Just Booked: Reflective Reads for a Trip Within

By Oui We contributor Sam Spahr

For as much time as I spend looking at the world around me, trekking across its landscapes and meeting its people, I surely do not spend enough time with myself. Do any of us?

Self-Reflection by Sam Spahr

The term self-care is thrown around like confetti lately, but what does it really mean? I’m not providing an answer here, just genuinely asking. Is it a cute excuse to buy some thing I’ve been pining after? Is it a reason to stay home on a Saturday night glued to my latest Netflix binge? Is it motivation to take up a new hobby or practice that is truly just for me? 

Probably all of the above. For me, I’ve been thinking about what’s ahead of me: career, family, personal goals. So naturally, this involves much self-reflection, you know, some good ol’ conversations with me - mind, body, and spirit.

self-reflection by Sam Spahr

I know for many self-reflection is often an unattractive activity, but I’ve grown to enjoy it quite a bit. I guess it helps if you tend to be a tad introverted and someone who likes thinking . . . and thinking about thinking. (Surprise, it’s me.) However, I could never have learned to take a good look at myself (and like it) without the help of some truly fantastic authors who also happen be novelists, doctors, musicians, etc…

Self-Reflection by Sam Spahr

Even if you don’t see yourself as “that type” of person, I promise it’s less scary - and not as weird as it seems - to really get down and get to know yourself. I think you’ll find it may have been a while since you really checked in.

Allow me to introduce you to two of my favorite books (and a bonus podcast). Each has served me a different purpose, all equally necessary and completely refreshing.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

While reading, I’ve learned that I’m an idea person. I have lots of them, or as Gilbert would say, many of them find me. They choose me to bring them to life, but I’m not very good at seeing that through. Thankfully Gilbert talks extensively about the follow through and what happens to those home-seeking idea fairies when we don’t appease them. Spoiler alert: someone else will.

If you have an ounce of creativity within you or even just a desire to complete something you’ve been working on - anything - then you need to read this book. Gilbert uses her own lived trials in writing to lay out an rather interpretive map of advice. Even if some of her wisdom seems obvious or common, it’s not . . . because you aren’t doing it! This book is like a kick in the pants from your loving (and funny) older sister.


The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

The very first chapter smacked right between the eyes, and I haven’t looked back since. Singer immediately addresses the “voice in your head.” Yeah the one that is reading this to you right now. You hear her. My voice keeps me up at night often sending me into an anxious spiral that has no business existing. Talk about useless and unproductive . . . 

Right from the start, Singer helps you acknowledge that voice and realize that it is not you. Simple, yet damn effective. I’ve already been falling asleep faster. And that’s only Chapter 1, you guys. Singer and The Untethered Soul take you to confront your consciousness, to understand your emotions and habitual thoughts - good, bad, and neutral. If you ever feel like your energy is being wasted or misdirected, crack open this read for some knowledge and validation.


Podcast: Conversations With Alanis, by Alanis Morissette ft. Special Guests

So, I found The Untethered Soul through Alanis and her insanely smart and curious podcast. Full disclosure, I consider her to be my soul mother - is that a thing? So, everything I say oozes of bias, but this podcasts features guests who are experts in fields that range from sociology to neurobiology, and beyond. Each episode is not only interesting but completely thought provoking. You will honestly look at the world, your peers, and your past, present, and future selves in a different light. Go have a listen!

Sam Spahr is an artist-educator who gets her kicks sharing the magic of the arts with kids and adults alike. She has a penchant for ancient artworks and helping others find the connections between now and then. When not inside a studio or bookshop, you can find her paddling out somewhere with her hubs and pup. She loves experimenting in the kitchen, but loves eating even more, especially in new cities and cultures.

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Grab the Gals: It’s Time for a Wellness Weekend, DIY Style

I know we’re dreaming of an exotic weekend in the pristine wilderness when the words “wellness retreat” ring out, but you don’t have to use your vacation days or even book a plane ticket to reset your bliss when you’re in a pinch. After all, your wellness is all about you, and who better to deliver self-care than yourself? A little bit of planning can make for a smooth and magical weekend for you and a few friends.

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First things first, settle on some goals.

What are you looking to get out of the weekend? It’s cool if that answer is multifaceted. (We’re humans, aka complicated.) Talking over these goals with your co-chillers will help design the game plan for your experience. Here’s a few to get your wheels turning:

  • Digital detoxing
  • Relaxation (think homemade spa-like indulgences)
  • Meditation: slow your roll and reconnect with your self
  • Strengthening (or starting) your yoga practice
  • The food makeover: any changes you want to make in your daily diet?

Location scouting

It’s really important to think about the space for your mini getaway. A retreat is about transformations and recharging your perspective. Try re-dressing your backyard. Toss up some lights, pull out (easily washable) blankets, invest in a fire pit and even some gauzy fabrics to drape from some dreamy trees if you’re feeling frisky. Turn your attention inward too. Don’t underestimate the power of candles and a little furniture arrangement. Make this time feel special. Focus on your environment and her natural elements. Coax the sunlight into your spaces and welcome her with some fresh greens. I’m feeling invigorated already, ahhh.

It’s also worth scanning your local campgrounds and Airbnb listings for some serious cabin retreat feels. Get up and get out!

Clean energy is essential for this ~refreshing experience~ and I’d say takeout pizza is not invited.

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You will thank me, I promise. Create a simple meal plan for the weekend with all the things your crew has loaded onto your Pinterest boards (seize the moment girl!)! Two breakfasts, about three lunches and/or dinners, and some healthy snacks should set you up nicely. Choose foods that are going to provide you with good energy and not too heavy, because my next tip will leave you needing it.

