Podcast: Hey Eleanor! I'm a Girl Hunter!

Georgia Pellegrini could probably kick your ass.

Georgia Pellegrini could probably kick your ass.


Welcome to the Hey Eleanor Podcast, episode four. This week, I’m talking to one of the most fearless people I know.


Georgia Pellegrini is a chef, hunter, writer and has really good hair to boot.


Georgia & I have known each other for quite some time on the internet, but we met in person a few years ago at Austin Food & Wine. After a couple of bourbons, I told her I’d always wanted to try hunting. She invited me to go with her in Arkansas that fall. Little did she know that I never say no to a cool opportunity. Maybe she was just being polite, but too bad, 'cause I said yes. So we went, and she guided me through my first hunt, where I ended up having to kill a dove with my bare hands, and I sobbed the entire time.
 

Georgia never made me feel like less of a hunter because I cried. Quite the contrary—she showed me that there’s room for emotion and femininity in hunting. On today’s podcast, we talk about that, plus what it’s like to leave a fancy Wall Street job to follow your passion. 


Here's an excerpt.


* * *

Molly: So I wanted to talk to you today because you’re one of the most fearless bad-ass babes I know. I don’t even know where to start the conversation because I feel like it infiltrates every aspect of your life. The logical place to start would be…. tell me about how you quit your fancy job in finance and started a following your passion.

 

Georgia: I call it drop the mic and walk away. It’s not even quitting, I’m just gonna drop the mic and walk away. It was maybe 10 years ago? Is that even possible? Am I aging myself suddenly? Yeah, best thing I ever did. Scary as hell, but I’ve always kind of leaned into the fear of things. Something scares me I tend to kinda digg into it. It’s weird, it’s like how I mentally cope with it.

 

Molly: Have you always been that way?

 

Georgia: Yeah, in certain aspects of my life. In my work, and with life in general. I roll up my sleeves and lean into something that scares me. I want to look it in the eye and stare it down.  So I guess I did that with my career.

 

Molly: And what were you doing exactly?

 

Georgia: I was working on the trading floor of Lehman Brothers for what felt like a lot of money for a fresh out of college student. I was living the New York life where everything is sort of glossy and fancy and everything is in abundance and excess… I'm one of those people who is hard to chain down. I start to resent when I feel stifled or a tethered, I suppose. I flee sometimes and a colorful or explosive way.

 

Molly: Is that how you left that job?

 

Georgia: I was actually very strategic about it. Actually, there was kind of a little bit of controversy. Since Lehman Brothers went under, now I can actually say it because there’s no one there to get mad at me. They tried to bully me into staying. I waited for my bonus at the end of the year to clear my bank account. I remember checking my bank account and getting up from my chair and walking over to the HR guy and being like, Hey can I talk to you? I’m leaving

This higher-up woman tried to get me to pay back my signing bonus from when I started working there, which was so slimy. She tried to act like I’d been there a year minus one day and I owed them the measly little signing bonus that they gave me to move to New York after college. I think I responded by CCing the CEO or something… and then that ended the conversation… the way I framed it was, listen. You can let me walk the right way now and I will leave with a good taste in my mouth and remember you all fondly, or we can make this really ugly. Your choice. Bye! And moving forward, you can reach me at my Gmail address.

 

Molly: So, you marched out the door with your Gmail address and then what did you do?

 

Georgia: I went to Italy. I took my brother with me, who is four years younger and had never been out of the country. I wanted a travel companion and I had this end-of-the-year bonus money.

 

Molly: That’s a good sister.

 

Georgia: Yeah, he owes me big-time. I hope he listens to this. So I traveled to Italy for four weeks and came back and started contemplating life. I started reading a lot and started thinking about what I was doing life when I’m most happy. The silver lining when you’re doing something you hate is that it forces you to think about the moments of life when you’re doing things that make you happy.
 

Georgia, chillin in her awesome boots-n-hat.

Georgia, chillin in her awesome boots-n-hat.


