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Sevilla is something else. Being a California girl, I love me some sunshine, and especially cities that are close to large bodies of water (read: oceans or seas). Sevilla, (‘Sah-vee-yah’ – if you know anything about Spanish – and Seville ‘Sah-vill’ if your native tongue is English), on the other hand is not an oceanfront city. It has the Guadalquivir river running through it and due to where it is located in proximity to the equator it has plenty of sunshine at a time of year that most European countries are lacking the vital vitamin D. So you can imagine after enduring 5 very long winter months in the Czech Republic how one could be more than anxious to absorb some sun and see beautiful spring blossoms come April in Sevilla.

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My boyfriend, being Spanish, and knowing my wanderlusting and fashionista heart planned a trip to Sevilla for us both. It must be mentioned though that he is just the absolute funnest – is that a word? He kept the destination of our trip a secret until I could guess; only giving hints every other day beforehand and allowing me one question every day until I could guess the place correctly. After narrowing down that it was 1) in Spain and 2) during a very special week in this mystery city, I started my research. 

I came upon La Féria de Abril – a week long beautiful Spanish culture festival. Here is Wikipedia’s definition which is quite accurate (after having attended): 

“For the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). These casetas usually belong to prominent families of Seville, groups of friends, clubs, trade associations and political parties. From around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, there are crowds partying and dancing sevillanas, drinking Sherry, manzanilla or rebujito, and eating tapas. This fair also has an amusement park that comes with it and has lots of games to play along with roller coasters to ride.”

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Now, enough about La Feria de Abril and a little more about what I’m actually here to talk about: my spa day at AIRE – even though, I’ll be sharing a lot of photos from the fair at the bottom of this post!

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I have visited two of this company’s other locations: New York (once) & Barcelona (twice). So for me to be checking out another location was quite exciting, especially because each of the locations has its own unique layout due to always being built in a historic building and in the city’s best neighborhood. The one thing that isn’t different, the incredibly surreal feeling this spa brand/concept invokes.

This time at AIRE I was accompanied by “my couple” – as my boyfriend calls me. Spanish to English term? European term? Still haven’t figured that out but I like it nonetheless! I think he means “partner”.

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Upon entering, after a photo-op outside the spa in the famous alleyways of Sevilla, we were greeted by the front desk and management who gave us a warm welcome. We were then led through the sunny and quaint interior courtyard to a stairwell with a beautifully carved wood ceiling where we ascended to the second level where the entrance to the men and women’s locker room was and where we changed into our swim attire. Side note: I was distraught because I forgot my bikini. This visit, with the view and photo-op you’re about to see, was the reason I purchased it, but thank heavens AIRE has a black one piece swimsuit you can use if something like this happens. Distraught I tell you. One job, and I mess up; nobody’s perfect I guess. Anyway! 

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After changing, my “couple” and I met at the entrance of the locker room where an attendant was waiting to escort us down into the bathing facilities which would be enjoyed prior to our individual 30 minute massages and wine bath. Yes, I said a bath in wine. 

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The baths layout was bit tighter in some walkways than in the other AIRE locations I have been in; AIRE makes up for this with the vaulted ceiling in the transparent blue and glowing warm pool whose walls are a deep burgundy red and where you can find a giant Moroccan style chandelier hanging just heads-height over the water giving an otherworldly dimension to the space.

We alternated between pools, plunges and the jacuzzi before being escorted to a private glass-doored vault-like room that contained a wall entirely for the storage of wine bottles and, best of all, the large stone basin where we would be enjoying our wine bath. Unfortunately I was not able to get photos in the premises of the baths this time around.

A few steps up into the stone basin allowed us to descend into the deep washtub where the faucet was on and gushing red wine into the tub; pouring onto our feet and quickly around our bodies – just amazing. I felt like a goddess. The wine bath experience is paired with a shoulder, neck and head massage and then topped off with a glass of wine and healthy snack and a few extra private minutes to enjoy the wine waters.

