Curated Hotel: The Sonoma Mission Inn + the Surprising Power of a Surprise!

Curated Hotel: The Sonoma Mission Inn + the Surprising Power of a Surprise!

We seem to have a number of family birthdays mixed in among the holidays. Though Scott’s birthday was a couple of days after Thanksgiving he suggested we celebrate on the holiday since we had a family dinner planned. While that was a great idea, I wanted to surprise him with a little something extra this year. On Thanksgiving I had him open a box with his upcoming surprise that read, “Pack a Bag, Birthday Boy!”.

We had a day to clean up from Thanksgiving and pack for our weekend getaway so it was a leisurely schedule.  I was tempted to spill the beans on our destination, but I kept it a secret. Seeing his excitement for this adventure reminded me of the power of a surprise.

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Signature Style: Fall Edit

Signature Style:  Fall Edit

Have you given much thought to your signature style? The older I get the more I feel the desire to hone in on my unique style, have laser focus on what I have that works (and what doesn’t), clear the clutter, donate to those in need and simplify my style. Rather than more is more, I’m taking a less is more approach:  less clutter, less mindless purchasing and more refinement of my style. This is my vibe, especially for this stage of reinvention in my new lifestyle.

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Curated Hotel: A Chic Afternoon at Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano

Curated Hotel: A Chic Afternoon at Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano

We leave the seductive, photogenic Amalfi Coast with one last peek; a chic afternoon on the terrace at the luxurious Le Sirenuse Hotel. The iconic hotel, with stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, has launched a thousand fantasies, mine included. Who can forget those scenes in ‘Under the Tuscan Sun‘ with Diane Lane and Raoul Bova filmed in Positano and Le Sirenuse? There are no words to describe the relaxed luxury of a world-class hotel like this. I’ll let the images tell the story.

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Boating to the Dreamy Isle of Capri

Boating to the Dreamy Isle of Capri

I have daydreamed of Capri. Cerulean blue waters, pastel buildings, brilliant hues of bougainvillea and windswept trees gracing the terraced landscape.  The lemon-scent mingling with fragrant notes of wild rose and sea air. I could feel the gentle waves of the bay lapping against the boat.  I am mesmerized.

You will be greeted with this picturesque scene at Marina Grande when you arrive by boat.

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5 Surprising Things I've Learned in Retirement [Pt. 5]

5 Surprising Things I've Learned in Retirement

1 -  It's surprising, I only need about 1/3 of the current wardrobe in my closet. Most of those pencil skirts, silk blouses, short jackets and mid-height heels are simply not as necessary with my new lifestyle of working from home. Hello consignment shop and donations bags for the items that don't thrill me! I will need to spend some time creating my casual/active wear day-to-day style but I'm not in a huge rush. For now, I'm weeding through what I already have and no  longer need. That process always feels good.

2 - Integrating my work office and my home office spaces was more difficult than I anticipated. Odd little things like which stapler, pencil cup or desk accessory to keep for my home office space gave me pause. Some of these tools had been my daily essentials, in two separate work spaces, for many years. Figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of took some time so I decided not to rush the process. I'm finally completely unpacked and organized into my home office space.

3 - It is no surprise that waking up to an unstructured schedule reduces a tremendous amount of stress.  It's a bit like a perpetual week of Sundays and it's a life changer! I feel like I can now plan my days, weeks and life with more intentionality. One of my main goals has been to restructure my priorities and fitness is right at the top. One of the best changes is that I've added a consistent yoga/Pilates schedule to my week and have even started scheduling them in my calendar. When I make an intentional appointment it helps with my commitment. Though it could be tempting to loll on the couch and watch reruns of "Flipping Out" or "Below Deck", I'm finding my days are quite busy and productive.

4 - When you make a big life change, and leave a day-to-day workplace behind, you can't know how much you will stay in touch. I'm happy to report that friends/colleagues from my former workplace want to connect. I've been surprised at how many texts, calls and invitations I have received. It feels good not to be forgotten. I also find that I'm more of a "Yes" person now. My husband (the more spontaneous one) loves that I agree to more gatherings and events now that I'm not as stressed out with work.

5 - Despite the euphoria of retirement -- real life intrudes -- no surprise.  Whether it's a medical issue, as with our sweet kitty, Jack, or the ongoing concern for a close family member struggling with serious addiction issues, real life is that rude awakening sometimes. It is easier to be consumed with worry, or attempt to solve problems beyond control, when you have more free time. It's important to stay focused on life balance, especially when serious issues creep to the forefront. Keeping that balance is one of the main reasons Scott and I committed to turning off the phone and celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary last weekend. It was lovely and thank you for the wonderful wishes!!

Have you been surprised by anything lately??

 

Day Tripping on the Amalfi Coast [Amalfi + Ravello]

Day Tripping on the Amalfi Coast [Amalfi + Ravello]

Our next destination was Ravello, three miles up the steep, winding road, high above the Amalfi Coast. Ravello is known for luxury hotels, spas and historic villas. It has a slower, more refined pace of life and has become a popular spot for romantic destination weddings. It’s common to see vacationing celebrities gracing the cafes and sunbeds. 

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An Invitation: Caudalie French Skin Care + Jason Wu Event in Venice Beach, California

An Invitation: Caudalie French Skin Care + Jason Wu Event in Venice Beach, California

As I was going through the mail following our summer travel, I discovered an invitation to an event for a brand of which I am a longtime fan. The event was to celebrate the collaboration between the french skin care line, Caudalie by Mathilde Thomas, and fashion designer, Jason Wu. My first thought was, "I can't fly to Venice Beach, I just got home from 3 weeks in Europe". Then I realized that Scott was already planning to be in LA for a class reunion that very weekend and had already reserved a hotel. The timing could not have been more perfect! We decided to drive the 8+ hours to Los Angeles and it was so convenient to have a car for all the stops we planned to make. We downloaded the intriguing podcast 'Serial' which made the drive absolutely fly by.

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