[For me], it  has always been food and cooking and nature being outdoors… I am very fortunate that my family lived at Tulipwood, a place my great-grandfather bought over 100 years ago. I grew up living a very nature girl lifestyle. Which really is a blessing, it’s not that often people have that kind of access anymore.

I needed to find a way to get back to that. I grew around amazing food and great aunts and grandmothers who knew the names of everything that was growing, even in the wild. So, I just wanted to get back to that. And I was reading a lot of books in the food space, especially food writers. I remember reading a book by Amanda Hesser, and thought, wow I want to have this life

I decided to leave my Wall Street job behind and dive headfirst into culinary school, where I was spending a lot of money and was going to turn around and make $10 an hour, with no health insurance and work 18-hour days… but I think you need to find something that you can’t not do. You have no choice. It’s one of those things that’s so in your DNA that there’s nothing else you could possibly do. When you’re at that stage with something, you find a way to make it work. 
 

Andrew Zimmer, Georgia & me at Austin Food & Wine fest. Obviously blue is the way to go.

Andrew Zimmer, Georgia & me at Austin Food & Wine fest. Obviously blue is the way to go.

 

WANT MORE? LISTEN TO THE PODCAST FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW.

 

 

* * *

 

OTHER STUFF I TALKED ABOUT THIS WEEK:

A recap of the Hey Eleanor Mystery Bus Ride.

Want to check out one of Georgia's Adventure Getaways? Of course you do! And here's a link to her awesome website, too


Follow me on social media:

Twitter: @mollymogren
Hey Eleanor Facebook Page
Email: heyeleanorproject@gmail.com
Hey Eleanor Hotline @ 651-964-2469

If you like the show, please rate it on iTunes. Want to leave a review? Excellent! Both help people find the show (& the more positive rates and reviews I get, the more likely iTunes is to promote it).

What Really Happened on the Hey Eleanor Mystery Bus Ride

Proof you can be classy and sexy at the same time.  

Proof you can be classy and sexy at the same time.  


Last Saturday, I launched the Hey Eleanor Mystery Bus Ride.


The gist: I book a bus and three activities (awesome dinner included!). Cool people sign up for said bus ride, not knowing what they'll be doing. I simply give you a packing list... and maybe a few hints leading up to it.


This first event was ladies only, and 24 awesome ones signed up. I was thrilled! Here's what I asked them to bring:

  • Their prettiest bra
  • Yoga clothes
  • A water bottle
  • A zip-up hoodie, rain coat, men's blazer or jean jacket
  • A plain t-shirt


Not a whole lot of info, but just enough to get people excited/scared/curious.


While my 24 attendees were figuring out how a pretty bra and raincoat somehow go together, I was busy stressing out about everything. What if the bus no-showed? What if we got to our first location and no one was there? What if the whole damn thing was just lame? 
 

I lost sleep in the days (okay, weeks) leading up to the event. I broke out. I got all crabby toward my husband (sorry, Josh). But then I just had to remind myself that if there is ONE thing I've learned by facing my fears time and time again, it's that the anticipation of an event is always more scary than the real-deal. Always. Even with bungy jumping


You know what? The bus ride went off without a hitch. Again, the anticipation was the worst part.


I know a lot of people have been wondering what I had up my sleeve. Here's what we did.


First, we toured around on an awesome vintage bus.
 

1960s bus from Richfield Bus Company. Boom.

1960s bus from Richfield Bus Company. Boom.


When Richfield Bus Company told me this beauty was available on my mystery bus date, I pretty much threw a wad of cash at them. If nothing else, at least riding around in a cool old bus would be fun.
 

All aboard, sorry if you hate the destination!

All aboard, sorry if you hate the destination!

These guys all look happy, but they were probably a little bit apprehensive. 

These guys all look happy, but they were probably a little bit apprehensive. 



Then, we shimmied Like Whoa in a Burlesque Class.
 

Sweetpea showing us how to shimmy our stuff. 

Sweetpea showing us how to shimmy our stuff. 


First stop: ExperTease in North Minneapolis.

