The First Step

My first week of Sumits Hot Yoga teacher training has brought me out of my comfort zone, exercised my body and my mind’s limitations, introduced me to an incredibly talented and amazing group of people and most enormously, brought on a lot of change. In a season filled with on-the-go/ pre-holiday anxieties and potentially <<<Mercury in retrograde,>> early November has been filled with different kind of shifts (neither good nor bad) happening all around. From changing up my daily routine of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day to practicing and learning yoga: the physical, philosophical and anatomical foundations. From living with my boyfriend and pretty much child (Oliver) to living with my parents – to simply making the time to focus on my yoga.

It’s a pretty incredible thing though to be able to have the time to practice twice a day.  Don’t get me wrong, It’s exhausting as I’ve been in bed by 9pm most nights because I simply can’t keep my eyes open, but it has been an amazing time to reflect. I imagined the training would strengthen my practice physically, and it absolutely has. For example, the first night we held several challenging poses for five minutes each – with our eyes closed.

However, I didn’t realize how much the training would challenge me mentally. One of the biggest and strongest takeaways this week – that has only just reinforced the truths I’ve learned thus far in life – is that so much of our life is controlled by the mind. We are always one thought away from a good mood. One shift away from a good experience. And, sometimes we just need a little change to stimulate that. This week’s training has also proved that the yoga isn’t about the physical postures we do. It’s only a small part. The first part is making up your mind. The first step is deciding to make a change.

The first step in the right direction

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ArtsGoggle in the Neighborhood

This weekend, I was finally able to check out ArtsGoggle, the highly anticipated bi-annual arts & entertainment festival happening all over Fort Worth’s Near Southside, and it was even more amazing to be right smack in the middle of all the fun. Fall ArtsGoggle presented 200 artists, 50 bands and 60 venues throughout three urban villages along Magnolia Avenue, South Main and 8th Avenue; the only complaint I have was that 4-10pm just wasn’t enough time for me to capture all the happenings.

The Near Southside is famous for its eclectic renaissance of culinary and visual arts, and ArtsGoggle is no exception. Everywhere you go, you’ll meet brilliant people and encounter so many different kinds of art: live music, jewelry, paintings, glass blowing to name a few. One of the best parts? Foodie heaven. I simply recommend eating and drinking your way through each village as you stumble upon one great setup to the next. We nibbled on gourmet corn dogs at Bearded Lady, cheese plates at Magnolia Cheese Company and Mexican goodies from the Holy Frijoles food truck.

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One of my favorite parts of ArtsGoggle was discovering all the little nooks and crannies that make up this area around Magnolia Ave. Local businesses opened their doors, providing a chance for the public to see what’s really behind the photography studio, hair salon, boutique, and so on – and to meet the incredibly talented people behind them. The Words on Wheels bus, aka the WOW bus was one of my favorites. A relaxed and chic mobile library that will be posted up in and around Magnolia for you to pick up a book, sit down and read a book, or share your own books. So cool.

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The festival is completely free, and I loved seeing all the sweet families and lively pups taking advantage of the beautiful fall day. It rained a little bit, but I didn’t mind it. In fact, it was almost on cue as we were watching a live opera performance of Opera Shots on the Live Oak patio. [Opera shots is a free 4x a year event the Fort Worth Opera puts on at local pubs and wine bars to make opera more accessible to everyone.] Although free, I recommend bringing some dough (most vendors take credit cards) because so much of the art is too beautiful to pass up. I took advantage of the funky jewelry finds along Magnolia including the glam jewelry vendor, Chicks and Stones, offering up some incredible precious stones; naturally, I chose a purple stone necklace.

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Coming Soon to Magnolia

You’d think that after living on Magnolia a couple months, one would run out of restaurants or new places to check out. With new establishments emerging constantly, there’s always something new to try (or try again and again) in the Near Southside. Here’s a few upcoming openings I’m pretty pumped about:

Cane Rosso | 815 W. Magnolia
I’ve yet to actually try this popular Italian pizza, but anytime I tell people Cane Rosso (“red dog”) is replacing the Ryan’s Grocer space, they get pretty excited and then freak out when I say I’ve never tried it as I’m teaching Thursday nights (when they post up at Times Ten Cellar from 6-9pm). No word on the website as to when they’ll be open, but chances are I’ll be there opening week and will keep ya posted.

Grand Cru Wine Bar & Boutique | 1257 W. Magnolia

I will be frequenting this Fort Worth wine shop moving in across the street quite often. Opening this fall, Grand Cru Wine Bar and Boutique (previously located in Overton Ridge as Grand Cru Wine Shop) is is such a perfect addition to the neighborhood.

