Big Sky Glamping

Glamping- Paws Up Resort- Onwordjourneys

What are your thoughts on camping?  How about gathering around a crackling fire, connecting with friends/loved ones thru good conversation under the starlit sky…sounds of the flowing river soothing your soul?  Imagine adding a little juxtaposition to your camping adventure with luxurious comforts that feature a big canvas tent with a private wooden deck overlooking the Black Foot River.  Inside your large tent awaits a plush king bed, cozy sitting area and a full private bathroom with heated floors, spacious shower and two sinks.  Electricity to offer light and connectivity with your mobile devices (if you choose) seals the deal. Then falling asleep listening to Mother Nature’s lullabies and awaken to the sun illuminating your tent with a soft glow and warmth.  No need to grocery shop and load up a cooler, in this juxtaposed camping journey your meals are prepared by your private camp chef using organic and locally sourced produce.  How does all this sound? Too good to be true?  This experience does exist and has a name, it’s called…Glamping!  The first luxury ranch resort to actually create and offer this rustic yet luxurious glamping experience is called The Resort at Paws UPThe Last Best PlaceRiver Camp Pavilion- Paws Up- Onwordjourneys

I am a big fan of camping in the wild wilderness, yet really enjoy luxurious comforts of good bedding, flowing water for bathing, brushing your teeth, etc.  So the word “Glamping” caught my attention.  My husband and I had planned on visiting Montana and exploring Glacier National Park; this would be our first time in the Big Sky State. I went on the internet and googled “lux lodges” and “glamping”, The Resort at Paws Up pulled up.  I knew once I started to navigate their site that this is a place that I want to experience and write about for OnWord Journeys.  I did reach out to the resort and asked if they were interested in having their “glamping” shared on my travel/lifestyle blog.  They kindly said yes.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I received a discounted rate so I could experience and write about my journeys at Paws Up. Please note these are 100% my personal opinions.

Glamping – A fusion of glamour and camping – emerged internationally and came across the Atlantic over the last decade. – glamping.com

The Resort at Paws Up

There really is so much to share about Paws Up… I am wondering where to begin and how to not bombard this post with too much info.  So I’ve decided to share piece by piece, in a list format. Honestly I think the photos will say more than what I can even articulate.  So here we go!

The Resort at Paws Up This majestic piece of property is a whopping 37,000-acre luxury ranch resort nestled in the foothills of Montana’s Garnet Mountains. 10 miles of the legendary Blackfoot River meander thru the center of the property.  When arriving to the ranch I was amazed at how spread out everything was. I think they had close to 230 guests staying, almost full capacity.  Paws Up has cabins spread throughout the property and there are 5 different “glamping” camp site locations, none of which you could see.  Not only is there vast room to take in the scenery, also there are iconic natural formations. Lookout Rock on the property is the most notable, drenched with American History of the Lewis & Clark variety.  There are also many species of wild life, one of which resided up in a large spruce tree at our campsite, a family of bald eagles.  All of this wonder is encompassed with a friendly staff and the heartbeat of togetherness.  Paws Up is where families create tighter bonds and priceless memories.Mr. Nielson- The Resort at Paws Up 1IMG_4132IMG_4033IMG_4265River Camp Blad Eagel

River Camp Glamping:  We booked our stay for three nights in the River Camp, located right on the banks of Blackfoot River. This location was perfect for our taste. Our tent was called Bitterroot, literally located just above the River. Also notable, our Bitterroot tent had the perfect swimming hole in the River right in front of our tent.  Upon arrival at River Camp we were given a tour of the amenities within our tent.  We were shown how to turn on the heated bathroom floors and towel rack, how to reach our camp butler – “I’m personally not a fan of the name, little too fancy” but, you do have access to someone at any time if needed.  During the introduction to our tent, my husband was busy outside on the deck chatting to RJ, a Paws Up team member about fly-fishing and what the trout were biting on.  He was already in heaven and so was I.  I went over to our “camp pavilion”, an outdoor covered space, also located right on the river.  This is where you go for breakfast, dinner and  to for drinks.  I grabbed a glass of wine and went back to our tent porch, sat in my Adirondack chair, plopped my feet up and soaked up the Montana air.Bitterroot River Camp16 Paws UP.pngIMG_6551 (1)Bitterroot River Camp27Paws UPBitterroot River Camp15 Paws UP.png

