Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I have to share an amazing opportunity for all of you to be a part of!

As you know, my friend Jeanne Oliver has taught for me at my Creative Retreats in Italy (and next summer at my Art & Faith Creative Retreat) and we combined forces last summer for her first The Living Studio.  I {ADORE} this woman.  She is an amazing person that I am SO bummed I don't live next door too... (but she's probably happy about that)  Well, she has a new class series on her Ning site that I REALLY want you to take a look at!

It's called Studying Under the Masters and week one has just started!  It's self paced so you have lots of time to go through the course.  Let me just share a few photos of her "Sneak Peeks":




Aren't they just DREAMY??


There's SO much more, you REALLY need to check out all the details on her blog here.

Now if you're like me this is a bit intimidating, I'll be honest with you. I'm NOT an artist, not even close.  I don't know how to draw or shade...  The closest thing I've gotten to being an artist is doing mixed media and collage art.   But guess what… I'm going for it!

This is something I NEED to do.  I WANT to learn.  I dream of being an artist when I'm in front of a Van Gogh or Monet at the Louve in Paris.  I {SEE} art everywhere I go.  Italy INSPIRES the creative side in me and I never want to leave that place… So I don't want to be limited by my own skills JUST because I haven't taken the time to LEARN new skills!  And even if my work doesn't end up looking anything like these artists, I WANT to stretch myself.  It's time for me to grow and become what I've dreamt of… Becoming a {baby} Artist.  <3

So why don't you join me!  This is going to be SO much fun and I'd love to have you along on this journey with me… AND Jeanne!  Then we can talk about it next summer with her, IN ITALY!!

Just go to any of the links and sign up TODAY!  And leave a comment on THIS post if you are going to join me!  I want to keep in touch on Jeanne's NING site with you!!

And a little fyi… It's my 25th wedding anniversary TODAY with my wonderful man!  I'm BEYOND blessed with this guy.  HE believes in me, thinks I'm an amazingly talented woman and I know he'd push me to do this as well.  So THANK YOU Lance!  You don't know this yet… but you just bought me this as a little "Anniversary" gift!  hahaha

Have a GREAT day everyone!!

Laura


Here we are at Monet's Garden in Giverny, France last September!!



Monday, September 29, 2014

Good Morning!



This week is off to a great start and today I am working on getting our online groups together for the Creative Retreats next summer.

I have done this in the past with Yahoo Groups but I really don't like the way they work.  It's very confusing and hard to read through all the posts…  So I would like to set up our groups in Facebook.  It's much easier and I think most everyone is on FB anyways.  If you have signed up for one of my retreats and are NOT on FB, please just send me an email or comment down at the bottom of this to let me know.  I'd really like to use FB for our groups and I'll be setting those up in the next couple days.

Also, the first payment for the retreats will be due on October 15th.  If you want to send a money order instead of using PayPal, then just email me as well to let me know when that is on it's way.  I'll be emailing everyone to send a reminder and set up how each person wants to handle the payment.

I think that is it for this beautiful Monday!

I do have a few spots left for both Italy Creative Retreats.  It's not too late to sign up and they are going to be AMAZING weeks with the wonderful teachers I have this year!!

Have a GREAT day everyone!

Hugs,

Laura

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hello!  

Just spent a week in Alaska (well really on a BOAT) and now i'm trying to get back to things at home again.  Alaska is beautiful, but the inside of a boat not so much.  Realized I'm not a cruise person.  But, it was for my husbands work so it was nice to go with his team for a week away

Here's a few photos of our adventures (when NOT of a boat):

Anchorage was sunny and beautiful

I'm scared of heights people...

pretty much worth the trip.

We did every crazy adventure (zip-lining, adventure carts, white water rafting…) and saw every animal possible (bald eagles, whales, otters, salmon, wolves, sea lions, white horn sheep… AND bears!)  So overall it was a fun week and I would recommend Alaska, just not a cruise that has you on the boat for 4 out of 7 days.

