19 May 2016

Supporting Some Favorite Women

I can't help myself.

I so want to support women out there doing something huge, using their talents, using their voice.

Having this blog does let me indulge in things near to my heart...

So, may I introduce to you (7) incredible women I'd love to support:


Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind

The lovely blogger/writer, Erin Loechner, has written a book! And it's available on Amazon for pre-order. (It will be coming out January 2017.) I loved reading the book description, including this: "Through a series of steep climbs—her husband's brain tumor, bankruptcy, family loss, and public criticism—Erin learns just how much strength it takes to surrender it all, and to veer right into grace."   Oh, I love this woman and her writing is always straight from the heart - I'm sure this book will be a must read. (The cover is beautiful, too. Spot on typography!)


Aubry Bennion, Hello Maypole

Aubry is a make-it-happen kind of woman and we were lucky enough to meet her because of the blog & retreats. She has THE COOLEST BUSINESS selling felt balls in loads of colors. I would be happy draping felt balls pretty much everywhere for holidays and parties. When we return to NY, we'll have to buy all new Christmas decor (because we sold everything before moving). So...I see some felt balls in my future. (Also, her darling instagram feed is full of ideas.)


Zina Bennion, Mom's Stuff

Zina is a powerhouse of creativity, generosity, community, feminism, and spirit. We met Zina in NYC once (because of the blog) and have been honored to stay connected with her ever since. She recently joined her mother, Lee, in a family business called Mom's Stuff, where they sell the most glorious salve you could ever find. It's all hand made, hand poured, all natural, and shared with lots of care. Cool branding, too. For years, Danny has used the salve literally every single day (to style his hair) - and I go nuts over the delicious woodsy, piney, manly scent. I also use it to soften my hands at night. And yes, we brought large jars of it with us to Ecuador. That says a lot. :) Follow Mom's Stuff here.


Kami Larsen, Cleanse Your Life

We met Kami at our retreat and we have loved watching her career online. She is giving her all as a health coach, essential oil consultant, and an aura personality consultant. She LOVES her clients and brings a lot of warmth and care to what she does. Her own family has transformed the way they eat and live (due to food intolerances, allergies, skin, and gut issues)- and she later became certified to be a health coach to teach others how to do the same. She sells an online healing program. She teaches free classes monthly. She sells essential oils. It would be worth it to follow her to see what she's offering next.


Hilary Rushford, Dean Street Society

Hilary is a savvy entrepreneur we know in Brooklyn. We've connected with her at some conferences over the years as she was a blogger. Since then she's created this insanely successful online course called, "Double Your Instagram Following." She has seriously cracked the code with this online entrepreneur world and selling this course was huge for her. Her tips + tricks are helping so many to be financially successful on Instagram with their brands and businesses. She's a delightful soul and a very good teacher. The class is available periodically, so follow her to get in on the next class.


Sara Owens, BK17 Bakery

Sara is a baker we met in Brooklyn as she once sold gorgeous sourdough loaves to our CSA. She just launched a recipe book for her breads called SOURDOUGH, which makes me delighted as I want all her secrets. Here's what she does: "Baking with whole and sprouted grains, making the most of the seasonal harvest, and healing the body through naturally fermented food." Sounds up my alley, I'll tell you that. For this gluten free gal, I've actually had the treat of indulging in her bread (!) Her fermentation process is so intense that the gluten is actually broken down. (Have you heard of this?) She is also one of the kindest, most lovely women you'd ever meet, she coincidentally does sabbaticals in Ecuador, hosts bread making workshops in Brooklyn and nationwide, and shares her love of sourdough with anyone interested. No doubt I'll be hunting down her loaves when we return to B-town.


Laurie White, Great Artist Program

Danny's own sister has the most creative business and Youtube channel. She's a die hard, passion-filled art teacher for kids and she now sells her K-6 volunteer-based art program to PTAs in 150 schools. Get more info. if you'd like the program in your own school. AND...check out her Youtube channel where she teaches free drawing classes. Your kids will LOVE it! Hello summer!!!

 (Artwork by a 4th Grader: Cezanne)

(Artwork by a 1st Grader: Moulin Rouge, Henri Toulouse Lautrec)


Feeling inspired?