Tent: Yes, you do sleep in a tent but it’s a large canvas tent with real log beams supporting the structure.  Also an amazing heavenly bed and bedding with heated blankets, you feel like your wrapped in a warm cocoon when you go to sleep.  There is an enormous bathroom with heated floors, big shower with rainfall water head, toilet and 2 sinks.  Yep, that is not something you would ever find in the middle of the woods.Bitterroot River Camp24Paws UP.pngIMG_3697Bitterroot Tent bathroom- Paws Up- OnwordjourneysBitterroot River Camp26Paws UPRiver Camp- Paws Up- Onword Journeys

Food: Three daily meals are included in your nightly rate.  The food at Paws Up was honestly a culinary treat!!! The camp chefs are so talented… each chef put love into their food.  Two meals are in the open air pavilion on your direct campsite where you are staying. You are given a generous time frame to eat, morning was 7-10am and dinner was 6-10pm.  You can arrive super casual and even right from hiking, fishing, horseback riding etc. The outdoor pavilion was so beautiful; the kitchen is open so you can watch the chefs grill and cook.  Once you’ve seated yourself, one of the camp staff will serve you breakfast or dinner… all with a morning and evening fire cracking away.River Camp Pavilion- Paws UpRiver Camp-Paws UpRiver Camp Pavilion- Dinner Paws UpRiver Camp Dinnerdinner- River Camp- Paws UpSmores- The Resort at Paws UpLunch is not in the camp area, it is offered at one of the ranch’s restaurants called Trough, you do have to get a ride to the ranch’s main area. Again super yummy food with a great menu selection and new “Ranch to Table” grab-and-go dining. The ranch table is a showcase for local farms, fisheries and other local incredible culinary purveyors.  To kick off lunch, my husband and I ordered 2 fresh “local cherry” muddled cocktails… so yummy!!! I can tell you this; you will not go hungry while staying at Paws Up!IMG_4111The Resort at Paws Up- Onword JourneysIMG_4127

Transportation:  with 37,000 acres and all lodging spread vastly out to provide privacy and expansive views, how do you get from A to B? Paws Up has an app that you sign into and book all your transportation needs. You can pre-arrange the night before or if you decide last minute, use the app. This offers ease to navigate the ranch. Pretty efficient, sometimes there was a delay in scheduled pick up time but have patience, they are picking up other guest from other camp sites.  Honestly, I loved not being on a schedule so if there was a wait; I would just embrace the quiet time.

