Dear California

Dear California,

I’m sorry I’ve been a bitch lately.

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I’ve been so wrapped up in complaining about your traffic, your $50 T-Shirts, and your gluten free obsession that I was blinded to your beauty for a moment there. I couldn’t see your daily farmer’s markets, 6:00 am surfers, and delicious sunsets.

You see, sweet California, I am a Midwestern girl at heart. I was raised with humid summers, icy winters, and family always nearby.

California, you pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. But you showed me how much growth can come from this place. Since being here, I’ve met the most inspirational, beautiful souls. I’ve met people that like me, moved across the country for love. I’ve met yoga teachers so creative, that taking their class feels like being part of a piece of art. I’ve picnicked on the beach, feeling wrapped up in love and then driven solo along the PCH, crying and singing along to Taylor Swift. And I have to tell you, I wouldn’t have experienced any of this if I stayed in my comfort zone. I would have been safe. But I would have been longing.

California, you will always be a risk. But I am learning to trust you and love you all over again because I think I’d like to stay a little while longer. What do you say?

Love,

Amy

 

 

Pressing Pause

For the past few months my computer background has looked like this:

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C L A R I T Y

Clarity has been on my mind in a major way recently. My intention in yoga has been centered around clarity. The sole reason I’ll clean my house is in an attempt for clarity. I’ve meditated and journaled and sweat…all in the name of clarity.

And when I finally got some…well that was a scary thing.

Let me start from the beginning.

Up until Thursday of last week, my plan was to start a grad school this fall. I had my class schedule, I had accepted my financial aid, and I was searching on amazon to buy books.

And then…

I felt like I couldn’t breath.

With each syllabus that arrived in my inbox, with each email from the department, I felt panic swell in my chest.

Hello clarity.

My body was sending me a message loud and clear: P R E S S   P A U S E

Right now, I am developing my voice as a yoga teacher. The Boy and I just adopted a pup that has stolen my heart. I’m in the midsts of creating a running program that I’m super excited about.  Also, as a school teacher the summer has come to an end and I’m heading back to teach full time!

Needless to say, life is full right now. beauty{full}.

So I had to ask myself some hard questions. Do I want to be in school right now? Why am I really pursing another degree? Is this the right program for me?

And after answering those questions and talking to some real life grown ups, I knew that deferring my enrollment was what I needed to do.

I am gaining C L A R I TY. And it ends up that clarity is kind of a scary thing. Because once you know what’s on your heart, it’s time to take action.

You say you want a revolution…

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This quote has been on my mind since a first heard it a few weeks ago. I was visiting one of my best friends in Portland and on Sunday evening I tagged along as we headed to her church.

In the sermon, the interning pastor quoted these words:

“Everyone wants a revolution, but no one wants to do the dishes.”

Amen.

I’ve been thinking on those words ever since.

We all want greatness. We want to change the world, travel, and leave no stone unturned.

Yes, yes, and yes. To some degree, YES!! I want to do all of those things too.

BUT

There is so much to do exactly where you are. There is so much to do here.

Like…the dishes!

Yes, the dishes aren’t as exciting as traveling to India. The dishes are not an adventure, they are not really fun and people usually don’t thank you for doing the dishes (well…sometimes they do).

But doing the dishes makes your house a home. It makes your family feel cared for. It puts down roots. And really, these small acts can be an out pouring of love.

Rather than seeing the dishes as mundane, we can see it as magical. The warm sudsy water, the smell of Palmolive, the country tune playing in your head. Yes, this too can be a moment of bliss, of discovery, of revolution.

So please, please, do the dishes. Love on your community. Yes, there will be a time for adventures too. There will be countries to explore and grand changes to make. But right now, bask in this moment. Transform the mundane into magical.

 

Twenty Five.

Yesterday I turned twenty five. Wowza. “Twenty five sounds like I’m a real grown up.” I told The Boy. “I am so not a real grown up.” In so many ways, I feel like I’m still seventeen. I still love singing along to Taylor Swift in my car, I still cry to my mom, The Boy still makes my heart skip a beat. But in many ways, I am growing up. I {usually} ask for help when I need it. I go the grocery store with a list. I {sometimes} pay parking tickets on time. I actually take my “dry clean only” clothes to the dry cleaners….seriously, who am I?