These guys teach aerial skills (you know, with silks and stuff), pole dancing and belly dancing. That sounded great and all, but I thought taking a burlesque class would push most of us (myself definitely included) out of our comfort zone, without being too physical. I didn't have a handle on everyone's fitness level, plus I didn't want to end up dripping with sweat-- we had two more events after this!
 

Well... as it turned out, last Saturday ended up being hot and humid, and we were all sweating the second we walked in the door. Oopsies!


Aside from the fact that we were glistening with perspiration, I thought this portion of the day went really well, and for three reasons.

1) Sweetpea, our instructor, was so funny and confident and made everyone feel at ease. 

2) Doing a physical activity with strangers = immediate bonding.

3) The whole challenge here was to let go of your inhibitions. There was no actual nudity and nobody had to do anything alone, and yet allowing yourself to just let go of that idea that everyone is watching you is so challenging. But truthfully, no one is paying as much attention to you are you are.
 

We make sweaty look sexy.

We make sweaty look sexy.

 

Next, we had a professional bra fitting.

Okay, I had a lot of ideas for this first outing. I'd tell you, but many of them I plan on doing for a future bus ride. Long story short, taking a burlesque class and doing a bra fitting just so happened to perfectly fall into place, time-wise. I had a decision to make: go for it, even though it might feel like a bachelorette party, or find other things that didn't line up so well just so that it didn't feel like a bachelorette party.


Ultimately, I decided to just go for it.


This was a hard decision. If I were buying a ticket to this event and I knew we were taking a burlesque class AND doing a professional bra fitting, I probably wouldn't have signed up. That being said, the reason I wouldn't have signed up is because of my perception of those activities, not based on what they would actually be like. And that is kind of the whole point of Hey Eleanor: challenging yourself to try something you normally wouldn't do. 


Mission accomplished!


We headed to Allure Intimate Apparel in St. Paul for snacks, champagne and bra fitting. Honestly, it felt like mingling and eating with just a little bit of bra fitting.  

FEED ME!!!

FEED ME!!!

Danielle, always muggin'.

Danielle, always muggin'.

Mo & Jocelyn, toting their champagne and over the shoulder boulder holders. 

Mo & Jocelyn, toting their champagne and over the shoulder boulder holders. 


So, why bra fitting? It's not exactly outside of most women's comfort zones, HOWEVER, I do think a lot of women are uncomfortable with making themselves a priority. How many ladies out there have a long list of things they want to do for themselves that they simply never get around to? You know, get a haircut, eyebrow wax, finally sign up for that yoga class or buy a bra that actually fits

I had four women tell me that they specifically have had this item on their to-do list for years, but never got around to it. Crazy, right?


Fun fact: of all the women I spoke to, it turns out only ONE was wearing the right bra size. Many people went up two or three (!) cup sizes. Why does that matter? I dunno, maybe because the right bra makes your clothes look nicer on your bod and keeps the ladies where they're supposed to be. Plus, putting on a quality, pretty bra makes you feel good every day. 


I didn't anticipate just how important this stop would be for group morale. I know the bra fitting wasn't exactly scary, but it provided an venue for people to get to know each other a little better in a quiet, chill atmosphere. New friendships were forged! It was awesome.
 

Makes new friends, but keep the old, blah blah blah silver and gold. 

Makes new friends, but keep the old, blah blah blah silver and gold. 

 

To wrap up, we Sampled the New Menu at Chino Latino.
 

Story shouting...er, telling time. If I complain that a restaurant is too loud, does it mean I'm old?

Story shouting...er, telling time. If I complain that a restaurant is too loud, does it mean I'm old?


I was thrilled Allure was low-key, because Chino Latino was so loud, you could barely hear yourself think. Something I will definitely consider for next time, but oh well! At least the food was good (chefs Tim McKee and Tyge Nelson recently revamped the entire menu and guys, it is great!) and the company even better. Plus, there were tons of kids heading to prom, which was fun to watch, but also like remember going to prom?! 


Overall, it was a success.
 

