Team Retreat 2014

Team Retreat

At Annmarie Gianni Skin Care, we take “R&R” pretty seriously. It’s important! If you don’t recharge, it’s harder to be “your best self.” I don’t know about you, but my tired, worn out, sluggish self is not my favorite version.

Not to mention that we get a little cheated out of summer here in the Bay Area. Those who suffered through this year’s polar vortex are probably shaking their heads right now. Yes, our winter was mild, but foggy June skies had us begging for some classic summer sweltering.

So we headed to Calistoga for our annual team retreat! We wanted to share what made this trip so rejuvenating, so we decided to take you on a picture journey.

Calistoga Scenery - Team Retreat

The scenery greeted us as we arrived in Calistoga. Rolling hills topped with California shrubs and grasses as far as the eye could see! The air was a warm 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That's what I call summer!

Cabins - Team Retreat

Is luxuriously rustic a thing? The cabins at Mayacamas Ranch were cozy! We got situated in our rooms before our first team retreat lunch.

Salad - Team Retreat

Our team is a little obsessed with food. It's not uncommon for us to spend lunch breaks, mornings, or car rides talking about the green smoothie we had for breakfast, the flour-free brownie recipe we found, or the farm to table restaurant we just discovered.

The meals were beautiful, and I think most of us agreed that the salads really stood out. Salads can be such a neglected part of a meal, but done right, with balanced dressings and crisp greens, they can easily steal the spotlight. Woo! Getting all hot and bothered over here talking about greens. Yes, we're from Berkeley.

Lunch - Team Retreat

Lisa (in the middle) brought all kinds of goodies to share with us! Homemade granola, chocolate zucchini bread, and 7 layer bars kept our sweet tooths satisfied! Courtney (right) and Hope (left)  made sure they were always in close proximity to said baked goods.

Notice the garden in the background?

Artichokes - Team Retreat

Much of the food we ate at our retreat came from the Mayacamas Ranch garden. Nothing fresher!

Sunflowers - Team Retreat

Sunflowers are Annmarie's favorite flowers (and probably some of yours, too). We all enjoyed being surrounded by these bloomin' beauties!

Team building circle - Retreat

Day two started with some good ol' fashioned team building. In this exercise, we passed a hula hoop from one person to another without letting go of each other's hands. It was a little silly, but we had fun. You never get too old for this stuff!

GIVE - Team Retreat

Every once in a while we like to take a look at what we're doing and circle back to our company's vision. The days go fast – morning tea, checking things off the to-do list, meetings, lunch, the buzz of the computer, more tea, and it's 5pm. We wanted to take some time to chat about what we really want for Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Our motto is GIVE: Be Grateful, have Integrity, hold Vision, and Evolve. Being honest is one of the main pillars of our company, and having integrity is where that stems from. We want to maintain vision even though many days can feel busy and task-oriented. Finally, we want to and have to evolve.

As a young company, things are constantly changing in our office. It's exciting to be a part of, to see problems get solved and feedback from our beloved customers turned into changes in our policies or products. I love working for a company that strives to be the best! (sniff sniff, getting all cheesy over here!)

The Boys - Team Retreat

We were lucky enough to be joined by River and his dad Nick Polizzi (pictured left), a long time friend of Kevin's. Hudson and River are best friends. It's too perfect, someone please make a movie about them!

In the middle is Sebastian, a traditional Qero shaman who traveled all the way from Peru to share his practice with us. On the right is Kevin with Hudson, who just celebrated his second birthday!

Traditional Ceremony - Team Retreat

Dr. James Williams (pictured right) is an old friend and doctor for Annmarie and Kevin. He lived in Peru for a time, where he met Sebastian and became a shaman. They shared with us the traditional ceremony.

Ceremony - Team Retreat

I wonder if Mayacamas Ranch has had many shamans come through! We gathered in a circle to watch Dr. Williams and Sebastian perform their ceremony. In front of them are their alters. They talked to us about the value of ritual and the importance of being connected to the earth.

Alter- Team Retreat

Pictured are some of the objects used in the ceremony: a tapestry held together by a long beaded necklace made by Sebastian's family members, a stone, and tobacco.

Group photo - Team Retreat

The lighting was just right so we posed for a group shot in the garden. From left to right: Courtney, Annmarie, Hope, Sebastian, Rachel, Lisa, Abby, Kevin, and Dr. Williams. Three of our beloved team members, Daniela, Cemaaj, and Maria were not able to make it to the retreat.

Hudson rows the boat - Team Retreat

When we were about to leave, we realized that all of our cars had broken down! Not to worry, though! Hudson rowed us all the way home.

Okay maybe not, but he could have.

Thanks for reading!

by Hope Freije

A big thanks to Michelle Polizzi, who took these beautiful photos and is thus not pictured.

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  1. Nanci says


    Such beauty of empowered young people creating a business with a foundation of integrity and connection to the earth.

    Thank you for sharing,

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