Activities:  Get ready…if you are looking for some adventure, Paws Up offers you so many awesome options and most are great for kids too!  Some of the activities include archery, ATV Tours, equestrian lessons, fly-fishing, geocaching, go-karts, Grizzly man Fitness Trail, horseback riding,  hot air ballooning… you can even do a real cattle drive on their working cattle ranch.  There are too many activates to mention but trust me you will not get bored.  Most of the activates are not included in your rate, you may have to pay separately.  They do offer some inclusive actives like hiking, outdoor games, mountain bikes and fishing equipment.  Sky Line Adventure- Paws UpStacey- Flyshishing Blackfoot River- Paws UpIMG_3824Fly-Fishing: My husband and I chose to just book one activity and that was 6 hour fly-fishing, rafting on Blackfoot River with a guide.  Our guide’s name was Jason, super nice guy and informative, he worked on refining our fly-fishing skills.  My husband was there to fish the Blackfoot waters.  My part was to take it all in. I didn’t catch anything but my goal was not to catch fish.  I was there to connect, breathe in the fresh air and disconnect from the business of day to day life…and after all I have the best catch, my husband, Ben.  Ben did catch some trout and caught a really nice size guy, his biggest yet. After the catch, he released the trout back in the river. Highly recommend the guided rafting fly-fishing. IMG_4000Blackfoot River fishing IMG_4059Spa Town:  Yes you are reading correctly, Paws Up has a Spa Town, the treatment rooms are tents looking on to the Montana Mountains and meadows.  I have never experienced this type of spa before.  Both Ben and I mentioned that having treatments outside in the tents with the fresh air blowing thru and listening to the birds sing transports you to another place, a place deep within your subconscious.  Truly so peaceful and tranquil.  I would like to note, Spa Town does not have a steam room, sauna or hot tub. I do think they should consider adding these amenities to the spa area to sooth the muscles.  That would be my only recommendation to Paws Up.  I do know every year they are incorporating new additions to the ranch; they’re always evolving and expanding.  Spa Town is certainly something to be experienced when staying at Paws UP. Spa Town - Paws Up- Onword JourneysSpa Town-Paws Up- Onword Journeys Spa Town2Spa Town- Resort at Paws Up

I had the pleasure to tour the ranch with Resort Manager, Charles Daenen.  Charles drove us around the Paws Up property. I was beyond impressed with the multiple venue options that Paws has available to book for private events such as corporate incentives, family reunions, retreats, weddings etc.

The Saddle Club at Paws Up is the largest private equestrian center in Montana, featuring a 23,000-square-foot riding arena, seating for 150 spectators, a VIP skybox suite with full bar, 52 stalls and more than 100 miles of glorious riding trails.  Saddle Club- Resort Paws Up

Bull Barn at Paws UP is an authentic Montana cattle barn has been newly renovated into a world-class conference center and special event hall. It’s a place to gather. To work. To dream. Located in the Village at Paws Up, this inspiring venue is perfect for corporate retreats, unforgettable weddings, or meetings of any kind.IMG_4192 IMG_4204

Paws Up offering Thanksgiving for the first time: November 23–27, 2016.  Glamping tents are not available during the winter months but they have beautiful rustic cabins that can suit small or large families.  They will even deliver Thanksgiving dinner to your cabin and come back in a few hours to clean up.  I think this would be a wonderful way to get the family together and give thanks. Plus no cooking or dish duty…just time to connect.
The Resort at Paws Up, MT Onword Journeys

Thank you for taking the time to read about the amazing Paws Up in majestic Montana.  I hope this might ignite some thoughts in treating oneself, family and loved ones.  Paws up Ranch offers an authentic immersion into the American West with dirt roads, roaming cattle and the mighty Blackfoot River. Paws Up states, “While you’re here, we ask that you leave no trace on the land. But we can’t promise we’ll do the same with your memories”. www.pawsup.com

Travel inward and onward my friends… 

With Gratitude,

Stacey

Stacey Leigh Barnes- Onword Journeys

Glacier National Park, MT

Iceberg Lake Trail- Glacier National Park

“Awe-inspiring” and picturesque photos of Glacier National Park have been flowing thru my Instagram feed this year. One mesmerizing photo after another have been coming thru, month after month… I knew my soul journey to Montana needed to happen soon.  Though my husband and I had never been to Montana before, we could hear Montana beckoning us.  We’re both small business owners in the Phoenix valley, during the summer months each of us experience a decline in business, especially with my company.  We’ve turned this “down time” into our opportunity to travel and get out of the AZ heat.  While doing my research on places to explore and stay in Montana, I found an amazing place called Paws Up where you can experience “glamping”, basically lux camping … more on this gem coming up in my next blog post.

