09 February 2016

U.S. Tour = A Dream Come True

I've always wanted to visit more places in the U.S. I mean, most of my adult years I've been stuck behind a desk or using vacation days to see family. (New Yorker problems :)

So, doing these events around the country has been a dream come true: I get to host events & meet so many of you + the see more gems in the U.S. along the way, including my hometown. It feels too good to be true at the moment!

Here's some side stuff we have cooking this year during our U.S. Tour, in between our retreats...

(And please tell me in the comments if you have any suggestions for any of the cities!!)

BROOKLYN

-Broadway. We decided to go see The Book of Mormon Musical! Ha. (We tried once to get in on the lottery but didn't make it.) Mormonism is such a huge part of our history obviously, so we thought it would be interesting to see this. A lot of Mormon friends have seen it and they say it's great (albeit quite vulgar, which just comes with the territory.) Also, Hamilton is just too dang pricey right now! We'll have to wait on that one.


-Fashion Stylist. We'll be meeting with my favorite stylist in NYC, Marina Dobreva, as we will be doing some photo shoots for our new website (nearly ALL my clothes are in storage! yikers.) She's amazing and I can't wait to work with her again. Remember the Tips From a J.Crew Stylist that I posted?


-Haircut. I'll be getting a haircut at Sara June, which I need so badly! It will be 8 months by then (#expatlife). This was my last haircut there. (Also: fun note - the owner, Sara, came to one of our Ecuador retreats!!! She is absolutely the coolest.)


-Friends/Family. We're excited to see my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, two nieces and loads of dear friends. We also look forward to attending the Mormon church in Brooklyn to see so many people we love there. (Here's a pic of my sister and her 3 children. I once met up with them in the Brooklyn Public Library and snapped this photo after I spotted them. :)



LAS VEGAS:

-Celine Dion. Um, I'm thinking of satisfying my 13-year old heart and going to see Celine Dion. Has anyone been to her show at Caesar's Palace? She's such a classic that I bet the show is amazing. (Also, I was so sad to hear that her husband and brother both passed away recently within days. :( I can't imagine.)

-Grand Canyon. We plan to go to the Grand Canyon after the retreat in Vegas! It's only a few hours away. If we can get a permit to hike to Havasupai Falls, we'll do that, too, though we haven't had any luck yet. The reservation line has been busy for DAYS!



SALT LAKE CITY:

-Zion National Park & Bryce Canyon. In between our retreats in the Southwest, we're going to spend a couple of nights in this stunning area of the world. I can't wait - as I haven't been there before. I'm going to pretend I'm in a Pinterest photo or in a car commercial. :)


-Lone Star Mexican Food. This is a taco shop we love to visit with our awesome nephews when we're in town. Fish Tacos, PLEASE and THANK YOU!! Add to that some nephew chats about life and dating. :) (It should be known that Ecuador does not have Mexican food and we crave it daily.)


-Photo Shoot. We have a photo shoot (for our new website) scheduled in Salt Lake with our creative team. Time to work it. (Big time.) It's been awhile. (I actually put on make-up recently for the first time in what feels like a year. I needed to know that I could still clean up ok. haha. I passed the test. With a good haircut, I think I can pull this off. Fingers crossed.) P.S. YES. WE HAVE A CREATIVE TEAM HELPING US NOW!! More on that to come. But big things are cooking. Because this blog has more up it's sleeve.


PENNSYLVANIA:

-Gettysburg. Our Body+Soul Camp in PA is VERY close to Gettysburg. So we decided we really should go for a visit! My history buff husband will undoubtedly be a great travel companion.



PORTLAND:

-Family. My sister, bro-in-law and three nieces live in Portland. Though I actually haven't spent much time there. I'm so excited to get to know the city a bit more and also see family!

-Japanese Gardens. I hear these are stunning!



PHOENIX:

-Family Camp-Out. For years, my family in AZ has gotten together for a huge family camp-out. This will be the first time I can actually go! Aunts & Uncles & Cousins, here I come!