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So in honor of being a quarter of a century old, here are 25 things I’ve learned in my 25 years:

1. Say I love you.

Often and loudly and fully. Say it in texts, say it aloud, say it with long hugs. Let the people you love know just how much you love them, and don’t be ashamed about it.

2. Moms have the best advice.

About heartache, cooking salmon, and everything in between.

3. It won’t last forever.

Jealousy, anger, pain. I promise, it won’t last forever. Try and ride the wave.

4. It’s ok to want to dress cute.

I grew up with three sisters yet the other day, one of them turned to me and said “I think I missed the class on being a girl.” I nodded my head in agreement. Although it was a house full of girls, we grew up biking and hiking and getting dirty. As a kid I wore a uniform of blue jean shorts, basketball shirts, and sneakers. Only recently have I learned that it’s ok to want to dress in cute clothes. It’s ok to spend an extra minute on your hair or buy a a new shirt.

5. Buy the plane ticket.

Go. See your friend, your family, your boyfriend. Travel, explore, roam.

6. Cook yourself a home cooked meal.

I think this is probably one of the sweetest things you can do yourself. It doesn’t’ have to be a five course meal by any means. In fact it can be something simple. But find a recipe that excites you and dive in.

7. Self love is not a pedicure.

Self love is not getting your nails done. Self love s doing the next hard thing. It’s admitting when you’re hurt, making an appointment with a therapist, knowing when something is scary and doing it anyway.

8. Self care is a pedicure…go get one.

But don’t get me wrong, pedicures are amazing and you should go get one.

9. Stop planning.

It’s possible that we don’t know what we want. Yep. Be open to plans changing, to new opportunities emerging, and the willingness to be in that moment.

10. “Want to be friends?” is a socially acceptable question.

Making friends post~college is hard. But statements like “Hey, want to hang out sometime?” is socially acceptable and not weird.

11. Unfortunately, a clean house makes you feel pretty good.

I.HATE.CLEANING. But…it ends up that a clean house leaves you with a clear mind. God damn it.

12. Put money into a savings account.

I opened my first savings account two years ago when The Boy dragged me into a bank, dumbfounded that I didn’t have one. Stop laughing. Ends up this savings account thing is pretty cool. If you don’t have one, get one. If you do have one, try to deposit at least a little bit every month. Because you will probably have car trouble at some point and you’ll be so happy to have a little somethin’ somethin’ saved up.

13. You are not your parents.

You might have an amazing relationship with your parents or you might have a challenging one. Either way, you are not them. You might share values and hair color, but you are you. They might offer amazing advice, support, and guidance. But at the end of the day, your choices are yours.

14. You can’t “loose” your intuition.

If you think you had it all figured out at 16, you were wrong. You were confused then too. Only now, you know you are confused and can work to clear the lens.

15. Let it be light sometimes.

It doesn’t always have to be so heavy. Sometimes, watching The Real Housewives and drinking a glass of wine is healing too.

16. Relationships take work.

You have to use your words, and tell people how you feel. You have to be honest and real and raw. Sometimes that’s hard. But it’s so, so worth it.

17. Follow your values.

Take time to figure out what means the most to you. Family? Adventure? Health? Hard work? Whatever your values are, plant your feet there. Make your decisions and create goals from that place.

18. Yes, your interests will change.

I used to play sports to win. I was competitive and placed way to much self worth on my athletic performance. Now I run because I love it and I don’t really look at the clock. I do yoga and when the teacher gives the option for child’s pose, I take it.

19. Green juice is not gross.

Green juice is actually kind of amazing. My friend recently recommend this to me: 12 0z. of spinach, green apple, lemon, garlic, and ginger. Delicious. I promise.

20. But juice cleanses are not for me.

Yep, I tried a juice cleanse once. It was supposed to last three days but by the end of day two I was pretty sure I was going to turn green. I’m sure that for some people, juice cleanses are amazing. For me? Not so much. And I’m ok with that.

21. Have at least one set of matching bra and underwear.

Because it makes you feel sexy.

22. Find your happy place.

Find a place where you can escape to: a coffee shop, a hiking trail, Barnes & Noble. Whatever floats your boat. But I think it’s important to have a place to go to when things get crazy.

23. Eat pastries on Saturday morning.

Accompanied by a hot cup of coffee and someone you love.

