Dog Days

Just over a week ago, I ran a race! I used to run a lot. I’ve run a few half marathons and even a full marathon in Disney World back in 2012. Whoa! Even thinking about running that far now hurts my legs. I’ve been keeping to shorter distances lately; 2-3 mile jogs just to be outside and stay in shape. But for some reason, this summer, I started wanting to run longer distances again. It might be the atmosphere of LBI. People are outside at all hours of the day walking, running, and biking. The island is completely flat, and it makes you feel like you might enjoy exercising, too! I thought about doing the full 18-mile race that runs the whole span of Long Beach Island, but unfortunately it takes place right after I leave for Australia. Instead, I saw posters for the Dog Day Race, a much gentler 5-mile fun run that happens in the dead center of the steamy month of August.

LBI Dog Day Run

I guess most people probably don’t need to train all that much to run five miles, but I felt like I did. And while I was looking for a manageable training schedule, I came across a plan for training called the Galloway Method. I really loved long distance running, because of what it does for my mental state and because it’s my favorite way to see a city, but somewhere around the 10-12 mile training run, I would always get hurt. When race day finally arrive, my knee or hip would be struggling, and I never fully felt my best.

For the Dog Day run, I decided to try out Jeff Galloway’s run-walk method. Since I run about 9 minute miles in short distances, the method suggests that I run for four minutes and then walk for one minute—the amount you run in between depends on your mile time. I was hesitant to try it. I always beat myself up if I have to stop and walk, or I feel like I can’t count it as a full run. Jeff disagrees. He says that walking for a minute won’t set your time back much at all; in fact, most people are able to improve their times using a run-walk approach. The method also claims to prevent injuries. That was what convinced me to try it. I have to be on my feet a lot for my jobs down here, and I want to keep running, so I didn’t want to get hurt.

The day of the race was insanely hot! I wondered why they decided to start at 9:30am instead of earlier. I wondered why there weren’t more people passing out from heat exhaustion around me. I set up my new Bluetooth headphones that my friend gifted to me and set off on my run-walk. I was feeling pretty good considering the heat. I felt kind of silly stopping after four minutes for my first walk break, but the recipe says to start it from the very beginning, before you get tired. I could tell it was working. While I was walking, other runners would pass me, and then I would catch up to them or pass them on the next time segment. Of course, I’m never expecting to win any races, but I’m still competitive and like to do well compared to my past times.

When we came to the final mile, I was exhausted and happy to have friendly neighbors who set up sprinklers and hoses in their yards to cool us down. [Note to self to serve as a race volunteer someday!] I think if I hadn’t been doing a run-walk method, I would’ve ran over ten minute miles or decided to stop and walk altogether. I was hotter than ever, but I saw the lights from the firehouse finish line and gave it the final push. I was stoked to see that the timer was under 50 minutes.

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I declined any of the post-race hot dogs, but treated myself to some watermelon and loads of H2O. As I walked back to my bike to ride home, I was reminded of one of my favorite Tim Ferriss Show podcast episodes when Derek Sivers talks about how he would always take the same bike ride to work every day and would really push himself, ignore his surroundings, and gas it as fast as possible. Then one day, he decides to slow down, take in the scenery, and enjoy the ride. He winds up making it to work in the exact same amount of time, with a much more leisurely spirit.

I’ll be thinking about that on my future runs and whenever I try to rush from one point in life to the next. Wishing you the most enjoyment in your journey, too.

Finding Your Tribe

I was sad to leave El Salvador and all of the adventurous, chill, and fun people I met on the retreat. Lucky for me, a lot of them live in LA, so I was already able to get ice cream with my new friend, Teri, and do more Buti yoga with Pixie. However, I’m a little bummed to feel like I’m finding my tribe in this city right as I’m about to leave again… [*life update here].

Surf Sweat Serve El Salvador

It’s been so fulfilling to find other people who want to build their lives into a grand adventure and who aren’t afraid to try something new on their own. I feel complemented and supported by others who aren’t cool with the, “Grow up and settle down” message in our society and who want to grow up and live their dreams while maintaining the playfulness and curiosity of childhood.

When I got back to LA, I spontaneously made a trip down to San Diego to see my friend Sara. We spent Saturday night singing karaoke songs in her living room and Sunday at the beach testing out our surf skills. We got tumbled by some waves, but that was OK. We were doing what we’ve always wanted to do and having a great time doing it.

Tamarack Beach

On the drive home, I got a message from my friend inviting me to a PRIDE dinner party at her house. Everyone was requested to bring rainbow foods or drink to celebrate the opportunity to be oneself and the gift of love for everyone. I wasn’t planning to go home or to the grocery store; I had brunch plans with another friend. What do you know, during brunch that friend told me she had a collection of rainbow superfood powders and we could definitely put together a rainbow menu item. We spent the afternoon making colorful tie-dye waffles (she also happened to have a peace sign mini waffle maker!) and I had the perfect thing to bring to the party.

rainbow waffles

I’m going to miss all of these people so much! But if there’s anything I’ve learned from living in different places, it’s that your tribe doesn’t die when you leave. Sometimes it gets even stronger as it spreads out and new members are added. And then you end up feeling like you can land anywhere and find a sense of belonging.

Surf Sweat Serve

Coming Home

Since I’ve gotten older and started traveling on more global adventures of my own, I am always trying to see how I can prolong the transformative effects of travel by making mini changes in my life when I get back home. As you can see, I’ve already started attempting to recreate the Covana Kitchen menu from our hotel. I did a pretty good job of replicating the fruit and chia pudding that was my favorite breakfast each morning.

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But beyond copying the hotel breakfasts, the event that had the biggest impact for me during the trip was definitely our beach cleanup. Perhaps it was being in an a country that is so untouched and underdeveloped, but I felt that you could really see the impact that our American consumerism and wastefulness has on other places. I’ve started making lists (and following them) of how I can make my own small changes.

El Salvador beach cleanup

Some things I do to be kinder to the Earth:

  • Carry reusable bags in the car- this one’s easy for me, since I’ve now lived in two cities that don’t offer plastic bags unless you pay for them. I wish all cities could be like this.

