2019 travel dreams + Provence ed.

I love this sacred time between Christmas Day and New Years/back to school time.  Sure I work a little here and there but I really try to keep plenty of time for reading, kid/dog snuggles, naps and reflection.  I am trying to be gentle and realistic about goals while making room for dreams.

Top of the list is the elusive “work smarter not harder” idea and aspirations of trading traffic and hustle for travel that is ‘less freeway’ and more joy and inspiration!  Yep, visualizing/vision boarding/being intentional #allthethings of spending less dinero on Amazon and saving for trips like below.  I think we are all more and more about experiences and less about stuff! Am I right?? I have to remember this while in Sephora and Target in 2019!

Today is so wet and gloomy in Texas as you can see in my photo above, what better time to dream of Provence and Marrakesh??!!

YEP, I am a mother and small business owner but I WANT TO TRAVEL!  

I’ve been talking to my friend Mary Baskin recently about her Vagabond trips abroad.  And they are so special and unique. Sure there is shopping, but its good insider, local type shopping with stories about families that have been making ribbons for generations and true craftsmanship with soul! This is not your average tour.  It looks so amazing Mary! She is a seasoned pro y’all!

All of these beautiful photos were take by our mutual friend Ragan Cain. Ragan is the epitome of the modern day Southern belle! Smart and kind all while globe trotting and adventure seeking! Lovely both inside out out! You can follow Ragan on Instagram.  She ENJOYS + loves both beauty and life and details and people!  Seeing Ragan’s shutterfly albums has been such a treat.  So fun seeing the perspective of things she admires and takes pictures of along her journeys… Ragan, you make this homebody want to put on a scarf and GO! You should publish a coffee table book of your adventures!

 Mary and all of her contacts abroad that help her coordinate these adventures keep the groups small and the experiences non-touristy and slow paced so you can SAVOR the food and culture and beauty! SO many photos of Ragan and her friends laughing in her album and her savoring good drinks, and food, even lounging in a hammock.  Not how I remember some of my early European adventures; I am ready for a redo!

They see some of the best the landmarks and sites but also the rare and unexpected. And at a relaxing, fun pace.

Many of you know I have worked hard to dial back my “work travel” even working less in nearby Houston and def dialing both out of state work (except Maine, well and one in Lafayette ha, I am trying y’all).  God has truly answered prayer in 2019 bringing me MORE local work here at home in the Brenham/Round Top, TX area.  But its like once I gave up pushing to drive to work in the big city and accepting every project offer in other states, an opportunity has come up to travel abroad in the summer of 2019!  or even 2020!  

 I am still not sure if this 2019 trip with Mary Baskin and Vagabond will work out for ME but maybe it will for YOU and it is on my DREAMIN’ list. Who wants to dream and think about going with me?? What is on your dream list?? Where would you like to go and do?? Cooking time in a real French country kitchen? flea markets? high fashion back door tours?? Learning more about antiques or local culture?  I love that they don’t just do flea markets or shop. 

       This trip is as life should be, a mix of all things wonderful!

See more about Mary’s Vagabond International trips here including dates and more photos and info.  

And watch for a Part II on this post, I just couldn’t fit a sampling of  Ragan’s Marrakesh Vagabond tour 2018 photos in this post and I WANT YOU TO SEE!  Thank you again Ragan for sharing a bit of these amazing places through your eyes!  What joy!

And if you are wondering if this is the same Mary Baskin that I instagrammed about recently the answer is YES!  She is a Texan just like me and she has a charming place called The English Merchant’s Inn in Waxahachie, Texas, a small town near Dallas!  Mary is having a great social media class coming up soon in February and she has mentioned doing some US City tours as well.  I am watching her closely, I have long admired Mary and I am excited about hanging out and traveling with her more.  TEACH ME MARY!

 

Beholden

SO much to be grateful for… before I move on to sharing more about the Holiday class (which was amazing and I plan to share sources), and various shop/buy local opportunities, discount codes etc,  I just want to post first about gratefulness.

source

This has been a hard year for many in the Houston area and frankly the entire country and around the world.  It seems like the world is just going crazy.  My babies called me last night from their grandparents’ home to tell me a criminal was on the loose and an officer had been shot. (He was captured but not before he fatally shoot a Texas DPS officer, please pray for that family, so awful) The way my boys talked, being “brave” almost like it was just normal stuff made me so sad.  My heart broke not just for the downed officer and his family but also for my boys who are growing up in this new “normalcy” of violence and daily tragedy in this country.  I know this isn’t a political blog and you don’t come here for social commentary.  But its been rough.  Home, family and safety feel more precious to us than ever. I could go on and on about Hurricane victims and dusty empty homes where there was no turkey and no football this thanksgiving…just shells of former homes.  But rebuilding is going on and people are huddled together.  And I am BEHOLDEN to those stories, our Maker, our HOMES and good friends.  



Erin and Ben Napier say gratefulness and being Beholden is their secret sauce.  And I think they are on to something…it can be everyone’s secret sauce.  No matter the circumstance just like 1 These says! It’s not always easy or fun but it is good and right and God sees it.  Our little people see it.  And others feel it.

I am grateful to be a part of Ben & Erin’s BEHOLDEN issue of Good Grit Magazine….Good Grit has an awesome mission to celebrate all of the good and positive things of the New South..the makers and people and places that make up this special region. Thank you FrenchBlue Photography for taking images of my new home and Buff Strickland for sharing images from the homes of the O’Donnells and Bethel families.  

Photos in article, above: portion of photo of Bethel home in Houston, me shown in our new living room with same old toile pillows! 

FrenchBlue photography shots of our new kitchen and front door!

I will blog again soon about which specific images are which home and what one particular living room looked like during and after the flood…  If I can get to the place where I can stomach to post those images.  The homeowner has given me permission and FrenchBlue took some eerily beautiful photos. For now, know this. I am grateful for you my readers and clients.  For colleagues and work opportunities and patience and kindness from each of you as I have navigated my new normal.  In some ways the 3rd year of divorce has been the worse..still trying to get sea legs for sure.  

God is faithful.  and I am BEHOLDEN.

Now let’s prepare our hearts for advent and the birth of King!

Note: There is still so much need in Houston as the holidays approach, click here to be a part of Becki Griffin‘s Gift Card movement to get immediate help in the hands of families with needs!  There are so many ways to give but this is one way she has found that truly works.

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