[This piece was initially published on Thrive Global.]
When most people hear the word “luxury,” they usually associate it with a price point. And while some luxury items do come with a higher price point, luxurious experiences are completely free. But what are luxurious experiences?
When I set out on my self-love journey five years ago, I also simultaneously started a yoga practice. A very large portion of my youth was devoted to a competitive dance company. By the time I was in my late twenties, I had taken many (many, many) years off from movement due to well, life in general (I wasn’t exactly at my healthiest those post-dance years). I knew that to live my best life, that meant I needed to sweat, workout and get back into feeling my body, likc in my dance days. Yoga was my choice of movement to do so.
About a month into my newfound and beloved yoga practice, the teacher, Mia Togo, said something that transformed how I thought about things. We were in a forward fold (literally just folded forward… not any sort of crazy yoga pose, rather just the position you’d be in to pick up a lucky penny). “Luxuriate in this forward fold. Enjoy the moment of letting your body relax and just hang out.”
Mia’s words have stuck with me. Seemingly simple… a forward fold. But man oh man, was she right; it was luxurious. We all run around like crazy (or sit at our desks like crazy) all day long. Our bodies need to relax and enjoy the luxury of a simple forward fold. Or a simple breath. Or a simple sip of water. Luxury can truly be experienced in the simplest of moments.
Once I began to acknowledge all of the simple luxuries that surrounded me, I became extremely grateful for them. In the last two years, I started a daily gratitude journal practice where I write down the things that I’m grateful for. Sometimes the entries reflect things we often take for granted (like having air conditioning on a hot day or the ability to move and stretch) and other times the entries reflect something deeper (like conversations with my best friends Hunter and David, who lovingly hold me accountable and inspire me to keep growing into the best version of myself possible). Regardless of whatever I’m grateful for at the end of each day, I always end my list by saying, “I’m grateful for the opportunities that are always coming my way.”
The most recent opportunity that came my way was being invited by Nikki Bell to join Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty (OceanSIR) on an influencer trip to the Florida Keys. If your first thought was, “An influencer trip with a real estate company?” you’re not off base as it has never been done before (at least not to my knowledge). But that’s the beauty of Nikki, she’s always had a knack for tying in pop culture strategically with marketing, no matter what the brand.
My fellow influencers included April Erhard (April Golightly), Dana Brillante-Peller (Pellerini Proclaims), Jessica Daez (Eat It Miami), Jessica Swift (Palm Beach Social Diary), and Elizabeth Lewis (Espresso and Chanel). What a genius idea to bring a handful of lovely women together —all vehemently attached to their social media accounts (between social media, online presence and blogs—combined we have over one million plus followers), and show them—and their followers—a grand ole’ time in the Florida Keys.
When we arrived at the OceanSIR’s Islamorada office, we were greeted with lunch by Sea Grapes Wine Bar. Then we hopped in a SUV stretch limo provided by Florida Keys Express Shuttle & Limo and headed off to tour a handful of their beautiful listed homes (some are also vacation rentals). One of the beachfront properties (appropriately titled Southern Comfort) had a fashion show by Ocean Dayz boutiques waiting for us when we arrived (I may or may not have indulged in a hot pink flowy dress. And, I definitely took advantage of the perfect photo-op wearing one of their pink hats while swinging on a hammock out in the sand—wouldn’t you?).
That evening, we rolled up to an OceanSIR property currently on the market called “Hidden Gem” on Marathon Key. It’s a twelve-million-dollar property with a pool to die for (there’s not only barstools that sit under water next to the outdoor kitchen, but also a waterfall cove and archway bridge that guides you to the hot tub (I’m a cancer sun sign, I have a thing for all-things-water). The guest house is lovingly referred to as the “Captain’s Quarters.” There’s a dock outside in the canal that leads out to the Atlantic Ocean (there’s some really great fishing in that area). We had the pleasure of staying—and luxuriating—at this property during our trip.
The next day, we ventured out to Key West (not before stopping by the famous Baby’s Coffee first—try the macadamia nut milk, holy [vegan] cow!) where we ventured around via golf cart and scooters from Sunshine Scooters. We stopped by OceanSIR’s Key West office right off historic Duval Street where we cheers-ed to a mimosa bar and met with the local realtors and staff. Then we boated off to Sunset Key (which was my personal favorite island of The Keys, given the exclusivity and pristine beauty) and had an amazing lunch at Latitudes. After our tour of an OceanSIR’s Sunset Key property, we headed to Papa Pilars (Hemingway Rum Company’s exclusive distillery) for a tour and tasting. Post rum punch, we headed to a dinner that wouldn’t quit at My New Joint (literally, the delicious food kept coming, and coming).
As you’ve just read, our event-filled trip was clearly luxurious with one amazing stop after another. But the most luxurious moment that I personally experienced did not come with a price point or even while out on the tour, rather it happened in all places, the shower (me and my love of water, after all).
My shower at Hidden Gem overlooked the canal that flowed out into the Atlantic. As I turned on the shower and waited for the water to warm, I gazed out the window. I had so much gratitude in that moment. I was having a luxurious experience, not only from the beautiful view and amazing shower in this beautiful house, but more so from my own acknowledgement of having gratitude. In my experience, moments of gratitude expand the heart, putting one in that lovely open space, feeling fully alive.
Luxury is nothing more than the attitude of gratitude. This trip gave me a grander understanding of what island life really is like. It is luxurious. And not just because the properties are, but rather the lifestyle is. People in the Keys take their time to luxuriate in their moments, enjoying their days. What if we all chose to experience luxury in our simplest moments? Wouldn’t our lives be much richer from that point of view?
You can view my experience on my Instagram highlight reel titled, “Ocean Sotheby’s” @heathereinhardt