I sat waiting for a friend and she wheeled up looking fresher than a spring daffodil. She wore a velvet dress and she looked right at me. She was looking at me. A girl who had the smoothness of chestnuts in her eyes and in her hair and the gentle assuredness of a tap dancer or some fanciful performer unknown to me. Looking at me—looking me in the eye and smiling with that smile. I would never forget.

It made me grin, grin for days. And I bounced throughout the day. Her smile has that effect.

She tied her hair back and went behind the counter to begin her shift, squeezing nutrients and vitamins into juices to revitalize walk-up customers.

I picture her always in velvet. Forest green velvet.

Always at some show, her face appears when I least expect it to, and what a welcome sight. She smiles that goddess smile at me, and I’m floored with enthusiasm. Bright eyes and a hug like home, she’s my juice gypsy, my mystical friend.

Alyssa was from the east coast, and she’d just moved from Munich. We were bound to be besties, because I was bred a Georgia girl, and hey, I just moved from Berlin. So we talked about all our favorite German things while the bass boomed and the photographer made his way into our conversation. 

SO EXCITED to meet Alyssa. I ran to the stack of coats by the speakers where my handbag was hidden, selected one of my pretty new business cards, stashed it in my bra, and hurried back to hand it to her. Because we have so much to talk about.

Is he grinding? He’s trying to grind.

From the corner of my eye I spied Heidi and Brock, so I made a bee-line to their arms, and we became an impenetrable, protective dance huddle.

Then came the pizza. Then came the Tagalongs, devoured by Karl and I in less than a minute before sleep and strange, broken dreams came to us.  

Confessions of a former athlete Pt. 2
When did I go from peppy running store intern and staunch advocate of tending to your under or over pronating feet with the proper running shoes to shabby one shoulder top wearing chick who ambles into the hotel fitness room in CONVERSE?

The dude in the ARMY shirt is huffing and puffing and getting in what seems to be an intense and effective workout on the treadmill, and I feel instantly pressured to occupy myself with something, though I have no idea what I want to do with all this equipment.
So I mosey on the elliptical for 10 feisty minutes, fumble with the stationary bicycle seat, give up, and hide in the corner amongst the yoga balls. I flop onto one belly first, stretch my arms out and kick my legs up behind me a few times. “Isn’t that something Coach Terry had us do back in the day? What else did we do?” 
I do a few sit-ups, and start to feel really anxious with the ARMY man in the room who is surely laughing at me. Have I really become such a little creep that I can’t even workout with other people in the room? 
I can’t take it, so I accept defeat and make a beeline for the door. At the elevator, I chat with the maintenance man who asks me about my workout. Instead of feigning alpha female status, I admit, “Ehh.. I did a few situps? That guy in there intimidated me,” and he kindly quipped that he just didn’t understand his friends who worked out like three times a day. “What’s their deal?” We mirrored each other with a very quizzical shrug, and I came back to my room thinking…maybe I’ll do some yoga later. But I’ll probably order room service instead. 
What happened to the hardcore beast I once was? 
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Confessions of a former athlete Pt. 2

When did I go from peppy running store intern and staunch advocate of tending to your under or over pronating feet with the proper running shoes to shabby one shoulder top wearing chick who ambles into the hotel fitness room in CONVERSE?

The dude in the ARMY shirt is huffing and puffing and getting in what seems to be an intense and effective workout on the treadmill, and I feel instantly pressured to occupy myself with something, though I have no idea what I want to do with all this equipment.

So I mosey on the elliptical for 10 feisty minutes, fumble with the stationary bicycle seat, give up, and hide in the corner amongst the yoga balls. I flop onto one belly first, stretch my arms out and kick my legs up behind me a few times. “Isn’t that something Coach Terry had us do back in the day? What else did we do?” 

I do a few sit-ups, and start to feel really anxious with the ARMY man in the room who is surely laughing at me. Have I really become such a little creep that I can’t even workout with other people in the room? 

I can’t take it, so I accept defeat and make a beeline for the door. At the elevator, I chat with the maintenance man who asks me about my workout. Instead of feigning alpha female status, I admit, “Ehh.. I did a few situps? That guy in there intimidated me,” and he kindly quipped that he just didn’t understand his friends who worked out like three times a day. “What’s their deal?” We mirrored each other with a very quizzical shrug, and I came back to my room thinking…maybe I’ll do some yoga later. But I’ll probably order room service instead. 

What happened to the hardcore beast I once was? 

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a c t i v a t e spring break

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What a fun, sexy time for us. Betwixt jello shots, feeding each other ribs in the hot tub, and intimate four wheeler excursions around the ranch to star gaze and prod dead deer carcasses, something magical occurred. It was a montage of all the best euphoric moments— a prolonged feeling of infiniteness and a desire to share hugs and kisses with the world. And in some cases, with each other.

I thought I’d missed the boat on spring breaks since I didn’t really do them in school, but adult spring breaks RULE. I highly recommend them, though my body is still in pain from sunburn, wounds from face planting into a pile of wood, and a giant booty bruise from jumping off a golf cart and falling down a hill. I wish spring break could last forever. 