Sure, there are things I'd change in retrospect. But in general, I felt I accomplished what I set out to do: create a fun event with a variety of different women. For me, the entire event's success hinged up the group's willingness to be open minded and arrive with a great attitude. And thankfully, they did. I'm incredibly appreciative. 

We had a career coach, a farmer, a brand manager, a graphic designer, engineer, blogger, speech pathologist, botanist... I could go on and on. People who probably wouldn't have met under normal circumstances have already become Facebook friends. I know 'cause I've been spying on them.
 

Huge thanks to all the bus riders, Sweetpea (go see her shows or take one of her classes. You will not be disappointed!), Allure Intimate ApparelChino Latino and our driver Scott from Richfield Bus Company for making this event extra awesome. 


Lastly, I am not a details person, but a big picture person. Therefore, thinking of all the nitty-gritty things really overwhelmed me, which is why I enlisted my friend Diana to help day-of. She was awesome, keeping things on track and sending feedback my way throughout the event. THANKS DIANA!


P.S. Apologies to anyone whose significant other has already asked them to show off their burlesque moves. 

P.P.S. I hope you did it.
 

Kind of like the Rockettes, except less leg.

Kind of like the Rockettes, except less leg.



* * *


The day after the bus ride, I basically collapsed at home and slept for three days. How do for-real event planners do this? I'm exhausted, but excited to do it all over again. When? I'm not sure, but you can sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know. 

This Week's Best Stuff on the Internet


It's wedding season! Here's a video of some kids who are already over it
 

Comedian/writer Tess Rafferty's new podcast Regrets Only is hysterical and all pop culture junkies/people who enjoy laughing should listen.


My husband told me he didn't really like my new sandals because they're "too 90s." Duh, that's precisely why I bought (& love!) them!

 
I got a huge response from last week's Hey Eleanor podcast on tattoo removal. Apparently, I'm not the only food writer delving into the subject. Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl talks to the owner of FadeAway, a tattoo removal parlor in Nordeast Minneapolis. Guys, you really don't have to live with that tramp stamp!


Okay, either you are going to think this video is insensitive or hilarious (I'm in the latter camp), but I think the point is KRIS JENNER IS STILL CASHING IN on her whole connection to the Nicole Brown Simpson murder and it is so WEIRD, and AWKWARD. Hugh Acheson just kinda nailed it. 


Guys! Glutenberg IPA tastes like real beer and is gluten-free! I'm not super-de-super strict about my gluten consumption, but if you are and miss a true hoppy beer, your prayers have been answered. 


If I were born today, I guess my name would be Ariel, which would've actually been cool 20 years ago because of the Little Mermaid.  What would your 2015 name be


Are you charging what you're worth


* * *


If you like these links, you might like following me on Twitter & Instagram, where I'm always sharing the coolest, scariest, funnest stuff I find on the web.

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Hey Eleanor! It's Me, Nom Nom Paleo!

Welcome to the Hey Eleanor Podcast, episode three. 


This week, I'm thrilled to have the one and only Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo fame.


Michelle is a wife, mom, and food freak who launched a blog devoted to delicious paleo grub. Over the past five years, she's become kind of a big deal on the Internet. What’s crazy is that while she’s built a crazy-popular blog, an award-winning iPad app and recently launched her own podcast, the gal claims she’s a total technophobe. So how did she overcome her fear of technology? Hint: Google, and a tech-savvy hubby. 

Here's an excerpt of our conversation.


* * *
 

Molly: Can you explain what a Paleo diet is?

Michelle: It’s kind of a loaded question because paleo could mean a lot of things. To me, paleo just means being mindful of what you’re eating, knowing which foods make you feel like crap and which ones make you feel better. It’s about choosing to eat the ones that actually make you feel better, and if you do decide to eat so that makes you feel like crap, you’re being super mindful about it and you make every bite worth it.
 

Molly: So for a lot of people, paleo means a decent amount of protein, lots of vegetables and not a lot of sugar or grains. Is that what you can to stick to you?

Michelle: Yeah, except they do eat rice. And there’s some things we do eat but don’t really effect us too badly. I think for some people of beans are totally not paleo, but if they’re cooked properly, soaked and somebody’s grandma made them for me, I will totally eat them.
 

