We recently hosted our first creative retreat in the quaint and beautiful town of Carmel by the Sea, California. The weekend was absolutely incredible and filled with life-changing moments, authentic conversation and delicious food and wine. A picturesque stone house nestled in the cliffs overlooking the ocean was where twelve vulnerable yet fearless ladies called home for four rejuvenating days.

It’s safe to say that the weekend will not soon be forgotten.

Women traveled from all over the U.S. and Canada, most of them solo, to embark on a restful, relaxing and life-giving weekend. They came with their own unique stories, backgrounds, professions and lives, but all had one common goal in mind: To re-inspire the creative mind and to connect with each other.

In the morning we woke up to the smell of the fresh ocean breeze and headed off to meditation and yoga sessions with Jackie Viramontez in the greenhouse. Following yoga, Kara Elise worked her magic in the kitchen to prepare healthy and seasonally inspired meals; these became a focal point of the weekend and a key place for bonding and heart-sharing conversation to take place. After breakfast would be a workshop, typically followed by a lovely afternoon hike or a trip to the Refuge Spa.

A Darling Recap: Our First Creative Retreat | DARLING

Speaking of workshops, the weekend was filled with various ones taught by artist Brigit Bell Ritchie. A favorite among guests was called “The Magic of Play,” a watercolor, charcoal and oil pastel lesson in which we ventured off to various locations on the property and painted images of the landscape that inspired us. Another workshop was titled “Abundance within Limitation,” which utilized mixed media and acrylic painting on canvas. It was taught on a beautiful grassy lawn overlooking stunning cliffs and the roaring ocean. On the final day, we all worked together to transform a 15-foot long blank canvas into a collaborative art piece that was both inspirational and a beautiful testament of the weekend.

 Overall, the retreat provided necessary time and space for us to breathe amidst busy schedules and the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Following the workshops and afternoon activities, a Darling Dinner-style meal was hosted each evening allowing us all to gather and reflect on the day’s events. Kara Elise prepared divine family-style meals, complete with wines by Club W and a beautiful table scape by the amazing florist, Jenn Sanchez. After dinner, we retreated to the living room and curled up on oversized couches next to a spacious wood burning fire to listen to our Editor-In-Chief, Sarah Dubbeldam, tell inspirational stories and curate creative writing workshops provoking thought and intention. We wrote, explored our creative minds, and often found ourselves drifting into long conversations with each other until it was time to sleep and repeat the day again.

A Darling Recap: Our First Creative Retreat | DARLING

Overall, the retreat provided necessary time and space for us to breathe amidst busy schedules and the hustle and bustle of daily life. Allowing the mind, body and soul to be nourished can require some sacrifice, but we each walked away without regrets for this weekend of rejuvenation, validation, and connection.

Film shot by Kate Rentz

Music thanks to: www.giorgiandleo.com

Special thanks to all who made this weekend possible:

Wine: Club W
Catering: By Kara Elise
Workshops: Brigit Bell Ritchie & Sarah Dubbeldam
Flowers: Jenn Sanchez Floral Design
Meditation & Yoga: Jackie Viramontez
Photography: Kate Rentz
Gift Bags: Apolis, Herbivore Botanicals, Further Products, Jenn Sanchez Floral Design, Poketo, Sugar Paper, Milk Jar Cookies
Planning by Darling Events Director: Chelsea Carter

Here is a sneak peak at our location for the next Darling Creative Retreat in Ojai, CA June 2-5, 2016. Head over to shop.darlingmagazine.org/events for more information and to purchase tickets. Only 13 spots remaining!

Images via Kate Renz


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