Quote IconAnd so I think I learned that when you’re writing either for fun, or for your career or your side gig, it has to be inherently important to you because if you’re just doing it to please other people or because it’s glamorous or because you think it’ll make you famous in some way it’s going to disappoint you. So you should write what you want to write and not think about how people are perceiving it. I mean, it’s kinda crazy-making to try to please people all the time and it’s not a good way to frame your career.
Grace Bello, -The Reckless Pursuit
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A Guide to Meeting Up and Making Out at SXSW

A black van zips into the parking lot and a tall dude in Aviator shades and black skinny jeans jumps out and thrusts the sliding door open, smirking and buttoning his flannel, his ironic skinny man’s paunch exposed. Haphazard and prematurely revealed, a disheveled blonde emerges with a sheepish grin. It’s South By South West, and whether you’re looking for love, or just to get lucky, it’s a prime time for encounters of all kinds.

Whether you’re local or just flying in for the festivities, SXSW is known to be a great opportunity not only for finding new music, networking, party rocking, and trying to find investors for your startup. With thousands of PYTs milling around the city, and buckets upon buckets of free booze, it’s the perfect breeding ground for things to get positively primal.

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There must be 50 ways to leave your lover, and there’s undoubtedly further ways still to meet them, whether organically, or by the help of wizard’s magic (location based dating apps and the like). In the name of research, I fired up the Tinder, filled out an OKCupid profile, and just got out there in the mix and mingled the good ol’ fashioned way.

We even caught up with Jordan Barnes, the Global PR Manager of the friend finding app called Skout, who advised app users, “Write something distinct in your profile and let your personality shine through. It’s an added bonus to do it the old fashioned way, and yes, you might meet someone organically, but why not dip your toe into the digital world too, and see what’s out there?”

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Skeptical, yet open minded, I said, “Sure. Why not?” and got to swiping. There were many abs, much camo, and such gruff looking young men holding up hunted animals. I giggled. I Tindered. I flippantly okayed good ol’ Cupid. But throughout my research and South By shenanigans, I discovered that mostly… people are still meeting up and making moves on each other organically. A little “I like your shark hat” here, a little, “Who’s the best act you’ve seen at SXSW?” there, and a lot of body language everywhere.

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Local Casey P.* sighed heavily and shifted her weight repeatedly. The line to get into the venue had snaked all the way down East 6th and threatened to spill onto the highway. She was rolling solo, and was beginning to regret that decision, so when a stranger invited her to another less crowded venue, she gladly tagged along and was introduced to a guy in a band whom she instantly warmed to and spent the rest of the evening gallivanting around Austin with.

She said, “I just remember being in awe of the fact that everything we talked about seemed so important and he was incredibly cute and we were at SXSW- I was just kinda having a great time. We pretended we were guests at the closest hotel and took the elevator to the top floor and the fire exit out to the roof where we had the greatest view of all the festivities of SX all to ourselves. We spent the next 20 minutes making out and looking at this pretty spectacular view.”

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Other SXSW goers reported finding more than a friend and chauffeur in their Uber driver, meeting part-time beaus in the drinks line at Hotel Vegas, and even making eyes at one another in a sea of Diarrhea Planet crowd surfers. Call us hopeless romantics, but “diarrhea is the new f*ck” after all, and our matches made through the apps seemed flaky and awkward, whereas our real life encounters struck us as more authentic…and sighworthy.

Continue this story on the Do512 blog.

His voice is deep and he towers over me like a friendly giraffe. We met at a bar and then dancing and dancing. The only dance partner who’s ever been capable of lifting me over their head just like Baby in Dirty Dancing. AND THEN HE SPUN ME AROUND AND AROUND AND TOSSED ME LIKE A BABY DOLL. I admit, I’ve never considered myself dainty, but my dancing friend is strong.

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We rode bikes and drank cheap beer, drenched in sweat. That’s the night I smashed my front light against a tree. I couldn’t see in the dark.

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I went to the pizza bar alone. No man should judge a woman who goes to the pizza bar alone. But there sat my dance friend, and so I was no longer alone at the pizza bar. I had two slices. Both pepperoni. He revealed that he was older than he appeared. Young face.

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And then there he was, on the last night of the year, and the campfire made his eyes shine brightly. He said he’d had a bit too much, and I patted him on the shoulder and said, “That’s quite alright. Don’t sweat it,” and I smiled. I would have stayed to chat, but I was nursing a knot in the pit of my stomach, and fighting the urge to cry when drunk rebel rousers began shooting fireworks in the air, at the ground, at each other, all over. I fled to my bike. I was glad the year would be over in minutes.

Quote IconIt isn’t enough to have have had an interesting or hilarious or tragic life. Art isn’t anecdote. It’s the consciousness we bring to bear on our lives. For what happened in the story to transcend the limits of the personal, it must be driven by the engine of what the story means.
Cheryl Strayed, “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar”