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News from the Retreat

Keep Your Cool When Everything Around You is Heating Up

Wine in the Pines

Enjoy a glass of wine in the Pines!

Feeling irritated, anxious or critical? Feeling uncomfortable and hot, even when the A/C is full blast? That was me last summer. Oh how I suffered. I started to wake up about mid-July realizing that I was part of the problem. I was making myself overheated and irritable by doing things that didn’t need to be done, while running around town in the heat and the traffic certainly didn’t help.

Summer is Pitta season and the bright, hot, sunny days of summer aggravate Pitta. To manage Pitta, the secret is to stay cool. I know you may be laughing right now at the seeming impossibility of that – it’s July! It’s not just about keeping your body cool, but more importantly, keeping your mind and emotions cool. There is good news. It can be managed! Plus a glass of white wine is part of the solution.

Pitta is one of three Doshas in the Ayurvedic System. Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga based on our mind body connection and the healing of the body by using the mind.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, check out our Detox & Yoga Retreats.

Awareness of your body is the first step to practicing Ayurveda. Once you’re aware, you can find mental, physical and emotional healing.

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Pineapple Chicken Tacos with Tropical Mango Salsa

Pineapple Chicken Taco with Tropical Mango Salsa

Pineapple Chicken Taco with Tropical Mango Salsa

My favorite summer activity is putting on some Reggae music while sitting on my back deck with a refreshing beverage, feeling the breeze, and pretending I’m relaxing on a tropical island somewhere.  Unfortunately, summer in Texas feels nothing like the tropics and the beach is miles away!

Morgan created our Mango Tropical Salsa recipe to accompany our Pineapple Chicken Tacos and Mexican Street Corn for Saturday dinner. These recipes are simple to prepare and can be prepared a day ahead of time for ease of serving. Pineapple is delicious, refreshing and full of health benefits.

If you can’t make it to the tropics this summer, we’ll bring the tropics to you when you join us for a retreat. Or try this at home and you’ll feel like you’re swaying in a hammock under the palm trees!

Pineapple Chicken Tacos


  • 2 TBSP Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, diced
  • 3 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 Medium Lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 TBS Smoked Paprika 
  • ½ TSP Cayenne
  • 1 TBS Pepper & Salt
  • 1 Pineapple, diced
  • ½ Cup Mango Juice


  • Heat oil and garlic on medium low until garlic browns.
  • Add lemon juice, mango, pineapple, and spices to a pan, heat on medium until the pineapple is soft.
  • Add water as needed to keep moist. 
  • Add chicken to the pineapple mixture and heat on low until warmed through.

Serve as filling for tacos or top a bowl of spring mix and add the tropical salsa for even more deliciousness.

Tropical Mango Salsa


  • 2 cups fresh pineapple (diced)
  • 1 Mango (seeded and diced)
  • ¼ Cup Red Onion (minced)
  • 4 TBS Cilantro
  • 3 TBS Lime Juice
  • 1 TBS Jalapeno (minced)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 TBS Rice Vinegar


  • Pulse garlic, lime, cilantro, jalapeno and vinegar in food processor.
  • Mix pineapple, mango, and onion in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir food processor blend into the mixing bowl.

Let chill in refrigerator several hours before serving or better yet prepare the night before to let the flavors meld together. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or add as a condiment to tacos.

How to Change Directions

How to Change DirectionsDo you ever find yourself wondering “how did I end up here?” You look back at the zigs and zags of your life and wonder should I have stepped left when I stepped right? Should I have skipped a few steps (partners, jobs, ideas) entirely?

Out of necessity we may find ourselves doing things we didn’t plan. Or even losing sight of our hopes and dreams. That’s reality. And it happens to all of us. If you need a break from reality, join us for a retreat. It will change your perspective and maybe even your life.

Perhaps you’ve spent the last 5, 10 or 20 years raising your children. Or working in a career that didn’t suit you. Or in a relationship (with a friend, partner or even co-worker) that was sucking the life out of you. If I’ve learned anything in my life, “It’s never too late… to turn back, start over, press the reset button.” And never say never.

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Vulnerability as a Journey to Growth and Change

Yoga Retreat May 2011

Margaret in Heart Opening Meditation

Vulnerability is frightening, but I’ve found a life lived with vulnerability is a life worth living. I view my vulnerability as a journey to growth and change. And my growth game is strong, even though I’ve been afraid. Afraid to be hurt or to be taken advantage of, but I believe the risk is well worth the payoff.

