Boho in Ojai

We literally stopped by the side of the road, snapping photos and giggling like, well, five-year-olds, when we stumbled upon the Ojai Music Garden. We were welcomed by a piano, wild herbs, and a lone musician playing his flute to the tune of our shoot…

On my recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to shoot with my friend of 10+ years, Stacey Millet of Love, Oliver + Michelle.


On a Ventura Botanical Gardens hike, we tossed around ideas for a shoot. So many ideas and so little time. Not to mention lack of wardrobe on my traveling part.


Later that day, Stacey (or as I endearingly call her, Bobacey), sent me a text saying “we should definitely shoot. Whatever you’re wearing, who cares, just casual. Then cook dinner”. Twist my arm! Sold! All the above entail my version of the perfect day: creativity, food, and my best friend.


Feeling about five years old again, I rummaged through my Mother’s closet. I have one very cute Mama…and as sparkly as she is to my boho, the perfect white hippie dress hangs in her wardrobe.

So, Stacey and I set out to Ojai. No locations in mind. We literally stopped by the sides of the road, snapping photos and giggling like, well, five-year-olds, when we stumbled upon the Ojai Music Garden. We were welcomed by a piano, wild herbs, and a lone musician playing his flute to the tune of our shoot.


A highlight of Ojai: picking sage bouquets!


Love, Oliver + Michelle  is a husband and wife photography team available for California and Destination Weddings, Lifestyle, and Food Photography.

Ventura Botanical Gardens: 4328 Westmont Street, Ventura, CA 93003

Ojai Musicians’ Garden: Somewhere off Rice Road. I promise to post more details if I can find any online. However, it just may be an Ojai boho secret.

Deep Thought of the Day

We writers, poets, painters, and musicians face difficult, contradictory Calls to Adventure. We must fully immerse ourselves in the world to find the material for our art. But we must also at times withdraw from the world, going alone to actually make the art. Like many heroes of story, we receive conflicting Calls, one from the outer world, one from our own insides, and we must choose and make compromises. To answer a higher Call to express ourselves, we artists may have to refuse the Call of what Joseph Campbell terms the “blandishments” of the world.

When you are getting ready to undertake a great adventure, the Ordinary World knows somehow and clings to you. It sings its sweetest, most insistent song, like the Sirens trying to draw Odysseus and his crew onto the rocks. Countless distractions tempt you off your track as you begin to work. Odysseus had to stop up the ears of his men with wax so they wouldn’t be lured onto the rocks by the Sirens’ bewitching song.

However, Odysseus first had his men tie him to the mast, so he could hear the Sirens but would be unable to steer the ship into danger. Artists sometimes ride through life like Odysseus lashed to the mast, with all senses deeply experiencing the song of life, but also voluntarily bound to the ship of their art. They are refusing the powerful Call of the world, in order to follow the wider Call of artistic expression.

The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler


The Secret

Perhaps I’m onto Eastern Medicine’s secret.

Yoga. AyurvedaChinese Medicine. Meditation.

Harmony between our body-mind-spirit. Our Yin and Yang Organs. All seven chakras.

It’s all the same yet different, inevitably intertwined, and wonderful.

Find balance, do what pleases your nature. Be happy. Take a moment to breathe and think it all over. Listen to your body and heart more than your head. Don’t eat too much. Relax more. Feel your feelings and release ‘em. Think happy thoughts. Keep a lil’ faith in what you believe in, the magic of this life. Travel, but know wherever you go, there you are. So you might as well do all the above to cultivate your best, happiest self anywhere.

And watch the qi (energy in Chinese), sukha (ease in Sanskrit), and positive vibrations from a cellular level (check out Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton) flow.


Spa Girl Abroad: Kalani Oceanside Retreat


Greetings from Kalani Oceanside Retreat

A hidden haven on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawai’i, Kalani Oceanside Retreat is nothing but a pure escape to the jungle at it’s finest. And your off-the-grid experience can be as luxury, or as rustic, as you’d like it to be .

From modern cottage to treehouse to big ole’ hale (Hawaiin for ‘house’) to glamping with wi-fi, Kalani’s got it all.

Indulging in massage, sauna, a full schedule of mind-body activities, plus wandering an endless jungle trail surrounding the property makes Kalani one of the rare places on earth I’ve never wanted to leave. What’s great about Kalani is you can be as social or introverted as you wish…the community feel is thriving, yet plenty of solo time can be found to write, reflect, meditate. It’s a writer’s paradise, quite literally.

The food you ask? Incredible. The kitchen caters to everyone from vegan to paleo to the kid who loves Lucky Charms (you’ll probably find the organic version here, though ;). Three times per day, a conch is blown which lures Kalani guests and their hundred or so volunteers head to the most beautiful buffet that rivals Whole Foods (get in line early or show up on the late end to avoid waiting long). Plus, you’ll undoubtedly graze on tropical delights such as guava and starfruit that fall from trees here.

I was first introduced to Kalani when I attended a 30-day intensive yoga teacher training at the retreat center. Kalani’s feels much like a second home to me, and has been my go-to getaway spot on the islands ever since. E como mai (welcome) to my one of my second homes :)

Would love to hear about your experience at Kalani, and/or retreat centers like it, fellow Spa Girls and Guys! I LOVE discovering new retreat spa centers. I’m heading to Bali next month…send me your tips!

Mahalo (thank you) and Coconut Kisses,

Beach Girl Abroad

Motivation Monday : Project Gratitude [Round 2]

Elisa Lipton:

Deep Thought of the Day:

Embrace gratitude with grace, light, and ease. Let words of gratitude cycle through your head, replacing worries, doubt, darkness.

Check out this amazing post embracing all things gratitude, written by my lovely former Island Child-turned-Pacific Northwest sister Leslie Schipper @ Forever Stoked!

Coco kisses,
Beach Girl

Originally posted on Forever Stoked:

gratitude leavenworth “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.” 
  “Project Gratitude”  is meant to be shared – so I asked friends to contribute and was stoked by everyones enthusiasm and eagerness to answer. I received way more replies (some of them essay length ;)) than I anticipated so I will continue posting answers as the month goes on.  Thanks for supporting the project and participating!
I am grateful for the gift of faith. I am grateful that I believe in a higher power. I was blessed to have been brought up in an interfaith household. At an early age my other engrained the mantra, “God is with me, God is helping me, God is guiding me.” I was taught we can not be whole unless we nurture mind, body, and spirit. Never neglect your spirit. My mother and I no longer…

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