• Wellness by the Water Retreat

    January 14, 2013

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Wellness by the Water Retreat, which is a one-day event with fitness, yoga, nutrition, spa services, and wellness. The organizers, Kendall Covitz and Celeste Platt, actually invited me last year, but I wasn’t able to attend, so I’m so glad Kendall reached out again. The retreat was such a nice way to spend the day!

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    The event was held at the fancy-schmancy Lenox Hotel, located right in the heart of the city, which made it easily accessible via public transportation, especially for those of us coming from the ‘burbs.

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    The actual retreat was held on the second floor of the hotel in a gorgeous space with a huge, beautiful dome in the center, which was especially nice to gaze up at during yoga.

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    The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Kendall and Celeste, who, I must say, are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met through blogging. They’re both incredibly sweet people, and they’re so passionate about health and wellness. I could tell they were super excited about hosting the retreat yesterday.

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    Our first activity of the day was an hour-long bootcamp class instructed by Celeste. It was high-energy and a lot of fun.

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    All of the exercises were done without equipment and some were done with a partner.

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    The class concluded with some team ab exercises. Check out the photo below—we all linked arms and then did crunches together!

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    [image via @BAUMSawayy]

    Sarah and me post-bootcamp!

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    After the bootcamp, we had a few minutes to catch our breath and then it was time for yoga with Kendall. She instructed us in a Vinyasa-style class, which included a bunch of (much-needed for me) hip openers.

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    The pose below (firestarter?) was no bueno for Sarah and me since we both had super tight hips. I guess you could say it “hurt to good.”

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    After lunch, it was time for lunch at City Table, which was located in the Lenox Hotel.

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    It was a quite a fancy lunch, especially for a health conference!

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    We started with a roasted beet salad with goat cheese, arugula, and candied pecans. It was fresh, flavorful, and delicious, and I gobbled it right up.

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    Our entrée was grilled salmon with roasted ratatouille, tomato broth, and orzo salad. It was also really delicious, and I ate almost the entire portion. Food for the Wellness by the Water Retreat = A+.

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    After lunch, there was an “Open Market” where we could learn about local health and wellness companies and their products and services.

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    Some highlights for me:

    Perfect Fuel Chocolate, which is a Boston-based start-up company that makes dark chocolate for active lifestyles. Basically, it’s intended to give you a natural boost without refined sugars or other crazy ingredients.

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    It’s made with high-quality organic raw cocoa and tastes really delicious. I received a sample in my goodie bag from the event and ate it for dessert last night.

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    Core Power, which is a “natural” high protein milk shake.

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    I’m usually not into these kinds of protein drinks because they’re typically loaded with all kinds of weirdo ingredients. I actually avoided this table on my first lap of the Open Market, but then I decided to keep an open mind and see what it was all about. Plus, why would Kendall and Celeste have a bad product at their event, right? Well, I was REALLY surprised to see the ingredient list. I was expecting a mile-long list, but the honey shake only had a handful of ingredients: filtered low-fat milk, honey, and less than 1% off green tea extract, natural flavors, lactase enzyme, carrageenan (stabilizer), vitamin A Palmitate & vitamin D. Not too bad, right?

    I’m not planning to drink these shakes all the time or anything like that, but if I was in a situation where I really wanted some quick protein to refuel my muscles, I’d definitely buy one of these over a similar kind of product. Taste: Really good! It was lightly sweetened and not super thick like some of the other bottled protein shakes out there.

    The final part of the retreat included spa treatments. Oh, yes! There were all kinds of services, including massage, acupuncture, reflexology, energy healing, styling, medium readings, and more. Prior to the event, we picked our top choices, so there wasn’t any confusion or long waits for the services.

    First up for me: acupuncture! Remember when I tried it a couple of years go? Acupuncture is so cool.

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    Since we only had about 30 minutes for each spa session, we didn’t have time to undress and do a full treatment, so our acupuncturist focused on two points in our ears that were intended for relaxation.

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    The needles look kind of scary, but they don’t hurt at all. I barely felt the prick.

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    I’m not sure I felt any different after having a little acupuncture, but it was still a neat experience!

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    My next session was Astro Therapy, which was so interesting. I love astrology. Jennifer Marie Forchelli read my birth chart, which was based on the day, time, month, and year of my birth, so she explained my behavior, relationships, goals, ambitions, and why I react in certain ways. She was accurate with just about everything she said. Some things that rang true:

    • I’m extremely adaptable and go with the flow.
    • I’m most happy and balanced at home.
    • I’m a worrier. (Her exact quote: “Oh, honey, you worry, worry, worry.” Haha!)
    • I enjoy time alone.
    • When people first meet me, they sense a controlling energy, not my easygoingness.
    • I have a really good balance between dreams and reality when it comes to goals, plans, and ideas.

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    Another treatment that I enjoyed was a “cupping” facial from Face Facts Healing Spa in Boston. The cupping/sucking increases circulation and drains stagnant fluid from the face to decrease puffiness. The woman giving me my facial only cupped (sucked?) half of my face, so I could feel the difference, and I totally did. One side of my face definitely felt lighter. It was weird, but really cool too!

