Archive for October 16th, 2017

It started as a gift, IMG_1770

No …

it started as a surprise,

No …

it started as a wish,

No …

it started as a dream that I failed to have the imagination to dream.

As I boarded the Europe-bound airliner, I was steeping off of North American soil for the first time. My final destination, Florence, Italy, for La Dolce Vita Creative (Women’s) Retreat.


Hubby had surprised me, at Christmas, with this amazing trip, but he was not alone, for the brilliant mind behind La Dolce Vita Creative Lifestyle Retreats also happens to be my sweet friend, Carolyn Peeler.

Carolyn is a most humble, capable and creative woman, with a confident gentleness that warms the cockles of ones heart, when in her presence.

So, in May of this year, I landed in Florence, checked into my accommodation, and entered into the most delightful adventure of my life.

What followed was beauty, the freshest of food flavours, welcoming people, history to see and touch and walk upon, unique items to purchase, classes to attend, and the most beautiful group of creative, welcoming, helpful and unforgettable women.

We were taught, nourished, entertained and our cups were ever-full (in every way).

We shopped at the market in Lucca, walked the streets of Siena, were given a cooking class and meal prepared by a Michelin chef, in the castle of a Count, we slept in the estate of a Renaissance-era home, with family ties to a Catholic Cardinal of the past. We toured churches, aged streets, arched alleyways, and met gifted artisans.

But, it was the individuals who attended the retreat which made it truly memorable.

It is just our unique and beautiful group who shared life in Tuscany for that week. We awoke each morning and complimented each other’s outfit for the day. Were enjoyed entertainment by our California-duo, who made us laugh ’til tears flowed down our cheeks. We shared in affection for the animals that lived on the estate. We worried for our friend who lost her purse, with many offering practical helps. We struggled to find the grid on our camera phones, create floral arrangements, and pick glass that broke in the swimming pool. We slowed our pace when walking with some, or availed our shoulder when a bus ride was long. We took pictures of each other, with each other. We shared bottles of local wine, and rushed excitedly to our rooms to see what treasures were left on our beds while we dined on local foods over a leisurely dinner. We supported each other when our back hurt, our head hurt or our heart ached. We hung our undies on the same clotheslines and saw that, in Italy, if you want to take a donkey home, there is no delay in it’s creation.

Returning home we were happy to reunite with those we love, but, like the finish of a dear novel, when it was over a part of us longed for the characters who we had so grown to care for, to love.

It was a divine appointment that we would all be there, together, for a week of wonder.


As the plane began to rise toward the sky, leaving Florence behind me, my eyes began to overflow, with longing for more, with longing to return to this place, and the magic that was created by Carolyn Peeler:

“I was dreaming about organizing and hosting my own international retreat. Each week has been different from the one before because of how attendees interact with each other, the special guests, and the experiences I have organized. It has been a blessing to meet women from around the world who show up with their hearts wide open to accept new friends, opportunities and challenges in the most wonderful way. This is what makes La Dolce Vita special… the women who set out on an adventure ready to embrace all that it is. For this, I am thankful – together we have made some lifelong memories!”

Today, at 9am PST, registration for La Dolce Vita Creative Lifestyle Retreat opens. May I recommend this retreat to you, from one creative soul to another. May I let you know that you will be so well cared for, so well loved.

But, may I warn you, it will change you.








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