Maya Riviera Photo Album


By a miraculous stroke of luck and timing, my husband and I were able to get away last week for a 6-day retreat to the Maya Riviera. My husband is a teaching artist and I'm a writing painter, so we don't usually have the means to travel for sheer pleasure. When we realized that we might have the ability to make it happen, I asked for help from my smart, savvy travel agent friend D'Lane of D'Lane Maselunas Travel.

We ended up staying at the Valentine Imperial Maya near Tulum, Mexico. My husband and I have never stayed in a resort and this was our first brush with an all-inclusive accommodation. The Valentin was immaculate and completely gorgeous in every way.

The service was so good that at times I felt embarrassed. The level of care provided by the Valentin staff rivals the kind of attention and pampering I imagine is experienced only by royalty, babies and the 1%. I'm so used to taking care of myself and my family; so accustomed to making all of the meals, planning all of the activities, overseeing household budgets, attending to my sons' many needs, not to mention managing the health and well-being of my special needs child. It's difficult to let someone else do for you what you know you can do for yourself. But after some adjustment, I was able to fully relax and allow the week to unfold.

The best part of this vacation was that I was with my husband for long stretches of uninterrupted time. We weren't burdened with the care and feeding of our real life, which meant that we could celebrate our little victories over the past few years (years filled with an unusual amount of grief and strain) and talk at length about our future plans. We were also thrilled to enjoy some serious reading, a favorite pastime for both of us. My husband read "Moonglow" by Michael Chabon and I read "A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland and "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott. We recommend all three! Anyway - I'm so grateful to have had this once in a life-time opportunity to get away.

Here are some snap shots from the trip. The hotel was nowhere near full, so we were able to enjoy many of the spaces in private. The weather was windy and spotted with rain showers and the ocean was too wild to swim in. But it didn't matter.  We had the most wonderful time.























Breathe India

Sometimes an opportunity arises and you have to say YES. 
In January 2017, my husband and I are headed to Puducherry and Auroville, India. 
More about it HERE.



Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Photo by Anne Schoenharting

Via

Via

Via


Inn of the Five Graces | Santa Fe

I only stopped in Santa Fe for a couple of hours on my way through to Ghost Ranch. But when I go back, I would LOVE to hang at Inn of the Five Graces. This luxurious southwestern boho hotel is largely decorated using textiles and furniture from India, Afghanistan and Morocco, much of it procured at Secret & Sons, a dream-scape warehouse of rare and expensive bohemian wares situated in old town Santa Fe. Here are some photos of the hotel.





















California Highway 1

This weekend, I took a day to drive down California's famous Highway 1. I started in Carmel, CA and ended the evening back in my home beach town of Cayucos, CA. The day was slightly overcast, but with clear sea views. The best part of the trip was walking through the state parks along the way! In all my years of driving this stretch of highway, I never really took the time to stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or Point Lobos State Park. Here are some sea view photos taken from each park.



Julia Pfeiffer Burns





Point Lobos



Central Coast Snap Shots

Today, more travel photos from my time in California... 


Cayucos, CA

Cayucos Pier



Mission San Luis Obispo

Painted walls in the sanctuary at Mission San Luis Obispo.

Paso Robles Wine Country - Highway 46

Entrance to Sextant Winery on Highway 46

Looking down at Morro Bay from Highway 46

Ventura Harbor

San Marcos Pass


Hilltop in Parkfield, CA



All photos are from my Instagram feed.


SoCal Road Trip

My California adventures continue! I've been on the road over the past two days, zipping around North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Burbank and Downtown Los Angeles. I've had a few work-related meetings, but mostly I'm taking some much needed time to sit with friends and talk. It's been so lovely. Here are a few snap shots from my trip.









The Garden Gallery in Morro Bay, CA

This weekend, I stopped to visit Morro Bay, one of my favorite coastal California towns. I was especially interested in taking a stroll through one of my favorite shops, The Garden Gallery. Not only is this a lovely place to purchase beautiful house plants and succulents, it is so artfully laid out that its becomes a meditative exercise. Here are some of my snapshots...









The best part of The Garden Gallery is the location. 
The bay and Morro Rock are just across the street. 




I couldn't leave without adopting a few friends for the road.




This is my lovely little Agave, happily perched on a table back at home in the Casita.



The California Casita

I've landed and my home base for the next three weeks is my home town - the place of my birth and breeding - Paso Robles, CA. I'll be staying in a little mother-in-law suite, situated in the back of a family home. This has been lovingly named "The Casita" and was built by my brilliantly talented step-father and mother. (Remember them on Houzz HERE, HERE and HERE?)

