We had the good fortune of connecting with Jocelyn Laferriere and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jocelyn, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is crucial to making huge strides. I was stuck for SO LONG. “I can’t do that!” “What if I fail?” “I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m going to make a fool of myself” Were all things I often said to myself. Flip that, “What if I crush it?!” “I have no idea what I’m doing, but who even does?!” That’s how you learn! How you grow! Flash forward to right now. I’ve come to realize through trial and error that taking risks is how you move forward. Getting out of your own way and tricking your brain to stop placing these limiting beliefs on what you are capable of is hard, but it’s the missing piece to the puzzle. Because quite frankly, the impossible is very much possible as long as you believe it to be. Taking risks is like investing in the divine Universe. The Universe will always have your back as long as you allow it to. So for anyone reading this who needs to hear it, JUMP. The net will show up.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Five years ago I would’ve never expected to live where I am, be working where I am, and starting my own business. I had been a bartender for 12 years before I decided to leave the restaurant industry. Always working in some form of hospitality, weddings, catering events, things like that. I loved it. But something was lacking. And to be honest, the late nights were not conducive to my health and well being. I found my current job, managing The Minturn Inn. Talk about a change of pace. When I first started our owner had just bought the property and business was slow, four guests for breakfast was an exciting day. Now weekends we are almost always full at 18 guests. Working at the inn has helped me grow and learn so much about myself in so many ways. Has helped me to realize how much of an empath I truly am. There’s a difference between being an empathetic person and being an empath. When you can FEEL people’s energy and emotions. I sometimes internalize them as my own. Proving to be much more of a hospitality job than I was prepared for, Come to find out it’s not only asking if people need extra pillows or another shot of espresso but being there to hold space for them to energetically decompress. At this point, I should probably have a degree in psychology. Nine times out of ten when people go on vacation, they so badly NEED a vacation. Having the Inn be such a good canvas for how humans interact and live made me also aware of how I live my day to day life. I came back to my yoga practice, knowing I needed a slice of the day that was purely mine. So much awareness of myself and other people was hard to swallow at first. As most awakenings are. One of the major themes I noticed throughout the three years of me being at the Inn, was how people crave human connection. How humans today seem to be more drawn to natural holistic approaches to things, and when I first see them come downstairs before coffee, their mind is the most fragile. Most open to new ideas and finding common ground with strangers. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and facilitate. No matter people’s political standpoint, religious views, financial background, how they grew up, where they grew up, everyone can sit in the same room and find common ground over a cup of coffee. It has restored my faith in humanity, and I feel like if I can do that for people by just serving them breakfast and creating a welcoming space for everyone to feel relaxed. Imagine what I could do on a deeper level. After taking my 200-hour yoga certification, my awareness of these abilities was magnified, and I feel called now more than ever to share any of my healing modalities with the world. I’ve signed up for an immersive 300-hour training in Santa Fe to deepen my practice and knowledge, and I can not wait to share what I learn there as well. For people who aren’t ready to dive super deep into themselves, any of my gifts for home and healing are a perfect start. A way to become more in tune with your energetic self. I’ve had men in their 80’s come up to my booth at farmer’s markets and ask, “What is this?!” Referring to a wild-harvested smudge stick, then coming back two hours later to buy some for their friend Ed. How sweet. And the mental image of an older gentleman who has no idea about energies or smudging or releasing negativity from your space was so intrigued and moved by my explanation, that he needed more. And needed the abalone shell to go with it because he wanted the full effect of the magic of it all. Just seeing what my products have done for so many people fills me up. Guests I’ve known for years through the inn that might not be so open to the woo woo, but are intrigued by it and drawn to it even if they don’t understand. I feel there is a mass awakening happening and I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of it. Teaching yoga to people who have never practiced before, and then teaching them private classes twice a week and seeing their growth both physically but also mentally, and spiritually is a gift in itself. My latest endeavor is recently being a certified cacao practitioner. If you haven’t heard of ceremonial cacao, check out my blog for more information. It is a high vibrational, high antioxidant superfood that not only helps your physical body but also your spiritual body as well. I could go on and on. Hosting cacao ceremonies and leading people through meditation and releasing is so powerful. I have done it on small scales and love the intimacy and connection it brings. I am planning some small events in the upcoming year, so stay tuned if this sounds like something you would be interested in. Seeing what I’ve been doing for years in the service industry, for years at the inn, and now getting into human connection on an even deeper level. Swoon. I truly believe it’s what I’m here to do. It might start with a ritual candle, lit with intention. A candle isn’t so scary, right? Then it may evolve into something a little more witchy like a loose smudge, or wondering how one of my healing salves with ingredients wild-harvested in high altitude areas seem to work so much better than those with