If the current state of euphoria wasn’t at it’s precipice, it was heightened when after the wine bath we were ushered to our own room where we would then enjoy a private 30 minute massage in dark aromatic room on one of the upper levels of the building. The thing I love about an AIRE massage is the, quite literally, finishing touches. When they remove your bikini strap from off your shoulder it is a delicate and sensual removal. When they remove the towel, they slowly and intimately let the last fiber of the towel touch your skin. When they are done massaging a section of your body they almost tickle your skin with the last bit of their fingers. Dare I say it’s a bit erotic? In any case it’s gentle and is a smooth transition to the preceding action, leaving you to continue feeling relaxed.

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After being awoken back into reality, I was met in the hallway by my couple where we were then taken to the picturesque terrace that included a rooftop pool, awaiting us in privacy, with the Cathedral and Giralda Tower just off in the viewable blue-sky distance. A pair of sunglasses might have been nice at this moment though. After being in darkness for over an hour and a half and the re-immerging into a sunny atmosphere with reflective water and white architecture surrounding us, my sensitive blue eyes could hardly take in all that there was to see!

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One of the staff members brought us not only our choice of wine with grapes, cheese and bread bites but also two flutes of champagne. Needless to say, the state of euphoria I was in 45 minutes ago was brought to a state of ecstasy. AIRE does it again – bringing otherworldly bliss to earth. We snapped a few photos and video, shared some sweet moments together and then gathered ourself to prepare for the rest of our short stay in Sevilla.

All in all, Sevilla is incredible. I love the people all across Spain. The sunshine, the spring air was much needed. La Feria de Abril was incredible; having my partner’s friends there to experience the fair with made it all the merrier. We stayed at the Mercer Hotel which was impeccably designed (minus the squeaky bed and frames that randomly fell off the wall). I cannot wait to enjoy more time in this part of Andalusia and explore all it has to offer!

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I’ve landed in this absolutely beautiful city of Barcelona and couldn’t be more in love with this place, and chapter in my life. I’ve been here for 3 weeks and 2 days now and I couldn’t have chosen a better time to be here given the state of affairs with Catalonia’s declaration of independence from Spain…and the gorgeous change in season I am witnessing. There are no words for Autumn in this Mediterranean climate.

For those who don’t know, I am pursuing an entirely remote career. And trust, it is not easy. I have some work right now but not enough to sustain myself, so I’m actively looking and I have a huge amount of faith in these kind of things (especially when you’re putting in the work) and I have a ton of backup plans thanks to all the amazing people in my life. The goal really is to live in Europe for at least a year, learn Spanish and gain a remote career(s). I am currently a freelance copywriter and doing some creative directing for a startup coffee brand. It’s definitely a switch of gears from my prior interior design career, but there’s no doubt I will circle back to it if not be able to incorporate my experience within that field into a future project. I’m really excited to see where my skills, talents and interests land me in the next year.

I knew coming here I wanted to get in the best shape of my life. All the walking here helps! & As long as things go as planned (or as close to the plan as possible) I will be training for a marathon in an undetermined destination sometime in the Spring of next year. Till then, my first priority here was finding a nice gym to pump some iron at. Checked that box and loving Anytime Fitness. However, I’m headed to Prague for a month and when I come back to Barcelona I may try other gyms, because well…that’s my thing!

So! Back to the Aqua Studio:

The other day I received a direct message on Instagram from Aqua Bike Studio asking if I was an athlete (flattered!) and if I wanted to attend a complimentary class at their studio (yes!). First off, I was flattered. Secondly, after checking out what aqua biking was I was thrilled to try this new type of fitness class! I’m not sure if it’s in the US but I know a few Europeans who said they’ve heard of it.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

So I signed up for a Friday morning 9am class. I put my bikini on under some joggers and hoodie and made the 15 minute walk from my flat to the studio.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

