Retreats & Growth

I hope all the moms had a nice day on Sunday and your day was exactly how you chose it.  Nothing says Mother’s Day like the Mother choosing what she does that day.   Even if it was just a couple little “me time” things or something simple, I hope the moms got to do something of your choosing for awhile on Sunday.  Take what you can get, right?

I chose to use my time wisely and did some pre-packing.  Not glamorous, but a productive use of time.

This isn’t actually what I packed.  It’s an old picture from before on went to Food Buzz Festival in San Fran last fall but you get the idea.

Skylar figured out we’re going on a trip even before the suitcases came out this weekend.  Scott and I have been mums-the-word about it because we didn’t want to listen to, “How many more days until we get on the airplane?” ad nauseum. But she’s sponge and somehow must have heard us mention it because she’s all over it.

I’ve already been asked 9798 times what cities we’re connecting in and do we have a direct flight.  And will there be turbulence.  She’s four. But questions like those are part of the joy of being a mom and watching my little sponge grow and soak it all in.

Now she understands why I bought these shoes and didn’t want her to wear them yet.

They’re for the beach!

And a great Dream Day for me includes sitting on a chaise lounge on the beach.  

From my last post, thanks for filling me in on what items and activities would be included in your Dream Day.   Jenn’s comment here wins.

Another dreamy moment will be sitting on the beach with my new issue of Yoga Journal in hand.  It arrived just in time for our trip.

Ironically they have a feature with “31 Spectacular Vacations”

I would love to go on another yoga vacation or retreat someday.

Since I have Caribbean vacations and retreats on the brain, my food choices wanted to follow a similar wavelength.

Caribbean Coconut Rice with Garbanzos & Veggies

Secret ingredient: Peanut Butter is in this recipe

A one-pot complete vegan meal, ready in less than a half hour with planned leftovers.

And GF Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting for dessert.

I made these when I was in Aruba last and they remind me of being on vacation.


1. Best thing you ate or did over the weekend?

Being surprised with Skylar’s artwork she made for me, and then the cards that Scott and Skylar gave me were great.

As were the Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

2. Have you ever been on a retreat or vacation/trip with a special purpose?  Tell me about your experience.  How did you grow?

I got certified to be a yoga teacher in 2001 and did my first 200 hour teacher training in Costa Rica.

I spent a month there with howler monkeys, mosquitoes, fresh papaya, no real access to a washing machine, the ocean breeze blowing through my hair, and in the company of about 30 other aspiring yoga teachers.  It was the trip of a lifetime.

I grew so much as a person.  I learned some of the foundations and building blocks for becoming a yoga teacher such as how to teach, how to sequence, teaching fundamentals.  But the real learning came with all the growth I experienced, off the mat.

Self discovery, challenging myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone with everything from getting up at the crack of dawn to practice yoga to not being able to call my new-to-me husband of only 3 months back then, except for a few minutes per week.  I think we spoke on the phone for maybe 20 minutes total, in 30 days.

Email was extremely limited and this was 10 years ago.  In the jungle.  It was a very different time and place.   Many people didn’t even have running water let alone DSL lines!

Out of comfort zone much?  Hell yes!

Grow much?  Profoundly.

I missed Scott so much but it forced me to connect with myself, and the yoga, and with my peers.

I hated not being able to wash my clothes after each practice but it made me realize, a little sweat and dirt never hurt anyone.

Some of the food was not my cup of tea but the fresh fruit and coffee made up for it.

Some of the people were not my cup of tea but others were amazing and I learned so much from them.

I didn’t “love” every second of the experience while I was in the midst of it, but in retrospect, the entire retreat and trip was such a precious gift even though at the times it was so hard.

Since then I have been on other yoga retreats for a week at a time to Mexico.  I met my friend Diana at a Mexico retreat and we see each other regularly!

I’ve and also some yoga  day retreats.

I have a Yoga Tab with my pertinent yoga posts for anyone interested in reading more about my yoga path, experiences, and FAQs.

And I don’t know if I’d call my recent Food Styling & Photography Workshop a retreat, per se, but it sure was life changing!

I’ve also posted about how travel helps us to grow as people, and there’s some of my travel tips, too.

3. What kind of vacation/trip/travel would you like to take in the future?

I would love to go to India one day.  Such a spiritual pilgrimage.

And I’d love to go to Champagne Region of France.  A spiritual pilgrimage of a different nature.  Ahem.

I’d also like to go on photography or blogging related trips and retreats.

P.S. If you’re just catching up on posts from the weekend, here are mine since Friday:



  1. My friend Paige Elenson is featured in that issue of yoga journal! I think she’s on page 70-something. Check it out- she’s doing some amazing things with yoga and service.

    Have a fantastic time on your vacation- it certainly sounds like you’ve earned it.

  2. I have actually been trying to figure out where we should vacation this summer — part of me wants to just go somewhere and relax, but part of me wants to go somewhere to sightsee. Jason has never been to DC and I know he will love it there — he loves history and I think he’d enjoy the monuments and museums, etc, and I would too! I’ve been there with my family but I think it would be fun to experience it with him, you know?

    Your yoga teacher cert in Costa Rica sounds AMAZING — I can’t imagine doing that, but how awesome that you did that!

