We all deserve some pampering.

The last few weeks have been blessedly busy. And my heart and my brain are so full that I need to start sharing before I explode!

On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual BeHealthful Retreat hosted by BalancedBabe.com (and presented by Jewel Osco). It’s taken me a couple days to process all the wonderful-ness that happened, and now I’m ready to give you the highlights from this fantastic experience.

BeHealthful really lived up to it’s name. Packed with so much to see and do throughout the day that each person can create the perfect retreat for herself with whatever she needs to fill her (self-care) tank. In fact, I was so caught up in all the doing, seeing, tasting, and listening, that I didn’t take near as many pictures as I wish I had (now that I am looking back and wanting to share all of this with you). Something to remember for next year. Because I will definitely go back.

My good friend, Sam, and I made it a full day, starting with grazing around the food area. We learned a bit about some of the new, awesome, healthy food options available in Chicago and tried nearly every sample we could get our hands on. One of my favorite samples was MammaChia’s delicious Blackberry Bliss Chia Squeeze, which is like a fruity chia pudding in a pouch. Bonus: it’s totally organic! Then there was Sprig, which I had never heard of before. It’s an app and service that delivers fresh, organic, healthy meals to your door within 15 minutes of ordering. Pretty cool, but what’s better was the dark chocolate coconut truffles they were giving out. I could have easily eaten five.

Bottom image from left: Melissa O'Brien, Dr. Arielle Levitan, Dr. Romy Block, and Dr. Dena Mendes

Bottom image from left: Melissa O'Brien, Dr. Arielle Levitan, Dr. Romy Block, and Dr. Dena Mendes

After stuffing ourselves with healthy treats, we watched a couple of pretty inspiring panels. The first was Integrative Health: balance hormones, improve energy & drop lbs the right way. This talk featured Melissa O'Brien, RD from Jewel Osco; Dr. Arielle Levitan and Dr. Romy Block of VousVitamin; Dr. Dena Mendes, founder/creator of Dena’s Healthy U and author of A Survivor’s Guide to Kicking Cancer’s Ass; and was moderated by Neeta Bhushan, founder of Independent Awakening (and a lot more). A few highlights:

  • Most people (especially women) are deficient in Vitamin D, iron, iodine, and magnesium, and those deficiencies causes all kinds of problems from anxiety and stress to trouble sleeping, weight management issues, and more.
  • The most repeated advice was to “be in-tune with your body and what it needs.” We are each as unique as our fingerprints and NO solution is one-size-fits-all.
  • “We are like a filthy dirty rug that needs to be beaten” - Dr. Dena Mendes on the power and necessity of Qigong (chee-gong or chee-kung)
From left: Sarah Baker, Leah Caplanis, Natalie Slater, Patrice Grell Yursik, and Whitney Reynolds

From left: Sarah Baker, Leah Caplanis, Natalie Slater, Patrice Grell Yursik, and Whitney Reynolds

Next was Just DO it: How to Embrace Transitional Periods in Your Life which felt like it was speaking right to me. Lead by Leah Caplanis, founder of SOCIAL Enjoyments; Natalie Slater, creator of bakeanddestroy.com; Patrice Grell Yursik, creator of Afrobella.com; Whitney Reynolds from the Whitney Reynolds show; and moderated by Sarah Baker, creator of BalancedBabe (the fabulous queen bee of the retreat), this session gave loads of inspiring and practical advice on how to follow your heart from the desk job you hate to the dream life your soul aches for. Here are the highlights:

  • Block out (of your life) anything that doesn’t serve you. This could be relationships, habits, thought patterns, whatever is not lifting you up and helping you be the person you want to be.
  • “Tap into your inner drag queen” - Natalie Slater on how to have the confidence and tenacity to go after what you want
  • Have faith in yourself and what you are putting into the world and the universe will rise to meet your needs. (I’ve found this to be true. And whenever I begin to doubt, things usually start going wonky.)
Me with the lovely ladies of the Just DO It panel

Me with the lovely ladies of the Just DO It panel

Then it was time to check out the upstairs. It was like a holistic health mecca with everything from self-massaging products, essential oils, and non-toxic beauty items to facial treatments, acupuncture, and massage therapies (and a lot more). There was even a dude giving acroyoga sessions!

This guy was giving acroyoga sessions all day long... on concrete. His poor back! 

This guy was giving acroyoga sessions all day long... on concrete. His poor back! 

We milled around the many health services and products, but we were most excited to sign up for some treatments. We managed to snag the last slots for acupuncture (which neither of us had ever tried) and chair massages. The acupuncture, by Kaysie Lingo of Evolve the Body, was intriguing and I am definitely considering trying it again. It seems like you can treat just about anything with acupuncture.

Tayonon Gbala working on Sam

Tayonon Gbala working on Sam

So after all that, I was definitely ready for a massage. And I highly recommend ending such a full day with one. That was well-played on our part. Holistic massage therapist, Tayonon Gbala, of A Balanced You did a wonderful job working the stress out of my back and shoulders, and Sam said it was her favorite part of the day!

We weren’t quite done though. We managed to squeeze in one last panel before the day was over. And I’m so glad we did. Featuring Taylor Miller, HHC (and former All My Children star); Bela Gandhi, love guru and founder of Smart Dating Academy; Valerie Groth, life coach, motivational speaker, and podcaster; Steffani LeFevour, founder and CEO of myhappilife.com; and Nicole Pearl, The Beauty Girl, and moderated by Sarah Baker, this session was An Inflexible Mind Stops Success: Strategies for Leading a Fearless Life. These women addressed the many different issues that can stop us in our tracks, and block our path to happiness and even skew our vision of success. Some of the best highlights from this talk:

  • Words carry emotional energy and it’s important to choose them carefully, even (and especially) when talking to ourselves.
  • Neuroplasticity refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses (in the brain) due to changes in behavior, environment, thinking, and emotions. In short, we CAN change our brain and the way we think and the way it supports us by changing our habits. Push through the fear and it WILL get easier.
  • Surround yourself with people who are where you hope to be, and aim high. “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” I can’t remember who said it, but I love it and agree.
From left: Sarah Baker, Taylor Miller, Bela Ghandi, Valerie Groth, Steffani LeFevour, and Nicole Pearl

From left: Sarah Baker, Taylor Miller, Bela Ghandi, Valerie Groth, Steffani LeFevour, and Nicole Pearl

All in all it was a wonderful full day and I’m so grateful to have been invited. And I am already strategizing for the next one (definitely plan to do one of the yoga classes next time).

And as if it couldn't get better, while I was wrapping up this post, I got a call from BioLife Organic Spa letting me know that I won their raffle for a free 30 minute organic facial! Score!!

Thank you Sarah Baker for putting on this amazing event, for inviting me, and for sharing tickets that allowed one of my readers, Angie B. and her friend to attend as well!

If you were at the retreat, I'd love to hear your favorite memory from the day. Just leave it in the comments!

-SK

Disclosure: I received two complimentary tickets to this event (plus two to give away) in exchange for writing about it. That being said, everything written here is my genuine experience and opinion, written in my own manner, and has not been coerced or swayed in any way.