Hampton Coffee Company

Gurney’s Montauk Retreat with Fern Olivia: A Recap

Gurney's Resort & Spa - Fern Olivia 6

If you follow me on Instagram, you have likely seen lots of photos popping up from my time at Gurney’s Resort & Spa last weekend for Fern Olivia’s wellness retreat. While the projected forecast left a lot to be desired, it turned out to be a nice weekend after all—with only intermittent showers and overcast skies.

My day began with a just under two hour drive out to Montauk, which may not sound ideal, but once you make it out to the Hamptons the serene surroundings make driving a pleasure. Each time I head out East I always relish the slower pace of life that you begin to encounter. The East End of Long Island has a noticeably different feel from the rest of the Island—and is a completely different animal when compared to New York City. Regardless, I embrace the leisurely drivers, the windmills that I pass along the way, and the sense of excitement that overcomes me when I begin to see water on the horizon.

Hampton Coffee Company

Mornings out East for me always begin with a stop at the Hampton Coffee Company in Southampton, irrespective of my final destination. There, I ordered an iced coffee and chocolate croissant for the road before continuing on for the remaining 45 minute drive out to Montauk.

The last time I was at Gurney’s was for a friend’s Sweet Sixteen party, so you could say it has been a while. I had heard that the resort had undergone some recent renovations, so I was excited to see what the establishment looked like today. As I drove down the hilly Old Montauk Highway after breaking away from the long, straight stretch of Sunrise Highway, I instantly felt like I had departed from mainland Long Island. The rolling landscape gave way to spectactular views—which are absent on my daily commute.

When I arrived at Gurney’s, I was greeted by a valet who parked my car…and waited patiently as I tried to stuff fifty outfit changes and four pairs of shoes (none of which I wore) into a single weekender bag. Once in the lobby at Gurney’s I stood for a moment, silently taking in the breathtaking panoramic views.

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 1

Erica, who works with Fern, came to take me to the morning’s first activity—yoga in a studio overlooking the ocean. There, I met the other participants who would be joining us for the day. As I took a seat on my mat I felt an immense sense of gratitude. I was grateful that Fern had included me in this retreat; for the beautiful space that I would be practing in that morning; and to be surrounded by a room full of wellness warriors.

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 2

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 3

The yoga class was restorative in every way, and before I knew it, the hour and a half class was over. Next it was time for brunch. Despite having had a bite to eat on my way there in the morning, I had worked up an appetite after yoga. Gurney’s put out quite a buffet spread—eggs, bacon, pastries—you name it, they had. And if they didn’t, you could order it.

After our delicious brunch and getting acquainted with everyone, I knew that the beach was going to be my next stop. I had been eyeing the soft sand since I arrived and was just waiting for the weather to improve before venturing out.

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 8

Beach, Montauk, NY

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 9

The moody skies briefly gave way to some sun. I wasn’t sure which direction to head first and felt as though I could just walk along the shore for miles. Concerned that I would miss out on the next activity—spa time—I stayed fairly close to the resort. In between taking copious amounts of beach photos, dipping my toes into the somewhat frigid water, and finding some driftwood to sit on and take a rest, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would have rather been that day.

Fern and I made plans to hit the sauna at 1 pm. I hurried back to the room and changed before walking over to the spa area for a sweat session. Gurney’s spa was a happening place that day, with women waiting for their treatments, but it didn’t feel crowded. The atmosphere was relaxing and inviting—the perfect setting for pampering.

The dry heat of the sauna felt good after being out on the windy beach. After the sauna, we spent 20 minutes in the steam room, before freshening up and heading to our next event of the day.

Despite bringing enough outfits to live in Montauk through the summer, I forgot to pack my makeup bag so I could touch up as needed throughout the day. I was fully expecting my new Armani Silk Foundation to be running down my face after the sauna and steam room, but to my surprise it actually held up well.

