Beach Days

Wow! Hi! It’s been over a month since we (I) have been at the beach in LBI, NJ. Can you believe it? We (I) can’t! What have we been doing while here, maybe you are wondering? Well, we have been…

  • Watching some incredible sunsets over the bay

LBI sunset
  • Working… a lot! At a yoga studio (first and foremost), and a Pilates studio, on the internet, and at a restaurant. We are really filling up the days.

Yoga Bohemia LBI
  • Actually going to the beach. To watch some surf competitions, no less. But not actually surfing yet, which is something that needs to be rectified in the coming weeks now that I’ve been sufficiently inspired.

Jetty Coquina Jam 2019
  • Making art, sporadically, as usual. I usually like the things I paint, and then I celebrate by not painting anything for the next six months or so. Consistency is key.

Firefly Gallery LBI
  • Enjoying the outdoors. I played beach volleyball for the first time since the year before leaving Austin, so it’s probably been about 2-3 years since then. It shows! I also ran a five mile race last weekend! (I’ll tell you more about it soon.) Here’s the view I get to see at the end of every run:

LBI bay view

We’ve got a month left of summer here in the states! Soak it in, soak it in.

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.

Sunday Special, Vol. 8

Here I am checking in on another week! This one was a bit confusing, since on Thursday I basically forgot where I was supposed to be and what day it was, so I showed up to teach a 7am yoga class one day early, and later started driving to my Friday yoga class. Hi self, let’s slow things down and get our footing!

Snail


Health

Since I’ve always been an athlete and now I work as a yoga teacher, it’s usually easy to get myself to exercise. There aren’t many days where I spend my days fully couched, so moving my body is never really an issue. But, since I grew up extremely active, I’ve mostly been able to eat whatever I want, with some level of reason, and still stay on track as a fit and healthy person. However, on the nutrition side of things, when my schedule gets crazy, it becomes much hard to control my eating out habits! As much as I love veggies and home cooked meals, I have a super sweet tooth and find it hard to resist carbs. This week had me running all over the place, and I did not do a great job of planning my meals. There were a lot of skipped breakfasts and then quick meals grabbed in a very hungry state of mind, ie. not the best choices! I’m starting Sunday with a lot more green stuff, and a lot less bread, cheese, and sugar. (-)

Family

Phone calls, phone calls, phone calls. (+)

Friends

Fortunately, my not-quite-so-healthy regular eating out habit provides me with many opportunities to connect with friends out in the world. I’ll be spending the next week in Silver Lake watching a furry friend, while her non-furry humans are vacationing in Iceland. On Tuesday night, they treated me to yummy falafel, wine, and good conversation, which in retrospect may have contributed to me getting all the later days of the week mixed up. I tried a Zweet new coffee shop with another friend and then convinced others to join me for beer and pretzels at the Golden Road. (+)

Intimate Relationships

I prefer to keep this section private for now :) I leave it on here in case you want to conduct your own personal check-in, a la High Performance Habits.

Mission/Work

The yoga continues to grow, and I feel fortunate to have the time and space to practice and teach in this bustling city. It is nice to have a solid community of teachers, students, and supporters of the practice, so there is always somewhere to come back to when I feel a little off balance. My roster of classes is still mostly unpredictable day-to-day and week-to-week, and I’m setting an intention to sit down and schedule out my days the night before. (+)

Finances

Actually, not too shabby this week in spite of my endeavors as a restaurant enthusiast. Dog sitting ventures may indeed pay off. (+)

Adventure

New coffee shop! New brewery! And, starting this weekend, a weeklong staycation in Silver Lake to switch up the scene. (+)

Hobby

I’m very close to finishing my crochet bag (three weeks later)! I’m so glad to have crochet as a skill/hobby. It’s easy to learn and I recommend it to anyone with a flighty mind that’s always planning 5 minutes, days, or years into the future. Speaking of flighty, I imagine it might be good for people who get anxious while traveling in planes, trains, buses, or cars (in the passenger seat, silly). It also weirdly helps me stay focused while watching TV shows or movies. And has saved me in past relationships with video game addicted boyfriends. (+)