  • Bring a reusable cup- I use this one, but you can find them everywhere. I keep one in my car and one in my backpack so I’m never without. Living in LA, I often find myself grabbing coffee on the run, which usually comes in a paper cup with a plastic lid, and don’t forget the sleeve, which is sometimes also made of non-recyclable materials.

  • Ditch the plastic water bottles- This one is so simple in 2019. There are so many choices of cute bottles to choose from—even ones that keep your drink cold all day. No more buying plastic bottles that don’t last long and create a whole bunch of waste.

New habits I plan to change to make a difference:

  • 5-minute beach cleanups- I am going to start doing this during every beach visit. When we looked around during surf lessons in El Salvador, you could see a lot of trash lining the shores. And a beach day in the US usually holds the same views. Picking up trash while we’re enjoying the ocean will help keep plastic out of the sea and instill the message in our minds that we need to make sure it doesn’t come close in the first place.

  • Ditch all plastic- So, I’m good at brining my reusable mug and bag everywhere I go, but when I order a cold drink or I need silverware for my takeout and need a container, I’m pretty quick to forget my concerns about the environment. I don’t know why it happens so easily, but convenience often trumps what we know is right. The only solution, for me, is to make it more convenient to use my own reusable products. I’ve started putting hard limits on myself— I will not order something if it comes wrapped in plastic (sorry, favorite madeleine cookies from Starbucks) and skip silverware if I haven’t brought my own.

  • No new clothes!- I’ve learned a ton about sustainable fashion this year, thanks to the owners of GFCLA, the jiu-jitsu studio I taught at in Chinatown. Erin and Dennys also run an awesome vintage clothing store, where they salvage clothing that would normally be thrown into a landfill and create cool new designs. Fast fashion is NOT good for the environment, and I’m certainly guilty of wanting more clothes for cheap (Hi, Target and H&M) than quality clothing for expensive. I did the no new clothes rule once for a year, but I cheated by letting my mom buy me things and restock my wardrobe. This year, I want to do it for real. It’s totally possible, thanks to the array of consignment stores, vintage shops, or even hosting your own clothing swap like my friend Suzie did a few weeks ago. Some of my favorite pieces have been hand me downs from old roommates or similar swaps in Austin!

Clothing swap

I’m curious, are there any other changes you’ve made to your lifestyle to be more environmentally-friendly?

Braving the Sea

I have to admit, of all the activities on the trip, surfing was the one I was looking forward to the least. Growing up, I always wanted to be a surfer chick, back when I was shopping at Pacific Sunwear and wearing puka shell necklaces. Then I got older and actually tried a lesson. Turns out, surfing was way harder than it looked on TV! It wasn’t as easy as snowboarding, which I’d picked up in about a day or two. Surfing hurt. The first lesson I took was on a real fiberglass board, so I ended up with a lot of scratches and bumps from getting tumbled around underwater. Oh well, I’d just have to choose another life path besides surfing.

Another issue: when I was younger, I liked swimming in the ocean. I’d body surf and boogie board without any concerns for safety, but somewhere along the way, I lost that fearlessness and began to prefer staying closer the shore. Sometimes I’ll swim out farther, but I’m usually very cautious to go underneath the waves and, when it’s time to come in, I’ll swim or walk quickly to shore without letting any of them interfere.

Puro Surf surfing lessons

I left for El Salvador feeling excited about the yoga and the waterfall jumping but pretty half-hearted about the prospect of catching waves. I thought might be able to stand up once or twice, but I probably wasn’t going to enjoy it. I was teaching on the retreat, though, so of course I would still join in and set a good example.

Two days later, we were lined up on the beach getting our first lesson from Marcelo, the founder of Puro Surf and the head instructor of their Academy Program. He led us in a breathing and stretching warmup that felt a lot like yoga. He broke down each of the steps in a simple way that we could repeat every time.

Puro Surf surfing lessons

Something about his instruction must have stuck with us, because we all stood up in the water on the first day, and the next, and the next. The ocean was crazy warm, and the waves were small but powerful—perfectly manageable for beginners, which the majority of us were. By day three, I was really getting the hang of it. I noticed that when I was out in the water, I didn’t think about anything else besides reading the wave, feeling it push me, and following the steps to get up onto the board. My mind felt completely clear for the first time in a while. Surfing was a lot like yoga.

Puro Surf surfing lessons

If the weather was sketchy or the waves too big, we would have our instruction in the hotel gym, just to make sure we were prepared for what we would see on the beach. One day, we even learned how to turn by riding skateboards outside the gym. I certainly never expected that at 31 years old I’d be rolling around a skatepark in El Salvador, but I guess there’s a time and a place for everything.

Puro Surf skate park

By the end of the trip, I had fallen in love with surfing. I wasn’t getting tumbled as often as the first two days, but I liked Marcelo’s main message. We were all going to get tumbled by the ocean at some point, so we had two choices. Choice number one: freak out! Choice number two: relax, stay calm, enjoy a little massage, and keep surfing. You can guess which option we all chose.

Puro Surf surfing lessons

Beach Cleanup

Although we were busy enjoying the surf lessons and the ocean view from the yoga studio, we couldn’t forget the third part of the Surf Sweat Serve mission. On Tuesday afternoon, we joined students from the local school and a group of girls from the Medusas surf program to clean up the beach areas around the hotel. We brought our own reusable bags from home and gave a short presentation on how to make more conscious choices about using less plastic, recycling whenever possible, and reducing our overall impact on the environment.

I was impressed to find that most of the kids were already aware of what they could do to help stop pollution of our oceans and that most had done beach cleanups before . They were eager to get their hands dirty, and seeing their enthusiasm made me want to do more to make the earth a better place for them and future generations.

Beach clean up Surf Sweat Serve

Over the weekend, we celebrated World Ocean’s Day. After our surf lesson, we did a quick, five-minute sweep of the beach, and all 15 or so of us were able to fill our arms with plastic trash, including silverware, bottle caps, and soles of shoes. I couldn’t help but feel depressed looking at our piles of garbage, knowing that it would probably still end up in a landfill just like the massive ones I’d seen in Nicaragua. The only real way to prevent plastic from destroying our environment is to use less of them.

Oftentimes, travel is not only about the fun you have on the trip, but what you can take away from it when you come back home. I am going to be making a more dedicated effort to observe my consumption habits and figure out changes I can make.

