On House Calls from Life & Fiery Souls

Today's post is from one of my amazing summer interns, Kimmy Crickette. I like to think of her as my frientern more than my intern, though. She is wise beyond her years and I'm so excited to you to hear her perspective on life. Enjoy!

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Like most people, I’ve lived all my life with a story in my mind that ran the show. It weighed me down, terrorized me and froze me. If you find your passion and be perfect and make everyone love you, you can be happy forever. Ah, how simple, of course! I just must not be trying hard enough. How many times have we told ourselves this?

It took crippling bouts of anxiety, depressing and a spectrum of eating disorders to open my eyes. These heartaches and challenges shaped an idea in me, though.

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I believe that life makes house calls in our lives, either through grief, pain, discovery, transition, or transformation (whether chosen or not), and that it is up to us to decide whether we will welcome life in as a visitor. After hearing what life has to say, we must then choose whether we will join in on the adventure or instead choose to show life to the door. When we follow life, we will emerge on the other side changed, sometimes subtly, sometimes in enormous ways, but always armed with new information and awareness.

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If we instead refuse, we will spend our whole lives bracing against the door, fighting to keep life out. Depression, anger, resentment, or any other host of ailments are often consequences until we finally change our approach...Talking with others has made me realize that anyone who has undergone a life or spiritual transformation knows this to be true. Their pain always proved to be the symptom, the catalyst for some sort of enlightening change.

This process can be anxious, it can be frightening, it can be sad (trust me, I have felt all of these deeply), but it can also be exhilarating. We can fine tune our abilities to distinguish between the call of our intuition and our ego, and act in accordance with our intuition, because it will never guide us astray. Our ego speaks with a rigid, strong voice, while our intuition creeps in softly, and makes us feel open and expansive. It may not lead us in the direction we think we must go or the direction that fits our plan, but ultimately, we will find ourselves in the place we were meant to be.

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Opening up to these things has allowed me to break out of the fearful neighborhoods of my mind and uncover big interests and little everyday things that really light my soul on fire–snorkeling, painting, snorting with friends over drinks in a cozy room, vacuuming out my car (hah, no, wishful thinking). When I move into these fearful neighborhoods, I become blocked and feel stuck and empty; even today, that’s one of my warning signals. Expansion and light moves away, and that’s no way to live a vibrant, meaningful life. Learning this truth and tuning in has made me feel even more deeply--both the joys and the pains--but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In moments when it feels impossible, someone I look up to once told me to picture myself as a little girl and fight to make each decision one that would best take care of her, and that’s been some darn good advice.

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This is not to say that from here on out will be smooth sailing and that I have magically discovered the elixir for perfect happiness because life is constantly fluctuating, and everything has its ebbs and flows. But not even hurricanes and earthquakes will be able to take away these new guiding understandings.

 

The Best of Atlanta

Our bodies are in Virginia, but that doesn't mean I'm finished loving on ATL just yet. I moved to Atlanta in 2008 for a summer internship with Atlanta magazine. With that in mind, I thought I'd copy their Best of Atlanta format and share my very favorites. 


Fitness

image via What Now Atlanta

image via What Now Atlanta

Yoga: Highland Yoga. The variety of teachers is awesome. You can have a slow burn or a fast-paced class that gets your heartrate up. I especially love Jenny Kontos' class! The first month is only $30, so you can try a multitude of teachers.

Spin: Torq Cycle. Very similar to Flywheel, but locally owned and more intimate in its vibe. I'd be lying if I said their swanky facilities were not a reason I love it so much. The shampoo alone is worth giving it a try! First class is free. 

Cardio class: Chaos Conditioning. A combination of treadmill, weights, punching bags and a slew of other equipment I don't generally have access to. Prepare to sweat!

Free workout: King of Pops Yoga. Yoga on the Beltline, overlooking the city as the sun sets. Not quite as difficult in its intensity, but a nice way to unwind after a busy weekend. 


Coffee

Brash: The best almond milk latte of my life. I dream of it! So good. It's a coffee bar (and in a shipping container), so seating is limited, but great to grab and go. 