Spirituality

I prefer to do my meditation first thing in the morning, but I’m not much of a 5am riser and I had to set two 6am alarms this week, so I tried sitting on my cushion later in the day. It was a bit more challenging to make myself stay there, but repeating a mantra with prayer beads usually helps me focus. The more I sit and breathe, the better I become at forgiving myself for little slip-ups, like showing up for Friday on Thursday or stopping for an In-n-Out cheeseburger on the way home from yoga teacher training. I am able to step back and see how we all swing back and forth from on top of things to underneath them, and we do what we can to find the middle way in between. (+)

Emotion

Driving from place to place with a scattered schedule made me feel like a bit of a non-human, running on coffee and “fast” food (or sometimes no food!). I’ll be using the next week to manage my time a little better and question where I really need to be. (-)

Weddings in Austin

If anyone wants to get married to me, please just send me an Instagram DM and make sure you’re ok with getting married in Austin! I know it’s become THE place for bachelor and bachelorette parties, but after attending my friends’ lovely wedding this weekend, I’m thinking it could be one of the best places to do the actual thing.

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Austin is sweetly located a few quick steps away from beautiful Hill Country. It’s a fine place to dance and eat catered BBQ, but they also have tacos if you’re not so into smoked meats. There are lots of trees surrounding precious barns for celebrating, and a short ride into the city will get you to the afterparty scene. What better way to celebrate love?

I felt incredibly lucky to be a part of the couple’s special day. We had a blast two-stepping into the night.

Sunday Special, Vol. 7

Whew, y’all! I just got back from a whirlwind weekend in Austin, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. It featured BBQ, boots, and 2-stepping in a barn, so you know it was a good ol’ Texan Time. Here’s the Sunday rundown:

Austin poster


Health

I was actually feeling very revved up about getting to the gym first thing in the morning for most of the week. Between that and yoga, I think I carved myself a nice little deficit, which I then filled with barbecue and booze for the celebratory weekend. It’s all in the balance. (+)

Family

I bought my ticket home to New York for Christmas! That was… breathtakingly expensive, but those times are precious and I wouldn’t miss it again after last years solo festivities in Nicaragua. (+)

Friends

All the pluses! I feel so fortunate to have reconnected with so many dear hearts in the past two days. Somehow we all managed to cross paths over the years and can reconvene to make Central Texas an extra special place. (+)

Intimate Relationships

I prefer to keep this section private for now :)

Mission/Work

I finally started a monthly newsletter to highlight some of my class offerings and schedule updates— send me your email if you’d like to receive it! It’s tricky to be business-minded when most of your work is just reminding people to breathe, but I’m trying to grow here. (+)

Finances

Well, if you’ve ever been to a far-off wedding or friend weekend, you might understand the minus that follows. However, I’ll take this unsponsored chance to highlight the Chase Sapphire card for usually giving me enough points to get one domestic flight leg free! (-)

Adventure

First attendance at an Austin wedding! Congratulations to my friends Katie & Cory! (+)

Hobby

Does watching a bunch of episodes of the Sopranos count? (-)

Spirituality

I feel bad giving myself a negative for spirituality, but I did welcome a lot of interruptions and skips in my meditation practice this week. (-)

Emotion

I’m over the moon to have had the chance to check back in on my Austin fam this week. As much as I long for stability and permanence, I still feel most myself when I’m jet-setting from place to place with light luggage, sleeping on friends’ couches, and already on a plane the next morning. (+)

Finding My Voice

When was the last time you did something you were really, genuinely afraid to do?

Joshua Tree

That was me last weekend—not for anything actually scary, but in the face of going on stage to sing karaoke… solo! I’ve been to karaoke a lot of times, but I usually watch from the audience, or join a group of at least three friends and stand in the back, far away from the microphone. Then afterwards I dream of choosing my own song and rocking out without caring what anyone thinks of my performance. “Oh well,” I think, “maybe next time.”

