The First Gathering...Tahilla Farm

My Vintage Corona

My First Gathering…

I am typing away with this much loved vintage Corona typewriter behind me, thinking about all that has transpired in the past months and days. As many of you helped to shape what has transpired, I thought I would "report in".

I have always known there is a special magic that happens when women talk together. We have been doing that through Collage of Life for nearly ten years. Because of the connections that have been made, Tahilla Farm was found, bought and renovated...and as a result, I am able to write from the "space" that was once a hay loft and now my studio. I feel truly blessed by the constellation of friendships forged through blogging.

Because of you....slowly and with thoughtful intention, the idea of a Tahilla Farm Retreat is taking shape. If you are new to the concept, you can read about it HERE. I have been gathering ideas, speaking with like minded women and am getting closer to my initial thought of running a workshop/retreat at Tahilla Farm.

This past weekend I dipped my toes into the swirling pool of ideas and am so glad I did!

A test run...

A friend is exploring a business idea and wanted to run a focus group to test run her business model. I am fascinated by her and her concept and offered Tahilla Farm as her first meeting spot. It was a win, I could provide the space and participate.

At the top of my "passions" list

She invited women in their 50’s and 60’s to explore workshop exercises and open conversation into the stories of our lives. We gathered, supported and assisted each other in creating a roadmap for the next chapter in each others life story. Our task was to challenge ourselves, dig deep and consider a few thoughtful provoking questions. One in particular resonated with me as it was something many of you mentioned when I asked you what interested you the most in a list of retreat suggestions.  It was uncanny how many of you wrote "Where do I go from here?"

And we discussed just that..

Where do we go from here?
If we are in a long term career, is it time for a change? it time to consider re-entering the workplace?
Time to launch a new business?
Develop new talents?
Kick start the bucket list?
Spend more time with the people we love?
Meet like-minded friends and add a few new kindred spirits to the fold?
Or...consider ways to contribute to our local community and the wider world.

We kept it simple, we kept it focused, talked and wrote through morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and well into the night. Best of all we ended with an action plan. I have happily checked a few things off my list since and look forward to what "blossoms" in the coming months. When she officially "launches" I will be sure to bring you the news!

La Note Parisienne

Tahilla Farm Aromatherapy...from Paris

Speaking of blossoms (couldn't help myself)...I want to share a little scent with you. I should back up and say that I like to match scents to occasions. The biggest one for me was deciding nearly 30 years ago that Shalimar by Guerlain was going to be "my scent".  I have had many fragrances over the years but I wanted one, an everlasting one, for my family to associate with "me"...a fragrance they could associate (hopefully) with love and family. Shalimar has been on my dressing table ever since.

I wanted the same "feeling" for this special occasion, my first gathering at Tahilla Farm and decided on a candle, La Note Parisienne 6th Arrondissement that was recently included in the last  My Stylish French Box. You can read about it HERE and enter the chance to win a box HERE.

The 6th Arrondissement... This Arrondissement is so much more than Saint - Germain - des- Pres as it is home to the Parisian arts' scene. Once synonymous with the smell of opium and absinthe fumes, the 6th is the perfect refuge for those whose true religion is the good life. The last word in Parisian elegance, this district has as its base note a heady cocktail of tuberose; the fragrance of fine living.

I set my heady cocktail of tuberose upon the entrance table to the carriage house, lit it 30 minutes before everyone arrived and let it linger throughout the day and evening. I loved that everyone remarked how much they loved the they passed back and forth, the fragrance wrapped around them and followed them wherever they went. It filled the room with more joy whenever they entered.

My candle now sits next to my computer, lit or brings me back to the wonderful group of women meeting to talk about their life stories on a sunny day in my studio. I can't wait for the next occasion to do the same...there is no question in my mind that this will be "the" scent. 

A Brown Paper Book Club Update...

The latest book pile
A sign of a well read book pile in my house is ones that has lots of papers sticking out of it. Whether it be bookmarks, receipts, postcards or gift notes from friends...I will use anything to mark a page worth going back to.

From the top...

I came across The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker last summer and have been lending it ever since. It is back in my hands and I finally have a chance to read it in it's entirety. There have been many underlines and I am only a few chapters into it. If you tend to be the person to orchestrate or manage gatherings of any size--at work, at home, in your community and beyond--I recommend this book. It is insightful and will help you answer some of those questions you have been asking yourself. 

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott is the latest addition to my collection. When one of my favorite authors, Katrina Kenison mentioned that she was reading the book and loving it I instantly added it to my book pile. I have not been disappointed! The story of how the author came up with the title of the book is charming...