Tina’s Cocina | 961 W. Magnolia

Tina’s Cocina, a BYOB traditional Mexican restaurant – focused around fresh ingredients at a great price – is set to open this Tuesday. I’m looking forward to trying this place, and also excited to hear they’ll be open for breakfast, my favorite meal of the day.

Tina's Cocina

Party Time

Last night, was the highly anticipated (in my mind) housewarming and joint birthday party for Scott (25) & Ollie (1), the two most important men in my life. It was a great turnout and the Stock the Bar theme certainly lived up to it’s expectations. It was such a sweet evening with some of my favorite people in the world: from long-time friends, new friends, people from work life and from yoga – all under one roof.  For my first time hosting a party, I tried to make things as easy and fun as possible.  Here are some tips for first-time party throwers like myself. For a guest list of 20-30 people, follow these, and you’re party is sure to be a hit.

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Food & Drink

  • ImageMint Ginger Ale – I found this simple punch recipe on Williams and Sonoma. Combine ginger ale, mint, bourbon & ice.
  • Cocktail Weiners – Throw 3-4 bags little smokies in a crockpot (or large pot). Add 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worchister sauce, 1.5 bottles of sweet honey bbq sauce and tabasco to taste. Heat on medium to high until cooked and warm throughout. Serve with toothpicks.
  • Fruit & Veggies – A few of my friends are on Paleo, vegetarian and/or just really healthy, so I cut up a half watermelon, 2 peppers (yellow & orange for color), celery and carrots. Serve with ranch or your favorite dipping sauce.
  • Pimiento Cheese Dip (recipe coming soon from Scott’s mom and thank goodness, because it is AMAZE)
  • Sandwiches – Easy peasy to prepare in advance: turkey or ham, grey poupon, your favorite cheese (swiss and cheddar are both great) on dinner rolls.
  • Tortellini Skewers – Another super easy app that you can prepare in advance. Boil two bags of tortellini. Drain, and serve with pesto and toothpicks for quick bites.
  • Mac & Cheese Bites + Stuffed Mushrooms – These snacks are so tasty and easy to eat, your guests won’t care that they’re from the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s. Pop both in the oven (I made a dozen of each) for 20-30 minutes before guest arrive at 425 degrees.
  • Sweets – Everybody loves a funfetti cupcake, so go ahead and make a batch of 24 (cheap and easy to do in advance). Cookie cakes are great, too for cutting into pieces so everyone can enjoy a bite. Image

Decorations

It’s easy to go overboard with decorations, but I think it’s all about keeping it simple. These ideas prove you don’t need to spend a ton of money to create a festive space. I recommend picking 2-3 colors to stick with throughout and tying in a theme when you can. I was inspired by the colors and patterns from The Wizard of Oz, and so, incorporated an Oz theme, There’s no place like Home.

  • Flag Banner – Fold some colored paper (diamond shape) horizontally over string. Glue or staple on the fold and include the string. Write a message on the triangles or use letter stickers from the Scrapbook section. Use the scraps to make matching “streamers” like the photo above.
  • Poms – You can follow these directions here. Or by the time, you buy the tissue paper, wire, etc. you might as well just buy the pre-made poms at Hobby Lobby (Set of three for $3.99)
  • Fresh flowers – easy/pretty way to bring in color
  • Cupcake or dessert flags – So, I failed in making these adorable etsy cupcake flags, but I think it’s a cute idea to incorporate the theme into your desserts.

Cheers!

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Date Night: Bearded Lady

One of the latest pieces to the Near Southside’s ever-growing puzzle of restaurants, the Bearded Lady – just off Magnolia and 8th Ave. – resembles many of the craftsman-style houses in the neighborhood. It’s a funkified 1926 restored and renovated home turned bar with a huge shady dog-friendly patio and an energy that’s as welcoming as the neighborhood. Known for the craft beer menu, they offer dozens of Texas and national gems on draught, and plenty more bottle options. If you’re not super educated on the beer front, or just want to try something new, ask the helpful wait staff. No matter how busy it’s been, I have to say as a former waiter, the service has been excellent.

The Bearded Lady

Open late night, this spot is perfect for post-party munchies. And for us, we love to share appetizers and small plates (without breaking the bank) when dining out, so the Bearded Lady’s menu is the answer to our prayers. Eclectic appetizers, fresh soups and salads, and some creatively good eats made for an exceptional date night. We split a few of items-all of which I highly recommend: Mini Beer Brat Corn Dogs, Fancy Grilled Cheese + Avocado, and the Pork Chop Sandwich. All sound semi ordinary, but each item was above and beyond delicious, and I can’t wait to try something new each time. The corned dogs come with crispy fries and some amazing dipping sauces; the fancy grilled cheese takes it to another level with add-ons like beer-sauteed onions, bacon and fried egg; and the “Slap yo Mama” sauce mixed with grilled cinnamon was an unexpected delight.