Apart from the past few years where I’ve pushed myself hard to step out of my comfort zone, growing up I was actually very shy. I was a hardworking and focused student, but it always made me extremely nervous to ask a question in class, and I think I would rather have died than present in front of a group.

This summer, I went to a friend’s family party and one of our middle school teachers was there. She remembered me— “You were such a good student, but painfully shy!” I’ve been working so hard to be outgoing that I had almost forgotten about those days. Her words reminded me. One year, I even wanted to run for student government but decided against it because I would have had to give a speech.

Somewhere along the way, I found my teaching voice. I still get nervous in front of a class (or recording videos of myself!), but I love the rush of connection so much and find the information so important that I keep stumbling through it. Singing karaoke on my own was another story. I’m always envious of the people with beautiful voices, and even more of those who can get up on stage and put their whole hearts into it when they don’t sound great. Like most humans, I usually want everyone to think that everything I do is excellent. A totally realistic goal, haha! Unfortunately, my singing voice is not one anyone would describe as “excellent” by a long shot.

Last Friday night, my two girlfriends and I sat watching and cheering on the other performers at the Joshua Tree Saloon. I had chosen and practiced a song for days, but I could sense the familiar heart racing, cold sweat feeling that usually keeps me in my seat. I procrastinated, waiting until we ordered drinks (of course!) and looked over the food menu. The crowd was small and friendly, and the performances were sparse since it was early in the evening. Would tonight be my night? I remembered back to a discussion with one of the brave women on our Thailand yoga retreat. She loved singing and did it as much as she could. She’d told us, “We don’t sing because it sounds good, we sing because we have a voice.” I swallowed pride and fear and walked up to put my name in. And when it was time to sing, I sang!

It wasn’t very excellent, and I kind of tried to hide behind the microphone, so stage presence is something to work on for next time, but I sang, by myself and for myself. And as a bonus, my friends and I were so supportive of the other singers that later in the night, we got called back onstage to perform background vocals for another performer. A little hype goes a long way!

Sure, there are truly terrifying things in life—disease, losing a loved one, going skydiving for the first time—but most of the time, what we worry most about are the little things. Should we speak up in a meeting? Can we state our boundaries or ask for what we want? Is it the right time to tell someone we love them? It’s easy to back away from taking risks because, for most of us, life as it is can feel pretty comfortable.

This year, this decade even, for me has been all about breaking through that comfort zone to find out what’s on the other side. Try the skill you’ve been wanting to try. Say the words you’ve been wanting to say. Sing the song you’ve been wanting to sing. Eventually, you might find yourself living the life you want to live.

Sunday Special, Vol. 6

This week was fast! It feels like I just finished writing about the last one and, bam, here we are again…

Health

l went to the gym a bunch of times this week. And, I must say, if you’re looking for a way to get yourself to the gym more often, find a job where you work at the gym. It’s hard to make excuses to avoid working out when you’re already there. I also read this book/listened to this Ted Talk which could be helpful in your own workout motivation. (+)

Family

I didn’t even have to ask and my mom sent me a new water bottle decorated with pugs. Now my sister is sending me the most perfect skirt that is the exact skirt that I’ve been waiting for. That’s really about what my family is doing for me instead of what I’m doing for my family, but let’s count it anyway. (+)

Friends

Went to Wednesday night hip hop night at a new bar with a new friend. She’s 23 and I’m 30, so I did get a little sleepy after the 11pm hour, but I’ve gotta hold onto my youth while it’s still in sight. I also got to Facetime catch up with a few friends back home. I’m thankful to the technology that makes long distance friendship a little easier! (+)

Intimate Relationships

I prefer to keep this section private for now :)

Mission/Work

This week held news that I’ll be adding 3 additional permanent classes to my teaching schedule in October. More info on that coming soon! (+)

