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Paris Preparations

Paris is always a good idea.—Audrey Hepburn

At this time in one week, we’ll arrive groggy to the City of Light with suitcases and Belle Starr in tow. This is her second trip to Paris and I wrote about her journey from a puppy mill to Paris here.

I’ve been preparing for this trip since last fall when I searched high and low to find the perfect dog-friendly and airy AirBnB close to Luxembourg Gardens. I also booked rooms in my favorite hotel where Penning in Paris retreaters reside.

Over the past few months I’ve coordinated a few surprises, recorded a new just-for-retreaters Paris podcast, shipped pre-Paris goody bags, and made reservations for a champagne cruise on the Seine and a lunch at Laduree.

In between ballet, a Pigs & Pugs Project board meeting, and collaborating with clients, I’ll start the packing process. Here’s a peek into my previous 2013 6-week jaunt, 2012 6-week jaunt, and 2016 10-day packing posts.

My suitcase will soon be filled with TranquiliT pieces, more goody bags (it’s one of my favorite parts of leading retreats!), retreat supplies, comfy/chic footwear, writing tools, and more.

Before we fly out on Thursday, July 19 I’ll host an online bon voyage Facebook Live gathering at noon ET to share an insider’s peek into the Paris preparation process. There’s dog-sitting, garden-watering, suitcase-packing, retreat-finalizing, and more to be coordinated.

Get a look into all that goes into preparing to leave for 10 days in Paris and a preview of our adventure. I hope to see you at our online bon voyage and plan to do more in Paris so you’ll be coming with me! Bisous. x

From Puppy Mill to Paris

A puppy mill surrendered Belle Starr to Homeward Bound Pug Rescue in 2015. Her last litter struggled so her baby- and money-making days were up.

The metal chain around her neck identified her as a number. That’s who she was to them. A number.

When placed in a foster home, Belle trembled. She wouldn’t come out of her cage and didn’t trust humans. Karlie and Phil, the same patient fosters who cared for Mookie, taught her to be a dog. She would no longer be a machine. Here’s a Rolling Stone piece on what happens to dogs after a puppy mill.

I watched her transformation over many months via their Instagram accounts. Then I began pressuring Tim to just meet her. I had a feeling about Belle. Tim agreed to fly back to Oklahoma to meet her and it was the one-year anniversary of adopting Mookie, so we made it an event.

After landing at OKC airport, we headed straight to meet Belle with Mom, Dad, and Mookie in tow. She hid behind her foster as we all sat on the floor trying to make her comfortable. Phil kept pulling her out from behind him and told us, “You have to make her love you.” No pressure.

She shook the whole way home on Tim’s lap. Now she won’t leave Tim’s side.

Upon arrival to DC, Belle lost most of her teeth during her long overdue dental. She still doesn’t understand toys or the idea of play, yet she settled somewhat seamlessly into city living.

Next week we fly to Paris to lead Penning in Paris and Belle Starr will be joining us again. She’s the perfect traveler. The photos below show snippets of our adventure over the holidays. She’s come so far—from puppy mill to Paris—and we couldn’t be prouder to be along for the ride. Bisous. x

June in Review + Resources

There are two great days in a person’s life—the day we are born and the day we discover why.—William Barclay

June in Review

I know I shared this quote last month, but it’s such a powerful one and felt apropos with this Month in Review. The search for my why continues.

June’s Year of Tranquility focus was wellness and we explored 10 different types of wellness. During the month I tapped into the intellectual, occupational, social, and spiritual wellness types through a week of learning and exploring in Utah, building new skills, growing connections, and volunteering/exploring purpose.

Last month went quickly due to 12 days of family and nonprofit travel. When I review June, it feels quite compressed despite having 30 full days.

The month’s experiences were vast—from a memorial service in Texas, to hosting Yoga + the Animals, a 7-day detox, and Tranquility du Jour Live, to spending 30 minutes in an MRI machine, to taking a pet portrait painting class, to spending a week at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary learning about sanctuaries, to collaborating with mentoring and therapy clients, to taking ballet classes, to celebrating my 45th birthday by seeing Hamilton and having high tea.

There were a few wishes that didn’t happen—moving deeper into online classes, finishing books, or diving back into memoir writing.

Instead, I did my best to drop deeply into the experiences I was in—eating Tex Mex with Mom and Dad, dining al fresco with the pups and Tim in Utah, walking sanctuary dogs at Best Friends, soaking up the beauty of Zion National Park, running through Coral Pink Sand Dunes with Gizmo, and savoring the performance of Hamilton.

Although it’s never pleasant to review my June Dreams and see unchecked boxes, I try to remind myself of what I did experience last month.

July is another month with 10 days of travel hosting the Penning in Paris retreat so it may also feel distorted. Despite the beauty of travel, it does have an interesting ripple effect on everyday life. Routines get shaken up, there’s a lot of acclimating to new environments, and daily life is turned on its head.

As someone super sensitive to my environment, I try to set myself up for success by toting creature comforts and reminding myself to just focus on the day’s MITs (Most Important Tasks). I’m no longer a robot moving through a to-do list. Instead I’m encouraging myself to fully appreciate what’s in front of me.

Maybe that’s my why. To appreciate simple pleasures, make deep connections, and do meaningful work all while spreading compassion for all beings. I like it! Bisous. x

July Wish List

Host inspiring Penning in Paris retreat
Ship lots of Year of Tranquility care packages {doing today}
Release three podcasts
Savor tea time with girlfriends
Take 10 ballet classes
Read two books
Write daily
Nurture my patio garden
Collaborate with mentoring and therapy clients
Organize paperwork
Plan a mini-getaway
Learn lots at Compassionate Action for Animals Conference
Make a macrame wall hanging {done!}

Savvy Sources

7 Versatile Pieces for Your Summer Wardrobe
9 Easy Tips for Going Green at the Grocery Store
These New Indoor Plants Are All the Rage
5 Ways to Reset When You’re In a Creative Funk
Poses For Your Yoga Cool-Down Routine
This Documentary Will Help You Reconsider Your Diet
How to Decorate Your Office Space
7 Habits to Adopt if You Want to Write More
Ways to Manage Your Time
20 DIY Boho Decor Ideas
5 Tips for Macrame Beginners