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Sep 23, 2015

National Yoga Month and Global Mala 2015

This past Saturday was Global Mala, an incredible free community event to bring several hundred people together on top of Vulcan Park to do 108 sun salutations together with a collective spirit of love and peace and community. It was my second Global Mala here in Birmingham and represents one full year of having practiced yoga with sincere intentions of self love, healing, love, peace and change within myself and my impact in the world around me. I think I have struggled my whole life in finding community. I think I fancied myself a lone wolf. What I have learned through connecting with the community here is that we need each other. We need deep connection with people and causes as much as we need simple connection of eye contact and a smile. All these things are equally important. 

While Global Mala is a one time a year event, it is a fundraiser with an impact that goes year round. Sweet Om Alabama is the non profit organization that gives Global Mala to the community and is the organization that provides yoga programs and training to underserved populations around the community. Basically, yoga changes lives, and there are a lot of people who need it and may not have access to it or even know what it is. Sweet Om Alabama is dedicated to changing that. 

Below are some photos from Global Mala 2015. Be sure to check out Sweet Om Alabama and consider making a donation. 

The early comers getting set up in prime spots overlooking our city.

There was a turnout of over 400 people! It ended up looking like a patchwork sea of beautiful bright colored yoga mats. 

Me and my dear friend and teacher Kim Drye of Here Now Yoga. I am doing her teacher training program. I love her so much. 

These two ladies pictured here, Emilie Maynor of Emilie Maynor Living and Annie Damsky of Villager Yoga (and president of Sweet Om Alabama) are HUGE parts of my yoga journey. I am forever grateful to them for the connection we had so early on in this path and for their love and mentorship and direction. They do an AMAZING series called 40 Days to Free that will change your life

Y'all, I can't help but take note of yoga fashion. I am preparing for a year of teacher training, and I preparing to wear yoga clothes basically for a whole year. And y'all know I care about it looking good. There's nothing wrong with that. Yoga wear has come a long, long way since wearing pajama pants to class. 

That's Kim. I love her yoga style. 

I love all the wild strap action you see these days. 

And this woman laughed at me when I asked to take her photo, but this is just gooooood and fun. 

And what did I do after all that action?? I went and got an almond milk Yerba Mate latte from Church Street and came home to the welcoming arms of my husband and bacon he had all ready for me. That's love.

So much love you guys


CommentsTags global mala global mala 2015 sweet om alabama birmingham yoga villager yoga emilie maynor living here now yoga

Sep 21, 2015

Mother Monday: a Q+A with Navy wife, mama, yogi Ally Behne

The Internet is such an amazing tool at our fingertips. It gives me the opportunity and platform to share my experiences, stories and to connect with other amazing people in a very authentic and real way and to sometimes share those stories, too. There's community here if you want it and if you need it. I think all we want as humans on a very basic level is to connect and to love. Anyway, Ally and I went to high school together at Alabama School of Fine Arts. She was a dance major and I was visual arts. We were a tight knit group of kids with a graduating class of like 36 or something. Life took us in different directions, but thanks to Facebook Ally and I have really deeply connected over motherhood, married life, yoga and more.  Ally is the wife of a Navy man, mother of a toddler boy and yogi/teacher to many. 

We caught up over email about all of these things...

R+F: Ally, you and I have known each other for almost fifteen years, but have really recently connected over shared experiences and love of motherhood, wifehood and yoga. Could you tell readers a little bit about yourself and your family?

ALLY: I'm sort of chuckling over this question.  The truth is, my life is not what I expected it to be, and yet it is everything I always wanted.  My husband is a pilot in the United States Navy and is currently deployed in the Pacific.  Back when we knew one another in high school, I already had the itch for travel and adventure, and yet if someone would have told me that I would end up as a military spouse, travelling the country and the world at the whim of my husband's career, I would have scoffed at them.  I had never even met an active duty service member, much less dated one! And yet, here I am.  Bo and I have been together for almost a decade, and in that time we have moved 6 times and lived in 5 states (and will be moving again in the spring).  Although I have both a Bachelor's and Master's degree, teaching yoga and mothering our 15-month old son, Bennett, is my full-time job.  There are very really struggles in this life, and yet the emotions I experience most are gratitude and joy.  I have more love in my life than I feel like my one heart can contain.  Although I've never really believed in fairy tales, when I look at my life, I realize that I'm sort of living in one.

R+F: I remember you always had wanderlust in you. I think it's one of the things we shared throughout high school. And you were always so deeply committed in your efforts and had a great attitude. Even when you were exhausted. I think you still have these qualities today. I can't imagine being a service wife. Is that the correct terminology? I feel like so many civilians have no concept of what this life is like for someone serving and especially for their families. What's it like? Is it what you imagined going into it? 

