Om is a sacred spiritual incantation that signifies the essence of ultimate reality in Hinduism. I had the opportunity to share sacred space with women of color, from across the nation, at the 4 day OMNOIRE wellness retreat held at Miraval Resort in Tucson. Founder Christina Rice had a vision, in 2017, to create events that focused specifically on women of color, so she set out to curate the dopest experiences with them in mind! No longer did these women have to feel like a fish out of water or a circle in a square hole when it came to self care. From beginning to end, OMNOIRE provides a wellness-centered space, the essence of ultimate reality, for today’s woman of color.
When I received an email from Christina inviting me to participate in this year’s retreat, as a speaker, my mouth dropped and then I thought “who would say no to this?” If my memory serves me correctly, I told her “girl what do I need to do” lol! She explained the mission of the OMNOIRE retreats and I was sold. Speaking to amazing women is right up my alley, it’s what I do every day as an ob/gyn. So I was thrilled and honored to be asked to participate. Not only that, I would be among a panel of heavy hitters, check out the complete list of speakers HERE.
This retreat would allow me to pour into other women and it would also allow me to refill my own proverbial cup. Momming, doctoring and blogging I do well, but as with any passions we need to step away and recharge from time to time. I wrote in one of my Instagram posts that I had pseudo anxiety as this would be the first time leaving Kai for this long. I knew that she and I would be ok so it was off to the races and I was excited to get a much-needed break that would not disappoint! Click HERE to watch all of my behind the scenes from the event!
The retreat was jam-packed with all the self-care and adventure you could imagine. On day one, attendees were welcomed to a gorgeous hospitality suite at Miraval where they received itineraries and welcome gifts. The view from the suite was enough to make most want to stay forever!
After a little R & R attendees gathered in the beautifully decorated Arizona room, at Miraval, for the opening dinner. We dined, drank and laughed. We listened to SADIRA FURLOW, SVP of marketing for Frito Lay and ultimate boss speak on the necessity of creating safe spaces for women of color to heal, cultivate and create. She was also a pivotal force in forming the partnership between OMNOIRE and retreat sponsor Tropicana. Side note, Sadira was also the reason I was in the room, we’ve know each other since junior high and she recommended me to Christina! Next, we heard from Allyson Byrd, of Money Movers International, a visionary and strategist to some of the most influential multi 7-figure earners. We left dinner empowered and inspired!
The next morning I had high hopes of attending morning meditation but the fluffy, luxe Miraval bed got the better of me. I can’t remember the last time I slept in so I was taking advantage of the opportunity. I mean I was there for some self care right?! After a lazy morning, I was super excited to attend a course in the newly opened culinary kitchen. Chef Warren led our palettes on an adventure full of pre and probiotics by creating a simple and aromatic Asian salad. He incorporated Tropicana Essentials Probiotics juice line into his marinade! The salad was so fresh and simple we all requested the recipe!
After that tasty bite I attended the Money Mindset workshop with THEE Profit Accelerator Allyson Byrd. Known for boosting her clients’ profits by 105 million dollars in 8 years, she knows how to get the job done! She captivated the attendees with her down to earth wit and experiences. We left feeling charged and ready to accelerate!!
I was then on to get my makeup done as my talk was coming up soon. The lovely Ariane Turner got my face all the way together and gave me a few pointers along the way! She has a daughter too, so we also chatted about mommyhood! Then I was off to the stage for a conversation with Zahra Barnes the deputy health editor for Self Magazine . We spoke about women’s health, in particular, gynecologic conditions affecting black women, self-care and black maternal mortality.
Y’all we are only halfway through the magnificence that was #glowinomarizona! Just after my talk, I stopped by the vendor fair, featuring all black women entrepreneurs. Candles, body butters, skin care products, books, apparel and more were available for purchase. It was the epitome of #blackgirlmagic. I snagged a few items and headed back to my room for a brief rest.
That evening we had a pajama movie night and watched the classic Waiting to Exhale. There was some delicious artisan popcorn and a candy buffet. The movie watching was pure hilarity. We sang, uttered collective sighs and groans at the screen and laughed as if we had never seen the movie! It was a perfect ending to day 2!
Saturday morning, I was determined to get up and at em’ early! Yoga was on the agenda and would be led by OMNOIRE founder Christina Rice. This class wasn’t about perfection or being a master yogi, it was about connecting to oneself and letting go all in the same breath; all while sharing space with my sisters. It was a beautiful experience and a reminder of my need to stretch lol!
Next, took place one of my favorite parts the retreat, the group photo. I had seen the previous year’s photo and was blown away by the imagery. Y’all know I live for a good photo op so I was so excited to participate. Imagine a sea of melanin, beautiful hues of brown reflecting the warm Arizona sun. The theme was boho chic and the ladies showed up and showed out!! They brought desert chic to life! Special thanks to Michelle and Jazzfor the gorgeous captures throughout the retreat.
Of course I couldn’t let this scenery go to waste so I had to snag a few solo shots with my girl Sadira! She did an amazing job and labeled herself as a faux-tographer lol. I snapped a few of her as well, she’s a natural don’t you think? Oh, and I’ve already called dibs on her fabulous linen jumpsuit!
After the group photo I grabbed a quick bite from the Palm Court Cafe, read more about it HERE. Next up was my spa treatment which I had been dreaming about since booking it! I had the Salt Serenity Treatment, it was 100 minutes of pure relaxation. Following that, I went on a walk, with Sadira, that ended in us observing some very brave OMNOIRE attendees walking a tightrope!! It was soul refreshing to see the level of support given to those women, they literally conquered fear one step at a time.
The culmination of the retreat was dinner on Saturday evening. By this time, new friendships were budding, self care was well underway and healing on many levels was taking place. That’s when Brandi Harvey brought it home and spoke in to our lives. Her message was that while many came to the retreat seeking and searching that the breakthrough was not included; it could only come with the work put in once the retreat was over. Her heartfelt, God led and witty approach captured all of our attention. We closed in prayer, some with tear filled eyes and all with full hearts.
Then a full on photo shoot ensued lol, we had Greek life representing, HBCUs in full effect, selfies galore all over the room and a final photo with all of the speakers! One of the attendees summed up the experience so perfectly, “behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. When women work together, it is a bond unlike any other. When women support each other, incredible things happen. When women get together as a group, it is immensely powerful. When women come together with a collective intention for healing with love, pure magic happens.” – Crystal Hadnott PhD.
If you’ve stayed with me this long, THANK YOU. Sadly, all good things come to an end but in the case of the OMNOIRE retreat, I know that it will be back and even better, if that’s possible, than before. In a world where we are labeled “the angry black woman”, have to always be the “strong black woman” while facing micro on top of macro aggressions, it’s imperative to have spaces where we can safely coexist as sisters. OMNOIRE is the essence of collaboration over competition. Miraval was the perfect backdrop to accomplish this, read all about my stay HERE. There were instances where time moved so slowly; I had to remind myself to just be in the moment and soak it all in. Hopefully by reading this, you got more than a glimpse into the phenomenon that is OMNOIRE. May you be inspired to join us, you see what I did there? I told Christina to tell me what I need to do to be on the roster FOREVA lol! Definitely make sure you follow OMNOIRE and OMNOIRE Retreats on Instagram for all of the latest updates! I #feellikeabillion after that retreat and look forward to the next one! Oh and you can shop some of the looks I wore, during the retreat, below! Clearly I have a thing for looking over my shoulder!
Olive green caftan- HERE
Striped Maxi Dress- HERE
As always thanks for following and be well!