How to Choose a Yoga Mat

A good (or not so good) yoga mat can make the difference between getting through your yoga class and truly enjoying it. As a beginner many people – myself included – just use the first free or cheap mat they can find. Spoiler alert: these mats are often thin, slippery, and not very supportive. Common problems you may have on these mats are joint pain and slipping, and these can be a huge distraction to your yoga practice – but they’re also easy to fix. 

When you’re picking a yoga mat, there are many factors you can (and should) consider. Everyone will have a different top priority, so there is no single “best” mat out there. Here are a few things you can consider when you’re purchasing your first (or second, or fifth) mat.

What’s your budget? Under $85? Over $120? You can find a mat for anything from $20 to $150+…I’ve noticed that there are plenty of great mats between $60-90 so you shouldn’t have to spend too much money, but also keep in mind that in many cases you get what you pay for.

What are your main problems? Slipping? Lack of cushioning? Too tall for your mat? 

What kind of yoga do you practice? Are you more into yin and restorative? Or do you love a good hot yoga class? Or do you take a little bit of everything? 

Where does your mat go? Do you mostly practice at home or do you practice at a variety of studios? 

Do you want to travel with your mat? It’s very different to have a mat that goes from car to studio and back to car than to have one that goes with you on a plane.

Do you have special considerations? Some of these include allergies and sustainability.

If your main concern is…

Sweating and Slipping

Look for a mat with a grippy surface, or one that absorbs sweat. You’ll also probably want to add a mat towel on top or on the side to help you stay comfortable.

A word of caution: You’ll often be able to see your sweat on these while you practice, and some mats will start to stain at a certain point. I don’t personally mind that very much because it’s a sign that my mat and I have been through some sweat together, but keep that in mind when considering what color you buy – darker colors tend to hide sweat better.

My first serious mat was a Lululemon and I love it to this day – it’s an incredibly grippy mat that I never had to worry about slipping on. In really hot classes I’d add a towel, but I also loved that I could practice any kind of yoga on that mat and I never had to worry about my hands slipping. 

I know quite a few people who also love their B Mats. I’ve never practiced on one, but they seem grippy and people swear by them. 

Right now I have and love a Liforme mat. It’s an investment but it’s worth it: grippy and cute to boot – plus guidelines that help you fine tune your alignment.

Support and Cushioning

Manduka is hands down my favorite for dense, supportive mats. When it comes to yoga mats, it’s not just about how thick they are – there are plenty of inexpensive, thick mats that compress all the way down when you stand on them, and thus don’t really offer much support. If you’ve got sensitive joints, feel like you can always feel the floor through your mat, or just want a little more cushion, look for a mat that is more dense. 

My two favorites are the Manduka Pro (or ProLite) and the Manduka GRP mat. The Manduka GRP mat is best for those who practice hot yoga because it’s got a grippy (not slippy) top layer. The Manduka Pro and ProLIte mats require some break in, and I prefer practicing with a towel on them, but they are dense and supportive and I’ve never felt the floor through one of them. 

Travel

Many companies make travel yoga mats that are thinner and more easily transported versions of their most popular mats. I’ve traveled with a Manduka eKo travel mat and it’s fit into every suitcase I’ve traveled with. 

Environmentally Friendly and/or Allergies

Jade makes a mat unlike many other mats. Their mats are grippy and dense but do not contain PVC, EVA, or synthetic rubber. They’re also made in the US and they partner with Trees for the Future to plan a tree for every mat sold. This is a mat you can feel especially good about! I’ve never owned a Jade mat but they seem like a great option and are popular with many yogis here in Nashville. 

Mat Size (especially for my tall friends)

Get an extra long mat! I look for mats that are over 70” long (I’m a touch over 5’8”) so that I have enough space in big poses like Warrior II and Triangle. Here are a few longer mats: 

B Mat Long

Jade Harmony Mat XW

Manduka ProLite Long

Lululemon Big Mat

As a teacher these are the mats I see most commonly in the studios I teach and practice. While you don’t need any fancy equipment to get started, you’ll be amazed at how much more secure and stable you’ll feel with the right mat. Got another favorite mat? Let me know in the comments!

Find Your Ideal Yoga Retreat with these Five Questions

Let’s be real: there are a LOT of yoga retreat options out there.

I’ve seen three in my Instagram feed today alone and they are all so different. Every yoga retreat is great in its own way, just like each of us. So, how do you find one that’s going to be great for you?

Here are five questions you can ask yourself before booking a retreat – or before even starting to look at retreats.