Now it must be mentioned that being in Spain, they speak Spanish, naturally; and Catalan here in the state of Catalonia. It surprises me though that “tourists” expect the locales to speak English. I most definitely give my best effort to bridge the gap with the usual “Sé solamente un poco español” (“I know only a little Spanish”) and then they ask if I’d like them to speak in English, and thankfully I say yes. The thing is, they appreciate the effort, go figure. I know during my time as a waitress in the transient city of San Diego I really appreciated people trying to speak a little English because otherwise there was no way I’d understand them besides with pointing, nods, and noises.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

So I came with a few pre-prepared google translated sentences (helps in the learning process!) that I could use when checking in with the receptionist at the studio. Luckily Judith spoke pretty good English. Judith checked me in, gave me the short and quick tour of the facility and got me hooked up to their wifi (always a plus at any facility!). They offer massages, physical therapy, private training and the aqua bike class. I took off my sweats, grabbed my towel, locked the locker and headed into the pool.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

First, it’s mandatory to shower off before getting in the water.  On the sides of the pool were the aqua bikes. So I made myself over to a corner and pulled it into the circle that the others had created. And this is where the fun began – our class teacher, of course, spoke in Spanish the whole time. And actually, it could have been Catalan…I can’t quite tell the difference. Except there is a lisp in the Catalan accent, and I didn’t hear a lisp. Luckily, group classes mean you can just copy what the others are doing … you’re just a few seconds behind, ha ha!

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

The pedals of the bike were like rubber slide shoes, you know like those adidas or nike sport slides. That was probably my only frustration with this “sport”…my tiny feet did not fit in these huge shoes, which made the class a little difficult because when the instructor wanted us to come off of the seat but kind of squat and pedal, my feet would wind up sliding forward henceforth making me fall forward and not able to do that particular exercise for too long without sliding/loosing balance. My suggestion would be to have some sort of shoe us tiny feet people could slip on and make the bike riding more fluid… ha, get it? Fluid.

The 50 minute class began by warming up our arms and shoulders while pedaling. Then we moved into pedaling faster and faster, like a normal spin class. And from there it was a mixture of exercise varying from off-seat pedaling, no arms on handles pedaling, using foam “weights” to push against the water for a little arm workout, and then toward the end of the class we hopped off the bike and did a variety of exercises including wading, jumping, and abdominal exercises. There was a cool down at the end where we stretched out the quads, hamstrings and arms. And that was it!

I headed into the locker room, showered off, changed into some dry clothes, blew dry my hair a little, checked out with Judith, asked for pricing and that was that!

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Overall it was a very nice, modern, clean facility. There was a guy there cleaning outside the pool room as we were in our spin class so that’s always nice to see that the business cares and keeps the house clean around the clock. I love the location in proximity to where I’m living. Aqua Body Studio is on a main street here in Barcelona so that’s good for them. I’m not sure it’s a sport I would find myself doing that often because I truly enjoy lifting weights and running outdoors and my yoga but it’s definitely something I would enjoy doing at least once a month! Which is how I also feel about a regular spin class. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you locate your nearest aqua biking studio and check it out!

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I received quite the sentimental birthday gift(s) from a gentleman I’d recently met. One of those being a little envelope that said on it: “another one for the blog”. Enclosed was a gift card to the revered and beautiful Coronado Hotel Del Spa. I can’t begin to express how touched I was that this man took the time to not only read my blog, where so many of my personal beliefs can be found, but went out of his way to support my passion by gifting me an experience to reflect upon here. SO thoughtful.

So it began. I booked my service for a Sunday. A Sunday after a very heavy week that needed a little, no, a lot of relaxation and reflecting. I chose to receive the Del Signature Body Scrub, “a skin softening body exfoliation that combines sea salts with a light application of aromatic essential oils that leave your skin nourished, smooth and supple.”

