Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We're on Facebook!

When I came to the Ranch in 2008, one of my goals was to get Canyon Ranch on Facebook. Well, we finally did it, and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with our Page. I gave it a few months before I posted a blog about it to make sure it was worth it. And it definitely is! We send out fun health tips, inspirational thoughts, and informative facts every few days. Plus, guests can share stories and photos of their time at the Ranch. I'm so happy that its catching on and that we have over 1300 Fans thus far!! Check it out and become a Fan at Facebook Canyon Ranch.

To Your Good Health!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Canyon Ranch is All About...

We were pretty excited January 3 to pick up the local Sunday paper, open PARADE magazine, and find that Canyon Ranch in Lenox was featured in the lead story. (The next day the CBS Early Show also featured health tips with some great footage from Lenox.)

As part of the magazine’s New Year’s focus on health and self-improvement, PARADE sent two young actors – Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki, stars of “The Big Bang Theory” – to Canyon Ranch in Lenox for a lifestyle tune-up under the supervision of Canyon Ranch Corporate Medical Director (and PARADE Contributing Editor) Dr. Mark Liponis.

Both actors are young and basically healthy, but both had issues they wanted to work on.
Interestingly, the lab tests ordered by Dr. Liponis revealed that, while Cuoco and Galecki posted some great body-composition and heart-health numbers, they definitely had room for improvement. Of course, Dr. Liponis and his team advised them about how to be healthier.

One thing I really liked about this story is that it clearly communicated the Canyon Ranch philosophy of improving health through positive, down-to-earth lifestyle changes, and it encouraged readers to create their own “health makeovers.” Even more, though, I liked the way it showcased thin, healthy people in their twenties and thirties, and showed how they too can benefit – a lot – from in-depth assessment and advice from experts.

If someone clearly tells you how you can prevent problems later on by improving your habits now, that can be incredibly powerful. And that’s what Canyon Ranch is all about.
Live Healthy!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Extraordinary Jewel

Last Sunday, I attended a local brunch at which Canyon Ranch was honored as an “Extraordinary Jewel” in the Tucson community for its committment to philanthropy. The organizer of the women’s event asked me to give a give a brief introduction of the history of the Ranch and my grandparents’ inspiration – something I was happy to do. I tried my best to bring a personal touch to the Ranch and what it means to me. It was also very meaningful to have my family in the audience- my grandmother, Enid, my mom, Jill, my aunt, Amy, my great-aunt, Paula, and my cousin, Robyn.

After my nerve-wracked words, three of our own Canyon Ranch professionals gave brief presentations on how to get healthy and stick with it. Lisa Powell, our Director of Nutrition, gave tips for eating clean, nourishing food. Her advice included eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, i.e. avoiding highly processed food saturated with additives and chemicals.

Stephanie Richardson, an Exercise Physiologist at the Ranch, charmed the audience with her southern accent and encouraged the women in the audience to “crawl, walk, run”: begin an exercise regime slowly, trying to fit exercise in your life where it works for you. For example, go on a 20 minute walk and lift some weights after you brush your teeth! Slowly you can increase the length and intensity of these workouts. A great example she gave of an exercise you can do anywhere is sitting at the edge of your chair, feet in front of you under your knees, and simply standing without help from your hands. We all did this about 10 times at our tables – and trust me, we felt the burn!

Ann Pardo, our Director of Life Management, wrapped up the discussion, emphasizing the importance of “focus” in one’s life. She encouraged us all to look around the room to recognize the beauty in the simplest things – the design in the chandelier and the pattern of the clouds out the windows. It’s important to take some time for yourself and soak it all in.

Following the presentations, the attendees flooded the presenters with questions. At least two women announced that they now lived in Tucson because of Canyon Ranch – they visited the Ranch years ago and fell in love with the beauty of our desert city, and now here they are, local Tucsonans. We also heard stories from a lady whose husband used to stay at the old Double U Ranch with his family before it was Canyon Ranch and still has 16mm films of the Double U in its heyday.

It was great to meet many of the influential women in the Tucson community and hear their stories. I even ran into my old high school student council advisor, Mrs. Green. Wow how time flies!

To Your Good Health!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy 30th, Canyon Ranch!

