Six Petals Retreat – Costa Rica

My Six Petals Retreat was an amazing experience! I was so happy to land at the La Carolina Lodge – a wonderful 172-acres resort nestled in the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest. I spent a luscious seven days of self-care with a full menu of Pilates, yoga, meditation, delicious food created on site through a “farm to table” service, wood-fired hot tubs, and microdermabrasion facials and massages by the river.



The owners of the lodge, Bill and Karen Harrell, have created a family of Ticos (an affectionate nickname for the people of Costa Rica) with so much talent that they are happy to share with the guests.

Alejandro, a local guide and cowboy with an impressive knowledge of medicinal plants and animal husbandry (he tends cows, pigs, horses, and chickens) as well as serious gardening skills, took the ladiesimg_8283

horseback riding (I opted out due to my neck issues), and he also took us to Rio Celeste where we tracked a tapir and saw a family of monkeys. We also saw sloths, parrots, toucans and so much more on the vast property that is so incredibly well taken care of…. and the colours of the tropical flowers growing lushly everywhere blew my mind! Every evening before dinner, the retreat facilitator Teana would read us a poem or passage by Thich Nhat Hanh or Susan Piver to give thanks to the kitchen crew for the incredible dinners they made us night after night.


We all sat together and enjoyed the sumptuous meals and appreciated all the work that went into them – growing, harvesting and preparing rice, black beans, veggies, cheese, breads, fruits, chocolate, coffee, and meat! All grown on-site alongside 5000 pineapple plants! I found it all to be very inspiring considering I arrived home just  in time to get started on our garden planting season.

We did 3 hours of yoga, Pilates and meditation every day, as well as went on walks and enjoyed each other’s company.


On International Women’s Day, Teana organized a day of silence and it was a pretty great way to share our support with the marches around the world as well as a learning experience to go within; we also went on a beautiful walk to the lake on the property where we enjoyed the amazing view and went boat paddling. We supported each other all day and gave thanks to this earth we share – it really was a beautiful experience.


I’ll never forget this journey I got to share with one of my best friends Maura, as we celebrated our birthdays, met new people, indulged in some well-earned self-care, and brought home so many memories and a new modality practice. xoxo

I invite you to check out all my photos on my Pinterest account here.


Links to the retreat and the lodge: Six Petals Retreats and La Carolina Lodge


Bon Voyage!

On March 3rd, I will be off to San Miguel in Costa Rica for my first trip in a long time with my best friend to celebrate our birthdays!!! We will be attending a retreat in a tropical paradise, facilitated by Six Petals Retreat (check out their website!)


Continuing with my goal to become the healthiest version of myself, I am embarking on a well-earned Pilates retreat and my physical health in sunny, tropical Costa Rica! Of course I will be keeping up with my daily art practice based on my morning tarot reading and the ensuing sketch. There is much to look forward to and I’ll share when I get home as there is no internet service so no screen time – another perk of the retreat is to take time out! But trust me, I’ll be taking lots of photos. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of winter, spring is right around the corner, promise! On the West Coast of BC, we had a lot of snow and rain filling our wells, our creeks and our lakes to prepare us for the upcoming gardening season. Still, some blue skies have started to peek through the clouds, bringing us hope and a reminder of the weather to come. This is my first trip leaving Canada in two decades so I am pretty excited and thankful to my man for making it possible… In the meantime, remember to stay warm and I will see you on the other side! xoxo

Pranamat – What’s That?

I am happy to announce that I recently joined the ambassador program for Pranamat! You will hear me chat about it every once and a while and since you might be asking yourself “Pranamat, what’s that?” So here is the answer – Pranamat is a portable massage & acupressure mat that releases back pain, improves sleep, boosts energy, and most of all, helps with muscle ache & migraine headaches. I have been using my set for two months now, and I cannot believe the difference I feel on a daily basis. I use my mat twice a day: once in the morning for 15 mins and once in the evening for half an hour. I also use my Pranamat when I travel (and I can’t wait to use it on the plane to Costa Rica!!!), while I do my knitting, and when I am working on my computer.