Corn Dogs

Bearded Lady | 1229 7th Avenue | 817.349.9832

Check it out for dinner or late-night grub and brews: Mon – Sun: 4:00pm – 2:00am

Alive in Portland

Portland Bridge

It’s true, but it wasn’t until the Portlandia song, “Dream of the 90s” was completely stuck in my head while exploring the city of Portland as I have done many summers before and it just clicked. Everything that I love about the city is a flashback to the 90s, and in such a good way. It’s a casual city, where you’re not expected to dress up, but encouraged to be as eccentric as possible. The city is alive with culture, local artists and always something fun happening. You’ll see tatted up hippies, retro hipsters and adorable outdoorsy families.

Keep Portland Weird

Cool neighborhoods like the Pearl District and Mississippi Avenue make the city even more interesting. With a stellar transportation system (check out the MAX) and short, walkable blocks throughout the city center, Portland is easy to get around and bonus: everywhere you go is beautiful.

Places like Voodoo Doughnuts, Powell’s Booksstreet fairs and weekly markets make Portland, Oregon weird and in the best way possible. I always say I could live there one day. I love the rain, I love the outdoors, the proximity to the beach and the smell in the Oregon air. Best of all, the people are so great: very chill and friendly. It’s the best of the 90s wrapped into one great place.

FRED ARMISEN (as “Jason”):  Do you remember the 90s?
CARRIE BROWNSTEIN (as “Melanie”):  Yeah?
FRED:  You know how people were talking about getting piercings and getting tribal tattoos?
CARRIE:  Yeah?
F:  And people were singing about saving the planet and forming bands?
C:  Yeah?
F:  There’s a place where that idea still exists as a reality.  And I’ve been there.
C:  Where is it?
F:  Portland.
C:  Oregon?
F:  Yeah.

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PDX Resources: @TravelPortland|www.travelportland.com @TravelOregon|traveloregon.com

Celebrating Life at 90

My grandpa, George Dewey was born in 1923. Fast forward 90 years later, and the Zieser/Dewey clan (from Texas, Arizona and D.C.) came together to celebrate his milestone birthday. As a family, we visit Oregon every summer – usually a trip to Portland, Cannon Beach, Wilsonville and Salem, to name a few, but this trip was different – mostly because we all know that our time with Georgie is limited, and this trip would be for him.

After a family photo sesh in a local park, we gathered around a table in my aunt and uncle’s colorful backyard in Salem for a celebratory feast. We laughed, shared memories and moments that hopefully Georgie will remember and be proud of for the rest of his years. There was so much love all around, and it was very surreal to sit around a table and know that not one of us would be there if it weren’t for him and Nana.  The two have been married for 64 years, and last night, we relived the memory of how they met, their engagement and so many sweet stories in between. Sure, I’ve seen them bicker and argue like any other couple, but the love, compassion and gratitude they share for each other is extremely hard to put into words. It’s a rarity these days to see a couple share a lifelong bond like they do and all I can do is learn and be grateful to be a part of it.

Not many have the chance to meet their grandparents, let alone share a full bank of lasting memories with them, but if you’re grandparents are around, give them a call, write them a letter, make their day, tell them you love them and cherish them for everything they have done for you. After all, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be here.

Georgie's 90th Birthday
Cheers to these two!

What – Yoga on a Paddleboard?

I thought it seemed crazy too. For some reason, the idea of yoga – on a paddle board – on a beautiful body of water – seemed so unreal to me, and completely out of my reach; little did I know that Lake Worth Marina Park is a simple short 15-minute drive from downtown Fort Worth and is a beautiful, refreshing oasis. Earlier this summer, a group of the Sumits crew went to try it out, and we had so much a great time. We all walked away feeling accomplished for trying something new, but also refreshed as we took the yoga we are so used to practicing inside (in a controlled, heated environment) to the great Texas outdoors where there are so many fun and delightful distractions. SUP Yoga on Lake Worth

The first yoga class we did on the water was incredible, and I found the stand-up paddle part to be surprisingly more fun and easy than I imagined. Although I definitely fell a few good times, I impressed myself in some poses, too, particularly Tree which is 1,000x harder on water. SUP and SUP Yoga offer a great core workout, but it’s a lot more natural of a movement than you might think. The board is  a wider, longer and more stable version of a surfboard, and standing up, paddling on the calm, glassy lake is one of the most relaxing and freeing experiences. We paddled to a quiet spot along the shoreline and dropped our anchors [to stay afloat as a group] in about six feet of water. When we started the yoga class, I experienced so many of the poses I do daily in such a different way. In down dog, you really have to use your abs to distribute your weight and stay up, whereas on land it’s more of a resting position. We went through a class just like normal, with splashes along the way as people fell into the water, and it was so fun and refreshing to eventually let go of the feat of falling out of poses, when it’s such a sweet treat to have the cool water break your fall.

