August 26, 2022 12 min read
After a 2.5 year hiatus, we were finally able to bring back our Soulstice Retreat this year and for the first time, at our most favorite place: The Albion Basin. We found the Snowpine Lodge, nestled amongst Utah’s gorgeous Wasatch Range, at the foot of some of the world’s best ski slopes. It’s hard to beat the snow here, but the wildflowers do it every year.
For 2022, we brought in some of my very best friends to lead classes and workshops during the day and in the evening, they were our treasured guest speakers. Lucky for me, and our guests, our friends include world-class yoga instructors, celebrity hair stylists, award-winning food bloggers, and fitness icons—and more.
What is Soulstice? Soulstice is a 4 day, 3 night retreat where women from all over the world gather to learn new talents and skills, make lasting friendships, and exercise their bodies and minds. Our goal is to introduce these amazing women to tools and relationships that will stay with them for lifetime, making life “back home” more fulfilling and more joyful. The retreat is intimate, with only 40-50 guests each year. We had the entire lodge to ourselves this year which really made it feel like a giant slumber party! We stayed up late, giggling by the fireplace, eating smores, and woke up whenever we wanted—sometimes early for a sunrise vinyasa, sometimes sleeping in, knowing that a hot plate of French toast and eggs and parfaits would be waiting for us.
It takes months and months of preparation to ensure no detail is missed. From dinner menus, to floral arrangements, to the food, to the music, to nightly gifts—we work so hard to make sure these days are nothing short of inspiring and fulfilling and I’m proud to say we heard from several women that this year, was the best year yet. I’d have to agree! And we have some pretty fabulous sponsors and lecturers and teachers to thank for that!
Before I highlight some of these, I need to explain something VERY important. One of the BEST parts of Soulstice happens as soon as you get here. When guests arrive, they’re greeted at the door with a GIANT swag bag with over $2000 of goodies. We’re talking GOOD STUFF. When we first started Albion, we knew this swag bag needed to be overflowing with QUALITY products we LOVED and personally used and each year, it’s just gotten better and better (some may say OVER THE TOP!).
The swag bag of our dreams 🤩♬ original sound - Albion Fit
We’ve worked with Sorel for years and love their products. We sell their shoes at our stores and they are absolutely a favorite because of their comfort, functionality, and because they just LOOK really good! Each guest was totally spoiled to have a brand new pair of gorgeous Sorel tennis shoes to wear throughout the week—these came in especially handy during our workout classes and our hike to the wildflowers.
A Utah gem, Cozy Earth will change your life—especially at night. We love their sheets—so soft, so cozy, and so luxurious feeling. But their PJs really steal the show. Each guest got a pair of silky soft jammies and to no one’s surprise, as soon as the lectures were done, we were all changing into them for our late night talking.
Speaking of late night talking—in our cozy jammies-- Saranoni blankets gave each guest the SOFTEST, WARMEST, CUTEST, wrap me up and tuck me in, blankets we could dream of. It was like we all had our own blankies and we took them with us everywhere. This is a great Utah company with a lot of heart. They’re family owned and have always been such great partners to us and we are always grateful for any chance to work with them.
What a treat! Pura spoiled us each with some amazing air freshners that are so. Darn. Fancy. This is not your average freshner—you plug it in and there’s an ap you use to control it! They’ve combined tech with style with the very best and freshest smells and it was so fun to see everyone’s face light up when they saw they got one.
Our OG Soulstice guests will remember that Awaken Studios was a part of our very first Soultstice. We love the owners, Joe and Jenna and their passion for health and wellness. They are kind and they are generous and they really care and you can see it in all that they do. Their pilates and fitness studio here in Salt Lake features all the best classes for reformer, aerial yoga, dance aerobics, and more. Their teachers are amazing—I mean SOULFUL and KIND and truly brilliant. Awaken provided aerial yoga for our guests and without fail, every year this Is a favorite. We had the equipment perched out on an open deck with the most gorgeous mountain views behind—it was beyond breathtaking and every absosultey loved it!
Function meets beauty with these CUSTOM Soulstice yoga towels. Geometry helped make all our yoga goals come true with their ultra-absorbent, slip-resistant, fast-drying yoga towels. Did we mention they’re made from post-consumer recycled materials?! If a perfect yoga towel exists, this is it.