You may not hear me speak about my disability very often but I suffer from degenerated disc disorder, which causes me a lot of neck and back pain as well as serious headaches, along with other effects to my physical health. Since using my Pranamat, I live a more fulfilling life and I haven’t had a single migraine headache! I am not saying it took all my pain away, just that it made it more manageable. And because I am so happy with the results, I decided to join the ambassadors program because I have firsthand experience to its amazing effects and the relief I feel. I honestly believe in their product and if I can help one other person manage their pain, I would be thrilled. So I invite you to check out their website which I linked below and if you’re interested in the product please feel free to use my 10% discount code, also below (every little bit helps). As you may know, my goal this year is to give myself a lot of self-care, build a new art installation, and be the healthiest version of myself I can be; this will take a bit of a time investment, as well as a strong desire and willpower. But I am worth it and so are you!!!


Laura Balducci

Pranamat info:
website:    –  discount code: LAURA10


Weekly Photo Challenge – a Face in the Crowd

There is a theory that says every snowflake is different – not as if we could ever compare every snowflakes to each other… The same can be said about every Face in the Crowd – each unique even though it is said we all have doppelgangers out there! Snowflakes float through the air individually, each with theirs own patterns and sparkle, but if you look close enough, each one has a face too. wink wink!!!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Sweet

Awesome Maple Syrup

As many people around the world know, Canada produces some Sweet maple syrup… a lot of Sweet maple syrup! But what fewer people may know is that Canada has only become the world’s top producer since the 1930’s (before that it was the US). And today, Canada produces more than 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup. In 2016, about 73,000,000 litres of the delicious golden liquid were produced!Maple syrup is made by harvesting the sap  of the Sweet sugar maple trees in the springtime and then boiling it down to the desired consistency. I happen to be a big fan! I use it in my baking, to sweeten my tea and my yogurt… and yes, sometimes, I just eat it straight off the spoon!!!

Staycation = Art-Vacation


Everyone’s idea of a  perfect staycation may differ, but whatever your idea is, I strongly suggest you try it some day. First off, no matter how you choose to spend it, it will be spent where you live and taking advantage of your local attractions, your home, your family and your favourite activity (mine is doing art in case you didn’t know!) I decided on the fly to take a mini staycation last week. For me, this means doing all the things I just mentioned above but adding to the mix staying in the present moment and taking a break from social media – which also means something I highly recommend – no screen time!!!

My staycation coincided with a very sunny and crispy week, weather-wise, so I spent a lot of quality time with my family and in my art studio being creative and admiring the gorgeous weather from the warmth of my house. I felt it would also be great timing to spend time preparing my upcoming vacation to Costa Rica with my best friend. Not only am I excited about going there but also because I know that I am due to return one week before the official start of spring and life will get busy as we move into gardening time! I also took the opportunity to start working on my biggest painting to date! A piece I am creating for a summer art show on Cortes Island. I have to say I am having fun working on a big projects but they’re labour and time intensive; it felt good to take the time to nail out my concept and get the bulk of it done. I look forward to sharing my new painting “Space” with you this Summer. Of course my family (2 mixed-breed Chihuahuas) love hanging out in the studio with me and watching the work grow!!! xoxo Laura

365 day challenge – Wink

In 2017, I had the opportunity to meet a fellow artist who shared their sketchbooks with me and I was deeply inspired by what I saw. I thought it was a great way to bank my visions and grow as an artist as well as an excellent opportunity to experiment. So as I mentioned in a previous post, I have given myself a 365-day challenge for 2018 and started my first sketchbook. I am drawing inspiration a daily tarot card as I also practice and grow my intuition. I am really enjoying the process!

Here is a preview of the first few pages of my sketchbook!!! There are 8 squares on each page, and each square represents one day; at the end of the year there will be 46 pages that will make up my new art installation “Wink”.

A preview of the first month of my 365-day challenge “Wink”

I named my sketchbook “Wink” and found a muse in Lucy (my well-used cup cozy!), a coffee shop find from many moons ago that I fell in love with instantly because I am a sucker for kitsch art. I decided to draw permutations on one of her eyes for 365 days in a row (and yes, I am a sucker for putting extra challenges on myself).

My muse Lucy!!!