The Casita has a judicious floor plan that includes a perfectly appointed tiny kitchen, a bathroom with stand-up shower and closet, and a ship's ladder that takes you from the bathroom up to the coziest loft bedroom known to man.

The main living area has just enough room for two club chairs, a TV and a fold-down table that can be pulled out if needed for a meal. A beautiful stone hearth at the center of this wee house is the sole source of heat. The home has a distinct Arts & Crafts vibe with wood beams, mission style furniture and leaded glass light fixtures.

(Thank you Mama, for making such a beautiful place for me to land 
during this crucial time of renewal and healing.) 






























On The Road

I haven't been alone on a big road trip in ages. I just finished a two-day car trip from Dallas, TX to Paso Robles, CA. Such a luxurious gift of time on the road allows for quiet, uninterrupted thought. There's something serene about watching the landscape slowly morph from border to border. It allows time for singing to favorite albums, day dreaming and crying when the mood strikes. It felt good to let the many miles of asphalt roll under my wheels while I watched the road and simply listened to my own breathing. I'm documenting my time on Instagram and thought I'd share a few snap shots here on the blog.


My co-pilot, Ganesha, hanging from the rearview mirror.

Amarillo, TX

Somewhere in West Texas

Gallup, NM

Santa Rosa, NM

Kingman, AZ

California State Border

California wild flowers

The Mojave Desert

Barstow, CA

Bakersfield, CA

Paso Robles, CA

Cape Cod

Today, I wanted to share a few more photos from my recent trip to New England. During the last few days of our journey, my husband and I visited family in Orleans on the Cape. We visited Nauset Beach, Providence Town and a few other special New England nooks. Here's a little taste.





















And here's a little slice of the sea...


Weekending in Austin, TX

My weekend bag is packed. I'm leaving on a little road trip for Austin, Texas with some amazing women. I moved to Texas 8 years ago and have since made some lovely friends. But this marks the first ever getaway with my Texas girlfriends! Yee-haw!



I'll be posting my trip-pics on Instagram if you'd like to follow along.

Leaf Peeping

First, dear readers, thank you for all of the sweet notes of concern. I haven't posted recently and some of you began to worry for me. Thank you so much for thinking of me and expressing your concern and love. Sometimes the Internet seems like a terribly anonymous place and then my beloved blog community reminds me there is so much connection and compassion as well.

Last week, I ran away for a bit. I left my children safe in the arms of their grandfather, while my husband and I flew to New England for our 11th wedding anniversary. Last year at this time, I was at my brother's memorial and our anniversary plans were shelved while I attended to my family. This year, we wanted to get away and celebrate the good in our lives.

Our trip was beautiful and nourishing. We hit Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and on the last day, NYC for a little theatre. We're back at home in Dallas this morning and the world has come rushing in, but we feel a little lighter - a little brighter. Here's a quick look at some fall foliage from our trip taken off my Instagram account. I'll be back soon with more photos during the week. Have a beautiful Monday, friends.






Our Airbnb Studio

Our new Airbnb space is now open for business! Our housemates have moved on to other adventures, which means our 400 square foot studio is now available via Airbnb. It's a 400 square foot garage renovation with AC/heating, flatscreen TV, large mini fridge (is that a thing?), massive walk-in closet, newly remodeled bathroom and garden access. So if you're ever traveling to Dallas, bookmark this little gem! Check out all the details HERE.













Tile Home in the California Desert

I was browsing Air BnB spaces last night and happened upon one of the most unique boho-crazy spaces I've ever seen. Every inch of this home is decorated with a bright and dizzying array of tiles. The fantastical, over-the-top decor is a kaleidoscope for the spirit. Does it borderline on insanity? Perhaps. But there is no doubt about it - you can't help but smile when looking through the photos of this space. The best part? You can stay here. If you want a one-of-a-kind experience of the desert of Twentynine Palms, California, book your room HERE.




























All photos can be found at the Air BnB link below: 


Running Away

I'm ran away. On Wednesday, I hopped a plane headed west. My mother's birthday is this coming week and I'm joining her to celebrate and soak up some quiet time. First, I'll visit my mother on her farm in Eastern Oregon and then we'll take a road trip to Lake Tahoe where we'll meet her dearest friends for a week in a rental cabin on the lake. Heaven. I'll continue to check in here and there, but posting will be a bit sporadic until I return home.