Every year, I buy Dave something from Rustico for Christmas. If you want quality, personalized, timeless leather goods, look no further. I’ve bought Dave passport holders, wallets, art bags, travel kids, and water color books from Rustico. This year, we knew that we wanted something that would stand out as a memento for the retreat and when I learned that Isaac and his wife taught journaling classes, and had beautiful leather journals, I knew they had to join us. They gave the most insightful class on journaling (they offer journal courses you can sign up for, too) and gave each guest the MOST BEAUTIFUL HEIRLOOM leather bound journal. I was speechless when I saw it. It was such a pleasure to hear from them and the love they have for journaling and they inspired us each to write everyday for 60 days—I’m still going strong!
It was so fun to have so many people come who have been coming from the beginning, and my friend Melissa is no exception. The first couple years of Soulstice, my friend Melissa lived in Arizona and brought a group of girlfriends every year and honestly, they were the life of the party! Always laughing, always going hard, and dancing and just having the best time, we loved having them so much. A couple year later, Melissa opened her own Pilates studio and began offering Pilates classes at Soulstice. This year Melissa is opening up a NEW studio and we were thrilled to have her come give semi-private classes to our guests. The equipment is gorgeous and the instruction is top notch. To have her up there, working so closely with women who were looking for a special getaway, meant everything. She and our friend Steph made it so special!
We can’t forget the importance of FOOD at Soulstice. Although Snowpine Lodge had some amazing food, we were hungry with all the workout out and we needed the perfect treat. TruFru came to the rescue! By the pool, on the hike, during class, there was delicious chocolate fruit bites for all to enjoy and did we ever. Did I have some before bed everynight? Maybe I did!
Truly, the sponsors came through for us and we are so grateful! Can’t wait to see what we come up with next year!
The classes this year were all top notch, too. We had so many of my friends up here and it was so fun to see them shine in their element.
Maria Lichty from Two Peas in their Pod graced us with ONE AMAZING summer salad class and everyone left with a giant smile on their face and with her cookbook (which I use every week) and even some goodies from William Sonoma! Maria is a dear friend and has come to EVERY SINGLE Soulstice. I love her and her passion for making really delicious food that is very accessible and quick and healthy. I don’t know her if her treats qualify as healthy per se but boy, are they amazing. Don’t miss her cookie recipes!
Abby Watts from Oakleaf Designis also a sweet friend who came up and shared her talents as a London, School of Floral Design -trained florist! We learned to create beautiful floral arrangements out on the deck, overlooking the beautiful mountain vistas.
Creminilli, another Utah favorite, taught a Charcuterie class for the ages. We ate, we laughed, and we ate some more!
Gem Studio came for the second year in a row. Definitely a favorite, the founders came themselves and helped us all design our own rings— flame and welding and all! Go check out one of their locations if you’re in Hawaii or Salt Lake.
We had some great health and wellness classes, too. Thanks to our friend Krista Perry, of Crude, we got a bunch of great skincare goodies (which I personally love!) and a class on keeping our skin youthful and clean without all the chemicals you find in most retail products.
My friend Jill Buck, celebrity stylist from LA, came out and taught us how to curl our hair and some everyday up-dos. We all left feeling absolutely GORGEOUS and put together and there wasn’t a dry tear in the room when everyone saw they got their own TR3 Curling Iron, too and some amazing JOICO products. Thanks, Jill!
Jill’s class was a great follow up to our first night’s pampering with Paul Mitchell—we were lucky to have a group of fabulous stylists come up and get us all done up with hair and makeup before our fancy, all-white dinner party. It’s definitely my favorite night of the retreat. Everyone looks radiant and the table settings and the menus and the food and the summer night air and mountains over head – it’s just a slice of heaven and the best night to get pictures!
Back to classes..
One of everyone’s favorite classes, every year, is Dave’s watercolor class! Not everyone knows this but Dave hand draws/paints most of our prints here at Albion. Florals are definitely his specialty , so getting some one on one time with Dave is always such a treat. He’s so supportive and encouraging and makes you feel like you can do anything (I’m one lucky girl!).
We had another great skincare class offered by Lisa Richards, The Skin Boss. Wow. Book yourself a one on one appointment because I’ve never met anyone that knows so much about skin and how everyone’s is different. She discussed the importance of hydration and sunscreen and really have the individual needs of your skin addressed.
And really, Soulstice is about individual needs! If you want to take just a couple classes a day and relax and enjoy the spa the rest of time- you do you! But if you want to move and get workouts in throughout the day, there’s a million choices for you to choose from!