  3. Hahhahahahah I love that Skylar is asking about turbulence. I would LOVE to have a conversation with her and delve into that awesome mind of hers! :)

  4. I’m going on my Vipassana meditation retreat in less than 2 months!! Crazyyy! It’s 10 days of SILENCE!

  5. My Husband and I are going to Niagara Falls this summer. I am pretty excited for any vacation!

  6. Wow, that retreat sounds intense. I’ve never been on anything like that. I traveled lots when I was younger, but it was road trips down the coast to California or trips to Mexico or Hawaii. Traveling for the sake of going someplace nice, not because any place really had significance for us. I would love to travel to Europe and India, not so much for the spiritual side of it though. My hubby and I can’t really agree on any place we’d like to travel to together though, haha.

  7. what an amazing yoga retreat you got to experience, averie. wow. i so commend you! life changing!
    oooo, i sense TRIP DEPARTURE is imminent!!!
    i did a one day yoga retreat, once. not that great, but it was the atmosphere and the instructors. i would try again in a different scenario…
    i would love to take six months and travel around the U.S. – from florida to california, up to utah (moab), thru arizona, new mexico…that would be my ideal personal growth challenge.
    kids have inner radar sometimes, i swear!! (maybe skylar inherited some of your intuitive gifts?!!)

  8. do you need a babysitter for skylar? I will volunteer for some beach time! hehe.

  9. Your trip is going to be great! As for my dream trip? (and I DO dream….sometimes I’ll go to Barnes and Noble and get SPA magazine and dream away!) I would love to go on a spa/yoga retreat for like a week. Enough to be refreshed and remotivated, but not too long where I’ll miss my little girl too much!

  10. So lucky on your trip, I need a vacation! Adorable that Skylar is excited about it.

    1. Shopped and took mom to brunch.
    2. Just youth group trips in junior high, nothing too exciting. I’ve also traveled for tech conventions, but those hardly count since there’s never time for fun. :-)

  11. ugh I want ALL of your burn out T’s!! i love them all so much!!! if you have a special place you get them…shoot me the link! :)

    aawww I love that skylar is such a curious little gal! I think I was too, my mom always said the more questions the better! and just think that one day she will be saying “thats always what my mom taught me” lol Im 25 and still say that all of the time!!

    so jealous ofyour trip to Aruba!!!

  12. Wow, Skylar is a perceptive little one! I’m pretty sure I didn’t know about “direct flights” until the age of ten. Haha your trip sounds like it’s going to be wonderful!

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  14. 1) I can’t look at a picture of Skylar without smiling. She’s kind of a good contageous.
    2) I also just got my new Yoga Journal (and posted about it.)
    3) I have to go to NY for work Saturday-Wednesday and I’m dreading it, as I don’t travel as well as you. I hate traveling. In fact, the only time I’ve traveled in the past 12 years has been for work! If it was to a yoga retreat or the beautiful beach where you’re headed though, I could deal with it a little better ;)

    My point? Stuff me in your suitcase. If that’s not an option, have a great time–possible turbulance aside.

  15. haha skylar knows whats up when she sees those sandals!! smart lady you’ve got yourself there ;)

    i’ve never been on a retreat but i could use a nice wine retreat in about 2.5 weeks haha.

  16. Rice with Peanut Butter looks YUMMY!

  17. Can I tell you how excited I am to see you tomorrow!! Love this post. I know the feeling about wanting to share stuff with the kids but being fearful to be bombarded with the constant questions. Cute but crazy making. We will catch up on every tomorrow :) xo

  18. I too, would love to go to India. I also really want to go to Egypt and Iceland.

    So when you guys are on vacation do you spend most of the time getting much needed rest and relaxation, or do you do some site-seeing, shopping, excursions too?

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  21. I am dying to do either the Hippocrates or the Ann Wigmore 2 or 3 week programs!!! Anyone do either and have any feedback? Its got to be GOOOOOOD for me to get me to leave my two kids for that long!!!

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  23. Skylar really is a sponge. And once your trip starts it will be “Are we there yet?” ;)

    Best thing I did on the weekend: watched moms have fun playing paintball with their kids.

    Trip to Bali, Singapore & Malyasia in 1995 was to visit extended family, but was great for personal growth and pushing boundaries I wasn’t even aware of. Being white and over 5′ 8″ tall, I definitely stood out. Then there were the language barriers, multiple currency conversions, navigating very foreign countries, unexpected airport fees, what felt like a never-ending flight followed by huge jet lag, strange food (at the time at least) and being away from my immediate family for the first time on my birthday and Father’s Day. So glad I took that trip. Since then every other trip/journey I have taken seems easy in comparison :)

    I would like to get down to Australia & New Zealand at some point. Another long flight, but I’ll be ready for it this time ;)

  24. I have never been on any sort of retreat. I don’t know if I’m in the right mindset for that, darn OCD tendencies. I do enjoy my solo time, but I enjoy being clean more than anything else. ;)

  25. You must be getting excited for your trip! Hopefully the rain will stay away this time! I’ve never been on a retreat and it’s been way too long since I’ve been on a trip. We are planning to go somewhere warm this Christmas, though!

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