Book synopsis...
In this collection full of spot-on observations about home, work and creative life, Philpott takes on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood with wit and heart. She offers her own stories to show that identity crises don't happen just once or only at midlife; reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary; and advises that it you're going to faint, you should get low to the ground first. Most of all, Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don't have to burn it all down and set off on a transcontinental hike (unless you want to, of course). You can call upon your many selves to figure out who you are, who you're not and where you belong. Who among us isn't trying to do that?

I snapped up This Messy Magnificent Life by Geneen Roth in a bookshop and look forward to reading it. I listened to Geneen Roth speak on Oprah's Super Soul Conversations podcast  and was fascinated by her and her story. 

Book synopsis..
Based on Geneen's personal journey and her decades of work with thousands of women across the country, This Messy Magnificent Life is an outstretched hand to finding peace, making wise choices, practicing everyday joy, and an invitation to step into your power.

I mentioned Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher HERE and can recommend it wholeheartedly. I seem to be forever buying it and passing it on to friends who are in need of deep soul searching. It's well worth it! 

Book synopsis...
In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely explanation of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. "If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully," Pipher writes, "we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent."

On a garden bench...Tahilla Farm

With a cup of coffee and word of thanks...

So many of you have been very kind in your words and thoughts and encouragement. From the request for postcards (last one went out on Friday!) your comments, both personal and on social media, for the retreat idea...I just can't thank you here is to you..

Linda, Maureen, Katrina, Janie, Sheryl, Ceri, Roxanne, Sarah, Deborah, Penny, Jan, Angelyn, Christine, Joan, Rene, Elizabeth, Jeanne, Deborah, Carina, Linda, Pam, Kathleen, Linda, Ruth, Patricia, Susie, Karin, Julie, Jean, Donna, Teri, Jan, Ann, Claire, Victoria, Deborah, Lisa, Susan, Gayle, May, Kerry, Bonnie, Sue, Holly, Helen, Ann, Marielle, Debra, Chagota, Loree, Kathleen, Deborah, Meg, Elizabeth, Rosanne, Brenda, Debbie, Amy, Carina, Deborah, Anita, Barbara, Karen, Pat, Alinta, Angela, Angie, Ann, Beate, Angela, Barbara, Frances, Bette Lee, Diana, Angela, Patricia, Joan, Cath, Peggy, Vikki, Miranda, Kerry, Jeannine, Jane, Penelope, Laura, Susan, Lucinda, Ali, Erika, Marcelia, Nancy, Edie, Linda, Charlene, Rosemary, Kathleen, Susan, Annette, Elizabeth, Kathleen, Renee, Kathy, Lorna, Sue, Janet, Michele, Vicki, Amy, Rebecca, Layne, Karin, Sharon, Marsha, Rosemarie, Amanda, Gerri, Ann, Holly, Margaret, Maria, Deb, Mary, Kristin, Amanda...and if I have forgotten to add too!!

Let us be grateful to the people 
who make us happy, 
they are charming gardeners 
who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust

Thank you!!
and don't forget...

There is a wonderful My Stylish French Box 
to be won at Collage of Life
You can read all about it HERE 
or just write to me..
to say you are interested. 
I will draw the winner on April 24th!



  1. Hip Hip Horahhha! I am so excited for you! How wonderful to have realized a dream that you have had since you found your beautiful farm. I am so excited that you had your first gathering and can only imagine the meeting of the minds that happened there. I cannot wait to hear more.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, it was a lot of fun and very rewarding for me to get this project underway. Stay tuned...

  2. The 'gathering' sounded awesome - I'm sure everyone involved enjoyed the experience in your beautiful farm surroundings Jeanne - lucky them! I can almost smell the French candle from here - fantastic.

    1. Thank you Mary, the vibe was just right between all the important when planning a gathering. The candle is amazing...I love tuberose..

  3. Great news! I look forward to the new launch.

  4. I read your post soon after I got to work this morning. There are days when I need to start my day with something pretty and calming before I face my Mailbox. I enjoyed reading this so much. I totally agree about having a signature scent. Mine is 'Miracle' by Lancome. My husband bought me my first bottle for the first Christmas we were together. I generally use it for special occasions or when we go out in the evenings but have used many different ones for work or as a day scent. My latest one is 'My Burberry' Gold. I always enjoy your blog and am really happy we're hearing more from you these days. The retreat sounded splendid. I would love to attend if I lived in America.

    1. So glad we are on the same page when it comes to scent Loree. It can change my mood in an instant. I am nearly close to beating my 2018 number of posts which was where to go but up from here. ;)

  5. Your gathering sounds so wonderful! What lucky participants! Looking forward to hearing more about your Tahilla Farm Retreats!


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