From pilates, to aerial yoga, to Cardio Fuse fitness class (get your dance on with the one and only Natalie Madsen), to arm balances and morning vinyasas with my amazing talented yogi friends Ashley and Jill, and hikes in the America’s Swiss Alps with me and Dave. Oh that hike was stunning!
We also had some cool down moments with Meditation and Sound Baths—have you ever done a Sound Bath? If not, do it! My sweet friend Liz Radcliffe enchanted us with the peaceful 30 minutes of laying down with a warm blanket, while she played her bowls, creating a wide array of vibrations that pierced your soul in the most calming, beautiful way. Oh it was so, very, very special.
And last but not least, we had the one and only Amber’s Kitchen come teach a couple Sour Dough Making classes. WOW. I have always, always, wanted some personalized instruction on this and Amber showed up big time! She gave us all our own starter, instruction sheet, and answered all the questions, and best of all—gave us samples at the end. On a personal note, I got to spend some one on one time with Amber that morning over breakfast and she is just such a breath of fresh air. Love her to pieces.
Last but not least, we were so fortunate to hear from 3 women I admire and love very much. First is one of my besties, Jess Gee. If you’ve followed along our Albion journey for anytime at all, you’ll see the Gees (or The Bucket List Family) all over our feed. They are our adventure buddies. We’ve traveled all over the world with them from New Zealand to Tanzania and they are so down to earth and love all the things we love: Family, Friends, and making memories.
This is the second time I’ve invited Jess to come speak and if you’re lucky, she’ll come to every Soulstice. She is so wise and has such a pure, and giving heart. She loves deeply and cares deeply and is such a great example to me of loving everyone and and really appreciating all the beautiful things that each culture and country has to offer. She spoke to us about the different values she admires most of different countries she’s visited—at the top of the list, a love for family and a love of service. She’s a good one, that Jessica.
Next we had our sweet friend, Kelsey Wells speak to us. We’ve known known each other for year and it was so fun to work with her on a collaboration this year. She came out to our Austin grand opening and taught the most amazing class in the rain. It was so inspiring and invigorating. The best part about Kelsey is how much she appreciates and values human interaction—the real kind. She really cares. She really listens. She has millions of followers around the world that use her Sweat Ap but when you’re alone with her—it’s just the two of you. She is so present and so authentic. She reminded us all to appreciate the opportunity we had to use our bodies and to be present at Soulstice and to thank our body after each workout for allowing us to move. She reminded us that to just breathe is a miracle and to stop looking at exercise as punishment, but instead as a blessing and a way to nourish our minds and our bodies together.
The last night, we were beyond blessed to have my dear friend, Heather Van Boerum speak to us. Heather has been a dear friend for year. We are neighbors, we play tennis together, we go to church together; she has always been a huge supporter of Albion from day one. She is kind. She is generous with her time. She is an amazing mother and wife and daughter and sister. She is and always has been a LIGHT. This past Christmas, I got the devastating phone call that Heather had been in a horrific accident that she might not survive. She was hit by a car in a parking lot and lost one of her legs on site and would soon lose the other. She nearly died that day and survived 2 weeks of intense surgeries.
At Soulstice, on our second night, Heather, just 8 months after her accident, a double-amputee, walked into the room with two prosthetic legs, just glowing. With her family by her side, she and her daughter Annika share their story with us. It’s a story of faith, of courage, of patience, of forgiveness, of joy.
This year’s theme for Soulstice was “Finding Joy in the Journey” and when I told Heather the book I was going to do for book club was “the Book of Joy”, she began to wipe tears from her eyes. That the book that changed her life, she told me. She read it at the hospital and wanted to share that message with everyone at Soulstice—how could it be that that’s the book I had chosen for book club? It was decided then that Heather would talk about it and share it while she shared her story with us.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. For an hour, we watched Heather and Anika hold each other tenderly and talk about how we each have trials, some seen, most unseen, and that being still in the moment is okay, and it’s good for us. And that there’s always hope and there will be better days—harder days too-- but better days.
It’s hard to put into words with Soulstice is but I can tell you it’s something that I look forward to every year. We all need love. We all need to feel cared for. We all need time in nature to regroup and refocus and doing it along side a group of women who are willing to be and and open their hearts to new experiences and friendships and do it so openly and willingly is the very best place to experience it.
Dave and I would love to thank our amazing team for all their hard work for putting this together. It takes an army—and ours happens to be the very best of the best. Thank you so very much Albion team! We love you and are so grateful for how much you care.
Until next year!
Liz and Dave
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