Les Cévennes: A Lost Paradise of France

My love tells me he dreams of this place every night. I thought that was bizarre until I saw it. This land where he grew up is like a garden of Eden. I felt like a fairytale character wandering the forests with a straw basket and provincial dress. I climbed cherry trees to pick and eat the juiciest fruits. We find wild mushrooms to eat with dinner. The stones in the forest are silver and sparkle in the sunlight thank creeps through the canopy of leaves. Chestnut trees, some 2,000 years old stand watch over the place, and will long after we are gone. Little creatures peek through the trees and stones. Neighbors of this very sparsely inhabited land peek out of their stone homes to say hello and offer fresh grape juice. Everything feels ethereal, like a place to rest from earth, yet a place filled with more earth than I have ever seen. My hair feels softer, my skin feels smoother, and I am filled with peace spending my days reading in front of the waves of green trees, or napping in front of the stars so clearly defined a meteor seems to pass every five minutes.

Here are some lessons I have learned here:

Vision boards 2.0

You have probably heard about vision boards. Vision boards are when you collect images and words that are the essence of what you want. The idea is if you look at it each day, you will attract more of those things into your life (assuming you have a positive, grateful, and full of faith type of vibe going for you). I have made many over the years and can say they do work when I make sure to align myself with positive thoughts and focus.

However, having the board in my room was like sharing my deepest desires with the world (well whoever wondered in my space) and I tend to feel a little drained rather than uplifted sharing the details of my dreams with just anyone. Also, I felt like once I made it, it was done. I wanted it to go on more!

That is why I created my own dream journal. It is a book (I am on my third) where I college images and words that inspire me. I also write lists of things that I love and want. Sometimes I write quotes from the books I read, or advice I received. Basically it is one living breathing compilation of everything great and inspiring in life to me. I can flip through it every day to be refreshed and reminded of who I am and want to be.

Also…I love buying hauls of magazines and cutting images. It trains my mind to keep looking for more of what I like everywhere. It keeps my anxious mind focused on positive things and my hands busy.

Here are a few pages from my book so you get the idea:

Enjoy your week and keep dreaming my lovelies.

How to pack for a weekend in the Mediterranean

Packing for a weekend can end up looking like packing for a month sometimes (at least for me). Here are some of the outfit templates I have used to pack light and have comfy and classic outfit choices.

Inspired by: Jeanne Damas (I can't not be).

A simple wrap dress always looks chic and doesn't look dreadful when wrinkled (go for airy fabrics). A simple coin purse and platform kitten heels are easy to pack and comfy without being too casual.

Inspired by: Basically every models' street style look.

A white t-shirt, black jeans, leather jacket, and black shoes with some height… There is a reason every model wears this and so do many women on the street of nearly every fashionable city. It looks good on every body type and is very easy to pack and throw on in a hurry. You can pack this knowing you can dress it up or down and be very comfortable.

Inspired by: 1970s Bardot.

One piece swimsuits are a great piece to pack because they make great body suits under pants, shorts, or skirts. When packing accessories go with classics you love, such as a nice pair of sunglasses and gold hoops. Plus it makes dipping into the Mediterranean sea that much easier.

How Instagram helped my depression

To be honest, I thought social media (especially Instagram) was bad for a person's wellbeing. I read the articles on how it lowered self-esteem, created anxiety, and increased depression. They said it was because of looking at the overly perfected highlight reel of someone's life can cause anguish at our own imperfect, and not always glistening lives. These reasons kept me away from social media with wrongful pride thinking, I'm not one of those people.

After being diagnosed with depression I longed for an outlet for the sadness, hopelessness, and anger I felt inside. I wanted a new artistic hobby that could help me evolve. After deciding I would like to try photography I knew Instagram might become part of the picture. I logged in again, deleted all of my old images, and changed my name. I wanted this to be a place of artistic expression more than only sharing news.

Most importantly, I deleted everyone I had previously followed and realized it wasn't the tool that created anxiety, it is the use. I can choose who I follow, and who I admire and why. I became more clear on my own life vision and decided to only view those who fall in line with that. Suddenly, every day became an opportunity for inspiration, not envy. I thought, How cute is that, I want to make that, I love the way this is styled!

This lead to another way instagram decreased my depression. I constantly have something beautiful to look for now! I am on the hunt for something lovely everywhere I go. Not only that, but I keep my mind busy on creative aspects like what angle, light, and story will meaning capture the meaning? I get focused on the grid of images and whether the images all together tell the story I want. My focus has become beauty, instead of sadness and anger.

Together these elements created what I always longed for, but didn't feel worthy of – connection. I have made incredible and true friends from all over the globe. They are more than willing to share more than their highlights reel with me. I finally have friends that are attracted by similar things in life like me, and I get so much inspiration from sharing and sometimes creating images with them.

Instagram has helped me shift my focus and help my mind launch creative ideas instead of fears.