Molly: Of course. You can’t offend a grandma. That’s a life no-no.


Michelle: There are some total paleo die hards that are trying to re-create what the caveman ate, but that is not how we are approaching at all. For us, it has to be delicious and we have to feel great afterward.

 

Molly: A paleo diet is a lot about eating whole foods that don’t have a nutrition label. What I think it’s really funny, Michelle, is that you studied to be a nutrition scientist and you wanted to create "frankenfoods."


Michelle: It’s so crazy. In college I was nutrition and food science major. Half the people go on to be dietitians and the other half want to work in the flavor industry. And I was in the half that wanted to work in the flavor industry… at the time, I thought it was so amazing. You can create a chemical that will cause this food to brown in the microwave. You can mimic the taste of a fresh tomato by sprinkling on a powder and so, to me it was super fascinating and I thought it was better living through chemistry. It was very Jetsons-like. I never thought about how the food made you feel or if it would make you healthier. 

It wasn’t until I was in my mid 30s and we started looking at paleo that I was like huh, I’m not supposed to feel this way all the time? Ailments I had my whole life, like GI issues, bloating and achy joints, I just thought that’s how everybody felt. The symptoms went away and I was like, what the?! All I had to do was change what I ate?!

 

Molly: It sounds like your husband, Henry, started doing the Paleo thing first, while you subscribed to more low-fat, low calorie diet. 


Michelle: I was all in with the calorie counting, whole-grain, no meat or saturated fat. That was my M.O. I was the one who subscribed all the fitness magazines, and I'm the one with a degree in this, so I know it’s healthy... even though I felt like crap, had a muffin top and no energy.


Molly: Well clearly you weren’t trying hard enough.


Michelle: I know! That’s what I used to think. I needed to do cardio at least an hour a day, every single day and no rest. It was just crazy. My husband Henry is one of those dabblers who will just read about something and if it sounds interesting, he’ll just try it out. He kept telling me about the paleo diet. I said, what do you mean you’re not eating whole-grain. What are you going to eat? He said vegetables and maybe some healthy proteins and healthy fat. And I was like, what?! What do you mean healthy fat? There’s no such thing as healthy fat. Except for vegetable oils! 

He started feeling so much better that I started thinking there may be something to it. Maybe I should just try it for a week or two. It won’t kill me and I can always go back if it doesn’t work. And then I tried it I feel so much better.

 

Molly: Were you horrified and excited at how much food you can eat?

Michelle: Totally! I was fat-phobic for so long because I learned that’s what clogged your arteries. Before, I was hungry all the freaking time… I started eating real food like short ribs again, and I realize it wasn’t hungry all the time. I wasn’t angry all the time and I didn’t have all of these ups and downs. It took me a while to wrap my head around eating foods that I had put the kibosh on forever. When I first went paleo, I think it went a little crazy on the meat and bacon.


Molly: You say you're technologically challenged and yet you have one of the most popular food blogs on the Internet, an award-winning iPad app and now a podcast. How'd that happen?


Michelle: A lot of that is by accident, and I'm not just being modest about it. Henry was a blogger before me and he’s always dabbling in all sorts of things. When I went paleo, I was tooling around on the Internet and I said, I think I want to start paleo food blog. Henry said, what would you call it? And I said, I think Nom Nom Paleo. So he went ahead and bought the URL and I’m just kind of stuck with it. Because you know people hate the term nom nom, and paleo is so loaded, but I’m totally okay with it.
 

Molly: It’s kind of like a tattoo.

Michelle: Yeah it is. We’ll see how it ages. It’s on Tumblr. Henry doesn’t know anything about coding, he just looks up stuff on Google, then find HTML stuff to insert to make it look the way he wants… everything we do starts as a great idea and we say, let’s just try it. We just jump into it.

 

Molly: I think that’s really powerful. I’m sure you hear this all the time: I really want to start a blog, but I'm scared. Or, I want to start a podcast, I don’t know how to do that. The fact of the matter is that a lot of this stuff is so much easier than you think. And doesn’t need to be perfect right out of the gate.

