| VailDaily.com

Skin Deep

Treat yourself to some of the most hydrating, rejuvenating and potent moisturizers, serums and sunscreens advocated by local skin care experts.

»By Kirsten Dobroth  »Photography by Justin Q. McCarty

Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Moisture Binding Cream

Give your skin a boost in the fight against dehydration with this ultra-lightweight moisturizer, that’s powerful enough to nourish dry, mountain skin. Active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and jojoba seed oil help protect skin from environmental damage, and fight signs of premature aging. 

Allegria Spatique,
Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse

Head to bed fresh faced thanks to Jurlique’s gentle botanical oil blend, aimed at lifting excess dirt, oil and makeup. This gentle foaming cleanser has a light, silky feel that transfers easily to your face without harsh chemicals. Active ingredients include jojoba, grape seed, rose hip, safflower and starflower.

Allegria Spatique,
Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek

Epicuren Discovery Instalift Tightening Serum

Powerful skin tighteners, like oat and seaweed extracts, work their magic for a lift and tautness that seems instant upon application. The serum’s light enough for everyday use, or use sparingly for more gradual results.

Allegria Spatique,
Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek

Anti Aging Complex Emulsion Broad Spectrum SPF 30

The rich, yet lightweight daily moisturizer blends a potent anti-aging formula with sun and environmental protection to help prevent future damage, and erase signs of past damage. It’s fragrance and oil free, so your skin is all your own — with a little help.

Merle Norman Studios, Edwards

Ultra Light Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

This non-greasy sunscreen is the perfect base to wear under make up, or on the ski hill. The lightweight formula is great match for a range of skin types, and can be used on your face and body. Quick absorption means quick results.

Merle Norman Studio, Edwards

Gentle Polish Exfoliant

Soft microsphere beads set this exfoliant scrub apart by being gentle enough for daily use to softly buff away dead skin. The facial scrub leaves skin feeling and looking fresh, and ready to follow up with makeup, or just a daily moisturizer to show off the results.

Merle Norman Studio, Edwards 

Skin Medica TNS Essential Serum

Skin Medica’s lightweight serum might actually be a time machine for your face: patented growth factor, peptides, antioxidants, along with a fleet of other rejuvenating agents combine for potent results. The serum is gentle enough for daily use, and for all skin types.

Skin by Vail Dermatology, Edwards

Revision Skincare Revox 7

Named in reference to the seven common facial lines and creases that the formula targets, Revox 7 is a perfect facial accessory for a little pick-me-up pre-moisturizer. It’s a welcome companion for ladies looking to target specific areas, and although rich in powerfully rejuvenating peptides, is gentle enough for daily use.

Skin by Vail Dermatology, Edwards

Epionce Renewal Facial Cream

Consider Epionce’s Renewal Facial Cream an ultra-hydrating friend of every skin type — not only does the rich formula deliver much needed moisture to mountain skin, but it helps prevent signs of aging and skin damage. Gentle enough for daily use, the formula is botanical-rich, and targets skin cells for powerful results.

Skin by Vail Dermatology, Edwards

Love Your Guts

Keep the colony of bacteria living in your gut in balance for good overall physical and mental health

»By  Kirsten Dobroth  »photos by dominique taylor

Our bodies are beautiful and intricately complicated vessels, and our gut is no different. Increasingly, the importance of our gut microbiome, or the team of bacteria that lives within our digestive tract, has received increased attention from researchers and clinicians as a crucially important part of not only digestion, but for its role in breaking down chemicals and hormones, as well. Think of it this way — a squad of good (and bad) bacteria lives within your gut for the sole purpose of helping your body break down components of food. It’s a task that’s crucial to your well-being, and increasingly, researchers are finding that the modern diet, which is less and less based in wholesome fruits, vegetables and whole grains, is slowly wiping out the bacteria that lives inside us and helps with this process. The results of this mass exodus of helpful microbes is more frequently being attributed to the rise in things like food allergies, intolerances, chronic digestion ailments, and even mental health problems, with the role of the microbiome being a newer branch of medical studies that researchers are just beginning to grasp.

“A lot of research on the microbiome is still in its infancy,” says Penny Wilson, PhD, a registered dietician and nutritionist. “The initial research is showing some surprising things. There may be links between depression, hormone imbalances, food sensitivities and weight imbalances all being linked to imbalances in our microbiome.”

Some of the more hormonal and mental health imbalances may seem far-fetched as a result of imbalanced bacteria in our digestive tract, but in fact, our guts are a prime spot where serotonin is broken down and released to our brain, which is a key chemical in maintaining well-being and happiness.

“A lot of serotonin is activated in the gut,” explains Wilson. “Your gut, your brain, and your heart are connected by the vagus nerve, and so when we talk about your gut being your second brain it really is true. Your gut and your brain are talking all the time.”

Feeding this teeming, microscopic colony is an important part of regulating a balance of bacteria that tips in favor of the good guys — those that are crucial in all the processes that make us tick and thrive. While nutrition starts with a diet filled with wholesome plant-based meals — fruits, vegetables and whole grains — incorporating fermented foods, which is a rich source of live cultures, is pivotal for filling our digestive tracts with all the little helpers we can get. Pill-form probiotics are also an effective method of delivering live cultures to the digestive system, but shouldn’t be relied upon as a sole source of the microbes, especially if the corresponding diet isn’t cultivating healthy habits that work to nourish our internal colony.

“Fermented foods actually contain the microbes, so they have the bacteria already in them,” says Wilson. “By varying the types of fermented foods you’re having you’re going to help with the balance in your microbiome, and vary the type of bacteria you’re getting. If you’re taking probiotic pills, I recommend switching those up about once a month so that you’re getting different strains of bacteria.”

Many of these higher quality products are a lot better than what we might remember as children, and giving things like organic sauerkraut, kimchi or a kefir (which is often compared to a runny yogurt) smoothie a second chance as an adult is often a great way to introduce some fermented servings into your day. Freshies, in Edwards, is a goldmine of pill-form probiotics, with strains aiming to improve mental health and digestion. Or inquire about some of their live-cultured snacks, which come in the form of everything from organic sauerkrauts and salsas to crackers infused with live cultures. Be sure to pick up one of their pre-biotic snacks as well, which work as “fertilizers” in your digestive tract to nurture all the benevolent little microbes that call our bodies home. 

Green Kefir Smoothie

1 ripe avocado

1 cup plain, whole milk kefir

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

Fresh mint leaves to taste

½ cup of frozen fruit — favorites include mangoes or blueberries

Put all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Berry Kefir Smoothie

1 cup plain, whole milk kefir

2 tablespoons pure peanut butter

1 tablespoon raw, organic honey

1 frozen banana

½  cup strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries

Put all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

Between The Covers

Pick a book, gather a few friends and voila — a book club is born

»By Heather Hower »photos By dominique taylor

Book clubs are a great way to make new friends, reconnect with old friends, read authors you might otherwise snub your nose at and learn about other cultures. Finding, or creating, a group can lead to backpacking trips, film festivals, decades-long friendships and vibrant discussions. Reading is usually solitary, so how do you go about finding a thought-provoking book for a heated discussion?

