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Retreat at the Ranch - Day 1

It has officially been a week since the Retreat at the Ranch. It was such an incredible experience, I still find myself thinking about it several times throughout the day. I feel so lucky to have been able to attend and I gained SO much from the experience. 

This was unlike anything I've ever done before, but when I saw Jennifer post about it, I felt a very strong pull in my gut that I needed to attend. Since January, I decided this was my year to find myself again after becoming a mother. What makes me happy? What are my dreams? How can I be the best version of myself for my family? I wanted to focus on my health, happiness, and create a life that matches my dreams. I wanted my boys to grow up with a happy Mom because I know the impact that will have on their childhood. I've been working on that by reading self improvement books constantly, listening to podcasts, focusing on my health and staying active, and doing what fills my cup. And diving back into blogging because I have felt like it was what I was meant to be doing even all these years since I stopped. I knew that this retreat was the catapult I needed to overcome the fears holding me back and really lean into my desire to blog and eventually become a full time creator. 

Those three days we jam packed full of inspiration and tangible take aways that I could implement into my own life to create this business. And the best part was this content was all beautifully woven into the theme of motherhood. It all went back to the focus on family and our children and WHY we're working so hard. My head is spinning with ideas and I'm trying to continue to take notes and remember everything I learned so I can use it to take action towards my goals. I am no longer going to make myself small or let my fear of what people will say about me hold me back. 

I'm going to try my best to recap the retreat in a few posts, I figured breaking it up by day would make it easier to digest. So let's get started with the first day. 

I flew into New Orleans on Sunday evening so that I could arrive in time for check in at the retreat on Monday afternoon. This allowed me a little time to explore the town of Covington before heading to Za Ranch. I stayed at The Southern Hotel in Covington and arrived late to check in. There was just enough time to grab a quick bite in the bar and have a glass of wine after my travel day. I think this may have been the best thing I ate on my trip! It was a Mojo pork grilled cheese but it had zucchini and a curry dipping sauce. It was amazing! I enjoyed my wine and sandwich in the cute hotel bar before heading up to my room to relax before bed. 

In the morning, I was excited to explore the town of Covington a bit before heading up to the Retreat. If you know me, you know that I LOVE to find cute coffee shops and cafe's when I travel. The hotel provided a list and I looked them up to see what they were like, I decided on Cured on Columbia and it was perfect! I enjoyed an amazing lox toast and cappuccino for breakfast. Then I walked around downtown and went into the various boutiques. It was such a cute little town that actually reminded me of home. 

Soon it was time to check out of the hotel and head up to the Retreat. Upon arrival it was just as beautiful as I imagined. The sprawling grounds were so peaceful, perfect for a retreat. I was one of the first to arrive so I got settled in my room in the guest house. I couldn't believe all the amazing gifts that Jennifer had left for us in our rooms! It was so fun to look through everything and wait for the other women to arrive. 

Next, it was time to head over to the main house for the program to begin. Everything was set up so beautifully, and really set the tone for the next few days. We began with quick introductions from everyone, then a guided meditation from Darnell Gouzy. Darnell was so special, she had the most calming and almost magical presence. I loved her meditation and felt so lucky that she was at the retreat. After our meditation, when she finally got us 'back' it was time to move on to journaling with Jennifer. I was so impressed with her. I've followed Haute Off The Rack since the beginning when I still blogged originally, and I've always loved her. But it was so nice to get to know her on more of a personal level and see first hand how lovely she is. She is clearly very business savvy and successful, but she is also wise and has such a great perspective on life and I loved learning from her. Personalized journals were donated from Graphic Image and Jennifer had placed photos inside them that we sent ahead of time from various stages of life. She then gave us journal prompts to set the tone for the next few days. When I tell you there wasn't a dry eye in the room I mean it! It was a very meaningful and moving journaling session and I was so impressed by Jennifer and how she planned it. The message that gratitude is our super power really came through from the session. 

After journaling we took a break outside for flower arranging. This is something that I love doing so I was excited. They had a variety of flowers for us set out and our own vase to make arrangements that would be the centerpiece for our dinner that evening. It was so relaxing and fun to be outside with the other women chatting and getting our creative juices flowing. 

After we finished our flower arrangements we had a tour of the Ranch property from the owner Gina. Gina was so lovely and generous hosting us in her home, and it was fun to hear their plans for Za Ranch. The barn they're building will be such a wonderful Venue and all the animals were so cute. My favorite was looking out on the property behind the house seeing the chickens running around freely and the mini cows out in their pasture. 

We had a little down time before the Welcome dinner for VIP attendees and speakers began. The girls in the guest house and I relaxed a bit and chatted before getting ready for dinner. The setting for dinner was so beautiful. We had Italian from a local caterer that was delicious, and sat around drinking rose and visiting. The highlight was the fire pit and s'mores later in the evening. There was an impromptu mastermind and Logan and Jennifer gave such great advise for everyone with their business. It was so inspiring to be around women who understood both the demands of motherhood, as well as the desire to be creative and have a business that is both fulfilling for yourself but also contributes to the family. I was able to chat with Shelby that evening who was a speaker Day 2 and she blew me away. (I'm telling you she is the next Jenna Kutcher or Rachael Hollis). Some of my key take aways from the retreat were during our chat. She got me thinking about the legacy I'm leaving and how I can show up for myself and inspire my kids. 

As you can see, we packed a lot into the retreat! This was just the first day! I'll be back with a recap of Day 2, I hope you'll stick around! 

Photos at Za Ranch by the lovely Aperture Photos Co.

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