Finances

So, it’s hard to explore a new city, try to be a frugal business woman, and keep control of your finances all at once. Could use some more self-control in this department. (-)

Adventure

On Saturday we went to the LA County Fair! I think I’ll tell you about it in a separate post this week because it was a whole exciting thing. They have two chairlifts for goodness’ sake. (+)

Hobby

I crocheted two halves of a bag and now I need to link them together. It’s slow progress but something is happening. And I have no updates on my keyboard playing abilities at this time… (+)

Spirituality

Our yoga teacher training classes this week were focused on pranayama (breathing exercises) which is pretty new terrain for me. I’m learning more than ever about mantra and meditation, so it has been interesting to expand meditative techniques. (+)

Emotion

 This week really felt like a blur, but I believe it was an enjoyable one! (+)

LA County Fair

Sunday Special, Vol. 2

This week held a lot of teaching and A LOT of driving. In our 300-hour teacher training, we work with a mentor teacher to assist and attend their classes. I'm so glad to be training under one of my teachers from the 200-hour who is incredibly knowledgable and an amazing teacher along with being kind, patient, and easy to talk to. The only downside is that everywhere she teaches is on the other side of town from where I live. Luckily my flexible schedule lets me get where I need to be, even though I spend a lot of time on the road! Here's the weekly check-in:

Health

I took advantage of my teaching jobs in gyms to use the cardio equipment and the weights. It was the womanly time of the month for me, so I made a couple donut and ice cream runs even though I was reading this book that warns against following sweet cravings. All things considered, I felt pretty balanced so I'll give it a plus. (+)

Family

I caught up with my mom, dad, and sister this week. I was feeling a little disconnected since my mom was traveling in Europe and my sister works crazy long hours, but all of us are usually good about checking in at least once a week. (+)

Friends

On Thursday I had the best day with one of my friends from yoga teacher training! She was working at an art supply store on a slow day, so I stopped by to say hello and we ended up spending the afternoon coloring and painting together (+).

Watercolor pug

Intimate Relationships

I'll usually keep this one private since it sometimes involves being vulnerable or putting myself out there to strangers from the internet. 

Mission/Work

This was a big week! I've been substitute teaching a lot all over the place and I recently got my own regularly scheduled class. For better or for worse, I've become the go-to sub request, so I had a ton of classes to cover this week. I assisted my mentor's class for the first time, and on Friday, I was initiated as a Reiki Level One practitioner-- I'll tell you more about that soon! (+)

Finances

I had a business discussion with another yoga mentor, and she gave me some wise advice for the business side of teaching and encouragement to overcome my resistance to sounding like a pushy yoga saleswoman. I'm working on a more solid business plan and concrete goals, but I'll still give it a minus for now. (-)

Adventure

Not too much new adventure this week, besides the art supply store and the Reiki initiation. I'm ok with it since it was nice to settle down and have a restful weekend. (-)

Hobby

I made my first hair wrap, practiced the piano a couple times, and tried watercolor. Plus plus plus! (+)

Spirituality

I am enjoying the expansion of spiritual practices in my life. I have been looking for a place to study Reiki for a little while, and it felt perfectly right to do the attunement with Mer. (+)

Emotion

I felt a little scattered this week since my schedule was unpredictable day to day, but my personality really enjoys spontaneity so all of the uncertainty kept me joyous.  (+)

I hope your week was filled with all the categories above!

Sunday Special, Vol. 1

When I was growing up, I hated Sundays. They always felt like a sad day to me. I've kept a jam-packed daily schedule at every age, and Sundays seemed slow and empty in comparison. While my parents, I'm sure, were enjoying a restful day off from driving us around to activities, I was bored and restless. Obviously I hadn't found out about brunch, yet, or the joys of having a free day to do what one wants.