  1. Does your favorite yoga studio or yoga teacher offer a retreat? This is a great place to start! Consider whether you’re open to retreating with someone you haven’t met or taken class with, or if you want to have a certain level of familiarity with the retreat leader(s). You will want to consider whether you’re the type of person who likes to know what they’re getting into, and what style/vibe of yoga will be taught, or if you’re the type of person who can go with the flow and is more excited about a specific location.
  2. What’s your budget? This is an important one, in terms of both your money and your time. There are all different lengths of retreats – from a weekend to 10 days or more. Chances are, a shorter retreat will cost a bit less, and it also will cost you less in terms of time off of work, childcare or pet care, and the like. You’ll also want to consider the location when you look at your budget – a retreat in Bali is going to have a higher total cost (due to plane tickets) than a retreat driving distance from you.
  3. What does the retreat price include? This goes along with helping you determine your budget. Are all meals included? Are there special day trips that cost more? Will you need to pay for special experiences, such as access to a spa or healer, or are those included? If you’re flying to a location, do you need to pay to get from the airport to the retreat location, or is that included? You might realize that retreat that seemed expensive comes with some pretty sweet perks once you break it down!! (Or on the flip side, that affordable retreat may not seem so affordable once you add up all the additional costs you might incur.)
  4. What kind of experience do you want to have? Do you want to explore a new place with some yoga on the side, or do you want to focus on a specific learning outcome for your yoga practice? Do you want a strict workout schedule and clean eating or do you want to both work hard and play hard? And then there are just the simple logistics of travel. If you’re going overseas (or even just out of the country) you’ll need to think about things like making sure your passport is all set, time changes, travel time, currency changes, visas, and appropriate electronics if needed. You could also use your retreat as a jumping off point (or end point) for a longer vacation/exploration of the region too! Think about your travel style – if flying/long trips/layovers stress you out, then maybe that’s not the best thing to do on your way to a retreat.
  5. How many people will be going? Do you want to be part of a big crowd or have more of a family feel? Retreats can be as small as a handful of people and as big as 50 or more. A smaller retreat may feel more intimate, but a larger retreat allows you to meet more people and potentially break off into smaller groups based on your interests. On that note, is it just women, just men, or a mix of both? Couples or a mix or just singles? Those might be factors to inquire about before you book if they matter to you.

All of these questions come down to knowing yourself and thinking about what you want. At the end of the day, what matters most to you? The location? The studio or retreat leader? The types of experiences and extras you’ll get? Getting some continuing education credits for your yoga certification? Relaxing and unwinding? Your budget? There is no right answer, which is why there are so many awesome yoga retreats out there! You can find super specific retreats, such as a women’s empowerment full moon manifestation, or general large retreats run by a well-known studio.

Here are a few places to start your search. Have you been on an awesome retreat? Let me know in the comments below!

CorePower Yoga

Y7 Studio

Yoga Journal

Yoga for Bad People

Keto: Week One

This summer has been quite frustrating in a lot of ways, one of them being the frequency and severity of my migraines. I’ve tried no less than 6 different preventive medications for them. I’ve tried cutting out gluten, soy, alcohol, nuts, legumes, and dairy. I’ve tried the Whole30. I’ve tried intuitive eating. I’ve tried acupuncture, cupping, you name it.

I’ve heard quite a bit lately about the benefits of a ketogenic diet for people who suffer from seizures, and since most of the migraine meds I’ve been prescribed are anti-seizure meds being used off-label, I started to wonder if keto could help my head. I did find a couple of studies (here plus an article here) that showed that a ketogenic diet has helped migraine sufferers. I’m going to try aimovig next (a new migraine-specific preventive) but I have to wait 4-6 weeks to do so, so I figured that gives me a good amount of time to try keto.

Let’s get specific.

First things first. I am not doing the super strict keto that some studies have used (with 5-10 net carbs a day). Keeping it under 25 net carbs each day is my goal right now. Second, there are many ways to go keto…you can have plates of bacon, or you can have a beautiful salad with some avocado, cucumbers, radish, cabbage, maybe some cheese and a fun dressing, plus maybe some shrimp to top it all off. My goal is to nourish my body rather than just “get it done” so I will be choosing the latter.

So what does a day in the life look like for me right now?

Keto Lunch

Breakfast: Fab 4 smoothie from Kelly LeVeque‘s book Body Love. She sings the praises of a ketogenic style of eating, one that I will probably shift to once my 4 weeks is up, because she focuses on getting protein, fat, fiber, and greens at every meal.

