Two weeks ago, I hosted the FIRST Rest in the City Retreat. This event had been a dream of mine ever since I started the blog. I designed it to be just what *I* need myself as an overworked, stressed out professional woman - a chance to "get away from it all," tend to my mental and emotional health, and enjoy a little pampering - all without having to go halfway across the globe.
The event itself took place at the Pure Nuphoria Bed & Breakfast in Fort Washington, MD. (Shout outs to my blogger boo Nae for the referral!) It made an ideal event location as it is situated in a quiet, suburban neighborhood just minutes outside of DC. Pure Nuphoria is deceptively small from the outside as the inside is pleasingly overwhelming in its opulent grandeur. The proprietor, Candice Camille - aka "The Wellologist" - greeted every visitor, along with soothing aromatherapy and ambient music.
We kicked off the evening with a yoga class taught by my friend, Crystal Moore, owner and founder of Serenity Place DC. [pullquote]Did you know that Crystal's studio offers a class designed specifically for plus size women? Check out "Stacked Yoga" on her website.[/pullquote] Her teaching was nothing short of spectacular - she crafted a class that easily accommodated the various levels of experience in the room. Additionally, we stretched and curled to tunes by Michael Jackson and Jay-Z. Most inspiring of all, as Crystal taught, she shared with us the personal history that brought her to yoga, including health challenges caused by lupus and going through a divorce.
After working up an appetite, we moved onto dinner, which was catered by Woodlands Vegan Bistro in DC. We then moved right into an expressive arts session with licensed clinical therapist, Martina Martin. She led us through a series of guided questions like, "What are concrete things you'd like to bring into your life?", before we began working on our individual paint projects. From that session we moved seamlessly into our vision board party, which lasted almost until midnight. The next day, we enjoyed a hot breakfast before indulging in facials and massages.
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The one "negative" aspect of the retreat was the fact that the turnout was smaller than I had hoped. But, as our expressive arts facilitator said, "Everyone who is supposed to be here is here." And I couldn't agree more. The small group setting made for a cozy, intimate environment where everyone had the opportunity and felt comfortable enough to share. Afterwards, one guest followed up to say that the retreat was "just the jump start [she] needed." Another later reported that, through a connection she made at the retreat, she found a mentor to help guide her in her new career path. Hearing this type of feedback warmed my heart and confirmed to me that ultimately the event WAS a success.
Will there be another Rest in the City Retreat? You will just have to stay tuned!