Creating Space for Nourishment at Wild Lavender Spa

Creating Space for Nourishment at Wild Lavender Spa

Tucked away from the busy Market Square on the side street Union Ave is Wild Lavender Spa.

You'll often find the shop open but the overhead lights off, a calm mood settling in the space. Sage green walls with original floor tile exposed, wood furniture and a concise color palette envelope you in that sense of calmness. The first time I walked by, it was evening and the shop was closed. I could see through the large picture window that this place was special - it wasn't kitsch, contrived, or adhering to a generic trend. Standing outside, I could tell this place was different.

Read more from my experience at Wild Lavender Spa, including my first facial (ever) and sitting down to chat with the young founder, Hannah Easterly. 

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Asheville, NC: The Curated City

Asheville, NC: The Curated City

A trip to Asheville this time last year completely changed my life. The mountain air, the yoga retreat, the city itself; I came home and jumped into the unknown that brought me all the way to where I am today. Since that time, I've been drawn back to explore with an urgency that brings it up in conversation more often than I care to admit. On Friday, I tagged along with my friend Sophia's already-planned Asheville. In the seven hours we had, this is where we went. 

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Experiments in Time (and Self) Management

Experiments in Time (and Self) Management

In my own perceived self-importance, I thought, "How superficial can you be, to just get high checking things off and never be done with anything?" I never claimed this was a nice thought! 

Since I started using my Ink + Volt to-do list daily, I've seen a change in that. Without a "job" with a set schedule of clock in-clock out, how many hours I spend working each day is essentially up to me - which can be a positive or detrimental fact. I found that laying out what I needed to (and expected myself to) do each day was helpful creating my days and sharing expectations with others. These line items were typically informed by project plans (bus, business, education), commitments (chores, appointments, self-care), and begrudgingly: stuff that just popped up and seemed urgent. 

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What the Woods Have Given Me

What the Woods Have Given Me
"Doing nothing out here is better than doing anything in the city."

I can't believe I was the person to say that. While the city has always pulled me, with its seemingly endless opportunities, a constant exposure to newness, and the buzz of fellow humans living their lives, the quietness of the woods has stolen my heart. Even up to the day we left for a weekend in the Obed with friends visiting from St Pete, I was reluctant to enjoy myself out in nature, climbing and hiking. Danger, uncertainty, weather, gear, accessibility, so many thoughts were trying to keep me from enjoying the pure beauty of this planet. I am not nearly as strong as nature; she knocked me down and set me straight. 

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Brazil on Film: 1 Year Later, Part 1/2

Brazil on Film: 1 Year Later, Part 1/2

South America hadn't been on my 'list'. That bucket list I write down over and over, things to do, places to go, what to try, who to be. South America just didn't make that list. Scary, dangerous, language barrier, climate, whatever the news was feeding me at the time. It wasn't on my list, but the opportunity arose and I took it. 

I'm grateful I did.

This post isn't about the trip. It isn't a travel guide; it certainly isn't about the Olympics, which was happening at the time and which I did attend; it isn't about food or neighborhoods or anything like that. It isn't even about people, truly, though the trip (and Rio by nature) was full of them, touching my life and changing my perspective. 

It's about 6 rolls of film that sat on my shelf for a year.

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#FollowFriday: Five Authentic Lifestyle-Livers to Follow on Instagram

#FollowFriday: Five Authentic Lifestyle-Livers to Follow on Instagram

Each week, I share a small themed collection of people curating accounts that inspire me. I keep my follow count low so I can be sure I'm getting to see each person I follow on a regular basis. 

This week, I'm highlighting five ladies whose accounts may not look as "branded" as some of the highly followed 'lifestyle' accounts, but whose eye for beauty in the ordinary sets them apart from the masses.

Please check out and enjoy these five authentic lifestyle portrayals on Instagram. 

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Morning Tea Rituals

Morning Tea Rituals

Wake up, breathe deep, prepare tea. 

Start with what type of tea to start your day. You can choose caffeine to get started straight away or start lighter with a white, oolong, or herbal to ease in. If none of those are your cup of tea, hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice is the Ayurvedic morning tonic for the ages. 

My favorite morning tea: Dan Cong Honey Orchid

It needn't be perfect, simply warm.