See another post here, where I highlighted (7) women.

And, do list in the comments if you or any woman you know is out there making something happen. It's always so, so inspiring to hear!




Don't miss our 2016 events:

3-Day Body+Soul Camp in PA (July 8-10) - $847
1-Day Love Boot Camps in Portland, Mesa, and Austin (July 16, 23, & 30) - $395
7-Day Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador (Oct. 9-15) - $2,750 (book by July 15 for $500 off)

And you must try our Love Mentoring by Skype or phone. 
Buy one session ($150), get one free until June 15th!

In case you're curious- see what people are saying. :) :)

17 May 2016

Cusco Love & One Romantic Hotel

Our stay in Cusco will go down in history for us.

We're talking one of our favorite South American cities with charm, cobblestone, and architecture...

AND, we got to stay in one of the most romantic properties we've ever stayed in - a former 16th century mansion, which is now a 5-star hotel called Inkaterra La CasonaOh my.

One of our dear retreat guests highly recommended that we stay there. And we felt so spoiled to be able to do so, thanks to the generosity of the hotel.

Our room was so, so luxurious. It's the type of place with heated wooden floors throughout, marble showers, the biggest free standing tub I've seen in my life, double sinks fit for a queen, a stone fireplace, handmade toiletries, and a bed that was so huge and comfortable we felt way too fancy for our own good.

(Yes, we came in with our backpacks and felt a little out of place in our hiking pants. Oh jeez. Normally we'd be at some hostel before hitting the Inca Trail. Luckily other hikers were staying there, too.)

"The mini fridge in your room is full of complementary snacks and drinks," said the attentive staff.

"Give us a ring when you'd like us to light the fireplace or run the bath." 


OK, alrighty then. We'll get right on that. :) Just after we check out the original hand-painted mural ceilings.

Next thing we knew, the huge bath tub was filling with bubbles and surrounded by candles. The fireplace was roaring.

We were sipping sparkling water and eating mandarin oranges.

It's an understatement to say I was IN HEAVEN.

Also, this bathtub was just exceptionally large - definitely spacious enough for two. :) And it's especially lovely to indulge in if there's a torrential Andean rainstorm outside. :) We stayed in that tub as long as possible.

And here we have THE DOOR TO OUR ROOM! Just a hand carved door from the 16th century...

Breakfast was fit for a king.

Smoked trout. Eggs Benedict.

An American couple sat nearby, celebrating their 25th Anniversary. They set aside some money and stayed in the most fantastic place they could find. No doubt, this place was unforgettable.

We finally had to break ourselves away to see the town and sights in Cusco.

And then... oh my - during our walking tour, the guide actually took the group to show us none other than the Inkaterra La Casona, where we were staying!! The guide stopped outside and raved about the luxury of this place and said, "This is where all the celebrities stay. Katy Perry just stayed here last week." ha. Danny and I felt a little sheepish as we stood there on the street below our room and quietly connected to our wifi signal.

You would think going to Cusco is all about just getting to Machu Picchu. But ohhh nooo. There is SO much to see in and around this vibrant, ancient city (which feels like you're in Europe.) After all, it's the former capital of the Incan Empire. So the city is SURROUNDED by mind blowing ruins and beautiful indigenous people. We would definitely recommend Cusco as one of the "must sees" we've experienced so far in South America.

And a bonus: there are some fantastic restaurants in Cusco. One of our favorites (which we went to twice) is Green Point. It's vegan! Though even if you're not vegan, trust me you would LOVE the food at this place. Every traveler we met already knew about this place as word gets around. After a particularly soaking rain storm in which we were drenched to the bone, I was especially delighted to tuck inside their cozy, warm place and drink some hot cocoa (with homemade almond milk! And no sugar. Just how I like it.)

And...Cusco's ruins. I mean, what on earth? I'm not even sure how you MOVE stones that size, let alone form them into a giant lightening pattern.

Cusco, we loved you. Though be warned, those darling little llamas might poo on you.

OK friends, how do you feel about staying in nice hotels? Is it worth the money to you? Would you rather stay someplace cheap and use your money to explore even more? 

