I met Amber Housley at CHA with Studio Calico last year and began following her journey online. I followed along as she hosted The Inspired Retreat and saw all the pretty pictures and read how many wonderful things people said about the retreat. I hadn't been to a retreat since High School! Immediately, I thought, this wouldn't be for me and I tucked it in the back of my mind. That was her spring retreat. (photo by Kristy Hogan)Fall retreat announcements started popping up and again, I made excuses why I shouldn't go. It's too expensive, I couldn't leave the kids and Chris. It's indulgent. You know, because I am not one to spend money like that on myself. I tried to put it in the back of my mind again, but it kept finding it's way to my heart.
(photo by Kristy Hogan)Before I knew it, I booked my spot and found myself to this beautiful corner of the world. Tennessee. As soon as I stepped foot on to the property (Evins Mill) I knew it was going to be a special few days. Los Angeles slowly drained away from my body and I was in the south and completely immersed in southern hospitality. Not only was Amber herself completely available to the attendees, so were all the speakers. We were all in this together. Being tucked away at this venue made all the difference in the world. I wish we had something like this in LA that I could escape to.
We had received these little motivation cards from Lara Casey and I followed the advice. Being the introvert that I am, I took the leap and soaked in every minute. I attended each session, attended each delicious meal, every activity. Gave myself just a few 15 minute breaks to recharge on the hidden hammocks I found on the property to record some of my thoughts and feelings. Every meal was a special treat. I'm the chef in the family, so to have so many meals prepared for me was honestly such a treat. And I'm a sucker for good details so all the flowers and extra touches were noticed and appreciated. My first time having real southern BBQ, favorite of the whole trip. Just amazing!
(photo by Kristy Hogan) I was so touched to meet so many genuine women who have a passion for the business and family. It's always been my struggle to figure out that balance. I've been a stay at home mom for 21 years. Now that the kids are basically out the door, I feel like it's the right time to make some changes. I was encouraged and inspired by these women who do it daily. (photo by Kristy Hogan)
This is when I knew I definitely wasn't in Los Angeles anymore. I mean, look at this stunning waterfall! I wish I could say I was brave enough to strip down and dive in, but I wasn't. :) One step at a time here for me! :) (photo by Kristy Hogan) I am so excited to follow these women on their journeys and have their support as well. Thank you so much, Amber for bringing us together, for inspiring us, for spoiling us, for being you! When I arrived back at home, it took me a good week to mentally unpack all that I learned. It wasn't just the sessions and the advice and the steps that need to be taken. It was the stories. It was the lives that touched me. It's the way I live now and how I want to live from here on out. My heart is so full and I will forever be grateful. Today, a month later, I still miss this perfect corner of the world. But as I face each day and each new challenge I remind myself:
I hear that Amber is announcing Spring dates shortly. I highly recommend The Inspired Retreat. I came for clarification, ideas and plans. I left with all of that and more. I was fed in ways I didn't know I needed. I am so grateful.