tofino

Meet Our Retreat Leader Series - Elizabeth Finkle Sans AKA "Mama Liz"

We are starting a new series of posts at Noorishing Thoughts so you can get to know us a little better. We start with Noorish’s premier partner, Elizabeth Finkle Sans of Dryftwater Sports, who is an inspiration to me. We call her Mama Liz (she’s mom to two teen daughters) and she’s always looking out for everyone around her. She’s an accomplished athlete (former pro skier!), entrepreneur and a big part of her community in the Hamptons in New York. Mama Liz gives us some insight into what makes her tick.

MamaLizsurf

Tell us a bit about yourself - who is Mama Liz and what is she all about?

Mama Liz is a wife/ mother/ yogu/surfer/skier/hippie trapped in a 45+ body, a peter pan who never wants to grow up! I worked so hard to be a grown up while working on Wall Street for 20 years, I want those youthful years back!

What inspires you?

Young people who don’t realize the gift of youth,older people who live like they are decades younger. 

Like many of us today, You’re a wearer of many hats - entrepreneur, mother, wellness advocate. What keeps you balanced and gets you through your many tasks in the day?

While I love my husband and daughters dearly, and I love my home, I always have a trip planned. I have had the good fortune to travel my whole life and whether it is a new location or a return to an old location, the excitement of travel keeps me in balance. 

You created Dryft Watersports, which makes beautiful, handcrafted surfboards. What is like working as a woman in the surf industry?

It is a very competitive business.There are not a great deal of women who are making boards, but there are many shapers out there. I just have to keep getting the boards into more hands and into more locations and hope the word spreads! We are in America and Central America and soon North Africa

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You were a former professional skier and now you are an avid surfer. What have outdoor sports taught you that has translated into something bigger in life?

Outdoor sports teach you that nothing goes as plans, and that we must be flexible and able to change plans on a dime. One day we are skiing in packed powder in sunny weather and great visibility, and within 40 minutes its cloudy and there is no visiblity where you cannot see your hand in front of you! Or you are surfing nice shoulder high waves, the sky turns grey, the wind crosses, and the waves are sloppy, overhead, and there is a strong rip. We have to adapt. Life changes too. We can be healthy one day, and be diagnosed with cancer the next.  Some people are so much in tunnel vision, that the slightest change throws them into depression.

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What are your favourite places in the world? Do you have any bucket list places you want to check off?

Nicaragua is one of my favorite places. Paris is my favorite City. I cannot wait to visit Africa!

Liz at her Nicaraguan home having a blast

Liz at her Nicaraguan home having a blast

If there's one piece of advice you would give yourself when you were in your teens or twenties, what would it be?

I would have spent more years traveling and not have settled into a serious job until I was over 30. I don’t regrets, but there is no reason to hurry to settle down!

You can come meet us, that’s me (Liv), Mama Liz, and retreat leader Carly at our upcoming event in New York!

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We are hosting a COMPLIMENTARY Pop-Up Yoga & Essential Oil event at the LeRose Dance Company. Take some time out for yourself next Saturday afternoon and enjoy a restorative yoga session led by Carly. Stay for a social over some light snacks and kombucha afterwards as we take questions on yoga, surfing, essential oils, wellness and anything in between! Details below:

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1:30PM - 3PM

WHERE: LEROSE DANCE COMPANY, 202 Montauk Hwy, Westhampton Beach, NY

WHAT: NOORISH TOFINO & DRYFTWATER SPORTS POP-UP YOGA & ESSENTIAL OIL SOCIAL

RSVP: Email me hello@noorishtofino.com, or check out our Facebook Page at Noorish Tofino Retreats under Events. Or just show up early with your mat and you’re good to go! Limited spots available so come early.


Why It's Time To Let Go Of Your Fears

Do something that scares you

We all have fears. Small ones, innate ones, big scary dark ones. Ones that grip us and freeze us into stone. Ones that keep us from moving forward and help hold us in place of the same decision making and behaviour patterns. Even as I write this post and face a blank page, I feel fear. Fear of not being able to express exactly into eloquent words what I want to say. We put off doing things, confronting things, saying things due to our fears. And it’s time to let go and taste the freedom that erasing our fears can create.

Jump....or No?

Jump....or No?