Michelle: That's what I love about your site. This whole idea of doing something that scares you is really important. I think especially for someone like me. It took me till I was almost 40 to do something like this. And it took me it took me for five years of doing Nom Nom Paleo and working my night shift job before I decide to quit my nighttime job… Life is short and you've just got to grab it by the balls and see where it takes you.

 

Want more? LISTEN TO THE PODCAST FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW.

 

* * *

 

OTHER STUFF I TALKED ABOUT THIS WEEK:

The Hey Eleanor Mystery Bus Ride (eeeeeeek!!!)

And the best thing to happen to food since ranch dressing: Nom Nom Paleo's Magic Mushroom Powder.


Follow me on social media:

Twitter: @mollymogren
Hey Eleanor Facebook Page
Email: heyeleanorproject@gmail.com
Hey Eleanor Hotline @ 651-964-2469

If you like the show, please rate it on iTunes. Want to leave a review? Excellent! Both help people find the show (& the more positive rates and reviews I get, the more likely iTunes is to promote it).

10 Ways I'm Momming Out (Without Even Being a Mom)

Exhibit A: Comfortable shoes.

Exhibit A: Comfortable shoes.


Ten years ago, I would've sworn up and down that I would never, ever, EVER do what I did today. 


This morning, my new Chacos arrived. I tore open the box, fiddled with the weird straps and put them on. 


I own a pair of GD Chacos.


The most comfortable, practical pair of sandals on the market. Podiatrist approved. At least they're not Keens... sorry if you love your Keens. Honestly, I'm probably only eight years away from buying a pair of Keens.  


I bought the Chacos for camping/outdoor purposes, but I just tried them on and am kinda like... these are sort of cute (?) They're kinda in style, right? Like how fashion Birkenstocks and Tevas are back. I mean, you'll probably see me out on the town in these suckers, while my tent stays all wrapped up in my basement. 


During my junior year of college, I remember asking for a dust buster and crockpot for Christmas, simultaneously thinking to myself, what practical things to own/holy shit I am old! But the Chacos are on a whole new level.


It's official: I am momming out. And I'm not even a mom.


Before anyone gets all offended (what do you have against moms, Molly?!), I'd like to offer a quick back story on where the term "momming out" came from.


Shortly after college, I was hanging out with a few girl friends discussing a mutual friend who "mommed out" before her time. She was 23, worked full-time in some boring office, wore sensible shoes, donned one piece swimsuits and was far too responsible.


Now, come on. You only get to be 23 once, and I can confidently say no 23-year-old needs to be so serious all the time. Even if they are actually a mom (for the record, my friend was definitely not a mom). Momming out meant not embracing your youth! Like Nora Ephron said, 

Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.
— Nora Ephron

As a young grasshopper, I feared momming out meant giving up. However, as my friends and I have gotten on in years (and many of us are actual moms), momming out has become kind of a great thing. Here are the 10 ways I've caught myself momming out and loving it.  

 

1. I love wearing comfortable clothes.

Don't worry, I'm not talking muumuus here. Or am I? 

Yesterday, I went to a sports medicine doctor to talk about my chronic ankle pain (which just makes me sound old... but I AM NOT OLD). She asked if I wear a lot of heels. And I just laughed, because this is the first time I didn't lie to a doctor about my lifestyle. Oh, yes, I only have about three drinks a week, ma'am. 

Of course I don't wear heels a lot! Can't you see I'm momming out over here?! 

I really try to not look frumpy, but as far as my wardrobe goes, I don't buy my jeans too tight, heels too high, dresses too snug or sweaters too itchy. I buy clothes that fit, are practical and make me feel good. Sure, they might not be the trendiest things on the market, but since culottes are apparently back in, I think I'm fine with that. 
 

Comfy button down, stretchy jeans, TOMS... a fashion plate by no means. But who cares. 

Comfy button down, stretchy jeans, TOMS... a fashion plate by no means. But who cares. 