After that class, I realized that I needed to be a part of sharing this amazing activity with each of you, and so I am so excited to be teaching Saturday mornings through October at the Lake Worth location.

SUP Yoga in Fort Worth

SUP Yoga is a chance for yogis to expand their practice, and it’s a fun challenge for those that may be first time yogis as well. After a class on the board, you will not only appreciate the gift of balance so much more, but you’ll learn how to paddle, you’ll explore your poses in a way you’ve never experienced, and after an incredible savasana to close out class, you’ll feel renewed and at one with nature.

Fort Worth SUP Yoga 

Visit Lakeside Paddle online to book a class.  Equipment is provided and class includes an intro to paddle session.  Have a question about SUP Yoga? Comment below!

Going Vintage off Vickery

Everyone knows one of the best places to find vintage decor & furniture  in Fort Worth is right off I-30 and Montgomery, Montgomery Antique Mall, but if you continue on Vickery towards Bryant Irving, you’ll find a antique boutique-style shop owned by a lovely woman, Joanne Jenkins, who has an eye for the best finds! Each time I walk in, I fall in love with another incredible piece to add to my antiques by Joanne collection; thus far: a bedroom vanity, bedroom dresser and an adorable step stool. Best part of all three purchases is that they’re in amazing shape, no work needed and all at an affordable price.

French Art Deco Vanity circa 1940 with Moroccan-mirrors 

When buying an antique vanity: Make sure to check the mirrors-as that could bring on a bigger project than you might be expecting. Also, keep in mind where and how you might be sitting and lastly, how much storage you need.

Vanity

Dresser with “fire” wood design 

The most important thing for me, when purchasing an antique dresser is to make sure the drawers work; otherwise, it’s not going to be functional. You can most definitely play up different woods which in my case, they are both in the same family, but not matching to the extreme.

antique dresser

Italian-made wooden step stool

Especially if you are vertically-challenged like myself, a step stool can be a really fun accessory. I bought this one below and although it looked great in the natural wood, I painted it a bright turquoise to be that pop of color I needed in the kitchen.

Happy antiquing! What are your favorite finds?

Fairmount Forever

Near Southside

The Fairmount Neighborhood, just off Magnolia Avenue is one of the most precious neighborhoods I’ve ever seen and now am a part of.  What makes it so sweet isn’t just the uber-friendly people, hipster vibes, historic homes, local artisans, restaurant row, or the incredible transformation it’s undergone as of late, but there’s a sort of quirkiness that’s comfortable and inviting, but also inspiring, a little weird, (in such a good way), and always happening.

This entire area is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace; in fact, most of the original Fairmount homes have been completely restored or renovated, and much of those that are in bad shape will be flipped in no time. The housing purchase process was a testament to that it won’t be long before all of the homes in this area are brought back to their full potential. What was once a not so good area of Fort Worth, has now been referenced as a little pocket of Austin, somewhat like South Congress 15+ years ago. <<<See Austin Statesman article>>>. There’s something special at work here, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you. In the past couple weeks, Fairmount hasn’t failed. No matter what kind of mood I am on the way home from work, turning onto Magnolia makes me happy, giddy–partly, because it’s I’m coming home to my first house, and that’s such a great feeling, but as you drive down Magnolia, you can sense the heart and soul of the neighborhood alive and all around. So alive, it’s making it a little dangerous living here.

As much as I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s and my new kitchen, I’m finding every excuse to go out for dinner. There’s so many places I’ve somehow yet to try, and every place is just as delicious as the last. Bearded Lady, a new bar/patio that reminds me of a localized version of the Ginger Man just started serving food, so I definitely need to try that. I also just discovered the amazingness of Hot Damn Tamales and had no idea it was a full-service restaurant…amazing. Oh, and those french macaroons I mentioned last week? I’ve ordered them three times since…Avoca Coffee, which backs up into our backyard is always a temptation when walking Oliver in the morning, and about 1/2 of the time I give in. Next on my list to try other than Bearded Lady’s eats: King Tut’s, Cat City Grill and Z’s Cafe. Do you have a favorite place off Magnolia I should try? Let me know in a comment below!

Magnolia Avenue