Mysore Practice: Day Three

We're three days deep into Ashtanga yoga training. I still have mostly no idea what I'm doing, but I've managed to memorize the primary series up to Bhuja Pidasana, which is the one where you bend over, put your hands on the ground, shimmy your thighs way up high on your shoulders, then sit your butt on your triceps and cross your feet in front of you. Are you getting the picture? Intermittently, I stop to peek around the room just to see what everyone else is up to and make sure I'm keeping good track of time. I see legs folded into lotus posture, guys doing backwards somersaults, and women rocking themselves around the mat in a shape that looks like somewhere between a pretzel and a long-legged turtle that got turned on its back. What nonsense have I been wasting my time with for the past ten years?

Ganesha

If yoga is a metaphor for life, I am thankful for my ability to keep going when the view of progress is clouded and still laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. My friends who told me about this training share stories from their Mysore classes, which are famous for not using blocks or other props. “Your suffering is a prop!” one of their teachers screamed at them. “Don't flex your muscles,” cued our leader today, “Use the muscles to support the bones!!!” I'm hysterical and exhausted and she's teaching me to lift myself up on my hands and float my feet back, and I'm rolling my eyes at her because that is just not going to happen today.

It's all such a silly mind game. We feel the frustrations of not being able to unlock certain poses. We celebrate successes only to be knocked down by our areas of weakness. We eat burgers after class because we're not real dedicated Ashtangis so maybe that's why I'm not able to lift my hips/butt/feet into the air, then we rinse and repeat the next day. Something has kept us coming back. I see the beauty, too. I've been doing this practice for so long and it's never ceased to be amazingly interesting to me. I am grateful for the flow, the repetition, the finesse, and the way I've felt led to certain teachers or how a pose that I once found overwhelmingly challenging comes easily to me at the right time.

Yoga is “to attain what was previously unattainable”, says Desikachar, son of Krishnamacharya, in the book I'm reading at the moment. I hope that that's true, I think, as I look around at everyone folded flat in Paschimottanasana or with their legs tucked neatly behind their heads. But outside of this room and this training that I was, perhaps, not wholly prepared for, I know that it is. Yoga has carried me across many state lines, transformed me from an atheist (or very agnostic at best) to a spiritual believer, and convinced me to do many things I was previously very afraid of doing. I've laughed, cried, sweated, struggled, but have never given up on the mat. I'm still here.

Australia: First Impressions

Whenever I travel to a new country these days, there's a certain need to categorize it and figure it out based on other countries I've visited. I've been working to label Australia in this way. When we were walking at night, Amanda told me that she was trying to imagine the familiar with new eyes and see our walk the way I'd see it, so I tried to take a deeper look at the way I was absorbing it all.

Spit Bridge Australia

I'd always thought Australia would be so similar to California that it wouldn't make much of a difference to come here from LA. There would be tan laid-back people, beaches, and the same Pacific Ocean. Yes, the same one I'd been seeing for 15 straight hours on a plane— isn't that incredible?

It doesn't quite feel like I'm in a new country, but so far, Sydney isn't fitting into the bucket I'd set out for it. The air is different here. It looks like the west coast of the US, sort of, but the humidity reminds me more of an east coast beach town. The way I transported from the airport seemed like I was landing in Singapore, since the public transportation was so easy and efficient, and there's that European influence that can't be ignored.

I feel a little like I'm repeating a cycle of life. In October 2017, I flew to Singapore and then to Thailand for a yoga retreat (where I met Amanda). Now we're here together again, and I'll be participating in a yoga intensive next week. After that first adventure to this side of the world, I went on to teach yoga at a hotel in Nicaragua. This summer, I have plans to co-teach on a retreat to El Salvador. Same, same, but different.

What's the need to get a handle on a country anyway? Australia is Australia. It doesn't have to be broken down into bits of other places I've seen. It's the same way with people. As I get older, I think I can determine upon meeting someone what type of person they will be. I'd better stay away from that one because she's this way, or, ugh, why am I meeting another guy like him? I wonder if I can let my eyes be as new to this experience as they are. Can I take in a situation without judging it or predicting an ending just like one I've been through before?

Prawns Manly Wharf Bar

Amanda says she feels like a completely separate person than the girl who went on that first retreat. I can tell when I look at her life now. She's content in her job and lives in a beautiful, walkable town where she's dedicated to building a life of healing spiritual practices. It's been an incredible transformation, and I'm so happy for her! My own life looks different from the outside when compared with fall of 2017, but I still find myself repeating patterns and thought cycles from that time. There must be more that I have to learn here.

500 Hours

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, but last month I finished a 500 hour teaching training with YogaWorks here in LA. It feels surreal to be done, since it had been a goal of mine since 2016 when I finished my first 200 hour training in Austin. It even feels a little anti-climactic because I’d been attending intensive workshops every weekend since August, spending 8 hours in the studio studying topics like anatomy, Ayurvedic diets, practicing with chronic illness, and prenatal yoga. Now that I have my freedom back, what was it that I used to do on the weekends anyway?

YogaWorks teacher training

The end to a training is always bittersweet. You’ve been spending so much time getting to know your fellow trainees and experiencing teaching transformations together as a group. You go through the highs of realization and grasping certain concepts and the lows of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion and simply not wanting to unroll your mat that day at all. Then, suddenly, it’s time to say goodbye and graduate, and you’re sent on your way with a paper certificate to remind you that you spent the past six months actually doing something.

The feelings are a mixed bag. Some days, there’s immense gratitude for having had the time and space to study with highly trained teachers. At other times, there’s the sense of fear and loneliness that comes with having achieved a step in your plan. There’s less of a road map and no more hand holding, you’re off on your own now.

I’m taking time to process and digest all of the information we’ve been soaking in during the training. What kind of teacher do I want to be? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Where do I still have more to learn? Am I there yet? Will I ever be?

In the meantime, I’d like to share my final project for the 300 hour program. I worked with my friend, Amie Leigh, to develop a series of yoga videos for people who have ostomy bags. This idea has been close to my heart ever since I learned Amie Leigh’s story and heard about her growing interest in yoga. I’m happy with the results and I hope it ends up helping someone. Please share if you know anyone with a similar condition who might benefit from beginning a yoga practice.