-Reader Recommendations:  Since I feel quite out of the loop with AZ gems, I'm definitely going to try to hit up some of the places you readers had recommended to me years ago (you all were soo sweet to send these in!):

Tiffany Bolton: Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert! We also love Blue Wasabi for sushi. 
Anne: Crackers and Co. (on Greenfield and Brown) is a favorite for breakfast and lunch. 
Jenny D.: A place I always have to hit for lunch or dinner when I visit is Pita Jungle.

Nursemelanie: Hike Camelback. Also, Chino Bandido in Chandler is delicious. 
Vanessa: Some of my favorites in Phoenix are La Grande Orange (the store part is adorable) and Carolina's Mexican Food if you're craving a burrito (the holiest a hole-in-the-wall can get, don't be scared). 
iheartaz: Since you like Mexican food, I think you would really like Blue Adobe Grille on Country Club between University and Main. Or Papaya Thai at Lindsey and University - it's more hole in the wall ish, but has some of the best mango curry in town.

AUSTIN:

-Barton Springs Pool. This looks so amazing! It's a 1,000 foot long spring fed natural pool. I'm hoping we can fit in a visit while we're there.


-The Bats at Congress Bridge. Um, apparently there's a colony of 1.5 million bats that come out at dusk every summer evening?! I really want to see this!


I really can't believe this post. We are going to be soooo busy. But we pulled it off once (last year) and I think we can do it again. We're so grateful for the opportunity. Luckily, we'll be powered by Mexican food every step of the way.

----

I so hope we'll get to meet you on this Tour. I can't believe that our first 3 events are around the corner in MARCH!! Early bird pricing for Brooklyn, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake ends FEBRUARY 15! Please write us if you have ANY questions, financial aid questions, etc.

As always, we want any interaction with us to be win, win. So if you came to an event and didn't feel it was totally worth it, we would be happy to refund your money. That's how much we believe in these events - that's how much confidence we have in this message - that's how much we want to help you transform your life and your relationship.

Past attendees tell us AGAIN and AGAIN that this is one of the BEST things they've ever done. See loads of testimonials and gratitude HERE.

REGISTER HERE FOR OUR 1-DAY LOVE BOOT CAMP and 3 & 7 DAY BODY+SOUL CAMPS.




30 January 2016

2016 Retreat Registration is Now OPEN!

Hello to all  -

We just launched registration for ALL our 2016 events for this Spring & Summer!! And as you can see, we added a few surprises. (Head over to our updated event page HERE to see updated cities, restructured prices, and details). Our hearts are huge as we think of those of you who have said you'd love to come to a future retreat. Thank you! We are total geeks about talking about love and happiness, so we're glad that you want to talk about it, too.

I feel giddy looking at this line-up of cities. Can you tell we're going for it?! Our theme is: GO BIG OR GO HOME. Ha. It's the last run of events during this sabbatical, so we're going to give it all we've got. We hope so much that one of these dates & locations will work for you.


Love Retreat


Love Retreat


A New Format...

Thank you for your feedback earlier! We took your words to heart and developed a 1-DAY event in the U.S. We're calling them LOVE BOOT CAMPS as the day will be chock-full of classes and learning experiences. You will absolutely walk away with new tools that you can put into practice right away, whether you are married or single. Retreat alumni continue to report transformed relationships and greater peace in the face of major, major challenges in life.

For the first time:

For the first time in the U.S., we've also developed a 3-Day Body+Soul Camp and it will take place in Pennsylvania! You can't imagine how grateful we are to host this one. Two women who read the blog have volunteered their time, services, AND THEIR FARM in Pennsylvania for this event! We'll be on a gorgeous 140-acre property, 90 minutes from Washington D.C./Baltimore. In addition to our Love Classes, the event will include meditation, yoga, reflexology, reiki, meals by a professional vegan chef, abundant summer fruits and vegetables from local organic/natural farms, walks on the farm with Danny & Mara (AND A GOAT, who loves to go on walks with people! :) It will be a true experience for the body & soul. So gather some girl friends or boy friends or your spouses/partners - and let's have a summer experience of a lifetime. And yes, we will have a bon fire. And we will be eating S'mores with homemade marshmallows!!

Returning due to extremely positive outcomes...