A book that teaches a new custom or region of the world, or has “a conflict that some people feel differently about so you can have two points of view,” suggests Karin Barker. She’s worked at The Bookworm of Edwards for almost six years and has been in a book club since 1990.

Independent bookstores are a great place to find the next influential novel, or check out the local library. The librarians are knowledgeable and ready to lend a hand, title or book bag.

“We have ‘It’s in the Bag,’” a book-club kit with user’s guide for the book club leader, ten copies of a book, a reader’s guide, discussion questions, author bio and whatever we find that is relevant for the person leading the discussion,” says Amy Gornikiewicz, collection specialist at the Avon Public Library, which is part of the Eagle Valley Library District with branches in Gypsum, Eagle and Avon. Really — a library card offers these privileges and access.

The libraries all host book clubs and everyone’s welcome. The reads vary from what’s popular to what’s available to what interests the participants. The clubs held at libraries tend to stay a little more focused with a diverse group of readers having a lively conversation.

On the other hand, there are many fun ways to incorporate a book into the club setting: some meet for coffee and discussion, some do potlucks on the theme of the book, some are coed, some focus on historical fiction or only non-fiction. Sometimes wine gets in the way and other times the point of book club is wine and dine.

“One really interesting (book club approach) has only the host reading a book, and they have to give an hour talk on the book,” Barker reveals. “It has to be pretty detailed and specific. It sounds like a lot of work and it’s a little bit different. Some groups talk only about books they’ve read; some groups, they’ve all not read the same books. The ones that seem to be most successful and together the longest are where the people read the book and have a good discussion.”

Kelly Mitchell, Brush Creek Elementary School librarian, started a mother-daughter book club years ago and it’s still reading. The book club came about with a small group of girls reading in the hallway during school.

“I started the book club when my daughter, Michaela, now 16, was in second grade. She was not a great reader, did not love it, but loved having books read to her. The teacher asked me to take a group of girls into the hallway and to help with a reading group. We had each girl read a paragraph as we went around the circle. The girls seemed to really enjoy it. It got me thinking that a social group with reading as its core might be a fun way to get Michaela interested in reading more.”

Intentionally selecting people who wanted to read – not just hang out – the six moms and six daughters are still reading strong 8 years later. The group met monthly from second through eighth grades but when the girls entered high school, the scheduling got tight. They still meet, just not as regularly.

“The girls have formed a bond unlike any other friendship. Even though they do not always socialize in school, they have an incredible friendship that has lasted and grown stronger with time. The moms also have become great friends. There have been backpacking trips and sleepovers with the group. Once a year it becomes a father/daughter book club. We always try to make it happen and will until we are old and gray!”

Similarly, the “Book Ends” is a book club that has been meeting (and reading) for 20 years. As with any successful organization, there are a few guidelines and a format: a reader picks the month she will host and selects the book.

“When it’s your turn to host, you choose the book — that is the most nerve-racking part,” says Tracy Van Curen. “Our book club is very cerebral: We like the tough topics, we like the literature, we may not love the book but we love the writing. So we embrace the more challenging books.”

Which leads to another topic: Does your group want to read mostly fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction, or a little bit of all? You don’t have to limit yourself, but it’s good to know what your group is interested in. The best “rule” to follow is that everyone actually reads the book — even if someone strongly dislikes the characters or the storyline. After all, that leads to a lively discussion. So open a book and climb in.

Good Reads

Great books for a mother-daughter group

Gooney Bird Green

The Hundred Dresses

Magik

11 Birthdays

12 Again

Tiger Rising

Tracks in the
Snow (Bledsoe)

Omnivore’s

Dilemma YA version

Stones into

Schools YA version

Taste the Rainbow

Yeti’s Grind owner and competitive athlete Tara Picklo keeps looking up  

»by kim fuller »photos by dominique taylor

You may have seen Tara Picklo zoom by you on a mountain bike, her petite form pushed forward by strong legs and rainbow spandex. Sometimes — more often than not — she’ll throw on a colorful tutu or a unicorn helmet.

And she flies.

Tara is turbo-charged, with a beaming smile and a radiant spirit. She’s a wife and a sister, a business owner, athlete and community volunteer. She’s poured your coffee at Yeti’s Grind, made art on your latte foam. She stands on podiums at GoPro Games and leads the Vail Valley Special Olympics team. She is a bright light, in this community and beyond.

YIN AND YANG

Tara and her husband, Nate, opened Yeti’s Grind in Eagle in 2007. Tara was an elementary school teacher at the time, and Nate was working in construction.

“I felt like we needed a good coffee shop,” Tara explains. “That’s what I was missing from college — those years hanging out and studying at the little coffee shop on campus.”

Tara and Nate met in college, at Baylor University in Texas. They were first introduced at Smoothie King — Nate was training Tara, and she says they hit it off right away. They signed up for an ultra-marathon trail run together, trained together as friends, but it wasn’t until they were both nursing injuries after the race that they admitted to liking one another.

“Ever since I met him, what always attracted me to him was that we’re just different,” says Tara. “He is the yin to my yang and we balance each other, and he pushes me in ways that I wouldn’t push myself.”

Nate’s nickname, “Yeti,” came out of a NOLS course on a glacier in Alaska — an adventure he took right after he and Tara started dating. After the couple moved to Eagle, Nate’s original idea of opening an outdoor gear store, “Yeti’s Outhouse,” evolved into the coffee shop endeavor.

CUPPA COMFORT

Ten years later, Yeti’s Grind in Eagle truly represents its tagline of “small town comfort in a cup,” and Yeti’s Grind in Vail Village, opened in 2010, is a daily favorite for locals and visitors. In both Eagle and Vail, Yeti’s seems as welcoming as your own living room. Brick walls and wood accents frame daily scenes of coffee dates and business meetings, pre-ski fill-ups and apres treats.

Nate built out Yeti’s Grind in Eagle himself, and Tara described the first couple of years as “solid work, constantly.” As business started to grow, Tara stopped teaching and Nate didn’t go back to construction. They were all in.

“We experimented for a few years and tried to find our niche and what the community wanted,” says Tara. “Once we scaled it back to what was a manageable business model, very much focused around coffee, then we added the extras that go along with it.”

Too busy all the time, they realized they needed an outlet. They started a Yeti’s Grind bike team, and a community of riders began to meet at the shop to go for rides. The team kits — bike jersey and bib outfits — evolved from a brown-and-blue basic to rainbow brights over the years, so they are not hard to spot on the road or on the trail.

Tara says the business connection help her and Nate justify some much needed time on their bikes.

“It has always been a difficult thing for me as a business owner to carve out that time,” she says, “but I have realized over the years that I have needed more of it, and it’s made me a better business owner when I have allowed for that.”

