Friday, August 21, 2015

How We Got Married for Less than $1200

Yes. That is right. You saw that title correctly. My husband, Will, and I had our wedding, on the beach in Orange County, CA with 60-75 of our loved ones present, vegan catering, and a beachfront hotel, for less than twelve hundred dollars.

Aren't you proud of us?!

It's been a year since we tied the not (Happy Anniversary, Lover!) and it feels appropriate to blog about that beautiful day as a means to celebrate it publicly =D

So, all of the above was complete truth, however, we did take some short cuts that made for huge savings for us; and that also made for a wonderfully unique wedding that will not be easily forgotten. I loved that we were still able to incorporate just enough tradition to remind us all that we were indeed celebrating a wedding ;)

Here's how we did it:

We started with location.

We searched online for beaches that didn't require a permit or scheduling. We wanted to keep things simple. How lucky were we that Newport Beach (our neighbor beach-city) was one of the beaches that fit our desires. To fit their rules, however, we couldn't use sound amplification, decorations, seating, or have more than "fifty people" (we broke this rule by a dozen or two, without experiencing any riffraff from authorities). I completely appreciated this rule. It helped us keep things super simple.
We put up a couple of white 'Easy-Ups' and picnic tables for the food line (Seabirds!) and had family and friends bring their towels and beach chairs, but walked away from that area during the ceremony, so as to ensure any observers that they were only being used as part of our beach-time relaxation ;)
Location - Free.

My wedding dress was a post-season prom dress.

My mom did the cutest thing. She bought a handful of prom dresses that had gone on sale after prom season had passed. And had me try them on at home for her and Maggie x) It worked out perfectly. I picked two of the four (she returned the other two). They were sparkly and special, yet simple and sweet, and perfect for me.
 $80 (for two wedding dresses, but really, free because Mommy is nice).
Shoes - Free (Didn't wear any ;p)
$100 - Will's tux

We didn't hire any help.

My family helped with everything. Will's friend Craig brought the 'Easy-Ups' and helped with so much of the last-minute stuff. Mick, my brother, officiated the wedding (and did it beautifully!). Maggie, my Maid-of-Honor (and entire wedding party), was my personal assistant (thank you, Meg). My cousin, Vikki, offered to take photos, but friends ended up gifting us a photographer last-minute (thank you SO MUCH to the Wrights!), and all of our guests were so sweet to send us the photos they'd taken (as well as hashtagged their photos that day: #mollywillthompsonwedding). My boss at Seabirds simply insisted on bringing and setting up our amazing catering order. I did my own hair and makeup (wore my nails plain as usual, borrowed jewelry [& my mom made me a beaded foot piece]). My aunt gifted me my bouquet (so beautiful, thank you Aunt Lisa!). And I bought two singles-stemmed sunflowers fresh that day for my GodDaughters to walk down the sand-aisle ahead of me with... And for the reception, we walked the beach for sunset, ate, talked, and laughed in the sand. Mick played us Sade, By Your Side, when we got back to the room after sundown. And I played Will a song on my guitar as my wedding gift to him. Later we danced at the cantina next to our room...
Setup/Equipment - Free
Officiant - $50 for wedding certificate, officiant paperwork, and processing fees
Photos - Free
Food setup - Free
Wedding Bouquet - Free
Two sunflowers - $15
Will's gift - Free
Entertainment - Free

The big expenses were still minimal.

So what did we spend money on? The room, where I got ready, where we met and rendezvoused, and kept our things. And the food. Seabirds Kitchen... vegan, cali-cuisine-I-call-it. Tacos, sliders. So bomb. I happened to work there and still do occasionally so they're family too ;} and they treated me so, in providing loving assistance, and much-appreciated add-ins like napkins, plates, utensils, etc. Cake came from our other favorite vegan restaurant, Loving Hut. One chocolate, and one "Panda."
Beach-front hotel room with kitchen (one night) - $300
The food - $400
Drink (two 5-gallon jugs of alkaline water) - $10
Water cups, including two plastic wine glasses for the bride and groom - $8
4 two-layer, 8 inch cakes - $150 (thirty dollars each + tip)

We were so gratefully gifted enough money to treat us on our honeymoon to Maui <3
Thank you to all of our Loved Ones who joined us on our special day and made it the most amazing wedding I've ever been to. And for the ones who couldn't make it or that perhaps I was unable to extend an invite to, I hope you understand our desire to live by our means - we wanted the whole world to be there. We continue to feel the love and spirit of our Big Family. Thank you for always sharing it with us. Sending it right back in waves, Much Love, The Thompsons.

Monday, April 6, 2015

La Jolla and Other Things...

Will and I are back from a mini-vacation to La Jolla. We brought our surf wagon, The Beast, and were barely able to find a parking space. I'm so grateful we decided on a camper van versus a motor home. She's the perfect size for us.

