A Southern Bohemian Barn Wedding in South Carolina!

Phew! The craziest 12 weeks of 2017 (granted, the only 12 weeks of 2017) are behind me, and a few weeks of working, relaxing, and exploring Austin are ahead. The calm before the storm, if you will. (fingers crossed that Andrew and I don’t encounter any storms when we are in Asia. I jinxed it, didn’t I?) The craziness has ended after a big roadtrip to Charleston, South Carolina, for a southern bohemian barn wedding!

When Devon, my friend from high school, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, it was over the phone, and I thought I had misheard (still said, “yes,” obviously,) because we hadn’t been in touch for a while. Devon holds a very special place in my heart as a friend that I’ve known since I was 10. We don’t talk much (blame can be placed equally on both of us) but I was so relieved and ecstatic to arrive in Charleston and run into the same old Dev. Just, you know, with a diploma, a full-time job, a (now) husband, baby, and dog named Ernie. She’s the type of friend that you agree to drive 1,200 miles to even if you’re not exactly sure what they asked you to do for their wedding. (The bridesmaid thing was eventually cleared up and I emoted a second round of squeals of excitement.)

So my boyfriend and I packed up my yoga mat, some road trip snacks, and more Lush products than I will ever plan on bringing backpacking. (I decided to do my own hair.) A road trip sounded mighty fine to me after staying in the same city for three months straight.

First things first: No one will be able to top this wedding. 

If you’ve been on Pinterest, imagine a more beautiful wedding than you’ve ever pinned. I write with Stefon’s voice in my head: “this wedding had everything.” Chalkboards. Flowers in mason jars. String lights everywhere. A photobooth with a Polaroid camera. They had an old-fashioned car that we took photos with. Beers in wheelbarrows. Meat that had been smoked for 14 hours. (I didn’t partake, but my mouth did water.)

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Pictures by fellow bridesmaid Caitlin LeMoine!

 

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Photo by Caitlin LeMoine.

God, I still can’t get over how picture-perfect this wedding was. It was in a barn next to a marsh that held an alligator (and six-eight babies, allegedly) but no babies or dogs were eaten on the big day.

(I’m writing this soon after the wedding, so the photographer’s pictures are not up yet. I’ll update this post later when they’re ready! There’s a very cute one where Devon and I recreate a picture from our junior prom, so get ready.)

What I’ve always loved about Devon is that while she is extremely smart, professional, and has her head on her shoulders, she still dances to the beat of her own drum (or strings of her own cello, which she played in high school.) I must admit, I worried that I wouldn’t know a wedding tradition that would be followed during the rehearsal dinner/ceremony, or that not doing my hair would leave me underdressed. Devon hasn’t changed, because to hell with (some) tradition.

I’ll leave it at this. Seeing a friend that I grew up with walk her own damn self down the aisle, in her grandmother’s wedding dress, wearing a flower crown in her hair was one of the most empowering and fantastic sights I’ve ever witnessed.

The ceremony was beautiful. The vows were beautiful. The bride and groom were bursting with love.

The mac n’ cheese was dope. The band was insane. The dancing was almost too much to handle.

This wedding was certainly one to beat, with a perfect mix of tradition, elegance, and downright fun. I would drive from Austin to Charleston and back again in a heartbeat for a few more Yuenglings and a swig of bourbon from one of the groomsmen.

I’ll cheers to that. Also, can we talk about this bridesmaid outfit? I’ve already decided that the skirt is coming with me when I go backpacking.

Speaking of the drive…

I drove for over 40 hours with my boyfriend and still think he’s pretty darn cute!

When I found out I was going to be a bridesmaid, I jokingly told my mom I had six months to find a +1 that would drive me to South Carolina. When you ask, you shall receive, I guess. I wouldn’t have agreed to date someone who didn’t like road trips, sleeping in cars, and stopping for the night or two in a tent, but I luckily in December I started dating the most patient, ~chill,~ fun guy in this part of Texas. Jeremy and I left Austin on a Tuesday night to check in at an AirBNB on a Thursday morning. We left Charleston on a Sunday morning and got home Monday night. We each camped for one night each way, first in South Carolina, and then in Mississippi.

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Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina

The road trip consisted of lots of Radiolab podcasts, discussions about politics, stargazing, and eventually, leftover mac n’ cheese in take-home containers. On the way home, I randomly suggested stopping in Dallas for tacos before the last leg of the trip, and without any thought, Jeremy agreed. I don’t have much experience in relationships (despite, having been in, erm, some, I would like to think I have absolutely no experience in relationships) but I know that someone who doesn’t mind sitting with you in a coffee shop for a few hours while you send in some work (I have the pleasure of working remotely) or driving a bit out of the way to get tacos is a catch.

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Of course, I’m going to add a picture of the tacos. Fried Paneer and Nashville Hot Tofu from Velvet Taco in Dallas. 10/10, worth every minute of trying to navigate the highways in Dallas.

I don’t know why I attempted to joke that the road trip would be in anyway a test of our relationship, because it was a great experience, there and back. (Ok, I got mad when he turned a little bit and sent the dirt of our succulents flying throughout the passenger seat, but we survived, didn’t we?)

It’s nice to reminisce. I promise. 

This post is getting to be way longer than I expected, even though it can’t fully encompass the fun I had during the road trip. I’ll leave you with this.

