road trip

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i’m blogging from the road!! don’t worry i’m not driving. we’re on a 9 hour trip and so far so good. darla has a whole bag of tricks that i’m praying get us through the day. d’s a pretty darn good travel partner though.

and me, i’ve just got my hat and a couple good books. that’s all i need.

ARKANSAS OR BUST!!!

babes in a bakery

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in my mid-twenties I had designs on traveling to paris. then i found out i was pregnant with darla and that plan was shelved. now i just settle for taking her to french bakeries and planting seeds of she and i traveling to the city of light someday when she’s older. cherbourg is definitely my favorite little bakery we’ve encountered thus far in columbus. as you can see, darla starts out skeptical but is won over immediately due to the copious amounts of butter and jam involved with eating a delicious mini-loaf and bakery wit.

i do so hope to make a venture over to paris sometime in my future. there is no promise of a tomorrow, i know that, but i still would like to hope the universe has that in my path. maybe there will be a doula drought in the french province and i’ll be called into action. or maybe i’ll just keep that paris fund untouched for a few more years and finally get there. or maybe darla will need braces and the paris fund will have to go.

there’s no telling. but i’ll be waiting in anticipation to see what transpires with this here life of mine.

Ace

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well, just add me to the long list of twenty-somethings that made themselves feel cooler by staying at the ace for our last day in palm springs. because it definitely made me feel cooler and somehow less cool. because everyone else was so cool. it was like a 7th grade dance all over again. complete with the fact that i was still donning a fake tattoo from the retreat and got really embarrassed at the pool feeling sure all the hipsters would think i had it on to try and fit in.

anyway, the vibe at ace was….pretty cool. i really dug it. even though people were making out in the hot tub the entire time. i hope my future will find me back there someday for a longer stay.

desert directive

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^^^^ i don’t even know where to begin ^^^

i guess i will start where this photo essay starts. the picture of ladies flowing from one space to another in brightly colored kaftans is what symbolizes this year’s Life(dot)next retreat for me. the locals thought we were a dance troupe.

i am longing to be back in that desert suspended in a space of self-improvement and introspection. there i was able to be california elaine. i was able to be desert elaine. i was able to be the elaine of my past and, hopefully, the elaine of my future. i was able to be warm. it’s cold here in ohio. reentry is not easy.

i’m finding it hard to write about this experience. there is so much i want to share with you, friends, but i am also feeling this deep, sacred bond and want to hold those events secret in my memory. in catchwords the weekend was filled with:

sun, warmth, laughter, windmills, torched smores, crafts, talismans, blanket forts, disco balls, kaftans, goddesses, vinho verde, connection, skill share, tutus, laugh-crying, hot tub confessions, origami fortune tellers, headbands, glow sticks, visualization meditation, exploration, walks, newness, cousins, MOUNTAINS & TACOS!!!

seriously, 75% of the meals i had while in palm springs were tacos.

for all of you fellow attendees- i fell head-over-heels in adoration of all of you. i’m forever thankful for all that you gave of yourself. that’s all we can ever give anyone.

already looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be, with much enthusiasm.

“if you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your life. there are no limits. there are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – bruce lee

senses

i’m catching up on the senses photo essay. my senses were extremely happy last week while attending the Life(dot)next Desert Directive. I have lots more to gush about but here’s just a little bit of my sensory stimulation last friday:

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^^^mountains. i want to see mountains, gandalf^^^

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^^^the sounds of women’s laughter & beautiful, intelligent conversations everywhere^^^
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^^^the feel of a kaftan from abu dabi is divine^^^

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^^^the taste of some vinho verde while crafting our goddesses project^^^

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^^^this had to make it in there. small smores fire. NBD^^^

life (dot) next

guess what, friends…sharing time!

hmmm, well let’s start with what has been on my mind pretty much 24/7 since we had that nice little warm-up that snapped us back into cold weather: upcoming Life(dot)next retreat in Palm Springs in 15 days!

i can feel the sunbeams upon my face already. and i just received a nice little packing list today:

invite-2_pack

did you see what was on that? swimsuit, flip-flops, sunglasses…i might not return. it’s going to be really, really hard to come home to grey…..ugh scarlet and grey. sorry osu fans. just had to put it out there that i think the school’s colors are derived from all the slit wrists the grey winter ohio skies provoke.

but my wrists are going to see sunny skies in 15 days!!!

but i’ll progess with this post because this retreat is not death(dot)next…it’s LIFE(dot)next.

Life(dot)next is the creative baby birthed by my friend Meg Buzzi. I credit her retreats for the following:  the majority of my personal and professional growth in the last two years, the inspiration to start this blog, quite a few hangovers, the evaporation of excuses surrounding my hesitance to start birthwork, an empty jar of pickles by my face in the morning, some of my best all-time karaoke performances, and a slew of new, inspiring, kick-ass ladyfriends. {they’re all really pretty and ride unicorns too!}  i don’t want to get ahead of myself but i’m pretty sure we’re going to discover the cure for cancer at this next one…or just give palm springs some of the best karaoke they’ve ever seen.

either way, i’m stoked.

i hope to come back with more inspiring, words o’ wisdom bullshit that will make you first want to throw up, then go and conquer your world.

in all seriousness, i think these retreats have accelerated all attendees on their life path. the retreats are just that right mix of strength and vulnerability that spark long-lasting change. well…there’s something about them because a lot of us keep coming back. Or, it might just be the copious amounts of boxed wine and signature cocktails. at any rate, i hope to bring more friends and readers to the life(dot)next table.

do you know any lady-loving organizations? or organizations that believe in empowering humans to make healthy strides and impacting changes in their lives? life(dot)next would be a great avenue for sponsorship. send some sponsorship support and ensure the occurrence of a future retreat. this one’s all full up, lass.

weekending

i know we’re already into tuesday but i just thought reminiscing about the weekend was still in order. here’s our roadtripy, woodsy, campfirey weekend:

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1. road hat ready  2. coffee goodness ready  3. auto tunes ready (get it?) 4. pit stop

we stopped at aullwood audubon center in dayton, OH for a little woods-walking leg stretch. i’ve driven past many-a-time and said “we should stop there some day.” well, saturday was the day. and i think i’ll put it on the trip agenda more often. we spent a brief time there and i think…i think i’m gonna like it there

bridge wright trailtickle leaf

eye spyfence

balance footbridge

and then we reached my parents homestead for a fun night with friends.

pumpkin

the great pumpkin

mallows

ghost marshmallows. bonfire tradition now i guess.

it was a pretty quick trip but great just the same. i was so happy to just enjoy everyone’s company and visit with kiddos. i gotta say an added bonus of labor support work is reunion time with the families you have supported in birth.

at the end of the evening darla, mike and i braved the cold for a campout. darla was all like “let’s tell spooky stories!” to which we decided against and settled on robots instead. the best we could come up with was a half-ass account of the jetsons. i think the highlight of my weekend was being snuggled under 20 blankets with my family as the cold air nipped my nose. i kept thinking how great it would be for us to just live in a tent!

yes, a tent. with wheels. called a winnebago. i’ll never give up this dream.