Namaste!

This Year So Far

Where have I been? Maybe you are wondering.

Everywhere, it feels like!

Something about January has felt powerfully rejuvenating, but in the way that I want to stay introverted and careful about letting the heat leak out from within me. So I’ve been in my room, working on projects and experiencing what it’s like to plant my feet back in this new home. At the end of December, I really was everywhere. I took the most successful red-eye flight yet to New York to have a full day in NYC with my sister.

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We saw the tree and ate some yummy brunch foods. What more can you hope to get out of a wintry day in Manhattan?

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I didn’t get much recovery time, because the next day my dad drove us up to Vermont for a beautiful day of skiing. It was sunny and warm and everything ideal for a now-turned-California girl returning to the East Coast in December! Of course, we included our usual stop at the Vermont Country Store. I showed that I haven’t grown up all that much over the years— I ate all the free samples and a whole bag of assorted candy!

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The rest of the week at home in New York was refreshing and full of fun and family. I was so grateful to be home this year because, if you remember, last year was a little lonely for me in another country. But I’ll take a Christmas wherever I can get it!

Then it was back to NYC for a full family fun day. Big aLICe Brewing kept us all happy and getting along, in spite of conflicting opinions about how we should spend the day. I’m glad my sister got to take charge and show us around her part of the city a little bit.

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I returned to LA with a few days left of 2018 to spend enjoying the beach. I definitely wanted to close out the year with the ocean, taking some time to reflect on the big move out here and how I never have any idea where it will all go from here!

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2018 Highlights

Whew! Sorry, y’all. I’ve been off the radar due to travels and times with family and friends. I promise I’ll be back in full force in the new year. Meanwhile, here’s the best of what 2018 brought for me. Stay safe and be well!

January

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I woke up in Ometepe, Nicaragua after what was probably one of my most memorable New Year’s Eves.

February

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I became a mermaid.


March

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I moved to LA.


April

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I turned 30 and went to Malibu with Mer.

May

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I quit my job (again). And watched my little sister become a doctor.

June

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I explored some.

July

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I went home for a while.


August

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I completed a(nother) yoga teacher training.

September

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I visited my other home and watched two wonderful friends tie the knot.

October

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I got dazed in the desert.


November

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My mom took me to the spa.

December

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That’s now! I’ve been teaching and crocheting a lot. And not writing on this blog. And I went home for nine days.

What a year! Stay safe and be well. I’ll see you in the next one. <3

Sunday Special, Vol. 17

Well, I’m just going to assume you’ll forgive me for this being a day late and this being the first time I’ve posted since last week. Just like I assumed (ie. prayed) everyone would forgive me for forgetting that the class I subbed this morning normally starts at 9am while all morning I was thinking that it started at 9:30 (like my other morning classes). I realized my error at about 8:54, leapt out the door and down the stairs, and thanked my lucky stars that I only live 10 minutes from the studio with few redlights in between. I was 3 minutes late and we started class with a few minutes of breathing and settling which, man oh man, if they didn’t need it, I certainly did.

Gentlemen’s Fight Club Los Angeles

Health

I feel very excellent and nourished today after a very restful Sunday! I can’t say that I felt like this all weekend since on Friday night a friend and I went to happy hour at a cute little restaurant, followed by second happy hour at a sneaky little back bar, followed by regular old later in the night drinks at the neighborhood standard. Five drinks at night and teaching two yoga classes in the morning don’t really mix, per say, so Saturday afternoon called for a nap and some water and then a lot more water. (-)

Family

I’m Christmas shopping in person and online, basically everywhere I go, and I’m so excited to be going home in just over a week! (+)

Friends

I made some new ones and saw some traditional ones this weekend. We went to a new (to me) nightclub for a wild and fun time, and some took me to the tastiest vegan junk food place that made me briefly stop to reconsider my non-vegan ways. (+)

Mission/Work

After procrastinating tremendously, I completed ten hours of online training for a new part-time job and I’m psyched about it! I’ll be helping (mostly international) employees who have been relocated to work in Los Angeles get settled in, find housing, start driving, and generally figure out the city. It should be an adventure since I myself am still figuring out the city, but I have a bit more experience exploring and becoming acquainted with new places in a short time than most folks, so I’m hoping I can be of great help. (+)

Finances

Hmm there’s a delicate balance between making enough money to live and spending it all on Christmas presents. I’m trying to offer more handmade items and more of my presence this year, but there’s of course still a big part of me that doesn’t want to be known as the poor yoga lady who quit her real job and now gives only cheap gifts! I’m subbing a lot of extra yoga classes this week to keep things in the positive. (+)

Adventure

Going out in Hollywood is still always an adventure to me! (+)

Hobby

Well, I’m still crocheting the triangle scarf and I finished watching the Sopranos finally. I don’t know what to say about the ending… Also, at the diner in the last scene, everyone is eating onion rings by putting the whole thing into their mouths in one bite. Do you eat onion rings in that way?? I am much more of a multiple bites kind of gal. (+)

Spirituality

I am definitely realizing the power of a centering session. On Saturday, as I told you, I was in recovery from all the happy hours the night before. I took a nap and was wanting to feel fresh again, so I went to a class with one of my favorite LA teachers. It was harder than I expected a Yin/Yang class to be, but I left feeling so energized and completely reset. The teacher, Jeanne, is really something! (+)

Emotion

Excited for as much cookie baking as possible this week and for New York travels next week. (+)

Sunday Special, Vol. 16

Yesterday someone asked how my week went, and I didn’t know what to tell them because, honestly, where did it go?? There’s something about these crazy days in between the Thanksgiving and other holidays that can make us lose all track of normalcy, grounding, and taking good care of ourselves. On the other hand, this weekend in yoga teacher training was really special for me because we spent 8 hours learning about Ayurveda, the nutritional side of yoga, which I find extremely interesting. I’m excited to share a little more with you in the next week or so. Anyway, happy Hanukkah if you’re into that and here’s a recap of the past week:

