This week’s That Artsy Reader Girl topic is so fun because while I do love to talk about all things books, I’m also a huge fan of a lot of other things, and I feel like that only rarely shines through here, so I’m excited to introduce you to some of my other favorite hobbies! I’m not going to include writing on this list because while that’s technically non-bookish since I’m not reading, it feels like it could be bookish someday when I get published, but just know that it’s my number one hobby, even above reading.
I’ve definitely talked about the fact that I teach yoga on here millions of times, but right after reading & writing, it’s my favorite thing in the world to do. I first discovered yoga in my sophomore year of college, so about 2011? Sim, it was the end of the year, near December, and I was going through a fairly rough breakup. I was feeling set adrift, and yoga was the thing that drew me back together. It’s been nearly ten years of loving it now, and I haven’t looked back once. After five years of a home practice, I finally set foot in a studio, where I did my teacher training, and where I later taught for three and a half years. Since the pandemic, that studio has closed, though only physically; it’s still hanging out in our hearts, and it’ll come back again someday. I’ve taught virtually for a bit, and now I’m teaching in-person at my rock gym. But even if I wasn’t teaching, yoga would still be the thing that saved me because it continues to save me, every damn day.
There is nothing in the world quite like hiking a mountain. My dad & I hiked a lot a few years ago. From late spring to early autumn, we hiked almost every other weekend. We crushed so many amazing trails, and then, life got in the way, and two or three years passed with barely a hike to be seen. This year, after feeling like I might never see a summit again, I gathered some of my girlfriends, told them we were going for a hike, and we plunged into the deep. We didn’t hit any four thousand footers this year, but they were just starting out, and I’m so hyped about what we’ll accomplish next year. I’d like to get them on Lafayette because they’ve been before, but the weather was wretched, and my brother, who’s an intense athlete, led them up a difficult trail, so the hike wasn’t great, but if you do it right, it’s a beauty, so that’s our goal for next year. Seriously, though, seeing the view from a summit just never gets old.
I just started rock climbing at the end of last year, and perhaps the thing I’m the most sad about with the pandemic is that we’re not able to climb anymore. It’s gotten a little better, and they’re taking amazing steps toward making it safe, but we still haven’t gone back yet. I was getting so damn good, too, flashing overhangs like nobody’s business! And it was so nice to have a girl gang, so that’s definitely part of what I’m missing. We’ll get back there again someday, though, and we’re all probably going to be terrible again, but we’ll just have to work our way back to the top.
That screaming man is not me, it’s Levi Benton from Miss May I, and though there are a million pictures from concerts I could have chosen, this is probably the most fitting. I first heard of Miss May I way back in the day, when Hey Mister was popular, but I wasn’t a fan of heavy metal back then, so I didn’t listen to them. And then, of course, I was five bands early for Simple Plan at Warped Tour, which meant that I was front and center when Miss May I came on, and all I could think about was how tiny Levi was, and how I had to like his music now because he was adorable. Fast forward seven damn years, and I finally saw them again, on purpose, because my music taste had changed that much over the years that I was now firmly a screamo fan. Well, when Levi’s singing. I’ve been to more concerts than I could possibly tally up for you, but my most seen bands are Panic! at the Disco and Escape the Fate.
Who doesn’t love a spontaneous dance party? I know this seems like not a hobby, but I genuinely bust out some moves for a solid ten to fifteen minutes when I’m feeling down, and, lately, I’ve been known to dance for a solid fifty minutes straight as my workout, and I’m counting it as a hobby because I have hella fun doing it. This picture was taken after my most recent dance party, which I woke up the next day feeling like a truck had hit me, but was also still grinning madly.
I’ve believed in a lot of things over the years–I was raised Episcopalian, I left the church and found Tibetan Buddhism in 2011, I started collecting crystals in 2015, and over the five years that would follow, I held onto my Buddhism roots, but started exploring more of the wild world. Now, in 2020, I still practice Tibetan Buddhism, but I’d also definitely call myself a witch. The craft has been monumental in helping shape me into the person I am today, and I truly don’t know where I’d be without this connection to the universe now. It’s more than just crystals, too. It’s a deep love of space, a respect for the earth, the desire to watch things burn brightly, and sim, sparkly rocks and tarot cards, too.
This totally bookish picture is because I don’t have any pictures of my lawn from this year other than this lush one with Blanca & Roja. I’m a huge plant fiend, and a super fast glance at my bookstagram will confirm this because almost every picture features a giant pothos behind the book being highlighted. My pride and joy is my lawn, though, because my dad has always, always believed that we can’t grow grass, so I decided to prove him wrong, and it’s been three long years, but look at that beautiful green grass! It’s just gotten bigger and more beautiful each year, so I’m tackling the backyard next year, and I can’t wait.
I know, I know, everyone gets annoyed at me when they find out I’ve quietly learned Portuguese during the pandemic, but I promise you, I’m not being obnoxious, I was going to learn it with or without a lockdown. My great-grandfather came over from Portugal, but, as I discussed in a post forever ago, he was ashamed to be seen as different, so he didn’t raise his children in his native language or his culture. Thus, our Portuguese heritage died out pretty quickly. I’ve been slowly trying to bring it back, and while part of that is learning the language, it’s also the food! I’ve been introducing my parents to different Portuguese dishes after they told me they didn’t like Portuguese food (all they’d ever had was kale soup), and learning the language has been an absolute delight. Duolingo makes it so easy, and I’m really starting to get the hang of it!
This picture makes me so sad because a) I’m in Salem, and b) I’m drinking tea from Jolie. I never go to Salem in October anyway because y’all are insane, but I haven’t been other than to grab takeout since the pandemic started in the US in earnest back in March. Jolie also closed its doors and went fully virtual, so I haven’t been inside their store since March, either. They do have a new location opening this month, though, so keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to visit them and just weep with joy. I’m a huge tea fan, though, and a more astute picture to show its prowess as a hobby should have been my tea wall, but alas, I don’t have an updated picture of it, and this one is cute.
And bread! We’re closing things out with my newest hobby, which I started right before the pandemic because I wanted to make Portuguese sweet bread, and then I was so excited about being good at it that I made my own multi-grain bread, and FOLKS, I AM A GENIUS. My multi-grain bread, which I’ll go into more detail about tomorrow, has got seven seeds in it, and it’s freaking amazing. I usually link the recipes I’ve used in my monthly wrap-ups, but we’ll be chatting all things bread tomorrow, so if you’ve ever wondered how it all works, stay tuned!