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My Favorite Fashion Accessory: The Scarf

A scarf is the perfect accessory to complete an outfit!

After spending the last two days at the Denver Apparel & Accessory Market, I am very happy to say that my FAVORITE accessory, the scarf, is alive and well–and still making a fashion statement for Spring 2012!  The drab, functional scarf used to ward off the chilling winds of winter has exploded into every corner of the fashion world and is here to stay in updated fabrics and colors. Add color and sophistication to a basic dress or suit, and then change the look again by changing  to a scarf with a different fabric.  While there is no ‘correct’ way to wear your scarf, tying techniques will vary with fabrics, scarf size and shape.  The Internet is an excellent source to learn new scarf tying techniques, or stop by the Golf Shop and we will be happy to show you a trick or two as well as our selection of scarves in silk, cashmere, and wool.  To reach us, call 719.636.2520.

Everyone has at least one scarf in their closet, so try adding it to your favorite tee shirt and a pair of jeans and see how  instantly  a boring look changes into a contemporary, stylish look!

Happy shopping!

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Travel Insurance Offers Peace of Mind for Your Next Vacation


Time to come to Colorado Springs!

We would not think of driving our cars without car insurance.  If you own your home, I’m sure you have some type of homeowners’ insurance.  But what about travel insurance?  I am sure that anyone who had a trip planned to the Big Apple, to the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, of course), or to the Jersey shore during the recent arrival of Hurricane Irene–and found they had their flights cancelled or their vacation rental boarded up with plywood–wishes that they would have purchased travel insurance.  There are a few options out there, but one of the leaders in the industry, and one that I have used in the past, is Travel Guard.

For whatever your next adventure may bring, choose the travel insurance coverage that meets your travel needs, and you will be happy you did.  From additional limits for medical expenses or lost baggage, to special coverage for adventure travel, Travel Guard lets you design the coverage that is right for you and your family.

While the weather in Colorado Springs is always beautiful, of course, Garden of the Gods Club welcomes travelers from all over the world, which is why I wanted to remind everyone to look into travel insurance to secure your trips to and from (as Al Roker would say) your neck of the woods.  I hope to see you in Colorado Springs soon, and I also hope that anyone with family on the East Coast finds their family out of harm’s way.  (I am happy to say that my family is doing fine.)

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The Art of the Family Dinner

For a moment, hit the pause button on whatever you are doing.

Peruse your memories and pick a few that conjure much joy. Chances are, those memories involve some important relationships. Whether they are with family or friends, some of life’s best moments hinge on strong relationships.

When it comes to cultivating lasting family ties, embracing dinner time is a great way for families to transcend living as a group of strangers, to become a family that truly does life together. Rather than viewing the family dinner as an obligation, what if it was viewed as an art worth cultivating and savoring?

Family dinner is a great time to cultivate relationships

Though carving out space for family dinner may be easier said than done, recent research that cites its benefits may motivate you to make the effort. Below you’ll find more on the undeniable benefits of breaking bread together and some guidelines for making this practice a reality, as well as a favorite family recipe from Nicholas Arnold, our executive chef here at Garden of the Gods Club.

Reasons to Revive Dinnertime
If you need some motivation to start making family dinners a regular occurrence, recent research should catch your attention. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University conducted research on the benefits of family dinners by comparing the responses of adolescents who had family dinners three times a week with those who had them five times per week.

It turns out that those in the latter group were half as likely to smoke marijuana or cigarettes, one-third less likely to try alcohol, and were also less likely to have friends with these habits. Further, they were more likely to claim that their parents were proud of them, and were more apt to confide in their parents about serious problems. Plus, adolescent girls who regularly ate dinner with family were less likely to use diet pills or develop an eating disorder.

What the research really boils down to is that dinner time can serve as a space to get much-needed personal interaction. It helps to facilitate communication about what happened during one another’s days, enables a family to share laughs and difficult moments, and fosters genuine relationships.

“We found that dinner time was a great opportunity for us to open up to our kids and vice versa.  It was an opportunity to really mold them,” Deana Runza, a guest of the Lodge at Garden of the Gods Club, recently shared with me. ”Now they are 18 and 22, and we still like to have family dinners when possible.”