But now I'm back and getting to that long "to-do" list I have.  I can actually say I've event tackled some of the things I've wanted to accomplish on my last blog post…  

I started my bible journaling!  It's AMAZING!  I really enjoy the process and have also enjoyed spending more time in the word.  I highly recommend joining this new way to express your creativity IN your bible!  There's even a FB group you can join that I'm a part of called "Journaling bible Community" and would love to see you on there!  Send a shout out to me if you join on there so I can say Hi!  (I think I'm under my name, Laura McCollough,  not akissonthechic)

Ok, now I wanted to update you on the two Creative Retreats for 2015 that are in Italy.  



The good news for you is that THERE ARE STILL SOME SPOTS LEFT!  So take a look at the details below… or you can go to the REGISTRATION PAGE ---> over there and see more information (or the FAQ page) and you can sign up via a PayPal deposit.   

Each year as I look forward to the next Creative Retreats, I am amazed at how dreams really DO come true!  It was my desire to blend all of my {loves} into one concept and I have done that with my weeklong events in Italy each year.  And I am continually blessed and in wonder of how exciting it is to share CREATIVE time with each and every person that comes to these events.  I would say it’s “Magical” in this part of Italy and that wouldn’t be far from the truth.  But really, it’s just an awe inspiring place to bring together creative people to enjoy the culture, the beauty, the way of life and the food of Italy!  You will go away with new friends, a new perspective on life and a creative spirit that will inspire you as you go forward... It’s life changing and life affirming. And those aren’t just my words... It’s been said countless times to me from the people who have come to my Creative Retreats.

So that is why I am writing this today.  It is my desire to share this place with YOU.  As you can probably already tell, it’s a passion of mine to host these Creative Retreats on the shores of beautiful Lago di Como, Italy.  It is also my hope that you would consider joining me on next years adventure to Italy!

So here’s some of the details on BOTH Creative Retreats in Italy next summer:




1.  Creative “Scrapbook” Retreat - June 13 - 20, 2015 

For next year I am changing things up a bit and including MORE than ever before and doing NEW things!!  As each year goes by I learn new things as I put these events together.   This helps me to grow and offer an exciting new week for everyone involved!  This week will be an exciting week with two AMAZING Mixed Media artists, Céline Navarro & Zoey Scarpelli.  Both are FROM Europe and will share with us very CREATIVE and EXCITING ways to record our memories!

Here's a preview of what the 4th Annual Creative Retreat in Italy will include:



Bellagio, Italy ~ 7 Nights ~ June 13 - 20, 2015 - $3,250pp (family pricing available)

- 7 nights at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Apartments or Hotel Florence
- Opening Reception overlooking the gorgeous lake
- Day trip to Milan for the Worlds Fair - 2015 (The theme is FOOD… good choice Italy!)
- 4 Classes by 2 amazing European Mixed Media / Scrapbook Artists!!
   ~    Céline Navarro &  Zoey Scarpelli    ~
- Exploring Lake Como on beautiful vintage boats
- Tour of Bellagio, including the history of this region by a local tour guide
- Ferry's to surprise locations for exploring 
- Tours of famous Villa's and gardens on the lake
- Cooking Class with hands on instruction from a famous Top Chef of Italy
- All breakfast included in the gorgeous breakfast rooms at either hotel
- Almost all lunches and dinners in gorgeous locations around the lake are included!
- Grand Finale at Mistral - GHVS Michelin Star Restaurant
- Transfer to and from MXP airport is included on a luxury private bus
- Taxi's and Ferrys to and from dinners and excursions
- Hotel and room taxes included
- Classes and Crop time in the beautiful event room with a view of Lake Como
- Wonderful products from our SPONSORS
- Free Make-n-Takes
- Handmade "Swag Bags"
- Amazing SURPRISES I can't reveal yet…
- Plus time to relax by the GHVS pool, or stroll the cobblestone streets
- Live music in the music room each night
- And…an unforgettable experience in Italy you will treasure forever!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