Now a competitive mountain bike and cyclocross racer, Tara has had to make training a priority. She races on a professional level in cyclocross, and became the single-speed mountain bike champion of Colorado in 2016.

You can’t miss her at a race — just look for the rainbows.

“All of a sudden it wasn’t enough to have a rainbow kit on. I wanted to put on a tutu,” she says. “But I don’t always race in a tutu.”

RAINBOW CONNECTION

A go-getter to say the least, Tara never shies away from a challenge, even those she would never choose to take on.

In 2008, Nate was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma at age 28, barely two years after the couple opened Yeti’s Grind in Eagle. After eight months, three surgeries and an aggressive BioChemo Therapy protocol, Nate started lov bikes, a custom bike company, and as Tara put it: “we were able to put it all aside and started to live life more passionately.”

Six years later, in August 2014, Nate felt a bump on his right calf.

“We really never thought the cancer would come back,” Tara says, “so we were optimistic until the lab tests showed our greatest fear … the melanoma had returned.”

Three more surgeries and a year later, a scan in 2015 revealed that the melanoma had spread to a small spot in his lung and a few other areas in his upper body. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma.

“It’s definitely the hardest thing we have gone through, ever,” Tara says.

After aggressive immunotherapy treatments, then chemotherapy, radiation and T-VEC virus injections, Nate and Tara pursued alternative natural therapy options that involved strict dietary and nutritional changes, detoxes, many supplements, Bemer electromagnetic frequency therapy, emotional and spiritual healing, and cannabidiol hemp oil.

“The person I love the most is struggling, and so trying to take time with him is my biggest priority at the moment,” shares Tara. “At this point, I really realize we grow through what we go through in our lives, and I am trying to find joy in smaller things.”

In August of 2016, Yeti’s Grind in Eagle couldn’t hold the copious amount of community members who showed up to shower the love at “Nate’s Healing Hoopla.” In the event announcement, Tara called it a “prayer party,” seeking “prayers, positive vibes, hugs and ‘lov’ with Nate and his family.” People overflowed out the doors of the space. Best friends, longtime Yeti’s Grind customers, fellow Baylor alums, biking cohorts, local families — all there to sign the photo album, to light a lantern, to share a hug with Nate, to send a prayer. Tara spoke on the power of positive thinking, of hope, and of Nate’s strong will and incredibly radiant spirit.

Through all the clouds, the rainbows always seem to shine through. They have been a recurring theme for Tara recently.

“I just see them as signs from God that everything is going to be OK in our life,” she says. “Because it’s without fail when I feel nervous, then all of a sudden someone texts me a picture of a rainbow or we’ll see one.”

Her friend and mountain bike buddy, Karen Jarchow, put together what she called “a rainbow project” for Nate and Tara when they were at in-patient care in Denver in October and early November of 2016. From family, friends and even strangers, Karen gathered a collection of pictures and drawings of rainbows to share with them.

“Even people who have never met Nate and Tara have reached out,” she says. “Through how open she has been with the process, they feel something and I think that’s a really beautiful thing, and it’s truly a reflection of them as a couple.”

Karen brought Tara’s wardrobe of tutus to the hospital, and the pair continued to make Nate’s room into what became known as “The Party Room,” filled with bright costumes, coloring and tequila sipping.

“We were keeping the energy light and the energy fun, because it is a celebration of Nate, and the people who love him,” says Karen. “And you know with Tara, the more color, the better, so their room was definitely bright.”

Start your own business
Insight from Tara Picklo, owner of Yeti’s Grind:

» Don’t give up, no matter what

“You just have to have that passion and know it’s something you want to do, and don’t give up. There were a lot of times we questioned what we were doing, and a lot of times we almost threw in the towel. The rest will eventually come if you have the right intentions and you don’t give up.”

» Learn to delegate

“Trust your staff, and empower them to find their strengths. Inspire people and show them how great they are so that they can take on more responsibility and feel invested in their job.”

» The rest will come

“… when you focus on the right things. If you only focus on money or paying the rent, then you are always going to be a ball of stress about it. It’s not about that, it’s about the intentions you’re putting out there and the impact you have on the community — in whatever way that looks. And

Estate Planning

Despite the finality of the term ‘last will and testament,’ estate planning is an evolving process that should be addressed periodically

»By Kimberly Nicoletti

Fifty-five percent of adults in the U.S. do not have their affairs in order: they don’t even have a basic will. Overall, Vail Valley probably falls close to the national stat, says attorney Amy Goscha of RKV Law. And, it’s a wake-up call to both groups of people: those who haven’t carried out estate planning, and those who have but don’t meet with estate planners annually to discuss exemption amounts and changing financial or personal circumstances.

Estate planning encompasses a variety of situations, including: wills, medical directives, disposition of last remains, trusts and more.

Any parent, and any individual who has amassed a fair amount of money or assets, should have, at the very least, a will and medical directives — and possibly a trust. And, they should make any pertinent changes to the legal documents if significant life events, like marriage, divorce, illness, great financial gain or having kids, come into play.

Estate planning primer

Probably the most basic, and necessary, part of estate planning comes in the form of a will, which allows people to choose who receives their assets and who would become their children’s guardians, upon an untimely death.

Within a will, attorneys can create a trust. While trusts serve a number of purposes, the most basic directive designates who would act as trustee for their children’s financial needs, upon an untimely death. A will also names a personal representative, who administers the estate through the probate process.

Without a will, the process of distributing assets can get held up in court. While each state law differs slightly, it can look like this real case: a 70-year-old Ohio woman who suffers from debilitating back pain and depression broke her neck last year. Then, her husband died — without a will. She moved to an assisted living residence, but she’s still entrenched in legal processes, trying to prove that both her husband and his mother are, indeed, deceased, because the title to their home was in his name only.

In Colorado, joint tenancy assets, like real estate and bank accounts, automatically pass to the surviving joint tenant. Life insurance policies and retirement accounts pass to the named beneficiary(ies) on the documents; no will is needed for that.

However, if a person dies without a will, other assets and property will be distributed through the intestacy rules, according to state law. This leaves room for family feuds and other meddling and misunderstandings. It can also leave family members out. For instance, if a couple jointly owned a home but the deceased husband (who didn’t have a will) verbally told his down-and-out sister to live there with his wife upon his death but the wife disagrees, the wife wins, and the sister has no legal recourse.

Trusts:
more details

Trusts specify how people’s property is managed and/or distributed during their lifetime and after their death. A trustee manages assets based on terms of the trust.

“In Colorado, if your assets are under the exemption amount (of $5.45 million), it may not be necessary to set up a trust,” Goscha says — unless you have specific and detailed wishes for your property and want to create a trust. One common situation Goscha sees is aging couples that brought their children to their second home in Vail regularly, and they want to keep the home in their family line, rather than allow the children to sell it. In that case, a trust would specify how one child, who might not want to own the property, could be bought out without selling the home.