Bon Voyage!


via Etsy

Home from CAMP

I spent the weekend in the Texas Hill Country, just outside of Austin with a group of marvelously creative women. We were all attending CAMP: a Texas Style Council blogger's retreat. I was definitely one of the camp "elders", but their verve and vitality was really infectious. (Listen to me, I sound like an old rickety vampire sucking the youth juice from bypassing fashion bloggers).

The grounds were beautiful, although mostly cloaked in sheets of rain for the weekend. But we made the best of it and huddled around fireplaces, craft tables and iPhones. The camaraderie was certainly the highlight of this weekend of sisterhood, but the breakout sessions were also a nice bonus. I was also able to connect with my dear friend, Valerie, whose baby I helped deliver here in Dallas 3-plus years ago. She was my bunkmate, along with the extraordinary best-friend-team, Savannah and Jenny of Maiedae.




Photo by Chelsea Laine Francis




Every morning we were met with coffee, provided by TOMS and some sort of a social mixer or class. There was yoga, fireside chats and early morning lab sessions with the talented Angela Cruz from Squarespace. I've been hoping to unify my work, art, blog and art shop all in one place, and Squarespace is going to help me to do that! In the next few weeks, you'll see some big changes here at La Maison Boheme - and all for the better. Now I won't be spread across 5 separate platforms! No more bouncing between Blogger, Big Cartel, Tumblr, Paypal and Passionfruit Ads. Squarespace is a one-stop-shop and I couldn't be happier to be making the transition.









In addition to the social networking and crafting, we had a few wonderful keynote speakers who talked to us about thinking big, honoring your own voice, fearlessness and emotional breakdowns. The speakers were Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess, Bethany Joy Clark from TOMS, Caroline Recktor of Unfancy, Jess Lively of The Lively Show and Sophia Rossi of Hello Giggles.












We finished our time together with a really beautiful trust exercise. 
Sisterhood. It's so important.




Now I'm back home in Dallas with countless business cards, Instagram feeds to follow, all sorts of new inspiration and best of all, the creation of a cohesive blog and art website. (Sigh). Thank you to Indiana Adams, founder of the Texas Style Council, for one lovely last hurrah at CAMP. You and your team of volunteers did a beautiful job!


Me and Valerie


CAMP | Texas Style Council



This weekend, I'll be attending the Texas Style Coucil blogger's conference / retreat in central Texas. I only know one person attending and the rest are all cyber-personalities I "know" from the interwebs. I have to say that I'm more than a little nervous about attending. Most of these bloggers are well known and their blog is their job. They've networked, they've monetized and they've mastered the social media universe. I could learn a lot from these women. But I also think I have a lot to share. The CAMP acronym is, after all, Create a Meaningful Presence.

My hope is that I'll gain a greater understanding of what I want La Maison Boheme to be in the months and years ahead. I also hope to focus my writing in a way that brings my readership greater joy, inspiration and connection. If, like me, you're feeling a little bogged down lately by what you read and see on social media, I encourage you to read THIS post by Erin of Design for Mankind. It really spoke to me. I'm excited because Erin will be one of the keynote speakers at this weekend's CAMP retreat.

The other thing that this weekend away provides is time! I get to leave my home and family for three days and simply focus on me and my work. How brilliant! Now, I'm off to look at my packing list and prepare for my journey. Weather channel says there is supposed to be rain all weekend... so I guess the first thing to pack is a pair of Wellies.










Restored Vintage Trailer | The Nugget

Hey ya'll. I've been following Mandi, author of the blog Vintage Revivals, as she painstakingly restored a vintage trailer called "The Nugget". Mandi and her husband spent 4 months gutting, resurfacing and decking-out this sweet little trailer, cataloging the entire process on her blog.

I love it so much that I've been combing the Craigslist for junked trailers. No luck yet, but I'm still keeping my eyes open. The results of Mandi's hard work and vision are phenomenal. See more photos and all of the "before" shots HERE. I'm in love!














48 Hours in NYC

Hello dear readers. I'm just back from a whirlwind visit to New York, where I accompanied my husband on a business trip. He worked all day, while I hoofed it around Midtown and spent a few lovely hours with dear friends. I'll be back to my regular programing tomorrow, but in the meantime, here's a little photo tour of my time alone in the Big Apple.













