Community

The weather was lovely this morning, so I walked to wework, the co-working space where I have a desk. As I was strolling, I had a flashback to a conversation that took place almost six years ago. I was starting my new job at lululemon and had an on onboarding meeting with my new boss. We reviewed all of the job expectations for a manager role - training and developing the team, managing product, running operations, working with guests, and putting on community events. 

"Well, I feel good about everything except the community events part. I've never done that before and I really have no idea where to even start" I said. 

As an important part of the culture at lululemon, the concept of "community" was daunting to me. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. I just meet people? And do fun stuff with them? I terrifyingly put together my first event, a get-together where I had to email leaders in the fitness world (who were then complete strangers to me) and invite them to a focus group style meeting.

I nervously crafted the email invitations and sent them out into cyberspace. The day of the event, I was sweating and my internal chatter was raging. "Will anyone show up? Did I do this right? I suck at this, I wish someone else would do this part of the job and let me just run the store." I was totally ready to step away from this experience in fear - even before it happened!

Thankfully, people came. And they kept coming. And events kept happening and community started building and there were tons of missteps along the way, but eventually I realized that hell, I liked this. I really liked it.

Putting on community events allowed me to be creative in a new way - coming up with an idea, designing a vibe and bringing it to life through a curated experience, graphic design and social media. It was fun and dynamic. I realized also that, even though I initially fought it, this was natural to me - planning and organizing and meeting people and doing creative things while also being slightly neurotic on the details was all part of the fabric of my being. It's just that when we put a label on it like "community" it somehow felt separate and somehow harder. When really, it was already within me. And community, for most of us, is all we ever all want - to be a part of something bigger than us.

So fast forward six years and I'm now doing "community" pretty much full time. Teaching in the yoga community, putting on yoga and community events, creating a vibe, helping people develop their brands, running social media accounts. Mike and I also have organically expanded Purdy Ave to include community consulting and social media, since that's basically what I have been doing the whole time anyway. And now I have a little office where I can work on community and get to be creative all day long. It's a total dream that came to life in a way I would have never expected.

By no means am I saying that I have it all figured out, or that I know what I'm doing anymore than anyone else. But what I do believe is that the truth of who you are is already inside of you. The beautiful seeds of you were planted long before you even had awareness - and it's up to you to water them and trust them and let them grow and flourish. 

I saw Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) speak this week  on her new book Big Magic, and her message was so on point, "Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? . . . The hunt to uncover those jewels, that’s creative living."

It takes courage to step into your true self and do shit that seems scary. It takes courage to face fear and overcome it. But I can tell you from experience, in your head it all seems like a lot scarier than it is. Go forth and discover, go forth and nourish your truth... go forth and create. It's awesome.

 photo cred @matt_roy

photo cred @matt_roy

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Life on a bike

Very few things make me happier than the simple pleasure of riding a bike. The feeling of freedom, instant connection with the outdoors and the fact that you're responsible for moving your own body. I love bikes - and I am especially passionate about biking as a form of transportation. A favorite quote of mine sums it up nicely...

Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul
— Anonymous

After happily going a year without a car and just getting around via bike, I'm often asked about what kind of bike to get and how I handle biking in Miami. Honestly, it can be a total clusterfuck. Miami is notoriously un-bike friendly. Rough roads... bike lanes unexpectedly ending... lots of tourists... and crazy ass drivers. Yet biking can be your most beautiful Miami experience at the same time. Whether you have a bike or want a bike, here are some things I've learned from five years of biking the streets of MIA that may help you.

1. Get a bike that suits your lifestyle. Over my lifetime I've had different types of bike - road bikes, mountain bikes, fixes, beach cruisers, hybrids. I love them all for lots of reasons. You have to consider what you need your bike for. Are you taking it to Whole Foods for groceries? Cool - get a hybrid or cruiser with a basket. Are you planning on using it as your car? Awesome - get a fixie or lightweight hybrid (you want it light so you can easily put it on a bus or in a friend's car if you need to). You don't need a lot of gears in Miami since we don't have any hills. When you're ready to get a bike, check out local bike shops or online. Most companies frequently run web promotions or free shipping so have some patience when online shopping. You can also easily buy online and bring it into your local bike shop to have it assembled.

fixie purefix bike miami

2. Once you get it... lock that shit up. While you're at it, get a really badass lock. Between us, Mike and I have had five bikes stolen from Miami Beach. That's 2.5 bikes per person! WTF, right? Invest in a lock. I love my Kryptonite Evolution Mini - I got it on amazon.com. People are ruthless so always lock your bike up to something stable. I've seen street signs ripped out of the street so people can steal the bikes locked up to them - always make sure you're locked up to something secure. And lock your bike through the rear triangle

