As-salāmu ʿalaykum. Peace be upon you. Retreat to Marrakech in May.
El Moukef. Dusty, sweltering artery of two-stroke, donkeys, chariot of ill starred chickens, stray cats, fried bread.
Duck into a pink side street. Two wrong turns. Back track. Say you know the way. Je connais, je connais. Finally, Chez Hassan on the right beneath a waterfall of vines. Maybe jasmine. Almost home. Now you know the way to @riad42marrakech.
@emma_louise_sophia & Soma, 8, come ‘round. Sit on the roof of @riadennafoura. A dipping pool for the girls, cold as the sun sets. And a Cheshire moon rises, swallows sing, the call to prayer.
Dinner, carrots and rose water. Stewed aubergine. Heaping market vegetable tagine. Too much food. The radish is best. Eula only eats bread.
Le lendemain. Proper coffee at chez Emma. Errands. Into the souks. Stone plates, wooden plates, brass cups, raffia & rattan, geodes. A chariot (wheelbarrow) to haul it home.
Location scouting and poolside afternoon shandy at @riadyasmine. Run to pay deposit at @elfennmarrakech. Also a sunset spritz (they only have Aperol) on the terrace. Free shot of mezcal.
Scout floral market. Rose vendors in a fist fight. Later, a traffic jam. Another fight. Right outside the palace, cops of course. Unusual. Ramadan heat wave.
Two middle names, red lipstick, silver hoops, and a turban. She knows where to find the best sardine kefta. The wizard with real rose water and frankincense. Pink onyx and malachite. The best alley to perch on crates with clay bowls of bessara, fava stew slicked with oil. No spoon. Eaten with hobs, Moroccan bread.
English, mother of 3, she knows the word “orthogonal”, speaks French & enough Arabic, has a kamado-san donabe in her brutalist riad, and tells the truth.
Master of mindset, Morocco to India to Laos, she’s traveled and lived all over the world with her brood. Brave, kind, and a laugh. She knows all my secrets.
And her way around a camera as well as the souks. As colorful as her life. Couldn’t, wouldn’t do ‘Kech without her.
In June, you can too. She’s hosting a retreat to Marrakech, a retreat from busy. From fear. From whatever is holding you back from boldly, sans apology living your truth & dream. She helps me live mine.
Only a few precious spots left. Tap the link in my profile now, and get a ticket to Emma’s Luminance Retreat in Marrakech before they’re gone. There’s a reason I co-host all my retreats here with her. Simply: it is a good decision.
She’ll talk sense into you. Inspire you. Lift you up. And show you this pink (red) city’s secrets and how to use a camera like a pro along the way. She’s the woman you want to know in Marrakech.
L’histoire @duneile. The story of an island. In a sea of WiFi.
The drive. Paris rush hour. Matt loses his shit at Alexa, google maps. Eula loses her lunch into a spent cappuccino cup, mostly. Mercifully, she sleeps.
A tunnel of trees yearning over the road. Smoke from the chimney. Eula straight into the claw foot bath. Mermaid songs.
Dinner. Fire in the hearth. White lilacs on the table. Michel le chat asleep in Eula’s chair. Candles flickering. Soundtrack: Europe in the 90’s. AC/DC, Back in Black. Metallica, Aerosmith, Queen, Beach Boys, Depeche Mode. C’est parfait.
Pour manger: all the smoke. Asperges fumé with homemade buttermilk and herbs. Beurre fumé et radis. Heifer & creamer potatoes. Hen & roasted carrot. The best fucking bread ever.
Eula, Linda Blair at bed time. Mercifully, she sleeps. No WiFi, no cell service. Fire in the hearth. Orange wine. 3 to a bed for the night. Rain.
Backstory. Rented in Paris for two years, out grown current flat. No visas, so we spend 3 months every 6 months here. Hope for more soon. We don’t “live” anywhere, bouncing between France, Japan, and the US. She’ll start school, we’ll choose. She’s only 2. Not the US though. Probably Paris. Summers in Japan. I have no idea. Sublet, Airbnb when we are gone.
The first one. Fancy. Basically above a Gucci store in the 3rd. Gross. Rent isn’t cheap. It’s huge. Clean too. Space enough for Eula to run. Space enough to consecrate its halls with spilled glasses of vin natural with many friends. Space enough for long tables and nights. Pop ups. Impromptu pasta, hot pots. Space to teach and host and work. Photograph. It’s beautiful. Too nice for me. Doesn’t fit my idea of myself. My own glass ceiling.