When we overcome the ideas and thoughts that hold us back, we learn something new about ourselves. We feel empowered because we’ve taken control and created our own narrative. Our own self-limiting thoughts may have prevented us from doing the things we wanted to in the past. How many times have you wanted to pursue something that scared you slightly but yet excited you? Did you push past those negative thoughts and went ahead or did fear paralyze you?

A confession: I have a real deep rooted fear of failure. Despite being academically successful in my youth and having established a decent career in my field. I love starting projects but I can have a real problem finishing them. Why? Due to my self-imposed pressures I create and the thought that I will not meet my expectations. But as I approach the age of 40, I realize it’s time to shed those binds holding me back and push ahead with my vision. There is something very scary about starting your own business. I am putting myself out there, my ideals and thoughts. What if no one likes what I have to offer? Or, how can I possibly compete with that xyz? But by avoiding the deep calling I’ve felt within me to create Noorish Tofino, I won’t ever know whether this idea will spring into life. To overcome this fear, I must re-frame what I think of failure. Failure isn’t always bad. Failure is a learning opportunity if I can expand my horizons and learn from my mistakes and those of others.

I had a childhood fear of diving. It actually stemmed from being upside down, which meant I couldn't do handstands until about the age of 27 when I started practicing yoga regularly. It would be another 10 years before I actually learned to dive, head first, into a swimming pool.

I had a childhood fear of diving. It actually stemmed from being upside down, which meant I couldn't do handstands until about the age of 27 when I started practicing yoga regularly. It would be another 10 years before I actually learned to dive, head first, into a swimming pool.

So do something that scares you - once a month, a week, a day. You might surprise yourself. When I first tried surfing, I was terrified before I even stepped into the water. I couldn’t imagine myself out there having fun. I was afraid of the murky gray and cold water and of the waves sloshing around. The fear physically gripped me and I wasn’t breathing properly. My mindset was already in self-sabotage mode. Fortunately, I had a very kind and patient instructor who with her smile and calm energy, coaxed me out and on her first push off the big floaty foam surfboard, I stood up and felt the magic of “standing” on water for the first time ever. A smile spread across my face and I was hooked. Without pushing past my initial gut feeling of fear, I may not have ever started surfing, a sport that has brought such incredible experiences into my life and introduced so many wonderful friends I now know.

Are you making excuses, putting off plans, or avoiding something so you don't have to face your fears? Photo by  gabrielle cole  on  Unsplash

Are you making excuses, putting off plans, or avoiding something so you don't have to face your fears? Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash

What is it that scares you? You may instinctively know or you may need to contemplate deeply to find the answer. Maybe you are afraid to try new things because the unknown is scary, or maybe you are anxious to travel without your family because you believe without you they will fall apart. You find excuses to avoid the task; you put it off and procrastinate. Whatever it might be, try to recognize the triggers. Note how it makes you feel and try to understand where those thoughts came from and what behaviours it’s creating (or not creating, as in avoidance). Our fears can be created from previous bad experiences, or passed down from our family since early childhood. Once you recognize what you’re dealing with, you can find a way to overcome the blockage.

This is not an article instructing you how to beat your fears. That, is a path you must find. Rather, it’s recognizing that each and every one of us have things that give us anxiety. And by knowing what that is for you and how it limits you, you can focus on taking the power back into your hands. Living without self-limitations will give you new sense of freedom and a feeling that you CAN, do and achieve anything.

 

 

 

The Importance of Design and Living Well

Walk past the giant cedar beams and a custom crafted, oversized door greets you as you step inside Noorish House in Tofino

Walk past the giant cedar beams and a custom crafted, oversized door greets you as you step inside Noorish House in Tofino

Have you ever stepped into a space and felt an immediate sense of well-being? You may have even taken a deep breath, let out a sigh and immersed all of your senses to take in your physical surrounding. Your eyes widen, your jaw relaxed, and you feel happy. The link between aesthetically pleasing spaces and healthy living is well documented, and this philosophy drove a fundamental part in the design and construction of Noorish House.

Exterior and landscaping is a work in progress. We love how our timber frame home fits in with its natural environment and can't wait to get the grounds really lush again.

Exterior and landscaping is a work in progress. We love how our timber frame home fits in with its natural environment and can't wait to get the grounds really lush again.