Lunch: Kale salad with radish, cucumber, sprouts, and cabbage, plus avocado, and some chicken. With a side of berries.

Dinner: Another smoothie, or a salad with eggs on top, or eggs with some veggies. Eventually branching out to zoodles once my spiralizer arrives!

My favorite snacks so far have been salted nuts, 1/2 an avocado, meat jerky, and cheese.

Breaking it down: Week 1

I’m not gonna lie, this week was rough. I started on Monday and felt totally fine. On Tuesday and Wednesday I was STRUGGLING. The keto flu is real, y’all. I did find some awesome electrolyte powder at Whole Foods (which you can also get at Thrive Market) and it is the best – plus it’s bright pink! But back to days two through four. I was headachy, tired, peeing all the time (part of the keto flu – seriously look it up), and just generally focused on food and food alone. On Friday I woke up with a bit of a headache but once I took some medicine I felt great, and same with Saturday. Yesterday I was exhausted when I got home from yoga so I took a fantastic nap. Today, I was great all day until an hour before I taught barre, when I thought my head was going to implode and I was so nauseated – so I “cracked” and ate a Grab the Gold bar at the studio. The good thing? Plenty of fat and fiber and protein!

Overall, I feel pretty good. I can already tell that I’m slimming down a bit, and while I’m not a slave to my scale, I think I’ve lost 3 or 4 pounds as a result of cleaning things up.

Today is actually the perfect example of my thought process when it comes to keto. There were cinnamon rolls (!!!!) at an office-wide meeting this afternoon, but I passed those up, and I listened to my body when I could tell I needed a little something extra and picked a wise choice. Just because I ate something that isn’t strictly keto doesn’t mean I cheated, or fell off the wagon, or failed…it means I made the choice I needed to make and I am moving forward, trying to make the best choices I can. I know from experience that I can’t restrict and stress over food – my eating habits need to relieve stress, not add to it.

What I miss the most: COOKIES. Definitely cookies. Also donuts and ice cream. I also really miss the chickpeas I love to snack on, and some other more starchy veggies.

What I love the most: eating cheese, and starting the day with a green smoothie. My favorite smoothie recipe is Mint Chocolate Chip: mint leaves, almond milk, chocolate protein powder, spinach, Brain Octane oil, and chia seeds. YUM. I top it with some cacao nibs and man is that the best way to start the day!

I’ll keep you posted on how week 2 goes!

A Week in Kim’s Brain

Last weekend, I sprained my foot by missing my last stair (going downstairs to feed Charm at 5:04 am…) and I have been in a boot ever since. I’ve also got crutches, or crunches as my dad and I used to call them, but I’ve been avoiding those like the plague. So this week’s planned vacation turned into a staycation, and more accurately a stay-on-the-couch-cation. I took my Fitbit off because I didn’t want it yelling at me to take more steps and fewer naps!

Collection of right shoes
I’ve developed quite the collection of right shoes in my kitchen.

This week of rest has been unfamiliar but much needed, and I’ve found myself thinking some things that I never would think normally, with my pretty active lifestyle.  For fun, here’s a little peek into my brain over the past week.

Things Kim Thinks While Injured

  1. Can we park a little closer?
  2. Can I sit down yet?
  3. Will I ever be able to wear heels again?
  4. Do these socks match my boot?
  5. Is it too early to nap?
  6. Is it too late to nap?
  7. How many naps a day is too many?
  8. Just one more YouTube video and then I’ll get out of bed… (okay, this is one I think all the time anyway)
  9. How far can I stretch to reach that thing next to my bed without actually getting up?
  10. Does this dress match my boot?
  11. Note to self: I need to make sure I put all my right shoes back with their pair…this is a mess waiting to happen.
  12. If I only wear the right shoe of a new pair is the left one going to be way less broken in?
  13. Thank goodness I’m not teaching any yoga or barre classes this week!
  14. My body is healing, I definitely need to eat that (donut/cookie/ice cream sandwich) to help it heal.
  15. Ugh. I’m SO SORE from sitting on the couch all day. (Solution: move to bed)

In all seriousness, this injury has forced me to slow down in a way I haven’t in a long, LONG time. I don’t want to be like this forever but I also want to be careful that I don’t overextend myself too soon. Fingers crossed I am on the path to a speedy recovery.

