Visiting my first health and wellness retreat: The Miami Retreat
Exploring new places is something I’ve always had an itch for. I love to experience different cultures, food, and things-to-do because it inspires me. I have always pushed my comfort zone with new territory, and with the uncomfortable surroundings also comes new learning points, excitement and a better understanding of something by seeing it with my own eyes and ears.
By visiting places I have never seen before, I am molded to a sharper, more intuitive and smarter version of who I am because of the influence it puts on me. The news and media, word of mouth from friends or reputation of a place are completely withered away when I explore it by myself; I like to create my own opinion, my own interpretation of what is in front of me without anticipation of what I might see. It reminds me of looking at an art piece; some people see underlying messages and others do not, some feel the power it withholds while others see nothing, some love it and others hate it. I think the best way to know about anything is to visit it myself- with my eyes, my ears, my touch, my smell and my taste.
We landed at 9:30pm in the darkness that kept my mind searching of what I might see this weekend. I haven’t been to Miami, and I’ve heard so many stories. Some of my friends adore Miami, others say it’s not their thing. It’s hard knowing what to expect in a city I’ve literally felt 50/50 about since leaving LA.
I’m with NewMARK Model, Shannon Barker to chill with me on The Retreat Miami this weekend [who is so much like me, it’s amazing]. She loves health, food and keeps the standards high when it comes to her body, and I was beyond excited she was coming with me so I didn’t have to be the only one asking where the health food stores were. Our first stop was the grocery store and guess what we bought?
Turkey Pepperoni from Applegate, blueberries, Essentia bottled water, beet crackers and Kombucha
I knew the weekend would be amazing with her just based off this grocery run!
The Retreat Miami is an athleisure focused health and wellness retreat in Florida. It is all about the latest fads, trending workout routines, a healthy diet and balanced mind and soul, all ran by the biggest fitness experts in the world.
Throughout the busy weekend, we attended a series of runway shows, meditation, workouts, dinners and making new friends. People visited the Retreat from New York, LA and other major cities to come together and discuss a huge influence healthy lifestyles can have on one-another.
I woke up in the morning at 7am and rolled out of the warm covers with excitement radiating from me. We walked to get some coffee for Shannon at 1 Hotel., and when I stepped outside our hotel in a big hoodie, I almost laughed at myself because it was so warm already (and definitely humid). It was nearly 75 degrees, blue skies and so quiet it almost made me nervous. Nothing was open this early, and Shannon explained as we walked back that everyone stays out late, so nobody wakes up early.
We got ready for brunch unaware of what to wear, and made our way to the front where a private driver in a Mini Cooper picked us up. We had no idea what to expect, who we were meeting or what the brunch was going to be like.
Is everyone going to be in fitness attire and super in shape? Are there going to be other girls our age attending? Who else was coming? Would we know anyone?
We were welcomed with acai bowls and chamomile tea at Soho Beach House to meet the crew, discuss athleisure with the some incredible founders from SporteLuxe, Heroine Sport, Chill by Will, Body by Gilles and In Style Magazines editor. Everyone was so friendly and inspiring to listen to.
When the brunch ended, we were escorted by the private Mini Coopers to our first workout of the weekend with Amanda Kloots, owner of The Rope NYC. She touch-stepped, jazz-hand and chassed our way through the hour long, hip shaking workout with mini dance routines to keep us intrigued at the Miami Design District. I loved the freshness she brought along with her handy dance moves, and by the end, my cute hairdo came undone and mascara was dripping. Luckily, we had Glam Squad and Kopari beauty keeping us looking refreshed and photo ready.
Post workout, Shannon and I took our first dip in the Miami ocean for the first time. I felt like I’d never seen or realized how beautiful Miami was until now, with the vibrant green water stretching as long as my eyes could see. The beach is large and can fit a ton of people with fruit colored umbrellas, tanning chairs with matching towels and the whitest sand meeting the edge of the water. I was amazed at how beautiful it was! We took an hour or two to start our tan lines for Summer 2018, and I napped under the hot sun as the afternoon became dusk.
Kopari Beauty welcomed us into a night of hula dancers, Mai Tais and leis at Soho Beach House, showering us with their incredible coconut based products after spending a day at the beach. Dinner tables were packed from influencers like us, brands, founders, models and amazing future role models paving the way for the one’s behind us. We watched hula dancers shake their hips, and even a couple people eating dinner joined the dancers on stage(you can imagine the men thinking they can do what those girls can do!).
The night was luau inspired and entertaining to say the least. We ended the night with new friends that lasted us the weekend and ready for day 2!
