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


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


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

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

But What Is Your Passion?

I have been a working artist for over 30 years in the hair, make up and fashion styling industry and have just recently retired!!! And I loved my profession – so now what???

Since I moved to Cortes Island six years ago, I’ve had the chance to dabble in many mediums of art which led to the creation of five solo art installations and my participation in many group shows, combining the different techniques I have learned over the years. You can view all my exhibitions and shows on my website. I’ve had so much fun and accomplished many goals during this time in my life – these include a group show in Europe, the making of  a CD and touring with my band The Abbie Hoffman Society, the recording of a sound track to go with one of my art installations and a whole lot of art dolls, and one that even came alive… It’s been a a great ride!!!

So the question is what is my new burning passion now that I am not styling hair anymore? Creating Art… Obviously!!! So where do I go with it? I have been pondering this question for a few months. I love colour theory, knitting, dying fiber, and creating lots of art, which makes the idea of working in Fiber and Textile Art a no-brainer for me and the central focus of where I am putting my energy. Creating Wearable Art!!!

I have started on this path, as many of you know, but I have decided to continue exploring this exciting medium in the new year by creating more wearable art. This means experimenting with fiber and textile art, learning to spin yarn as well as focusing my concepts on making wearable items that follow the colour theory I have used all throughout my career. In my past work, I used the palettes of the seasons: fall, winter, autumn, and  spring. My new collection of work is thus aptly called “four seasons” and includes hand-knitted scarves, chokers/collars, and silk scarves that have been painted with natural dyes and Cida acid dyes. I am creating four items for each of the four seasons – so a one-of-a-kind and limited edition.


I will have a few items at The Gorge Christmas Bazaar alongside another new item, greeting cards of my art dolls, as well as some of my original art pieces, and my art book “My Stuffies’ Secret Life”. I am excited to share my new and past art in a few different formats, which includes craft fairs, pop-up shops, and a soon to come online store! So come and see me at the Bazaar and may the celebrations begin! xoxo


Naturally Bombed

The Powell River Friends of the Library and Sunshine Gogos (on behalf of the Stephen Lewis Foundation) are organizing the first fabulous Art Chair Auction this August 26th, 2017. As you know me, I could not resist getting involved and so I jumped at the opportunity to create my first art chair!

And so it is with great pleasure that I announce that my chair, “Naturally Bombed”, will be heading to Powell River from Cortes Island on Friday for the opening of the new library and will be on display until the auction.


When I received my white chair, my mind was churning all the options available and all the ideas of what I could do with it, but since my focus has been textile art for some time now I decide to pursue my current passion of painting with wool and do my version of yarn-bombing!!! The fun began by naturally dying the wool I bought locally from Joy Shipway. I used my pigments to dye the wool and then I had to let the wool cure. I started to paint by applying many layers of flat black paint to make the base and finished it off with a gold fluid paint to make the dots. It was then time for wrapping the beautiful naturally-dyed wool. I made 3 bundles of different tones wool. Here are some picture of my process in creating “Naturally Bombed”.


I had so much fun brainstorming for this project and designing this creation; I had never done a project like this, but I have to say that I am pretty happy with the results!


Weekly Photo Challenge – Focus

You could say my Focus at the moment is Textile Art. It all started when I was creating my two last art installations, which consisted of making art dolls and they need clothes!!! I had so much fun naturally dying their outfits and the wool for their hair… and then I started knitting – something I had  not done for over 14 years. Since last winter, I have been knitting up a storm and enjoying every minute of it. Creating neck and wrist art has been my passion and being Focused on building my stock up – both for the summer markets here on Cortes Island and for my Etsy Store. I enjoy “painting with wool” as I call it, and this includes using fabric paint, natural dyes, buttons, beads, and found objects. Here is one of my new wrist art pieces made from  black merino wool, silk, mohair, and silver yarn accents. I added vintage buttons for the finishing touches.



Weekly Photo Challenge – Order

You could call me a bit OCD when it comes to my walk-in closet, which actually consists of a small bedroom that was recently converted into every woman’s dream… or at least I think so! I freshly put all my shoes in Order and placed them all in a row just how I like it and ready for summer!!! And… wink, wink… maybe one day I will share the rest of my sumptuous closet space in future posts, but only once it is ready to show! I love having everything organized just so – all the clothes hanging in perfect Order so I can easily see the material and all colour-coordinated, just like when you walk into a store!

Every season I change my wardrobe over and put last season’s clothes away in rubber maids ready for the following year. It’s like going shopping but in my storage locker! I highly recommend trying this out. Here in BC, Canada, we usually have distinct weather changes with each season so this is a great way to keep it fresh and not buy more than you need, or in my case not buy anything at all… xoxo