The beginning of our Montana Journey, first 2 days were set aside for the breathtaking Glacier National Park.  I had 2 things to get figured out. First, where will we stay in Glacier, and second which one of the 700 miles of hiking trails would we pick?  Thanks to google, it makes this searching process pretty darn easy.  By reading other blogs I get inspired and read good info on personal experiences on hiking, food, hotels etc. – this is what makes the web community so awesome & connective. We are all here to share our journeys, and at the same time provide a glimpse of what may be of interest to you, the reader.  Sending a big thank you to all of the brave souls who write, explore and share so freely!

Belton Chalet Glacier National Park

Where to stay in Glacier? Well, there are lots of options from affordable motels to some historic lodges actually located in Glacier National Park. You can even camp if you’d like. For us we were really only there 2 nights and for one full day, a nice cozy bed and warm shower was all that was needed after a full day’s adventure in Glacier.  I found the Belton Chalet located just outside of the west entrance of Glacier National Park.  This historic lodge was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1910.

“Taken by the surroundings, Louis W. Hill, son of the Great Northern Railroad magnate James J Hill, imagined a series of lodges, chalets & camps that would funnel wealthy railroad passengers from the East to magnificent mountain vistas, rivaling the great tours of Switzerland. In 1909 the Great Northern Railway authorized construction of a new depot at Belton & a 42×37′ hotel to be located adjacent to it.- beltonchalet.com

Belton ChaletBelton Chaletlodge room- Belton ChaletWhat drew me to Belton were certainly the historical aspects and that it had recently undergone renovations, keeping the history intact while providing some modern comforts.  The rooms reflect the clean & simple era of the early 1900’s. Beds are new and comfortable; toilet and shower are also updated.  Really a great place to call home after hiking all day and driving thru the park. 

FYI: Belton Chalet is right next to the train, there will be train noise. They do offer ear plugs in your room.  The train noise didn’t bother me, but instead took me back in time adding to the character of the Chalet.

Room Recommendation:  Ask for the top floor room with a balcony.  The rooms are small so be prepared; if you can get a balcony it offers some additional space.  

Food: They have an onsite restaurant for dinner; we didn’t eat at the Tap Room or Grill Dinning. Due to the late hour after completing our hike, 7pm we choose to eat dinner in the park.  For breakfast Belton suggests going next door to a locally owned restaurant called Glacier Highland which I highly recommend! I had an egg white veggie omelet and huckleberry pancakes, super yummy and provided good fuel for hiking!

Iceberg Lake- GNPIceberg Lake Trail Took me a bit longer to decide what hike to take, I asked my hubby to assist in the google search. We read thru 4-5 different blogs and all of them mentioned Iceberg Lake Trail, which ends at turquoise blue “Iceberg Lake”. We double checked with a sweet local girl who rang up our breakfast check, she confirmed, Iceberg was one of her faves.

Factors when choosing which hiking trail: length, scenery, and foot traffic. All of these factors were taken into consideration and bam… Iceberg Lake trail it was! The hike is close to 10 miles round trip, with a moderate incline up to Iceberg Lake. Though it is a highly traveled hike, we still felt that we had our own space; coming across hikers every 10-15 min. This trail is smooth, not too rocky or too steep, making it appropriate hike for all ages. Close to being 10 miles round trip, I would recommend starting mid morning to offer plenty of time for breaks and to take in the scenery. There is no need to me to blab about what is so special about this hike; the photos speak for themselves.

Iceberg Lake Trailhead : 9.9 mi / 15.4km. Follow the Many Glacier Road to the parking lot for Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Turn right immediately after the inn and follow the road around to the Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel trail head.

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Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and were designated as the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites. – From Wikipedia

Driving thru Glacier National Park taking Going-to-the-Sun Road: A must to experience, the views are expansive, in the evening we drove back thru the park and came across some wildlife; a Big Horn Sheep and a Ram…such majestic creatures.