As I became an adult, I promised myself not to do laundry or grocery shop on the weekends. When I worked normal Monday through Friday jobs, I never wanted to waste a full day of freedom folding my clothes or waiting in line at the store (of course, I don't have anyone to take care of besides me, and I'm sure that would certainly change all routines!). Sundays would be for adventuring, yoga, seeing friends, or any special activity that a weekday simply would not allow. 

I've created more mindful rituals recently (but still brunch!), even though I haven't slowed down much and sometimes Sunday isn't a free day for me at all now. I'd love to share a new one with you...

Weekly Check-In

I love to read, and I often read life tip books with the hopes of someday becoming a successful person. In High Performance Habits, I picked up a weekly check-in routine that seems to be a nice way to reflect on the past week and prepare for the next. I hope to share it here with you every Sunday, and I'd love to hear what's going well for you or what you're working on.

Each week, I've been reflecting on the following categories. I'll write a few notes on what was great that week or what could be better for the next. Each category receives a +  or -, and then the week gets an X out of 10. The overall scores don't mean much, but have been an interesting way to see what's building me up or bringing me down. 

Health

I was teaching so much this week that my personal practice and workout routine took a backseat. Plus, driving all over and meeting up with friends meant eating out a lot. I spent Sunday morning getting back to my running and gym habits which I plan to continue into the week.  (-)

Family

This one can be tricky since I live so far away from everyone, but I talked to my mom, dad, sister, and grandma on the phone so I give it a plus. (+)

Friends

This week, I met up with some long lost high school friends at the beach for a day and had a blast hearing their stories and reconnecting with them. Over the weekend another friend from Austin came to visit and we got to catch up and dance in a canyon-- what a treat! (+)

Intimate Relationships

I'll keep this one private since it sometimes involves being vulnerable or putting myself out there to strangers from the internet. 

Mission/Work

This week I finally felt like a real yoga teacher in LA! I taught 9 classes, which is probably half the number that I should be teaching, but it was reassuring to come out of teacher training with a pretty full schedule. On Saturday, I started the next level toward my advanced teacher training certification, and it all feels like the right path. (+)

Finances

This one usually gets a minus due to the whole needing to teach more classes thing... but now that the full-time training is complete, I've been applying to nearby studios and working on building toward a full schedule. (-)

Adventure

I'm still an LA tourist, so this week marked a bunch of milestones. I rode the rollercoaster at Santa Monica Pier for the first time (in the front row, and they sent us around TWICE!), went to Venice Beach for the first time since moving here, and spent a night in Topanga Canyon. Adventures all around. (+)

Hobby

My heart has been calling for me to learn to play the piano, so I bought a keyboard and practiced (ie. tried to learn Drake songs from watching YouTube videos) about 4 times. For next week, I ordered a book on how to actually play, so I'll have something more foundational to practice. (+)

Spirituality

This has been a positive for me even before teacher training. Last year, after going on a yoga retreat in Thailand, I started to develop a consistent meditation practice. I'm happy to say that I've stuck to it nearly every morning since, and have seen many benefits in my life. (+)

Emotion

All the yoga learning and teaching, friend visits, and new explorations had me in a happy state of mind. I'm trying to stay focused on the special stuff in the present without worrying too much about what's to come. (+)

YogaWorks Teacher Training

 

I hope you enjoyed this little snapshot of life at the moment! I'd love to keep these going, at least until the end of the year.

Recap: YogaWorks 200-Hour Teacher Training

I talked to my grandma on the phone the other day, and she said she was happy to hear that so many things are going well in this little life of mine. She also said that she wishes I would go out to more places to meet single guys, because she enjoys having a boyfriend since he waters her plants regularly. Would be nice. Luckily, I share plants with one of my roommates who helps out with the twice daily watering that Southern California necessitates. Plus, I am of the belief that there is much to be gained from tending to one's own garden.

YogaWorks teacher training

The number one reason things have been going so well is because last week I graduated from YogaWorks 200-hour Teacher Training! I was incredibly pleased with the program and ended up learning a ton of new information, even though it was my second time around doing a 200-hour certification. I found that the two programs that I've completed balanced each other perfectly-- the YogaWorks program was very anatomical and alignment-based while my training in 2016 with Dharma Yoga in Austin focused heavily on spirituality and weaving a themed flow into classes. It was a nice harmony to receive two different perspectives on teaching. 

