BABELY // More than a Retreat // Vashon Island, WA / by Alejandra Aguirre

For those of you who are new here or may not know, I (alongside a killer team) run a retreat called Babely. The concept for Babely came primarily from wanting to encourage women to lose the idea that they need to look a certain way or be in a particular, perfect place in life in order to be worthy of being photographed and celebrated. Hell to the no. Women deal with enough judgement, whether self-imposed or by society (still not sure which is harsher), so it became my priority to find a way to translate and elevate aspects of safe spaces and community I’d created in my personal life, and create that kind of space for others. 

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As I just mentioned, for as long as I can remember, I have both intentionally and unintentionally focused on creating safe environments that encourage ultimate vulnerability and openness, lifting others up, and building community by introducing the people I love to other people I love. I can't count the nights-turned-mornings we've spent, circled around a candle-lit table, talking through our fears, struggles and how to actualize our dreams, until some kickass song comes on and fuels a living room dance party where we thrash about like the wild ones we are. This story has played out in different (but similar) forms countless times over the years. A balance between hard, honest conversation and totally uninhibited expression, only made to feel safe because of the hard work and deep connections we'd intentionally established. 

It took a while to realize what powerful, guiding values these were, but when I finally did, I found tremendous comfort in understanding this non-negotiable aspect of my being; it feels nice moving closer to knowing who you are and what you stand for. It was from this deeply rooted place, and a desire to find a way to extend these sentiments beyond my inner circle, that Babely was born. 

All this brings me to Babely 2.0 - my most recent retreat that took place over the course of two glorious days at The Lodges on Vashon. I remember how on that first day, I felt a bit anxious as I finalized prepping last-minute details before the women showed up. But then they came- with boundless enthusiasm and radiant energy that forced every ounce of my anxious emotions to wash away. We began the day with our now-tradition circle of introductions. It was during these intros (taking place literally immediately after our group of ladies arrived) that I realized, holy crap. This is powerful. The women showed up ready and open. They shared their vulnerable, raw and intimate truths to a group of (at that time) strangers. I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful, profound things I've ever witnessed. The uninhibited, unapologetic, supportive and feminine energy was a thick, palpable presence in the air.

Now without further ado, take a peek at some memories from our last retreat.

DAY ONE //

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01. The women showed up bright and early to the this gorgeous cabin. We got to know one another over a delicious breakfast, too much coffee and all the mimosas a gal could ever want. Once we wrapped intros, women dove into an incredible macrame lesson c/o Breia from Brush and Mallett, while others began alternating in and out of their consult + make up session and mini-photo sessions with me! 

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  (Macrame photos captured by Karina Richardson)

(Macrame photos captured by Karina Richardson)

  As with the first Babely, we had the honor + pleasure of having the incomparable    Seattle and LA-based makeup artist Taylour Chanel   , slaying face after face. Blessings. This woman is magic.

As with the first Babely, we had the honor + pleasure of having the incomparable Seattle and LA-based makeup artist Taylour Chanel, slaying face after face. Blessings. This woman is magic.

02. After day one of photo sessions were complete, Alison from Quantum Martial Arts came to the island to lead our women in a two-hour self defense class. They may’ve started out a little uncomfortable or out of their element, but by the end of it, it was clear- these ladies were fully, fiercely feeling their strength. 

They busted boards, were coached in how to not shy away from their voice, and left feeling significantly more connected to their bodies and one another. I knew it was going to be a phenomenal experience for the women, but I was honestly suprised just how totally powerful it was. 

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03. We wrapped an overwhelmingly beautiful day with a v romantic, v powerful dinner. While ladies were kicking ass in self-defense, we strung twinkle lights, prepared a feast, polished the glassware and poured all the wine. The night was spent eating a hearty meal and talking about everything from celebrating personal victories, coming to terms with one’s identity, racism, deep personal struggles, running one’s own company, etc etc. It was so good, honest and above all, real (ya'll know by now I live for this!). In short- it was everything I’d hoped for and more.  I remember drifting off to sleep that night with a warm, dreamy halo around my head and heart. 

I can still feel the electric energy when I think back to this evening.

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DAY TWO //

01. The second day kicked off bright and early. The warm sun trickled in as the women were welcomed with big hugs and a yoga session guided by the most magical being, Rosie. She lead a practice with such tenderness and compassion; truly a gorgeous thing to witness from a room nearby, as our team prepped breakfast.

These ladies got their bodies and minds right, so it was only natural to carry that theme with a delicious, nourishing meal. Also, coffee and mimosas. Because life’s about ~balance~, right?  

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02. After breakfast, we got right back into make up and photo sessions. While the remaining ladies rotated in and out of these stations, our very own Jai lead a mini-loom class (I sadly don’t think I have photos of this because I was shooting through this bit) while Kayla from Juniper nails offered GORGEOUS all-natural, organic manicures, complete with crystal infused oils and dope ass nail art. 

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03. After all was said and done, we shared one last meal together. We wrapped up exhanging numbers, love, hugs and final kind words. After the gals left, I remember feeling total awe at what the hell had just happened. It was overwhelming in such an extraordinary, positive way, and I can only hope that our attendees felt the same. <3 

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03. After all was said and done, we shared one last meal together. We wrapped up exhanging numbers, love, hugs and final kind words. After the gals left, I remember feeling total awe at what the hell had just happened. It was overwhelming in such an extraordinary, positive way, and I can only hope that our attendees felt the same. <3 


THE TEAM //

I couldn’t complete this blog post without giving acknowledgment and endless appreciation to this powerful group of beasts who helped turn this dream of mine into a reality. Jai is responsible for the crazy stunning branding and graphic design each woman receives, from emails to swag bags, pins, clipboards and more. Jai’s work takes the Babely experience to a whole ‘nother level. Truly.
Karina showed up, ready and eager to help in ANY area I needed. She made it so that all things could run smoothly, while also being a beautiful, calming presence to both myself and the attendees. Angelene. There are no words. This woman graciously and TIRELESSLY worked behind the scenes to create all the gorgeous meals our ladies enjoyed. And not even just that. Because the Lodges’ kitchen situation was a little… err… limited, this meant Angelene towed heavy wooden crates FULL of dishes back and forth across the grounds and washed the dishes by hand until her knuckles (quite literally) were raw and bleeding. Wut.
SO much dedication and hard work went into creating a seamless event, and I would or could not do anything without these three. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

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FINAL THOUGHTS:
Holy crap, thank you for reaching and making it to the end. I just have to say- the most exciting/terrifying thing is, Babely is still very much in its infancy. Though I’ve suffered from a lifetime of anxiety, lack of confidence and conviction, I clearly envision this thing growing and evolving in so many beautiful ways. Through this ambitious pursuit, I’ve gained awareness, confidence and an undeniable fire that I am deeply proud of.
I believe in my mission, in Babely itself, and in the fact that ALL women deserve this experience. I choose to extend myself and business past a point of comfort so that I can expand this babybeast over time and make it accessible to all. More is to come, I promise you that, but for I’ll leave it here for now: If what you’ve seen and read above speaks to your soul and you (or someone you know) would like more info on how to join our family, drop me a line in the form down below.
Ya girl is announcing not one but TWO new retreats in the new year.

ON DECK:
01. The One-Day: January 27th, 2019 | Seattle, WA
02. The Overnight: March 9-10th, 2019 | Seattle, WA


If you are interested in getting more information on Babely or know you want to book and join our family, simply fill out the form below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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