Going-to-the-sun-road Glacier National Parkoing-to-the-sun-Road Glacier National Park

Hiking Tip: Get your bear spray!  My husband and I each carried our own can of bear spray. There are a large number of Black & Grizzly Bears that inhabit GNP.  We did come across a Grizzly on our hike; it was up in the forest just beside the hiking trail.  Other hikers warned us, so were alert and mindful to be calm. We paused as he moseyed on his way into the woods.

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service! The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016, and everyone can take part in the celebration! The centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks and engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs. To find a National Park near you, click here: www.nps.gov

Going to the Sun Rd. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park was really the highlight of our trips this year; to have such beauty within the United States is such a blessing.  I have to say that every time I venture out into Mother Nature, my energy is soothed my senses are heightened. I also see the massive importance behind our consciousness with how we treat Mama Earth. She has been holding us, giving us all healing energy. We need to respectfully give back, protect her and nurture her as she does for us. Let’s make an intentional energetic connection & movement to give massive love to all beings, plants, animals and Pachamama (Mother Earth).  Is it any wonder that Glacier National Park has earned the name “Crown of The Continent”!! 

With gratitude,

Stacey

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L’Auberge de Sedona

L'Auberge de Sedona- creek side cottage

L'Auberge de Sedona- Oak CreekI wanted to share one of my all-time favorite luxury boutique hotels – L’Auberge de SedonaI’ve had the pleasure to stay at L’Auberge resort 3 times with my husband…it’s a luxurious investment for my mind, body and soul. 

L’Augerge is located on the banks of majestic Oak Creek in Sedona, AZ.  There are numerous room & cottage options like the Vista cottages with beautiful views overlooking the painted Red Rocks of Sedona.  Or the Creekside Cottages where you can be lulled to sleep by the sound of the running creek.  I’ve always stayed in the Creekside Cottages and this time I stayed in “what I would consider” one of the best cottages on the property, cottage number 6.  However there is a row of three cottages, numbers 5, 6 & 7 that are the most private and closest to the creek, you can’t go wrong with either of the three.

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Notable fact #1: I want to mention that L’Auberge just went under beautiful renovations in the summer of 2015 including all cottages, main lodge and both restaurants on the property.  As I mentioned, I’ve stayed here twice before and fell in love with the property but now with the updates…L’Auberge is at its best!!!

Notable fact #2: L’Auberge is pet friendly!  We brought our boxer pup, Ellie May.  L’Auberge is wonderfully welcoming to dogs; when arriving at our cottage, Ellie sniffed her way to her own “treat bag” full of goodies.  Have to say Ellie May was just as spoiled as we were… she was in pup heaven!

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L’Auberge Creekside Cottages :These cottages have a large expansive deck overlooking Oak Creek, perfect place to read a book enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine, practice yoga.  The interior of the cottages have vaulted ceilings, cozy wood burning fireplaces, heavenly beds and linens, bright, fresh bathrooms with; wait for it…AMAZING outdoor private cedar showers!!! To shower under the sun, moon and starry night sky is truly soul connective. The outdoor shower has a rain shower head with hot water – easing your muscles; add the fresh air and the view of the sky above and all your embodied senses are ignited.  Honestly there are no words…you just have to experience it for yourself.01e9a93a418ecca4a23ebf2c42a982aeb1709491c501ad8ab5545482c9819acbf19408b0f03bbd8515c9015d4592ed6868576f0fad9d796a05a663a184acee013d2a13e9a088ea4fc0b2a589c2c570058c56f71e Continue Reading…

Journey to Peru

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My journey to the sacred land of Peru ignited a deeper passion for travel and self expansion for me.  I experienced a spiritual awakening  as I met the loving, kind souls native to Peru; hiking the land, visiting the ruins and learning about the ancient mythology of the Incas.  Pachamama  (Earth/Mother- is the goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes)  holds a healing energy that I hope all who are being called can journey to & embrace.

