Timing has quite its way with things in life. Often, the timeliness (or un-timeliness) of certain events has a lot to do with our resistance, fear and lack of self-love. But when we understand how to break free of those barriers and begin to take better care of ourselves, we create room for some pretty perfect things to happen and become flooded with love -- from ourselves as well as others.
As a Cancerian, my highly protective, sensitive and hermit-like qualities tend to create a pattern of obstacles around me. It almost seems to build this external wall or protective blanket (my shell) and I can feel the heaviness of it both physically and emotionally. As you can imagine, things get very stagnant and I often feel stuck. There’s a degree of disengagement and disconnect with myself as well as others around me. It can be quite a vicious cycle. But when I harness my sensitive nature, peel back my blanket-like shell and step out of my comfort zone, I witness someone who is confident, energetic, adventurous, open-minded and willing to embrace change.
This time of year has its way of challenging and pressure testing me. As much as I do love fall, it's the time when burying myself under those blankets feels a little too easy, a little too comfortable. Ironically enough, I’ve done more traveling and moving in the fall and winter months than any other time of the year. And all of those trips and moves have come with initial fear and resistance, however I’ve always come away from them more resilient...because I woke up and shook off that security blanket.
The most recent adventure was a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A place that you wouldn’t have found sitting at the top of my hit list, let alone at all...until now. It’s truly amazing what a very brief escape can do for the soul. Especially when you completely unplug from work and push aside any distractions that don't allow for you to fully immerse yourself in the present moment. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a place that requires you to remain in the present moment. And how could you not?
By way of the ever-amazing McKel Hill of Nutrition Stripped, I found out about ALERE, a retreat for creative entrepreneurs that want to be intentional about their design, business, strategy, creativity and bliss. That want to revive, rethink and grow, giving just a little more and living beyond the plateau.
"Here we breathe deep. We take time. We voyage. We seek out new places and outlandish ideas. We have the important conversations. We tell the truth. We discover solutions. We support, we love, we revive. And yes, so glad you asked, we drink wine."
We did all of that and more. And it was beyond incredible. It's a place and an experience that I wish everyone could witness at least once in their lifetime.
From the moment that I landed and took in that crisp mountain air, I knew that I had a beautiful week ahead of me. So often during the trip, I would just stop and gaze at the beauty around me with wide, glowing eyes.
And while I was definitely the youngest of the bunch, I appreciated everyone's respect, support and excitement for my personal journey ahead. I was able to connect with these people in ways that I’m unable to with others in my life. That's just what happens when you surround yourself with like-minded people. They bring out the best in you and want to see you thrive. In a world where I sometimes feel like the rabbit in a sea of wolves (both literally and figuratively), I felt comfortable there with my wolf-less pack.
Rest and rejuvenation was the ultimate goal during the retreat -- and while there was plenty of it, my hands (and feet) definitely stayed busy.
Mixologist in the making. Well, kind of. I did learn how to craft myself a nice little gin cocktail! 2 parts gin, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, fresh basil and sliced cucumber...shake well, pour over ice, garnish and voila.
We also sipped and laughed over some white pepper & pear palomas that slightly resembled my favorite jalapeño margarita from Do Hwa – a magical, under-the-radar Korean BBQ restaurant in the heart of NYC’s West Village.
Floral design is my new therapy. Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral and Holly Carlisle of Rosegolden Flowers let us in on some of their tips and tricks when it comes to intricate floral arrangements. Although the craft was out of my scope, I’ve never felt more in my element. I tapped into my visual aesthetics and created what I thought was a beautiful fall-inspired piece filled with café lattes and ranunculus. I'm hoping to create a few this Thanksgiving as table centerpieces, or just for the heck of it to admire while at home in my own cozy apartment. Roses out, ranunculus in.
Sun print wall art. The beautiful Chelsea Petaja, a paper goods and hand lettering artist, brought us back to those moments of our youth when our own two hands could make beautiful, simple prints that don't require technology. We got out there in the tall grasses and grabbed whatever we could to compile these gems. It's nearly impossible to mess them up, promise. Check out this tutorial and try it out in your own time. And for all you lovely mommas out there, this is totally child-proof.
Taking my breakfast routine up a notch. After an inspiring one-on-one with McKel, I’m making it a priority to begin my day with a nourishing breakfast. Besides the occasional weekend brunch, I tend to skip breakfast during the weekdays. I don’t have a big appetite in the mornings, but not having something until lunchtime or later is not okay. And let’s face it, once I’m in front of that computer screen at work, I’ve already moved past the idea of breakfast. So, I’m going to embrace this favorite season of mine and start making breakfast a regular part of my morning routine, before I even go into work. Quinoa porridge, overnight oats, protein-rich smoothies…it’s going to be so yum and I can’t wait to share some of those recipes with you. I type this as I devour some delicious carrot cake pancakes, so if this is any indication of what's ahead, then I'm in very good hands.
More lovin' for & be well. Before this trip, I had gone about a month without a single post...also not okay. I let my true passion take the back seat, and I know better than that. This is my creative outlet that fuels me and inspires me. Here, I get to do exactly what I love: write, share, learn, educate, nourish and be just a little bit vulnerable. During a branding consultation with Lauren Ledbetter, she re-ignited that fire in my soul and allowed for me to hone back in on what truly fills me up. I hope that you’ll stick around for the ride to witness the beauty of whatever unfolds.
Aside from the fresh air and beautiful mountain views, the evening dinners under the stars were perhaps my favorite part of the retreat. 12th table stunned us with gorgeous table settings and thoughtful menus that would make Thanksgiving jealous. The beauty was in the details, and they totally nailed it.
I come home from Wyoming with a very full heart, all thanks to that willful and adventurous side that came out from under my protective blanket ready to embrace a beautiful change of scenery that I was unaware even existed in little 'ole Jackson Hole. While I'll physically be burying myself under blankets during the chilly months ahead, my heart remains un-blanketed and willing to seek out whatever changes and opportunities may come my way.
Cheers to a fulfilling fall. Filled with love, laughter, light and purpose.
Stay warm and be well,