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    Kendall and Celeste did such a great job with the Wellness by the Water Retreat. They created such a nice day away. I left the event feeling renewed, re-energized, and at peace with the world. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to attend!

    Question of the Day

    Have you ever attended a health or fitness conference or retreat? If so, what was your favorite part?

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    { 54 comments… read them below or add one }

    Paige @ Your Trainer Paige January 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

    What a cool event! Love the firestarter pose picture. My knees *always* stick up in any kind of double pigeon/cross legged/hip-opening pose. Always!

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    Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction January 14, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I am soooo bummed I didn’t make it! I signed up, but felt horrible yesterday! :( I really wanted to do the Astro Therapy! Looks pretty cool, I love astrology too.

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    Danielle @ Truffles n' Treadmills January 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

    this looks like it would be a fun event to attend!

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    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

    this retreat sounds awesome! I am interested in trying acupuncture!

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    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio January 14, 2013 at 11:37 am

    What a fun day (and beautiful lunch)!

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    Lauren January 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

    What an awesome event! I reeeeally wanted to go – I wish I had now!!

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    Chase January 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Looks like a great event!

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    Sarah S January 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Carrageenan is actually pretty bad for you (in the protein shake). That’s a deal braker ingredient for me. Oh She Glows and Food Babe have both written it up! Oh She Glows did a post on it very recently- check it out!

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    Tina January 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I agree, but I figured 1% or less wasn’t terrible. I actually haven’t found an almond milk without it. I should probably switch to something else for my iced coffee. What do you use for milk?

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    Sarah S January 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

    @Tina: I use Silk Almond Milk, unsweetened original flavor. The ingredients list isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I’ve found.

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    Tina January 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    @Sarah S: It doesn’t have carrageenan? I’ll have to pick it up the next time I’m at the grocery store!

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    Angela January 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    @Tina: Whole foods 365 brand almond milk does not have carrageenan in it. However, I am pretty sure you could make an argument that any food is bad for you or toxic in some way.

    Tina January 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

    @Sarah S: Found this piece on Stonyfield today and just wanted to share: http://www.stonyfield.com/blog/2012/06/01/carrageenan-safety/

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    Erica { EricaDHouse.com } January 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

    That retreat looks incredible! I wish there were events offered like that near me I’d love to attend.

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    Ali @ Peaches and Football January 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Wow – what a FUN day!! I’ve never been to a retreat like this. I wonder if they have any in our area. How did you find out about this? It looks like a wonderful time!!! :-)

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    Sarah Fit January 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

    The AstroTherapy was so interesting! She said one thing to me, that I was like, “Hmmm that was awkwardly spot on.” Not everything was true for me, but she definitely struck a sensitive spot for me! I think we need more facials and massages at blogger conferences. :)

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    Meghan @ After the Ivy League January 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Looks like such a great event! I love that they added the massage/acupuncture options too, health is definitely a lot about fitness and good foods, but you have to take care of your skin, hair, etc too!

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    Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

    How fun! And I love the Lenox Hotel – so pretty, swanky and such nice staff. Too bad you didn’t get to stay there too! :)

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    Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles January 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I would like to hear more on the work with the hips. My hips are very tight.

    The Kidless Kronicles

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    Sarah @PickyRunner January 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Wow what a fun day! This type of conference sounds right up my alley. Lots of fitness, food, and fun :) Some of those spa events sound really cool! I’m not into accupuncture but I know some people swear by it.

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    Becca January 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Tina! I have been reading you for awhile now, and I just have to wonder why you would shun those type of protein drinks when (if I can recall) you drink the Fitmixer bcaa’s (or protein?) with artificial sweeteners. I am with you on the taste of the ones sweetened with fake sugars (they definitely taste better) but what’s your stance?

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    Tina January 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I’m not opposed to artificial sweeteners. I just avoid them when I can.

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    Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin January 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try a wellness retreat (yoga maybe) in a tropical place. This looks so fun and relaxing. I would never ever get acupuncture though because I am deathly afraid of needles. Even if you can’t feel it and it doesn’t hurt, a needle comes near me and I faint!

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    Sara @ fitcupcaker January 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    This looks so much fun. I would love to attend one of these :)

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    Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness January 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    This looks like so much fun! I am dying to attend this retreat but haven’t been able to the past couple of times. Hopefully next time around I can attend!

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    Megan January 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    This looks like a blast! I have yet to go to any big function yet but I was reached out to for the first time last week about doing an event with a gym that is doing some new classes in the area, I am super pumped for it!

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    Ashlee January 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I bet doing crunches with that many girls linked together was hilarious!

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    Tina January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Yea, it was a lot of fun!