Canyon Ranch is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month (which also means I just turned 30 - yikes!). Last week, we commemorated this milestone with our staff, families, guests and homeowners at a fiesta-themed celebratory luncheon. My grandfather honored four employees who have been here since Day 1 (or before), and my dad told stories about the amazing conversion of the property from the Double U Ranch to Canyon Ranch.

My grandfather shared his now legendary "A-Ha" moment he experienced while visiting the Oaks at Ojai in the late 70's. Mel experienced a transformation like no other, thanks to Karma Kientzler's encouragement and support during his stay. On the drive home from Ojai, Mel and Enid excitedly discussed the possibilities of starting a new business and opening a health resort, which was largely unheard of at the time. Searching for properties, they fell in love with the magic they felt at the Double U Ranch and opened escrow on Memorial Day, 1978. By Labor Day, the deal closed and they hurriedly began design and construction. Fourteen months later, when I was just a few weeks old, Canyon Ranch opened its doors to eight guests, only one of whom was paying.

Last week was the first time I heard the part of the story about my grandparents driving back from Ojai together, conferring on what seemed like a dream but transformed into a triumphant reality. I was reminded of the drive Kenny and I made from Phoenix to LA after a friend's wedding in April 2008. During most of the seven-hour drive back to LA, we conferred about a potential move back to Tucson, giving up our respective careers, and taking on a huge, new challenge. Just a few weeks later, we made our final decision, and here we are.

My grandparents made a huge leap of faith in 1978, and we are thrilled to be able to help carry on their inspirational vision of health, wellness, and longevity. Happy 30th, Canyon Ranch!

To Your Good Health!


For a little more Ranch history, check out: http://www.canyonranch.com/history/.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mocha & Saki Take on the Ranch!

About 3 years ago, Kenny was having lunch at his favorite sidewalk café in Santa Monica when he fell in love. The object of his affection was a red, curly tailed dog owned by a patron at the table next to him. He just had to know what this mysterious breed was called so he asked. It turns out it was a Shiba Inu, which is an ancient Japanese bloodline related to the Akita but much smaller.

After much pleading by Kenny, I finally acquiesced and and agreed to adopt two little Shiba Inu puppies. We welcomed Mocha and Saki into our home this month, introducing them to their new big sister, Peri, the Siamese cat.

Mocha and Saki definitely keep us on our toes. They have more energy than they know what to do with. They can chase a ball for hours in the yard, wrestle with each other all day long, and chase Peri relentlessly. Mocha is much bigger than his new “sister”, who is just two weeks younger, and bullies her a bit, but Saki is learning to stand up to her BIG “brother” and will be one tough cookie!

Our new pups have brought us much joy, laughter, and…stress! Potty-training and puppy-proofing the house has been tough, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Both of our moms, who conveniently live close by, have been so helpful puppysitting – I don’t think we could do it without them.

We’ve heard that owning a dog can help you live a longer, healthier life. I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve learned over the past few weeks that these little creatures can definitely bring you happiness! They've already made a few visits to Canyon Ranch, and everyone they meet falls in love with them instantly.

You may not know that because of the expansive and unique layout of the Tucson property, dogs are permitted to accompany their owners during their Canyon Ranch Tucson stay (subject to size and other restrictions, of course). We're hoping Mocha and Saki will make lots of new K-9 and human friends from all over the world. So if you see two mischievous looking "foxes" around the Ranch, stop and say hi, we'd love to introduce you.

To Your Good Health!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bachelorette Bliss

A few months back, I received an email photo link from one of my best friends from law school. She had forwarded me pictures from one of her friend’s bachelorette parties – which was held at no other place but Canyon Ranch in Lenox. I loved looking at the pics of the girls’ weekend – and of course, I had to email the bride-to-be, Alison, to hear all about her Canyon Ranch Bachelorette.

Alison was born and raised in New York and met her now-husband Greg through friends at a Mexican restaurant. They were married at New York City’s Cipriani this past January (the wedding was beautiful – I saw pics!). Here’s what Alison had to say about her Canyon Ranch weekend:

How did you first hear of Canyon Ranch?
I grew up in New York and Canyon Ranch was always a well-known place with an excellent health and spa reputation. It's the type of place I always wanted to go to with my mom or friends. None of the girls had ever been to Canyon Ranch before but we all knew others who had been.