The month went by so quickly, although I experienced various waves of emotions over the 4 weeks. Some days I was feeling tremendously lucky to be doing something I love all day; other days I was so worn out in my body from hours of yoga practice and exhausted in my brain from hours of studying. I couldn't believe it when the last days arrived. It was bittersweet to leave our group after spending so much time together during the month of intensive learning and yoga. But I'm happy that a few of us will be continuing onto the 300-hour program, starting this weekend.

I packed up my Santa Monica sublet and headed back to the trendy streets of East LA. Although it was hard to tear myself away from the beach scene, I'm excited to be settled back into my sweaty non-air conditioned room that's starting to feel more and more like a home.

Spilling (even more) Secrets

I suppose I left you hanging a bit after the last secret-revealing post. But the secret was that I left my job! Of course, it's only natural that you would wonder what's happened since... 

After about a month of working there and already contemplating leaving, I asked for a sign that would tell me what to do. Later that week, I crashed my car. And I'm not attempting to take responsibility off of myself for being an inattentive driver, but that was a pretty big sign to me!

So I put in 3 weeks notice and booked a long trip home to capitalize on the newfound time off. I didn't know what to do. The jumping is always the scariest part. 

Yoga mat

Since then, some happenings have come together. I applied for and received a scholarship to do another 200-hour yoga teacher training-- the same level that I have now, but this one is certified by the Yoga Alliance which is a whole important or maybe not-so-important deal. Then in August I'll start a 300-hour advanced teacher training which is a deeper level for yoga teaching professionals who want to know most, if not all, of the knowledge. 

For the month of July, I've been subletting a room in Santa Monica, riding my bike to the beach, and basically making all of my California dreams come true. Add to that studying yoga 40 hours a week and it is feeling pretty alright to me.

YogaWorks Teacher Training

No matter how twisted your path has become or how fearful you might be to switch directions, remember that it's never too late to change your mind. That just might be what this is all about anyway: 

"A further meaning to the word yoga is 'to attain what was previously unattainable.' The starting point for this thought is that there is something that we are today unable to do; when we find the means for bringing that desire into action, that step is yoga. In fact, every change is yoga."

Spilling Secrets

Last weekend, my dad was off in Maryland visiting family and checking out the devastating flood damage in a little city that I love so much. During his catching up with one of our family members who happens to be an avid follower of this blog, it was mentioned that I haven't been posting as much recently. I suppose that's because I was jet-setting a bit and trying to make the most of time with friends and family. But I suppose it's also because I have a secret..

I find that it's more difficult to write here during times of uncertainty. It's easier for me to tell you about travels, tasty snacks, and the best hiking trails than to talk about the scattered pieces of real life and my silent search for the next steps. But there are a lot of other places where you could find elephant photos and hiking trails, so you're probably not here for the fluff. I like that about you.

Wolven Threads at Joshua Tree

Back in May, after a few indecisive weeks and a very decisive car accident, I decided to end my term of service with AmeriCorps. I felt guilty and unsure. I didn't want to be quitter, but I knew that the job was not what I expected and was not matching up to the path I wanted my life to take. It seemed like the work experience was based on the dreams of a previous version of me, who had a particular idea of what "work" has to mean, but no longer fit with my goals and vision. On top of that, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that it's a bit challenging to pluck a traveling yogi off the mat and stick them in a fluorescent office with a 90 minute commute.

Once I made the decision, other factors started to fall into place. My manager and coworkers were all very supportive, making it even harder to leave. Space opened up for me to visit home and reconnect with my roots. And some new summer developments have come together that I will tell you about soon!

I'm trying to feel more confident in doing what I know is right for me, without worrying about how it might be perceived. I never want to stop helping people and serving my community, I just want to do it through work that feels purposeful to me. Thank you for being here and keeping me honest.