 

Kim’s Finds | Volume 1

I love trying new things as often as possible. I like to think of myself as a human guinea pig, and I try as many new things as I can to see what works and what does not. Here are a few of my recent favorites.

barkTHINS – Almond Dark Chocolate

Y’all, if you haven’t tried BarkThins, you are seriously missing out. I got a big bag of the Almond Dark Chocolate variety at Costco and it has surprisingly lasted me over a week, but you can also get these at most major food stores. The coconut ones are my all-time favorite but I like to think that I’m getting some additional protein by eating the almond version. Last night I crumbled up a few pieces on top of some ice cream and it was awesome. This is a great snack if you are a dark chocolate lover!

CBD Oil

I went to an event with Yuyo Botanics at Poppy & Monroe a couple of weeks ago, and I finally took the plunge to test out CBD oil for myself. In case you haven’t heard of it, CBD oil is an extract from the hemp plant that is non-psychoactive and works on the endocannabinoid system within the human body. Translation: it won’t make you high and it helps with pain relief. I’ve been using the 900 mg PM formula at night and the 500 mg special formulation occasionally in the morning. I also got the salve for topical relief. These tinctures come in a glass bottle with a dropper, and the dropper holds about half a milliliter of the oil at a time, so at night I take two droppers full under my tongue.  These bottles are labeled with how much CBD is in the bottle in total: for example, there is 900 mg of CBD in the PM bottle, so if you do some simple math (which I will not do) that helps you figure out how much is in each dropper full. I’ve definitely seen that I sleep SO much better when I use my CBD, and I take it in the morning if I have felt particularly stressed. I haven’t had a killer migraine since I started taking this about two weeks ago, so I’ll keep you updated about how this works for me! There are lots of different places you can get your CBD oil, and in some states it is legal to include THC in these tinctures…I haven’t ventured that far yet (partly because that is not legal in TN) but I have heard that the THC is thought to “activate” the CBD and make it more effective. None of these uses are FDA approved quite yet but there sure is plenty of information and anecdotal positive evidence out there.

Natural Deodorant

Lavanila Deodorant

This may be TMI, but at this point I’m fine with that: I’m not a huge deodorant fan. I don’t use soap in the shower unless I got super gross, and I only wash my hair twice a week, and nobody has complained yet! I wanted to give natural deodorants a try but I also wanted something that would smell good. I got The Healthy Deodorant from Lavanila at Sephora during the VIB sale, and I have to say, I am loving it so far. The scent (I got Vanilla + Earth) is just right, and I like that it is in a stick form instead of having to smear it all over myself with my fingers. So far so good – I’m not looking for anything that will keep me from sweating, but rather that will help me with the scent when I do sweat.

What have you tried lately? What do you think I should try next?

Five Alternative Black Friday Ideas

Ah, Black Friday. These days, Black Friday has turned into go shopping after you eat on Thanksgiving Thursday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday…not to mention all the specials that have already started. And don’t get me wrong, I love shopping and have already spent some quality time browsing a couple of sales, but I have never been big on getting out there at 6 am to start shopping on Friday.

Here’s my challenge to you: If you need to shop, do so from the comfort of your own home, and spend Black Friday doing something else – maybe something you don’t spend much time doing the rest of the year. Here are a few alternatives to shopping tomorrow.

  1. Sleep. Too often we underestimate the power of rest for our bodies. So if you have the day off, use it to completely veg out! Sure, you can take a nice long walk, but see how much rest your body is craving – and then give in.
  2. Clear out your kitchen. Chances are, when you cooked that big Thanksgiving meal you realized how many spices you’ve had since 2006, or finally found that glass bowl you were looking for in the back of your cupboard. Now that half of the contents of your kitchen are likely in the dishwasher or the drying rack, it’s a great time to do some cleaning and organizing. Trash anything past its “best by” date. Get rid of that stained tupperware you push to the side. And take a stab at that junk drawer that you can hardly get open.
  3. Meal prep for next week. Ok, so to be completely honest, this is NOT how I’ll be spending Black Friday…but maybe you’ve got tons of leftovers and you know you’ll be dreading packing your lunch on Monday.  Why not take 30 minutes or an hour to sketch out your plans for the week? That way you can strategize how you’ll use up your leftovers, and think about what little fixin’s you’ll need at the grocery store to pull it all together.
  4. Get outdoors. Take a walk around the neighborhood, head off to that hiking trail you’ve been meaning to check out, or even go for a run if you’re feeling extra motivated. This is probably one of your last chances to enjoy the fall foliage that seems to have turned quite late this year.
  5. Work out. There’s no time like the present to start working on what will likely be your New Year’s Resolution! Lots of studios offer special classes (like Hot Yoga Plus’s Burn Off The Turkey and Inner Light Yoga’s Rooftop Flow) and most studios also have at least one class on their schedule (Neighborhood Barre has a class at each of our studios tomorrow). Plus, this is a great way to spend some quality time with your family or friends who may be in town.