Also, remember earlier today when I bought Chacos?

 

2. I can't remember the last time I went out.

I'm not even saying that to be cute.

I've been out for dinner. I've met friends for drinks. And I've done it in non-schlubby outfits. But the last time I got dolled up and went bar hopping? Literally couldn't even wager a guess. Definitely some time in the last two years. Probably. 

This doesn't mean I'm not having fun. I have fun ALL OF THE TIME. I just do it at a friend's house or around our backyard fire pit. Sometimes fun is a walk around Lake of the Isles with a friend. 

 

3. I don't know who Lucy Hale/Bella Thorne are & I don't care.

Do you remember been a tween and your parents were all, "Who's Andrew Keegan?" and you were like, "Duh, Mom and Dad! You don't know anything!"

Whelp, I don't even have kids yet, and that's  me. One Direction? Barely know anything about them. I honestly had never heard the T. Swift song, Dear John until last summer (!) And you know what? I don't care! Who has time to keep tabs on that stuff when there's books to read, dogs to walk, and Game of Thrones to binge on?

PS Did you know Andrew Keegan started a cult... er.... religion? True story!

 

4. The best weekend things happen before noon.

Ten years ago (hell, four years ago), I used to do a lot before noon... like stumble home at 2 am, the eat pizza and talk on my porch 'til 4 am. Don't get me wrong, it was super fun. But ever since I turned... hmmm... 28 (?), my hangovers rage like Mel Gibson on a bender. 
 

Bridesmaidfest 2008: One of the best nights of all time.

Bridesmaidfest 2008: One of the best nights of all time.


Yoga, farmers markets, brunch, coffee, crossword puzzles, trips to Home Depot... dude, you can get so much done before noon if you're up by 7:30 am! 
 


5. I stopped doing things I don't like.

I used to say I'm down for whatevs-- concerts, parties, outings. Now, I am a little more selective. I don't usually go to things I don't want to go to. Even if it just means I'll be staying home and doing something boring, like watching a movie with my dog. 

 

6. I actually had a conversation with my husband about the virtues of minivans.

On our slightly crazy road trip to Vermont, Josh and I spent a good half an hour talking about the rise (the late 80s!), then fall (the late 90s/aka SUV time), then re-rise of the minivan (now). SUV blowback seems like it's not slowing down anytime soon, plus minivans are easier to deal with. Better gas mileage, and those sliding doors? Brilliant! 
 

Grocery getters are so hot.

Grocery getters are so hot.


All this said, my personal preference is still a station wagon. Which is totally cooler than a minivan, but still 100-percent momming out.   

 

7. I know my dancing and singing is kind of embarrassing & that's what I like about it.

You should just see me getting down to Missy Elliot in my kitchen, dancing with my dog or pseudo booty shaking on my guy. It's embarrassing in a very mom kind of way. But really fun. 

 

8. As if I ever watch the Tonight Show when it's on.

I've never watched the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon when it's actually on. Same goes for SNL. I do watch a lot of clips the next day online. Who can stay up that late?! 
 


9. I get excited about recipes.

What used to excite me? Discovering a new band. What excites me now? Stuff like finding this Nom Nom Paleo Grilled Green Chicken recipe!

Although I will say I was thrilled to learn of Sturgill Simpson's existence



10. I cut off all my hair & I love it.

There's people out there who might say cutting off all your hair = momming out. But you know what? I just think my hair looks better this way


As it turns out, momming out is about letting yourself go. And no, not in a giving up kind of way. It's about growing up, doing what makes you laugh, figuring out what fulfills you. Momming out means not feeling the need to teeter around in five-inch heels to prove jut how sexy you are. Sexy means feeling comfortable in your own skin and owning what works for you. Even if it's a pair of Chacos.

 

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How do you mom out? Even if you're not a mom (even if you're a guy... you can definitely dad out!), share in the comments. Other ways I totally mom out? I buy practical bras that fit, and there's momming out aaaaaalllll over the lessons I learned in 2014.  

5 Things I Learned Trying Aerial Yoga

Yep, that's me in there.