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Coming Out of Resignation

Coming Out of Resignation

I've been hiding behind "busy", "not feeling well", and "wanting some time alone."

Since June, I've resigned from the professional position I worked up to for three years, became a full-time photographer, sold my house, bought a school bus, packed everything Alhen and I owned into that bus, and moved to Tennessee. I'm writing from my temporary room in Alhen's mother's log cabin in the woods, staring out at the trees, surrounded by beauty and peace. 

I have been content to simply hide away here, quiet as a mouse, while we built our school bus and started new lives. 

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Skoolie Living: We Made it to Tennessee!

Our 1989 Blue Bird All-American made the trip like a champ

Last week, we packed everything we owned from our 800 square foot house into a 260 square foot interior bus space, with two three pet crates, a mattress, and even though space for a camping chair/passenger seat. 

TRIP DETAILS:

  • 700 miles
  • 18.5 hours (with multiple stops + a nap)
  • Approximately 18 miles per gallon (!!)
  • 4 pets, 2 people
  • Absolutely zero issues on the drive

Check out the video below, compiled from the @stpeteskoolie Instagram Story, to see the full journey from St Petersburg, FL to Oak Ridge, TN. 

Extraordinary Dreams Require Extraordinary Planning

Extraordinary Dreams Require Extraordinary Planning

It's no secret that I'm a proponent of getting out of my brain and into some realm of reality: paper, computer, calendar, another person;

anything to get my thoughts one step closer to actualization.

It can get exhausting, the extensive gathering of information about what it is I hope to accomplish, what's already been done, who I might connect with, how much time I have, and so many more considerations. I've found it difficult to keep a planning "routine" as my life lacks structure and I am full of excuses. (Really, just the latter)

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Skoolie Progress Report: #1

Skoolie Progress Report: #1

On June 27, we brought what we're intermittently calling the St Pete Skoolie home to the 'burg, where it sits parked in front of my favorite mural by the Ink Werks team.

However, you can't quite see the mural because our bus is ENORMOUS. 

Interior measurements show approximately 7.5 ft x 35 ft (up to the engine hull + driver's seat) at about 6'1 interior height. This equates to about 260 square feet of usable interior space.

Woah. 

Google 250 square foot apartment and people a doing a LOT with spaces this size. Though we don't have the option of a loft, our floor space holds a lot of opportunities. 

 

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We Bought a Bus!

We Bought a Bus!

1989 Bluebird All-American

15-Rows - 40 ft - Flat Front

8.3L Cummins Turbodiesel

Allison MT643 4-Speed Automatic Transmission

99k Miles - 37k Hours - former church bus

We searched for six months, called many craigslist ads and auction houses in multiple states, visited buses, talked to numerous school bus and skoolie owners, and ultimately stumbled upon this beauty by happenstance in our own backyard. Taking as much time as we did allowed us to learn so much about what to look for in a school bus, and to determine what we wanted for ourselves.

We didn’t plan on a 40-foot land yacht. 

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What My Slow Life Looks Like

What My Slow Life Looks Like

Wake up between 6:15 - 7:15 am, depending on what time I went to bed the night before and what commitments I have that day. If the bed is empty, make it. If not, move quietly through the house until my other half stirs. Brush teeth, wash face, and pull my hair back gently will clips or a headband to keep it stable throughout the morning. If necessary, I run a bit of Aveda's Smooth Infusion through my dry curls, extending their shelf life a few hours before the humidity hits.

I'm greeted by all the fur paws, Gallow - Hobo - Princess Tiger Lily - Mini Cooper, all "starving" in their own opinion but content to start their morning outside. 

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5 Slow & Simple Living Accounts to Follow on Instagram Today

5 Slow & Simple Living Accounts to Follow on Instagram Today

I will be the first to admit: I follow a sum total of 5 - 7 friends on Instagram, out of my 200+ follows. I do that simply because I see all of these folks' posts on Facebook and prefer to save my Instagram as a place of artistry, curation, and inspiration. 

These five slow living accounts are my favorites, each for their own reasons.

Some have under 1000 followers while others are popular and run widely-read blogs. I'm not concerned with their audience, more how they choose to share their lives. Each of them inspire me and hopefully, will inspire you too.