Cori Dombroski yoga

Health

I think I combated all the indulgence of Thanksgiving by not eating very much and moving slowly back into yoga teaching and practice. It was sort of balancing when compared with last week, but skipping meals or sustaining myself on snacks alone always makes me feel a little flighty. I’m sure that contributed to this week’s wildness. (+)

Family

My mom sent me an amazing bday package forwarded from the staff at Canyon Ranch! I’m almost a third of the way through, but the gifts of 30 keep showing up for me. I’m glad my mom is the type who will drive to the post office right away to make sure I get a surprise package ASAP. (+)

Friends

This week felt jam packed, so I’m glad I have friends who like to do what I like to do. Some are in my mentor group for yoga, so when we meet to work it just feels like hanging out and catching up. Some come to support my classes. And one will go to see a movie with me that she’s already seen just so I can see it for the first time. Man, I’m lucky! (+)

Mission/Work

I felt strong and stable in the classes that I taught this week. However, I have a training exercise to complete for my new part-time job, and I’ve definitely felt myself procrastinating hard! It’s due next week so hopefully the tips I learned in yoga weekend will get me focused and motivated before then. (-)

Finances

Christmas shopping is tough on a yogi salary, but I’m gathering deals and making a lot of stuff out of yarn. I had a crazy scare this week with Travelocity/Jet Blue and realizing that, for some reason, my flights home were booked in MY MOM’S NAME! How did that happen?! Not possible! But after 3 hours on hold/on the phone and not taking no for an answer, we got it straightened out and I can still go home for Christmas without spending 500 more dollars. Whew! (+)

Adventure

I saw the Queen movie! That was adventurous enough for me. I want to see it again and again and sing and dance and where only sequins until forever. (+)

Hobby

I’ve moved on from crocheting bikinis to more weather appropriate items, like this scarf. And if you count yoga as my hobby, the workshop this weekend was very fulfilling. (+)

crochet bikini

Spirituality

This week has shown me some challenges to my spirit in the romance department that make me doubt what I’ve been manifesting in that area. That’s meant back to the drawing board in the dating game, but I guess I can count it as progress if I’m no longer willing to put up with much B.S. from anyone. (+)

Emotion

We decorated our house for Christmas on Friday and I’m so very much in the spirit. (+)

Sunday Special, Vol. 15

Happy belated Turkey Day y’all! I am thankful to you for being here and reading the things that I write. I hope you enjoyed a tasty feast and some time with your loved ones.

I was hanging out with this crew all week while their parents were out of town:

English bulldogs

Health

It was Thanksgiving, so I am not even going to go here… but my belly was happy and everything was delicious! (-)

Family

I missed my fam around the holiday, but I had looked up plane tickets to fly to see my mom in Savannah for Thanksgiving, and they were $860. No thanks! I’ll be looking forward to going home for Christmas. (-)

Friends

I got to experience my first LA Friendsgiving events and they were such a treat! I’m grateful to everyone who checked in on me to invite me to their homes or to make sure I had somewhere to go. I feel very taken care of. (+)

Mission/Work

I had a much needed small pause from teaching this week, because most of my usual classes were canceled at the gym. I did pick up a few subbing opportunities here and there, so I didn’t completely turn into a melted puddle of mush watching Netflix on the couch. There was just the right amount of balance. (+)

Finances

A financial tip for you: if you stay in your house every day nesting and resting, you are way less likely to spend money on stuff out in the world! That worked for me over the long weekend. However I was susceptible to some Black Friday/Cyber Monday email temptations. It feels like the deals have spread from one day into a two week shopping spree! Yikes! (+)

Adventure

Not too much, unless you count binge-watching a new show as an adventure… I did have some fun explorations going out in Hollywood during my time off, though. Glad for new friends who like going out on the town. (+)

Hobby

My crochet skills have progressed from bags to bathing suits and I made a cute little bikini with cactus appliqués. I don’t think it can be worn in the water, unfortunately, so it may just be a suit for show. (+)

Spirituality

As I get deeper into teaching and my schedule of classes has been filling in, I realize that it’s hard to practice yoga on your own when you’re also teaching 2-3 times a day! Especially when you’re teaching at different studios and driving all over the dang place. On Thanksgiving Day I went back to one of my favorite neighborhood studios (Namaste Highland Park) and took an amazing class that helped me to reconnect with my practice. It’s important for me to experience my own practice outside of teaching, and I am glad to have room in my life to do that. (+)

Emotion

Delighted! This week/weekend was the perfect amount of time to recharge, hang out with friends, enjoy yummy food, crochet, and chill. I feel prepared to be productive this week and (hopefully) to eat not quite so many carbs. (+)

Sunday Special, Vol. 14

Health

It seems like the Canyon Ranch vibe has rubbed off on me, because this week had me living pretty healthfully. It happened mainly in the exercise department, since I had taken so many classes on our vacation that I wanted to keep it all up once I came back. On top of that, the array of menu items at the resort inspired me more often to wait and prepare food at home instead of grabbing something on the go. (+)

Family

I was a little out of touch this week, coming back from a week away and getting back into the swing of things. I did call my grandma to find out that she won $500 at the casino last week, so that was a win. (+/-)

Friends

The friends you meet can really make or break your time in a new city. I know meeting people can be especially hard here in LA, what with all the driving and hustling and trying to be the most famous and glamorous. Every day I feel so elated to have met so many amazing people here who I am lucky enough to call my friends. And to be invited to two Friendsgivings, one of which we had last night and was absolutely delicious! (+)

Mission/Work

Whew! I taught ten times this past week and attended eight hours of teacher training over the weekend. That is not a humble brag— it’s just how life went. The goal number of classes per week that I set for myself is a little higher than that, but honestly, right now ten feels like maximum capacity. I wonder how it will feel once teacher training comes to an end, but we’ve still got a few more months to power through. (+)

Finances

I officially have a new part time job, as something called a Destination Consultant where I’ll be helping relocated employees get acquainted with their new city. I decided to accept the job partially so that my entire income doesn’t ride on yoga, and partially because I applied a few months ago, didn’t hear anything for a while, forgot about it, and then it sprang up again. You really never know. (+)

Adventure

Went to see a favorite band in a new (to me) place. (+)

Hobby

I am 100% officially done with the crocheted bag, although I did say I finished it last week. But today I added a button and a button loop. I also stopped at Michael’s where they were having a buy 2 get 1 free yarn sale, so you know what I’ll be getting into during Thanksgiving break... (+)

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Spirituality

The meditation app that I use keeps me interested because it’s usually about 10 minutes of an opening discussion followed by 10-15 minutes of meditation. Unfortunately, this week I was getting so wrapped up in taking notes on the lecture portion (yes, I do that) and thinking about it, that I got a little distracted from the actual meditation. So much for clearing my mind. I’m sure it’s a product of this speedy lifestyle I’m living. I am looking forward to the chance to slow down with fewer classes and obligations next week. (+)

Emotion

Overjoyed! There’s something about this time of year. I think the holidays for me are actually a sloughing off of normal responsibilities and just getting it all done so you can get home and enjoy time with friends and family. I can’t wait. (+)


Happy Thanksgiving next week y’all! Enjoy yourselves! Stay safe, and eat a lot of whatever it is you’re dreaming of!