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Seeing as I live in the city this spa is in,  I took the 25 minute drive over to the Coronado Island, parked in the adjacent parking lot, walked around the hotel to the left of the main entrance (I called prior to arriving to ask what the simplest route to the spa was), walked past the souvenir shop, the restaurants, the pool, and that beautiful expanse of ocean, and there tucked away at the end of this walkway was the Salon & Spa.

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I arrived promptly at 3pm where I was greeted by the receptionist who checked me in, then another woman greeted me and showed me to the fairly tight locker/changing room where I slipped into my bikini and put on my robe. I was asked to meet her outside the locker room where she then walked me over to a common area to meet my exfoliator Abe. Abe said hello and walked me to my room where this little experience was to take place.
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While it had stone floors and the walls were also clad in stone, the room still had a warm and zenful feeling to it, aided by the ambient music. I believe this is because scrubs can be somewhat messy so the room needs to be easily cleanable. Before exiting the room, Abe asked that I slip out of my bikini and lie face down first. He came back in and the treatment began. He first put a few dollops of the sea salt scrub along my arms and back, then he lightly rubbed it all over that area, and followed it up with another, more vigorous, scrub. The back of my thighs, calves and feet were the next area he treated. After my backside was done he professionally, and fluidly, had me turn over (he kneeled behind a towel he held up, which he would then lay over me as he rose) and then proceeded to help cover my breasts with another towel so to be able to exfoliate my neck, chest, and stomach. After he treated those areas he proceeded with my thighs, calves and feet. At this point I was in that zen-like trance that just happens during these treatments – and I’m pretty sure he forgot to scrub my left leg, but before I could say something he was asking me to wake out of my daze and head to the Swiss Shower to rinse off. The only way I could tell my leg hadn’t been scrubbed was by touching it, and nope, no sea salt on that left thigh. Oh well.

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Abe walked me to the Swiss Shower that he turned on for me, asked me to rinse off and told me he’d be waiting in the hall with a cup of water. The Swiss Shower has 3 stacked shower heads on 3 different walls along with a handheld showerhead; quite fun if I do say so myself. So I enjoyed this for a little bit, dried off and met Abe in the hall where he walked me back to my room and proceeded to moisturizer my entire body in the same manner he exfoliated. This time he remembered my left leg. 🙂 The treatment concluded with an essential oils neck and shoulder massage that felt delightful. Abe asked if the lighting was okay and told me to take my time leaving the room. After coming back to reality, I walked into the hall where Abe was waiting with water for me again. He showed me to the locker room and mentioned all of the amenities I could take advantage of. And that I did.
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The steam room and jacuzzi were tucked back in some corner of the facility that felt like quite the little gem due to the beautiful and bright ambiance this area had about it, along with a beautiful wall of mosaic tiles. (I’m a sucker for mosaics – and stained glass.) I decided to enjoy some time in the steam room first and then I relaxed And took some time to hang out in the jacuzzi. After drying off I headed into the Relaxation Room across the way; it also being a beautifully bright room where there were my favorite flavored teas, and little bites to eat like almonds, dried berries and even apples. I made some tea and cozied up in one of the chairs where I spent quite a bit of time taking it all in.

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After I was done in the Relaxation Room I walked out to the private infinity pool area to check out how the day was progressing weather wise and then made my way back to the locker room to get back into my clothes and check out.

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All in all it was such a lovely experience. The staff was nice and professional, the facility was clean, I enjoyed the service and amenities and it was everything a spa day should be – relaxing. I really don’t have much feedback for The Hotel Del Spa besides interior design comments like maybe updating some of the light fixtures, changing burnt-out lightbulbs, upgrading artwork and maybe more chic pillows. I tend to have an eye for amelioration. 😉

I feel so grateful to have been able to experience a spa day at such an iconic (and local!) Hotel & Spa. It was much needed and the fact that there was such a considerate gesture behind my ability to be in this moment, made it all the sweeter. If you’re reading this Cowboy, thank you.

Till the next spa experience!

