Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dissolving Blog

If you're wondering why I haven't been posting much recently, I'm working on different writing projects and the healthy vacation rentals are fully booked.

I don't plan on posting here again.  Comments get sent to me by email.  And you can keep in touch with me on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Just send me a request to connect!

For more on healthy travel, check out Healthy Child, Healthy World

Stephen C. Carroll turned me on to blogging in 2007 and it has enriched my life.  Writing for you and the columns that picked me up from this blog kept my faith in my fellow human beings alive at a time when it was severely tested.  You, the followers, readers, and guests in my "healthy homes" were generous, encouraging, and a source of meaning.  To thank you would not do justice to how happy it made me to see your comments and discuss our mutual adventures, but thank you, I do.

Blessings and wellness to you there.

Dana G. Mayer

Monday, December 27, 2010

Memories of Sedona

Check out this video tribute to Northern Arizona by the talented wedding photographer, Karl Mullings.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Your Florida Vacation

Riverview in St. Augustine, FL is booked for all of 2011 except for the last week in January and the month of March.  March $1,990 or $899 a week

Casita Colibri in Sedona, Az is booked except for January. January $1,899

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cheap Ways To Have Fun On Your Sedona Vacation

  1. Watch for bobcats at Casita Colibri.  They sneak down the arroyo to eat the ground squirrels that have infested the vacant lot near the labyrinth.
  2. Check out a rock art site down a road less travelled.  Red Tank Draw is sure to impress those patient enough to find it.  Click for map and directions.
  3. Hike to the bottom of the sacred and beautiful Montezuma's Well.
  4. Go birding for endangered southern eagles, spot western bluebirds, hummingbirds, flycatchers, warblers, Kinglets, or Abert's Towhees.
  5. Browse free books and check out southwestern sculpture at the Sedona Library, including the reknown Schnebly sculpture.
  6. Take a guided geology or birding hike or just check out the most photographed spot in the world from the Red Rock State Park.
  7. Hang out at a coffee shop with locals, bring your own mug keeps plastic out of the environment (plastic never goes away).
  8. Get inspired at Sedona's Favorite Architectural Attraction, the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
  9. Roam through an ancient pueblo and take in some of the best views of the Verde Valley at Tuzigoot National Monument.
  10. Hike a scenic Red Rock trail.
  11. Search for turquoise jewelry and other southwestern treasures at Saddlerock Barn Consignments, "giving new life to old treasures."
  12. Check out an intuitive, get a 15 minute sand play session free of charge. 
  13. Cool Off Like a Cave Man. Arizona has many caves like the one above where temps often stay the same as the previous night's cool air. Thunder Mountain and Sycamore Canyon boast a few places to cool it. Cave men and femmes alike can also groove on the petroglyphs and pictographs of Platki and other ruins.
  14. Investigate a vortex, real or hype?
  15. Get enlightened at a lecture or uplifted at a Sedona Creative Life Center concert. (fee)
  16. Hike Page Springs hatchery and watch for migrating birds.
  17. Explore the rich photography of Four Corners Magazine and the articles by new thought leaders.  Available free online.
  18. Drink wine and appreciate art on the First Friday of every month in Uptown Sedona.  Be sure to go to the largest seller of local artists, the Sedona Arts Center.  Check out paintings and sculpture by one of the original cowboy artists, Joe Beeler.
  19. Play 18 holes at one of the Sedona area golf courses, ask them how they're working to conserve water and reduce the use of pesticides. (Fee)
  20. Take a swim at Sedona's community pool.  Children $2, adults $3.
  21. Imagine the meaning of the 1,032 petroglyphs at the V-V (say vee bar vee) past the Beaver Creek Ranger Station. Only open Friday through Monday (long weekend).
  22. Laugh it up at a Canyon Moon performance.  Most performances around $20. 
  23. Learn about indigenous cultures at the free Ringing Rocks Museum.
  24. Feed the giraffes at the wildlife preserve, Out of Africa. (Fee)
  25. Soak in the Verde Hot Springs.
  26. Stroll Whiskey Row in Historic Prescott.
  27. Mountain Bike the Big Park Loop and miles of other bike trails.
  28. Study anthropology and art at the Mueseum of Northern Arizona.
  29. Cruise on your skate board at the skate boarding park (free).
  30. Hug 200 acres of trees at the Arboretum at Flagstaff.
  31. Check out local events and concerts.
  32. Run the Sedona Marathon.
  33. Explore Wupatki's multiple ruins.
  34. Watch the flicks at the Film Festival in February. (fee)
  35. Enjoy a free musical event at Talaquepaque.
  36. Walk in, dance out of a free Zumba class with Eric 5:30 PM at the Priya Pilates Studio.  One free class a visitor to try it out.  Best dance floor in Northern Arizona.
  37. Sip some wine at an Arizona winery and enjoy a free barrel cellar tour on Saturdays.
  38. Try a MeetUp group for hiking, this one is in the Phoenix area.
  39. Protect the treasures of the American West.
  40. Get spiritual with a private, guided hike to sacred lands (fee).
  41. Join the Wednesday night drumming circle at OCB (Oak Creek Brewery)
  42. Dance at the Tuesday Stick Drum Dance Night.
  43. Discover what's grander than Niagara at the Grand Falls (water flow varies, best to go in March and April).
  44. Dunk in one of the "10 Best Swimming Holes." Rated by Outside Magazine as one of the best places to swim in a natural pool, Wet Beaver Creek is at the end of 179, about two miles past I 17.
  45. Beat the heat with a summer hike.  Towering pines keep trails into canyons like Boynton, Sycamore, and Secret Canyons cool enough for a solid hike even in the hot temps of August. Really want something Alpine? Kachina Trail hovers at 9,500 feet for most of its 5 miles. Picnic with the largest organisms on the planet, aspen groves.
  46. Check out this related post: How to Save Money on Your Sedona Vacation.
  47. Get tips on hiking gear, trails and good sales from The Hiking Lady blog.
  48. Map it. Get maps for all your outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, backpacking--with Trail Finder. Or check out the free iPhone application, Trails.
  49. Skip the pricey art galleries and cut out the middle-man when you browse and buy art direct from native and local artists at the Sedona Art Mart.  Save on sales tax at the Sedona Arts Center.
  50. Plan your trip online with Nile Guide: maps and info all in one place, save paper.
  51. Ring famous bells and explore an alternative to urban sprawl at Arcosanti. It will stretch your imagination with amazing architecture and you can ring the famous bells at the foundry and ceramics studio.  (fee)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sedona's Empty Vortexes, NY Times Article Calls Angel Valley a Graveyard