24. Dads and dogs make the best running partners.

This is a fact that’s proven itself to me over and over again. Dads and dogs are the  best listeners and pace buddies. And sometimes afterwards, they buy you coffee :)

25. The only way to get out of your head is by doing something for someone else.

When your mind chatter feels like it’s on repeat and you are listening to the same worries over and over again, it’s time to do something for someone else. Yes, a couple downward facing dogs will help. But the best thing you can do is light up someone else’s day. Buy a stranger coffee, bring home flowers for your boyfriend, pop something in the mail for a long distance friend. This is the only way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put down the diet book.

Please, put down the diet book. Pick up a cookbook instead. Or a memoir. Or a piece of deliciously trashy fiction.

Inspired by this amazing anti diet post, I wanted to share 3 non-fiction, non diet books to read this summer. This is a heavier list. It’s the kind of book you look over with a cup of hot tea. I promise to recommend some trashy fiction soon :) But for now, here are 3 books for your soul:

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Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

This is a life changing kind of book. Trust me, clear your day before you start it. Glennon will make you laugh, cry, and look at your own life with a raw honesty.

Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Ok, yes this is a vegan cookbook. BUT PLEASE KEEP READING! I am not a vegan and I promise you everything in this book is absolutely incredible. Cherry basil bruschetta, taco fiesta potato crisps, double layer chocolate fudge cake…ok, I’m drooling now. I discovered Oh She Glows this past weekend while visiting my friend Taylor in Portland. We cooked and devoured two recipes from the book over the course of my weekend trip. So of course I had to buy a copy of my own before heading back to L.A.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

This is the book I am reading now. It’s a small but mighty one. I find myself drinking in her words slowly, and then heading back to the top of the page to re-read it all again. Pema has that honest voice that makes you feel as if she’s looking directly into your life.

What books are you reading this summer?!

 

Find your edge…and soften around it.

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I sat in a forward fold today in yoga. It was the end of class and my body was tired. I didn’t want to try in this pose. I just wanted to relax. And then I heard the teacher’s words:

“Find your edge, and soften around it.”

And as if she knew just what I was thinking, she came and adjusted me. She gently pushed me forward, helping me to find a place where I was working, but also breathing.

I left class thinking about that quote: Find your edge and soften around it.

In work, and relationships, and health, our edge can be a scary place. It can create anxiety and stress and leave our heads moving at a mile a minute.

But here’s what I think.

The relationship that means the most to you is sometimes hard, juicy work. And your dream job is probably going to be hard, juicy work too. But I think these things that mean the most to us are our edges. Yes, sometimes the edge is a damn scary place. For example, when you feel like you’re not getting what you need from your partner, how do you talk to that person? How do you tell them how you are feeling?

When we peer off that emotional cliff, we may have the desire to bolt rather than to take a leap of faith and become honest, raw, and real. The key though is to soften. To breathe into the scary shit instead of running away from it.

When we talk about creating a meaningful career, the anxiety of sharing your vision can be overwhelming. The idea of getting up in front of a group of people will seem terrifying. But it’s terrifying because your message means something to you. And we are waiting. We all want to hear your beautiful message, to know that lights you up.

So please. Don’t run away. Instead carry on. Share your vision and love with us. Tell us what makes your heart sing. What brings you joy. Tell us about the work you want to do and how you want to change this world. Even if it’s really scary to say out loud. Please, find your edge, and soften around it.

Running and Family

When I think of running, I think of family. I think of St. Louis summertime heat, panting dogs, easy conversation, and post – run coffee heaven.

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These past couple of weeks have been filled with family running adventures. My baby sister, Whitney, came here and we ran the Mammoth Half Marathon together (holy elevation). Then we flew back to St. Louis where our mornings were filled with endorphin smiles that come after running 3 -5 miles. The running dream didn’t end there. My sister Jenny lives in D.C. So we started talking about races we could do together, me coming to D.C. or her coming to Santa Monica. My heart sings at the thought of this.

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Family is my greatest value. The time we spend together is like none other. Yet, we are a family of wild souls, living spread out, taking adventures, jumping at any chance to see the world. This results in less time spent all together. But I’m starting to see how our love of adventure and our love of running knits us closer together. Running is a way to see the world. It is a way to hold adventure close to your heart and a sister by your side.

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I’ve run in California, Indiana, Washington D.C., Missouri, Colorado, Mexico, and Costa Rica with my family. I’ve climbed mountains and swam in oceans and caves with them. I’ve gotten lost in a cow field in New Zealand with them. We are a family of beating hearts and sweaty hugs. And I would’t have it any other way.

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