High Thrills & Hot Dogs

For someone who spent the first 18 years of their life living within 90 minutes of New York City, there are many traditional New York activities that, until recently, I had never done. I'd never (still have never) been to the Empire State Building, I waited until I was 25 to visit the MoMA, and, before last weekend, I hadn't made the trek out to Coney Island.

Coney Island beach

Well, well. Times have changed, and I'm glad they did because my friend Liz and I spent a whole day riding wild roller coasters, strolling the boardwalk, and eating our first Nathan's Famous dogs. We even ran into some friends at the end of the day, which if you ask me, is a sure sign of belonging in a place. I'm so grateful to loved ones who are always up for sharing their spaces and showing me a new side of this city.

Nice to see you again, NYC!

Nathan's famous hot dog

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.

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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There's No Place Like...

Thankfully in my summer planning, I saved the most coveted and anticipated destination for last...

Long Beach Island New Jersey

New Jersey!

I spent a lovely week beaching, yog-ing, shopping, and eating with my mom, then clicked these heels all the way home to NY to watch my friends get married on top of a mountain. The day was perfect, the ceremony was beautiful, and later on there were sparklers and a bonfire. What (s')more can a girl wish for? Congratulations Cait & Jon!

Summer at Hunter Mountain

Thanks to Mom, friends, and my favorite date for an unbeatable week!