Trusts can delineate how much a child receives after a parent’s death and when — for example, a parent may direct the trust to pay out a third of its worth when the child turns 21, another third at age 25 and the last third at age 30.

Another reason for a trust involves reducing tax burdens for adult children; if a surviving parent owns significantly more than the $5.45 million estate exemption, he or she can set up a generation-skipping trust, so that a portion of the assets eventually go to grandchildren, once they’re grown.

Another tax-savings option includes gifting money and portions of property to reduce the estate’s worth, because beneficiaries don’t pay tax on gifted money, which the government places amount restrictions upon. For example, in 2016, it was $14,000 per beneficiary, annually. The government also imposes lifetime gifting caps.

One important caveat to understand is with a will, one spouse’s assets, upon death, can transfer to the other spouse without taxation, no matter the amount.

Revocable, living trusts allow for modifications during a creator’s lifetime. Irrevocable trusts are often used to “lock in” an estate tax exemption, which changes annually (however, in the past 10 years, it has continued to rise). In 2016, a beneficiary could inherit $5.45 million before being required to pay the estate tax rate of 40 percent on any assets above $5.45 million. 

“Properly organized living trusts will avoid probate,” Goscha says. “This may be important, depending on issues such as cost of probate, privacy, etc. Trusts can also be used to address issues like tax planning, asset protection and problematic heirs.”

For example, a mother’s trust could specify that since she gave one of her three sons $100,000 during his lifetime, he doesn’t receive anything upon her death, while her two other children will receive $100,000 each. In probate, without specification, the son who used the $100,000 during her lifetime would most likely receive another $100,000, due to state laws.

Gabe Hogan, tax attorney at Vail Tax and Accounting, recommends finding an estate attorney younger than you — whom you communicate well with and trust — when creating a trust. Though you can’t control death, it’s best to choose someone who will hopefully outlive you to create your trust(s), because if there’s not enough clarity or if it was written before newer, applicable laws existed, the estate can end up in probate, and it’s easier for the original attorney to explain your exact wishes.

“One thing every planner reads about is a poorly drafted estate plan,” Hogan says. “If there’s not enough clarity and it’s challenged by family members (or others), then all the assets go through probate. It makes it a very difficult process while you’re going through the grieving process.”

Other directives

Living wills, disposition of last remains, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney and other legal documents fall under estate planning as well. Each allows you to designate a person to act on your behalf to carry out your wishes regarding life support, organ donation and more.

Medical power of attorney gives someone you trust the power to act on your behalf regarding medical decisions if you’re incapacitated, while a living will informs people of your wishes regarding the use of artificial life support systems and food and hydration in the event of terminal illness, coma and no hope of recovery.

All of these documents can be as specific as you’d like; for example, power of attorney can be very broad, as in, “This person can decide anything if I’m incapacitated,” or can narrow the designated person’s power. When people don’t have these documents, conservators are appointed, but they won’t know exactly what the incapacitated person wanted, financially or medically.

Sometimes even the smallest issues can become major hassles within the law. For example, a wife Goscha worked with couldn’t file her annual taxes because her husband was out of the country on active military duty. She thought the power of attorney they filled out online would cover the signature, but, oddly enough, the government wouldn’t accept its tax money without his signature. She ultimately found a way for him to physically sign it — but not without great difficulty.

Estate planners caution against creating estate plans online, as they usually don’t address varying, specific needs. Ideally, individuals should work on a collaborative team made up of an estate attorney, a CPA and a financial planner.

“It’s not this isolated thing,” Goscha says.

Rather, estate planning is an ongoing, evolving process to review and discuss with professionals as priorities and life situations change.

Estate planning is an ongoing, evolving process to review and discuss with professionals as priorities and life situations change.

 

Adding up women’s wealth

» Women live an average of 4.9 years longer than men.

» Full-time working women earn, on average, 81.2 cents for each dollar a man earns.

» Approximately 84 percent of custodial parents are women.

» Women own more than 8.6 million businesses in the U.S., generating $1.3 trillion annually.

» Women make up 57.5 percent of professional occupations.

» Women control $14 trillion in assets and three-fourths of the financial wealth in the U.S.

Statistics from Women’s Institute for Financial Education

Basic estate-planning definitions

Will: A legal document allowing you to leave your property to specific people and/or charities in the amounts you wish.

Trust: A legal entity that can hold property. It is created based on a written agreement between the person creating the trust and the person administering the property on the creator’s behalf.

Power of Attorney: A document that names another person to act on your behalf for legal and financial matters during your lifetime and incapacity.

Source: Attorney Amy Goscha

Winter Radiance

At-home remedies for the skin and hair to combat winter’s dry, cold effects

»By Kirsten Dobroth

They say all living creatures need to drink water at altitude in order to stay healthy and hydrated, and the body’s hair and skin are no different. Parched tresses and cracked skin crave moisture throughout the winter months, and local hairstylists and aestheticians recommend simple fixes for long-lasting results.

Healthy Hair

For hair that’s stressed from cold and dry winter conditions, hairstylist Becca Ciaffone, of Looking Good Salon in Avon, recommends washing less to promote a healthy scalp and nourished strands.

“One thing to work into your routine is going longer between washing,” she says. “That helps prevent hair from drying out — if you can go every three days without washing that’s ideal.”

A deep conditioning mask in place of regular conditioner will help infuse hair with moisture, especially when combined with other reparative products, like hydrating shampoo and thermal protectant spray, to moisturize dry, brittle hair and protect it from the elements. Similarly, habits outside the shower are just as crucial for maintaining strong and healthy hair throughout the winter.

“Going to bed with wet hair or pulling your hair up when it’s wet is really damaging and leads to breakage,” says Ciaffone. “Snowy days on the mountain are also really tough on your hair, so put it in a braid to protect it.”

Ask your stylist about adding a deep conditioning or protein treatment to your regular trim, or try a monthly hair mask at home for a restorative experience.

Glowing Skin

Less is more when it comes to hydrating winter skin, according to Krissy Timlin of the Allegria Spa in Beaver Creek, and it all begins with what you’re putting in to develop an outward glow.

“What’s going on internally is going to be reflected on the outside,” she says. “Drinking water is important, but make sure you’re getting enough good, healthy fats — coconut, olive oil and flaxseeds — throughout the day, too.”

When it comes to developing a regular skincare regimen, start with a weekly exfoliant to scrub off dead layers of skin, before applying a daily moisturizer. Timlin recommends using all natural and organic products, as harsh cleansers can strip the skin of essentials oils and cause breakouts.

“I’m a huge advocate of using all organic and natural products and keeping it simple,” she says. “The skin is our body’s largest organ; everything we put on it is going to be absorbed into the body, so we need to be conscious about what we’re using and give it lots of love.”

Try Manuka honey for a morning cleanser —  your skin will thank you for its soothing, anti-bacterial properties — before applying coconut oil as an all-over body butter. For the ultimate body-nourishing treatment, invest in a drybrush, which buffs off dull layers of skin and boosts circulation, and apply a layer of coconut oil before showering to lock in moisture. Pair regular, gentle cleansing and hydration with a daily antioxidant serum and sunscreen to seal in anti-aging benefits.