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    April January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Watch out for the ingredient, “Carrageenan,” in foods. It’s often found as an additive in soy, almond and coconut milks. After reading this article, I really try to avoid it:

    http://foodbabe.com/2012/05/22/watch-out-for-this-carcinogen-in-your-organic-food/

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    Eating 4 Balance January 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I totally would have passed the protein milkshake booth too! It looks so much like Muscle Milk, which is just filled to the brim with “unnatural” ingredients. One of the ingredients caught my attention though: carrageenan. OhSheGlows just did a post on how it is used in a lot of commercial drink and may not be as safe as we all think. I’m not necessarily saying that I agree one way or the other, but it does pose a question that I have for you. When looking at a product, healthy or otherwise, are there any ingredients that you see as big warning marks. Like, no way would I touch that with a fifty-foot pole?! Haha.

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    Tina January 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    @Eating 4 Balance: I look at the entire ingredient list (the shorter, the better!) and then make a decision. I’m not super strict about what I eat, but I tend to stay away from stuff with HFCS, MSG, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, Aspartame…

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    Tina January 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

    @Eating 4 Balance: I found this piece on Stonyfield today and just wanted to share: http://www.stonyfield.com/blog/2012/06/01/carrageenan-safety/

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    Eating 4 Balance January 15, 2013 at 11:14 am

    @Tina: Thanks for the link. That’s some great information!

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    Annette@FitnessPerks January 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    That looks like such a cool event! I reallllyyy need some yoga in my life. In fact, I think I am gonna bust out some poses/stretches today. I NEED it.

    I want to try acupuncture so bad! I also would love to have some readings done on my feet–.

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    Shel@PeachyPalate January 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve attended some small exhibitions which were great but lacked the delicious lunch and personal attention! If you like raw chocolate when you’re in Ireland you have to try Magic Mayan! Raw Chocolate made with coconut sugar and they have incredible varieties including bee pollen, goji berry and a triple layer bar called crazy caramal! All dairy, wheat, gluten free and 100% raw! http://www.magicmayanchocolate.com/shop.htm

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    Nicole January 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Looks like a fun day. Last year I went to a women’s day of wellness expo in Madison – it was more booths and office/products than classes, etc. But still interesting.

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    Kristen @ Change of Pace January 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    What a great event. I wish I lived in a bigger city like you. We never have anything like that around here. :(

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    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    That looks like so much fun, and definitely up my alley! I’d love to try out all those health booths they had, like acupuncture!

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    Madison January 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    That seems like an absolutely amazing day!!! Perfect-o! I have not participate in a wellness retreat but will add that to my bucket list. :D

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    ash January 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    looks like such a neat retreat!

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    Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset January 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Wow! That looks so fun!!!!! :)

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    Sky January 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I love group workouts and I love vinyasa yoga! I’ve never been to a blogging retreat/conference and am hoping I get to go to one in the future. I’m so jealous you get to hang out with Sarah because she’s another one of my favorite bloggers.

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    ALI January 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Awesome! Wish I could have gone- Kendall is such a great girl.
    Hope you are doing well- just an FYI on the carageenan- it can be a very triggering food for those of us with IBD. Those drinks are yummy, but I can’t have them :(

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    Jenn January 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    What an amazing day! New activities and a yummy lunch. What more could you ask for?

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    Audrey Adams January 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    That looks like so much fun! Only half the face though? That sucks, but cool product.

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    Sara January 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    tina,
    i think i’ve mentioned this before at some of the events that you are invited to but the crowd really lacks in diversity (ie. all/mostly white, athletic, young, likely uppwardly-mobile women). Do you have any suggestions about how to help these organizations reach a wider base? Do these issues come up in the discussions? Thanks for sharing about it otherwise though — very interesting! (Especially since I now live in Boston…)

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    Tina January 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I’m not sure how this event was advertised, but I’m sure if you contacted Kendall or Celeste, they’d be happy to chat with you!

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    Kris January 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Tina, the Cornuopia Institute has a Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods with Carrageenan here: http://www.cornucopia.org/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/

    Apparently degraded carrageenan may contribute to intestinal inflammation, so you may want to avoid it in case it contributes to colitis flares. Everyone’s different, though, so it may not be an issue for you.

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    Tina January 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

    @Kris: THANK YOU for the link! Very helpful! I thought degraded carrageenan wasn’t approved to be used in foods?

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    Shannon January 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Looks like such a fun day! I’ve never been to anything like that before. The pose Sarah is doing is Agnistambhasana (Sanskrit word) or Firelogs (English word). I’m a new yoga teacher and Fire logs is one of my favorites, it hurts sooo good!!

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    Angela January 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve never attended a health conference just one every 2 years for the franchise I work in. I love all sorts of conventions and the goodies you get, always a good time!

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    Avery @ Southern Belle Living Well January 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    That acupuncture…..OH GOSH. You’re brave, I freak when just getting shots! The conference looks like a lot of fun!

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    AJ January 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    This sounds like an amazing retreat! I wish we could all experience something like this.

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

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    Alyssa January 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I have been to yoga retreats before (Yogi Training and Nutrition Courses through CorePower Yoga) and LOVED them!

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