Of course, our 7-Day Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador remains THE TOP experience we offer, with a full 7-days of healing/cleansing food and healing experiences. So we can't not host another event while we are still in Ecuador. Not to mention, our spiritual healer is there leading yoga, meditation, and healing experiences. She is one of my favorite spiritual healers I've met and it's an honor to have her work with you as you start on a new path to healing. We have continued to host these 7-Day retreats in Ecuador because they are a REFUGE and a RESET and they have had the most powerful life changing, transformative affects on so many lives. SEE LOADS OF TESTIMONIALS HERE.

Early Bird Discounts:

We have added early bird pricing to each event. Go take a look. We hope this will help more people to come. 

Connection & Growth:

I'm excited to see what unfolds. And mostly I'm excited to meet more of you and teach you tools that can lead to more wholeness and self-worth, happier marriages & relationships, and therefore more energy for compassion and love in this world.

Going to an event like this is stepping into the arena. It's doing something outside of the norm. It's being seen and heard. It's celebrating connection with a community you align with. It's declaring that you are ready to try new things. Thank you for being in the arena with us. It is the greatest honor of our lives to be a part of this. We will do everything we can to make it worth your time!

All our love,

Mara & Danny

P.S. Would you consider sharing our EVENT PAGE on blogs and social media, or inviting a few friends to attend with you? We need help in spreading the word. It's our dream to bring our message to more people far and wide. Thank you! XOXO

26 January 2016

5 of Our Favorite Desserts (Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Hello to you -

The one who says, "I love to eat healthy, but I could never give up my desserts."

Ha.

I have good news for you.

You can have your cake and eat it too.

Here are some DELICIOUS desserts we've found. They're all made of whole ingredients - with no white sugar crack, no gluten, and no dairy. These recipes are SOOOO DANG GOOOOD that we do not even miss regular desserts and chocolate bars AT ALL.

Great side benefits: Flatter bellies (due to no bloating), no sugar addictions, no headaches, no sickness, no hormones going through the roof, no guilt or shame, no acne, no fatigue, no need for naps, no added inflammation, and very happy brains.

So have at it....here are 5 of our very top favorites:

25 January 2016

In The Arena


You all know that I'm a huge fan of Brené Brown. I first heard of her sometime after my divorce. Life was actually incredible during that time (which shocked even me) as I had been putting into practice all the stuff I talk about on the blog for a few years. And I was eating up anything that could take me further down this path. My friend sent me the Ted Talk by Brené and my friend said...ohhhh...you'll LOVE this! Sure enough, I sat in my car after getting a killer parking spot in Brooklyn and listened to the whole thing in awe. I had been living many of the things she was talking about and had been trying to explain it to people. So it was amazing to hear Brené articulate it in her own very brilliant and relatable way.

So - "In The Arena" - Brené's phrase for being vulnerable; for showing up and being seen.

When have YOU been in the arena in your life??

I'll tell you mine...
  • I was in the arena as a single, divorced, infertile woman, one who could have been broken to pieces over my life. But instead I decided to show up and thrive. And I held my head high on every date I went on, I held my head high in a very family centric church culture. 
  • I was in the arena as I tried to live a spiritual life that was a little different than those around me at church. I went to church for years during that time of spiritual development. And I shared my truths. And I encouraged women and men to share theirs. And I disrupted some of the traditional thought patterns and ways. Remember the Women of Faith Lecture Series? (for example). That actually caused quite a ruckus and I was in the arena during many sit-downs with male leaders who felt uncomfortable. I never imagined that would happen, but it did. 
  • I was in the arena when I met Danny and wrote this dream man of mine from a far, putting my whole heart and love out there, not knowing if it would be fully received in person, not knowing if I would be enough. But I shared my heart anyway. Because that's who I wanted to be. I wanted a relationship where we both could share fully.
  • I later came into the arena again when I started this blog and gave up other pursuits and income to do it. I mean, who am I? A PhD like Brené Brown? Some world famous person that people will want to read about? A pinterest worthy photographer with an instagram worthy life? A graphic designer who could whip this blog into a brand? I was just a woman with a message to share. I couldn't not share it. So I shared it. And it's just been me and this keyboard. And I've been in the arena with every grammar mistake, every bad or grainy or filtered photo, every less than functional way to share this message on this site, 0 instagram posts, and 5 years of my life where I've made nearly no income. Ha. At times, that's been a lot to swallow.
  • I felt the arena very wide around me again when we moved to Ecuador. When we decided to work on this project in bigger ways. That's a big public stake in the ground. And that's a heck of a lot of living outside of the box. We were doing the opposite of everybody we knew. And I mean everybody. We sacrificed a lot to do this; to do this thing that we believe in. And we could have failed hard. And we did, in fact, fail for one year and two months to be exact. I mentioned here I was ready to pack up and head back and give in to the traditional path. That would have been it's own arena. It was the last thing I wanted to do. 
  • Though, the arena here in Ecuador continued when we finally got in sync with the project and said, "We're staying longer. Yes, we're crazy enough to still see if we can do this." And the arena gates opened again. 
  • And of course, we are in the arena NOW, AT THIS MINUTE as we mentor people each week and are also on the brink of launching more events for 2016. Will we be enough? We're going to show up regardless.
You can maybe see that I believe in living in the arena. Ha. It's kind of been my thing. I think it will be a sad day if I ever stop.