How will you spend your Friday?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Travel Season #Goals and Results

Hey, hi, hello, how ya doin…it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other!

I clicked over to this site to find a post I started writing almost TWO MONTHS AGO before I started traveling. And it’s interesting to read the list of goals I set now that travel season is over and it feels like reading season is well underway.

This is a funny job I have: I disappear for two months straight and barely see my dog, my house, and my friends, and then for the next four months I am home nonstop and can even work from home a few days a week.  It’s quite a study of extremes…but we all know I don’t do anything halfway, so it makes sense for me.

That being said, here are those goals I mentioned:

  1. Eat something green at every meal. Or at least a fruit or vegetable.
  2. No candy. Seriously. Most of it doesn’t even taste that good!
  3. Move every day. Since I’ll be coming back to teach barre when I’m here, I need to stay in shape. Plus – I feel SO much better when I work out regularly!
  4. Read an actual book each day – not just the interwebs.

So, how did I do?

This is my third travel season and each year the amount of time and stress that goes into planning travel decreases, which is AWESOME. I added on a couple of new territories this year which made for some fun exploring and learning but it’s also so nice to have some familiar areas to go back to as well. This was my first travel season with a second job, and I successfully taught 1-3 classes per week for the entire seven weeks I was traveling. I’m not going to lie: this was hard. BUT. It was so worth it, and it was amazing to have a community to come back to.

So what are some of the biggest things that happened during travel season?

  1. Intermittent Fasting. Since I quickly realized my schedule wouldn’t allow for as much movement as I am used to, I needed to find another way to incorporate a routine into my days, and that came through intermittent fasting. I selected an eight-hour window during which I would eat each day, and only drank liquids outside of that window. This actually worked out very well with my crazy schedule, and I had some of the most energy I’ve ever had while traveling.
  2. No migraines for SIX WEEKS. Folks, this is an all-time record. From when I started traveling in early September until my second to last week of travel, I didn’t have a single migraine. This is amazing for me. The longest I had gone before that was four weeks, in April 2014 when I was writing my Master’s thesis. Maybe the trick for me is to be under an abnormal amount of stress??? Halfway joking, but I do find it weird that my two longest stretches have also been two of the times I have been under the most stress. More thoughts to come on this.
  3. Barre! I taught anywhere from 1-4 barre classes for all of travel season. It was so much fun to have something different to come home to, to have a community to see on Mondays and Fridays at 6 am. It made me chuckle a little when I would see my regulars at 6 am and realize that I had stayed in 4 different hotels since the last time I saw them. This has been a huge driving force in finding a better work-life balance.
  4. Finding my community. I have to say: this was the first time I feel like I’ve truly had a life to come back to here in Nashville. I had plans with friends all throughout travel season, and events to look forward to, and it was awesome to come home and truly feel rooted where I am.
  5. Yoga Sculpt. I took a CorePower Yoga Sculpt class with my friend while we were in Chicago in October, and oh. my. gosh. I love it. It is so hard but also so fun. It’s basically yoga with weights in a heated room…if you had told me how much I would love it, I would never have believed you, but here I am.

It was a great season, but I’m so glad to be back at home with my pup.

Weird Wellness Loves Lately

A couple of weekends ago, I was EXHAUSTED. I slept from 7 pm on Friday until 12 pm the next day, waking up only to feed my dog and myself.  I had been pushing myself too hard, and my body was trying to tell me something.  So I listened. I slept all weekend, ate what my body was craving, and moved when I felt like it. And it was GLORIOUS.  I tried a few new tricks that weekend, and haven’t had a migraine in 2 weeks!  That is like eons for me.

What I’m loving lately:

chlorophyll water

Chlorophyll drops.  I put these in my water at least once a day and I swear, I have more energy than I usually do. They are supposed to promote “strong blood” and somehow increase your body’s ability to circulate oxygen (The Skinny Confidential has a great post on that), and I definitely notice a difference.  I’m going to bring these with me when I travel. They taste refreshing – it says mint-flavored on the bottle and while it’s not a strong mint flavor, it is a strong hint that is just refreshing.

