Dripping Springs, TX - February 2019

Our early arrival in Austin had us feeling very optimistic for sunny weather but after a few days, right as our guests began to arrive to Dripping Springs, we realized the warmer temps would be taking a quick departure for our retreat weekend.

However, the beauty of this unplanned winter encounter allowed us to spend every evening cozied up by the fireplace while also practicing the ever evolving art of learning to see light in every situation.

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Upon arrival, our guests were welcomed with a glass of wine as they wandered our beautiful, spacious home for the weekend. We were so thrilled to have found the perfect Maker’s Luck house in Texas Hill Country. With ample space for all our guests to spread out & literally almost every detail considered, we couldn’t have been more fortunate to receive our guests in this modern space.

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Our first dinner brought both laughter & fast connections as we quickly discovered things we all had in common. It’s always exciting to watch how swift a group of strangers can ease into comfortable friendships in such a short time.

After a light dinner our first evening, due to the chilly temperatures, we opted to have a cheerful s’mores & hot chocolate bar indoors. The amazing team from La Pera in Austin treated us to 3 kinds of marshmallows as well as delicious Mexican hot chocolate.

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As the fire embers started to slow, after a long day of travel for most of our guests, we ended the first night excited & ready to begin our education the next morning!

Friday morning we awoke to a casual breakfast of Purely Elizabeth granola bowls, coffee, tea & the most perfect soft boiled eggs from our official egg wizard, extraordinaire, Marissa! We were so excited to dive into a morning of education as we gathered in the main living space, warmed by the fire.

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Our Friday education included manual mode, rules of composition for storytelling & discussing our favorite gear & lenses. And after a beautiful lunch from La Pera, we headed out to our first excursion at Treaty Oak Distillery.

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At Treaty Oak, we were greeted by Carter, who was our tour guide for the afternoon. He couldn’t resist welcoming us all with a shot of gin, which some of us took better than others.

Wrapped in serape blankets, we wandered the Distillery as we each took opportunities to sneak off & snap a few storytelling images. Carter was so helpful in explaining not only the fascinating history of Treaty Oak but also the layered process of distilling. He allowed us to try some odd samples, so we could taste to understand each step of what would eventually become the finished alcohol!

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After our tour we enjoyed a craft cocktail from the lounge & of course, we made a friend! Gus, probably the biggest puppy we’d ever seen, was completely fascinated with our group of ladies & made it a point to even hop into our group photo.

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Finally, we made our way to the Cocktail Lab where we had a private area to practice more storytelling images using beautiful, moody light & gorgeous cocktails!

Treat Oak is probably one of the most comfortable, laid back, open air distilleries we’ve been to & everyone was so kind & generous to our group. We can’t wait to go back!

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Our Friday evening concluded with a stunning candlelit dinner where we sat with wine & chatted long past the time the dishes were cleared.

Saturday morning, after our casual breakfast, we took a short walk to our upstairs apartment next door for our meditative sound bath. We were so fortunate to have Carol Johnson, from the Zero Gravity Institute in Austin, & her husband, venture out to Dripping Springs just to share her healing gift with us. This was probably one of the most fascinating events we treated our guests to as not one of them had ever experienced something like a sound bath.

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Carol did a wonderful job of explaining exactly what would happen before she began to play the crystal bowls & sing with her stunning voice. It was truly a special & unique wellness experience & so interesting to hear how everyone felt during & after the event. Obviously, we wanted a chance to take some pictures of Carol as well so she graciously agreed to play for us as we all took turns snapping as many pictures from as many angles as we could.

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After our meditative morning we headed back to the main house for an afternoon of learning Lightroom. It was so wonderful to be able to answer everyone’s questions as they came up & show the useful features of this popular editing tool. This was a session everyone continued to refer back to throughout the weekend as laptops would come out & our guests would dive into editing their own images.

We continued to be spoiled with all our meals and lunch did not disappoint.

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Saturday afternoon brought another fun storytelling opportunity as Trisha led a food photography styling session using Purely Elizabeth granola. Our guests watched as she explained her process of styling with movement & story in mind.

Then they got an opportunity to head off into their own corners of our home to find the best light & take a turn at styling their own granola bowls with props & linens! We loved walking around the house & seeing all the fun pockets of light our guests were able to locate. Some of our ladies had actually scoped out & laid claim to their chosen locations before the session began!

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After our food photography session, we snacked on granola while watching Trisha & Courtney edit some images they’d taken over the weekend. We love sharing this session with our guests as no two photographers uses the same tools in exactly the same way & our distinctly different editing styles are always the perfect example of this.

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The afternoon moved quickly as we all prepared to walk to the studio space at the back of the property for our Textile Weaving experience with Zanny Cox, a local Austin textile artist. Having Zanny come & teach us weaving was truly such a special treat. Not only had she secured locally, handmade looms for each of our guests, she also sources her yarn from a local, sheep farmer.

Zanny shared with us her process of weaving & how it’s helped her cope with anxiety through a moving meditation. And she was truly so patient with all of us as we worked our way through our weavings, always offering suggestions, kind corrections & enthusiasm. By the end of the afternoon, we all had a complete wall hanging to take home!

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Saturday evening we enjoyed our final meal around the table. Bethany & Rafael from La Pera have such an amazing commitment to local, fresh flavors & simple ingredients, every time we sat down to a meal, we all raved about how each new meal was the best!

Our evening concluded with our farewell ceremony that we make apart of every retreat. Gathered around the fire, we solidified friendships & looked forward to the things we’d carry away from our weekend together.

Sunday morning sat down for one more learning experience encouraging our guests to upload their images &  engage in an editing roundtable session. Everyone loved this as they were excited to upload & edit their images from the weekend. We offered suggestions, cheered our guests as they used new tools they’d learned & took turns gushing over everyone’s images.

After packing up, we lingered taking selfies & looking forward to the next time we’d meet!

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Our weekend would not have been complete without our generous & amazing sponsors. Our sponsors are a huge part of helping us welcome each guest personally in the most memorable way & we forever grateful to them for being apart of We Wanderers Retreat.

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FOTOstrap is an American made, genuine leather camera strap company from photographer, Katie Norris. Each of our guests was given a gorgeous, leather camera strap from their Designer collection.

Settle Ceramics is owned by local Austin ceramicist, Samatha, who makes heirlooms for the modern kitchen + home. Samantha provided each of our guests with a beautiful, handmade Cappuccino Mug.

Slow North of Austin shared their hand poured Tumbler Candles in a variety of amazing scents with our guests. This female owned Austin gift shop focuses on small local makers, natural candles & wellness.

Moon Rivers Naturals provided our guests with a bar of Facial Soap + Activated Charcoal Masks. This husband & wife apothecary, from Stefanie & Stephen, crafts handmade, small batch, organic skincare in Tyler, TX.

Karacotta Ceramics creates handmade, functional art pieces run out of Broad Studios of Austin. Kara Pendle’s Smudge Bundles include ethically-sourced, wild palo santo wood, organic sage, organic rosemary, wild flowers and lavender from the Karacotta garden, all wrapped in white, organic cotton string!

Purely Elizabeth made sure we had plenty of granola, not only for breakfasts, but also for our food photography styling session. Purely Elizabeth crafts granola, oatmeal & bars made with elevated, nutrient-rich ingredients out of Boulder, CO.

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Want to read more from one of our guests? Check out LaShawn’s recap and thoughts - What I learned at the We Wanderers Retreat