The second one. The photo is more charming, I know. It’s big enough for us. Maybe one house guest, occasionally. No room to teach or host. Perfect location, the 11th. On a big boulevard, noisy. The kitchen is red. The bathroom, a little moldy. Half the price. Half the space. Authentic. All it needs is a record player, some pillows in the floor. La vie bohème. My idea of myself.
Ideas about ourselves crystallize. Mutable young. More fixed as we age. I want the big one. What can I say. Glass ceilings are meant to be broken, and ideas about ourselves are just fictions we grow fond of.
Swore we’d never spend another sticky summer in Paris. But, for now.
Still spring, even cold. Thank god. I don’t like summer. Unless on the sea. Digress. For now. Hunting a bigger flat to rent (currently: kicked in the ribs all night by a toddler). Another viewing today at half past noon. And then.
Driving two hours to the country. To @duneile. Une hôtel de campagne. To photograph. Natural wine, food. Where Eulalia can run. There’s a soaking tub in our room.
Last morning in Paris for 3 weeks (2 nights in the country, then Marrakech.) The laundry never dries. We didn’t finish the wine. Out of shampoo. Wearing his Levi’s. They almost fit, slightly too big. Swear to eat less bread.
For now, more coffee. Buy more bread anyway. Pack bags again though I’m remiss.
An aside: You may have noticed I’m indulging in a different post style. An experiment for myself. I scratch notes all day in a notebook. These are snippets of those notes. They‘re mostly about food because I’m a boring glutton. The photos are mostly taken and edited on my iPhone. I’ve been feeling uninspired by social media. So as I encourage my students to follow that inner voice, I practice what I preach. If something isn’t working for you, try something else. Don’t let follower count stop you. Do what you feel like. If you’re passionate it will be good. If it’s good, you’ll eventually succeed. Your income nor your self worth should ever be tethered to social media. It’s a wonderful tool. Platform. Community of sorts (but no substitute for the real thing.)That is all. I hope you enjoy.
“C’est un jour comme un autre...” Sunday/Monday, Paris.
Dimanche. 5 am, jambon cru out of wax paper over the sink, no trousers. Shower, find trousers, red beret. Coat negotiations with a 2 year old: “It has snakes!” Battle invisible snakes. Are victorious. Dad is still sleeping. Usually it’s me. Bad café au lait at the station café, nothing else open. Hot milk for her. With sugar. A little. A croissant shared, strawberry jam. Marché for radishes & green things, eye watering mustard, créme fraîche for my eggs. I forget the butter. She steals a carrot, is gifted a strawberry. Proper coffee and sakura gateau at @cafeloustic when dad wakes. Bao and dumplings at @doubledragon_paris for lunch. Asleep before sunset.
Lundi. Sleep to a luxurious 5 AM. Immediately watch Game of Thrones with coffee. Naturally. Creamy slow scrambled eggs with lots of chives on baguette and allium wilted spinach for breakfast. Apartment hunting (Eula needs a room) all day. Parquet floors, beautiful light, mold, red kitchen. Pass. Jaywalking is a national past time. Blazing hot soupe à l’oignon for lunch (my recipe is better...). I eat the cheese off the top. Later, a glass of orange wine. Another. Stuck in traffic. Shell peas, trim artichokes. Miso, mustard, butter. Tarragon. Mean to call bank but fail, exhausted. Watch @hulu in bed. Have to use a VPN to change my ISP to do it because France. Success. Figure I’m an evil computer genius. Fin.