Machu Picchu in Peru has been on my “dream list” of travel journeys. I honestly didn’t think I would travel there for another  3-5 years.  As all opportunities come knocking, some at unexpected times, Peru did just that.  Good friends of ours and highly respected AZ yoga instructors, Desiree Lapre Grobstein and Anton Mackey were hosting a Peru yoga retreat.  We have previously journeyed on one of their yoga retreats 2 years ago in Tulum, MX.  We had an amazing soul connective experience and met so many new friends, whom we are still very close with today.  We found out about the yoga retreat in Peru with our soul family, answered the knock at the door and eagerly said yes!

Peru culture

It took me a couple of weeks to fully digest that we were actually going to Peru, not to mention Desiree and Anton’s retreats  happen to fall on our wedding anniversary, June 21st.  My husband and I choose not to do gifts for each other, instead we invest in travel!  Traveling offers us time to connect, to expand and learn…creating truly eternal memories.  Peru was certainly an awesome way to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary!  Interestingly, June is winter in Peru, as here in the states June is our summer.  My husband picked our wedding date, June 21st because it is the “summer solistice”- longest day of the year.  In Peru June 21st is their “winter soltice”, shortest day of the year.  On top of all of this, June 21st  2016 also was a full moon!  Needless to say, there was some amazing  full moon, winter solstice, Peruvian energy happening on our anniversary.

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The land and culture in Peru is colorful, filled with heart and purity.  We flew into Lima, then into Cusco (first of the Incan sacred cities) and took a two-hour bus ride to the Sacred Valley where our resort, Willka Tika resides. We drove thru winding roads in the mountains and thru tiny alleyways in the villages.  The bus ride itself was very adventurous.  On our way to the resort we stopped in an area that had an outlook on the vast mountains.  There were also some local artisans selling their handmade, colorful goods, and sweet children holding baby sheep & alpacas.  They are there to take photos with you,  all they ask for is a Sol (Peru’s currency) in exchange for a picture.  It was a wonderful start to our Peru vacation.

Willka Tika Resort: The local Quechua Staff  “who are like family”,  as well as the locally sourced, sustainable food were truly an experience I will never forget… AMAZING!  Carol Cumes is the owner and founder of Willka Tika,  our group had the pleasure of Carol walking us thru her extraordinarily beautiful & lush Seven Chakra Gardens. Each garden contains symbols, shapes, sculptures and medicinal plants that resonate with one of the seven chakras, or energy centers, of the human body.  Carol shared the history of Willka Tika and what inspired her to build this healing retreat center.

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Wanderlust Festival-Soul Sister Vacation

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I just came back from a beautiful “soul connective” girl’s vacation in Bundville, Vermont.  I have a sacred soul sister group, every year we plan a girl’s getaway to keep our connection strong, and our bond tight.  This year we chose the Green Mountain State, Vermont.  So why Vermont?  Well, there was certainly something that led us there.  A yoga festival called Wanderlust, the weekend of June 18th and we all just happened to be free for some vacation time.  With Wanderlust calling us and our open availability… all energies aligned just right to find our “True North” Wanderlust journey.

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When looking for lodging in Bundville, my girlfriends know that I have a passion on finding places to stay… they kindly delegated this task to me.  I eagerly got online and searched hotels and rentals.  Came across a charming renovated farmhouse rental on VRBO located in the cozy town of Bundville, VT.  Bundville is located at the base of Stratton Mt. where the festival is held, only 8- 10 min drive to our daily yoga adventures at Wanderlust.

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The Farm house rental is called “Rolling Hills” so appropriately named… as Vermont is full of picturesque vast green rolling hills.  The Rolling Hills farm house was super charming, Kim the owner is also an interior designer- which is apparent when entering the home.  The farm house was filled with natural light and contained a warm, cozy & embracing energy.  Kim did such a wonderful job with updating for modern conveniences, and left the character of the home intact with the original wood floors & spindle staircase.  Furniture was good quality and comfy.  The kitchen was our hub for connection; food, wine and good conversation.  We also used the outdoor hot tub, so nice to soak after practicing yoga all day at the festival.  Just happened that the full moon was upon us, our nights were illuminated by the luminescent moon.  The farm house has 5 bedrooms and 2 baths, which suited us perfectly as a group of 6 and would be great for families.