Many guests who come to a retreat on their own. I know they feel out of their comfort zone and especially vulnerable. The safe and sacred space of our Retreat is a perfect place to dip your toe into vulnerability. View our upcoming retreats here

For an inspiring (and funny) talk on vulnerability, see Brene Brown’s Netflix Special. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I had the honor of seeing Brene a couple years ago in person – what incredible energy. And she’s an introvert too! Here’s also her Ted Talk which is a great watch.

I believe we are fearful to be found defenseless, so we keep our guards up and our hearts closed down. It’s terrifying to let someone see us as we truly are, where our desperate needs and raw emotions lie exposed. But to live a deeply connected life, our vulnerability must come out into the open where we can grow and change; finding a place where we allow ourselves to breathe deeply and open up to the joy of endless possibilities that surround us in each passing moment. And though it may be scary, as with anything else, you can start with baby steps.

We asked you what you thought about vulnerability, about what it meant to you. Thank you for opening up your hearts to us! Here’s some of what you shared:

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Lemon Basil Hummus

Lemon Basil Hummus

Made from Scratch Lemon Basil Hummus

When guests arrive on Friday, they are greeted with a bowl of our seasonal hummus with an assortment of fresh veggies and crackers, olives, an assortment of cheeses and fresh fruit. What a way to start a weekend! We prepare ours from scratch because most of the brands you buy in store are loaded with extra fat and sometimes even sugar!

I love this recipe because it’s so easy. In the past I had attempted to make hummus without the tahini paste (a paste made from sesame seeds), its crucial to the taste, don’t leave it out.  You can find it at most grocery stores. In case you make too much, you can also pop it in the freezer in a freezer bag or container. I can’t wait for you to make this at home and let me know how much you love it!


  • 2 Medium Lemons (juiced)
  • 2 Cans Garbanzo Beans (drained and reserve 3/4 cup of the liquid)
  • 2 TBSP Tahini Paste
  • 1 TBSP Cumin
  • 1 TBSP Italian Season
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ¼ cup Basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil + an additional drizzle for serving


  • Add one can of garbanzo beans and ¾ cup of liquid to the food processor.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Add the second can of beans and the olive oil.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice, tahini paste and the seasonings.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and basil leaves if desired.

Spring Menu

Retreat Menu

Snack: Homemade Hummus with Assorted Crackers, Veggies, Olives and Cheese

Friday Dinner

Roasted Lemon Basil Chicken
Mushroom Risotto
White Wine Sauteed Asparagus with Mushrooms & Onions
Homemade Rustic Rosemary Bread or Bruschetta
Spring Mix, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Parmesan and Slivered Almonds

Saturday Breakfast

Fresh Berries and Homemade Granola

Fresh Berries and Homemade Granola

Breakfast Bowl: Steel Cut Oatmeal, Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries
Rosemary Blueberry Scones
Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
Coconut Milk/Organic Whole Milk

Saturday Lunch

Tomato Basil Soup
Egg Salad
Homemade Rustic Rosemary Bread or Bruschetta
Fresh Veggies, Crackers and Hummus
Exotic Veggie Chips
Spring Mix, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Parmesan and Slivered Almonds

Saturday Dinner

Spring Roll Bowls: Asian Sesame Chicken, Brown Rice, Sauteed Veggies and Peanut Sauce
Spring Mix, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Parmesan, Slivered Almonds, Chow Mein Noodles

Sunday Brunch

Avocado Toast
Breakfast Potatoes
Cilantro Scrambled Eggs
Greek Yogurt, Homemade Granola and Fresh Berries
Coconut Milk/Organic Whole Milk

All of our meals are freshly prepared using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Meals are served buffet style.

Choose Compassion


Live with Compassion

I believe the practice of compassion is life changing. It may seem like the path of least resistance to get irritated at people for their poor driving skills or their rudeness and unpleasantness. When you become angry in those situations, your anger is more damaging to you than to the object of your irritation.

Our compassion practice must begin with ourselves. When you join us for a retreat, your weekend of self care leads to self-compassion.