Squam Art Workshops and Back Again



My five days at the Squam Art Workshops are over. I'm back home in Dallas. Actually, I've been back for a week, but haven't been able to gather my thoughts until now. This trip came right on the heels of my brother's sudden death and as I mentioned earlier, I wasn't sure if I could go. But I did go and best of all, I was able to go with my mother. She and I shared a lone second-story bedroom in this gorgeous cabin (below) overlooking Squam Lake.

The sun rose each morning, bringing with it a flood of light into our sleeping quarters. It was a gorgeous reminder that the earth is turning and dark nights are always followed by new days. What a gift. This alone - a beautiful and rustic room with windows overlooking a New Hampshire Lake - this alone would have made the trip worthwhile.





Squam Lake and the surrounding woods revealed it's gifts little by little, leaf by leaf. In New Hampshire, autumn was taking her first cool breaths. The trees were mostly green, but if you leaned in and allowed your eyes to settle in one place, you could see the red and orange painted tips here and there. It's all changing. Every moment, we're in transition.





And then there was the water. Oh, the heavenly water. There is no better way to clear your head and renew your body on a cellular level than to immerse yourself in a natural water source. The campground that hosts the Squam Art Workshops is called Rockywold Deephaven and each little cabin has it's own dock access. 

In the mornings, when the light was new and the air was crisp, I walked out our cabin door onto a path of dead pine needles to the water's edge. The dock would creak a bit as I stepped onto the old wood. The water color was ever-changing: gray, then green and then blue as the sun rose in the sky. Swimming in Squam Lake was like a full immersion baptism and the water was the presiding priestess, made holy by her own presence. 











Squam Lake made space for serenity and sadness to coexist in my body. It provided a place to play and stretch and ruminate and ease into my grief. This time was a gentle reminder that it's alright to laugh a little when the whole world seems to be crumbling around you. There is joy in grief, celebration in sorrow and life in loss. These things all live together in each of us.





But my time at Squam Lake was not just about the setting. The art workshops, hosted each June and September on it's shore by Elizabeth Duvuvier, are the reason for the season. I took three classes during my five-day retreat. The first was a sewing class called Alternative Stitch taught by the ebullient, free-thinking Emily Falconbridge. On day two, I took an art and movement class called Love Layers, taught by the absurdly talented and gracious Flora Bowley. And on Saturday, I took a mini-workshop from the feisty, open-hearted Rachael Rice on creating Native American dream catchers. All three classes surprised me in some way. None of them adhered to my expectations, but rather ebbed and flowed according to the energy of the instructor and students. 

Each morning, I would take the path from my cabin to the dining hall where I would eat a beautiful fresh meal with coffee. Then I would toddle off down some winding path to a designated gathering place where I would meet a new group of women. Then I would create something. It was simple and touching and so very needed. 







Photo by Emily Falconbridge



I have been looking forward to Flora Bowley's class since I first signed up in January. She usually teaches a class called Bloom True, but for Squam she embarked on a new class called Love Layers, which mixes movement and art. She kept telling us "it's not about the paintings". Initially, I had signed up for her class because I love her technique and she and I both work with acrylics. I wanted to work together with acrylics and watch her process. We did not use acrylics and we did not focus on the painting. It was a great zen lesson. Flora was more interested in the kinetic connection between our bodies and the act of making art. And after taking her class, I am too. Deep listening is tough work, but oh my, it is so rewarding.


Photo by Jennifer Ciplet


Photo by Jennifer Ciplet

Photo by Jennifer Ciplet



Here are two of my pieces from Flora's class (even though I know it's not about the paintings):





Now that I am home in Dallas, I miss the cool bite of the morning air in New Hampshire. I miss taking my coffee down to the dock and listening for Loons. I miss the beautiful, spirited women who were teaching and taking classes. I miss my lovely cabin mates. I miss having the wide, open, unadulterated space to make friends with my sadness. Grieving at home in front of family and friends and neighbors and strangers is tricky. I don't want to scare or alienate anyone with my emotional state, but I also want my children to know that the only way around grief is through it. And while my broken heart feels a little hemmed in now that I'm back in Texas, I'm also deeply comforted being in the arms of my husband and sweet sons. 





All things must end.
Decay is natural.
Love is eternal.
I am content.




Thank you Elizabeth and Kaitlyn.
Thank you Camille.
Thank you Gail, Danielle, Elaine, Margi and Suzanne.
Thank you Emily.
Thank you Flora.
Thank you Andi, Rachel and Tara.
Thank you Mama.

Until next time.


Photo by T.Spoon Photography

Photo by T.Spoon Photography



All photos by Sarah Greenman unless otherwise noted.