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
— Meister Eckhart

Sunday Special, Vol. 13

Last week, my mom took me to a special wellness retreat in Tuscon, AZ to celebrate my belated 30th birthday. It felt strange to be basking in luxury while giant parts of LA were on fire, but pleasant to reconnect and practice self care. I’m home now, and the smokey air is smelling like campfire, but it’s nothing here in my neighborhood compared to people in Malibu losing their homes and seeing their whole lives go up in flames. This week is heavy hearted, but it’s another chance to witness the power of people and communities coming together.

Canyon Ranch

Health

This had to have been my healthiest vacation ever. Most guests stay at Canyon Ranch to relax, refocus on health, or reconnect with their spirit. Every hour of the day was loaded with fitness classes, lifestyle lectures, spa services, creative classes, and nature activities. Since it was my first time there, my mom and I kept very busy and wanted to try as many different things as possible. We went for morning walks among saguaro cacti. We took yoga classes (of course), Zumba, water aerobics, kettle bells, acrylic painting, and I received a tarot card reading. I’ll have more to details to share later this week, but this getaway really took the idea of healthy living up a few notches. (+)

Family

Getting to spend a week with my mom was nice. I wonder if people whose parents are still together get the same chance to connect with each parent one-on-one. It’s a special thing, and I’m grateful to have had this time. (+)

Friends

When you’re a yoga teacher, it’s hard getting started out with new classes. Sometimes no one shows up or one person comes and you’ve got to give an awkward private session. If you move to a new city, it’s like restarting the entire experience all over in a new place. I am so thankful that I found friends here who have been willing to come to my classes. Friends, please always let me know if you’re starting a new venture and need an extra show of support! (+)

Mission/Work

It was nice to take a few days off from teaching classes to visit Tuscon. I ended up going to quite a few yoga classes anyway, even when I said I’d branch out and try new styles of exercise. But I did end up learning a lot and coming back with fresh ideas to incorporate into my classes. (+)

Finances

Since it was my birthday celebration, I was treated to so much this week! You know I welcomed it with open arms, and that has to be a plus. (+)

Adventure

Canyon Ranch was a totally new experience for me. It was kind of like an all-inclusive vacation mixed with summer camp and a spa and a health club. I wished that we had a tiny bit more time in Tuscon to see life outside the ranch, but I spotted enough saguaros and javelina that I can’t complain. (+)

Hobby

I painted some mountains! And finally finished the bag I’d been crocheting for about a month now. (+)

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Spirituality

It was reassuring to learn that Canyon Ranch doesn’t just focus on restoring fitness and physical beauty. They have really developed a holistic approach that lets visitors focus on what concerns them. I liked that we were able to try some new classes and learn about unfamiliar topics while still getting to enjoy our old favorites. There was plenty of meditation and quiet stillness to go around. (+)

Emotion

What a rollercoaster! I was thrilled to be experiencing a whole new type of vacation and getting away from it all. But news of the shooting and fires in SoCal had me worried about my friends and our city. My mind was definitely in two different places at certain points of the trip. (+/-)

Saguaro cactus

Sunday Special, Vol. 12

We had yoga teacher training both days last weekend and both days this weekend, so it’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to tell anymore where the week and the weekend diverge. I’m leaving for a trip to Arizona with my mom on Wednesday, and it’s all hustle until then.

If you’re in LA and you’ve got the time, I’ll be subbing the 9-10am class at Mockingbird Yoga tomorrow morning. This week, I’m extremely grateful for that cozy little space.

Black and white pug drawing

Health

Strangely enough, I felt that my Halloween candy intake was relatively minimal this year. I didn’t think we were likely to get trick-or-treaters, since we live in the upstairs of a duplex and the entrance is on the side of the house, so we didn’t buy any candy to hand out. I did go to a friend’s house to be festive with them, so my candy consumption was limited to that night. That has to equal a win for health this week. (+)

Family

I’ve been planning my trip home to New York for Christmas already, and I’m excited to be meeting up with my mom in a few days. (+)

Friends

I feel so fortunate in this category. On a few nights this week, I had some genuine, deep belly laughs with a great group of friends. I know that can take a pretty long time to get to when you move to a new place. I am grateful that it’s happened quickly for me here, thanks to loving friends of friends and acquaintances with big hearts. (+)

Mission/Work

I taught my second class at the GFC this weekend, and tomorrow morning I’m subbing for the second time at Mockingbird Yoga. I can’t say enough good things about these two groups of business owners! I’ve been bowled over with their willingness to support and take a chance on me. I’m impressed with their small-business knowledge and drive, and I feel like I’m learning so much in case I ever want to do more officially do my own thing someday. (+)

Finances

Make fun of me all you want, but I read my Astrology Zone horoscope at the beginning of every month, and this week is the last time that one of my planets is in the House of Other People’s Money (yes, that’s a real house) for the next ten years! What do you know, my grandma sent me a generous Halloween present, and while I can’t take credit for her financial savvy, I will count it as a plus for me. Now to work on summoning all the forces into the House of Making and Saving My Own Gosh Darn Money… (+)

Adventure

Celebrating Halloween in LA was a new thrill for me! After assisting my mentor’s class on Wednesday, I headed out in Santa Monica for my usual lunch and coffee break before going to tutor a student. I found that from 3-6pm on Montana Avenue, the neighborhood kids can come in their costumes and trick-or-treat to all of the local businesses. There’s also a huge haunted house nearby at a movie director’s residence. I loved being in the area to experience it all. (+)

