Best Friends at the Beach

My first week at the beach was a big one. There was hardly time to rest and recharge. My friend Annie and her husband were in town, and I was eager to meet their new baby. She’s a good one! She doesn’t even mind being wrapped up and taken to breakfast for pancakes.

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I started teaching beach yoga for an amazing studio that I’m honored to work for. And I got a waitressing job down the street—I’m still in training! My friends Brittany and Tom were also down at the same beach with their new baby—I forgot to take any pics of him, sadly!— so there was a lot of meeting and greeting to do.

And then there was the visit I had arranged my summer plans around. My friend Brianne was home from Argentina! I always try to get over to the east coast when she’s in town (just like last winter) , and this time she made it down to the beach to spend a couple of days with us. We sunned our buns and tried out the new local beer garden. She came to beach yoga, too!

Yoga Bohemia beach yoga

That wasn’t all! Over the next weekend, I attended my first baby shower, because my friend Amanda from back home in New York is pregnant. My mom drove us all the way up and back in one day. We colored and played games, and it was more fun than I expected baby showers to be. I also got to pop into my dad’s house to say a quick hello. It’s nice to be within a few hours of home!

baby shower

Home on the Hudson

Sometimes, sadly, it takes going far, far away from a home to make you realize how big a part of you it is. When college time came, I couldn't wait to put some distance between myself and Poughkeepsie. In my search for a school, I allowed a radius of no less than 3 and a half hours outside of my hometown. If I had my wish, I'd end up in New Hampshire or, even farther, North Carolina. I didn't know about Austin yet, and wasn't quite so adventurous as to ponder the West Coast, but there could be nothing like a new state to prove my independence and maturity!

Walkway over the Hudson

Then I got to Delaware where I cried and called my mom or my home friends every day, after walking across an unknown campus of unfamiliar faces. I even started a transfer application to Marist in a desperate moment. Between semesters, I came back for my car, so I could make the trip home whenever possible. Of course, with that ability and a little adjustment, I lost the necessity of going back to my parents' houses and slowly made my way further and further across the country.

The Body Art Barn

I'm thankful for that tear-filled first semester, since it somehow enabled me to live with all sorts of strangers in all sorts of locations over the years. California's got the goods for now, but every time I come back to the Hudson Valley, I find that it holds a real seat for my soul.

During this visit, I got to spend time with family and friends, visit my new favorite yoga studio with the same favorite teacher, and delight in the green, rolling scenery that always reminds me there's no place like home.

Millbrook Winery

Love New York

It's a rainy day at the beach, so I can finally tell you about all the bagels, ballgames, and ballpark-sized hot dogs I've been indulging in around the New York area. Since I'm partial to a life of leisure, I got to come home for an extended stay to visit my sister in her new Queens-Long Island apartment, my dad in Poughkeepsie, my mom in New Jersey, and many gracious friends along the way.

Fort Totten Park

The first half of the trip started and ended in NYC and was supported by a few train rides along the Hudson plus dad's financial contributions to us attending the Yankee game. 

Yankee stadium

And there was an epic quest for ice cream that, thankfully, ended with this:

Grand Slam Shake

I miss sweet cacti and air that doesn't feel so much like a sticky swamp, but nowhere else smells like summer to me quite like it does around here. I hope you're making time in this sunny season for your favorite people and places.

New Neighborhoods

Yesterday I intentionally left my phone at home while I walked the mile each way to the yoga studio. I said good morning to every single person I passed, and to some animals, too. “Good morning businessman in your suit!” “Good morning potentially homeless woman carrying many bags!” “Good morning husky dogs on your stoop!” “Good morning hipster guy talking creatively to yourself!” “Good morning asexual-looking transgender couple!” “Good morning Outdoor Voices-clad mat-toting yoga girl who’s just like me!” I'm disconnected and engaged with my environment. I pass the local elementary school and two boys flag me down to retrieve their soccer ball from across the street. I toss it over the fence and trot along on my merry way.

I feel like I’m in a movie. It’s the one about another white girl (woman!) coming in to gentrify a historically Hispanic neighborhood. I speak Spanish, though, so at least we can talk about it? Does it count as gentrification if I have to live with three housemates and couldn’t afford to live anywhere else? I try to eat at the Antigua bakery and the Viva Azteca taco truck, but I’ve also visited the new bookstore/record store/barbershop and the fancy coffee shop where the lattes come standard with almond milk. What a luxury!

Anyway, I'm glad to be here with the grassy slopes, sweet little bungalows, fruit trees, and all the yoga. Lots of love.

Aerial Yoga at Kinship Yoga

Unique New York

I'm always proud to call New York my original home, and I can deliver some pretty haughty side-eyes when people assume I'm from Delaware or New Jersey. The Empire State was a wonderful area to sprout roots, learn, and grow. And now every visit leaves my heart feeling full and a little nostalgic.

Here are some photos from my recent visit to the Hudson Valley, including a yoga dad on his birthday and some meditative romps through the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Enjoy!

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Home Stretch

It's kind of weird when your mom sells your childhood house and you don't know where to call home anymore, but if she decides to live half of the year on Long Beach Island and the other half in Savannah, GA, you learn to adjust pretty quickly.

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It was nice to close out August by visiting a few of my eastern homes. Every year since I moved to Austin, I've had the good fortune to be able to visit the New York/New Jersey area for at least a week at a time. I'm back in Texas now, feeling fortunate to have seen so many wonderful friends and family members.

Let's do what we can to stretch this summer as far as it will go!

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Phone home

While I was home in New York over Christmas break, I had the rare opportunity to grab brunch with two of my girlfriends whom I've known since elementary school. As the years go by, the number of times the three of us are in the same place at the same time grows smaller. It had been about 18 months since the last time we'd found ourselves seated around the same table.

Of course, we'd "kept in touch" via social media, receiving glimpses into each other's lives through vacation photos and status updates. We knew the picture-perfect, edited-down versions well. Over eggs and toast, however, the hidden realness started to come out. As we shared more, it turned out that all of our lives had been pretty life-like during the time we hadn't seen each other. In our separate corners of the country, we had each experienced our fair share of career questioning, relationship struggles, and general growing up anxieties. One friend joked that, before coming to lunch, she had made a bet with her mom about which of us would end up engaged first, a bet which ended up being comically far from the truth. But for some reason, even when we had been crawling through the same muddy challenges, we hesitated to pick up the phone since we assumed that the others had been doing everything right, floating through the world with ease.

This year, I've heard more and more of my friends vowing to stay off social media, or to only check one app one time per day, resolving to get more in touch with the real world. While I haven't imposed strict limits on myself for 2017, I have made a pledge to text, call, or invite my friends to have actual conversations more frequently. As we get older and our sense of home becomes a bit blurred, our connections to the people we love become that much more important. A couple of cups of coffee, even when shared in silence, can often say a lot more than 140 characters.