Yep, that's me in there.


I'm sure you know someone obsessed with yoga. They love hot yoga, relaxation yoga, meditative yoga, yogalates, yoga in the park. They go to yoga festivals, post photos of themselves on the beach doing yoga, and obviously love this video of pets interrupting yoga (because it's very funny). 


I definitely like yoga, but I am not the kind of person who will do anything so long as the Y-word is attached to it. 


Actually, that's probably not true, but mostly because I am always looking for things to write about. 


But I digress. 
 

A friend of mine suggested I try aerial yoga at Tula Yoga & Wellness. Sounded interesting. All I knew for sure is that A) there were silks a la Cirque du Soliel involved and B) there was yoga involved and C) obviously, I'd look this elegant: 
 


Tula is a great little yoga studio on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. Not corporate-y at all, and smells like fancy herbal aromatherapy. I looooove fancy herbal stuff!  
 

I approached the front desk and whispered (because obviously you immediately whisper any time you're in a yoga studio), I'm here for the aerial yoga class.
 

She showed me to the back yoga studio, where there were nine silks hanging from the ceiling. I picked my silk and unfurled my mat below. Everyone else was effortlessly perched in their silk (like a swing). Monkey see, monkey do. I hopped in and rocked back and forth just a bit. Hey, this is fun already!
 

And then our instructor had us come out of the silks and try our first few poses.


1. Wow, aerial yoga is a lot harder than it looks

If you watch any aerial yoga videos, you'll be amazed at the ease and grace in which practitioners transition from one elegant pose into another.

In real life, you spend the first 90 seconds trying to find the edge of the silk, then look at everyone around you to copy what they're doing... only to realize they have no idea what they're doing either! Next thing you know, everyone's awkwardly tangled in the silks like a string of Christmas lights. 

Because we all had no idea what we were doing, there was lots and lots of laughter. Learning with a group is way fun.

 

2. The silks are not as comfortable as you'd think

For whatever reason, I imagined the silks feeling slightly boingy. You know, you flop over the silk, rag doll style, and the thing comfortably cradles your body.

Not the case. 

This fabric, while very soft, doesn't give at all.

So while this pose looks very impressive, I was thinking owww... my hips! But I smiled through the pain.

Next stop: the circus.

Next stop: the circus.


Our instructor gave us a few options for padding out hips (towel, blanket, yoga mat), which helped immensely. She assured us that the more you practice aerial, the less it hurts.

I'd compare it to riding a bike: your butt/crotch kills you after that first ride of the season, but eventually your body toughens up and the pain goes away.

 

3. The silks help you get into really weird/awkward positions

I LOVED THIS. Because the silk helps support your weight, you can achieve greater depth in your stretches and do weird things like this:

With a silk, you TOO could achieve this pose.

With a silk, you TOO could achieve this pose.

 

4. Relaxing is so much easier

An unexpected moment of aerial yoga brilliance: relaxation poses are so much more relaxing! You climb into the silks and voila! You have your own little cocoon. 

Haaaiiii

Haaaiiii


Hanging weightlessly in final savasana (that's the pose where you just lay on your back with hands at your side and eyes closed... also called corpse pose for obvious reasons) was notably more calm and quiet than just laying on the floor. The silk oscillated just slightly, lulling me into a that blissed out state I'm always trying to achieve... but typically don't because I'm busy thinking about what's for dinner. 

 

5. I want one of these things in my house

I mean, how great would it be to crawl into one of these every morning for my daily meditation routine [which I don't even have, so....]? It's like a hammock, but even more comfy and not associated with Jimmy Buffet. 

 

Aerial Yoga: Do or Don't?

Duh, it's a do! Even if you're not a yoga geek, it's a fun way to challenge AND laugh at yourself in a safe environment. Plus you get an awesome power nap at the end. 

 

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A big thanks to the folks at Tula for inviting me to check out their studio. Have you tried aerial yoga? Thoughts? And PS Did you know you can win at yoga? You can and I did it once. Also yoga related: the three hours of life I wasted at the lululemon warehouse sale