Two months and 26 days until the next “best weekend ever!”
I didn’t realize that I hadn’t even blogged about Live Love Healthy Retreat yet. Kinda weird since when I am super enthusiastic about something, the first place I usually run is to the blog! But the event is a LOT of work, starting with planning for months prior and cleaning and unpacking and reorganizing for weeks after…. I guess I can easily see how writing a blog post about it could get overlooked!
Live Love Healthy Retreat is a women’s only, all inclusive, 3 night, fitness and wellness retreat for women who are working toward building a happier and healthy life. It was created for and inspired by YOU. Over 5 years ago I started my personal lifestyle change and transformation, losing over 100lbs and coming off depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder medications for the first time in 12 years. I took control of my diet, my body, my mind, and my life and started documenting it all and the love and support I received from the great people of the internet was life changing. So often my followers (and new friends!) would comment about how badly they wished they could just spend a couple days with me living in my shoes, or how they wished they could exercise on the beautiful beaches of Miami, or how they wished they just had the push to get started living a life by design.
While training for my first marathon, I started really thinking about how I could accommodate these desires. How could I actually help the people who’ve helped me? How could I share a piece of the amazing life I get to live, with them? How could i better inspire them to come on board than with a real life experience- not just with quotes, pictures, and blog posts on the internet.
I would run up and down Hollywood beach, dreaming of a way to be able to buy a boutique hotel to host fitness getaways at. My desire was so strong, but my finances were not. I don’t have millions of dollars to buy a beach front hotel (yet.) But fortunately for all of us, running is a moving meditation for me and I get some of my BEST ideas while in motion when I allow myself to just be in my own head. And that’s how the idea hit me. I could rent.
I knew I wanted the event to be in a price point that was do-able to the average person, so when I started inquiring about renting out entire boutique hotels, my hopes were sort of crushed in believing the average woman would not be able to afford my retreat. I wanted the event to be accessible, so that wasn’t going to work.
Then I learned about these adorable log cabins that are available at one of my favorite state parks in Miami. They were reasonably priced, super private, and only a short walk away from mangrove trails and a beautiful white sand, salty beach. It was the perfect location.
In August of 2016, I hosted the first ever Live Love Healthy Retreat. I had arranged to accommodate 9 women, but the event sold out so fast, I had to reserve the last available cabin to accommodate 3 more!
I will never forget that first retreat. I was so scared and nervous and so so so very overwhelmed. It was very hot and I worried about people passing out from dehydration or not enough to eat or over exertion. I didn’t have an official assistant so I had to go back and fourth to my apartment and the store for supplies and no part of it was relaxing for me at all lol (for the record, no one passed out or puked lol)
But still, great memories were made. The group was so diverse, we had 23 year olds all the way up to 56 year olds. We had plus size women just getting started, women who’d already lost nearly 100lbs, and even a former figure competitor. The blend couldn’t have been better. And since the retreat is designed for all sizes and levels, no one was “left behind.”
It was a very humid weekend, but I was so impressed by the attitude of these ladies. Most of them were first time kayakers and handled it like pros! No one quit at bootcamp and after our yoga class, I felt like we had become a cohesive group. By the time the last morning came, I was truly sad to see these ladies go and wished I could’ve spent more time with them. One of the ladies admitted she’d had a diet coke in her cabin all along, but never drank it. We giggled at her confession and celebrated her strength as she poured the soda out into the grass. After 4 days of healthy food, fitness, adventure, and self care, it was time to go home and apply the new found motivation to our daily lives.
The second retreat happened in March of 2017. This time we had a smaller group, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. A smaller group is more intimate and I felt like we bonded as a group from day 1. It also helped that it was no longer my first rodeo and I was prepared with ice breaker activities for the first night. I was also prepared with an assistant who did all my running around and picture taking for me, so I could fully enjoy the experience and get to know the amazing women who’d joined me.
During the March 2017 retreat we had some rainy weather, typical of Miami, but it didn’t rain on our parade. A plus side to running a retreat where everyone is trying to become the best version of themselves is that everyone is trying to go with the flow and just enjoy the experience, so as a group it’s much less likely to have a bad attitude. This group was so enthusiastic; we went kayaking in what felt like a freaking hurricane! (this was a unanimous vote- wouldn’t have forced them.) What could’ve been the worst kayaking trip ever was filled with lots of laughter and lots of calories burned. We all made it out alive and everyone is a little better at kayaking after kicking ass in those kind of conditions!
Now that I have hosted the retreat twice, in two different seasons, I feel I am really well prepared for number three, which is happening September 28- October 1, 2017. I know how to accommodate a large group, I know how to accommodate a small group. I know how to handle the sticky humid heat and I know how to handle the rainy spring time. So many things I didn’t even think about, I am super prepared for at this point. Each retreat gives me new ideas for the next retreat, and the things that are brewing in my head for the upcoming dates are freaking AWESOME.
I know this event is only going to get better and better with time, and I believe it shows because we were even able to get businesses to sponsor the last retreat and the upcoming one. We are working on developing relationships with our sponsors that encourage long term sponsorship. This means more awesomeness for our guests, but no additional price tag for that awesomeness! I’m proud to say this retreat costs guests only $500, which is almost 40% more affordable than comparable getaways. Plus, we offer payment plans for those who need them.
I know it’s almost 3 months away, but I am already working on the meal plan for the next trip lol I love love love love planning healthy, fresh, plant based, meals and I love the challenge even more when most the people eating the food do not normally eat a vegan diet. I am also working on finding additional sponsors and maybe even guest speakers that align with our mission. Later this month I’ll be attending a personal development workshop, to learn new ways to help my guests grow and learn about themselves to make the most out of our time together.
As always, our upcoming retreats will focus on fitness, adventure, clean plant based eating, self care, sisterhood, relaxation and transformation. Having the opportunity to create this space and watch the event develop into what I know it is meant to be, has been incredible and is something I truly cannot be more grateful to be able to share with all of you!
For full details about Live Love Healthy click here!