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Wanderlust Festival – This was our first time to experience and I can say we all really enjoyed the classes, teachers and attendees.  All involved were there with open hearts, sharing their journeys that brought them to Wanderlust and the spiritual practice of yoga.  Wanderlust has done a great job of building a community of like-minded hearts and souls.  Not only was there a plethora of yoga classes available, they also offered “speak easy” classes, amazing local food vendors, and awesome clothing & apparel companies from all over the country.  Our bodies were stretched, our souls were connected, our bellies were happily full and our wardrobes grew. 

Wanderlust- an irrepressible desire to… travel the world, practice yoga, eat locally, live sustainably, be creative and build a community around mindful living.

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In Remembrance

Honoring those who have sacrificed their lives & freedoms for our own.

Today I wanted to share a business that supports and honors our military troops and spouses. R. Riveter American Handmade bags are a business filled with heart and honorable intention.  So what is it that is so special about these American handcrafted bags?

R.Riveter is owned by Military spouses. It provides portable careers to Military spouses who produce their quality handbags and purses. 

File May 27, 5 44 39 PMFile May 27, 5 46 14 PMThere are so many incredible core values behind R. Riveter. From the thoughtfully hand crafted bags to the mission & purpose behind the business. Also creating & activating the entrepreneurial spirit… I could go on and on.  I can honestly feel the pride, heart, and soul that was sewn into my bag.  Every R. Riveter handbag bears the mark of the Military spouse who assembled it + every Military spouse has a unique story of strength + determination to tell.  My bag was crafted by #RR023 – Hilary from Camp Merrill, GA. Thank you Hilary!!! My R. Riveter bag is with me everyday offering protection for my valued items, and makes the most comfy sweatpants look stylish.  There is purity & purpose in these bags that you can’t put a price tag on.  This is a full circle opportunity to offer support for our troop spouses, create job sustainability, cultivate creativity, empower and build community.

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“R. Riveter represents the fortitude of the American spirit- the legacy & strength of those who have come before us”- R. Riveter

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Each R. Riveter bag embarks on a journey across the country before finding herself delivered to your doorstep. Every part and piece that goes into your new American Handmade bag – from the hand-stitched liner to the hand cut leather – is crafted and secured by different Military Spouse Riveters stationed coast to coast.” – R. Riveter

With much gratitude & deep honor… keep shining R. Riveter and continue your journey onward.

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Camping- Bear Canyon Lake, AZ

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I have been a fan of camping ever since I was a little one. Spending time in Mother Nature has always offered grounding space & a place to connect with myself and loved ones.  I believe camping brings us into our full consciousness; by connecting thru conversation around the camp fire, reading a good book under a canopy of trees or journaling in the tent.  These connective spaces offer deep peace, quieting the busy “monkey mind” and can create expansion from within.

“When you step away from the confines of realistic, you become an artist painting your own masterpiece, an explorer charting new territories. You are creating new ways of looking at situations; you innovate at work and at home. It’s impossible to be bored with your life.”  – How We Choose to be Happy, Rick Foster & Greg Hicks

I recently took my first camping trip for 2016 with my hubby, pup and our good friends.  I personally like to camp deep in the forest, away from busy/ tight camp sites. When I was younger, my father would take us camping in remote areas with my family… I really got spoiled with the serenity in Mother Nature.  My hubby and I have some secret spots in the Arizona high country that are tucked away and offer some pretty amazing energy.  Bear Canyon Lake located just east of the Mogollon Rim has some great camping spots you call your own; this is where we just journeyed.  All camping spots are close to the lake, yet large enough to offer privacy. Days are full of hiking, fishing, relaxing & picnicking by the water.  