On our first day there, Will (who had done his research - thanks Lover) took me to Trilogy Cafe, a rooftop organic vegan restaurant that doubles as a space for aerial and acro yoga. <3 The food was excellent.

We did our usual ... hiked the coastline, watched the sunset, roamed the streets under the (full) moon, and woke up early to greet the sunrise. Hippies.

On the way home we stopped at a few beaches, I napped and sunbathed. Will paddle surfed. It was lazy and lovely.

I love our local excursions, but I have dreams of exploring the other corners of our country, as well as the planet... There is an idea I think of when my hunger for distant travel creeps in. It's the belief that we must earn our travel experience. I need to understand where I come from before I venture further, radially.

And I think I'm beginning to. Our local excursions make me feel more and more familiar with my geographic location. I feel it in my body that this is where I'm from, like I'm made of sand and wind. Beachy. Deserty. I'm reminded of the people I so desperately wanted to know, from my anthropology studies, our ancestors, foragers, nomads. They knew the land so well. 

So while I dream of doing yoga in India, eating jackfruit and durian in Thailand, learning about medicinal plants in the Amazon rainforest, surfing in Nicaragua, and visiting my distant Irish and Finnish  family someday ... We shall gain our traveler's experience and cred by sticking the pins in the home state and country maps first, huh Willy?

Now onto 'Other Things' ...

This little vacation was a celebration of the launch of my business, and beginning grad school. This is my new chapter. I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm ready.

So here it is: 

My name is Molly Olivia Thompson. I'm a certified holistic health coach. I specialize in detoxification, stress-relief, personalized health plans and use a drug-free, plant based approach. I desire for everyone to feel supported in their healing journey. I intend to be of service to my loved-ones, to my community-members, and to anyone who feels called to heal themselves on a holistic level, which is in body, mind, spirit, and emotion. 

To learn more please visit 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Exploring Home...

Hello Blog Family,

I'm enduring blog withdrawals. I'm in the process of setting up my health counseling business. Also preparing myself for starting graduate school (!!!), so no time for creative or informative blogs, or for much travel either. However, I've been finding solace in exploring the nooks and crannies of my home. Both inside and out.

Taking the dogs for walks has been particularly rewarding, especially since Stella had a minor surgery recently, so going out has been kept to a minimum. And trips to the beach, ahh, so grateful to live here. We finally got some rain (even snowish hail!). Lots of time spent in the house as well. Cleaning, organizing, decluttering, in an effort to turn my home into a makeshift office to take clients in for sessions in the near future. And I've been very much enjoying going to my same farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants, water stores ... getting to know my community members a little more every day. A slight shift towards a simpler way for the time being. And life seems a little more beautiful because of it.

We did take a family vacation with cousins to Vegas a little over a month ago. I adore spending time with them. And I learned a few things on that trip. I do not belong in Vegas. As a sensitive person, I was overwhelmed by the busy-ness, the big-ness, loudness, rudeness, the drunkenness (this was my first sober trip there) - no wonder people numb themselves up with booze the whole time! We thankfully took a spa day (at Caesar's palace- most beautiful spa I've been to!), much needed. 
And of course it was challenging being vegan there. Not only because of food availability (that part was actually totally do-able with a little scouting), but because this was my first time being around (since before I worked at Seabirds) people who are -not just curious, but- openly challenged by my lifestyle. I was regretfully unprepared. And upon our return home, I had to visit Urgent Care for chest pain and diffuculty breathing (what I believe was a physical manifestation of my anxiety - something I experienced one other time during my troubled teenage years). I can find the good though. I love spending time with my cousins. And the opposition I faced has launched me into a new direction with my free time and energy at home lately. I'm fully absorbed in researching ethics and morality... the very meaning of veganism. I am now prepared. I welcome and look forward to every future opportunity to be questioned or challenged. I now feel grateful for my difficult Vegas experience...

I'm especially grateful to Will. You always breathe me through every trying, emotional situation. You are my perfect balance. I love you.

And I love You All ...

Until next time ;)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Adios 2014!

Happy Holidays to You!

Winter is here ... Christmas is near; it is a beautiful time.

This post is going to be a bit layered:

First, I must touch on Maui, because this blog was originally created as a travel blog, after-all ;)
Second, I'll share my food-haul video from today.
And Third, some logistics...

Balboa Pier, Newport Beach

Watercolor painting by Will 
(of me in Standing Half Lotus outside our hotel gazing toward Molokai)

     So, I got married ;) It's been almost two months now, but I haven't posted since the big day. It was beautiful and perfect. And we 'mooned in Maui, which doesn't sound very original, but we have friends there and it's where we got engaged. There were a few lovely days where we did absolutely nothing besides lounge ... on the beach, in our room, by the pool, on the patio. We met with friends, ate at our favorite places, and I got to try a few new fruits (my favorite thing)! There's talk of us setting up to go out there once or twice a year so Will can guest-spot at Skin Deep. And then I can put out my feelers for some things too :}

     Moving onto the video I just finished ... What I Brought Home from Mother's Market Today ... a sort-of part 2 to my other food-haul video. Here't'is...