You gotta get moving. Whatever y’all style is. Yoga, biking, walking, pilates: carve out time in your retreat to shake up your blood flow and get that fresh feeling.

There are plenty of ways to get your yoga fix for free online, thanks YouTube, but I have found the video archive at The Yoga Collective to be invaluable - and honestly cheap whether you split the fee with your ladies or snag their deal on Groupon. They’re a real studio out of Cali with instructional videos at ANY and every level and style - even sleepy time yoga!

There’s no need to bike ten miles or over exert yourselves. This is about waking your body up, not throwing it off of a cliff. So, keep it simple yet stimulating.

Try to wind down in the evenings (or stir up your morning brain) with some simple meditations. This would be a good excuse to inject some alone time into the weekend (this is about self-care too.) Seek out some help from sites like Headspace if you have trouble finding your zen, or research a couple of quick prompts to gain the most out of your private moment. These can be times for self-reflection too. Maybe you’d like to have a journal nearby or an object that brings you calm and focus. For me it’s my camera, or a sketch book. Try a light book of poems, or pick some flowers you’d like to press and de-stress.

My most steadfast tip here can be an anxiety inducing one, but the cellular devices have to be limited - eek! 

Decide how strict you’d like to be - a phone bucket anyone? You should feel less worried about what your missing out on as the minutes tick by. It’s such an important step toward reorienting your personal space, because much our lived perspective and self-seeing are being filtered through our phones and digital habits. Ladies, there’s no cleaner feeling than washing your hands of your cell.

Sans phone doesn't mean going without some chill tunes however, get back to your adolescent roots and make one of your famous mix-tapes. Someone’s got a boombox out there… Or designated your trusty DJ friend to internet radio duty.

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Last, but oh so major - pamper, soak, treat, and steam, y’all

Gather your collective powers and gadgets and get the spa time in. With so many masks on the market and bath bombs bouncing around, there is ZERO excuse to skip this step. Go as hard (relaxing that is) as you’d like. Just try to skip any spa cocktails -this is still a cleansing experience 😉

And when all is said and done, sleep! Grab the Zs to your heart’s desire and get ready to start your new week with a fresher eye, mind, body, and spirit

Leave us some of your suggestions for your own DIY retreats. What are your favorite tips?

Until next time,


Sam Spahr is an artist-educator who gets her kicks sharing the magic of the arts with kids and adults alike. She has a penchant for ancient artworks and helping others find the connections between now and then. When not inside a studio or bookshop, you can find her paddling out somewhere with her hubs and pup. She loves experimenting in the kitchen, but loves eating even more, especially in new cities and cultures.

Wanderful Interview: Jessie De Lowe

The Wanderful Girl

The “Wanderful Girl” is a modern bohemian. She’s a nomadic bon vivant collecting perspective and style inspiration around the globe. - from "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style."

Meet Jessie De Lowe, a yoga teacher, art therapist, and the mother to one adorable baby girl. She’s also the co-founder of “How You Glow” - a site full of amazing advice and tips for healing, stress relief, travel, beauty, and delicious healthy recipes. Here she dives into some effective ways to bring wellness and peace to our busy lives. Just by reading her interview, I immediately felt a great sense of calm and haven’t been able to stop following her tips online!

Jessie DeLowe for Oui We

Interview: Jessie De Lowe

Susanna for Oui We: Tell us a little bit about How You Glow. When, and why, did you start the company?

Jessie: How You Glow is a lifestyle site and brand with a mission to inspire people and celebrate people, products, places and anything that will elevate one’s life and bring positivity, joy and pleasure. I started the site 4 1/2 years ago with my business partner, Tara. We wanted to open a beautiful wellness / lifestyle space but realized we could reach more people (and have way less overhead) if we created an online destination.

 via How You Glow

via How You Glow

OW: Your “Elements of Glow” tips are a perfect example of adding wellness to your life. What are one or two tips you’d suggest for those looking to add some happiness to their lives?

JD: Start/end your day technology free and use that time to simply breathe / meditate / create a gratitude list.

Consistently set intentions. (I am now offering Manifesting Sessions to help people create crystal clear, super charged intentions).

Make sure the 5 people you spend most of your time with are lifting you up and inspiring you, rather than depleting you.

Practice yoga!!!

 via How You Glow

via How You Glow

Spend more time in nature. We thrive when we are in our natural environment interacting with the earth.

OW: We're loving these tips, every single one! What's your “go to” for a peaceful night's sleep?

JD: A warm bath. A few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow. A cozy cup of tea and a good book.

OW: You have some delicious looking meals on your blog, what’s one of your best dishes to make?

JD: I love making a simple, healthy dinner of soy grilled salmon, fried brown rice, roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and kale salad.  

OW: Give us your “go to” tip to escape a stressful moment?

JD: Breathe!! If you have some essential oils, use those to shift your head space. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Visualize water if you can’t be near it.

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Can we talk for a second about how adorable Jessie's family is?!
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OW: What's a piece of advice you received and took to heart that you'd love to share with our readers?

JD: You create your own reality.


Favorite app for Instagram edits?: VSCO cam

Favorite season?: FALL! and Spring.

Favorite holiday?: Thanksgiving

Favorite healthy snack?: Dried mangoes

Favorite piece of art you own?: The Kettubah from my wedding

Favorite childhood game?: Spin the bottle :)

Favorite spot in your hometown? (Or current town?): The beach by my house in Santa Monica

Three of your favorite apps?: Instagram, Yelp, Audible

Favorite can't miss tv show?: Handmaid’s Tale

Favorite book you keep on your nightstand?: Anything by Murakami

Favorite inspirational quote?: "What you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you become."

Follow Jessie & How You Glow on instagram. 

Get Jessie's style here.