Happy Monday, friends! It’s finally all cozy and Christmasy in our home…we picked and cut down our tree this weekend (at our favorite free farm: Snickers Gap Tree Farm), and keep adding little touches of holiday cheer here and there. I wish this season never ended, but alas, it’s fleeting nature is probably why we love it so much!
My goal for this retreat was to explore, together with the students and the group of instructors, how to live a more intentional life. How to infuse our lives with simple, slow beauty. How to make little choices and how to equip ourselves with the skills necessary to life the life we desire. Our days began with morning yoga followed by a piping hot breakfast prepared by my friends and extremely talented cooks (and sisters), Talia (owner & artist at The White Hearth) and Hannah (floral designer at Ballinger & Co and incredible chef) Olmstead. After our leisurely breakfast, we gathered for our morning workshop.
These photos are by Sweet Root Village and are from our first full day together at the retreat. On first workshop was taught by Anna Watson Carl of The Yellow Table. She led students in a beautiful hospitality discussion, and then a granola making workshop, as inspiration for holiday hostess gifts. She then shared her scrumptious recipe with us, and students made their own variations. While the granola baked, I walked students through a food styling and photography workshop. After lunch, which was also prepared by the oh-so-wonderful Olmstead sisters, we had a little break and then Rachel at Sweet Root Village took the students on a foraging adventure through the woods. They explored for about an hour, and brought home some of the loveliest seasonal foliage, greenery, and berries. I was si surprised by what they found! After warming up over a hot cup of coffee or wassail, students dove right into the swag-making workshop, also led by Rachel at Sweet Root Village. The students were so incredibly creative, and designed stunning pieces. They hung them throughout Foxfire Mountain House and we enjoyed them for the rest of the weekend!
During the afternoon foraging and floral design workshop, we were surprised with a visit by Beth, Matt, and baby Eulalie. It was pretty magical; I hadn’t seen Beth since our Gathering from Scratch workshop back in August of 2014, and they just happened to be upstate the same week we were! Beth is a gem, and I am so incredibly happy for her and her beautiful, growing family!
After an afternoon break, we sat down for a hearty family style dinner, prepared by Anna and her ever-so-wonderful assistant Jane. The meals at this retreat were simply spectacular. Simple, hearty, reminiscent-of-home, perfectly selected dishes. I am so blessed to have worked with Jane, Anna, Talia, and Hannah. These are some of the best, most talented women I’ve ever, ever worked with, and I hope/dream of the day we can work together again! More to come on these ladies – and all our instructors – in Part 3 or 4. 😉
And finally, I wanted to share more about some of the partners featured in today’s blog post! As I’ve mentioned previously, our partners’ involvement really completes my A Daily Gathering retreats! We partner with a selection of brands who send goodies/supplies for our workshops and to make our students’ time more beautiful and meaningful.
Stephanie Basralian Ceramics – I’m so lucky to know Stephanie IRL (she’s local to the DC area). She sent the most perfect (and I repeat, perfect) ceramic bowls for each student. I mentioned on Instagram that I believe these bowls are the form of the bowl – all bowls should aspire to be like these bowls. The glaze, the shape, and feel, the size. I’m so grateful for Stephanie’s support of this retreat! Her bowls are definitely a must-have for any bowl-lovers out there!
Falcon Enamelware – The Falcon Enamelware folks sent a selection of my personal favorite – their coal black enamelware – for use throughout the weekend. Their mixing bowls are the perfect assortment of sizes, and I simply love using them. After using these pieces, I need more black in my life and am eyeing their mini tumblers!
Cordial Coffee Co – Brandon and Kaitlyn at Cordial Coffee are so awesome, and generously donated coffee for each student to take home AND coffee for us to drink throughout the weekend. Brandon roasted the beans just a day or two before the retreat began, and they were absolutely perfect! I love their coffee subscription; I just signed up and got my first bag in the mail this week. Perfect for anyone who loves coffee and forgets to keep the coffee cupboard stocked! Any for Northern Virginia locals, they have a wonderful coffee shop in Berryville! Check it out next time you’re in the area!
Facture Goods – Aron is one of those folks who you just really wish lived closer. I’ve “known” him for several years now, but our friendship is still only online-based. (We need to change this). He’s such a talented wood-worker, ceramicist, artist, sculptor, businessman, etc. My kitchen is chock-full of Aron’s pieces, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. His pieces are beautiful, functional, and unique! He selflessly sent over a few goodies for each student, including an egg cup, salt/spice spoon, clay spoon, and a clay & wood honey dipper. His pieces are perfect for kitchen prop collections!
Bomisch – I feel like I’m old friends with Morgan at Bomisch. Her shop and home are so wonderfully curated (take a look at her Instagram, and you’ll see what I mean), and we’ve worked together several times in the past few years. I’m determined we’ll meet one day and be fast “real” friends 😉 If you live near Asheville (or are traveling there), you should visit her brick & mortar! Morgan sent over my favorite item from Bomisch, her forged iron shears! We used their shears for our foraging and floral design workshop, and again throughout the weekend. I use these shears in my own home every single day; they are incredibly functional and oh-so-perfectly designed!
One Hope Wine – What’s a weekend away with 20 ladies without a little (read: a lot) of wine? I was so incredibly grateful to One Hope Wine for sending a selection of their white wines for us all to enjoy throughout the weekend. We had an extra special dinner Saturday evening (photos to come), and we celebrated cocktail hour with oysters and their Glitter Edition Brut Sparkling Wine. It was scrumptious, and would make such a festive addition to Christmas and New Years celebrations!
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