Blackberry Farm Retreat
I recently collaborated with Blackberry Farm to design and teach a retreat called Welcome H(OM)E™️. The goal was to create an experience that would invite guests to return h(om)e to themselves. Mission accomplished! From the people, to the delicious food (and wine!), to the magic that is Blackberry Farm, it was an incredible experience.
Billy and I escaped the cold and jetted to California for a little baby moon. I’ve always wanted to go on a baby moon, only because the only thing I’ve ever wanted was a baby. This trip was an opportunity to relax, yes, but more importantly it gave me a chance to celebrate and enjoy my pregnancy. The first trimester was a practice in faith—getting through all the testing, facing my very real fear of losing yet another baby, and trying not to wait for the other shoe to drop. I don’t think I fully accepted this miracle until I could feel her moving inside of me. Each kick was a reminder—she’s real.
A Day In Napa
Billy and I took a drive out to Napa in a convertible. It was a beautiful day and we cruised under the hot sun with the top down. We visited three wineries and enjoyed some quality time just the two of us. It had all the makings of a perfect trip, and still, I struggled to shake my disappointment. Napa just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. There, I said it.
Blackberry Farm Retreat
I recently had the sincere pleasure of leading a yoga retreat at a very special place with some very special people. From the moment I stepped foot on Blackberry Farm I thought I had died and gone to heaven — if heaven had a 160,000 bottle wine collection and bred its own Italian truffle hunting dogs to sniff out what would later be shaved onto your dinner plate, which I’m pretty sure it does.
So like I said, heaven.
There were so many things I loved about Blackberry Farm — that the obvious focus on luxury was never ostentatious, but rather an expression of understated simplicity; that the sprawling 4,200 acre property felt untouched, almost wild, despite its quiet paths and endless miles of white fence; that the food was beyond words, although I will try my best to do it justice. What I really loved, though, were the people. Much like my beloved Jungle Bay in Dominica, the people who work at Blackberry Farm seem like they’re part of one big family. Each member of the staff, from the waiters to the farmers to the artisans, treat Blackberry Farm as if it were their own property; they each display a genuine joy in welcoming you into what feels like their home. This is rare, and it’s what makes Blackberry Farm so special. You feel like you’re a part of the family.
Billy and I took a trip to Charleston last week and we had such a great time! I had visited the city a few times as a child, but all I really remembered from those trips was that it was hoooooot. My grandmother, though, has always loved Charleston. It’s her spirit city. She used to tell me stories about how she and my grandfather would wander the streets and look at all the beautiful old homes. When my grandparents moved to Sanibel Island, they built a home inspired by the architecture of Charleston. My grandfather, an engineer, even traveled to Sullivan’s Island after Hurricane Hugo to investigate the homes that were still standing to see how they had been made; he infused those structural elements into the Sanibel house.
At Home In Provence
A few days ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Rodolfe and Monique, family friends of Estelle’s and her parents. Rodolfe was the contractor who managed the redesign of Estelle’s flat, and Monique cleans and cares for the neighbors who live across the hall. A friendship sparked. Estelle told me that I simply had to meet them and that I would have a heart attack when I saw their house.
Keep It Simple
I’ve enjoyed some incredible meals on this vacation. There was the traditional bouillabaisse at Nounou, the beautiful dorado at Bistrot du Port, and the cod ravioli with ricotta and leeks at Le Comptoire de la Tourraque in Nice. But I have to say that the meals I enjoy the most are the ones we make at home.
Pretty In Pink
Today was such a good day. We decided to visit the Bonnard Museum in a little town in the hills above Cannes called Le Cannet. The museum was featuring the work of Henri Manguin, a French artist who painted alongside Matisse and Cezanne. They say that all the greats came to the South of France to paint because of the amazing pink light.
I bought a lemlem before I left on my trip thinking I would wear it as a beach coverup, but one of my friends pointed out that I probably wouldn’t want to wear it to walk through town and down to the beach because it’s completely see-through. I packed it anyway hoping that maybe I could wear it around Estelle’s apartment. Then I got here and showed it to Estelle, who shook her head and said, “Bah, oui! Mais bien sûr que tu peux le porter! This is France!” (By the way, this is how we speak to each other: half French, half English.) So I put on my chic little beach coverup and proceeded to walk by at least a half dozen topless women on the beach, and it became clear that I was sporting the most conservative look on the French Riviera.