Our last official item on the day’s itinerary was a natural beauty workshop. We sat out near the beach club on a deck overlooking the water. Fern started off the discussion by asking what beauty meant to each of us. While I can’t remember my answer verbatim, the definition of beauty has changed for me. As a 30-year-old cancer survivor, beauty to me is no longer about wearing a ton of makeup—something I had embraced throughout most of my twenties. Today, I am proud to show the imperfections in my skin, skip makeup entirely when running errands, and wear lighter foundations with fewer ingredients. Beauty to me is being happy with the person I see in the mirror because I know that true beauty is within and radiates out. I am happy and healthy, and that makes me feel beautiful every day.

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 12

Fern then discussed her line of essential oils, which I have incorporated into my own beauty routine since first meeting her last year. Her Ajai Alchemy line is made with therapeutic grade ingredients and each blend is blessed with the Ajai Alai sound current. I have been using Grace Alchemy, an essential oil with Egyptian rose geranium, patchouli, and Australian sandalwood for a year now, and I feel like it is my signature scent. In January, during another of Fern’s events, I purchased a bottle of her Solar Sun Protect. During the cooler months, I wear it on my cheeks over my highlighter for that dewy glow. But during the summer, I plan on applying it under my makeup to give my skin a little extra protection from the sun.

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 14

As the evening began to wind down, the weather turned cool and rainy. But the night couldn’t end without celebrating our beautiful Fern’s birthday. In honor of her special day, I brought her some of my favorite fudge from Chocology (thanks, Chocology!). They make their fudge with Belgium chocolate and goat’s milk, so I knew Fern would enjoy the sweet treat. We returned to the room for celebratory drinks and reminisced about how we all felt like we were back in college hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms.

When the weekend concluded, I felt like a kid leaving summer camp. Monday’s post about community over competition was inspired by the women I met and the friends I made at the retreat. Their positive energy and ambition surely rubbed off on me, and after doing yoga with Fern, I left with a renewed outlook on my health, this space on the internet, and on my future as a creative entrepreneur. I left the retreat knowing that I was moving ahead in the right direction, feeling inspired to continue with my yoga practice, and loving the life I was building.

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 10

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 11

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 7

If you are looking for a resort out East, I highly recommend a stay at Gurney’s. The resort is like a peaceful oasis, and you can’t beat the balcony views and direct access to the beach. Gurney’s has every amenity you could ever wish for—a spa, an indoor and outdoor pool, and delicious meals—all with great views of the ocean. Leaving was no easy feat. I wish I could have stayed out there forever!

Gurney's Resort and Spa - Fern Olivia 15

A special thank you to Fern Olivia for having me out at the retreat and for sharing her birthday with us. And lots of love to Erica, Megan, Sari, and Suzie for making this incredible day even more special!

The Hampton Classic Horse Show 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

I am sad to say goodbye to August today. I know that the summer is not technically over yet, but for me, the Hampton Classic Horse Show signals that the end is near. This year the horse show runs from Sunday, August 28th to Sunday, September 4th. Visit the show’s website to check the schedule of upcoming events, if you plan on heading out that way!

Hampton Coffee

This past Sunday, I made it out to Bridgehampton for the opening day. The weather was perfect and I arrived at the show grounds from my house in near record time (under an hour!) — despite leaving almost 30 minutes later than planned. The traffic was so light that I even squeezed in a stop at Hampton Coffee’s brick and mortar location for an iced cappuccino and a chocolate croissant (if you are short on time, they have a mobile unit on the show grounds so you can still get your coffee fix on).

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

My morning was occupied watching various classes in the jumper ring (which is located next to a nice tent that just so happened to be open to the public that day). Despite the cooler temperature, sitting under the hot sun at a horse show will still leave you feeling as though you are baking. The tent was a welcome respite!

Hampton Classic 2016

After getting a break from the sun under the tent and watching a few rounds of classes in the morning, I hit the Boutique Gardens for a little shopping. Of course, my first stops were GiGi New York and Jack Rodgers. Fortunately for me, the prices on almost everything were a bit more than I wanted to spend, so my bank account got a reprieve.

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

I hung around the show grounds all day waiting for the $30,000 Boar’s Head Open Jumper Challenge to take place in the Grand Prix ring at 2:00 pm. The Grand Prix is my favorite ring to watch on the show grounds. The horses compete on a grass field and the jumps are usually high (and often ornate). Watching anything in the Grand Prix ring is nothing short of spectacular.