Hobby

This was the last week of pug drawings for Inktober. I was a little delayed, and some of my drawings were half-assed this time around, but I finished them all by the end of the week, and that has to count for something. (+)

Spirituality

At the best times, when you aren’t even looking, spirituality comes knocking on your door. I went to take Steffany’s class at Mockingbird Yoga on Friday, and she kindly invited me to a Kundalini yoga workshop that night which was part of their yoga teacher training. I had only done Kundalini a couple of times before that, and I was usually too confused or out of my element to really get into it. The instructor took us through some sample exercises and mantras and went deep into an explanation of each chant or practice. It was rewarding to learn a bit of the background behind this esoteric form of yoga. (+)

Emotion

I would say I felt content this week, but honestly, the whole thing just sort of disappeared. Maybe that’s a good thing, since I was so caught up in the doing of my day-to-day that I didn’t have time to reflect on how I was feeling. (+/-)

Sunday Special, Vol. 11

Health

I’m typing this while eating a cheeseburger from Shake Shack, so I don’t really know what I can tell you! I visited some gyms and did a lot of yoga, too. But I am learning how important it is to take care of your body when your body is part of your job. Of course, it’s important to take care of your body no matter what your job is! However, I notice that after teaching 2 classes and taking 1 class in a day, my joints feel pretty tired and I really have to get enough rest. And fill myself with healthy foods, besides this Shackburger… (-/+)

Family

This week, I wrote a letter back to my aunt because she had sent me a surprise card full of Halloween stickers. I might be 30 with a computer phone, but I’ll love stickers and snail mail til the end of time! (+)

Friends

I’ve had the house to myself this week since my roommates are vacationing in Europe, so I’ve definitely been taking advantage of some relaxing introverted alone time. But my friends are the sweetest and brought me out to a few Halloween parties this weekend, so I was able to put together a last minute costume.

Mission/Work

I’m so so so excited and thankful to be teaching quite a few weekly classes. This Saturday, we started a new class at GFCLA and it was awesome. It’s a bright, feel-good space where I can see potential for a strong Saturday morning community. Check it out!

Finances

Y’all, I did not win the Mega Millions. (-)

Adventure

Right now, I am all about Chinatown! That’s where I’ve started teaching my Saturday class, and the owners of the studio also have a sustainable vintage store in the Far East Plaza. I’m a little worried about how this new class will impact my Saturday shopping habits, but I’m looking forward to exploring more of the plaza. (+)

Chinatown Los Angeles

Hobby

Steady drawing pugs up in here. (+)

Spirituality

Ok, I told you I had dropped off my 20 minutes of morning meditation routine lately, but this week I got back to it. However, some days I allowed the meditation to be me laying in my bed in a half-wake half-sleep state for 20 minutes. I don’t think it counts. Fear not, though, because tomorrow Oprah and Deepak are back. (+)

Emotion

This week, I flew back from New York and the rest of the week felt like I was just going through the motions. The best days are when my alarm goes off and I spring out of bed, excited to get into the day (I swear, sometimes it happens!). Unfortunately, this week I usually pulled the covers back over my head and wanted to stay wrapped up in them all day. And there must have been something in the air, because I was a little disappointed in myself for making more mistakes in my classes, like mixing up left and right or getting tongue-tied. Oh well, I got my oil changed and made an appointment for an eye exam. Sometimes we need a bum week to get back on track. (-)

Sunday Special, Vol. 10

Ok, so it’s Monday and ok, so I skipped a week. But I’ve been to the desert and now I’m writing this from a cafe in New York City, so that’s just what is happening over here. We celebrated a family wedding this week and I’m eating a plate of fish-shaped waffles that are filled with Nutella, and that seems like enough.

Nutella fish waffles

Health

During the music festival I kept things very calm, cool, and collected by drinking usually only one drink per day, which made me feel very 30-years-old. I even went to a morning yoga class, and there’s always a lot of walking or dancing at these types of things, so I think, overall, it was a healthy time. Then this weekend before the wedding there were a few extra hours to kill at the hotel, so I went to the fitness center and did some stuff, which made me feel very LA high-performer. And actually it was good to get the blood flowing after a full Friday of traveling, so I think a visit to the hotel gym is something I feel comfortable recommending. (+)

Family

My cousin Candice got married in Purchase, NY and everything was beautiful! Many relatives were gracious to remind me that it had been a long time since I attended a family gathering, so I will be more careful not to let as much time pass until the next one. (+)

Reid Castle

Friends

I’m not sure that there was much time for seeing friends in between the coming back from camping, returning to teaching, and flying to New York, but there were surely many great times had at the festival. And I’m becoming pretty close friends with these Nutella-stuffed fish as this post goes on, so… (+)

Mission/Work

I started tutoring a high school student in Spanish a few weeks ago, and now I’m building a life by teaching a lot of yoga and a little bit of Spanish and that’s a pretty cool feeling. In my twenties, I remember fearing that I had to choose one career and stick with it, and now in my thirties (that’s something you can say when you’ve been 30 for six months), I’m thinking I might be able to try a little bit of everything I enjoy and see how it all works out. (+)

Finances

I got a free flight from LAX to JFK based on my own credit card points and my dad’s kindly contributed frequent flyer miles, so that can’t be a negative. And I bought a Mega Millions ticket last night, so see ya later, financial burdens of the world. (+)

Adventure

There really isn’t anything quite like New York in the Fall. (+)

Hobby

Something about traveling shakes everything up in me and always helps me burst out of a creative rut or reconnect with the hobbies I most love. I forgot my headphones, returned to some drawings, and read a whole book on the flight over here. (+)

Spirituality

I slightly dropped off my first-thing-in-the-morning 20 minutes of meditation routine, and I’m slowly crawling my way back. (-)

Emotion

I think there were a few weddings in the past two years where I felt kind of jaded and sad, trying to fake it til I made it while lamenting the loss of my own past relationship plans. On top of that, there were times when I came home and hoped no one would ask what I was up to because I wasn’t really sure; I was hoping for a change and it hadn’t become clear how to get from point A to point B. This weekend, as I celebrated the wedding, I realized I felt genuinely happy for everyone involved and, later on, I hoped that someone would ask how I was doing because I am deeply excited about the day-to-day world without wanting to escape it for something else. Not every day is an emotional walk in the park, but I was happy to take a moment realizing that things feel pretty right. (+)

Sunday Special, Vol. 9

This week was a special one, since I spent it in nearby Silver Lake babysitting a cute little doggie. I found that housesitting or dog sitting is a nice way to change up your life without permanently changing up anything in your life. It was definitely refreshing to get a change of scenery and learn the streets of a new neighborhood.

