Monday, November 18, 2013

Well it has been a VERY busy weekend here with all the talk about "The Living Studio" Are Retreat with Jeanne!  I'm so excited to see how many people have signed up for this AMAZING week because I KNOW it's going to be something they will remember for the rest of there lives!

As you can see from my pictures that I post on here and from the PASSION I have for this area of Italy, it really is a special place that time kind of left alone…

It's the perfect place to escape to and take time to enjoy life.  To feel the history, to be a part of the art because it's all around you and you are living IN it everywhere you walk.  This is a place that makes it easy to take it all in... the food, the culture, the art and the beauty.  No wonder the Italians are SO romantic!  hahaha

Just look at how they display plants and flowers everywhere you look…

Time has a way of making things even more beautiful too.  All the old buildings around the lake show their AGE, but those cracks and stains and moss covered walls tell a story and give this place it's character.  In the same way, I love to talk to the people here.  To hear their stories, to talk to them in the caffe's and to see this place through their eyes is a real treat.  Their history here is beautiful too…

But I have to say that I find it almost embarrassing that I am huffing and puffing as I walk up all the steps in town and I see men and women well into their 80's walking up and down all the steps like its just a walk in the park!  :)

Speaking about the people here, there's one such story I have to share…

When we come here every year, my family can't WAIT to have morning coffee at Caffe Bar Sport.  We DREAM about their cappuccino… It's just the best.  I can't find anywhere else that makes it as good as Augusto and Emilio do.  Two brothers who were born in Bellagio, grew up with their mother and father here, and have had this cafe since 1919!  In fact their father is the first person who brought GELATO to Bellagio!  They have pictures all over their cafe with them as little boys and their dad with the first gelato cart down by the water.  It's these kinds of stories that make this place special.  To hear their stories, to see them still here and to get to know them… it's priceless.  And you know what else,  getting pictures Augusto sends me on FACEBOOK (yes, they are on FB) of Bellagio so I don't get too "homesick" for my 2nd home is also a priceless gift.  He knows how much I LOVE his town and he's so kind to send me photos from time to time that show me life in Bellagio throughout the year.  We have friends all over the lake now that truly make this place like home.  That is why I love coming back each year and why I love to bring YOU here.  It's not just a vacation destination… it's a place you can become a part of, get to know the people, hear their history here and be changed because of it.

This is were Caffe Bar Sport is in the upper village 

This is Emilio giving a little one some gelato…

So if you come this summer, Caffe Bar Sport is a must.  Don't forget to say Hi to August and Emilio… And you can check out their Facebook page and LIKE it too!

I really hope you can make one of the retreats next year!  It truly is a joy for me to organize these events and get to know everyone that comes each year.  I love showing all of YOU why I love this beautiful lake and it's people.  To me it's about bringing people from around the world together in a place that offers so much beauty and nature and LIFE… and then leaving knowing that we now have made new friendships and little bit of "history" was made in this place that we will remember forever.

And we found out a little bit more about ourselves in the process as well as learning about this place we have journeyed together… 

Here are the dates and spaces available for the 3 Retreats I have for next Summer:

1.  3rd Annual Creative Retreat - May 17 - 24th, 2014 - $3,150

This is a Scrapbook and Mixed Media Art Retreat with Heidi Swapp, Lisa Pace and Rebecca Cross

THERE ARE 2 SPOTS THAT JUST OPENED UP!!  email me directly for information.


2.  Creative Retreat - May 24 - 31st, 2014 - $2,400

This is a more relaxed event with less art classes and more exploring time

THERE ARE 4 ONLY APARTMENTS LEFT!  you can sign up via this blog or email me.


3.  The Living Studio - Creative Retreat - June 21 - 28, 2014 - $2,949

This is a Art Retreat with Jeanne Oliver and will be an amazing week of exploring art and life in Lake Como!!

THERE ARE ONLY 6 SPOTS LEFT!!  you can sign up via this blog or email me.


All the details of each retreat are under the REGISTRATION page ---> on the right side of this blog.  You can check out the FAQ page for other useful information or feel free to email me any questions you may have.

A few questions I've had over the weekend that I thought might be helpful to put here:

1. If I want to come by myself and have a private room, what would that cost?

Yes, you CAN come by yourself.  We have most people coming on their own and we put three ladies to an apartment, unless you want a private room.  If that is the case, you can stay in a private room at the Hotel Florence.  This is a very nice hotel next door to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and I use this hotel every year as a place for private rooms or people who have difficulty walking b/c it's right on the waterfront.  Since the cost of the retreat is based on triple occupancy though (to keep the costs down) there is a charge of $425 for the week for a private room upgrade.

2. I want to come with my husband or family, can they be a part of your retreats?

Yes, they can!  I can totally relate to why you would want them to experience this amazing place as well.  There are a few options for accommodations and different prices based on each option, so it would be best to email me how many people and I can get back to you on pricing.  If family members want to come to the retreats and not participate in the art aspect of the retreat, then the cost of the registration fee for them would be the price listed, minus the art supplies/classes and goody bag.  

3. What if I have a special diet restriction?

It's NOT a problem as long as you let me know ahead of time.  Italy is very aware of Gluten Free and other health restrictions and even though it's the land of pasta and pizza, it is pretty easy to enjoy the food here with whatever diet you need to live by.  Just please make me aware of it in advance so I can organize that with all the restaurants we will be enjoying.

Well, I hope this helps everyone who is interested in joining me next summer for a retreat!  It's an amazing place and I would LOVE to share it with YOU!

Again, feel free to email me anytime.

Have a GREAT day,


"The earth has music for those who listen."  Shakespeare 

Friday, November 15, 2013

I don't think I can get any more excited than I am right now… see, I have a SECRET!!