Hampton Classic 2016

Hampton Classic 2016

Unfortunately, because I had been at the show since 9 am, by 2:30 pm I felt like I was frying in the sun. No amount of sunscreen or a second iced cappuccino offered any relief, so I ventured home.

Now that I made it out to the Hampton Classic, I feel like my summer has ended and I am ready to start thinking about Fall!

Caffeine, Coffee, and Cravings

Starbucks

I know I’m feeling better when I start craving my morning cup of coffee. Whether you refer to it as liquid gold, morning motivation, or just regular old joe, I’m sure you have a favorite coffee house that you frequent, or perhaps a brand that you brew and enjoy at home. For me, Starbucks has always been my company of choice, but after spending some time in California and seeing the array of kitschy coffee houses I couldn’t help but want to explore more local options. So I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite haunts and preferred beverages.

Starbucks

Starbucks
I’ve been frequenting Starbucks for longer than I care to admit. At my local joint, I know most of the baristas by name…and even know the names of some who worked at the one near American University in Washington, DC. For as long as I’ve been going to Starbucks, my drink has always been a grande White Chocolate Mocha — with whipped cream, of course! This past summer, I started indulging in their iced coffee. But now that it is October, I’m all about the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Southdown Coffee

Southdown Coffee
I found this place through a follower on Instagram and after one visit I could tell it was just the type of establishment I wanted. Nestled in Huntington Village, New York, this small, quaint coffee house makes a mean cappuccino and offers freshly made breakfast sandwiches and baked goods. It has become a regular stop on the days I spend in my old hometown!

Hampton Coffee Company

Hampton Coffee Company
Their coffee wins my award for most delicious…as in, I’m glad there are no locations near me because I would be there every day kind of delicious. I first tried their coffee in August when I was out at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. It was a hot day on the show grounds and an iced latte sounded like the perfect cure. Luckily, Hampton Coffee had a mobile coffee truck at the event. If you head to the East End of Long Island you can find their stores. But for those who like to make their morning coffee in their pajamas, you can order from them online.

Golden Pear Cafe

Golden Pear Cafe
Another establishment I’ve found while trekking out to the Hampton’s is the Golden Pear Cafe. With both indoor and outdoor seating and a full breakfast menu, this is a great place to stop and grab your morning cup of joe. You may even see a celebrity walking down the streets of Southampton, Sag Harbor, East Hampton, or Bridgehampton, which is where they are located. I’ve ordered a cappuccino and an iced coffee from them (on separate occasions), and left feeling well-caffeinated. If you stop here, try their scrambled eggs and aged New York cheddar cheese on a freshly baked croissant. It’s one of my favorite items on their menu.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts
I was never a real fan of their coffee until recently…when they were giving away a medium dark roast coffee for free on National Coffee Day. I hadn’t had their coffee in a while, but I was surprised and pleased with how good it was. And since it was much cheaper than Starbucks and twice the size of my normal coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts has redeemed itself, in my opinion.

Where is your favorite place to get coffee? Do you prefer to make it at home or stop at a coffee house?

Highlights from the Hampton Classic

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Can you believe today is the last day of August? It feels like the whole summer flew by, but I was more than happy to spend the final weekend of the month at the Hampton Classic horse show. As is always, the event was fabulous, and the horses, riders, trainers, vendors, and everyone who came out and worked so hard to ensure the show’s success did an incredible job. This year I made it out to the show grounds twice and watched classes in all three rings (grandstand, hunter, and jumper). I couldn’t have asked for better weather and I enjoyed taking lots of photos…over 300 to be exact! Of course, I must thank Hampton Coffee Company for the much needed–and readily available–iced lattes. I will be ordering a supply of their coffee soon.

If you’re wondering about my outfit choices, the decision was difficult. I ended up choosing the white lace dress (what a shock!) and the navy number. The second day I was at the show it was hot and humid, so the white dress was a natural choice. Thank you to everyone who cast their vote and helped me narrow down my options. There is still a mystery dress waiting in the wings, but fear not, it will make an appearance soon.

Here are some of my favorite shots!

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Hampton Classic Horse Show

Check out my Instagram for some short video clips from the show!