For me: I love the idea of staying some place nice from time to time, just for the experience of truly indulging, relaxing, and spending time at the hotel. Sometimes I'd even choose more time in the hotel vs. being out and about every possible second. Though I'm also okay staying in less expensive places as well - especially during long trips with lots of stops. We've definitely stayed in our fair share of hostels. Though I suppose they're often less fun to write about. :) 

P.S. See our Machu Picchu tips here. And Lima, too.

15 May 2016

Happy Summer Mentoring: 2-for-1

To celebrate summer, we thought we'd host a summer Love Mentoring special for ONE MONTH - ending June 15th!

Buy one session, get a second session FREE. 

Now is your chance to see what all the fuss is about... people have been LOVING the experience. We try to make it as comfortable, relatable, loving, applicable, and meaningful as possible. We don't belief in fluff! 

Read what people are saying & book your own session HERE.

With Love,

Mara + Danny

And don't miss our 2016 events:

3-Day Body+Soul Camp in PA (July 8-10) - $847
1-Day Love Boot Camps in Portland, Mesa, and Austin (July 16, 23, & 30) - $395
7-Day Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador (Oct. 9-15) - $2,750 (book by July 15 for $500 off)

(image by Lauren Conrad)

13 May 2016

What It Feels Like From The Other Side

I've noticed a few things have changed since I went public about my transition with Mormonism - and I thought it would be an interesting topic. I hope so!

(Added: I know that others may feel the exact opposite of me on these things. And I do respect that completely. I once felt the opposite as well. I'm really just happy for anyone who feels power from their chosen path!)

-I have felt more connected than ever with people outside of the church.
I hate to even say this out loud, but I often felt like an "other" as a Mormon. It's common in the culture to see other religions as not having the full truth. So you can imagine that can lead to a feeling of separation for many reasons - even if it's only because you fear others feel awkward around you because your own beliefs suggest superiority. Not sure if anyone else has experienced this. Anyway, that feeling of awkward separation is gone for me. It's GONE! It feels very freeing! I feel more connected to humanity more than ever; more equal with everyone around me. (I still feel very connected to Mormons, too, of course. I guess the gates just feel more open in every direction.)

-I feel freer in my body.
Most faithful Mormons wear a set of white clothing underneath their regular clothing (it's a white top with short sleeves and bottoms that go to the knee). Without them, I feel lighter, as you can imagine. I feel more in tune with my body, with my feminine self, with my womanhood, with my own skin. This is what I feel now: I am enough. Me - and my body - and my spirit are enough for spiritual connection, even without the clothing. Also, some added bonuses: I feel prettier and more feminine when I get ready for bed with my husband. I don't have to worry about rashes - as for years I had rashes, which one astute doctor told me was due to so many tight layers. Packing for long trips requires much less clothing! Less laundry, too. And it's been delightful wearing some feminine under things. :) I have yet to shop for a black tie dress, but I can tell you already it's going to be a whole new world. Less tears at Bloomingdales, too. (Note: to those who wear garments and find it sacred - I know why you do and know that I do honor that part of your life. I do feel symbols can be beautiful.)

-My voice feels stronger and freer
I feel I can speak my truth according to my own censorship, not that of another. I had times in the church when my voice felt silenced. Or when I knew my words would not be welcomed as they weren't a part of the program. So now, I just feel free. I can support whom I want. I can share my opinions boldly. I can speak out against something if I desire. No other party has authority over me and my thoughts or my words. There is not the pressure to be found "worthy" by an outside party.

-I feel empowered on my spiritual path.
I feel limitless in my seeking of truth. I can explore anything - dive in deep - try something different. It's like the gates are open to many ideas, experiences, and philosophies. I want to keep exploring.

-I feel more connected to charitable efforts of my own choosing.
I grew up being taught to give 10% of my entire income to the church - and that tradition continued in my adult life until recently. I do love the tradition of giving - and it was beautiful to have that reminder to share what I have. Though it also came with drawbacks. For example, I often wouldn't give to outside needs because "I already gave 10% to the church." Anyway, it actually feels wonderful to go out and choose causes that I personally feel aligned with - and to be a part of the causes myself, if possible, with not only money, but time and talents.

