Oct 8, 2014


This was the reason I was in California. The reason I booked flights over. The reason I got to holiday (sorry - vacation) in the sunny state for a month with my man.

For The Tone It Up Retreat!!

Anyone that knows me, knows I'm slightly obsessed with these girls; Karena and Katrina.

 If you don't know these ladies, they do workout videos on YouTube and I've been following them for years. I love their workouts, look forward to their blog posts, follow their personal life through Instagram, and am proud as punch to be a part of their online community of women who bond and stick together like glue. So the minute they announced their first ever retreat.... OH MY FREAKIN GOD might have been my initial thought... and I knew I'd get my butt over there, coz I wouldn't miss this for the world!

300 spots sold out in a matter of 45 minutes and one of them was mine. As soon as I paid for my place with my credit card, I told B that we were going to California!! It was the catalyst to getting the both of us to a place we had kept saying we would get too when we had more time and more money - which never actually happens right? I've come to realise that you've just gotta book what you want, and watch the rest unfold.


We had already been in the sunny state for 3 1/2 weeks before the retreat was on - it was the final weekend of our trip (I'll share more about our adventures later).

It was Thursday morning in sunny So Cal (Southern California) and B and his mate were driving me to the hotel I would be staying at for the next few days. Pulling up it was absolute luxury and I knew this was going to be incredible. We weren't staying at Travel Lodge. We were at the Hyatt.

I was beyond excited and one eager beaver to ditch my man and get stuck into my next 4 days surrounded by girls, but I couldn't get rid of him without taking this snap --

(We had styling advice from @jilliantiumama and @annesadventures which sparked our friendship that would follow the next few days)

Then the boys were off and I was waiting to check in and GRAB MY GOODIE BAG!! We had been told soooo little about what was going to be in this, but we were reminded of that fact sooooo often! Way to amp us up. So, there was no denying the fact it was going to rock our bikini bottoms! And it did. Check it out -- and that wasn't all of it!

Photo from @tiuhoney and these were our VIP passes for the retreat

Massive THANK YOUS to all the crew at Tone It Up, Oakley Women, Asics, Coola, Core Water, Maaji, Perfect Fit Protein and everyone else who had goodies thrown in.

It was about 11am and I had my fingers crossed that my room would be ready to dump all my stuff in - which it wasn't. A blessing in disguise perhaps as I hung around drinking herbal teas, watermelon juices, and chatting to another young fit chic waiting for her room to be ready as well. We instantly got along, and with potentially hours to stick around waiting we decided to dump our stuff at reception instead and go exploring.

And when our rooms were ready (at the same time of course), we unpacked then headed for the pool. One of three mind you. And we donned our new Oakley bikinis we had just received!

Photo credit to Sarah - fellow Aussie on retreat

The rest of the day was pretty cruisey and both our room mates arrived between 3pm and 4pm, just before we all got ready for the first event on our schedule - Dinner by the Pool; Dress: Casual Cute

Thursday Night:

This was our first "introduction" and where all 300 of us could meet and greet, mingle and kick start the next few amazing days together. Dress was cute-casual and it was a poolside dinner with salads, meats, nibbles, unlimited drinks (!!), and delightful treats for dessert. We had a photo booth where we could be silly and grab some take-home pics to keep, a big screen showcasing TIU girls incredible health transformations that were nothing short of inspiring, and of course a pool. And no TIU party is complete without a few mermaids jumping in when the whole thing is over.

Carly who I met and spent the whole day with, along with her roomie, and me with mine - the four of us got on like a house on fire, all with wicked senses of humour that had us in stitches from the get go! And the gorgeous lady on the end is Istimah. An absolute darling who I bumped into all the time, spent hours drinking wine with the day before the event, and had cuddles with every chance we got.

This is Brian - Katrina's husband and when he found out I was from Oz, we spoke about beer for 15 minutes! Turns out he studied in Melbourne for about 8 months quite some time ago. Super friendly, genuinely kind, and loads of fun to chat too!




Pic stolen from Sarah again
Safe to say we were all a tad excited - as were they though. After introductions (never formal with these ladies), giggles, wines, they began meandering through us all and around the pool chatting, hugging and getting #selfies with as many of us as they could. From the other side of the pool they looked gorgeous, and up close and personal they are just as much. I didn't manage to chat to the girls on this occasion but did nab in on a group photo with Katrina! An awesome first night for us all, and bed was early which suited me just fine. After all, 3 days of activities begins in the morning.


We began our morning with a light(ish) brekkie as were we doing our first training 90 minutes later...