Flipping someone the bird or muttering cuss words under our breath, certainly doesn’t affect the offending party, but it does affect us. I believe when we allow ourselves to get caught up in bitterness and irritation, we begin to spread the toxic energy, even without meaning to.

So instead of irritation, allow yourself a moment of compassion. The offending person may be experiencing a challenging situation. A loss of a job, a pet, a loved one or something even more challenging. Find compassion for this fellow traveler, offer a smile, a kind word, let them go in front of you in traffic or in line. They may not wave or nod in appreciation but let that go too.

  • Compassion begins with forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive loved ones, strangers. We are all in this together – we are all connected – let’s not let our small mindedness and selfishness stand in the way of a beautiful shared experience.
  • A lovingkindness meditation cultivates compassion. When I first began my lovingkindness meditation, I struggled with finding love, compassion or kindness for those in my life who I felt had wronged me. After a consistent practice, I let that go and now my it’s easier to find compassion towards myself and others. We practice Lovingkindness Meditations at our Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats.
  • Find compassion for yourself. Find gratitude for your journey and the steps along the way. Forgive yourself for the steps in the wrong direction and congratulate yourself for the steps in the right direction. Compassion for self is the first step in self-love and self-acceptance.
  • Begin a gratitude practice. Focusing on gratitude for what you have, what you’ve survived and what you’ve let go, encourages a whole new perspective. Your new perspective will allow you to see you’re not alone in struggles and challenges. Let that turn into compassion for others and what they may be struggling with.
  • Remember everyone is doing the best they can. Before judging someone for a perceived slight, take a moment to see them as a kindred spirit on a similar path to yours. Complete with ups and downs, and sometimes unimaginable struggles.

When we recognize we’re all in this together and connected to each other – despite our differences – compassion is the only choice.

Overcome Fear and Live Confidently

Women's Yoga Retreat

Release Fear and Build Confidence with Yoga

One of my favorite parts of a retreat is watching our guests transform. Most arrive on Friday looking tired and stressed. By Sunday morning, not only do guests look 10 years younger, they have a big smile on their face and their energy is lighter. I call it the Yoga Retreat makeover! Get your Yoga Retreat Makeover when you join us for a retreat

I’ve noticed change is most evident for guests who show up as their authentic selves and actively engage with other guests including guests they’ve met for the first time. I’ve struggled with being my authentic self because of fear. Maybe you can relate. I’ve found my confidence in myself is strongest when I deliberately venture out of my comfort zone. When I get uncomfortable, survive and even flourish, I feel more confident. 

Steps to Overcome Your Fears

Accept Yourself

For who you are. Not who someone in your life tells you, you SHOULD be. You are beautifully and uniquely you. If you struggle with connecting with the real you. Try the following exercises.

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Finding Balance

Let’s face it, at times life can be overwhelming. Finding balance may be a constant struggle as our life changes and the demands upon us increase. Sometimes a weekend away is needed to find perspective.

Join us for a retreat and find perspective and more. Our retreats are the perfect place to take a break from the everyday commitments and renew your mind and body. Click here to find your balance and book a retreat.

The projects and commitments women undertake on a daily basis are impressive. There is work, yoga practice or workout, grocery shopping and preparing meals, keeping up the home – cleaning, repairing, etc.  For moms, the list is even longer, phone conferences, doctor appointments, sports and other activities…and the list goes on. Is it possible to even find balance?

Realistically there may never be a perfect balance. However, here are a few ideas to make the juggling of all our obligations a little easier.

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Celebrating Women: Claiming Our Power

Taking back our power

Strong and Empowered Women – We Can Do Anything

February seems to be all about love, I like the reminder to focus on self love. But what if we take that a step further: empowerment. Empower – to make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. Yes! 

If you need a weekend of empowerment, join us for a retreat. You’ll meet amazing women who will inspire and encourage you.

Let’s lift each other up. In words and actions, in public and in private, online and in person. We must refuse to allow ourselves to be treated as anything less than the incredible and talented women that we are. I believe by lifting each other up, we lift ourselves up as well.

This is one of the “whys” behind Retreat in the Pines – to give women a safe space while creating a community of women who inspire and encourage each other. I’ve heard from guests that’s how Retreat in the Pines is different – there is none of the BS that’s so often present in real life situations; guests LOVE that aspect of our retreats. There’s no reason why we can’t bring that same dynamic into our lives.

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