2.  Creative “Art & Faith” Retreat - July 11 - 18, 2015


I am excited to be hosting an Art retreat again!  If you followed me this year on FB or IG, you noticed that Jeanne Oliver and I “co-hosted” an art event in Bellagio this summer.  It was an amazing week and I was honored to combine forces with her.   So I’ve asked her to come back AGAIN and teach for me next summer, but in a little bit different way.  I’ve had a vision for a while to put together one of my Creative Retreats as an “Art & Faith”  retreat.  I’ve decided to finally do that for this retreat next year and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about this!  Jeanne Oliver and Stephanie Ackerman are super excited to teach with me and share their journeys and their God given talents with us and I’m sure you will be inspired and blessed during this weeklong event.  I have a few surprises for this week that I can’t WAIT to share with you, so I hope you will consider joining us!

Here's a preview of what the Creative “Art & Faith” Retreat will include:



Bellagio, Italy ~ 7 Nights ~ June 13 - 20, 2015 - $3,250pp (family pricing available)

- 7 nights at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Apartments or Hotel Florence
- Opening Reception overlooking the gorgeous lake
- Tour of Bellagio, including the history of this region by a local tour guide
- Day trip to a beautiful Monastery from the 7th Century on Lake Como
- 4 Classes in the beautiful event room with 2 amazing Mixed-Media artists:
    ~ Stephanie Ackerman & Jeanne Oliver ~
- Exploring Lake Como on beautiful vintage boats
- Ferry's to surprise locations for exploring 
- Tours of famous Villa's and gardens on the lake
- Cooking Class with hands on instruction and a beautiful meal YOU made!
- All breakfast included in the gorgeous breakfast rooms at either hotel
- Almost all lunches and dinners in gorgeous locations around the lake are included!
- Grand Finale at Mistral - GHVS Michelin Star Restaurant
- Transfer to and from MXP airport is included on a luxury private bus
- Taxi's and/or Ferry’s to and from dinners and excursions
- Hotel and room taxes included
- Classes and art time in the beautiful event room with a view of Lake Como
- Wonderful products from our SPONSORS
- Free Make-n-Takes
- Handmade "Swag Bags"
- Amazing SURPRISES I can't reveal yet…but they are AWESOME!
- Plus time to relax by the GHVS pool, or stroll the cobblestone streets
- Live music in the music room each night
- And…an unforgettable experience in Italy you will treasure forever!!

PLEASE NOTE:  I can only take 20 people on both of these Creative Retreats so the spots are filling up fast!  Make sure you email me if you want to be included in one of these retreats soon so I can reserve a spot for you or put you on the wait list.

Also, if you want to take your family (yes, it's an amazing week to share with your spouse or family) please email me directly to learn about the pricing & details for families or spouses or friends who don't want to come but don't' want to do the art)



So are you ready for an unforgettable experience... in beautiful Italy?

Have you dreamed of visiting the charming old world towns, the beautiful scenery or the magnificent architecture around every corner? Do you love to CREATE, be INSPIRED and make MEMORIES you will cherish forever? How about combining all of these things into a wonderful week with us? 

All these photos were taken by me, using my iPhone


I really hope you will consider joining one of my Creative Retreats next year... You won’t regret it, and you WILL treasure it forever.

Again, always feel free to email me!  I am available to answer any questions you may have.  

There is a vey limited amount of sign-ups available for this event, so sign up soon! 

Have a GREAT day and I hope to see you at one of my Creative Retreats next year!!

Hugs to all,

Laura McCollough


YES... you can come to my retreats with your family or friends who want to enjoy the week WITH YOU! (and they don't have to do any art) Email me for special details and pricing!  



Monday, August 25, 2014



Well hello again…

The kids are back to school, "summer" is over and I finally have a little bit of time to get some things done!  hahaha  I don't know if that's how you feel too, but our life this summer has been such a busy, busy whirlwind that I have to say I'm actually kind of happy it's over.  Now don't get me wrong… I went kicking and screaming all the way back to the first day of school.  I didn't want to send them back to school.  I enjoy them at home, I enjoy the sleeping in, the days with nothing planned, just spending time with them…  So the school schedule is NOT my favorite.  But sitting here in the quiet and blogging my thoughts… that's kinds a nice.  (Wish I was on that bench in Bellagio gathering my thoughts, but I'll just imagine it in my mind) But this time does give me a chance to take a breath and think about what my plans are for the next couple months before the holidays are upon us.  GASP!!!