“I definitely promote the use of physical sunscreens — those where the main ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” says Timlin. “It’s not that white, pasty sunscreen that people think anymore. And, zinc has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well, so it’s even great for people who break out.”

Avocado Protein hair Mask

Avocado and extra virgin olive oil naturally saturate hair with moisture, while egg yolks infuse strands with protein. Mix 2 egg yolks, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and half of a ripe avocado. Work into hair and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with cool water and wash as usual.

Honey Avocado Yogurt Face Mask

Yogurt contains lactic acid, which naturally softens skin, and honey and avocado moisturize and brighten for a healthy complexion. Mix half an avocado, 1 tablespoon raw, organic honey, and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt until mostly smooth. Spread a thick layer over skin and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water before applying your favorite, natural moisturizer.

From the Inside Out

Mindful HearTribe is creating a network of positive, confident mountain women

By Kirsten Dobroth

Photography by Dominique Taylor    Illustrations by Carly Arnold

The women of the Vail Valley are fierce — they ski, hike, bike, camp and work, and are frequently mothers, girlfriends or wives. However, less talked about but a frequent role for mountain women is that of being their own advocates. In a place that sees a rotating influx of residents and a higher percentage of men than women, it can often be difficult to connect with other females and find a niche that supports individual growth. The Mindful HearTribe, led by licensed social worker and relationship therapist Jessica Waclawski, is working to change that, tribe by tribe, by bringing together women in female-only group sessions aimed at empowering the area’s ladies and focusing each individual on becoming the best version of herself.

Building a Tribe

Mindful HearTribe sessions are held at Waclawski’s practice in EagleVail, with each session comprised of six meetings of “tribe” members. Waclawski explains that the goals of the Mindful HearTribe sessions are less about traditional therapy, and more about creating a group of supportive women working through shared struggles, experiences and goals via honest and, at times, candid conversation.

“I don’t describe it as a therapeutic group, and that’s usually one of the first things I clarify because in this space I’m not really wearing my therapist hat,” she says. “It’s more of a community, and I’m guiding it and leading the conversations and the topics, and we’re addressing deeper, vulnerable spaces as women, but it’s not a therapy group.”

Angie Brown was a member of the first HearTribe session, and signed up for the second session after her experience. She agrees that the group’s goals have less in common with traditional therapy, and align more with connecting like-minded women.

“It’s not like you go and spill your guts out about you,” she explains. “It’s not about you — it’s time for me to help myself grow, but I’m also there to learn from other people. It’s kind of like having coffee with girlfriends, and that’s a bit what it’s turned into: It helps connect you with people who can help you grow.”

Participants can expect sessions to start with exercises in mindfulness — light meditation to let go of stressful parts of their day, along with work designed around envisioning goals. Talk then turns to topics of femininity, individuality, relationships and long-term visions, as women of different ages and backgrounds thoughtfully work through life’s curveballs while plotting a course to consciously and purposefully work toward the selves they want to become.

The discrepancy between ages and backgrounds of Tribe members often adds a level of connection within each group, with women in different stages of life often finding reassurance in knowing that they’re not alone in their fears and dreams. Waclawski says the ability of so many different women to come together in this way frequently creates more meaningful conversations about shared parts of womanhood.

“I think it’s also validating that there’s this common thread across ages. The 30-year-old can talk about what’s tough for her in her relationship, and the woman with more experience can relate, ‘Yeah, I’ve so been there,’ or ‘Yeah, I get that right now in my own relationship, too,’ so it’s really been beautiful to watch. It’s definitely building a community of supportive women.”

Nurturing the Mind and Body

While the focus of meetings is dominated by group discussion, tribe members receive a massage, a yoga consultation, a one-on-one with Waclawski, and nutritional support in an effort to align the body and mind. The idea is to foster a sense of individuality by building a strong community of women, as well as through nurturing the physical and mental connections of each group member. The massage component is aimed at nurturing feminine energy and targeting areas where women typically hold tension and stress, and the yoga similarly offers poses meant to foster more feminine alignment. Penny Wilson, PhD, is a registered dietician and nutritionist with an extensive background in physiology and athletic nutrition who has pivoted her focus over the years to be more specific to women’s dietary needs. She leads the nutritional component of HearTribe. She says the goals of incorporating the more physical aspects of the HearTribe program work to nourish group members individually in order to make a stronger community of women.

“We’re so good about taking care of others and putting ourselves last,” she explains. “You can’t fill up yourself if your cup is empty, so you’ve got to take time to really nourish your body and feed your body and take care of it in order to take care of other people, and that’s a big part of the group — filling your own cup.”

This idea of women putting themselves last in the hierarchy of needs is a common discussion point. Laura Madsen participated in the second session of the HearTribe, and says along with the overall message and connections formed by the group, the physical components impart important takeaways for members of nourishing yourself from the inside in order to be at your best with others.

“All of us have things going on; we’re balancing different things,” she says. “But, if I’m not well, all those other parts of me and connections to others aren’t going to be well.”

Addressing the Issues

Although group participants and Waclawski are hesitant to describe the HearTribe as a therapy group, the group’s sentiments of support offer an opportunity to let it out that’s become a rarity, and even a stigma, in mountain communities. As of 2015, according to the Colorado Health Institute, there were 14 licensed psychologists in Eagle County for a population of 53,861; that’s one psychologist for every 3,847.2 people. And while not everyone needs a licensed psychologist, it can be limiting for many women who also are having a hard time maintaining a connection with other females in the area.

That difficulty of connection is a common point of discussion that arises throughout the group’s meetings. The inherent busyness of modern life makes it difficult for women to form tight groups of friends in almost all communities in the U.S. But in the Vail Valley, the challenge is exacerbated by a community that, in terms of numbers, is dominated by men; a transient population of seasonal workers; schedules that fluctuate wildly between winter and summer seasons; the exodus of long-term friends who leave to raise families in more affordable areas; and breakups that put distance between women and friends they shared with a significant other.

Similarly, the small-town nature of the area can often feel as isolating and counterproductive for fostering personal growth as it is conducive for creating close-knit connections and possibilities. Especially for women who have spent their adult lives evolving under the microscope of the Vail bubble, the stigmas of their pasts can often form lasting opinions and impressions among community members and acquaintances that don’t reflect their current goals and self.

“It can be so hard sometimes because some people keep you in the past,” says Madsen, “They don’t always have you in the now or the future, and you have to say, ‘No, this is who I am today.’”

Some circles within the area can be difficult to break into, as well. While mountain sports like skiing and snowboarding are common recreational outlets for many, they can also be a bit isolating for others who move to the area for work, or simply to experience life in the mountains.

“People always ask me why I moved here if I don’t ski,” explains Brown. “I moved here for work opportunities, and because I have a family here it’s not as isolating as I think it would be if I were single — but (skiing is) a natural way people meet up, so that can sometimes be difficult.”