Wishy-washy Wisdom

There was a time this year when I found myself offering advice to two different friends on two different days. One friend was fearful of taking a risk, and I told her something along the lines of, "Life is short, you should go for it!" Later in the same week, another friend worried about making a mistake, so I told her, "Life is long! You can always course correct!"

Hm... From these conflicting examples we can learn that if you're looking for advice, you should probably ask someone besides me!

Just kidding. Sort of. 

I wonder, who am I to be giving advice? Oftentimes I'm scared that this blog will just end up as a snapshot of my wavering career path, back and forth between finding a solution, and then abandoning that solution for a shift to something completely different. I surely don't have a lot of answers, but I certainly have lived out quite a few different scenarios!

So, I stand by my wishy-washy words of wisdom. Life IS short! It's too short to spend most of your time doing something you can't stand-- too short to sweep your dreams under the rug or put them off for years ahead. Then again, for most of us, life IS long, too. It's long enough to take risks and make mistakes. In retrospect, an event that feels like the "end of the world" can turn into a tiny blip in your rearview mirror.  Follow your gut, don't think TOO much, and trust the path that sings to your heart. Life is as short as it is long, in all the best ways.

Getting Grounded

Last week I crashed my car in a bad way which could have gotten me hurt or killed. I'm glad I didn't die, because I like living quite a bit! The accident was all my fault, so I'm glad I didn't hurt or kill anyone else, because I like other people quite a bit, too!

Car crash

Things around me have been changing a lot lately, and since I've gotten settled into life in LA, I've been working my 3-4 jobs, most days being out of the house from 8am to 8 or 9pm. I always say that I love being busy, and it seems like I have an endless supply of energy that keeps me on the go. I'm not sharing my daily habits because they are unusual, but because I think a lot of us are running around, living to our limits, and sometimes it takes a big wake up call to come back to the place where our bodies and minds are in balance.

It feels like I'm being called to slow down and make some further changes, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I'll be taking it easy on the roads and making sure to get my feet in contact with solid ground more than once in a while.

Man, I feel like a...

Recently my roommate asked me if, when I’m talking about myself, whether I refer to myself as a girl or as a woman. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, too. Girl. Always, but I’m trying to start thinking and saying woman more and more. My roommate says she doesn’t want to be called a woman because it sounds too stern and boring. I say that I do want to because I believe we are free to bring our own definitions to the label.

I am a woman, although I still get carded at every drinking establishment and, earlier this year, at an R-rated movie. I meet people and, if we talk about Vegas, they say I don’t look old enough to gamble. If I order food at a bar they say I don’t look old enough to be in there. I am a woman. I’ve been old enough to be in there for almost a decade. I’ve lived so many lives, more than most of those who say I’m not enough.

I wasn’t always ready to be called a woman, but I’m ready now. It’s kind of like at the ski rental office when I have to indicate whether I’m Level I Beginner, Level II Intermediate, or Level III Advanced, and the guy at the counter asks what he should put down for me. I am uncomfortable calling myself Level III Advanced just like I am uncomfortable saying “Hey, listen to me, I am a woman.” Of course I’m Level III Advanced. I have been skiing every winter for my entire life. But I can’t say it because I don’t want to seem like a show off to the counter guy. Or I worry that if I say it, then I might go out and fall and someone will think, “Wow look at this Level II Intermediate who dared to say that she was Level III Advanced.” I can’t remember the last time that I’ve fallen on skis, but this seems like a very real possibility.

It’s kind of like when a 40-something male passenger in my Uber asks if I want to go into the restaurant and have a drink with him. I decline, and he asks if I have a boyfriend. I respond that if I had a boyfriend I probably wouldn’t be driving for Uber at 9pm on a Friday night. He asks if I’m a girl who likes boys or a girl who likes girls. I let him out and say have a nice night. I am neither. I am a woman.

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