This idea of design and wellness correlates with ancient principles of feng shui as well as Scandinavian design theories on our mood and health. Feng Shui is all about creating a flow of Chi, or your life force, so that it can freely move about the home. A home free of clutter and with smartly designed pathways encourages this movement. Minimalistic but not barren. It’s as if the Chi moves as freely as the ocean tides, pouring in and out in a rhythmic and cleansing manner.

Crisp dark blue and rugged textured wood cabinets are topped with a white quartz countertop. Brass details such as the hexagon cabinet door pulls and the hanging pendants, both by  CB2 , add a luxe touch. A matte black faucet by Delta plays off the black accented theme that runs through the home.

Crisp dark blue and rugged textured wood cabinets are topped with a white quartz countertop. Brass details such as the hexagon cabinet door pulls and the hanging pendants, both by CB2, add a luxe touch. A matte black faucet by Delta plays off the black accented theme that runs through the home.

High ceilings give us a sense of freedom. Cool colours such as soft blues and greens evoke feelings of calm and serenity while warmer tones can create feelings of excitement, mystery or intimacy. Natural textures such as wood, leather, granite and wool encourages the human touch. And elements such as gold and brass accents, concrete, and glass add sophistication and balance the warm materials with the cool.

When I designed Noorish House, I wanted to create a place that could evoke certain moods and feelings but also be highly functional. My vision was to create a space of great comfort and relaxation with special touches that made the house feel like a home. I employed minimalist lines inspired by Scandinavian design for the structure, but also incorporated different textures and materials throughout for a variety in sensory experience. The exterior aimed to fit in harmony with its surroundings of tall cedar trees. We worked with a terrific pre-fab architectural and design firm named Purcell Timberframe Homes to create our dream, single-story cottage by the sea. We fell in love with the timber frame look which is quintessentially Westcoast, and we kept the shape as a simple rectangle as an ode to the traditional First Nations Longhouse. The dark stain on the exterior siding is a nod to the old style Japanese method of Shou Sugi Ban which preserves wood through fire and creates a dramatic blackened and textured wood. The result is Scandinavian Hygge meets Westcoast Chill meets Asian Zen. 

A leather headboard bed by  CB2  welcomes guests to relax. Area rug is hand crafted in Mexico purchased from local Tofino retailer  Merge , and a hand made tassel blanket from Morocco from  Artizanry  acts as the coverlet. Side tables are cast in concrete from  Sun Pan .

A leather headboard bed by CB2 welcomes guests to relax. Area rug is hand crafted in Mexico purchased from local Tofino retailer Merge, and a hand made tassel blanket from Morocco from Artizanry acts as the coverlet. Side tables are cast in concrete from Sun Pan.

I’m a lover of natural light so large windows and sliding doors were a must to brighten up the home and to invite the feeling of being outside in. The cathedral clapboard ceilings were washed with a diluted white paint to maximize their impact and to reflect the most light possible. The walls are mostly painted in a classic soft white, Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls, a shade that is neither too blue or too yellow, to create the seaside cottage mood.

My twins light up seeing the fire stove in use for the first time

My twins light up seeing the fire stove in use for the first time

The centrepiece of the home is a grounding element that reaches up high into the ceiling: a matte black and four sided glass surround fire stove which not only warms the cottage on those damp Tofino nights but provides an essential life force, fire, in the heart of the home. The fire stove sits in the intersection between Noorish House's main living space of media area, kitchen, dining space and a conversation and reading area.

I wanted to display objects that carried special meaning to me so when a guest puts her eyes on it, she too, could wonder about the story behind the item and perhaps bring about a conversation. Being a big fan of local surf and wedding photographer Bryanna Bradley, I couldn’t resist bringing in her fantastic prints which really highlight the strength of the female surfing sisterhood in Tofino.

Part time Noorish House resident finds a beam of sun to doze off in. Leather chairs by  Article.  

Part time Noorish House resident finds a beam of sun to doze off in. Leather chairs by Article. 

It’s no wonder that we often feel more relaxed and happy when we are staying in a spacious and well organized home. 

A big thank you to my wonderful builder Donny in Tofino who has been incredibly patient and understands my vision. 

Come play and relax at one of our Tofino Getaways or Contact Us for private retreat options.