The inherent competitiveness of many Vail Valley women through mountain sports can also create a sense of solitude for females who might pride themselves on keeping up with the boys as opposed to hanging out with the ladies. But, in truth, many women find that sharing this time with female friends empowers their connections, regardless of skill level.

“I’m a true Colorado girl,” says Madsen. “I love to be outside, paddling, fishing and skiing, but I don’t like to do it alone.”

Lasting Connections

And while there are certainly aspects of life in the mountains that can seem isolating, there is a lot of common ground that can bring them together, too. A fierceness burns inside each woman of the Vail Valley whether she realizes it or not. Many have come here from other places, or carved a niche — and a life — for themselves away from family.

So far, Waclawski says the connections fostered through Tribe sessions have helped to cultivate that sentiment and created friendships that have exceeded the program’s six meetings, with group members staying in touch via Facebook, meeting up in their free time, and even creating connections with members of other HearTribe sessions.

“There has really been a desire for all the groups to stay in touch, which has really fostered a growing community and brings all the groups back together,” she says.

In order to strengthen the tribal bond of the participants around the setting they call home, Waclawski incorporates outdoor meetings into the sessions, which solidifies the sense of community that they’re creating together. The last session featured a full moon potluck, with participants invited to bring other female friends along to the meeting.

The ladies agree that the ripple effect is working. Brown says being a part of the first Tribe has created a network of women she can reach out to, and that being a part of the second HearTribe session has given her a chance to observe a progression of discussion topics, and be part of a growing group of women all moving toward the best version of themselves.

“I joined it in the first place to meet other like-minded women in the valley, and I do think the group provides that and attracts a certain type of person to it,” she says. “Being around like-minded, positive women — we can share ideas and learn from each other and connect, and it’s great to see that evolve.”

And while the topics and the participants evolve on a Tribe by Tribe basis, the goals and the outcomes of the Mindful HearTribe remain as clear and consistent as the results: cultivating a sense of individual strength perpetuated by the support and confidence they build together.

For more info see awakingawareness.com/mindful-heart-tribe/

Women Leading Sustainability

Women are championing the green movement by leading businesses to ‘Eco Certification’

»by Kimberly Nicoletti 

Megan Gilman, co-owner of Active Energies, Inc., entered college as an idealistic mechanical engineer, but the job description didn’t quite spark her passion. She wanted to make a tangible difference in people’s daily lives, while also sharing the excitement of protecting the planet in innovative ways. So, 10 years ago, she and her husband launched the first local company to administer energy audits, consultation and solar design. Now, she’s a mom, chairman of the board of Holy Cross Energy, an expert consultant who travels globally to assist in green building, and a board member of Walking Mountains Science Center, which trains and certifies businesses for greater sustainability.

Gilman is just one of Vail Valley’s “A” list of women who are leading their companies through Walking Mountains’ Actively Green Sustainability Business Certification — and ensuring their companies act responsibly when it comes to environmental impacts.

The Actively Green program

Walking Mountains based its Actively Green certification on curriculum designed by Sustainable Travel International, a nonprofit that asserts local communities, governments and businesses must proactively plan their growth, lest they “end up becoming victims — rather than beneficiaries — of tourism development.”

Walking Mountains’ Actively Green training helps companies save money, educate and engage employees and clients, act as role models, increase revenue and take care of the environment.

The local program, tailored for the valley’s business community, began in conjunction with the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, to expand the community’s sustainability efforts while building on its reputation as a premiere international destination. Since then, it has certified over 50 businesses, and is working with 100 more.

Women nurturing the land

Both Gilman and Kim Langmaid, founder of Walking Mountains, notice more and more women taking charge within the sustainability movement. Of course, plenty of men are involved in the cause as well, but Langmaid thinks women’s natural sense of nurturing innately leads them to deeply consider — and take action around — protecting the planet’s health for future generations.

“Not that the men aren’t doing it, but it seems the women are leading the way and being very collaborative and supportive of each other,” Langmaid says.

In keeping with that cooperative approach, Walking Mountains’ Actively Green training has become “the missing link to ensure homeowners and businesses have access to experts (teaching) what their impacts are and what measures they can take,” Gilman says.

The program bridges the sustainability information gap through its training and 20-criteria action plan, the latter of which includes implementing a sustainability policy, reducing water and energy use, monitoring waste and recycling, purchasing responsibly and initiating a giving back program.

“Kids are learning about the environment,” Langmaid says. “Now adults really have a way.”

Vail Valley Partnership (VVP) supports local businesses to participate in the program by offering the opportunity for VVP members to send two employees free of charge. Already, two-thirds of their business members are taking advantage of the training, which also gives them additional recognition as “green” in VVP’s business directory.

“As Vail becomes a sustainable destination, we felt it was important for us to play a role in that,” says Maren Cerimele, VVP membership manager, adding that more and more tourists are seeking green destinations.

Hospitality’s environmental care

East West Resorts has certified a few of its properties through Actively Green, knowing both visitors and homeowners appreciate sustainability efforts among premium properties.

Participation in Actively Green “was the start of everything” for East West Resort’s Falcon Point, says general manager Lisa Mutz Nelson. It received a $10,000 rebate from Holy Cross Energy for full window and door replacements, and since following a waste management and recycling program, they now recycle 40,000 pounds of material annually. They also educate guests and staff about recycling batteries and old electronics; they’ve replaced 99 percent of lighting with LED bulbs; and they’ve installed vacuum tank systems for all toilets to reduce water usage. Through these measures, Falcon Point earned the State of Colorado’s gold designation in its Environmental Leadership Program. The designation highlights Falcon Point’s strong commitment to sustainability, and without Walking Mountains’ straightforward training and criteria, reaching the state’s gold designation could have been much more daunting  — after all, the state’s application itself is 30 pages long.

Nelson also sits on East West’s Eco Care Committee, which considers ways to educate and engage managers and employees. They set annual goals for the upcoming year, such as installing automated thermostat control systems or bathroom light sensors, because so many people leave bathroom lights on.

“I think living in this valley, we want to maintain the pristine environment we have,” Nelson says. “Each year, as we grow and grow, we want to protect Mother Nature. To continue educating is really important — people are (often) wasteful. Just because we live in a resort town doesn’t mean it’s going to stay like this.

“Green is my passion. I really feel that if everybody did a little, it would amount to a whole lot. Everybody can help reduce their carbon footprint.”

By placing recycling bins in every room, educational material in guest books, and reminder signs encouraging guests to reuse towels and turn off bathroom lights, Falcon Point gently spreads the word to individuals.

“We don’t want to force it down their throat,” Nelson says. “We just want to educate them because it’s part of our goal.”

Annique Frank, Bachelor Gulch’s property and association manager, underwent the Actively Green training for East West Resort’s Ascent Residences. While she knew a lot about the “low-hanging fruit” of green business, Walking Mountains alerted her to rebates and ways Ascent, being a new building, could benefit from sustainability measures. Like Nelson, she also learned more about what she could do in her own home, and incorporated it.