-I have encountered a few who are sad for me (or Danny)
I know what that fear is like. I know that loss. I know that you might pray for me or Danny - so that I might come back to the key Mormon beliefs. If this helps at all - know that this path is beautiful to both of us. People are always evolving. We accept that and embrace the evolving spiritual path and don't fear it, but welcome it.

I share all of this with love - with great love for my experiences as a Mormon. Wouldn't change a thing. So grateful for it all - for every part of this beautiful experience called life.

Love always,


P.S. In these photos I was trying to find an outfit for a photo shoot (for our new site!) - and...the skirt happened to be shorter than I would have been able to wear with the Mormon undergarments. It was actually the first time I'd been shopping without the garments. You can see my face as we realized this, and I said, "I'm definitely okay with it" and Danny was, too, and we smiled and knew that all was well.

As always, we love hearing your thoughts!  XOXO

And don't miss our 2016 events:

3-Day Body+Soul Camp in PA (July 8-10) - $847
1-Day Love Boot Camps in Portland, Mesa, and Austin (July 16, 23, & 30) - $395
7-Day Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador (Oct. 9-15) - $2,750 (book by July 15 for $500 off)

Note: the Ecuador event is now verbally oversold - meaning more than 12 people have verbally confirmed they are coming. So don't delay if you'd love to secure a spot! Bookings are first come, first served.

09 May 2016

7 Things On My Spring Wish List

-Hobes Shoes...

Because they look so dang comfortable- "supremely comfortable", says the company. And I love the idea of a handmade shoe. And they also have some booties with a shearling lining, which I'm determined will be my new house shoe (since my puppies destroyed my other house shoes- oye.). See: Hobes Shoes (of AU).


-Kortni Jeane Bathing Suits...

Because the mixed matched options are absolutely darling - and they have many options for different body types. And it's time to clear out some very old bathing suits that I have had around for years + I love all the possibilities they have with patterns and colors...and ruffles. (Their instagram feed is full of inspiration! And they're launching a new line early this week.) See the website: Kortni Jeane.


-Rose Otto Essential Oil...
Because I've been obsessed with the scent of rose ever since I worked across from Barney's and discovered L'Artisan Parfumeur. Though essential oils are a non-toxic alternative. I saw this rose wholesale company recommended, Alteya Organics. It's a bit cheaper to buy straight from the rose farm itself. (You can also buy this brand on Amazon.)


-When Breath Becomes Air...
Because this has been one of the most recommended books of all time. And we have a new Sunday tradition to sit by the fire and read. And, this book attempts to answer the question: What makes a life worth living? Buy on Amazon. (I have this package already waiting for me in the States!)


-Fruit Stand...
Because I need a new one for NYC and this simple, vertical design (from Amazon) will be good for our small kitchen. I can't wait to return to my NY CSA with all the goodies, including heirloom tomatoes, kirby cucumbers, peaches, plums, blueberries, and raspberries (these are some foods that we can't get or aren't quite the same here in Ecuador.)


-Window Boxes...
Because I have adored having our little window boxes in Brooklyn...though they need to be replaced as the teak eventually rotted and didn't hold up too well. And, of course, I'm already dreaming of next spring as we should be in Brooklyn, shopping for new blooms and skipping through the city with the rest of New York. This planter is from Crate & Barrel.


-Epsom Salt...
Because I'm convinced that soaking in a hot bath every night leads to the softest skin ever, and the most dreamy night's sleep. And soaking in several cups of mineral rich Epsom Salt makes it so nourishing to the body as well. Tim Ferriss recommends this epsom salt and buys it in bulk from Amazon. I don't have a proper bath right now in Ecuador, but I'll be buying this immediately upon our return.


Happy Spring, everyone!!! I can't believe summer is almost here...

Hope to see you at our:

3-Day Body+Soul Camp in PA (July 8-10) - $847
1-Day Love Boot Camps in Portland, Mesa, and Austin (July 16, 23, & 30) - $395
7-Day Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador (Oct. 9-15) - $2,750 (book by July 15 for $500 off)
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