Every morning, I ask a question, pull a tarot card, and record my thoughts in my journal – which is a new thing for me too. There is something very cool about this practice as it helps clear my mind of all the static! I then go to my sketchbook and do my drawing for the day. I have been learning a lot by doing this challenge so far and I am having a ton of fun in the process. At the end of 2018, I will share my sketchbook with the world along with many surprises and a solo art installation called “Wink”. This is the second time I give myself an entire year to experiment and build on a thought and create a new body of work; I find it very enlightening and with so many possibilities. I am super excited about this project and look forward to sharing my sketchbook as it grows.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Beloved

If you know me at all, you will know that I have been a softy for my 4-legged family members for my entire life. I was brought up in a pretty old-school Italian family and we always had a dog but it was for the specific purpose of hunting. I did not follow suit. I don’t eat meat so I’m not into hunting, and my dogs sleep in my bed! hahahaha.


In my house, my dogs are family members. I have no children and it might be a cliche but they are fur-babies and they are cherished to the max (some may say spoiled!!!) Betty and Cali are my Beloved best friends and they do everything with me. They are loved unconditionally – which they return in spades – and are always super happy to see me come home… I have had many dogs over the years and they each share a special place in my heart and I can’t even imagine not having a dog in my life. xoxo

Goals for 2018

Goals!!! I like to think everyone has them, and I believe they are a tool for growth and creating your dreams. Goals are how I choose to live my life by – Not resolutions as I find them easier to stick to, of course this is just me….

Photo by Arwyn

As we come to the end of the first month of a new year, I have been working hard to put my goals in a row to be accomplished. Cramming in two online courses and three workshops on health & nutrition, and the science of exercise. All subjects I am very passionate about, considering that one of my goals this year is to focus on being the healthiest and strongest me possible. I am happy to say I have completed these courses and I have learned a lot. I will continue to learn as much as I can on these subjects throughout 2018. I also decided to start two personal 365-day challenges that include creating my first sketchbook and continuing to learn and practice tarot card reading. I hope to be confident enough to offer readings to the public and my friends. I start my day by pulling and reading a tarot card and practice my intuition on its meaning and then do a sketch inspired by that day’s reading. I am really enjoying this learning process and actually look forward to my daily practice as soon as I get up in the mornings. This challenge is also helping me slowly build my new art installation “Wink!!!” which I will share with the world in 2019. I am also trying my hand at some new mediums this year that include spinning wool and weaving. There are some exciting times ahead for me with the announcement and confirmation of two art shows I will curate and participate in this summer! One is a collaboration with my art student Nola which will be held at The Co-op Cafe during the last two weeks of August, and the other being the annual members show at our local gallery on Cortes Island. I will share more on these topics in the future as they come to fruition. Continuing on my project to grow into the healthiest version of myself, I am also super stoked about my upcoming  Pilates Retreat in Costa Rica in March. So there you have some of the goals I plan to accomplish in 2018. What are your goals this year? Curious minds want to know ; ) I always find it very helpful to share my goals with others in some way as it puts solidifies them by putting them in stone, and hopefully your friends and family, or your network can help you stay focused and encourage you. I look forward to sharing the progress of my goals as they grow and wish you much success with yours. xoxo Laura

Weekly Photo Challenge – Variations on a Theme

It’s official: I have taken to a new medium of creating art!!!

It’s been a slow process but I am making strides forward with the help of the few friends who are kind enough to patiently guide me along the way. I have been learning to use my spinning wheel to create my own yarn. My goal is to keep on learning and eventually knit, weave, and naturally dye all the wool I create on my spinning wheel. Every week, I get together for an afternoon with my talented friends and we spin together. There are so many spinning wheels out there! Some are pretty high-tech, some are motorized, and some are traditional – all have their unique style and they also each create different kinds of wool. It’s all very intriguing to me.


In the photo above, you can see three totally different Variations on a Theme! The various types of spinning wheel that I experience in one of our afternoons. The Louet, the Jensen Tina, and mine – the Majacraft Suzie Pro. For the time being, I am sticking to learning to spin wool on the wheel I own but I do look forward to experimenting on other wheels in the future. xoxo