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Owning my own spa and wellness center has always been on my radar, so it’s no coincidence when I stumble upon centers of the like. There are so many routes and niches that you can create when entering into the holistic and pampering industry. So when I discovered The Springs LA on Instagram I was intrigued. It encompasses a few things that I find myself seeking out in separate places – but all under one roof. Yoga, juicing, smoothies, massage, hot stones, and colon hydrotherapy to name a few.

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My roommate and I decided to go on a little weekend getaway to LA for Memorial Day weekend to celebrate her new found freedom as a recent graduate from USD. As the awesome crony she is, she was down for whatever, so I lined us up an adventure filled weekend. And since I had my eye on The Springs LA we were definitely stopping in.

We got into LA on Friday morning, went to the LACMA for the afternoon, then had lunch at The Line Hotel’s Commissary restaurant (a must!) and went out Friday evening to Toca Madera and Ysabel’s. We called it an early night so that we could wake up Saturday morning in time to catch our 9:00am yoga class at The Springs LA. The Springs is located in the arts district of Los Angeles. Perhaps it was because everyone went out of town for the holiday weekend but we found the city to be quite mellow compared to the hustle and bustle we were expecting – it was nice.

Once parked, the gate to the center was rolled open and we walked in and was greeted by an open and sunny space with a Palm Springs meets warehouse feel. Simple and cheerful. We were directed by the juice bar attendant to walk to the back to check into our class. We tucked our items into the cubby holes in the yoga room and began our morning yoga session.

An hour and 15 minutes later we awoke feeling more limber and relaxed. We pursued the items for sale – lots of cute little items such as oils, candles, jewelry and fitness gear. After we walked back toward the front where we purchased a fresh made green juice (Northstar was our choice) and headed out.

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The Springs LA is a really neat concept. With it’s open casual space I can only imagine all of the events that take place within this center, and to add to it, they have a restaurant in the works too. I highly recommend a yoga class and juice if you’re in town. Your first class is free! After that drop ins are only $15. Juices are pricey (about $10), but you can’t put a price on healthy liquid gold like that. 🙂

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Artist Unknown

I’ve been gone from this little blog here. I’ll address that when I’m ready; however, good momentum is happening in my life after a few hardships (see my instagram for a little bit of info somewhere in there). So much to blog, so little time.

These are two one-hour npr TED Radio hours I recently listened to and have rocked my world. Most people in my immediate life keep hearing me talk about them. If you don’t know what a TED talk is, you need to know. So start here! 🙂

The future of technology … We knew this stuff. We talk about this happening and what it means. But what are the brains saying about it? Well…..they’re just as scared – and stoked as we are.

My one overall thought is: (you’ll understand this comment better if you actually listen to the links) …we need to be in on it together, as one honest, peaceful loving specie. We have to ensure it will only do good. We’re talking robots and other realms here people. Call me crazy but two centuries from now, mark my words, they’re going to be tele-transporting. Or damn near close to it. What do you think? Crazy balls or duh?

Put a headphone in and get some stuff done while listening to what’s going on in the world of technological advances and how it relates to the digital age and persona. Click each link here: & then press the play button next to the words “Listen to Full Show” so that it will play all audio clips in playlist.

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/438902974/screen-time-part-i?showDate=2015-09-11

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/440141277

Thoughts on the topic highly appreciated! Looking to start threads and talk to people. Wishing you all health, determination, love and faith. Good night!

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I am currently navigating these blog discussion boards to figure out how to post the Digital SLR photos I take with my Nikon onto their own Page/Tab. Until then, I wanted to share a photo I snapped (and edited) while scouting this epic sunset location I’d been to, but could not remember for the life of me how to get back to. And we found it! And no, I wasn’t successful getting a sunset shot. But, while I was finagling with my camera’s Manual settings in order to catch that setting sun, I turned around and saw this scenic ambiance framing the path we took in, leading us toward the ocean. Here we are looking North East into California from a La Jolla cliff in San Diego. If you click on it, you will see more detail. Jan152015_1938January 15, 2015 around 5:00pm.