I think if we're not in an arena or if we're holding back, we might want to think about how we can get in there. Can we more fully declare our dreams and act on them, can we be more fully seen by others, can we love more fully without fear... 

What have YOUR arenas been? What arenas do you want to get in right now? I would love to hear.  


P.S. Photo is from a break during our Salt Lake City retreat. At first I thought I was going over notes for the next class. But the truth is, Danny's voice was giving out and I was probably go over HIS notes to cover things he wasn't going to be able to say. And yes, this photo is grainy and I can't figure out how to fix it, even though the original is so beautifully crystal clear. But it will have to do. Welcome to my arena. :) 

Photo by Becky Kimball, a really talented professional photographer we hired for that event. 

21 January 2016

Tough Decisions Over Here...


Danny and I are working away on preparing the launch of our next round of retreats. It's starting to feel exhilarating to see some details come together.

I already mentioned the 7-Day Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador will be April 17-23. Hooray. Registration will open SOON. (promise!)

But we also have shorter events in store for another U.S. Tour, to take place in March and July.

This time around we want to make a few changes to accommodate as many of you as possible!

So far...

1. Events will take place on the weekends. (We're sorry some of our retreats last year fell on weekdays.)

2. We're going to cut some costs so that the price is more affordable for more people. 


We also want your feedback on this for the U.S. Tour:

Would you prefer a TWO DAY event (9-5 pm each day) with ALL of our classes and experiential workshops? (The price would be less than it was last time, which was $950.) Let us know if you prefer Fri./Sat. or Sat./Sun.
OR  
Would you prefer a ONE DAY event on a Saturday only (9-5 pm) with 1/2 of our workshops (for a cheaper price)? 
OR
Would you prefer a 2-HOUR EVENT only on a weekend night?
What would work for you best? We truly want to do what will serve you the most! Also, ANY feedback at all is so very helpful to us.

XO,

Mara & Danny

P.S. Our first U.S. events in March will be in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City! There is nothing like spring in the Southwest. If you happen to have a home or venue in these cities (or in any U.S. city) that could accommodate a bunch of love doers coming together to learn how to love even more, we'd LOVE to hear from you! Write me at mara@ablogaboutlove.com. In exchange for the use of your home, we'd love to have you come to the retreat for free, of course.

19 January 2016

Health Tips From My Holistic Practitioner


Ahh - we're doing our best to be healthy down here. I know there are always SO many different angles or techniques. We've been trying a few new things with the help of some holistic practitioners here. I guess I feel I need to stay up on it due to my (so far) silent Hashimoto's, endometriosis, and various autoimmune antibodies. But then again, I've never gotten pregnant once. So I guess these things aren't so silent even though I don't currently have other symptoms.

Here are a few health tips that we've learned from our holistic practitioners. Thought I'd share these in case you want to check into any of them further:

1. Soak dry beans for 3 days until they sprout. It increases their nutrition by 30%. Don't leave them in water too long as they can mold. Change the water once a day.

2. Aloe Vera is AMAZING for gut health. Add the gel from a leaf to a smoothie. You can't taste it.

3. Sleep with the window OPEN, even a little, every night. Oxygen is crucial for healing. In an enclosed room, you can deplete the oxygen available during the night, when healing is trying to take place the most. Multiple people or animals in a room will deplete oxygen even more.