Why did you decide to come to Canyon Ranch for your Bachelorette Party?
I wasn't sure about going away for my bachelorette party and how it could work. I live in NYC and my friends and I were trying to think of a place within driving distance (even though I had friends coming from LA). My friends know that I love to do things health and wellness related and that a spa getaway could be perfect. Canyon Ranch seemed like a really luxurious option. Once we looked in to pricing and other information, it sounded very "me" and just perfect.

Why did you choose Canyon Ranch over other bachelorette party locations, such as Las Vegas?
I was 31 at the time and had already done other "party locations" in the past. I had a great time then but my personality is less party girl. I really thought that a more relaxed weekend was fitting for me, and all of my friends came up with the idea of Canyon Ranch before I even suggested it! It felt like I could also have more quality time with my friends, since I had friends coming from LA, Boston, NYC and NJ.

Who planned your trip?
One of my very close friends organized the whole trip. She was amazing. I know it's a little easier when you don't have to make tons of meal reservations for a big group but finding a date that works for everyone, collecting money, organizing rooms, and arranging other fun things along the way was really special and fun.

What is your favorite memory of your weekend at the Ranch?

We stayed at the Ranch in the fall and loved our hike! It was a beautiful day and so scenic. Not something I get to do often living in the City. We were half-way through the hike and we took a break to take in the foliage and enjoy the sun. It had been a cool morning so we were all wearing sweatshirts. As it warmed up, the girls all of a sudden took off their sweatshirts and they were all wearing these hysterical red tank tops with a funny photo in honor of my bachelorette. I was in shock and cracking up because I'm an especially hard person to surprise. It was the perfect way for us to spend 2 hours together doing something fun as a group.

What did you take home from your stay at the Ranch?
Well, we all still use the water bottles and t-shirt. And, I even brought home some chocolate chip cookies and granola because we were all obsessed with them! As far as more "emotionally", it was just an awesome weekend with my closest friends and I felt really lucky.

What is your most special memory from your wedding day?
Too many to count but one of my favorites was when we first saw each other for pictures, before the ceremony. There was just such a rush of excitement and anticipation and seeing him made me feel at ease and so happy. It was a freezing day in NYC but we managed to head out to fun areas of Wall Street and those are all of my favorite pictures!

Thanks so much to Alison for sharing her experiences with me!

To Your Good Health!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cyprus and Greece

We’ve returned from a fabulous trip to Cyprus and Greece. My friend Meredith and her Cypriot husband, Philippos, had an amazing wedding and it was so special to be part of all the traditions and rituals behind the Greek Orthodox nuptials.

Of course, we ate some fantastic food. Although many said we would probably come home 10 pounds heavier, the food generally did not seem all that unhealthy. Our first night in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, Philippos planned a dinner at a local taverna which consisted of a traditional meze dinner. I filled my plate up with salad, roasted eggplant and squash, pita, tahini, tzatziki and rice, only to find out that this was only Round One of many!

The following evening the groom’s family, the Savvides, hosted a dinner at their home. They pulled out all the stops – even roasting meat on a rotating spit in the driveway. As I savored the taste of my lemonade, Philippos told me his mother makes it using the whole lemon, rind and all. It was delicious! I had just read an article about the recent research on citrus peel oil in the
University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Dean’s Report (page 12) and thought that this is a great way to reap the cancer-fighting benefits of d-limonene. I chose lemonade over ouzo the whole trip!

After the wedding, we continued our journey to the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Most of our meals were piled high with lots of locally grown veggies – tomatoes, arugula, cucumbers, kalamata olives, red onion and homemade feta cheese. One of my favorites was a lentil salad, which I ordered two days in a row poolside at our hotel in Santorini – served with a balsamic dressing, grilled onions, and a dollop of fresh yogurt. Of course, we had to taste the local wines made of grapes grown right in Santorini. I’d say Napa has some competition.

After all of our eating, we boldly attempted to run the infamous stairs of Santorini. Kenny did quite well, but my “run” turned into a much slower pace once I faced the uneven cobblestone steps. But I made it to the top – slowly. I have a new found respect for the mules that climb those stairs every day!

So in the end, the scales were not tipping when we returned home. It took a few days to recover from the 24 hours of travel back to Tucson, but we’re back at the Ranch, and believe it or not, still ordering Greek salad!