chemicals and a fancy label. It’s the magic behind it. One of my favorite quotes by Ronald Dahl, “Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it”. How very true. I could only hope that as I continue to grow in my business and personal journey, whether it be handmade healing products and gifts, yoga, cacao ceremonies, or one on one coaching sessions I can be there to support people wherever they are in life. The Belden Witch is your one-stop-shop for all things healing and metaphysical. I have been creating handmade goods for home and healing for years before I decided to make a business out of it. I grew up in Massachusetts and had this strong connection to the earth and healing plants and herbs. I would make tea blends, soaps, salves, and candles and give them as gifts to friends and family. I always loved the look on their face when they saw that everything was homemade with intention and love. Yearning for change, and not knowing exactly why I had to make a change. A big move was just it. En route to Colorado, my very own manifest destiny. Being in a new place with no friends, family, or connections, a new job, and less than $300 to my name. I fell into financial turmoil. And mental strife and depression. What seemed like every time I tried to pick my head up, there was another reason to look back down. Talk about a whirlwind. I didn’t have the means or the energy to create. I was stuck in the mud. And it’s okay to sit in the mud sometimes, but once you’re STUCK there it’s even harder to get yourself out. Flash forward four years later, The Belden Witch was born. And she was born into a cosmic storm of self-healing, self-worth, self-care, empathy, yoga training, heart-opening, spiritual awakening, shadow work, and this intense desire to share what I’ve struggled through in hopes that it would help other people. Whether that is finding solace in a simple yoga class, a wild-harvested pine resin salve made with plant medicine to help with their dry skin or holding space for people in cacao ceremonies where their true self is not only seen but encouraged. Not only do I enjoy creating magical goods for home and healing, but I fill up when I can help someone overcome something they are struggling with. The healing goods are just icing on the cake to up your vibey witchy self-care game. I want to be someone’s light in the dark, because honestly, I could’ve used the information I know now, at the very least four years ago.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Okay so, as I mentioned earlier, in my other life I run a bed and breakfast in the Colorado Rockies. So if you’re coming to Minturn to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, hike, bike, or just spend the afternoon. I’m your girl to ask where to go and what to do. First things first. Come stay with me! Book a stay at The Minturn Inn. We are located right on Main St. in an old log hewn home that has 9 rooms, five of them with fireplaces, and some of the guest rooms with river stone Jacuzzi tubs. Camp Hale and Columbine are my favorites. They are closer to the back of the house, are quiet, have large stone fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, and views of Lionshead rock in the back. Soaking in mountain views as you soak in the tub?! SIGN ME UP. I’ll most likely be your host, as this is my “real” job and I’m here A LOT! My dog Ruger is the bellhop, he performs a dog show of tricks every morning at breakfast, offers free cuddles, and enjoys long belly rubs by the fireplace. Sorry ladies, he’s taken. Not to mention, we have the best breakfast this side of the Continental Divide. If it’s not homemade by me, it’s from our owner’s Italian market. Homemade bread and quiche, imported meats and cheeses, local granola, Italian pastries and cakes and espresso and coffee worth writing home about. This super cute small town is just outside of Vail and Beaver Creek. Minturn, AKA the cutest, teeniest, gem of a place with the best of the best of good vibes you could ever want out of a small mountain town. The people who live here are the most genuine, good-hearted bunch of weirdos and misfits who like to have a good time, all while supporting their community and living life to the fullest. Another plus for Minturn is all the restaurants, bars, and shops are within walking distance of the inn! Stop at the Minturn Saloon for a legendary margarita after skiing backcountry from the back bowls of Vail Mountain into Minturn. The run is called The Minturn Mile, it’s an out of bounds backcountry run and it is GORGEOUS. (Skip the skiing and head right for the margaritas if you’re a newbie.) On a good powder day you can ski right up to the front door! Try to get a seat by their wood-burning fireplace, it’s known as the “Center of the Universe” because well, just go see for yourself, it’s pretty awesome. Rated Top 10 Best Ski Bars in the country numerous times by Ski Magazine, it’s a must-see. Vintage ski ads and signed celebrity photos of people who’ve skied The Mile, the places oozes old school ski bar charm. Tell your bartender Jocelyn sent you. (Actually, pretty much anywhere in town tell the Jocelyn sent you.) Kirby Cosmo’s BBQ is another local’s spot. My go-to is the fried green tomato BLT. Pig Wings are another favorite. They usually have local live music on weekends, and if any Minturn locals are performing, you’d best get another round. The Minturn Country Club is yet another classic. A grill your own steak house that has been in the Vail Valley for over 30 years. Choose your premium cut of meat, chicken, or fish (I always opt for the sushi-grade tuna steak), cook your own with a glass of wine in hand, order your sides ala carte, and if you can ask for TJ. He rounds out the whole experience, FOR SURE. With his magic tricks and sleight of hand tricks that are on point, you won’t be confused after a visit from TJ why there are so many playing cards on the ceiling. Patty at Thai Kitchen is amazing! Authentic Thai food in the middle of the Rockies. I have guests from all over say they can’t get Thai that good even in the city. Her Pad Thai, Summer Rolls, and Coconut Soup are just some of my favorites, but you really can’t go wrong. And sorry, you’re out of luck if you ask for her recipe for her peanut sauce. It’s so good you could just order