Sometimes You Need Gentle Yoga But Sometimes You Need Beer. And Sometimes, You Need Both

(image by Chris Costes, via Flickr)


I was sick recently because of course I was. I’m allergic to everything (except food, thank god) and when I let my allergies go unchecked (which I always do), I turn into a sniveling, sneezing, snotting, coughing mess. For, like, ever.

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My Writing Allows Me To Be Just Slightly Braver Than My Typical Wussy-Wuss Self

(photo by roanokecollege, via Flickr)


In the hours leading up to my very first self-defense class, I worried about everything. I worried that my lack of coordination would be revealed within the first five minutes of class. I worried that there would be role-playing exercises, and that I’d make a fool of myself. I worried that, because of the nasty cold I’d had for the past week, I’d have a cough attack that I would be powerless to control. I worried that I wouldn’t find parking or that, because of rush hour traffic, I wouldn’t even get there on time.

Worrying. It’s just a thing that I do. It’s why I don’t do much else. Not anything outside of my comfort zone anyway.

Except when I’m on assignment.

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How Saying No To Everyone And Everything Ever Can Leave You The Space To Say Yes

SRS Photography, Sara Stadtmiller, Yoga, Yoga on the beach, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, yoga photography SRS Photography, Sara Stadtmiller


Does anyone else remember when this was me? A fresh-faced, newly certified yoga teacher substitute teaching classes at eleventy billion different gyms and yoga studios, eleventy billion different times a week? No? Me neither.

According to my records, however, it was only four years ago. By the time I walked away from it all, I was teaching regularly at three different studios, with the occasional workshop thrown in.

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TFW You Realize That Sharing The Details Of Your Sex Life With Thousands Of Perfect Strangers Is Way Less Terrifying Than Sharing Them With Those You Know IRL

[image by Alex Proimos, via Flickr]


Fifteen years ago, I came home from college with a trunk full of vibrators, condoms, and a riding crop, plus the beginnings of a sex writing portfolio. My dad made jokes about it. And my mom decided to operate under the assumption that it was just a passing phase. (Though she still made photocopies of my very first print clip—in Playgirl magazine—and passed it around to her friends and colleagues.)

A year later, I met the man who would become my husband. I often think that, if I’d married anyone else, my career might look very different right now. But Michael has been nothing but supportive of my professional pursuits, even when it’s caused him some small bit of embarrassment, or when it’s forced him to push against the bounds of his own comfort levels.

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When You Assume You Are Set in Your Bookish Ways and Then Everything Changes at the Age of 36

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What I am about to tell you fills me with shame. It’s more embarrassing than that time I passed out during choir rehearsal back in high school and my choir director thought the risers were falling. It’s more embarrassing than the level of drunkenness I achieved at my bachelorette party. It’s more embarrassing than that time a yellowjacket flew in my car window and landed on my steering wheel, leading me to screech my way into the mall parking lot, pull diagonally into four parking spots, yank up my emergency brake before fully stopping, and run laps around my car.

Sigh.

Here it is.

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I Have Become Obsessed with Feminist Comics and It Is the First Thing to Approach My Deep Love for All Things Horror

These women are my heroes. [photo by Pat Loika, via Flickr]

I was wandering aimlessly around my very first comic book expo, rocking my custom TerrorVision tank top, the first volume of Hellraiser in my giant purse, trying to look like I knew anything about anything. “Are you the sidekick accompanying the comic collector?” asked a guy who happened to be one of the co-organizers of the expo, referring to my buddy from my writing critique group who actually knew what she was doing.

Apparently, I wasn’t blending in at all.

It was unsurprising, though. I had never really been into comics before, at least not before five months ago. I wasn’t into the tights-and-capes crowd (except when directed on the big screen by Joss Whedon, for the most part), and I thought that was all comics were.

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When You Engage in Some Good Old Literary Citizenship Because, Really, You Just Want New Writer Friends with Whom To Bitch About Publishing

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I was at my very first HippoCamp last year when I told Lisa Romeo my hopes and dreams, because she was the only person there that I knew, and so she was stuck with me. I told her I wanted to find the New Jersey equivalent of Girls Write Now, a mentoring program for teen girls who want to write, because I love the work they do and would get involved if only I didn’t have to cross into NYC in order to do so. I also lamented my lack of local writer-friends. I knew there were other writers in the area. But where were they? And why weren’t they friends with meeeee???

Which is how I found myself at the Montclair Literary Festival last weekend, working the children’s room at the Montclair Public Library as a representative of the Writers Circle.

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I Went in Search of My Dharma and Found I Was Already Living It

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Last month, I traveled up to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health to take a workshop on dharma (in this instance, defined as “life purpose”). The workshop was an offshoot of the presenter’s most recent book, which I had read and loved because I can never resist a good excuse to examine my life choices under a microscope and draw up endless to-do lists’ worth of course corrections.

I spent the weekend taking sunrise yoga classes, eating silent breakfasts, meditating, listening to lectures on dharma, and putting together lists (a thing we’ve already established is a hobby of mine).

Lists of the things that light me up.

Lists of the things to which I feel duty-bound.

Lists of the things that are often seemingly in opposition to each other.

In drawing up all of these lists, what I discovered is that I was already following my dharma.

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The Women’s March, Bad News Burnout, and What Comes Next

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The other weekend, I attended the Women’s March in D.C. Soon after the march was first announced, a local woman chartered three buses and started collecting names and checks. I signed up with a friend of mine and started making my preparations, ordering a pair of winter hiking boots, packing wipes and tissues and maps and cheap sunglasses into a cross body bag no bigger than 8″ x 6″ x 4″.

As the march approached, the backlash began. Controversy over whether or not the march was welcoming to those from marginalized communities. Controversy over the emblem that had been adopted in the form of the omnipresent pussy hats. Controversy over what, exactly, could even be accomplished with a march. I started to wonder whether it would have been more effective for me to attend a local march. I continued to make my preparations—ordering my transit card, soaking a bandanna in apple cider vinegar and placing it in a small, plastic sandwich baggie—but I wasn’t sure why I was going, and whether or not it was the right thing to do. [Read more…]

My 24 Favorite Reads of 2016

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Since last year, I’ve been tracking my reading on a spreadsheet in order to ensure that I’m reading diversely. And since I started writing for Book Riot earlier this year, I’ve been exposed to a lot of fantastic reads in genres I may never have taken a second look at otherwise. So as we come to the end of 2016 (with 89 books under my belt!), I thought I’d share my favorites. Because maybe you’ve been seeing the same old books on the same old best-of lists and you’re getting bored.

Some of those books are for sure on this list. But there’s other stuff, too. And backlist titles. And re-reads. Basically, this is everything that made me feel all heart-eyes when I read it. 😻 😻 😻

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