February is officially American Heart Month, which aside from the mid-month snog-fest, means it's time to revel in all things related to the blood-pumping organ. And for the second year in a row, Miamians can attend a collaborative camp designed to do just that.
HeartCamp, founded by Miami's own award-winning freelance writer and blogger Maria de los Angeles (of Sex and the Beach blog fame and Vice Queen Maria Twitter fame), gathers speakers from all walks of life to wax poetic on the physical, emotional, spiritual and creative aspects of the heart.
Pretty deep, yo.
The vast array of topics on tap will include heart health, nutrition, sex, romance, career, parenting and many more, and speakers will range from sex experts to neuroscientists. Angeles (winner of Best Culture/Art blog in our Best of Web Awards, by the way) curates the talks herself.
"I really wanted to have a fully balanced day -- physical heart health to emotional issues. We have a great variety on February 2, from nutritionists to medical doctors to life and relationship coaches plus some folks with great stories to tell. And the audience is always invited to contribute and participate. It's not a stuffy, suit-and-tie kind of conference.... The topic is important and serious, but it's a joyful, relaxing day of interaction and networking." Angeles said.
The event is a non-profit, grassroots effort, spearheaded by Angeles, and 2013 sponsors include Ford, Life Extension, Florida Heart Research Institute, Latina Bloggers Connect, Hotel Urbano and over two dozen service providers, media sponsors, donors and volunteers.
Angeles modeled the "unconference" event after BarCamp, which originated in 2005 and covers technology concepts. "HeartCamp is totally grassroots and Miami-based, supported by sponsors and volunteers. For now, it is a non-profit venture and my way of giving back to the community on a subject that's important to me," she says.
There will be goodies up for grabs during a business card raffle, too, including a print from cartoonist Hugh McLeod's love series (of gapingvoid.com) and a book by Diana Daffner, author of Tantric Sex for Busy Couples.
There'll also be two moderated panels, one on heartbreak, the other on pregnancy. Attendees can also take part in two workshops, one on heart healthy breathing, the other on meditation for releasing blocks to love. Heart's Desire International will also offer free mini-relationship coaching sessions throughout the day, and life coach Kevin A. Johnson is flying in from Chicago to speak.
In addition, Dr. Sonjia Kenya will coach attendees on using the five senses to enhance sex. (Rowr.)
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If your heart's not healthy after all that, it might be time for a transplant.
HeartCamp kicks off with registration at 8 a.m., followed by 45-minute sessions with a lunch break at the Hotel Urbano Brickell. Tickets cost $40 and include morning coffee plus a hot buffet lunch and other goodies offered by sponsors, then two-for-one drinks at the after-party. Registration is required; the deadline to register is Monday, January 28. Cultist readers can get $5 off admission with promo code HC2013Friends. Register directly here.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.