Boston Magazine’s Health and Wellness Retreat

Last month, my friend Erin invited me to go with her to a health and wellness retreat presented by Boston Magazine‘s Hub Health. The event was advertised as a day of rejuvenation, relaxation, and integrated wellness for women, so of course I was very appreciative of the invite to something so up my alley. Plus, it gave us an excuse to have a girls day at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston!

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat

Our day began with a fresh breakfast while we heard from Melissa Malamut, Boston Magazine’s Hub Health editor, and Carla Tardif, the executive director of Family Reach and our host for the day. After the opening remarks, the general manager of the LA Sports Club attached to the Ritz led us through some stretching to get our blood flowing for the day ahead.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

After our stretch, it was time for our two morning seminars. Erin and I first went to a session called “Your Exercise Personality: Get Your Best Body and Best Life by Tapping Into the Power of Your Exercise Personality.” It was presented by Helena Collins of Life In Synergy, who I thought was funny and presented with a lot of energy. We spent a lot of time talking about how different personality types carry their stress in different areas. For example, as a “decorator,” I tend to be stuck in management, trapped in perfection, and I feel the best when valued (um, HELLO accurate). I learned that because of this I carry my stress in my shoulders, I need to work on posture to keep my shoulders back, and supermans are a great exercise to help strengthen my weak areas. While I really enjoyed learning the psychology aspect of this session and how certain key exercises can correct imbalances, I did not necessarily agree with Helena’s fitness outlook in general since she really knocked the gym, and well, I love the gym.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat - Helena Collins

Breaks were held between each session where attendees could mingle, chat, and help themselves to the snacks and drinks set out for us. We could choose from Kind bars, cucumber water (my favorite!), Zico coconut water (not so much my favorite), and Dasani sparkling water.

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat

For our second session, Erin and I went to Bianca De La Garza‘s seminar called “Sexy, Sleep Deprived, Superwomen.” This was one of my favorites of the day, as it was geared toward women who do so much that they run on empty and stretch themselves thin. Bianca shared her secrets to maintaining immunity, keeping productivity high, and removing negative energy from our lives. We talked a lot about saying goodbye to people who zap us, making mindful decisions about whether we are doing things out of obligation or out of joy, and realizing that we just can’t do it all sometimes. Something Bianca said during the session was to “never play for safety because it’s the most dangerous thing in the world.” This quote totally speaks to the power of getting out of your comfort zone to grow, so you guys definitely can see why this session resonated with me so much.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat: Bianca De Le Garza

At this point it was time for lunch, so we headed back to the main ballroom where we were served a farm green salad with grilled chicken. There was also a mixed berries crème fraîche for dessert. Delicious!

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

As we ate, we heard from our keynote speaker, Janine Driver. She presented a session called “You Can’t Lie to Me: Advanced Body Language Techniques and 9 Dangerously Powerful Communication Strategies to Lead Your Best Life.” Her presentation was AMAZING. It was hilarious, informative, and emotional all at the same time. Oh, and interactive too. Check out Erin and I helping Janine right up front!

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat[source]

After lunch it was time for Rebecca Pacheco’s “Summer Detox Without the Diet” class. I was excited for this session because I really enjoyed Rebecca when she taught the yoga class at Fenway I went to last year. Aside from some of the different breathing exercises we went through, my favorite part about this seminar was that we did not talk about juice or diet detoxes at all. Instead, we talked about detoxing as an acronyn: Don’t buy the hype, Embody how you want to feel, Take time each day to move, breathe, listen inward, concentrate, study or learn, and honor your spirit, Observe your thoughts, and X out junky foods, self-talk, behaviors, and people who don’t nourish you. This is where I learned the phrase energy vampires that I wrote about in this post not too long ago.

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat: Rebecca Pacheco[source]

Finally, the last class of the day was totally NOT up my alley at all. It was presented by Dr. Leonard Miller, the director of the Boston Center for Facial Rejuventation. I thought he droned on and on about skin and different facial procedures, and bleh. This session seemed so random amidst the rest of the day’s topics, but I guess I can’t love them all.

After the day’s seminars were over, everyone headed over to the LA Sports Club where we got to choose between a few different classes to take. Erin and I opted for a yoga class called “Sweat and Surrender,” and it was nice to just breathe, stretch, and lay in silence for a bit.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat[source]

After class, Erin and I were hoping to sneak into one of the fifteen minute head/neck/shoulder massage slots, but all the times were booked. Instead, we explored the fitness center for a bit, including their roofdeck! We got some great pictures of the city from up there. It was gorgeous out!