“Education is the stepping stone for the whole sustainability movement,” Frank says. “If people don’t know about where they can save money and help the environment, (they won’t). You can’t do anything about what you don’t know about.

“Sometimes there are upfront expenses, but you can do an analysis on return,” she says, adding that many Ascent second homeowners were happy their electric and natural gas costs decreased, rather than increased. “The more people and businesses get involved, the better.”

Role models

Langmaid aims to create cooperative support systems and role models out of local businesses.

“They can set the tone for the employees and network to share best practices,” she says.

Cerimele and other women see not only benefits for the environment, but also for individual health and wellbeing. Cerimele points out how what we use ends up in rivers and oceans if we’re not careful; even something as simple as using traditional cleaning products, which contain toxins, end up in our vital water chains. Throwing out old electronics causes toxic metals to pollute landfills.

“There’s definitely a lot that we can do,” Cerimele says. “The Walking Mountains program is a great start — getting a baseline of knowing where you are and making improvements in homes and businesses.”

Gilman continues to push herself to discover better ways to live sustainably and share her enthusiasm with others. In fact, she’s obsessed with energy — how we get it, how we use it, and how we can save it.

“I’m an energy dork. I love it,” she says. “I can’t leave the light on in a room — it hurts.”

She drives a Chevy Volt and researched just about every material that went into the new house they built, searching for the most energy-efficient.

“Some of these things people see as a sacrifice are not,” she says. “The impacts we can have without sacrificing our way of life are profound. We have an obligation to not leave this place worse than we found it.”

And, as women in business continue to channel their nurturing traits toward the environment, they’ll make significant changes on a large scale.

Becoming more sustainable

Walking Mountains’ Actively Green Sustainable Business Training and Eco Certification helps businesses: save money through rebates and energy-use reduction, engage employees, attract customers and become an environmental steward and community leader.

Any business can participate. Each training consists of two afternoon sessions and costs $100 for the first business employee and $50 for additional employees; however, Vail Valley Partnership members can send two employees for free.

The training is based on curriculum designed by Sustainable Travel International, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the planet. Walking Mountains tailored the program around Eagle Valley businesses.

Participants learn about best green practices and new tools to live sustainably on a daily basis. They assess their current sustainability and develop an action plan related to these 20 criteria:

»  Regulatory Compliance

»  No Regulatory Disputes

»  Business Plan

»  Green Team

»  Sustainability Policy & Plan

»  Fair Labor Practices

»  Monitor Waste & Recycling

»  Water Use

»  Energy Use

»  Greenhouse Gas Emissions

»  Vehicle Pollution

»  Chemical Management

»  Responsible Purchasing

»  Paper Purchasing

»  Good Neighbor Policy

»  Giving Back Program

»  Customer Feedback

»  Sustainability Education

»  Do No Harm/Leave No Trace

»  Local Economic Development

For more information, visit walkingmountains.org

Spa Stop

Boutique salons and day spas let you retreat from busy into bliss     

»By Kim Fuller  »Photos by Dominique Taylor

There’s a special feeling on the days when you carve out a couple hours that are all your own, especially when you can fill in the time with some self-care. Whether for a routine visit or a certain occasion, the little spas around the valley are perfect spots for pampering.

Hands and Feet

Digit’s Nail Salon has been open in Vail Village for six years. Owner Karen Jacobson is available by appointment only, but if you walk by and she’s there, say hello and she may be able to fit you in.

Jacobson is all about happy hands and feet. Her manicures last an hour and pedicures are 75 minutes.

“Everything takes longer,” she explains. “It’s just me and the client so it’s really private, which is totally different than going to a busy salon. I am in a beautiful location, I play nice music and use good product, and I take my time to make your nails perfect.”

Lager nail salons like Lovely Nails and Jazzy Nails, both in Avon, are a couple of the more affordable staples for locals. Lovely Nails has been in business for over a decade, and manager Cindy Do says the business makes cleanliness and comfort a priority.

“We try to pamper clients after their work, after their skiing, after their hiking,” she says.

Manor Vail Spa in Vail bases nail treatments on their cancer-aware standards, avoiding harmful fumes and artificial nails. Additionally, their pedicures don’t use jets in the tubs to ensure high levels of sanitation.

“If someone has a low immune system they can pick up anything through their nails and are more prone to infection,” explains Kordi Schmidt, Manor Vail Spa owner.

Hair Design and Style

Whether your daily style is time-intensive, or if it’s throwing your hair back into a bun or ponytail, the health of your locks often relies on using proper products and getting a good dose of nutrients.

Linda Wilde, owner of West One Salon in EagleVail, believes your salon or stylist should give you knowledge and tools to take home, rather than just style you up and send you out the door.

“My goal as a salon owner and a stylist is to really teach my clients that science behind hair,” Wilde says.

Education on your hair can include how you use products or hot tools, or the longevity of the color in your hair. Wilde shares how hairdressers know all the tips and tricks about hair, and although it’s easy to assume that women (and men) also know the ins and outs of their own locks — they often don’t.

“We’re mountain women, so we’re rough and tough on our hair, and regardless of how well you think you take care of it, the elements here are extremely harsh,” she says. “So if you are going to a salon that’s not educating you on how to properly care for your hair while you’re here, you will come back to the salon a mess every single time.”

Wilde has a good reputation as a colorist in the valley — a stylistic element that she says is her favorite aspect of working with hair.

“There is so much art that can go into coloring that complements a haircut,” she says. “Like shading and texturizing — things of that nature that you can build in with hair color, without having to cut it.”

If a client wants to look more slender, for instance, Wilde would put darker color around her face, and lighter on top. She says the results create a sort of optical illusion.

“I enjoy the whole mystery that people really don’t know how that happens,” she says. “And it’s really like a science for me.”

There are plenty of local hair salons and talented stylists, and to name a few faves from valley residents: Nick Mahaffey at Bliss Studio in Edwards, Leigh Tarrant at Fusion Hair Studio in Eagle, and Christopher Ralston at Bang’lz Hair Salon in Avon.

Finishing Touches

From spray tans to waxing, makeup and more, finishing touches are the cherry on top at boutique salons.

Whether you’re looking for a full facial or products to purchase, the Eminence line that Schmidt carries in the Manor Vail Spa is fully organic as well as clinical and results-focused.

Schmidt and her team also keep to their green spa standards with their waxing by using Outback Organics from Australia.

“It’s hard to find organic wax,” she explains, “and we have finally been able to find something legit.”

Manor Vail offers facial waxing, as well as arm and leg waxing, but according to Outback Organics from Australia, the full Brazilian is by far the most common waxing service booked.

Elements, A Day Spa in Eagle is a small space with an urban edge. With three treatment rooms and a long list of services, Elements focuses on giving women a little time to themselves.