| Mastermind info below! | The first time I stepped into this 14th generation tea house & ceramic maker in the Japanese countryside during @thedenizenco & my Wabi Sabi Retreat in Japan, I thought “Dreams do come true.” 🍵 And every year since, sipping my matcha on the tatami mat with our guests, I’ve thought the same. What magic awaits those that don’t give up and do the work! 🍃 Next year, I want to take a single group of driven & awesome entrepreneurs on a journey not just to this very spot but through an entire year of making dreams into goals and tackling them with the support of both a coach that’s walked the path (oh, hi!) and a group of brilliant peers. If you’re an established blogger, influencer, or entrepreneur read on. This opportunity might be for you... 🌸 The BK 2020 Mastermind early access application goes out TOMORROW! We are only accepting 20-25 MAX for the entire year of 2020. Email email@example.com directly to not miss exclusive early access. 🌾 Because as we all know, dreams change. Goals change. Businesses change. We change. When something is no longer working for you and you are ready to grow, it’s time to find a creative solution. 🌾 If you are tired of your earning power being tied to your follower count (and an algorithm!), this might be for you. If you’re tired of trading time, your only non-renewable resource, for money, this might be for you. If you’re ready to build a team and grow your business revenue and impact...yep, might be for you! If you’re ready to grow your email list and monetize your hard won experience, skills, and expertise...this might be a good fit! And if this *isn’t* for you...don’t worry! We have tons in store for everyone from free content to work at your own pace e-courses and helpful resources to help you at every stage of the game! #bkmastermind#livemoremagic#theartofslowliving
When I saw the house in Japan, I knew. But I still can’t believe we’re actually doing it...! 🍵 Yep, we signed a contract on the 100+ year old machiya (traditional wooden townhouse) in the quiet Nishijin weaving district of Kyoto! 🌸 We don’t close until June so the house, which was once a weaving workshop spinning cloth for kimonos, isn’t officially ours yet as there are still matters to sort, but we made a deposit and are that much closer to our dream of renovating a machiya in Kyoto as a guesthouse, the first #nestingabroad property. The previous owner tells us that sometimes gold threads float down from the wooden beams, ghosts of its former life. 🌸 I have lots of work on my plate but it’s all I can do to not spend all day dreaming about materials & finishes, designs & furnishings. My dream is for this space to marry all that I love: gatherings, relationships, wabi-sabi, slow & simple living, minimalism, and the spiritual soul of a machiya in one space that is a humble stage for meaningful memories for whoever walks through the door. 🌿 I have no idea how we’re going to realize this dream, what it will take or how long. But I know the way to get anywhere is to know where you want to go and then take one step. And then another. So here begins another great adventure I cannot wait to share with you all! I’m answering questions in stories so if you’re curious about the process so far...hop over there and ask away! #nestingabroad#livemoremagic#theartslowliving#visitjapan#cherryblossoms
“Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty” - Jun’ichirō Tanazaki 🌿 Last week @matthewlud surprised me with one of the most loving, beautiful experiences of my life with the help of our friend @yoshihiroimai (chef & owner of Monk, one of my all time favorite restaurants in the world)...a Buddhist wedding ceremony for the two of us at a secret, private temple off of Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto. It was, perhaps, the singular most beautiful experience of my life—the incense, the chanting, and the rose quartz bracelet I now wear to symbolize our union. Afterwords, we visited Tanazaki’s grave beneath the sakura tree, my mascara still smudged. The magic exists. #livemoremagic#theartofslowliving#nestingabroad
It’s morning in Japan. I’m sitting cross legged on the tatami mat floor, rice paper windows diffusing the early morning light. Water for tea is on to boil. The cherry blossoms may have gone but the memory remains. 🌸 While her most spectacular display has drifted away, pale pink petals on the canal, spring is far from gone. Last night we enjoyed a spring donabe of everything green— fresh fava to sweet peas to sansho leaf—with a light dashi & yuzu broth. And now I’m brewing a cup of sakura tea with preserved blossoms, which will also be used with spring bamboo and sansho in our rice this evening, a way to continue to enjoy and celebrate the sakura even after they are gone. 🌸 I’ll sip my tea before my morning meditation and then move on to the rest of my slow morning rituals including a run on the river before I bike to a quiet spot to work. Sacred deer and flowy dresses and flowers are magical...but so is the mundane and all the simple moments Mother Earth affords us! Even our morning tea. Click the link in my profile to learn the rest of my slow morning rituals to start your day calm, centered, focused, and nourished! 🌸🍵🌿 #whpplanetearth#livemoremagic#theartofslowliving#nestingabroad#nara#narapark
I was cycling through the streets of Kyoto at golden hour with a basket of garlic chives, maitake, bamboo shoots, Tokyo negi, mizuna, a bouquet of spring blossoms, and a bottle of natural orange wine. And I thought... 🌿 ...this could be home. If you’ve been following along on stories, you know @matthewlud & I are *possibly* buying a 100 year old machiya, quite the fixer upper, in the quiet weaving district of Kyoto, Nishijin. I still don’t know if the deal will go through, but...we are taking the big step of putting down a deposit! 🌸 Over a year ago, I did my Dream Day Meditation. It’s a simple mediation where I walk through, in detail, my dream day. I saw morning, saw myself in a home that smelled of cedar with a cup of frothy matcha. I’d just come back from a run by a river. And now I believe, maybe just maybe, I was envisioning a life here. 🍵 Over six years, I’ve spent almost 12 months in Japan. I keep returning. Returning for the quiet. For the delicate beauty. For the flavors. For the people. For the collision of the world that is and one that was. For wabi sabi and perfect imperfection. ✨ I don’t know what the future holds...but I hope it holds a life here. Whatever your dreams are, even if they’re vague whispers and unformed sketches, keep walking down the path. They will develop. Just do the footwork. And don’t forget to love every step of the journey! Because even if this particular dream or house doesn’t work out...that just means something even better is waiting! #livemoremagic#nestingabroad#theartofslowliving