Manifestation Retreats

Tuscany Retreat With Jen Pastiloff.

September 26, 2011
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Please send email to info@jenniferpastiloff.com letting us know why you want to attend. This is an intimate retreat. We can’t wait to have you! This is Jen’s 5th year doing Manifesting Under The Tuscan Sun! Please specify if you want to attend summer (June 27-July 3rd) or fall 2015 (Sep 26-Oct 3rd.) 

Please read this so you understand what Jen’s retreat is like.

And this. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, motherhood, parenting

That Mom.

November 20, 2014
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By Sara Bir.

Oh, great. Here she comes. That mom. You know the one, the mom who only shows up to half the parent nights? The one whose kid made a huge scene at the free folk music concert? She’s so the mom who makes a point of exposing her kid to everything. I can’t stand that mom.

Except I’m that mom.

I’m the mom whose kid constantly has a crust of something on her face, dried snot or avocado or spaghetti sauce. I’m the mom who uses the eco-friendly laundry detergent that never gets stains out, even though I scrub at them with a bar of Fels- Naptha, so my kid always has faint outlines of grease or finger paint or god knows what on her clothes. I am the mom you refuse hand-me-downs from.

I am the mom who never seems to have baby wipes when wipes are needed, the mom who forgot the extra socks or the raincoat at home. I am the mom who counts on your wipes, your extra socks.

I am the mom who blithely brings her kid to the restaurant, and then looks horrified when her kid spills milk, screams for no reason, flails in the booth, and eats like a heathen. I am the mom whose own meal, which she was so glad not to have to prepare, is ruined when she threatens her child with leaving the restaurant right then, but of course we don’t, because I am the mom who will eat her goddamn food while it’s hot.

Continue Reading…

death, Grief, Guest Posts

Eventually, We All Become Members of the Dead Dad Club.

November 19, 2014
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By Erika D. Price.

Maybe there really is a Jungian super consciousness that our minds all float upon, like ice atop a still liquid lake. Maybe it’s just that some ideas are so obvious that everybody has them. Whatever the reason, I keep running into other people, other women specifically, who speak of their membership to the Dead Dad Club.

The idea first occurred to me very shortly after my dad died. I was eighteen, living in the freshman dorms at The Ohio State University. He died randomly of unchecked diabetes after a two-year period of mutual estrangement.

The whole thing came as a shock, but an easily buried one. I kept it a secret from everyone around me, except for my then-boyfriend, who was on a Valentine’s Day date with me the moment I got the news. I went upstate for the funeral, I invited a handful of childhood friends, none of whom came, I got drunk and crawled into bed with my little sister, I went back to the dorms, I didn’t miss a day of class, I didn’t miss a day of work, I said nothing. I felt so much. I cried so little.

A few weeks later, a girl down the hall lost her father. Heart attack. I had met the guy; he had a pleasant, square face with handsome features and rich bronzed skin. Their relationship was good. A widespread email told everyone in the dorm of her troubles. We were all encouraged to go to the funeral, to give the girl our regards. People rose to the occasion. She took a few weeks off.

I resented the massive embrace that she received and I had not, even though it was my fault for not telling anybody. I resented that people were warm and sympathetic to her. I resented that my boyfriend forgot about the death in no time flat. I resented, even, that her relationship with her father was healthy. But I could not hold it against her for long. After all, she was a member of the Dead Dad Club.  Continue Reading…

Addiction, Guest Posts, healing

Gramma in the Slamma (or Granny is the New Junky.)

November 18, 2014
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By Jenny Gardiner.

We were expecting my mother for a visit, her first in many years. She was on the overnight train from Atlanta. My daughter had a starring role in her high school play, and mom was coming to see it. I’d arrived around dawn at the farmers market that morning to stock up on food for a busy weekend of houseguests before heading to the train station, when my pocket buzzed — a text from my brother that read: It’ll be the difference between Ambien and Ambien PM whether mom gets off at your stop. Good luck.

