update from the villa

busy busy busy at villa magnolia.
preparing our home for its first retreat in june.

i haven’t had much time recently to write,
not even in my journal.
(which is a bit distressing for me.)

but it is what it is,
a season in life.
so i try to focus on the rewards
of each day, each hour.

today i’m sharing some day-in-the-life images.
i hope you enjoy them.
the morning room cabinets. (all clean and organized.)
morning room all cabinets
first piece of mail in our new mailbox. (a birthday card for eric.)
first mail in new box
my poor bruised thumb. (and i cut it in the same place on a light fixture the next day.)
bruised thumb
the second bedroom, stripped of its wallpaper. (a friend helped out with this one.)
bedroom #2 stripped wallpaper
the renovation debris, piling up outside our villa. (not as easy to dispose of here.)
harlowe at the halfway landing. (demanding that i open the library door.)
harlowe at halfway landing
the newly painted legs of our marble-topped table. (the only item from the original cucina).
cucina table with silver tray
my second most hated job so far. (removing the packing tape from the drawers of my desk.)
glue on desk 2

(it would NOT come off.)
glue on desk

(it took several hours, spread over a day and a half. a complete waste of time.)
glue on floor from desk
my egg beater collection back on display. (i’ve missed it.)
egg beaters up
our first crockpot meal in the villa. (hooray for eric’s transformer.)
first crockpot meal
my spice cabinet. (so proud of this.)
spice cabinet
my wedding dishes, that match my new kitchen perfectly. (mikasa classic flair gray.)
my water bottles, filled at the local fountain. (with their very own shelf.)
wedding dishes and water bottles
fabulous hanging rods from IKEA. (handy as well as cool-looking.)
IKEA hanging rod
the bookshelves making their return. (excited to see all of my treasured books again.)
studio in tower empty bookshelves
smith supervising during the painting of the tower. (he thinks this is his command center.)
smith during tower painting
about half of the 100 boxes of books. (eric carried them up all of those stairs.)
boxes of books in tower studio 2
eric’s plank painting. (the last of the lavender.)
e. on plank painting
the first cubbies filled. (restoring order to my mind.)
first books unpacked
my beloved golden books and “dick & jane” books. (plus other 1950s/60s children’s literature gems.)
golden books, dick & jane, 50s 60s
progress. (books arranged in each cubby by subject.)
first pass bookshelves
my clock back in position. (above 1 of the 6 existing light fixtures that eric cleaned, spray painted, and snipped the sharp points off of.)
clock and 1 of 6 newly painted light fixtures
and there’s more, so much more.
maybe next time.
so are you wondering why i decided to host my retreats in italy,
when most of my clients are based in the u.s.?

well, travel is actually a very important feature of THE ARRIVAL.
a lovely metaphor regarding movement in one’s life.

pico iyer said it best when he described the travel experience as
“a heightened sense of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive,
undimmed by familiarity, and ready to be transformed.”

only THREE invitations remain for THE ARRIVAL at villa magnolia in italy.
what are YOU waiting for?
THE ARRIVAL- retreat no more

if you’re interested in learning more about the retreat, or
if you’re ready to sign up and join me NOW . . .

here are all of the in-depth details:
THE ARRIVAL (in italy)

if you just want to know the highlights, here you go:
THE ARRIVAL (at a glance)

meet me in tuscany june 26-30 for this transformational journey!
click to receive my studio notes in your inbox each week.
(and get my complimentary guide, weightless, as my gift to you!)
get my free e-book!


the reawakening

hello hello hello! i have exciting news to share . . .

THE ARRIVAL at Villa Magnolia

is coming soon!


THE ARRIVAL- retreat no more

for those of you not on facebook (hi, pam! smile),
i wrote my first public words about the retreat on sunday .

blue sky thinking

blue sky thinking

let this be your warning,
to wake up each morning,
to blue sky thinking.

the sun is warm,
the air is clear,
the smiles genuine
that appear.

your thoughts have great force,
but you needn’t live with remorse.
try blue sky thinking.

the new place where you land

sometimes movement feels
obvious and linear and continuous.

and sometimes movement feels
ambiguous and chaotic and unsteady.

sometimes movement is
a choice.
and sometimes movement
feels forced.

sometimes movement is
painstaking and slow, going around in circles.
and sometimes movement
feels so fast you can’t catch your breath.

a funny thing, dreams.

oh-so-close to feeling a bit of exquisite closure,
because our kitchen is oh-so-close to being finished!

cucina cabinets

it will be over four months that we’ve fed ourselves without one.
five, if you start counting from the moment we packed
and shipped off our plates and our spoons.

rather rhythmic

my life in italy is beginning, just barely,
to take on a certain beat.
a rather rhythmic quality.
my always amusing felines,
amidst the always occurring surprises.

harlowe turned in window

smith holding hand


harlowe in sunlight

smithie curled in
while riding the waves of continuous change,
i try to remember to breathe in the beauty.

The Morning Room at Villa Magnolia

I have a secret.

Ever since I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, featuring the imposing fictional estate Manderley, I have been obsessed with gothic romance novels.

Though Rebecca will always remain my favorite of all time in this genre, I began voraciously devouring these novels when I realized a local secondhand shop had an inviting upstairs corner devoted to them.

4 travel size containers of inspiration


processing, processing, processing
my new world.

first. connecting and trusting.
next. staying in the moment.
then. integrating all of the information into my own experience.
finally. creating meaning.

i’m still moving back and forth between numbers one, two, and three.

75 women

i’ve been so busy this week with AWARENESS #1,
my very first travel size course,
that when wednesday rolled around I thought
“oh no, i forgot! what will my blog post be about?”

and in the next minute, it was obvious.

But she did.

Are we really aware of how powerful small gestures of kindness can be?

Yesterday we ran to get a few items at our local grocery store. I kept running into an attractive older woman in a striking leopard-print coat. We would smile at each other and grasp hands, then each go back to our own shopping.