a side of that and eat it like soup. Yes, it’s that good. Go see Doug at Sunrise Café for sandwiches and treats to pack on your hike or outdoor adventure. The Minturn Hippie, the Lou’s Scramble, and if you’re lucky enough to be there on a day when he has empanadas on special. GET THOSE. Also, check out the polaroids on the wall if you want to see any of those weirdo misfit locals, aka the best humans ever. Ruger is somewhere up there too, be sure to take a look as you wait for your order. Rocky Mountain Taco goes unsaid. Food truck turned brick and mortar that crushes the taco game. I can’t steer away from the Hippie Crack Quesadilla and try all of their sauces, jalapeno crema and chipotle crema are my favorite. They have a great collection of skateboard art too, funky art gallery while you wait for tacos and local beer? Yep. Back Country Wings is the best place for bar food. Wings, fries, cheese curds, all of their sauces are leveled out like ski runs….can you handle expert? And they have the biggest TV’s in Minturn for game days. Magustos is a pizza and burger pub just as you pull into town, sandwiches, salads, pizza, they have something for everyone. They also deliver! And deliver late night at that…hard day on the slopes? Delivery to the Inn, please! Other shops and places to visit are Holy Toledo, a consignment store that people drive from Denver for. You can find some awesome treasures at great prices! High quality and very gently used. Anahata Yoga Co. is my studio that I call home. An old hardware store with exposed beams, hardwood floors, a giant stone fireplace, and a massive vintage chandelier. Worth taking a yoga class while you’re in town just for the studio! Never mind the instructors, see if you can take one of Chelsea’s classes, she’s the owner and she’s great. Super knowledgeable and caters to active bodies and newcomers alike. Morgan is fabulous too, with a dance background her classes are flowy and fun. Catering to all levels of yogis, you’re sure to be relaxed and ready for your vacation. Make an appointment for a massage and reiki session with Eileen from Healing Roots Massage, her hands are pure magic. Talk about a reset. Book a 90 minute, you’ll be upset if you only reserved an hour. The Scarab, Gemini Gardens, The Uptown Store, Antique Accents, Minturn Mercantile, and Eagle Valley Music & Comics are other amazing little shops right on Main St. Prepare to spend some time and meet some awesome shop owners. Jeesh! I could go on and on, can you tell I love where I live?! Check out my blog for more posts on Minturn and what to do in the Vail Valley. Skiing, hikes, hidden gems, and off the beaten path places that you should put on your list. I got you covered. Start with booking a night at the Minturn Inn, I’ll fill you in at breakfast.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Two people stuck out instantly when reading this question. In my other life, I manage an Inn in the Colorado Rockies. I have a regular guest who comes to stay with me every two weeks. I’ve been working there for about three years, you do the math. We’ve gotten to know one another pretty well. This guest has been working at an abandoned mining town that is next to the Inn for about 30 years. Although it is abandoned it still needs upkeep from the rising water levels of the nearby river, maintaining water flow, checking on pressure, and making sure things are safe, although the town is very much off-limits to the public. (PLEASE DO NOT try to go find it and explore, trespassing is illegal and they do monitor if people are in there, trust me, you do NOT want that hefty fine.) After working all day in the elements, that particular guest who just happens to be an amazing human, comes to stay at the Inn. He is a gentleman in his 60’s, a Piscean just like me, and we read our horoscopes in the local newspaper over coffee in the morning. He is open to spirituality and woo woo things, even if he admits he doesn’t understand all of it. He has always supported my witchy habits. (Even when they aren’t the most “normal”… but who wants to strive for “normal” anyway?) My adopted Colorado Dad, always there to help or listen and gives continuous support of my sometimes crazy ideas. Coming back after a day of work with dry hands, cuts, scrapes, you name it, I always have a witchy remedy to cure what ails him. Can you guess the name of the mine? One day the name of my business just clicked… my miner friend said, “You always have some sort of witchy fix for everything! We’re going to have to start calling you The Belden Witch”. And so it is. He always asks how The Belden Witch is doing and refers to The Belden Witch as my business, but also ME. Having someone support you so much even when they don’t understand, is so pure. Hard to explain. Kind of like magic. The other person that came to mind was my friend Janie. We met one day in our small town and became instant best friends because of our rings. Yes, our rings. Both of us wear a fabulous collection of silver rings basically on every finger. “Why aren’t we friends?!”, as we admired each other jewels. Well, it didn’t take long. Kindred souls. Magical women who believe the impossible is quite possible. (Because it is). She has helped me so much in starting up the business side of The Belden Witch. I’m more of the creative, she’s more, “That’s great! But you can’t just give everything away, and you need to keep track of everything.” Explaining that to me without belittling me says a lot about who she is. She sees my strengths while supporting my weaknesses. We balance each other out. Janie was helping me at a local farmers market and as I’m talking and explaining to shoppers about all things magical and medicinal I look over to see tears welling up in her eyes. “What’s the matter?” “I just hope that you see the potential in you and The Belden Witch, because it is so powerful, and I am just so proud of you. You don’t even see the potential yet.” Even when I’m having low days she’s there for encouragement, to build me up, to hold space, to help with a spreadsheet or “computer magic” as I like to call it. Because let’s be real, computer magic is NOT the magic I’m best at. I’m so grateful for her friendship and support. So thanks Janie, I love you so damn much. Don’t ever lose your muchness.”