“It’s a nice place for women to come in and have that hour that they need, and then they go off and back into their busy day,” says spa owner Alisa Galehr.

On top of massages and facials, Elements has face and full-body waxing, as well as makeup lessons and spray tanning.

For brow waxing and tinting, the spa uses a brow stencil system with six different stencil shapes to fit over a brow’s natural shape. The Eye Makeover service includes a brow wax, brow tint and eyelash tint.

“I think your brows are a very important aspect of your face,” Galehr says. “We make both brows the same and don’t take too much. Rather than just eyeballing it, we use a technique that our clients love.”

And for the finale, the South Seas Spray tan works with your natural melanin, so you don’t get any darker than you would in the sun.

“I tend to be very fair-skinned, and I do like this formula because it doesn’t make me look orange,” says Galehr. 

When it comes to your spray tan, orange will never be the new black. This airbrushed tan lasts about five to seven days, and you can also get the tan-extending lotion for even longer results.

Even the finishing services don’t last forever, but perhaps your monthly trip to a boutique spa is that appointment you can look forward to the most.

“There is so much art that can go into coloring that complements a haircut. Like shading and texturizing — things of that nature that you can build in with hair color, without having to cut it.” Linda Wilde, West One Salon

Break Time

Putting ‘real life’ on pause for an hour, afternoon or overnight is good for the soul — and personal sanity

»by Heather Hower

A break can reinvigorate the soul and make us all better moms, wives, friends — women. A weekend away isn’t always an option, so whether you have a morning, a day or even just an hour, there are plenty of ways to refresh close to home.

Ways to refresh are different for each woman: run 15 miles, do a century ride, skin up the mountain or play hockey, get a facial, acupuncture or massage. A perfect day might be combining the sweat with the spa, but time doesn’t always permit.

After a break, you’re more engaged, more patient, kinder, and probably more willing to laugh at mini catastrophes like spilled cereal or a wet bed. A 2002 UCLA study proved what we already know: Girlfriends are good for us. When we’re around friends, oxytocin is released. This is science – we feel euphoric because we are euphoric.

Bethanie Lindal, MSW, LCSW, CSPT, owner of Peak Counseling, agrees – and just like the rest of us struggles to take breaks, even as she knows it’s best for her, her family and her practice.

“It is important to nurture your mental wellness, which will keep you healthier all around. One is more patient and more empathetic, leading to being a better human in all avenues of your life,” she says. “I very much believe it is important to ensure psychological well-being. As a therapist, I make sure I do it for my own well-being, so I can be present for my clients and effectively support them. But also so I can be the best I can be in my own life. I have a stockpile of self-care practices: exercise, being in nature, socializing, art…It is so important to be the best you, you can be.”

Just a one-hour break can refresh. When I took a break on my yoga mat recently I felt delinquent — I had a list to finish before Friday and should’ve just worked through yoga, right? Wrong! It was as if my yoga teacher crawled into my mind when she said she used to think doing a yoga practice was selfish and she felt bad about taking that time for herself, until she realized by taking that time, she served others better and with more joy. Guilt be gone.

If you have a full morning free, plan a nature escape: text a couple of friends or gals you think you want to be friends with and go. Twenty minutes to the trailhead, three miles up, three miles back, two hours of chatter and a respite from the never-ending mental clutter of work, chores and the to-do list.

Planning ahead, especially with young kids, might be out of the question. Grab any last-minute moments to yourself you can. Maybe your tot got a make-up day at preschool, or you took your friend’s daughter for the day and it’s time for payback. Check out the Vail Daily, Groupon, True Local Deals on KZYR or even Vail Moms Classifieds on Facebook to score a sweet, last-minute deal on a spa treatment. Sure, the treatment is a delight but it could be that the unexpectedness makes it even sweeter.

If you’re able to get away for an overnight, try something different like one of the 10th Mountain Division Huts that are easy to get to. Hang out under the glittering stars, sip from a box of wine, sit by the fire and laugh. Several huts are easy to get to or the more adventurous pals can skin or snowshoe a few miles in.

Adventure minded but not able to get an overnight? Take a break with none of the hassle of hauling gear. Park at the base of Beaver Creek and hike up Bachelor Gulch to the Ritz-Carlton. Sit by the roaring fire, order a Moscow mule and pretend you’re a tourist.

Nicole Hewitt, a mother of two in Eagle, stretched way out of her comfort zone last year and came away with a new gaggle of pals and a new sport. “I played (ice hockey) for the first time last season. Everyone on my team and in the league was really supportive. It is a lot of fun. I really looked forward to my Sundays to do something for me. I recommend if you are considering, do it. When I’m playing hockey, I’m completely focused on the game — work, kids, what I’m going to make for dinner, my list of to dos are all put on the back burner. It’s like a cleansing of the mind… And also an amazing workout. The social aspect is another bonus, I made some great new friends and went to a few great parties.”

A night out with just a bit of debauchery shouldn’t be out of the question. Let’s not trivialize a night out by calling it “Girls’ Night Out,” it’s a night out, period. Hire the Turtle Bus and hit the town. It might be for a friend’s birthday, a fundraiser or because there’s a great concert. Dance, sing, have a sip — and that’s just on the way there. Burton’s US Open always has a killer line up of music and you get an adrenaline rush just watching the half-pipe action under the bright lights.

Still don’t feel like you have the time? There are so many ways to take a break: Bring your posse to paint a canvas, volunteer at the Salvation Army, help at a community dinner, build a house with Habitat for Humanity, go to an early morning yoga class, hire a chef to give your group a private cooking class, do a sunrise workout on Vail Mountain.

Bottom line, though, just do it.

 

Power Up

It really does take a village to raise a child. And in Eagle County, part of that village can be the PwrHrs Afterschool Program. It’s easy to succumb to the idea that moms — both working and stay at home — need to be able to take care of everything, everybody, all of the time. It’s an impossible proposition, and doesn’t account for the reality of too little time and too much to do. Youth Power365, funded by the Vail Valley Foundation, is a year-round endeavor that strives to serve “Every Child, Every Day.”

During the school year, PwrHrs is a great option for kids who need a boost in order to thrive. Offered in every school, the PwrHrs program serves more than 4,000 Eagle County kids.

Designed for kids age 5 to 13, PwrHrs uses local teachers and facilities combined with a powerful 6-to-1 student/teacher ratio that accelerates growth for students. PwrHrs provides extended learning and enrichment opportunities such as nutrition, character building, athletics, dance, music and art for students three to four days per week. The additional time spent on academics and participating in safe after-school enrichment activities improves academic scores and promotes social, emotional and physical well-being.

After a four-week summer PwrHrs program, 65 percent of participants experienced growth in their literacy scores and 71 percent of experienced growth in their math scores.

“We are so incredibly lucky to be a part of a community that cares so much about its children,” says Rewold-Thuon. The program relies upon donations to cover the gap between what it costs and what families are asked to pay.

For more information, visit vvf.org/education/youthpower365.