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.

A Weekend Getaway With Perfect Vermont

A couple of weekends ago, Tim and I headed north for a little unplugged weekend getaway.

Perfect Vermont: Car Ride

We were invited for a complimentary overnight with some other healthy living and travel bloggers through a new company called Perfect Vermont. Perfect Vermont is located in Pittsfield, VT (near Killington) and owned by a young couple, Tom and Erlin. Tom and Erlin are seriously two of the most down to earth, nicest people I’ve ever met, and they run pretty much the coolest business ever: hosting wellness retreats on local farm property.

Perfect Vermont: Welcome

Tom and Erlin had a warm welcome ready and waiting for us upon arrival. There was a basket of local Vermont goodies, a sign welcoming all the bloggers with a hashtag to use throughout the weekend (#PerfectVT if you want to check out some of the other bloggers’ pictures), and healthy snacks to enjoy during the welcome social.

Perfect Vermont: Warm Welcome

When staying with Perfect Vermont, you can choose to stay at any of the Riverside Farm accommodations. All of the bloggers and guests stayed at the Amee Farm Lodge together. Amee Farm is a quaint, restored farmhouse with 15 guest bedrooms and plenty of common areas.

Perfect Vermont: The Amee Farm Lodge

Perfect Vermont: Amee Farm Lodge

Tim and I weren’t sure what to expect since neither of us have stayed at a bed and breakfast before, but our room was spotless upon arrival. We liked the wood furnishings, brightness, and the comfy mattress.

Perfect Vermont: Bedroom


We were room #1 (Hannah), and we were pleased with how spacious yet cozy our room felt.

Perfect Vermont: Bedroom

Even our bathroom was really cool. Check out this shower!

Perfect Vermont: Bathroom

One of my favorite features of the lodge was the large, wrap-around porch with Adirondack chairs. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend too much time out there because the weather wasn’t so cooperative, but I bet it’s so fun to hang out on during the nicer seasons.

Perfect Vermont: Porch at Amee Lodge

After settling in and chatting with all of our new friends during the welcome social, the group headed out for a tour of the Riverside Farm properties. Riverside Farm is actually a wedding venue spread out among a ton of land and three different barns (brown, white, and red). The owners, Joe and Courtney, wanted to expand their property to be used for more than just wedding events, which is kind of how Perfect Vermont came to be. Here are some pretty pictures from our tour and the different venues/accommodations that are used for not only weddings now, but wellness programming during the retreats, corporate events, and more.

Riverside Farm: Red Barn

Perfect Vermon: Riverside Farm

Perfect Vermont: Riverside Farm

Perfect Vermont: Riverside FarmPerfect Vermont Riverside FarmPerfect Vermont: Riverside Farm

Perfect Vermont: White Barn

Perfect Vermont Red Brown White Barns

Perfect Vermont: Riverside Farm Tour

Perfect Vermont: Riverside Inn

I even snapped some pictures of the horse paraphernalia for Julia:

Riverside Farm Horses

After the tour, everyone headed back to Amee Lodge to freshen up before dinner. When we got downstairs, we saw that Tom and Erlin set up two big tables and decorated with pretty lights for the night.

Perfect Vermont: Dinner at Amee Farm Lodge

A local musician named Dave Clark was playing live music throughout dinner, and one of the bloggers joined him on his trumpet. Pretty cool.

Perfect Vermont: Live Music

Dinner was provided by Vermont Farms Catering, and everything was absolutely wonderful. The menu was right up my alley, except for dessert (not because it tasted bad, but because I’m just not a grapefruit fan. I ate around it.). The risotto was to die for!

Perfect Vermont: Dinner Menu with Vermont Farms Catering

Perfect Vermont Dinner

Tim and I spent some time chatting with Kevin, the chef, and his event director and partner, Katie. They told us they work with local farmers for fresh ingredients, which was obvious when eating. They also told us that they are working on starting up some local culinary classes to offer as part of the wellness retreat itinerary, which I think would be an excellent addition to the weekend activities.

Perfect Vermont: Dinner

The rest of the night was great, and other local folks from the town stopped in to join us. That’s the kind of place Pittsfield is – everyone knows each other, and it’s like a small family. There are really only a couple of streets in the town, with the General Store being one of the main attractions, you know? It’s just a completely different way of life, and I loved every second of it that weekend. We chatted the most with two guys named Dennis and Miguel, who are sponsored athletes living in Pittsfield while training for the elite Spartan races. I learned that Pittsfield is actually the home of the Spartan races, which I didn’t realize before. I’m sure you guys can imagine how much I enjoyed hearing their stories of their grueling workouts (climbing buckets of rocks up the mountains, running through the ice rivers, you get the idea). It was just so wonderful getting to meet and mingle with so many different and interesting people, and it didn’t hurt that the wine was flowing the entire time.

Tim and I headed up to our room around 10:30 since we had an early wake up call. We were one of the first guests to get up, and when we headed into the main rooms around 8am, we were greeted with a spread of breakfast and coffee. I made myself a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit and enjoyed a delicious blueberry muffin too. Tim and I hung out in the cozy living room and watched the rain fall outside until everyone woke up. We were laughing about how our vanilla yogurt tasted like such a splurge compared to our usual non-fat plain. Too funny.

Perfect Vermont Breakfast

The morning’s activity was either a yoga class taught by Erlin or a guided snowshoe hike led by Tom. I originally was going to shoot for the snowshoe because I have never tried snowshoeing before, but I really didn’t have appropriate footwear for the slushy conditions outside. And let’s be honest, yoga in the dry comfort of the lodge sounded a lot more appealing first thing in the morning. The class was an Ashtanga style flow, which I enjoyed. I could definitely tell I haven’t taken a yoga class in a while, as I was tight in places I used to not be so tight in. However, I could feel a visible difference in my upper body strength during poses like crow and plank holds. Heavier lifting for the win. Yoga was the perfect way to start the day.

