I won a vacation – Albion Fit’s Soulstice Retreat

Soulstice Retreat Swag Bag 2

So you guys, I literally could not believe this… I won a vacation!!! On Instagram, #isthisreallife ?And not just any vacation, but a trip to the first annual Albion Fit’s Soulstice Retreat put on by Awaken Retreats in Park City, Utah. Seriously, I had to reread my notification about ten times before I broke down and had my hubby take a peek. I for real thought that someone was screwing with me but he assured me over and over that it was real! And now it’s a week later, it’s over and I’m home and I’m still daydreaming about this amazing, inspiring, emotional and completely unbeatable trip. I’m actually going to break this into two posts since I have so much to write about!



The retreat was Thursday thru Sunday and it was in June in the mountains which let me tell you right now, I thought I had died and gone to heaven since I was leaving triple digits and heat advisories back home in the desert. The only reservations that I had about this trip were: (one) Wyatt could’t go with me since we didn’t really have anyone to watch Harper for four days while we played (two) I had to leave my baby for the first time ever overnight which I was actually really excited about but also so so nervous (three) we just got a new French Bulldog puppy days before I was leaving and (four) I’ve never traveled anywhere on my own for a vacation, embarrassing. But there was never a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t go on this trip. I’m sure you guys don’t need to hear about random stuff like flights that went fine and rental cars that got messed up (which was actually a blessing since I didn’t even need a car and I got a ride from the retreat anyway and got to meet some awesome gals on my way up). Anyway, I get up to the mountain, its absolutely gorgeous and everyone is complaining how hot it is and I’m like I’ll definitely need a jacket at night haha, it was literally perfect and so green out! The staff at the Stein Erikson Lodge were phenomenal and the room was so romantic and gorgeous, which I felt kind of guilty about since I was there all alone. So of course I FaceTimed Wyatt and he was so jealous! haha I was still going to enjoy it even if I was by myself. King size bed, personal fireplace in front of the bed, huge balcony with the prettiest views of the mountain slopes, my own hot tub, a huge jet tub and shower. I mean, I didn’t even know that the had rooms like this!

But on to the self discovery and fitness stuff. Thursday night there was a great sit down dinner with a keynote speech from Whole 30’s Melissa Hartwig, talk about inspirational! She is such an amazing speaker and so down to earth. She touched on five things that she really wanted us to focus on over the weekend: (one) Remove your mask, in other words let your defenses down and show the world (or this small group at the retreat) who you really are without putting on a front. Thank god she didn’t mean not wearing make-up the whole weekend! (two) Share your story, whatever it is. This one was so hard for me because I’ve been dealing with emotions from over a year ago when I was bitten by a dog and let me tell you they all came out over this weekend. (three) Discover your self-worth, not who or what you have but who you ARE. I discovered that I am kind, honest, quiet (which is ok) and that I’m loyal. (four) Speak your truth, don’t over commit yourself and don’t be afraid to say no, or YES. (five) Stay in the moment, which is so very hard to do sometimes even in this beautiful setting. It was hard to stay committed to this and not get caught up taking a million pictures or calling home every few hours to check in and make sure everything was ok. I feel like this one was the one I had to work at most and I’ve been trying really hard to continue this since I’ve been home. The days can be so long but I know the time I have with my baby will be over before I know it. Soon there will be another baby then school then friends and so on, I really want to remember when it was just me and her, right now no distractions.


I think that this was made more and more clear on Friday night when Stephanie Nielson spoke to us. Her speech was vulnerable, heart wrenching, devastating, uplifting and motivating. If you haven’t heard her story she and her husband were in a plane crash in a small plane in Mesa, Arizona in 2008. Her husband suffered burns on about 40% of his body and she had been burned on over 80% of her body. She was in a coma for about 5 months to help her heal and all the while she had four little kids and husband who was also recovering from his injuries. Hearing her struggles of learning how to live again from just using her fingers and dealing with all the dressing changes to battling depression and finally being so grateful to still be alive and with her family hit me so hard. It was also incredible to watch Stephanie’s husband watch her speak. He looked like he hadn’t heard this story before or had actually lived through it, he watched her every move with love and you could tell he was so grateful to still have her in their family’s lives. By the end of her speech I was definitely struggling not to cry and everyone around me was doing the same. I was lucky enough to speak with her afterwards and I just had to tell her how close to home this was for me. When I was 7 1/2 months pregnant a dog bit me and I lost part of a finger or two. While in comparison, mine was absolutely minimal but Stephanie totally made me feel that it was still ok to grieve and be upset that it had happened. Just because our struggles were different it didn’t mean that mine was any less real to me. Stephanie is definitely one of the most amazing and gracious people that I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and hearing her speak and being at this retreat could not have come at a better time for me in my life, I will be forever grateful to have had this experience. If you’re interested in learning more about Stephanie and her story, she actually wrote a book about her experience and it’s next on my reading list.

So I’m going to end this post here and continue with all the fun fitness things we did, the great people I met and more on the next post. I’d love to know who or what inspires you? And I challenge you guys to be most present, you never know when you might have a wakeup call like Stephanie. Don’t hold anything back and be happy!

If you’re interested in reading the second post of the retreat, click here!

XOXO, Ashley