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Health and Wellness Retreat: Me & Erin

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Finally, the retreat concluded with a celebratory cocktail hour! We freshened up in the locker room and then enjoyed some hors d’oeuvres and wine. I love when days of wellness or fitness end with a good adult beverage.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat: Me & Erin[source]

After the cocktail hour wound down, Erin and I wanted to continue our night, so we headed down the street to Teatro, where we ordered a salad and a flatbread to share, and got another drink. I had such a wonderful time catching up with my friend after a day of being immersed in my passion. Thank you, Erin, for inviting me as your guest to the retreat! Hope we can go again next year. 😉

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever been to a health and wellness retreat before? What was it like? Which session of the ones I described do you think you’d like the best?

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Make sure your week ahead includes something for YOU.

F&F Friday Favorites ~ 07.25.14

I am so fuh-reaking excited to have a low-key weekend. It’s borderline pathetic how psyched I am to wake up tomorrow and ask myself what I feel like doing. I see date night, time spent outside, the farmer’s market, and some R&R in my future. <–much needed.

If you missed my posts this week, here you go:

Now sit back for another round of awesomeness from around the web:

Friday Favorites





–Let’s chat–
How are your weekends looking? Busy or relaxed?
What was the best part of your week? What are three things you plan on doing today?

Three things for me today? Go out to lunch with Tim’s parents, organize all the returns I have to do, and play around with my new blog design coming soon! Happy weekend, friends.

Homemade Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Sauce

You know what the best part about having a boyfriend fiance who loves to cook is?

Homemade Pretzel Night

Fun homemade snacks just because.

Oh yeah, and there’s that whole he does more of the cooking so I can exercise and blog all the time thing. That too. But I totally benefit when Tim just feels like experimenting in the kitchen.

homemade pretzel bites

Homemade Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Sauce


For making the dough

  • 1 cup warm water (around 100 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 envelope of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour + a little extra for work surface
  • 1 tbsp gourmet salt
  • 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for the bowl

For baking the pretzels

  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • gourmet salt

For making the honey mustard sauce

  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar


To make the dough

  1. Stir together warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand until a creamy foam appears on the surface. This should take about ten minutes, but if the mixture doesn’t foam you should start over with a new yeast.
  2. In a smaller bowl, stir together the wheat flour, salt, and light brown sugar.
  3. Add the flour mixture and 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon and then your hands until it forms into dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth. This should take about another ten minutes, and you should dust with more flour as needed if the dough sticks to your work surface.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and make sure it is all coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until it is double its original size. This takes 2-3 hours. You could also let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, transfer to the oiled bowl in the same way, and let rise in the fridge overnight.
  5. Once the dough rises, punch down and divide into quarters. Form each quarter into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 12 inch long rope. Cut each rope into six 2 inch pieces, and transfer to wax paper lined rimmed baking sheets.

To bake the pretzels

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F with the racks in the upper and lower thirds.
  2. Oil two large baking sheets.
  3. In a 4 to 5 quart saucepan, bring the water and baking soda to a boil. The mixture will be foamy at first, but it should go away. Add 12 pretzel bites and cook for 30 seconds. They should rise to the top immediately, and then you can transfer to the baking sheets with a slotted spoon. Quickly sprinkle pretzel bites on both sides with the salt before they dry. Repeat with the remaining pretzel bites, making sure to return the water to a boil between batches.
  4. Bake the bites in the oven, switching the sheets between the racks and rotating them halfway through. They should be deep chestnut brown after 8-10 minutes, but watch them in the oven toward the end so they don’t overcook. Immediately transfer the bites to wire racks to cool.

To make the honey mustard sauce

  1. Combine the honey, mustard, and rice wine vinegar in a bowl.
  2. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Serve with the pretzels and enjoy!

Homemade Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Sauce

These were the perfect Sunday-night-lounge-on-the-couch-not-wanting-to-go-to-work-on-Monday kind of snack. But they’re really only good for one day, so if you plan on making them, plan to gobble them up right away. These aren’t necessarily the healthiest of snacks, but they aren’t terrible for you either. Tim did use whole wheat flour in lieu of regular and the oil in lieu of butter, so an attempt at healthier swaps was made!

–Let’s chat–
Do your significant others cook or experiment in the kitchen? What’s a fun snack you’ve made or enjoyed lately?

P.S. The winner of my New Balance giveaway is Janice @ Cappytweet! Congrats, Janice! Please email me at to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone else who entered the giveaway and left such nice comments for my three-year bloggiversary. You guys rock!