Making a Great Idea Reality
Though family dinners might be an excellent idea, without practical steps to make them a reality, they will remain just that – an idea. If you’re like most families and struggle to find time to enjoy family dinner, here are some practical tips to help you make a great idea a regular practice:

• Aim for quality over quantity. Even if you don’t have much time to devote to dinner, you can still enjoy the company of family. What matters is that you begin to cultivate the practice of gathering together and sharing life happenings. Even if you order a pizza and eat for 20-30 minutes, that’s still valuable family time. And, if you can’t make dinner a reality every night, shoot for at least a few times a week rather than zero.
• Eliminate distractions. It’s difficult to get face time if everyone’s faces are buried in text messages, laptops, or the TV. Make it a priority to unplug and really engage. Show your kids that social media isn’t the only ‘social’ activity that exists.
• Start when the kids are young. If family dinners are a regular part of your family from the time your children are young, they’re more likely to appreciate them later on. Further, you can instill great eating habits in young children by giving them healthy foods. Of course, any time is a great time to start making more space for family relationships. Even if you haven’t had family dinners in the past, you can always start now. 
• Let everyone in the family take ownership. Rather than having one person in charge of family dinners, make them an opportunity for everybody to pitch in. Children can help choose the menu and clean up. You can even get creative and have themed family dinners. Make them a time the entire family looks forward to, rather than something they have to do.
• Let somebody else do the work for you. It’s nice to let somebody else do the cooking and cleaning every now and then. At Garden of the Gods Club, we offer various themed dinner nights, where the family can come and enjoy a delicious dinner in great surroundings. “At the Club, our themed family dinners are no hassle. Chef Nicholas creates healthy menu options, so you can enjoy a great meal and family time,” Tracey Kalata, director of membership at Garden of the Gods Club, pointed out.
• Embrace the art of listening. Learn to really listen to those in your family and understand who they are as individuals. Instead of forming an immediate response in your head, just listen. Model respect, courtesy, and love to your family members. 

Tested & Approved Recipes
Nicholas Arnold, jexecutive chef at Garden of the Gods Club, has very fond memories of family dinner time growing up. “Family dinner means so many things to me. This is how I started cooking – with and for my family,” he said. ”The scent of my father’s freshly-baked oatmeal cookies still lingers in my memories of being a very young child.”

Here is a favorite family recipe from Chef Nicholas to pique your creativity and inspire a great dinner time:

Fettucini with Tomato Sausage Basil Cream Sauce
Serves 6

For the sauce:
8 oz.  Italian sausage (mild or hot), casing removed
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3  shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup white wine
½  lemon, juiced
4  large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup heavy cream
10  basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Shredded Parmesan cheese as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Render sausage until golden brown; drain excess fat and reserve. Add a little of the reserved fat back into the pan; sauté garlic and shallots over low heat until fragrant and caramelized. Deglaze the pan with white wine; reduce until almost dry. Add lemon juice and reduce until almost dry. Add diced tomatoes and sauté, crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Cook until all water is evaporated and tomatoes are of a sauce-like consistency. Add heavy cream and reduce until thick. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over cooked fettucini and garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.


Strong family relationships can make a positive impact on all involved. Ultimately, making time for family dinner is really about carving out more space for valuable time with family.  Good luck!


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Aromatherapy: The Science Behind the Scents

Twice yearly, Sharon Simpson-Dogon was struck with a bilateral ear infection and bronchitis simultaneously.  After many years of suffering, her health breakthrough finally came with her discovery of the antiseptic properties of essential oils – specifically the DoTERRA essential oil line. She is now an independent consultant with DoTERRA.  “About three years ago, I started using a specified mix of DoTERRA’s oil of oregano, cinnamon bark, and Onguard when I started to notice symptoms. As a result, I no longer suffer like I used to,” Sharon said.  “These have helped my body do what it was meant to do naturally – remain healthy.”

Lavender plants, from which lavender essential oil is derived. Lavender is one of many essential oils.

Because they boast antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and other properties, essential oils are the foundation of a field known as aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the use of highly concentrated essential oils found in nature, such as lavender or rosemary, to promote health via inhalation or topical application.

