I’ll have what she’s having.
Since posting pics from my weekend adventures in the north woods, 
many of you have expressed a longing to get a taste,
to whip up your own Soul Sister Stew.
So, here’s the recipe.
I trust you’ll guard it with your whole being.

1. Invite a group of women you adore but barely know to drop everything (jobs, kids, pets, worries…) so they can spend five glorious days connecting and creating with each other. Send a colorful invitation via snail mail. Tell them to dress in layers and bring art supplies. Believe it or not, they will all say YES.
2. Make sure to have a planning partner you LOVE whose family has a spectacular family getaway cabin nestled into the rocks and woods along Lake Superior (my remarkable partner in crime sublime was Rachel Awes). Note: pack essentials in advance including wine, chocolate and more wine.

3. Insist on all-natural ingredients such as morning coffee on the deck in your PJs (polka dot, stripes, whatever you’ve got), rich and real conversations, and the freedom for everyone to do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. 
4. Add several walks to the mix. Climb the rocks. Stroll to the yarn store. Continue to the candy shop. Waddle home. 
5. Slowly stir in some peaceful alone time. Aimee (whom I’m convinced is a superhero in disguise) found her sweet spot on the deck with a beer and a journal…while Lori (the absolute perfect mix of sweet, smart and silly) made Lake Superior her reflecting pool.  
6. Sprinkle in one-on-one connections whenever possible. I’ll never forget the hysterical laughter between me and Carissa (who refuses to admit she’s a real-life fairy) as we tried to take a photo of ourselves along the rocks. Your stew will begin bubbling and your eyes will start sparkling with each connection you make.
7. Include some spicy and salty ingredients. Susie gave every conversation an extra kick with her dry sense of humor and stories of her amazing world travels (she literally started one conversation by saying, “once when I was on a banana boat in the Black Sea…”). Though super-sweet, Kolleen added plenty of salt and sass (not to mention great music selections packed in her leopard print suitcase). For much of the time, her mind was in the gutter, down the sewer and out to sea…and we loved it. 
8. Take pictures. Of anything. And everything. Take pictures of people taking pictures. This is photo-phenom Jen, who also taught us how to bind our own books. And made coffee cake for us from scratch. She can also make soap. And knit a skirt. And probably fly a plane, for all I know. 
9. Include generous amounts of love in your stew: give hugs, hand out compliments, kiss foreheads, hold hands, write love notes, whisper sweet nothings, swoon, dance together, listen closely, celebrate each other. 
(beauty art by rachel)
10. While letting your stew simmer, lose yourself and find yourself in creativity. Bead bracelets. Bind books. Create inky tags. Play with words. Stamp stuff. Try new tools and techniques. Sew. Doodle. Noodle. Some of my favorite moments were spent as a group in near-silence, all huddled around a red cloth-covered table, focused on our own projects. The table was a huge, beautiful mess of wires and beads, paints and brushes, ink pads and stamps, pencils and paper. Heaven. 
art by lori
11. Add heaping scoops of thanks. I love this snapshot of Carissa in a moment of pure glee and gratitude. And this sweet artwork by Lori that pretty much says it all (thankful for circles of beautiful women, opening hearts, bursts of laughter, sharing dreams, feeling at home. pretty wonderful.) I pinched myself so many times, I think I came home with bruises! I tried to be present, to soak it all up, to frequently thank the powers that be for making this dream come true. 
13. Cherish your leftovers. During our getaway, I felt so full I was ready to burst. After everyone caught their planes and went their separate ways, I felt a bit empty yesterday. Thrilled to be back with my boys, but missing my girls. Then I realized I had leftovers! Souvenirs from our shop-hopping, fab photos to flip through, handmade gifts from talented women, emails and blogs to read. These leftovers will last a lifetime…or at least until we make another batch of stew.