Waking up at 7am again, but this time my energy had diminished and I was thinking about grabbing a mocha! I knew it was a bad idea so I pushed through. It felt like I was half drunk walking to get coffee before climbing back into the Mini Retreat Car for another workout.
Luckily while I got my hair braided by GlamSquad for Body by Gilles class, Lunchology had a huge breakfast table with healthy breakfast options from overnight oats, power bars, juice and Kombucha to energize me prior to this insane workout. I chose a protein bar dipped in chocolate and went to heaven. I’m seriously still dreaming about this protein bar… need the recipe!
We were mountain climbing our way through day 2 workout with Gilles, and we finished with squats, tempting me to lie on the floor for the rest of the day. Nothing beats a workout with high interval strength training with minimal breaks. I was dripping at the end of the warm-up, no joke.
Following the workout, I got a call from my cousin and was able to spend an afternoon with her. She drove from Ft Lauderdale with her boyfriend to take a walk on the beach and chat with me. So sweet! Short lived, but theres nothing more comforting than family. I didn’t realize she lived in such a beautiful place! We separated with hugs and I gifted her a bag of fun things since it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase anyway!
Shannon and I left the beach in high vibes to get ready for a series of athleisure focused fashion shows coming up at the Miami Design District. I rummaged through my suitcase for an outfit to wear, and suddenly we had a delivery of a dozen red roses, and a note “I love you babe” from Garrett! Literally the cutest thing ever. Gooey love stories were never my thing, but what girl can’t smile when their man shows them some affection? Even my romantic-less personality loved it. They were so beautiful and such an awesome surprise.
We gushed over the roses, but it was time to make our way downstairs to our Mini car for a Cinco De Mayo I’ll never forget. The night blurred with margaritas at the fitness lines runway show as we watched girls strut their way in metallics, lace and spandex. The styles ranged from Heroine Sport and Chill by Will, making me seriously workout jealous of the outfits. I need to step my athleisure game up!
From there, we took a neon lit party bus to the W Hotel for a launch party, Cinco De Mayo inspired dinner and after parties with the crew. I loved being around such intelligent, fun and aspiring individuals who are looking to make a difference.
These are the types of people I want to surround myself with: strong, smart and bold individuals.
The night ended with a bang, and I have to admit, day 3 was a hard one. Not only because I was so tired and ready to climb back into bed, but it was our last day!
My short lived Miami experience was coming to an abrupt end, and I was seriously contemplating extending my stay. Not to mention I had honestly nothing to stress about all weekend which added to the weekend of healthy living! I needed this so bad, to just hang out and enjoy myself. We took our regular morning routine to 1 Hotel for coffee, and reality set in as I packed my suitcase with all of the goodies we were given for the weekend. I had to enjoy the rest of the time I had in Miami!
We made our way to the last, and my favorite, part of the weekend with founder of The Class, Taryn Toomey. Her class was an experience within itself leaving me sweating like crazy, but also leaving me with an ease of mind.
She taught us a real workout by practicing presence, awareness and mindfulness of your emotions and feelings while incorporating workout moves. I loved the connection Taryn Toomey had with the room as she discussed our own challenges as individuals, that we are so hard on ourselves and the importance of looking deep inside of yourself and being proud. Telling yourself you are good enough and strong enough and to let go of the bullshit people tell you. I loved her intention to pull whatever has been causing you negative feelings out, and to let go of them.
Taryn Toomey's class was a series of movements that felt natural, and she encourages release, whether it be breathing, yelling, chanting, crying or laughing. She reminds us this is a safe place and nobody is judging or watching. It’s for you.
I left this last day utterly exhausted and sore physically, but thinking positive and clear mentally. The Class was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend. I left to brunch reminding myself how happy and proud of myself I am for staying true to my roots. I am going to keep striving for more because I love to see how I can grow into the best version of myself.
The ease of mind wasn't interrupted as we walked into our extravagant brunch. French toast with powdered sugar, banana nut muffins, and yogurt parfait lined the tables for 50 hungry Miami Retreat goers. We grabbed a plate and dug in, chatting with everyone and the energy was so bright and happy. After stuffing ourselves and saying goodbyes to all the incredible people, Shannon and I rushed to get on last dip in the ocean.
As I climbed into the Mini Cooper one last time to go to the airport, I felt a sense of sadness. The weekend was ideal- talking health and wellness, eating good food, working out, networking and having fun in a new city. I wish it didn’t have to end, but I am encouraged to go back to LA with a new mindset and fresh start with my body, mind and spirit feeling whole.
Feeling rejuvenated and inspired again, I appreciate The Retreat Miami inviting us to attend such an incredible weekend. See you in July for Swim Week!