Though the modern field of aromatherapy is relatively recent, the use of essential oils has been around for at least 5,000 years. Ancient China, Persia, India and Egypt are cited as the first to recognize and use essential oils to enhance well-being.

Fast forward to today, and the role of essential oils has evolved to become an important part of current health and beauty practices. And, beginning in mid-September 2011, DoTERRA essential oils will be available at the Spa and Salon at Garden of the Gods Club. Amanda Rigby, director of the Spa and Salon at Garden of the Gods Club, is excited to introduce the line to clients. “DoTERRA refines their oils multiple times before sending them in to be tested,” she said. “This ensures the purest grade oils are the only ones being sold.”

 “DoTERRA’s oils have really outdone any other that I’ve tried,” Sharon said. “The owners of the company are dedicated to the potency and purity of the oils.”

Keep reading to learn more about the science behind aromatherapy, as well as what essential oils may have to offer you.

Research-Backed Relief
Aromatherapy is not without science to back its claims of health and beauty promotion. One study accredited by ProCE, an organization that provides continuing education to pharmacists and health-care providers, found that essential oils yielded some eye-opening results when used as supportive treatment for various conditions.

Though lavender’s scent is popular among candles and room fresheners, it may also have serious health benefits. The study found that when inhaled, lavender’s essential oil may relieve anxiety in patients about to undergo dialysis, increase accuracy on math computations, improve sleep by inducing drowsiness, and even reduce agitation in patients with dementia. Humidified lavender also produced a small, positive effect on blood pressure, pulse, pain, anxiety, depression, and sense of well-being in patients. Further, essential Neroli oil, or the oil from bitter orange blossoms, has been shown to relieve anxiety in patients who have just had cardiac surgery.

 “Essential oils used in aromatherapy have chemical compounds that occur naturally,” Sharon said. “When you breathe in the aroma from essential oils, the molecules hit the Olfactory nerve and go straight to the brain, producing an almost immediate reaction.”

Many of Simpson-Dogon’s clients have experienced tremendous headache relief with essential oil. “Most people with general headaches benefit from rubbing one drop of peppermint oil onto the temples with the index finger. Because peppermint is a vasodilator, it offers relief,” she said.

A Wide Array of Beauty Benefits
Beyond their health benefits, essential oils can also serve as beauty boosters. Many essential oils have antioxidant properties that promote skin health. They can be used in steam facials or applied directly to the skin. “While lavender is very calming to the skin, frankincense boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Sandalwood is also great for the skin in general, and geranium is very supportive to mature skin,” said Simpson-Dogon.

The essential oil consultant also recommends using lemon oil to clarify and brighten nails, and sandalwood to nourish them. For hair she encourages the use of rosemary to protect against dandruff, and peppermint or tea tree oil to promote scalp health. “Dry hair can also benefit from the use of jojoba, coconut, or ylang-ylang oils,” she said.

Essential oils can also be a great complement to a variety of massage therapies. DoTERRA offers a massage oil blend that is very safe to use, relaxes the muscles, increases circulation, and helps to detoxify muscles.

A Word of Caution
Though you don’t have to be an expert on essential oils to benefit from them, Sharon recommends taking basic precautions. If you have high blood pressure, are pregnant, or have any other medical condition, you should always seek the clearance of your medical practitioner first.

“Citrus oils are photosensitive, which means that the skin will darken if the oils are applied to skin that is subsequently exposed to sunlight,” Sharon said.  “Also, lemon oil, which very efficiently attacks foreign bodies, will destroy plastic (including styrofoam); therefore, if you add a drop of it to water, put the water in a glass, pottery, or stainless steel container.”

She also adds that people with sensitive skin should dilute essential oils with a good vegetable oil like jojoba or coconut oil, which has the same composition as sebum, or the oil produced by human skin.

From their ability to bring much-needed physical relief, like that experienced by Sharon, to their beauty-enhancing properties, essential oils truly are unique. “Essential oils are a vital part of a holistic approach to many common ailments,” Amanda said. “Many daily issues can be treated with the use of these oils.”

“The  Spa and Salon at Garden of the Gods Club is a quality environment whose clients seek quality. Therefore, DoTERRA is an excellent fit,” Sharon said.