General Muir: The best iced soy milk latte of my life! {This is not hyperbole.}

Chattahoochee Coffee Company (Westside): My fav for the vibe and abundance of seating. It's really good coffee, too. A perfect spot to spend the day working. 

Dancing Goats Ponce City: My favorite for outdoor seating. Porch swings, adirondack chairs and big overhead fans will  make you want to post up with a book for hours. 


Food

Image via The Local Palate

For a fancy dinner: Staplehouse. We *just* went for my birthday and it was incredible. Their meal combinations are unique and they source ingredients locally (including via their own backyard garden). It's more of a food experience than it is a dinner. The reservation page opens the second Friday of every month at noon and sells out almost immediately, so set a reminder if you're serious about it. You can also try to get a seat at the bar without a reservation, but have to get there close to opening (5:30) to snag one. 

For an occasion: The Optimist. Some of the best seafood I've ever had. Not to mention the putt putt. 

Burger: YEAH! Burger. It's hard for me to dislike a build your own burger place. Add in locally sourced ingredients and their sweet potatoes fries and I'm a happy camper. Their points system is great, too. They even send you $10 on your birthday. That's almost a free meal!

Healthy meal: Upbeet. From the creators of YEAH! Buger, this spot is a dream. Build bowls or salads with every ingredient you could imagine. Plan to wait, though, the line is typically 30 minutes long. 

Mediterranean: Yalla! We.love.Yalla! Build your own Mediterranean bowl or salad. I love the Chicken Shawarma bowl.The prices are set at the start and you can add as many ingredients as you want. I load mine up and split it between two meals. 

ThaiLittle Bangkok. The basil chicken (with extra veggies) is a dream dish. It's light and healthy and wonderful. Parking is somewhat of a pain, so it's best to take a friend to wait in the car. 

image via Victory

image via Victory

Sandwich: Victory. I dream of the Tea Bird. It's so spicy and delicious. With ping pong onsite, we could stay for hours. Also has a gf option and it's on poiiint. 

Build your own Sandwich: Candler Park Market. Fortunately, we didn't discover this place sooner. We would have been tempted to go all the time! I love a build your own sandwich place and they have any topping you could want on a basic sammy. There isn't much seating, so we get it to go and sit outside on the sidewalk. They have GF bread, too!

Underground Supper ClubPorkman's Table. A friend of a friend opened it as a way to fight the fright of Sunday night. He hosts small groups in his home for an intimate, delicious dinner. Melly and I went in 2013 and still talk about it. Just like Staplehouse, it's more of a food experience than it is just a dinner. 


Activities 

Skyline Park. Easily one of my favorite things to do in the city. Enjoy games, drinks and beautiful views. It's somewhat pricey, but worth it to experience Atlanta up high. We took a day off work when friends were in town and it was great to go without a crowd. 

Piedmont Park. To have that much green space in the middle of the city is the best. For frisbee, for wine and sushi picnics, for free events, for running. It's a dream!

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Hike the Bellwood quarry. We did this with my mom and few years ago and it was quite an adventure. I'm not sure if construction has begun on the park yet, but, if you're extra adventurous and want to find out, use this guide. Worked like a charm! 

Lullwater Park. Atlanta's best-kept 154-acre secret. It's technically a private park for Emory students, but I've been more times than I can count and have never been stopped. Parking can be a pain, unless it's summer and Emory students are gone. Use this guide.

image via Airbnb

image via Airbnb

Sleep in a treehouse. When I booked this, a friend asked me: Why would you sleep in a tree in Atlanta when you could sleep in your own bed? Great question. My answer? Because it's awesome. The treehouse is in someone's backyard in Buckhead and is super cozy and intimate. Book it here. The price has gone up a lot since we did it, so here's $40 off to help!

Fresh Harvest dinner. Similar to Porkman's table, the Fresh Harvest dinners are intimate and delicious. They are hosted on either a local farm or at the Fresh Harvest garden. They bring in a chef and use all local ingredients. It's a fun, beautiful night! Join their mailing list to snag an invite. 

Atlanta, you're wonderful! If I wanted to be in a city, I think I'd stay here forever. Your people, your tree canopy, your food, your packs... We love ya, ATL. 

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