Front page of NY Times claims, "Sweat Lodge Deaths Deter New Age Tourists."   What do you think?  Did Angel Valley have anything to do with tourism falling off in Sedona or is it Governor Brewer?  The economy.  Bad mojo combo?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Friendsource" A New Way to Find A Vacation Rental

Second is my new favorite site for finding vacation trades and rentals.  It lets me see guests on Facebook and it lets guests verify me, too.

It works through your "extended" social circle and with 550,000,000 people on Facebook today, it could be powerful.  Certainly, it provides an element of transparency for the potential renter. They can see that you are a real person with a Facebook profile instead of a random listings -- infamously filled with fraud.

With more recent press than any other vacation rental site, they may be worth watching. Here is the link to the press

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Red Hot Rate Special Saint Augustine, Florida $57 a Night

September Rate Special.  Riverview, St Augustine $399 a week.  Click here to check availability or make a reservation. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Immerse Yourself In Nature

What are your favorite ways to reconnect in nature?

My three favorite practices keep me and Mother Nature healthy:

1.  Find Sanctuaries--a place or activity that allows you to step away from the day-to-day demands and recalibrate your internal and spiritual responses. 

2.  Free Yourself From Commitments—people and obligations you “should” do. Make sure all the things in your life are small, few, and simple enough to take care of yourself—your home, car, clothes, diet, finances.
3.  Do Something Other than be Entertained and Amused. 85% of North American households didn't buy a nonfiction book in 2007--and 90 percent of those who did didn't read it. But our TVs run an average of six hours a day.

National Geographic: The Wildlife Collection

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Good Home is a Healthy Home

Healthy home decorating can be a challenge. With most big box stores carrying the same inexpensive products from the same suppliers—what's a health conscious shopper to do?  How do you find fabrics and window treatments that don’t outgas harmful chemicals? And let’s say you do find some home-spun cotton—how do you know it’s from suppliers that treat workers and the earth with respect?

Black out fabrics may keep out the sun--making it easier to sleep late and lower your air conditioning costs.  But fabrics are frequently treated with flame retardants, sizing, and stain guards. These toxic additives are—at best—irritants to your respiratory system and at worst—disruptive your endocrine system or even carcinogenic. The chemicals get absorbed through the skin or released into the air when activated by heat from the sun shining in your windows. Who wants to breathe that? No wonder the EPA reports 90% of indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air.

One way to make healthy home decorating easier is to use The Ethical Shopping Guide which accredits and publishes a list of companies with responsible sourcing processes. The Natural Curtain Company, for example, uses 100% natural fabrics wherever possible--often inherently more attractive and ethically superior to synthetic alternatives.

“Ethical” means careful examination of how the company conducts business. Accreditation by the publisher, the Ethical Company Organisation requires responsible practices in four areas.

Environment: environmental reporting; pollution; nuclear power; other environmental issues.
Animals: animal testing; factory farming; other animal rights.
People: oppressive regimes; worker’s rights; irresponsible marketing; armaments.
Extras: genetic engineering; boycott call; political activity; alerts.