I may just have a bad memory, but I tend to block out my high school years. I feel like a completely different person sang at Carnegie Hall, drove a Subaru Outback, or played the oboe. I talk to my friends from high school occasionally, if not rarely. I feel detached, as I often allow myself to be. Revisiting such a close friendship was not only fun and silly, but reminded me of how lucky I am to have gone to the high school I went to, with the upbringing I had. I was given amazing opportunities by growing up in Doylestown. I left happy memories, and beautiful people, back in the town where I grew up. My friendship with Devon is one of many that shaped me to be who I am. I can only begin to acknowledge the privilege I hold from going to a fantastic school and being surrounded by wonderful people at an early age.

Don’t be afraid to find the people you’ve lost touch with; you may be surprised to find that despite the years and milestones that have come between your friendships, you can pick right back up.

I have more posts coming up, including my first online yoga flow! I thank you for reading, and hope to see you here in the future! Namaste.

 

 

 

Yoga Teacher Training Reflections

Warning: this post ended up being way longer than I thought.


I never take days off from my full-time job, but with the craziness of SXSW and the celebration of completing my yoga teacher training, I’m shutting my work to-do list for a whopping three days. I’m still working on a new project – the details of which will come later – but for the most part, I’m focusing on taking a little SXSW vacay.

I’m a certified yoga teacher! After 10 long weeks of reading, learning, sweating, playing tears off as sweat, and practicing, the journey inside the classroom at Black Swan has come to an end. The journey around the world, teaching and continuing to learn, has just begun.

Beat, Broke, Backpacking is going to resurrect now that I have weekends. I’ll also be uploading flows amongst my travel pictures and wanderlust-y thoughts. In the meantime, I wanted to share some reflections from teacher training. Any yogi, any level, any body type, age, gender, comfort level, etc. can benefit from yoga teacher training. It’s like going to group therapy and the gym and job training at the same time. Pretty cool. Here are some things that I learned.

Everyone Can Enjoy Yoga Teacher Training – I was surprised to learn that not everyone wanted to pursue teaching after the training was over; at first, I honestly had trouble justifying the cost of training for someone who just wanted to deepen their practice. As the weeks went on, however, I was hooked on everything I was learning about yoga, its history, the body, the chakras…we obviously learned a lot about sequencing, adjusting, and the ethics of teaching, but we learned so much more about the practice in general. We went through the primary series in Ashtanga yoga every Saturday morning, eventually practicing in the Mysore style (without verbal instruction.) Learning the primary series alone, and the recommended alignment, is worth the cash. In addition, we had more time to focus on advanced poses and dive deeper into the history of yoga. As someone who is constantly working and not able to put aside much time for Svādhyāya (self-study,) yoga teacher training was a nice kick in the asana. (Get it? I’m hilarious.)  Whether you’ve mastered a headstand, full splits, or you’ve just stepped onto your yoga mat this year, you can benefit from yoga teacher training.


Though She Be Little, She Is Fierce – I was able to befriend and talk to a lot of strong women (and two men) during my training. When you’re spending 10 hours a day & two days a week with people, you get to know them pretty well and grow comfortable sharing yourself.

One day in particular sticks with me. One of my friends, a quieter, humble yogi with lots of knowledge and experience to share, told our group she was feeling small that day. One of our group members was awed at her ability to identify and express that emotion, although we’ve all felt that way in our lives. We were also taken aback at how someone with such knowledge and so many ideas to share could feel like they have a smaller presence in the room.

Yoga meetups can reach hundreds of people. Flows can be taught over booming microphones. When we practice yoga, we find ourselves connected to infinity, the whole, vast universe. But we harness this power and build this connection from the smallest beginnings. An inhale and an exhale may not look like much, but they hold power. Even though we may feel intimidated by our height, our voice, or our place in the universe, we can take comfort in the idea that we are connected to something bigger than we could ever imagine.


Burning Through Samskaras Is A Lifelong Process – When you’re in Pigeon Pose for four minutes, on each side, you’re going to face some emotions that you thought were long-gone. When we encounter these moments, we face samskaras. In short, samskaras are patterns and habits that we’ve developed since the moment our life has begun (or before that, if you’re into reincarnation.) When we practice, we aim to burn through and release ourselves from these samskaras.

I remember a particular flow (probably the one where I was in Pigeon for four minutes, on each side) that ended in a lot of anxiety. Without going into too much detail, I was bringing up past trauma and past discomfort that I just wanted (/want) to get rid of. It was an intense moment, and in that moment I decided that I was going to face the trauma head-on, get over it, and move forward. Yoga teacher training was the time to do it. I was going to get over, get through, and get rid of it.

It was probably during the next flow that I realized that things weren’t going to change that dramatically, that quickly.

I look at samskaras as a giant concrete block that we chip away at when we practice. One blaze is not going to burn and disintegrate our samskaras (I did have to check on the internet to see if concrete was flame-resistant, it is.) It takes a lot of time, and even though we’re constantly making progress, we may come back and think that we’ve done nothing at all. There is still much work to be done. The sooner we accept the task ahead of us (the past that has led us here, and the fact that our future is not going to be perfect,) the easier our job gets.

So I continue to work, even after receiving my certificate.

Definitely still working on the handstands.

I am starting to build, record, and film flows that I will put online through my blog, YouTube, and an online studio (coming soon!) If you have suggestions for flows that you would like to see, let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page! Until next time,

नमस्ते