can use whatever feels right, but alternating between the two will often help even more. Apply your heating pad for 5 minutes, then a cold pack for 2 or 3 minutes. One round may be all you need for very mild symptoms, but if the pain is persistent, keep alternating between the two for up to 20 minutes, ending with cold to make sure any inflammation is taken care of.
You can use your fingertips, knuckles, self-massage tools like a Thera Cane, or even just a tennis or racquet ball; anything that will provide direct pressure into the muscles. Start gently working throughout the neck and shoulders to warm up the tissues, and slowly work into deeper pressure as it feels right. Don’t be afraid of slight discomfort, but stop if you experience any sharp pains.
Get a different pillow
If you’re experiencing neck pain frequently, try switching up your pillow to see if it may be the cause. No one size fits all here. You need to find what works best for your body. And don’t forget that those pillows need fluffed and replaced on a regular basis to keep the proper support.
Of course, a massage session will help, so book your next session to keep yourself feeling your best!