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Health

I’ve been living in a vegetarian household since I moved to LA, which is totally cool with me! I was a vegetarian for a pretty long time, and I respect all dietary choices. But when I signed on, I didn’t realize how much I would miss cooking with meat or seafood. I don’t eat it every night, but when I see a cookbook recipe or a blog post, sometimes I get bummed if it’s something I know I won’t be able to make. I’ve also found that including meat/fish in my diet usually helps me to eat healthier. I can have protein and veggies for dinner without feeling like I have to add something starchy or processed or a lot of beans. To my delight, the friends’ place where I stayed this week was not a vegetarian kitchen, so I got to indulge in some baked salmon, turkey chili, and turkey meatballs. Yum yum yum. Plus, living with a dog had me out and about on long walks 2-3 times per day. (+)

Family

We’ve got an exciting cousin wedding coming up in two weeks, so there was a lot of planning going on for that. I’m excited to see my dad’s side of the family, and I’m so thankful that some members are willing to pick carless me up and drop me off at our various destinations! (+)

Friends

One sticky thing about being an adult is that is kind of hard to make new friends! Do you agree? I think it’s because we know ourselves a little better so we are more protective of quality alone time where we can rest and recharge (because we’re old!). We’re also juggling work and other responsibilities and sometimes just trying to manage our relationships with our already existing friends. But I’ve made some quality friends here in LA, so I really try to balance where I spend my time, even when part of me would rather go to bed early or watch mafia crime dramas on HBO GO. It’s important to have friends, new and old, so I’m proud of myself for taking time to build and maintain those friendships. (+)

Mission/Work

I’m excited to see my schedule filling up with classes, but at the same time, I took some time to reflect this week on the best way to manage a yoga teaching schedule. I think the best teachers are not only teaching their own classes, but still finding time to take classes with other instructors. That’s a little harder when we’re teaching 2-3 times per day or more. I’m curious to find out if the best way is to develop more of a home practice while attending a couple of studio classes each week, or if it’s really important to keep taking a lot of classes in-person. I’ll need to do some experimentation. (+)

Finances

I may have taken myself out to a few too many classy lunch and coffee dates in Silver Lake, while getting to know the neighborhood, of course. (-)

Adventure

I had a whole new area to explore, so this week was full of adventure. Pootie the pup and I walked to the reservoir and the park. And yesterday a few friends and I checked out the Eagle Rock Music Festival. There was a bunch of live music, melted cheese, and sweet cupcakes, and that’s really all you need to know. (+)

Hobby

For artists of Instagram, October brings Inktober, a drawing challenge where people complete one sketch per day and can share it with the world of social media. While I’m still on the fence about calling myself an artist, I like to draw, and last year’s Inktober led to the eventual creation of my Enlightened Pugs Coloring Book. Who knows what this year’s will bring? (+)

Spirituality

I’m trying Sam Harris’ Waking Up meditation app . I don’t necessarily like apps like this and Headspace where the instructor keeps interrupting to give pointers. But that’s probably because I start getting lost in my thoughts and I don’t like being called back to the present, so I think this may be good for me. (+)

Emotion

I’m coming off a fun week that felt like a vacation, and I know that this coming week will be a little short, since I’m attending a music/camping festival next weekend. I apologize in advance if there’s no post next Sunday! It’ll be nice to leave computers behind for a while. (+)

The Brown Skirt

Ok people, hold onto your own skirts because I have a story for you…

Early this summer, I was driving around LA, as we do, and I saw a girl crossing the street wearing a skirt that I liked. It was brownish tan or suede-looking, had buttons down the front, and hit a little above the knee. I thought, “Hm, that girl looks good and fashionable. I think I would like a skirt like that.”

Please note that my closet is bursting with of all sorts of clothes, and I certainly don’t need any more of any type of clothing, especially not skirts, because I spend all of my days not wearing skirts but doing and teaching yoga.

However, my capitalist self came home and perused the pages of the internet for a similar item. I looked on Poshmark to try to find something used, and later ventured onto Forever 21 and even Madewell, pretending that I am an actual person with an actual salary. I found a few pieces that might have suited my interests, but I am not a very impulsive online shopper, so I decided not to purchase anything right away. As days and weeks went by, I decided I didn’t really need a new skirt and eventually forgot about it altogether.

Let us flash forward to September when my mom and sister went shopping together in Boston for a bridesmaid dress and other “back-to-school” clothing necessities and/or maternal bonding that, of course, daughters are in need of long after we’ve finished school. Afterwards, my mom called to tell me that Elayne had tried on a medium skirt which ended up being too big, so the store had ordered a small for her. But, when they finished checking out and got home, my sister realized that the sales clerk had accidentally included the medium skirt in the bag.

The small skirt arrived a few days later, and my mom called the store, but since my sister lives in New York and the store is in Boston, it was decided that it wouldn’t be worth it to return the skirt. Flash forward to me, a size medium, relaxing in my yoga pants when my sister sends me a description followed by a picture of the skirt and…. IT’S THE SKIRT! An exact replica of the skirt I had coveted, let go, forgotten about and subconsciously been aligning myself to all along.

Everly brown skirt

Now it’s here and a little big, but we are making it work because what else would I write this post about if it didn’t fit? Anyway, this isn’t a story about shoplifting skirts or fulfilling all your consumerist dreams; the skirt is a metaphor*. What are you holding onto that you don’t really need or aren’t sure is worth the trouble? If you release your grasp on it, you may find that it works its way back to you in an effortless and delightful way.


*It’s also an actual skirt that I plan to start wearing later this week.