Perfect Vermont Yoga

Tim decided to venture out on the snowshoe though. He and Tom trekked about a mile and a half through the slushy trails. He said it was awesome, and Tom said Tim was a good sport. In the nicer weather, I’m sure these trails are beautiful for hiking and snowshoeing in better snow conditions.

Perfect Vermont Snowshoe

After yoga and snowshoeing, we headed across the street to Sweet Georgia P’s, a local organic farm.

Perfect Vermont: Sweet Georgia P's

Perfect Vermont: Sweet Georgia P's

We met the owners, Rebecca and Joe, who used to be from the Boston area and then moved north to start their farm business. I learned that they have a community supported agriculture program and actually ship to both New York and Boston too for any F&F readers that might be interested. Rebecca and Joe showed us all around their farm and explained a lot of their farming process to us.

Perfect Vermont: Sweet Georgia P's

I wish the weather had been nicer so we could have seen more! At the end of the tour, we trekked through a lot of mud to see their goats.


Perfect Vermont: Goats

Finally, we wrapped up our weekend with lunch at the General Store. After hearing so many great things about the hub of Pittsfield, we just had to go. I ordered a turkey wrap and a smoothie to enjoy on the ride home.

Perfect Vermont: General Store

Perfect Vermont: General Store Smoothie

After the stress of my taking my wellness coaching exam that week, this weekend getaway was exactly what I needed. I left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated from being in the fresh mountain air. I felt content and in my element after being surrounded with like-minded people all weekend. Everyone had such an interesting background, and I loved hearing everyone’s stories. Tim and I got to spend some quality time together not worrying about anything. I am really grateful that I was selected to be a part of this beautiful weekend and retreat space. I would absolutely love to organize a retreat for folks at my company or interested F&F readers someday.

Thank you to everyone in Pittsfield, VT for this experience!

Let’s chat–
Have you ever heard of Perfect Vermont? Would you want to go on a wellness retreat? What part of my weekend looks like the most fun to you? When’s the last time you had a weekend away to relax and unplug from the daily grind?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, but I was provided a complimentary overnight stay with Perfect Vermont, including two meals and activities, in exchange for writing this review. As always, all opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links within this post.

An Unforgettable Night: Yoga at Fenway Park

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m really not a baseball fan.  I find it boring, so I don’t necessarily jump at the chance to go to Red Sox games.  I do enjoy going to one or two games a season for the atmosphere, but that’s about it.  However, when the folks at New Balance contacted me to see if I would be interested in attending the first ever yoga event at Fenway Park, I did jump at the opportunity.  As much as I hate baseball, I love my city of Boston.  And I can appreciate how symbolic Fenway Park is to all the people who live here.  I just knew that being a part of a fitness class held at Fenway was just something I couldn’t pass up.  And since yoga hasn’t been such a big part of my life as of late, I was excited to get back on the mat again.

FenwaYoga Event

Plus, New Balance not only offered to sponsor my attendance at this unforgettable night, but they spoiled me with a ton of new workout gear from their Anue yoga collection too.  These clothes are all SO comfortable and each top and pair of crop pants are so flattering.  I love the yoga flats too!  Obviously I wore as many pieces as I could to Fenway last week!

New Balance Tops

FenwaYoga Event

Class was held on the warning track around the field, so when I arrived I just snagged a spot between home plate and first base.  I was there by myself so I didn’t have any friends to sit near, but I did run into one of the yoga instructors from the Y, and it was nice to see a familiar face.  I snapped a bunch of pictures before class got started.

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

The class was taught by yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco of Om Gal.  You could tell she was just absolutely thrilled to be teaching this class, a once in a lifetime opportunity.  As a fitness instructor, I can’t even imagine what she must have felt seconds before starting class.

FenwaYoga Event

Rebecca led us through a 90 minute yoga flow.  I enjoyed (and appreciated) her attempts at bringing baseball into the theme of the class.  Poses that had to do with baseball words, saying “OM Team instead of HOME team,” playing Sweet Caroline as one of the songs, you get the idea.  As you guys know, I’m a sucker for themed exercise classes.

The only thing that I did not enjoy about class was the temperature.  It was FREEZING out and honestly too cold for outdoor yoga.  I don’t think many people came ready for such a cold night because it had been a beautiful warm day out before class started.  I didn’t even bring socks or anything heavier than a zip-up jacket, so I don’t think I got as much out of the class as I would have on any other day.  My muscles were just too cold to flow through the postures as effectively as I would normally be able to, and my toes were numb by the end.  Despite the temperature, I did really enjoy Rebecca’s style, and I would love to check out a class with her another time.

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

The best part of the night was just being in the middle of Fenway Park.  Literally, just being.  I tried not to think about anything else.  I tried to practice mindfulness.  This is something I’ve been learning a lot about in my wellness coaching class.  As I went from pose to pose, I couldn’t help but feel blessed.  Thankful for a lot of things in my life.  And inspired to do more, to continue to grow as an instructor and fuel my passion for fitness even more than I already do.  And as we laid in shavasanah at the end of class, everything was just so still.  For a place that is always moving and crowded with the hustle and bustle of baseball fans, it was just pretty freaking awesome to be lying there and looking up at the open sky above us.  In quiet.  In peace.

FenwaYoga Event

Thank you (again), New Balance, for sending me to such an unforgettable night.