3. Never leave your bike out overnight in this city. NEVER. I don't care how well locked up it is. 

4. Consider your attire. You want to be able to be nimble and comfortable. Girls - biking in a dress or skirt sucks. You can't go that fast and the fabric might get caught somewhere. Flip flops and sandals can be a pain too - not to mention dangerous. Your most comfortable biking outfit is flexible bottoms and sneakers of some variety. I have a single speed (fixie) that doesn't allow for a basket, hence why you see me wearing a backpack around town. That's how I get my groceries home and it's nice because it keeps the weight centered on your back. For chicks - a purse or even a cross body bag can be troublesome if the weight shifts to one side or the other. I've had scary experiences when a heavy tote bag slipped off my shoulder and almost threw me off my bike. Just good to consider.

5. Know your roads. Euclid is a great biking thoroughfare in Miami Beach - nice and wide with well marked bike lanes. West Ave is a mess right now with all overflow from the Alton construction. Biking down Lincoln Road is a nightmare on weekends but in the very early morning, it is a truly delightful experience.  Google Maps has a bike function for when you're mapping out a route that's helpful. 

6. Check out group rides. Critical Mass is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Miami. Or come ride with us during our monthly Purdy Ave rides. It's such a cool way to see the city and meet new friends. If you're riding at night, make sure you get some bike lights for safety. 

7. It's the tropics, so it's almost a given that you're going to get rained on. You might want to get a lightweight rain jacket. You'll also probably ride in the rain. And unless you have more of a cruiser bike with fenders, you'll end up with a nice wet line on your butt from the spray. You can check our the Ass-savers (yes, it's a real thing!) to keep your booty dry.

And finally... once you're out there on the road, take time to enjoy your scenery and have so much fun! You are treading lightly on this earth when you're on a bike and that's a really good thing. You can discover so much more than you could in a car! Soak in the beauty and art that surrounds you - life just feels a little more magical when you're cruising around this planet on two wheels.

bike wedding
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Purdy Ave

If it's not clear, I'm really a big fan of Miami Beach. When I travel, and tell people where I live, they always tell me stories of their sordid nights at Mansion or how much they love News Cafe. That's awesome. But there is so much more here. A local culture. A community. A family, even. And that exists in a little section called Sunset Harbour, even more specifically... on Purdy Avenue. It's really special here. People know your name. They give a shit about how you're doing. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of the Miami ridiculousness that goes down in this neighborhood, but I'm more likely to have a real conversation on Purdy than I am anywhere else in this town. 

 Life on a bike

Life on a bike

So where am I going with this. Last year, I had a brain explosion while I was eating lunch with my lululemonites at Maoz. Not a great lunch by the way, I haven't been back since. Anyway, I remember it so clearly. Amy, my brain said, you need to capture this love for Purdy Avenue and do something with it. Something freaking really cool. People are obsessed with this neighborhood and they want to celebrate it. And so, the seed for Purdy Ave was planted. 

Mike and I started Purdy Ave, LLC this year. It's a clothing company, or really more of a lifestyle brand. The logo is a combination of a bike crank and the third eye - our love for yoga and bikes and also signaling the consciousness shift that is happening in Miami Beach and beyond. I had always wanted to have a company and Mike is a great entrepreneur who has launched lots of companies (unlike me), so the whole thing made sense. Going into business with your significant other has some interesting challenges. Layer on that we were planning a destination wedding, living in different cities and working like crazy at our real jobs. But we somehow managed to launch our company, build a website and design, produce and deliver our first line of shirts. And if you know me, I am pretty picky about style and clothing so the design process wasn't exactly a piece of cake.

But now we have a living, breathing company! And we had our first trunk show yesterday! And we sold out of merchandise in 3 hours! It was super fulfilling personally and professionally.

 www.purdyave.com or @purdyave on Instagram!

www.purdyave.com or @purdyave on Instagram!

Our goal with Purdy Ave is to outfit peeps in some cool gear, but bigger than that - it's to build stronger community in this neighborhood. To elevate consciousness in Miami. To get peeps to love their city, inspire people to put roots down here, to make this place better and stronger and awesome. We will be doing more trunk shows, selling online at purdyave.com, popping up coolness and just loving up on this hood. We hope you are on board.

Mike and I would love to hear what you want for Purdy Ave, what you think about the brand, how you want to rep this hood. Email me at amy@purdyave.com or drop a line in the comments below. We love your feedback and we love you.

 And we love yoga and Coconut Cartel.

And we love yoga and Coconut Cartel.

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