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Embracing the Cultural Rennaissance in The New Paris by Lindsey Tramuta

Embracing the Cultural Rennaissance in The New Paris by Lindsey Tramuta

As a prominent food and travel journalist, Lindsey's perspectives on the named neo bistro evolution of dining in Paris and her commentary on subsequent industries: Desserts, Coffee, Cocktails; are without a need of introduction. However, the back third of the book, dedicated to: Shopping, Crafts, and her personal favorites left me hovering dangerously over a one-way ticket on Kayak.

Makers and business owners of all ages, ethnicities, and perspectives of those every in-between color the deep depths of the new Parisian class. These individualists have so much passion, a sense of daring (as opening a business in Paris isn't the easiest of endeavors), and dedication to celebrating their cultural roots down to the brand and packaging of their products and services. 

Lindsey is an American with a decade of Parisian living under her belt, with seemingly no intent to turn back. Speaking with her briefly at her signing in New York City last month, she detailed how welcoming and generous the featured individuals were with their stories, and further debunked the widely-believed American rumor that this were an unkind community. On the contrary, The New Paris illustrates a new wave of welcoming, creative, and collaborative people. 

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What is Slow Living?

What is Slow Living?

I can't remember when I first heard of "slow living", but I'm sure I wasn't interested back then. I was addicted to the "fast life". I was judging my self-worth based on engagement and going out of the my way to create moments for my externally-derived expectations that weren't what I truly wanted for my life. It wasn't until I began to notice my health suffering that I truly took an interest in slow living.

No matter how healthy I ate, how active I was, or how much I accomplished, stress was derailing my potential and too frequently putting me on the bench.

It's not my intent to get rid of my clocks or to quit my social life, but doing a deep dive into slow living has caused a reevaluation of my priorities. 

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NYC Weekend Getaway: Where to go, What to eat, How to slow down

NYC Weekend Getaway: Where to go, What to eat, How to slow down

Taking it slow in New York City: 

  • Walk when you want to, otherwise - take the metro
  • Choose meals at local restaurants
  • Drink locally roasted coffee
  • Visit markets and talk to makers and vendors about their wares
  • Keep your head up and eyes keen for murals
  • Shop at local stores - this may be the best place in the world to do so
  • Start in Central Park

In this post, I detail how I made the most of a slow weekend in NYC, sharing my favorite places and some photos along the way.

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That One Time I Played With a Lamborghini

That One Time I Played With a Lamborghini

Visiting my dear friend Mari at her home in northern New Jersey inevitably resulted in a little playtime with her and her husband's Lamborghini Gallardo. We took it for a spin around the neighborhood while her husband followed us with his Phantom drone. Then, I packed my bags into it; they surprisingly fit! And we went to the train station, turning many heads along our leisurely Sunday drive. 

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From Stone Barns to the Cement Jungle

From Stone Barns to the Cement Jungle

Arriving at Stone Barns, the clouds looming overhead threatened to burst. We debated umbrellas, decided on only one and layered up against the wind. The tour was set for 90 minutes, the longest and most in-depth they offered, and would cover the entire grounds.

It promptly began to pour.

Our group started closer to ten, and without spoiling the ending for you, we finished with four. Our fearless leader Rene, the Director of Education, wore a rain jacket, no gloves, and braced herself to take the brunt of the storm to her front while we huddled with our backs to the wind. Her voice never wavered and her smile never diminished. I couldn't help but shiver, being a lowly Floridian so far out of her element wearing another man's boots and already soaked in her skinny jeans to the bone. Mari leans over to me,

Just keep telling yourself, mind over matter. 
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From NYC to The New Paris

From NYC to The New Paris

After I booked my trip to NYC, Lindsey posted a graphic to her superb Instagram: @lostincheeseland the dates of her upcoming book signings. One happened to be at the famed Rizzoli Bookstore the weekend I'd be in NYC! Mari, being an even more avid literary-lover than myself, agreed to accompany me (and happened to be a great paparazzi for the whole event!). 

Lindsey was spectacular. 

The event was moderated by Esquire Food & Wine Editor Jeff Gordinier and the main discussion topics of the night were on the first section of the book, the new and developing food scene in Paris. Lindsey talks about how young entrepreneurs, fresh chefs, and individuals with mixed backgrounds are remixing the Parisian food scene, which had devolved to some degree in the past couple decades. 

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