Blogger Retreat. I feel silly calling it that, because it was so much more. To me, this first time, three-day event was what I imagine a mastermind session to be, except with hitchhiking. I’ll explain.
Hosted by Lynne Knowlton and Lisa Smith, we took a deep dive into some serious topics that I’m not at liberty to discuss, but we also had a lot of fun doing it. Our biggest challenge was to be open to whatever ideas, opinions, and ah-ha moments came our way. So, not hard at all, really.
Since I can’t talk about what went on at this retreat, I will share some of my personal experiences, observations and a peek at the haven/heaven – same, same – that is Chez Knowlton.
The first muscle I had to stretch was trust. The sight unseen, hitchhike from the airport in a Mom Van, share a house in the Canadian countryside with complete strangers kind of trust. The OM-Gee-what-if-I-snore-burp-fart-in-my-sleep-awake style of trust. So far, so good. At least, no one complained…yet.
So, maybe complete strangers isn’t 100% true, since I knew four of the nine participants already. (Plus me, I guess.) The other four quickly showed themselves to be women I want at my funeral. I’m not inviting just anyone, you know. I have no patience for catty, hyper-competitive, undercutting behavior anymore. I’m too old for that sh*t, y’all. After a couple of recent rocky lady experiences, I am happy to report that these eight women restored my faith in the fairer gender within minutes of arriving in Canada.
The second muscle I had to stretch was my imagination because – cattiness comes back in play here – after being assaulted in a hammock, I might be having a litter of kittens with one of the Knowlton’s three barn cats. They’re all female too, so it was a little awkward.
I kid. Sort of. I’m sure stranger things have happened. Time will tell. Kat time.
Did you know the Ontario outback looks a lot like Bali? I didn’t either, but it sure does at Knowlton House. Lynne imports beautiful furniture and accessories from the exotic locale and use the goods to transform her compound with a lush tropical vibe.
Zen, actually. I felt completely at home. In her son’s room. In a bunk bed. By the pool. In the kitchen. Everywhere.
So much so that the first thing I did after the 148+ kilometer drive from the airport was pee…in the outhouse. Yep. You read that right.
Life is short. May as well enjoy the little things, like kilometers and Celsius and treehouses and outhouses, while they last, eh?
Let me take you on a tour and introduce you to the attendees:
(Yes, I know it’s technically spelled Gnudda. Okay, it would be if it were an actual word. It’s based on an inside joke in my family – a silly spelling error I made out loud in an OMG! group about a silent “K,” – that seemed to fit the Knowlton’s gnome, therefore I created a new term, Knudda. Live with it.)
A big thank you to Derek Patterson, our phenomenal chef and consigliere, and to Tristan Knowlton, his sous chef and our group shot photographer. You guys are the awesome sauce on fabulosity pie! (See how their efforts paid off here.)
My biggest thanks and giant hugs go to Lynne and Lisa for pulling this EPIC event together. These two women know how to woo and activate the hell out of a retreat.
Bravo, ladies. Bravo!
To My Lovely Companions on This Journey:
To each and every one of you, I see your collaborative spirits, open minds and collective creative genius. Thank you for restoring my faith in womankind. It was a tough task that you didn’t know you had to perform, and the fact that you did it anyway amazes me.
Lynne, opening up your home and your heart to potential crazies is a big damn deal. I am grateful for your warm welcome and loving embrace. You are both Epic and The Shit.
Lisa, you are First Class, all the way. Thanks for all of your kindness, hard work, attention to detail, and for letting me rev your engine. I’m proud to call you friend.
Lisa, Decor Mentor maybe understating your excellence in all areas. Please consider the term Guru. It suits you. Here’s to more fabulous dinners and walks!
Norma, if there is a funnier, bawdier, more supremely elegant woman on the planet I have yet to meet her. I must know your secret and see Paris through your eyes. (Yes, I am plotting a foreign retreat!)
Janet, your maven brain is ah-mazing and your kindness is unrivaled. I can’t wait to see what your future holds. You rock!
Anita, whatever the word for a smart, sweet, sharing, caring beautiful woman is, you define it. Let’s make one up if it doesn’t exist. (Knita? Just a thought.) Thanks for picking up this hitchhiker, shuttling me in the Mom Van, sharing your insights and all the amazing treats!
Everyone paid their own travel expenses and chipped in for food – that’s how much we all needed this experience – but we did have a few sponsors. They were so stealth I have no idea what they provided.
And a word to those sponsors: You are getting a big shout out because didn’t ask for a dang thing!
Your kindness is appreciated!