     I'd like to start taking questions, ideas, & suggestions for video topics. If any of you out there have any for me ... send 'em on over, please and thank you!

     Now, lastly, and in perfect timing to line up with the end of the year, I'd like to announce that this will be my last post here on Blogger, sort of. I'm working on creating content and prettying up my website, which will contain a new blog. So this blog will be returning to what it was originally designed for, as I mentioned before, my travel blog. Molly's Gypsy Wagon will now focus on sharing my travels with my loved ones. Keep your eyes open though, for my new website which should be launching in a couple of months! 

     Thank you for all of the love and support, Family! Happy Holidays to YOU! <3, Moll

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Emotional Health

Emo. I am.
Maybe it's because I'm a girl. Maybe not. Maybe it goes along with my empathic, sensitive, anxious nature.

Whatever it be, I am an emotional person. And I've learned to hone in on the deep connection I have to my emotions and feelings... to see them as guides.

A few years back, I got on a raw vegan kick. I decided to get "healthy." Like most people out there, I had this idea that it was all or nothing. Only raw food, sweaty workouts every day, etc. And like most people out there, I did not succeed within that template. And that is a good thing ;) It was fun and empowering at first, but keeping a strict regimen wasn't keeping me happy. <--the key ingredient.

One of the bits I love most about the integrative nutrition school I attend is that we are taught that the holistic approach is imperative. Meaning ... that we can eat all the raw whole foods we possibly can, but if our marriage (or our career, or mental health, etc) is in shambles, we will still experience physical symptoms of poor health.

The way this unfolded for me was when I decided to do away with maintaining the perfect diet and exercise program, and decided instead to follow my bliss. I eat more vegan junk food these days and exercise less (but play more!), and my true health is soaring.

Why? Because my emotional health is in balance. I've made a habit of looking inward when negative emotions flare up and listening to what the sweet-little-me-inside is asking for.

This is where we discover the paradox in health. The basics are simple, but when we balance and individualize, "health" as a concept and a plan can seem quite complex: Everyone knows what it takes to be healthy, right? ... more water, fruits, veggies, and whole foods in general; less processed foods, alcohol, coffee ... better sleep, rest, stress-management ... and exercise. I think most people understand these points as part of a healthy lifestyle. But some of the things we often forget, that are just as vital, are relationships and community, career, finances, spirituality, mental and emotional health, creative expression. These are the pieces that make up the "grey area" of health. There is no black and white when it comes to individual health. Not even one diet (even though I love to believe that plant-based living will save the world), because we each have our own little emotional attachments to food. And that's okay. The journey is in finding a way that is pleasing and nutritious to each of us, individually. And the journey never ends =) Good luck!

Moral of the story: do what makes you happy. It's healthy, damnit! ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Hello Friends,

For tonight's post I'm sharing about the Instagram "series" I began nearly a week ago...

I'm keeping my tribe updated with posts on all the little things I'm putting special intention into as I prepare for my teeny beach wedding in just-shy-of a month.

The theme is holistic health tips, and in my mind as I was posting the first photo, I was searching for a clever hashtag to umbrella what I was doing. I imagined workout ideas, recipes, and the like and #onemonthtosexy was one of the first phrases that popped up. Simple and clear, albeit silly. So that's where you can find the series on instagram. And you can find me... @mollyolivetree.

G'night ;)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumnal Equinox has Arrived - Fall Cleanse

Happy Fall time ...

The days are growing shorter. I've been saying my goodbyes to smoothies as cooler weather invites me to drink more tea and sip hot soup. I'm starting to plan out my seasonal cleanse. The news of late for me is that I'm in a time of change. My recent card readings agree. I'm enduring deep transformation on the inside, in my career, and in my relationships. One in particular is indeed transforming on a very exciting level, which has me all giddy and wide-eyed: I'm getting married. Fall will forever have an even deeper, sweeter meaning to me from here on out.

So with all of that in mind, I'm thinking to begin a mental cleanse. As someone who gets easily overwhelmed, I think it would be a kind-to-me idea to re-establish a bit of a meditation practice.

Meditation can be used to calm the mind and body, and to tap into the still peacefulness of our Inner Knowing. To allow feelings and thoughts to come forth, to pass through. It's not something I consider myself particularly practiced at. But the effort will be in giving myself the time to reset and relax for a few moments every day. To simply sit and be with myself.

There are Kriyas, grounding and guided meditations that are often helpful too. If you try anything out for yourself, will you share your experiences with me? How does meditating make you feel? Do you meditate regularly? What kind of meditation do you practice? Is it challenging for you? Easy?

Bliss*ings on your journey,