Some of the things I want to accomplish are:

1. Get a NEW WEBSITE!  I have one (it's super duper old and crusty) but it needs a make-over big time.  Or just a whole new website would be good.  Looking into things and excited about this!

2. Get rid of all my blogs and combine EVERYTHING together in ONE place! (I have 3 blogs… it's kinda embarrassing…  but one was personal life stuff, this one is supposed to be about my Creative Retreats (I'm breaking the rules today I guess) and the last one is a food blog!  (love that one too, but haven't updated it in forever…)  So with one website that can be a kind of a "lifestyle" site, I think that will fulfill this desire.

3. Start being CREATIVE again.  Oh man, why is this one so tough?  I haven't been creative since my Creative Retreat this summer with Heidi Swapp and Rebecca Cross.  I haven't taught since then and I haven't even stepped into my artsy room in FOREVER!  So I want to take time to recharge those creative batteries inside me!  We all need this and I know I'm ready to get going on this right NOW!

4. Get going on three new projects I've wanted to do for a while… that ARE creative!  I guess they aren't really "new" but a restart or like hitting the "refresh button" for me.  I'm SO excited about these:
- The first is a Journaling Bible!  I've seen these for a long time, fell in LOVE instantly and I finally ordered one!  I can't wait to get started TODAY!!
- The second one is a Filofax!!  Yes, I'm a paper girl and I've said that for years to my hubby.  He's tried to get me to just put everything on my iPhone but I just don't like it.  I've had day planners for many years, got away from them for a while (sorry Lance, paperless just isn't in my DNA) and now I'm happy to say that I got a Filofax and even started making it all cute and pretty!!
- The last project is Project Life!  Now I tried this years ago when it came out.  I started and stopped it because I thought it was too much.  It started as a 365 day challenge.  Well I'm just NOT that organized.  I also stopped because I was too restrained by all the pocket pages.  But I've taken a look at it again, created my own style of PL and I'm going to do kind of a "free form" Project Life for our families memories.  I'm excited to do this and spend time getting our stories written done and into books that we will have for years to come.

So I think that's enough on my "to-do" list for now…

What are YOU thinking about accomplishing now that the kiddos are back in school?  Or just as Fall is coming around the corner??  Would love to hear from you.

I'll share some photos of these projects as they come together and would LOVE to hear from you if you are doing any of the same projects and know of any communities or places where I get can ideas.




And don't forget…

There are still some spaces open for the two Creative Retreats in Italy next summer!!  I've updated the REGISTRATION PAGE over there---> so go check out the details, email me if you have any questions and really pray and consider joining me and the teachers next summer in Italy!  It really is a life changing vacation.  I should have "testimonials" on here (maybe I will on my new website) because the people who come do NOT want to leave.  I promise you… you will not regret going to one of these Creative Retreats.  You WILL regret not going though.  This is such an incredible part of Italy, I have come to love this lake and it's people and I really do want to show each and every one of you the beauty and joy and inspiration that you can experience here…

Hugs to all,

Laura





Wednesday, July 16, 2014



Hi everyone!  

So excited about the Creative Retreats next year!  So many wonderful people are joining us next year in France AND Italy and I can't wait to share these beautiful places with all of YOU!

Sign ups went GREAT yesterday and I want to THANK YOU for a great turn out!!

I'm SUPER excited that my very first Creative Retreat in Paris is SOLD OUT!!  I'm a little sad too because I know a lot of you wanted to join in on that…  I want this to be a small group though because it will be easier for us to get around the city and experience it in a very special way.  So, for those who couldn't get in I do have a wait list.  It's getting pretty long but that just shows me how much YOU love Paris too!!  (and I may just have to do this again some day…  Right?  :)

The Creative Retreats in Italy are still going strong and are open to register, so sign up soon to secure you spot!  As most of you know, this is truly where my heart is and I would LOVE to share this part of Italy with you!  Both weeks are going to be AMAZING with the teachers I have for next year AND the places we are going!  So check out those weeks and see what will work best for you!  I'd LOVE to enjoy a week with you in one of the most beautiful places in all of Italy… Lago di Como!!