+ BOOTYCALL! This was our first workout with our trainers. 300 excited females met on the beach, all in matching Asics trainers, Oakley sunnies, and a TIU singlet (tank top for the Yanks), ready to get our sweat on with K & K. The sky was overcast but we brought our own colour as we lined up and waited til we could go bombard the yoga mats lined up on the sand.

Photo from @sarahalicetiu

Photo from @sarahalicetiu

We each had our own Oakley/TIU yoga mat (that we got to keep - with an extra Oakley yoga mat bag!) but I gotta say, working out next to 300 others, on a small patch of sand, and jumping up and down, in sneakers, on rubber yoga mats, on the sand... is tough! And we had a helluva lotta booty bouncing that's for sure! One workout I'm sure to never forget!

Photo from @tiudeebs (she's the cutie on the left)

After that I managed to nab a couple pics with the girls and I'm still pinching myself that I got to meet them! For real, Karena and Katrina are more beautiful in the flesh than they are in any magazine or any YouTube clip. Both inside and out. And an absolute hoot! Your BFF for sure!

Perfected my posture second time round!

Then my schedule had "Leisure Time" up next for me which was wonderful after that sweaty, sandy, messy workout. So I showered, lay by the pool, and hung out with Carly again as we both had the time off training.

+ BIKING. Was after lunch for me and I was really looking forward too this. I have a mountain bike at home and there are world-class trails 5 minutes from my house, yet even though my boyfriend, my best friend, my work colleagues, and my friends partners are all mountain trail riders back home, it freaks me out and I've always wanted to road bike - but of course that's a little "gay" in the world of mountain biking. I digress... I got to ride a road bike for the first time in my life here!! The first few seconds were a tad wobbly (as the tyres are far slimmer and the handle bars different to a mountain bike), but long story short, I absolutely fell in love with it!! After the 2hrs were up, I seriously wanted to continue riding until the sun went down. I could not stop talking about it, telling everyone yet to ride how incredible it was, and then tag my boyfriend and bestie back home that I've converted (and please don't hate me). I. Am. Obsessed.
No word of a lie. I've just gotta pay off some past expenditures from my trip now, and then I'm onto getting myself a Giant road bike.

Suits me don't you think?

+ SUP BOARDING (aka Stand Up Paddle Boarding). Something else I fell in love with coz I love the feeling and effects that doing this properly can have on your body and physique. I've tried it before - but in very choppy ocean water making it very difficult as a beginner, and I had no technique instruction. But our instructor here was incredible and exceptionally good at her job. This is def something I will be getting back into more in Cairns.

Photo of @ellafit and I on the sand

Friday Night:

We all dressed up a little but wore flats as we knew we were having dinner on a secluded and private beach (so bring a light sweater). And when our shuttles pulled up and we walked over to look down to this -- I think any single girl immediately decided that's what her wedding would look like. I don't think I've ever seen or ever witnessed a set up so beautiful, so romantic, so touching for all those a part of it. 

We got to the beach a little before sunset so we could all watch the sun go down - with cocktails and new friends hands in tow. And when it did, The music started, the drinks flowed and the party began.

Photo from @sarahalicetiu

The girls that stuck together for 4 days

As the evening went by, we were eating fresh salmon and mahi mahi, grilled tofu steaks and roast sweet potatoes, fresh salads, green beans and more. And everything looked magical.

Especially when these two decided to pop on in...

Photo from @nicolelhill_

And then we were spoilt with further musical entertainment from Brian - Kat's husband who had previously only ever performed in front of Karina and herself!! And then Kelly James. And I strongly urge you to look him up. Out. Of. This. World. And everyone there will forever be blessed and singing parody's about Tone It Up (Bootycalls and Cats) that this man improvised that night, and had us all in stitches clapping too.


After a granola bar or some fruit, a quick change into another brand new singlet for our 5KM RUN, we were all down by the Dunes doing a few stretches with Karena and a champion runner from Asics, and then with a loud bang of the gun we were off! 

On lap 3 (of 4) I ended up cruising along the same speed as another chic. She turned her head and said "Christie?" and it was gorgeous Anne I met the day before. We held pace together and got one another over the line to celebrate with champers together!! I love a good champagne toast but hate drinking the stuff so it was a litre of water instead for me. Oh, and the custom made TIU medals! Another surprise gift! How cool are they?!?



Brekkie after my water had settled was gonna be good. And so it was! Protein pancakes (you know how much I love these), extra eggs, mini-mini bagels with plenty of smoked salmon and a few capers, a tall black coffee, and a few berries. Dang that was good!