4. Avocado is the best thing to add to smoothies as it stabilizes the fruit and adds super healthy fats.

5. Everyone really, really should do at least two parasite cleanses a year (in the U.S.) and more like 3 per year if you live elsewhere.

6. Use a mixture of coconut oil and beeswax for a natural sunscreen.

7. Symptoms are a message; a form of communication. Without them, you could further deteriorate. So, see a symptom as a positive discovery. Instead of "I'm dying" or "Crap, I'm sick".....say: "I'm thankful my body is communicating with me. I can now can start the process of healing and I'm now getting better."

8. Beliefs affect and even create our biology.

9. Burn bundles of dried sage for aromatherapy.

10. Meat absolutely must be organic if you eat it. Pork should be avoided completely.

11. Take Vitamin D3 during the daylight only, since you normally would get D3 from the sun, when your body is awake. Taking it at night could interrupt your sleep.

12. Coffee enemas are an extremely effective way to cleanse the liver and the colon. They recommend doing an enema once per week.

13. Probiotics are being called the new Prozac as gut health is so closely tied to mental health.

14. Regular detoxing IS recommended as the body is flooded with chemicals, pesticides, plastics, pollution, and heavy metals on a daily basis.

Have you come across any great health tips lately?? I love this stuff. 

Mara

P.S. My skin and my moods are usually the top indicators of my health. I guess in this selfie I was feeling healthy and I feel lucky to say that I mostly always feel that way. It's a mystery to me that my health hasn't worked itself out as I really do feel good. Hoping I can one day get to the bottom of these underlying issues, or at least keep any further problems at bay.



For the month of January, mentoring sessions with Danny & I are 2-for-1. 
Book a session HERE.

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15 January 2016

Love Announcements


Yes, a few Love Announcements, too! Here's a list of things I'd love to share with you...

We were interviewed on a podcast - Here's a really thorough interview with Bill Reel of Mormon Discussions. After I wrote my post on shifting away from Mormonism, Bill said he'd love to do an interview with us. He's a long time Mormon and typically dedicated to helping people stay within the faith, even during times of faith crisis. But now, he's having his own faith crisis. Danny and I spoke about our spiritual practices that could maybe inspire another facing a similar situation.

A homemade treat we are going NUTS over - It's called the One-Minute Slice and it was voted one of the most popular recipes on Food Matters. It's ridiculously good. One thing I love for recipes like this is my silicone cupcake pan. I just pour in the batter and make chocolate hockey pucks that pop right out after refrigerating. So easy. Though, um, how about HEART shaped silicone pans. Yes, please. Trust me, this recipe would make the ultimate Valentine's Day treat!! (We're making some right now. :)

What I've been up to - At the last minute, I decided to sign up for Brene Brown's Living Brave Semester. I'll be joining a sister and a dear friend/retreat alumni. Are any of you doing it? I've only done Brene's first lesson, but I loved it. I also hope to have a semester like this from A Blog About Love before too long. :) My goal is to bring the retreat experience to you all online. [Note: Today is the last day to sign-up for Brene's semester.]

Movie Recommendation - The Big Short. Holy smokes. It's about the 2008 financial crisis. And it will make your blood chill. It was fascinating and extremely well done.

Favorite Recent Purchase - I decided to use glass for my daily drinking water. And I'm LOVING this beautiful glass water bottle from Takeya, of Japan. This thing sits next to me all day and it practically makes drinking water fun because the thing is so pretty and functional.

Winter Bucket List - I've got my eye on snow shoeing for next year. I've ALWAYS wanted to do this  in Prospect Park after a big snow. You can also rent snow shoes at places like Mohonk Mountain House, in the Hudson Valley.

Official Announcement - Our next retreat in Ecuador will be APRIL 17-23! Registration will launch very soon! Stay tuned!!! We so hope you can come. Check flights to Quito.

Hope your weekend is cozy and renewing and full of some love,

Mara

P.S. Best wishes to Alt Summit! The conference is taking place this week in Utah. I have so loved going to those events and feel sad I won't be in the country this year. Sending all my love to fellow bloggers and the founders, Gabrielle Blair and Sara Urquhart. Hoping we can make it to a summer event.


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