I wasn’t hip to the world of sleep meds, but I was well aware that my mother had succumbed by then to a severe addiction to all sorts of other legal drugs. The ask-your-doctor-if-this-is-right-for-you drugs. Years back, while a chipper Nancy Reagan was blithely advising us to “just say no”, her husband’s deregulation-of-everything was ushering in an era of direct-to-consumer campaigns by Big Pharma urging us all to say “yes” to the “good” drugs. The legal ones. Eventually my mom heeded their bad advice.

My mother was a smart woman, with more academic degrees under her belt than your average tenured professor. An educator, a lawyer, a reformed alcoholic, she should have known better. She hadn’t had a drink in over twenty-five years; she wore her sobriety like a badge of honor, with good reason. She’d reinvented herself after years of drinking and a marriage gone bad, picked herself up, earned a law degree (top of her class), and remade her life. She’d succeeded beyond her wildest dreams in her private law practice, focusing too much of it, in hindsight, on what seemed like a sure-bet: real estate. She lived in a beach community during the glory days of the industry, and her hard work as a highly sought-after settlement attorney had paid off, with a beautifully-appointed home on the sound and a spectacular view of the ocean. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, healing, Women

Letter To My 13 Year Old Self (From My 70 Year Old Self.)

November 17, 2014
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By Alma Luz Villanueva. 

Dear Alma Luz at 13 (aka Super Girl),

I see you’ve stopped eating, the sight of your ripening breasts, the patch of pubic hair, announces you’re becoming a girl. No, a woman. When you began to bleed between your legs; when you climbed to the top of the ten story building scaffold, sunset, all the men gone. Only silence, bird wings, the Bay Bridge lighting up like Xmas, spanning the deep water. Exit to la mar where you used to swim with your swim team at sunrise (yes, an ice cube). Mission Playground, the pool, you borrowed the scratchy swimsuit, but finally the mean-ass swim coach brought you a swimmer’s suit. Thin, your freezing girl nipples exposed, your shy V- but you could swim smoother, faster. The scratchy swimsuit bloated up like a sponge, the mean-ass coach yelling, “Ya got lead in yer ass, head down, up, breathe, swim like yer drowning!” You always laughed, which pissed him off. The other girls were scared shitless of him, his yelling voice. You’d heard that voice before, your insane, drunk stepfather (the bad one, not the good one you’d finally meet)- and you knew you could grab a weapon to defend yourself, or just heave yourself out of the pool. “Go fuck yourself, Mike!” And never return, leaving the thin, swimmer’s suit behind. You had your pride.

So, when you began to bleed at 12, at the top of the building scaffold, silence and bird wings, you remembered your beloved Yaqui Mamacita’s words and warning (in Spanish)- “When you begin to bleed between your legs, niña, you’ll become una mujercita, which means someday you’ll have children from your own bleeding womb. There’s pain, but you must bear it, never forget. The joy and sorrow of being a woman. Your strength and courage lives in your womb, niña, even now, never forget.” And how you heard Mamacita’s voice in the wind, “Never forget” (the power of words), and you slid down the steel so fast your palms were bleeding when you touched earth. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Heroes, Terrorism

The Price of Loving a Hero.

November 17, 2014
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By Erin Stewart.

I don’t watch the news; on October 22, 2014, I didn’t have to.

War. Suspects. Shooting. Soldiers. Police. Government. First responders.

Terrorism.

These words filled my timelines. My Facebook. My Twitter. My Instagram. My inbox.

It was one of those days we’ll always remember. And I love a first responder; in fact, I love many. So for me, it was also one of the days I always fear.

The night before, I read an article that pissed me off. It was about policing; it was anti- police. I put it up on Facebook and the cop-bashing started immediately, so I deleted it.

The next morning, October 22nd, Canada was faced with a critical incident that tested our first responders, government security and Nation’s values – our government was faced with a shooting that took place on Parliament Hill and the Rideau Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The life of an unarmed soldier who was symbolically standing at the National War Memorial was taken when a gunman fired two shots into his back and injured others. This all took place after another soldier was run down in Quebec earlier that week.

In the midst of this crisis, our heroes show up, equipped and ready. The media winds shifted; that day and in the following days, our first responders were painted as heroes, not villains. But they’re always heroes to me.

The thing about loving a first responder is this: We worry. We worry all the time.

Continue Reading…

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