And I FINALLY get to share about an AMAZING EVENT that I am collaborating with Jeanne Oliver on!  Jeanne and I met in 2012 when we both taught at an event together in Los Angeles.  We hit it off immediately and I knew I wanted to ask her to teach at my Creative Retreats in Italy.  That friendship has grown and I can't tell you how AMAZING it was to spend time with her in Lake Como this summer, having her teach and learning ART from her!

She is an AMAZING artist, a lovely soul and dear friend that I am SO BLESSED to know.  That is why I can't WAIT any longer to announce that we are organizing an event TOGETHER...

In my {2nd home} of Lake Como, Italy!!!!

When she taught at my Creative Retreat this summer, I could tell she fell instantly in {LOVE} with Lake Como.  But then who doesn't??  I also knew I wanted to have her BACK to teach again because I also fell in LOVE with her JOYFUL SPIRIT.   So we talked, we dreamt and we planned…

Jeanne has been wanting to do her own "Art Retreats" and her vision is AMAZING for these retreats!  Believe me, you DON'T want to miss out on what she plans to do at her art retreats.  So we talked and decided to combine forces for a One-of-a-kind Event Next June!!  


"The Living Studio" - {Lake Como} 

Let me have her tell you about it in her own words…


Do you remember when I first told you about my idea for

"I wanted each retreat to be one of a kind.
Each city has a heartbeat all its own and I wanted to hear it and share it.
I wanted the retreat to revolve around the exhibits, some of the best food a city has to offer, finding the perfect cafe, creating art each day inspired by the art we experience and exploring based upon the city."

It has been so much my desire to create creative retreats, day trips and community groups that get you out into your town, city, world...and make art!
Last summer I had the honor of teaching for Laura McCollough in Bellagio, Italy.

This area of Italy stole my heart and I have dreamed of going back.
I am so giddy to tell you that Laura and I have collaborated to bring you the first: 

The Living Studio {Lake Como}.

Join us June 21-28th as we explore Italy and create art.

Our week will be the perfect combination of excursions, art and time to explore.
Bellagio and the other villages along the lake are some of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen.

The water, the villages, the mountains, the history, the architecture, the foods and the sweet smell of flowers fill the air.
Your retreat will begin with being picked up at the airport in Milan for a beautiful ride to Bellagio.
Once you get there you will get settled into your apartment at Villa Serbelloni and have time to relax.

We will all meet together on the pergola overlooking Lake Como for a welcome and dinner.
Your evening will end with the annual torchlight celebration.
This is only the beginning.

Imagine waking up and making your way to the Villa Serbolloni for the best cappuccino (I have to have at least one each morning).

Your days may include lunch by the pool, a hike to a nearby castle in Varenna or an art museum in Como.
You may find yourself sketching an old church or learning to sculpt with paper clay.
How about an afternoon kayaking on Lake Como and stopping for gelato later in the day?
You will spend hours exploring small alleyways and and cobblestone streets.
Enjoy Italian dinners overlooking the waters, mountains and islands along the lake.

You will enjoy a tour of the lake in a vintage boat, exploring a villa and lunch with peach sorbet that will make you cry it is so good:-)
You will take a cooking class that will connect you to this region and let you connect your trip with those you love once you return home.
You will be inspired by the sites, sounds, smells and tastes of the region.

You will never just sit in a room and make art.
You will make art in the town, at a cafe, with your friends on the balcony outside your apartment or in the park.
You only need to bring your clothes and leave room for the treasures and art supplies you will bring home.
All of your art supplies will be provided.
Each day that we will do art  you will receive new art supplies for the day.

You will also be given prompts that you can use if you choose to be open to the art all around you throughout the villages.
Our hope is that this will not just be a will be opening up your heart and mind to creating your studio wherever you go.

Sounds AMAZING right??

Well, we welcome YOU to come along on this journey with us!

To sign up, you must register HERE ----->  UNDER REGISTRATION ON THE RIGH SIDE OF THIS BLOG.  By paying the $400 deposit, you secure your spot.

Space is VERY limited so get your deposit in SOON!

Here's what is included in the price:  $2,949*

  • 7 nights lodging at L’Ulivo Apartments at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy (triple occupancy)
  • Transfer to and from the airport to Bellagio**
  • 5 dinners in and around Lake Como
  • 4 lunches in and around Lake Como
  • 2 Breakfasts enjoyed on the apartment balcony
  • Art classes in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Como
  • Cooking class with a local chef
  • Lake and Villa Tour
  • Opening night reception on the gorgeous pergola overlooking Lake Como 
  • Excursions around the lake
  • Art supplies and prompts
  • Snacks and gift bag in each apartment
  • Taxi's and Ferry's to and from provided dinners and excursions on itinerary
  • Hotel and Room Taxes
  • Live music nightly in the Music Room
  • Plus time to relax by the pool or sit at the waters edge
  • Time to stroll the streets, have some Gelato or shop
  • Plenty of opportunities to explore the lovely towns of Lake Como
  • An UNFORGETTABLE experience you will carry with you forever!

* Tuition does not include airfare

All the details and information are on Jeanne's blog as well as this blog.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please check out the FAQ page ---> on this blog for all the INFORMATION and DETAILS.  There is very important information on everything from the airports to fly into, the shuttle pick up to the type of weather you can expect.  I am here to answer any questions you may have as well, so feel free to email me at any time!


I am only taking a NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT OF $400 starting on November 15th.  Then I will send everyone who signs up the CONTRACT to sign and send back via email, fax or mail within 7 days to hold your spot!  Then you can sign up for the Payment Plan or Payment in Full via a Money Order.  The Payment plan will be for 6 monthly payments on the 15th of each month and will incur a $10 processing fee if you use PayPal.

So sign up NOW and enjoy this INCREDIBLE trip with Jeanne and I in Italy!!