Check out over 100 fabrics and get free fabric samples at The Natural Curtain Company -- not only a resource for blinds, curtains, and window treatments -- their blog has tips on creating a green home and how to make your own curtains along with ideas for saving energy and improving air quality. Video instructions, "Made To Measure Made Simple" shows how to measure windows.

It’s no longer just people with allergies and chemical sensitivities that are concerned about using natural fibers and furnishings. A good home is a healthy home—for all of us.

Dana's Good News: Top Five Vacation Rental Deals and More

  1. Wow, pull CO2 from the air and use it to make BPA-free plastics?  BPA has been linked to serious health problems, but now researchers have found a way to make plastic without out and reduce greenhouse gasses, as reported in this article.
  2. Green your flight by going to the bathroom before flying?  Apparently, Nippon estimated it would save 4.2 tons of carbon dioxide a month on their planes.
  3. Wondering what to do while the economy gets worse before it gets better?  How about growing your own food in a window? 

4.  Spending more time outside and breathing more air pollution is a bad summertime combo.  Check the Air Quality Index before heading out on hot days with just a click or two on the AirNow site.

5.  Last but not least, save up to $300 a week with a September rate special at the Riverview, St Augustine, Florida vacation rental.  Just $599 when you use the code Slurpee when booking.  Travel is up 25% to the east coast of Florida due to oil on the west coast--the best way to avoid disappointment is to make travel plans early before everything is booked.

Low budget vacation rentals for New England, Canada, and Florida

WAVES: Virtual Vacations - The Best Florida Beaches

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Little Tibet: Inner Journeys...Outdoors

My relentless hunt for earth and health friendly vacation rentals led me to Ladakh, India--long on the map for backpackers who stay in and around Leh--but yet to hit the radar of the adventurous, comfort-seeking travelers. The high altitude desert is dominated by rugged snow capped mountains, deep turquoise lakes, and traversed by strands of green, fast-flowing rivers making this my kind of destination. 

Often referred to as 'little Tibet,' Ladakh is geographically, anthropologically and culturally part of Tibet. However, its remoteness and sheer inaccessibility have meant that it was to have a very different history to the rest of the high plateau. Once part of British India, it was subsequently absorbed into independent India in 1947. Ladakh's geography protected it from the ravages of the Chinese cultural revolution that sadly changed the rest of Tibet beyond recognition. Today it contains one of the most intact Tantric Buddhist societies left on earth.

Responsible tourism outfitter, Shakti Himalaya offers a 'village house' experience that avoids the over commercialization of Leh and takes you out, off the beaten track to three unspoilt villages in the Indus valley.  And instead of driving into the Nubra valley like everyone else, they offer a Shayok River journey along the old Silk Route into the remote Nubra valley--an area rarely visited by any foreign travelers.
The Shakti Himalaya website describes their earth friendly practices this way, "[We're] committed to sharing the rejuvenating effects of remote surroundings – to provide privileged access to places far removed from the noise and clutter of the modern world, where space, peace and epic landscapes provoke the imagination and nourish the soul."
India: In Word and Image
Shakti claims the trips make no environmental impact on the villages or trails. Village holiday homes/vacation rentals have been minimally and authentically refurbished, using traditional materials and crafts, and food and supplies are sourced locally. There is no electricity and ablutions are by bucket shower. The guides and porters are from the local villages and so act as conduits for conversations between travellers and the local people along the trail, as well as interpreting customs, history and folklore. Visitors bring in much-needed income and contribute to the maintenance of the traditional farmhouses. Monies spent along the trail go directly to local businesses.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Inspired by Nature

Staying home this fourth of July? What better way to enjoy a staycation than to transform your garden into a fairytale space for magical al fresco dining? Hang a few tea lights, add pretty butterfly embroidery and intricately crafted table cloths and napkins and you'll feel transported.
Tag Paper Lantern String Lights, Blue and Red with White Stars, 112-Inches Long 

ALSO Home features ethically sourced, hand crafted cutlery and coconut white ceramics inspired by simple lotus leaves. Their Spring/Summer 2010 exclusive collection  of candles, laterns, and ceramics includes a modern take to a traditional Vietnamese design on plates and bowls, with shoals of blue fish hand painted on to white ceramic, hand crafted ceramics, baskets, candles, lanterns and vases.

Tag Henna Paper Die-Cut String Lights, 112-Inches Long

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Truth About Sunscreens

You know the drill: when the sun’s rays are fierce, duck and cover.

But sometimes, you’re going to be out there in it. EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to 1,400 sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers tells you what you need to know to find safe and effective sunscreens. EWG’s exclusive scientific analysis helps you avoid red-flag ingredients like vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and oxybenzone. EWG gives you straight talk about SPF.

Tired of the hype? So are we. The FDA should wrap up sunscreen regulations it started drafting in 1978. Americans have waited long enough.  Basic sunscreen ingredients disrupt the endocrine system, promote cancer, and other health hazards. Read more...