Attending the Dole Wellness Summit at the California Health & Longevity Institute

What a crazy whirlwind November has been! It feels like I have only been home all of four days this entire month! A few weeks ago I spent a fun couple of days in Atlanta with the my friend Jenny. I came home from Atlanta, and two days later I left for beautiful Los Angeles, California. I loved being back in California, and I’m seriously examining my need to live in a coastal state. I came home from California, and again, two days later, I left for Florida for Thanksgiving. Whew! I just got back, and I’m definitely having a hard time getting back into the swing of things after a completely lazy Thanksgiving weekend! :) And I can’t believe Christmas is now almost upon us. I haven’t done a stitch of shopping! You?

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

Let’s back up to that California bit. A few weeks ago I was flying over the snow-capped Rocky mountains to warm and sunny LA. Glorious! Dole, you know, like the bananas, invited a few bloggers to spend a couple days at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village, which is located on the same property as the Dole headquarters and test kitchens.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

This was the room at the Four Seasons they put me up in. Let me just say right now that I am definitely not a hotel snob! When traveling, we always opt for the cheapest accommodations possible. We’re not in the room all that often anyway, right? But after spending a few nights in the most glorious bed on earth, I am definitely starting to see the appeal. The service was incredible. Although at one point I accidentally breathed on the electronic minibar (it charges you as soon as you touch it) and I was afraid it was going to cost me four million dollars.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

This was the extra large bathroom with a flatscreen TV perfectly positioned for watching while putting on makeup.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

Or taking a nice long bath.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

After I’d moved in my 500 pounds of luggage, I came back to the room and the housekeepers had organized the tornado-like state in which I’d left the bathroom. Can I get a few of these pros to tackle my house, please?

Why, yes, in fact, it does require this amount of product to get me presentable in the morning. Who’s askin?

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA
Photo via Maria

I arrived to the hotel at just about lunch time, so I headed down to the Four Seasons cafe and met up with Maria & Josh from Two Peas and their Pod for lunch. Oh, delicious sweet potato fries, I could live off these for the rest of my life!

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA
Photo via Maria

We split this chocolaty delight for dessert.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

After lunch Maria and I took a stroll around the massive hotel. It was completely gorgeous and ultra swanky. We swore they changed the table decorations every few hours!

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

This was the view outside my window. I would definitely love waking up to a waterfall every day! :)

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA
Photo via Maria

As dinner rolled around, more bloggers arrived. I got to meet up with darling Shanna from My Favorite Everything again. We first met in San Francisco at the BlogHer Food Conference.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

Dole treated us to a family-style dinner at Onyx, the hotel’s exotic Asian dining room.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

My favorite was this white Miso marinated Alaskan Black Cod, with a sweet soy drizzle. I am recreating this recipe as soon as possible! I can’t stop thinking about this fish.

And of course, dessert. :D On top was this insanely thin slice of candied pineapple – we were all trying to guess how they did it – gently resting on two scoops of mango sorbet, and all sitting in a bowl of decadent dark chocolate. Yum!

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CAPhoto via Jenny

The next morning we started the day with a breakfast demonstration from Paulette Lambert, a registered dietitian and recipe developer for Dole. She is also the director of nutrition for the California Health and Longevity Institute, an extraordinary program promoting full body wellness located within the Four Seasons.

I loved getting so many healthy breakfast ideas! One thing Paulette said that resonated with me the most was that eating breakfast speeds up your metabolism. If you skip breakfast, statistically you end up eating 25% more calories throughout the day. I definitely noticed a difference last year when I made a commitment to start being better about eating breakfast.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

For lunch we headed over to the Dole test kitchens and cafeteria. Oh my goodness, this place was gorgeous! This was the outdoor patio where everyone rushed to grab a table. :) What an incredible view! I would definitely eat here every day if I worked here. In our study, many patients with depression had symptoms of somatic anxiety that disappeared along with mental anxiety. Perhaps in this case we can talk about vegetotropic effect of Valium (also present in other benzodiazepines.). There is another possible explanation: visceromotor “accompaniment” goes away along with anxiety. This confirms once more that Diazepam has an antidepressant effect which you can read more at about.

This sandwich was outta this world amazing. I just made one again tonight because I could not stop thinking about it. And man, oh man, it was just as good. It’s basil pesto, sliced tomatoes, turkey, provolone cheese, and avocado, pressed between sourdough bread. The most heavenly sandwich on earth! :)

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

The highlight of our day was getting spa treatments at the Four Seasons and alternative therapies at the California Health & Longevity Institute. We got to choose which treatments we wanted, and I definitely knew I wanted a massage from the spa! For the alternative therapy, we could meet with a nutritionist, a personal trainer, get acupuncture, or even hypnotized. Yes, I of course chose hypnotherapy! :) Although with as much as I ate, I’m thinkin’ I might ought have gone with the personal trainer. HAH!

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

This was the fabulous lounge where we waited in luscious terry cloth robes for our massage therapists. AKA, heaven. The massage room was unbelievable. It had french doors that opened up to a personal, private garden, so you could get a massage while basking in the warm California sun. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my robe was being heated during the massage, so when I put it back on after, it had that fresh out of the dryer warmth.

Yes, they had to drag me out of this hotel kicking and screaming. Why do you ask?