A jog back to my room for a costume change then I was off again...

+ SURFING. This I was excited for. Especially after the 5km run. We caught a bus over to the beach, suited up, jumped on after a few drills on the sand, and we were in. I was so keen to just paddle out and see if surfing years ago would have stayed with me (you know - like riding a bike right?) and I'm sorry to say I looked just like a newbie. But had SO MUCH FUN paddling out, ducking over waves, picking the spot, paddling then jumping up and riding the waves in, to fall off at shore! I seriously had a blast and was loving just being in the ocean. I had a ball chatting to a couple of the instructors too as a couple of them had only recently visited Australia - one guy even went to Cairns (and loved it - of course). Made me proud as punch.

Photo from ToneItUp.com

Post surf feed is always sweet and these fish tacos with salad, extra salsa and chilli were just the ticket. Although I'm not so sure about that orange cheese the American's seem to like...

Chilling out and drying off in the sun

After most of the day at the beach in the sun, I got back to my room, showered, changed and decided to walk to Fashion Island - a gorgeous, big, open air shopping mall nearby. I had time up my sleeve and was feeling like a wonder, and more so, like a kombucha! So Wholefoods it was, followed by the bikini shop for my first Maaji swimsuit (Obsessed!! But won't buy online unless I know my sizes) and then a new pair of Oakley sunnies (not the ones above - they were our gift).

Saturday Night:

The evening we had all been waiting for, but never wanted to come. Our Farewell Dinner / Hard Core Party. This was our dress-up-to-impress night. Get those heels out, don the Flash Tattoos, and get ready to party as we had another special musical guest yet to be announced.

This. Is. What. We. Walked. Into.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I wish I had more pics of everyone coz I've never seen so many incredible gorgeous girls - both inside and out - in the one place, together, wining, dining and dancing as one. There were nibbles, drinks and mingling before we headed into the ballroom for our sit-down dinner, where a massive group photo of us all was on each of our plates as a(nother) gift.

After a few awards, a beautifully touching slide show of photos turned memories from our time together, and dessert, we were rushed up and out again. It all seemed a little hurried, but when we realised they just wanted us to get dancing, we could understand why.

Drinks were flowing again at the bars outside (TIU girls know how to party) and it wasn't long before the guests were announced. And headlining was Nick Cannon - who I didn't even know. He's pretty big over here as he's on The Voice, is a DJ, and also Mariah Carey's (ex) husband. And he know's how to crank them tunes that's for sure.

Non. Stop. Dancing. It was insane. 

New tunes, old tunes, rock tunes, beats tunes. I hadn't danced like that, for that long, whilst having so much fun, with so many amazing people... Ever! Yet all good things must come to an end right? When party-poopers want to noise down? Nup! We ventured back inside.

And this last snap is from this stunning girl - @sarahalicetiu - one of only four Aussie girls that were there all weekend. We all kept partying in here til 130am (I think).

And then my feet were sooooo sore and I was very much ready for bed. 


Early morning yoga for those who weren't having to leave at dawn, who weren't too hung over, and who wanted to get up first thing. Yes please! My roomie and I went but our other two girls slept in. Still a pretty good turn out given the evening before. Yep - that's my bum in the green tights.

It was the perfect end to our retreat, and the perfect start to #ActiveNationDay which Lorna Jane runs annually (happy I was in my Lorna tights) and I love being a part of. A gentle stretch with some partner work thrown in, it was a little bittersweet really.

Post yoga brekkie was porridge - amaranth, quinoa or steel cut oats - with berries, yoghurt, granola, honey, teas and coffee, which was lovely, but I was sooo hanging out for a plate of eggs and veggies after non-stop dancing in heels and a few more beers than usual the night before. Oh well. Delicious nonetheless.

Final cuddles were had with newbie friends from all over the globe, and goodbyes said. TO NEXT YEAR seemed to be the going theme, as the goodbyes quickly turned into feelings more akin to See You Later, Catch You Soon, and Follow Me On Instagram?

Photo from @leemarie214

I honestly don't think I have ever had a better 4 days in my life. And I don't say that lightly having traveled a lot of the globe. The excitement and love I have for Karena, Katrina and the community of women they have started; the genuine support, encouragement and caring within it; the generosity between girls who, for the most part, only know one another online...

I witnessed incredible engagements between girls meeting for the first time after being online-training-buddies, laughter like no other falling off surfboards and SUP boards, dancing like no other without a doubt, and the booty shaking.... Hello!

So again THANK YOU to everyone who was and is a part of this. And here's TO NEXT YEAR!

No comments:

Post a Comment