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Carmel Boutique Inn & Big Sur Hike

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If you love charming & eclectic but also lux amenities… then this post on a charismatic boutique Inn is for you.  Last year I was looking for a Northern CA vacation, I found a wonderful boutique B&B called, the Vagabond’s House Inn located in Carmel, CA.  When I came across The Vagabond’s House Inn website, a picture of a re-modeled room flashed on their homepage site… that was it, I was intrigued and researched deeper.  After reading various great reviews on the Inn, I eagerly decided to book our stay at the Vagabond.

Upon arriving, we meandered our way through the green gardens and followed the brick pathway to the quaint lobby, where we checked in.  We were given our keys and invited to enjoy the complimentary wine and cheese offered that evening.  We gathered our luggage and walked a few short steps to our stairway leading to our cottage (room #10).  We unlocked the dutch door and took in the wonder of our little “humble abode” for the next 3 nights.  I called our room the “tree house”, as room number 10 is perched up in the tree line, it’s a corner unit so there is L ots of windows and bright light filtering in the space.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of champagne chilling with a hand written note from the staff welcoming us to the Vagabond Inn.  I love those thoughtful touches.  I had read reviews online saying how wonderful the bathrooms are with marble heated flooring. I literally took off my boots & socks and touched my bare feet to the warm marble floor… it was heavenly!  The weather is cool in Carmel so the heated bathroom floors are a true luxury to have, also the  wood burning fireplace warmed the space beautifully.  We enjoyed the warm crackling fire in the evenings and also in the mornings staying nice and cozy.

“All I wished to do in the world was to be a vagabond in the air.” – Amelia Earhart

Vagabond inn bathroom 10The BED and BREAKFAST: One of my number 1 items on the list in looking for a place to stay is amazing beds.  I believe vacation is about exploring  but also “relaxation” and there is nothing better than a good nights sleep.  The Vagabond gets an A+ on their bed choice, not to hard or too soft, just right!  The bed linens are a high thread count, they were soft yet crisp. The down pillows and blanket were top-notch!  

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Gift of Aromatherapy, Blessings and Inspiration

soul essance-3I recently received the most purposeful, heartfelt gift full of abundance, protection and cleansing properties.  One of my very dear friends hosted a beautiful dinner party and made these little gift bags for all of the guests to take home.  The bags were filled with fresh herbs from her garden- aromatic cinnamon sticks, Juniper berries and an orange.  Also included were 2 note cards, 1st card described each of the ingredients & the energy contained.  2nd card included instructions.

I awoke the next morning, excited to use the gift and fill my home with the aromatic essence. I put a pot of water on the stove and plopped in the herbs, cinnamon & berries. I zested the orange over the pot; instantly I was invigorated from the fresh citrus zest!  Per the instructions, I peeled the orange and indulged.  Such a beautiful way to start the morning… throughout the day I was embraced with the crisp, earthy aromas dancing around my home and calming my energy.  The love and attention to detail in this gift from the heart will be with me always. Such a simple, caring & thoughtful way to engage friends and family.  

Whether using this idea as a gift, aromatherapy in your own home or traveling, I have found that it creates a priceless journey offering eternal connection. Thank you Amanda for the beautiful gift filled with blessings and inspiration. 

“Abundance is not something we require. Its something we tune into”- Wayne Dyer

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Sedona “hidden gem” inn & beautiful hiking trails

Mimic fireplace

Sedona has a special place in my heart; my soul is immediately connected once I arrive in the majestic Red Rocks.  I have been coming to Sedona for 15 years to offer connection to myself, my hubby and with family and friends.  The energy in Sedona is so special, grounding and uplifting.  I will be sharing lots of places, some of which include beautiful hikes to cozy, modern lodges and hotels, to yummy local restaurants.  For this post, I’d like to share my most recent journey to the healing Red Rocks for a quick but super potent 48 hour soul connecting vacation with my husband and Ellie May, our boxer pup.

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