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Taking Time Out

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.—Albert Einstein

Saturday afternoon we packed up the pups and our vintage camper to head into the mountains for the weekend. It was the two-year anniversary of losing our beloved pug Louis and being in nature is therapeutic.

As you’ll see from the photo above, I packed all the “essentials:” washi tape, books, magazines, Moleskine, journal, water bottle, flowers, and lavender oil. In between an evening campfire, afternoon nap, and a morning walk, I did peruse most of that stack. These tools serve as a baby bottle of sorts—always nearby for comfort.

On the anniversary we headed off for a hike around the campground in search of a spot to honor Louis. We made our way to the Appalachian Trailhead as a warm afternoon rain began to fall. Tim wanted to head back to camp so the pups wouldn’t get wet, but I wanted to leave a bit of Louis at that trailhead.

During one of our last outings with Louis, we hiked a small part of the Appalachian Trail so returning felt apropos. We sprinkled a tiny bit of the ashes, expressed gratitude, and shared how much we missed him before heading back in silence.

Grief serves as a continual wake-up call to focus on what’s important.

While going deeper into the woods, we lost cell service and for nearly 24 hours we were disconnected. Disconnected not only from social media, the studio, or friends, but disconnected from the constant buzz of life. I look forward to returning to that spot.

Over the next two weeks I’m traveling—out West for a wedding and to the Southwest for a writing conference. My plan is to take time to disconnect, so my next Love Note will be mid-May and blog posts will be sparse. I’ll be posting images of my adventures on Instagram in case you’d like to follow along. Otherwise, look for a reemergence in a month.

Of course I’ll be packing up all my travel comforts with an intention of listening within. I look forward to the space and scenic settings to explore.

Wishing you a glorious month with time in nature (even lunch in the park counts) and moments of disconnection. Bisous. x

Retreat Reflections

Time is a great healer.—English Proverb

Last week I returned to Pura Vida Resort & Spa for the 12th time to host a week-long retreat. Dressed in layers, many of us boarded a direct flight from Dulles to San Jose. Upon arrival we shed said layers to welcome the warm weather.

We were picked up from the airport and transported to the resort where the staff greeted us with a tropical fruit mocktail and warm towel. Once checked in, we dined on fresh food created in their kitchen and settled in for an evening rain storm.

The days were filled with two yoga classes, a variety of mindfulness practices (mindful eating, body scan, loving-kindness, seated meditation, walking meditation, mindful communication), and art journaling. Spa treatments and naps in hammocks coupled with eco-excursions to waterfalls, a volcano, and hot springs provided the perfect blend of restoration. We were typically in bed around 8pm and up with the roosters and birds around 5:30am.

Hosting a retreat is an honor. It’s a joy to watch people manifest their week’s intentions, slow down, and surprise themselves. By hitting the pause button, we’re able to listen to that voice deep within that may have been ignored while going about day-to-day life.

Highlights: piles of freshly-cut papaya, green juice, ginger tea, blue butterflies, vegan chocolate cake topped with strawberries, savasana with lavender oil, art journal play, tears of gratitude, finished Z is for Zelda Fitzgerald, time with Mom (her fourth Costa Rica retreat), hours in the hammock, new connections, a mini handmade pink journal filled with notes from those who joined.

Save the date, we’re heading back February 17-24, 2018. Or join me for a weekend getaway in May or a Virtual Retreat next weekend from the comfort of your own home. Retreats provide a structured downshift to explore our deepest dreams. It’s a true salve for the soul. Bisous. x

Packing for Paris {+ Beyond}

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Packing for trips has been known to raise anxiety levels. When I shared this Paris suitcase pic on Instagram, I received a few emails asking what was inside. It’s helpful to see how a few items can transform into multiple outfits.

Although the AirBnB apartment we rented had a washer, I packed many duplicates (hello 2in1 tops and leggings) to alleviate doing more than one to two loads during my 10-day stay.

Rolled clothing items: One stripe savasana throw, one mesh skirt from Italy, four pairs of leggings, one infinity cowl, two printed scarves, four 2in1 tops (three long sleeve, one crop top), one palazzo pant, one ruffle dress, one shift dress, one slip dress, one pencil skirt, one blazer, one boyfriend tank = 20 pieces.

On the plane I wore leggings, a 2in1 top, long sleeve wrap tunic, and the bulky boots. Most items are from TranquiliT’s Capsule Wardrobe.

Shoes: Four pairs turned out to be two too many. The left heels were simply for the photo shoot. I only wore the gold clogs during an evening out sipping champagne at sunset overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The boots and ballet flats were my go-tos all week and would have been plenty.

Items not pictured include: technology, toiletries, intimates, socks, trench, faux leather jacket, books, journal, pens, slippers, meds, passport, yoga mat, candle, gifts, sun hat, purse and its’ contents.

Here’s a handy PDF travel checklist plus mix and match clothing ideas.

Below are photos snapped by Tim during the shoot with Carla Coulson to show a few of the looks, plus a few additional outfits from being a flâneur in the City of Light.

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A couple silly outtakes from the shoot where I was giving “that look” and blowing kisses to help relax face muscles. During that second shot, a sweet family of Asian tourists were on the side taking photos of us. I envision them looking back at those photos and being disappointed to realize that, alas, I definitely wasn’t anyone famous.

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A few flâneur shots in the ruffle dress, ruffle dress with infinity cowl and leggings, 2in1 crop top with pencil skirt, and boyfriend tank with leggings (and blazer in hand for the sun-behind-clouds moments).

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