The DoTERRA line will be on shelves at the Spa and Salon at Garden of the Gods Club by mid-September. If you have any questions about the essential oil line and how it might benefit you, please contact the Spa and Salon at Garden of the Gods Club at (719) 520-4988.

Have you ever benefited from an essential oil? Feel free to comment below.

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Things to Do in Colorado Springs This Weekend: Aug. 25-28, 2011

The weekend is just around the corner, and we’re wondering how you plan to spend it!  Whether taking a walk through the park, participating in an outdoor festival, or enjoying a game of golf or tennis, Colorado Springs residents and visitors know that our city is a fabulous place to be this time of year.  One of our favorite events, the Pikes Peak EcoFestival, will be happening this weekend in Colorado Springs, along with a number of other fun activities that could keep your family happily busy all weekend long.  We’ve listed some ideas below; for more options, visit www.peakradar.com or www.coloradosprings.com.  If you’re not a local and are thinking about visiting this weekend, check out our Lodge guest rooms by visiting www.lodgeatggclub.com.

    • Colorado State Fair — Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all day, 1001 Beulah Ave., Pueblo.  OK, even though this event isn’t technically in Colorado Springs, it’s just a few miles to the south and definitely worth including in our weekend event highlights.  For the event schedule, visit www.coloradostatefair.com.  On Saturday, The Band Perry — known for their country hit “If I Die Young” — will entertain.  Tickets are $10/person, with children 6 and under admitted free with a paying adult.  To receive $2 off gate admission, pick up an Orange Crush at your local Pepsi retailer and look for the coupon valid Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  To receive the $2 discount, you will have to present the actual empty can at the gate as well.
    • baseball

    • Sky Sox vs. Tacoma Rainiers — Friday & Saturday, 7:05 pm, and Sunday, 1:05 pm, Security Service Field.  Tickets $7-12.
    • High Altitude Happy Hour — Friday, 4 pm to 8 pm, Pikes Peak Cog Railway Station (Manitou Springs).  Enjoy a fun evening on Pikes Peak with a reception beginning at 4 pm at the Cog Railway Station, featuring wine from D’Vine Wines of Manitou Springs and hors d’oeuvres from Adam’s Mountain Cafe, The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, and the Stagecoach Inn.  Next, take a trip up Pikes Peak on the world-famous Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  Tickets are available at the Chamber office or on the Chamber website. $55 per person.
Pikes Peak EcoFestival 2009

Photo from the Pikes Peak EcoFestival's Facebook page

    • Pikes Peak EcoFestival — Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.  For the third year, the environment, history, and community will come together to support the Rock Ledge Ranch Foundation.  Designed to educate and inspire locals to live more sustainably, this event will feature eco-conscious exhibitors, live music, children’s activities, bike valets, electronics and single-stream recycling, local eats, a beer garden, an eco-auto display, and more.  $4/person suggested donation.  Ride your bicycle to the event and receive a free pint of beer (21+) from Bristol Brewing Company.
    • Family Adventure Day:  Circus Fair — Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm, The Bemis School of Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.  Gather up your family and head to The Bemis School of Art to experience artist demonstrations and hands-on art projects led by instructors. A free, docent-led tour of the Fine Arts Center galleries will begin at 12:30 pm.


  • Old Colorado City Chick Crawl — Saturday, 5 pm, West Colorado Ave.  According to its website, Chick Crawl is “an experience” — “a walking event powered by the dynamics of a 5-star group-shopping experience, designed to introduce women to the unique shopping and dining opportunities available locally.”  For ages 21+.  Tickets $40/person.
  • 4th annual Peak Region Cyclist Bicycle Festival & Bike Swap — Sunday, August 28, 10 am to 5 pm, Memorial Park in Manitou Springs.  This event comprises the second Annual Assault on the Peak, a bike ride from Manitou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak on the Pikes Peak Highway, and the inaugural Pikes Peak Road Ascent, an 11.6-mile climb from the Pikes Peak Toll Gate to Glen Cove. With a post-ride meal for participants at the park, the festival will be jam-packed! Food will be available to the everyone for $8:  pasta, bread sticks, salad, and beer.  Admission is free, but those with bikes to sell must reserve their spots at the swap by emailing dpico@peakregioncyclist.com.

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