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA
Photo via Maria

My favorite part of the trip was definitely getting to meet and hang out with all the incredible gals behind the food blogs I love! How did I get so lucky to get to hang out with these amazing women??

Marla @ Family Fresh Cooking
Rachael @ La Fuji Mama
Jenny @ Picky Palate
Susan @ She’s Becoming DoughMessTic
Maria @ Two Peas and their Pod

And down below, we have

Jennifer @ Savor the Thyme (middle)
Brooke @ Cheeky Kitchen (right)

Love these girls! And their blogs. Check ’em out for some great recipes.

There may or may not be embarrassing photos of me at any of the aforementioned sites.

Dole Summit @ Westlake Village, CA

The most important thing I learned from this trip? Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah. Try saying “Quinn-NO-uh” in a room full of food bloggers. And then imagine it in a southern drawl.

Not that I would ever do anything like that.

35 Responses
  1. rebecca

    great pictures. i’m a friend of elizabeth harwells. i’m gonna try to teach myself to do the cool fonts too! here’s hoping! haha. nice to “meet you.”

  2. Erin

    I’ve wanted to go there since I first heard about it. Be glad you didn’t go on this trip with me…’cause that chocolate dessert would’ve never been shared…just sayin’.

  3. Geneva

    What a wonderful trip. I do have to say that I enjoy your blog so much and after seeing the others, (no offense to anyone) yours is the best. So easy to enjoy!

  4. Michelle Wallace

    As always amazed by your wonderful pics and enjoyed your post. In the first picture of the Mts from the plane how did you make them so blue and white? What camera, lens, iso/aperture, photoshot actions did you use/do to create it? Thanks again for a lovely post, it’s like I was there on the plane looking at the same Mts. (which mts range was it?)

  5. Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything

    Loved the recap post! It is always so fun to see you!! And I can’t believe how beautiful your photos look, you are truly talented! And seriously, if you want to let me in on the secret that took away my aged-a-billion-years-because-I-have-3-little-babes-wrinkles, I would be greatly appreciative!!!

    Love ya girl! Happy Holidays!!

  6. Shannon

    I totally used to pronounce quinoa the way you did! Sometimes, I still do! I make up my own pronunciations for tempeh and seitan, too. What a wonderful trip. I want to hear more about hypnotherapy!

  7. Lori

    I have marked that hotel as a “must stay at”! WOW!!

    I was wondering the same thing Joni was…how do you eat all this rich stuff and not gain weight back??

  8. Joni

    i certainly hope this isn’t the absolute rudest thing to ask but i know you lost a lot of weight recently and i am dying to know how on earth you manage to keep off the weight when i see all of these yummy looking foods in your photos these last few months? you look amazing and i think i gained 5 lbs. just looking at all those photos! i really would love an update on your weight loss as well as some new tips if you have them. :)

  9. Michelle

    Okay, so I’m a hotel snob. Some yrs back my family & I scored a great deal at the Ritz Carlton in Jamaica when they first opened and was running a special. Messed me up for life. :)

    Isn’t the Four Seasons fabulous, I stayed there two summers ago when I was in California for a friend’s wedding. The place was fabulous, my kids loved it, especially since they received their own welcome kit and they had a great kids hang out downstairs. Awwwwww, time to plan another vacation.

  10. Sara @ Our Best Bites

    That looks so gorgeous! Kate and I were going to attend that event as well and it ended up falling through. Seeing all of the re-cap posts makes me so bummed I missed it! It looks like you girls had so much fun, and you all look so darling! Beautiful pics!


  11. Therese

    I have to remind myself how to say Quinoa everytime before I actually say it. I did try saying it your southern way though and it just didn’t work. LOL! The hotel looked fantastic, the spa makes me jealous, and how about that beautiful yogurt for breakfast. If I made mine look like that I would happily eat breakfast. TKS for sharing your great photos!

  12. GinaE

    WOW, those Dole folks are a real class act! I would be like you, grabbing on to the door frame as they tried to get me out of that hotel room…and that bathroom. Glad you had such a fun trip…sounds just perfect.

  13. teresa

    Lovely FUN trip Amanda!
    What did I LOVE the most about this post….THE BATHROOM!
    And I was studying all of your FUN beauty products!

  14. Jenny Marlowe

    I am not a hotel snob either, but WOW!!!! You were part of some serious VIP treatment :) Loved reading and will be coming back!

  15. Timy Kay Potts

    What a wonderful trip this must have been…think I would have wanted to stay there for a while ;) So glad you enjoyed and thanks for sharing.

    Timy Kay Potts
    Winston-Salem, NC

  16. Marilyn

    Looks like a great trip! And I got cracked up at the Quinoa. I think I was saying it like you and I had no idea how to pronounce it until now! lol

  17. Mia

    I’m totally jealous!! What an amazing trip of beautiful scenery, pampering, good friends and of course good food. I could really use something like that…

    And thanks for the KEEN-wah tip ;)

  18. chinamommy

    LOOKS SO FUN!! and yes, your pictures are FABULOUS!!!! Wish you lived next door to me so I could get some one on one help!
    also…thank you for the silhouette code yesterday, i totally bought one!

  19. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Amanda, I think you need to become my personal stylist & photo re-toucher! Gorgeous post & AMAZING to see you as always. When are we going to hang out next?? I need to re-visit that hotel like now :)

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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