Now I have a bit of "housekeeping" on the retreats…

CREATIVE RETREATS IN BELLAGIO, ITALY:

PLEASE NOTE:  I am so sorry, but I made a mistake on the pricing/accommodations for the Italy Creative Retreats and I have to correct my REGISTRATION PAGE.  (It's for the BETTER though and I'm not afraid to admit I make mistakes…)  

The pricing I quoted IS FOR 2 PEOPLE PER APARTMENT!  

In the description I quote that the accommodations are for 3 people to an apartment.  That IS TRUE for the PARIS "mini" retreat, but NOT the Italy ones.  So the pricing of $3,499 is for 2 people!!  That's good news… You won't have to have anyone on the sofa bed and you'll have more space in your apartment!!!

So we can do this two ways:

1. You can keep the price AS QUOTED and now instead of 3 people to a room, you will have the 2 people to the room.  You get the same price with an added bonus of only sharing with one other person…

OR

2. You can get a DISCOUNT if you want to still have 3 to a room!  Now that's good news right???  So if you've signed up and were cool with sharing 3 to an apartment and want the DISCOUNT, just email me and I will apply the $250 discount to your balance.  (So new price becomes $3,250)

I'm sorry for any confusion.  I have to admit that I copy and pasted some of the "Payment information" and then realized later last night that I hadn't changed it from the Paris to Italy retreats.  There's no reason for you to have to share 3 to a room when you don't have to right?

But, it's up to YOU!  You can decide which way you want to go and I will work out the accommodations depending on who has signed up and how many people want 2 or 3 to a room.

Sound good?

Ok…  Last night I had a LONG night going to Los Angeles to pick up two Italian boys from the airport.  So for the next month we will be hosting these boys in California and we are so excited to show them America for the first time!!  I will be around and can answer emails every day but we will be going places with them a I won't be on the computer as much.  Feel free to email me or call me though, I'm always around to help you if you need it!

I'll be sending the Contracts to everyone by this Friday.  So check your email for that.  I need to get that signed and sent back within 4 days to secure your spot!  So take a look at it, you can either fax it to me, email it back to me or send me a photo text with your signed signature pages filled out and then pop it in the mail.  Whatever works best for you.

Have a GREAT day everyone!!

Hugs,

Laura





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

So excited… SIGN UPS ARE LIVE!!

You can sign up over here --->  under the REGISTRATION PAGE!

I'll be around all day (until I have to pick up two Italian boys from the airport tonight…) so if you have any questions, feel free to email me or call me.  

See you next summer… in France and Italy!!!


Monday, July 14, 2014




Tomorrow is the DAY!!!

I have all the information up under the REGISTRATION PAGE over here ---->

So go take a look at the 3 Creative Retreats for 2015 and be back tomorrow morning at 9:00AM PST (California time) to SIGN UP!!!  At 9:00am the PayPal buttons will be LIVE!

You can also check out the teachers blogs and see how excited they are!!

Scrapbook Creative Retreat Teachers:  Both are European teachers that will truly INSPIRE YOU!!!  Céline is from France and Zoey is from Italy!!







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Art & Faith Creative Retreat Teachers:  Both are AMAZING Artists and Women of Faith.  I have wanted to have a Faith based Creative Retreat for a while now and I am so blessed and honored to have these two along for a week of INSPIRATION and CREATIVITY and sharing the gifts God has given all of us! 









This is such a blessing each year.  I can't believe this will be my 4th Annual Creative Retreats next summer!  Thank YOU for all your support and encouragement and for your willingness to follow me half way around the world!!  It truly is a JOY to do this each year and I am beyond amazed at this little DREAM of mine becoming something bigger then I ever imagined!!  

See you tomorrow,

Laura