THE STONEHAVEN STORY

Stonehaven Wellness Adventures, founded in January 2015, prepares workshops and retreats to support women, parents and students during life's transitions.  Based in San Jose, California, the organization hosted its inaugural retreat November 2015.  Since then, we've expanded to include workshops, mini-retreats and retreat, providing flexibility of offerings for women and parents.  The founder’s mission is to thoughtfully and intentionally develop retreats, mini-retreats and workshops with a wide variety of components of healthy living, including the physical aspects of food and exercise, the emotional aspects of camaraderie and laughter, and the spiritual aspects of labyrinth walks and mindfulness. 

Meet Amy Gutierrez

Founder and Director

Amy's experience spans multiple continents as she has worked in the education industry, serving as a school leader and innovator. She was a Director of Guidance for 10 years, oversaw an award-winning yearbook, and managed an alternative education program for teenagers. A life-long learner, Amy has earned two masters (one in Business Education and one in Counseling Education) and an undergraduate in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Business and English.

In a nutshell? I’m a forty-something year-old mother of three who grew up in a VERY small town in northern Michigan and am passionate about learning, traveling and building community.  My deeply idealistic and spiritual side leads to deep joy and occasional pain, but I’d rather experience the hurt than stop believing in the best for humanity.

Nickname? Mom. While that’s now an official role I play, I earned the nickname back in high school because my classmates realized I was always a care taker for each of them.

Hometown? Fifth generation from Drummond Island, Michigan, where I escape to every summer!

Favorite Movie? Princess Bride.  It’s classic.  Also love Mamma Mia – who doesn’t love to sing and dance to ABBA?

Theme Song? A friend said it was “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield and, while that song does speak to me and my current situation, I believe a longer term favorite song is Sting’s “Love is the Seventh Wave.”

Fun Fact? The first night I spent alone in a hotel room was when I flew to Tokyo, Japan to teach on an American Military base.  I was 21 years old my first day of teaching.

Favorite Food? Even though I have been gluten free for four years, I still LOVE pizza (even if the crust isn’t thick!).  I don’t buy it very often as it overtakes my willpower and I finish the whole pizza by myself.

Confessions? In college, my business fraternity granted me the awards of “closet partier” and “most studious” the same semester. I am not a morning person. Sometimes I try to be. I am not successful. Every time I see a hummingbird, I believe it’s a sign that my grandmother is present with me at that moment. I’ve walked for a half hour every night for the past 12 years. I call it my therapy session.

Why the name Stonehaven? My Grandpa Kelley was a “rock hound” and he spent the last 20 years of his life traveling the United States to find beautiful rocks and stones, sometimes even shipping them back to Michigan.  In college at my business fraternity’s honor court ceremony, I selected a pudding stone as the object symbolic of my life – rough on the outside, yet incredibly solid and comprised of generations of many smaller rocks. Now, I find great strength in stones and in the concept of a haven comprised of stones. Sometimes I wonder if the meaning denotes a haven for stones (after all, don’t stones also need a break from the waves and the elements) or a haven made of stones.  Either way, the imagery is beautiful.

What do you love about Stonehaven Wellness Adventures? I believe it will bring out the best in all of us, allowing us to pause, build community and emerge a stronger, healthier, more vibrant version of ourselves. The retreat is what I looked for when I turned forty, but never found – fun, mixed with yoga, mixed with amazing, healthy food and a bed of my own at night! As I shared with a friend, my hope for the weekend is that it’s an amazing party – an occasion where everyone leaves on Sunday feeling better and more hopeful than they were Thursday when they arrived.

Why create a retreat? In January 2015, I reached a moment when I felt my world was caving in and I was on the wrong track literally and metaphorically.  I had just accepted a new, high intensity job, my grandmother entered hospice, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with stage four cancer, my daughter was preparing to enter middle school and I was left struggling while asking the eternal questions of, “why am I here?” and “what gifts am I supposed to share?” Over the following weeks and months of hiking, praying, crying, painting and laughing, I met many amazing people (primarily women) who also shared their stories of struggle and suffering. I realized how we carry the emotions of the family and of society, often without taking the time to give ourselves the breaks we need. In designing the retreat, I thought specifically about these women and what would help give them strength to care for themselves.

Current Favorite Saying?
“The old, wise Sabbath says: Stop now.
We stop because there are forces larger than we that take care of the universe,
and while our efforts are important, necessary and useful,
they are not (nor are we) indispensable.”
By Wayne Muller

Meet Giovanna Garcia

Founder of A Purified Life, Nutritionist and Chef

I’m a Nutritionist and Certified Natural Chef with a passion for food and holistic living. I strongly believe that whole foods are the base of health, and am on a mission to educate busy individuals like you to obtain and sustain a balanced and healthy lifestyle through whole foods. 

For additional information, check out my website at http://www.apurifiedlife.com

My Story

I found my love for food and nutrition through my personal health journey and transformation. My relationship with food wasn’t always healthy – I struggled with disordered eating patterns, binge drinking, calorie counting, food restriction, and yoyo dieting thinking these restrictive ways were the road to health. One day, I found myself at a loss, depressed, and wanting to take control of my body and mind. I realized that all those food habits were very self-sabotaging and affecting my entire life.

As I continued onto my holistic health studies and culinary adventure, I started seeing the mind-body connection through food. I discovered that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of eating for everyone, but there is a way of eating that is unique and favorable for each of us individually. Through allowing myself to eat anything I wanted (no longer restricting) and also noticing how every single food affected me, I was able to point out exactly what my body needs when it needs it, and what foods were causing inflammation and stress. By simply eliminating those foods, I was no longer suffering from bloating, drastic weight fluctuation, and negative thoughts about myself. I added more fresh foods into my daily regimen and had more energy, clearer skin, and more passion to live.

My relationship with food and with myself has changed drastically through being aware of my body and eating intuitively – fresh, wholesome foods. I do not have a restrictive way of eating and love all the foods I eat. I enjoy chocolate daily! This way of relating with food has helped me align with my purpose and opened up unexpected opportunities in life.