Adaptogens. I’ve been taking Ashwagandha on and off during stressful times for most of 2017, and I really like it. I can feel a definite difference in how I handle tough situations with it. After my burnout a couple of weeks ago, I added Rhodiola and Holy Basil into the mix as well, and so far they have really been helping. Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Holy Basil are all purported to help strengthen the stress response, each with their own unique properties. I have been pretty darn stressed and pushing myself pretty hard lately, and I think I will keep taking this combination through travel season. This mix doesn’t fix anything, it just helps fortify me and give me the support I need.

Sleep. I’ve gotten 8 or 9 hours of sleep a handful of times recently, and let me tell you, it is LIFE CHANGING. I’ve been on a solid 7-7.5 hour per night kick, and while that was fine, every once in a while I really need more than that. I have also been napping with reckless abandon. Sometimes, this girl just needs sleep.  Recently, my neurologist even told me that sleep is really the only true cure for migraines, so I asked her – only half joking – if she could write me a prescription for sleep. Seriously, it cures all!

Decaf coffee. I’ve gotten a bit addicted to coffee this summer.  I went years without caffeine (seriously, I didn’t have a single drop during grad school) and recently remembered how much I love it – and I can tolerate it better now as well. I was on a medication that made me super shaky when combined with caffeine before, and now that things have been switched up, I can have a cup of coffee here and there and it makes me feel GREAT! Until I have 2 cups a day every day….then I don’t feel so good. So I’ve cut back to drinking decaf because I do love the taste, but I need to not need it every day. I’m sure I’ll have it a few times during travel season, but a traveler’s gotta do what a traveler’s gotta do.

Summertime Sadness

No, this post is not about being sad in the summertime. The post title is inspired by this song which I love so much.

district donuts

But….I do get a little bit of summertime sadness, especially when summertime feels like it is coming to an end.  Summer is my absolute favorite season, and I always get a little sad when I step outside in the morning to feel the crisp air that necessitates a long sleeve shirt.  This summer was wonderful, busy, stressful, crazy, and full of old and new friends.  It has flown by (but it’s not over yet!) and at the same time has felt like it has been years long.  What is it they say? The days are long but the years are short? I’m definitely starting to feel that way.

I was feeling quite stressed as the summer started (and wore on), and it turned into a season of knowing what to embrace and what to release.  One of the things I released was blogging.  I was in a place where writing was more stressful than fulfilling, plain and simple.

While I tried to release some stressors from my life, I also made space for the activities and people I love.

Things I did this summer:

  1. CMA Fest (for the second time – and for all four days). You can really go all-out and embrace the mayhem, or you can stay as far away as possible.  I took a staycation and managed to do both!  I think this topic (How to CMA Fest) deserves its own post to really do it justice.
  2. Experienced my first NHL Stanley Cup Final (though not in the rink) – the mayhem it brought to this city was amazing.  This leads to 2a: learned way more about the catfish tradition than I ever thought I would.
  3. Started teaching barre classes at Neighborhood Barre Nashville.  Check out the schedule here and come join me!  I’m on a pretty regular 6 am and weekend schedule in Green Hills.
  4. Found an amazing massage therapist. Self care is important, y’all. If you’re in Nashville check out Brian at Soma Massage South.
  5. Deepened old and new friendships. Between trips and weekends with coworkers, college friends coming to town, holding a coworker’s 36 hour old baby, and planning girl’s weekends away, I truly feel like I have found my tribe.
  6. Rediscovered my love of reading. I live right down the street from Ann Patchett’s amazing bookstore and found a few books I absolutely love there, including this one that is eerily on point.
  7. Discovered my love of YouTube makeup tutorials and vlogs. I am ADDICTED. They are so soothing and calming, and I have definitely learned a thing or two about makeup!  My favorites include Casey Holmes, Kelly Strack, RachhLoves, and Nashville’s own Mallory Ervin.
  8. Ate SO MANY donuts (see #tourducarbs parts one and two, also known as early and late Road Shows). Top honors for the tour go to District Donuts in New Orleans (pictured at the beginning), Fox’s Donut Den right here in Nashville, and Plehn’s Bakery in Louisville, KY (pictured below).
    donuts
  9. Watched two friends, Kylie Morgan and Jay Allen, play at The Bluebird Cafe (oh and one of them, Jay, just put out an EP so you need to go check it out!)

As you can tell, it was quite a summer!  I can’t wait to see what adventures are to come….plus I have plenty to tell you about now that I’m back.

Happy Sunday!