ALLY: Yes, service wife (or in my case, Navy wife) is the correct terminology.

The more I journey down the road of motherhood, the more parallels I see between it and having a partner in the military.  Almost every part of this life, from moving every 2-3 years, to long stretches of time apart, to starting all over finding your tribe, can be exhausting and terrifying.  It is a constant exercise in challenging your comfort zone.  In motherhood, I feel like the boundaries are always changing.  Bennett, and his abilities, evolve on a daily basis, which requires me to do the same.  Having a partner in the military is no different.  I frequently feel like I get one set of variables figured out (a city where we live, a mommy tribe, a job I adore, having Bo home, etc.), only for the Navy to change up the whole equation on me!  In the military we frequently use the phrase "Semper Gumby," which is a play on the Marine mantra "Semper Fi" and the claymation character of Gumby.  In essence, it implies that happiness in the military lifestyle requires a large degree of flexibility, and as an extension, faith.  Funny enough, there is a similarly used phrase in yoga that says "I bend so I don't break."  So it's all one and the same, no?  Navy wife, mom, yogi, they all require my flexibility and my faith.  Which, of course, is easier said that done.  It's constant work to stay present with the change, and not fight against it. Change is a way of life in the military, but so many of us see change as a four-letter word.  I've been meditating a lot on Ghandi's mantra "be the change," and realizing that it is so easy to say, and so hard to DO.  But, personally, I do want to be the change I want to see in the world.  For me, that starts by going home and loving my family.  
R+F: Do you feel like you have to be extroverted? How do you find your people in a new city and without your mate? I just have to say how deeply moved I am by your strength. 
Tell me about your path to yoga. 
ALLY: You know, I was just having this conversation with my mom the other day.  I always thought that I was an extrovert because I have this innate ability to converse with almost anyone.  But our current COW (Commanding Officer's Wife for those that don't speak Navy-ese), who is a self-proclaimed introvert, recently shared an article on Facebook about the extrovert myth.  The article talked about how the most basic definition of an introvert is someone who's life force originates from time with the self.  And there was this figurative lightbulb that practically burst in my head because I wanted to shout, "That's me!" If I don't have time to meditate, and get on my mat, and read a good book, I'm simply not the best version of myself.  In order for me to really be with anyone else, I have to make time to be with myself first.
As for finding my people, I really like to diversify!  I always try to connect with fellow spouses in our squadron.  In general, the military is really good about providing social opportunities for people to get together.  It's sort of a secret society, or fraternity or cult, but I draw all of those comparisons without any of the negative stereotypes that they come with.  In fact, I am currently the President of our Officer's Spouses Club, a role I never would have thought to fill, and yet I love it.  Getting on my mat right away when we move into a new community is a sure-fire way to connect with like-minded people.  Perhaps by happenstance, I have ended up in different book clubs everywhere I have moved, and that has been a great way to invite people into my circle that are connected neither with the military nor yoga.  The truth is, the more times I move and the more people I meet, the more I realize that we are all the same.  
I struggled on and off with an eating disorder throughout high school, and then experienced a really severe relapse while I was in graduate school. Looking back, while there's not one particular thing that caused my relapse, the unifying thread was a collapse in worthiness. I had all these great things happening in my life: Bo and I were engaged, I was completing my degree at a prestigious university, and I had my ideal dream job lined up for post-graduation, but I was hollow and imploding on the inside.  To make a long and complicated story short, Bo and I's engagement ended, I left my dream job just five months after starting it, and at 25 years old, I found myself living back in Alabama, in my mom's house,and in therapy almost every day of the week.  My psychologist essentially prescribed me yoga.  I'll never forget the first time I walked on my mat.  It felt so much like returning to the bar at the beginning of a ballet class.  On the one hand, it felt like coming home, and on the other hand, I felt those same feelings of self-deprecation/loathing/hatred creeping back in.  I sobbed in that class; and I left feeling raw and too exposed, but that was the beginning of me falling back in love with myself. 
(there's so much more to say, but I think that sufficiently answers that question...)
R+F: How do you take on motherhood without your husband and without family nearby? Yoga is obviously a part of your sacred self care (something I believe we all MUST have to be balanced and good for our roles in the world). What else do you do to take care of yourself?
ALLY: It seems to me that self-care and positive parenting are intrinsically linked to one another.  It's true all of the time, but even more of a necessity when Bo is gone, to be purposeful about my own self-care.  On the one hand, it really helps to stay busy and active, getting out of the house at least once a day (whether that is for a walk, play date, trip to the grocery store, etc.).  On the other hand, I have learned that I panic when I put too much on my calendar at once.  It is all about balance.  My sacred time is the 2-3 hours I have to myself after Bennett goes to sleep.  During these hours I read, I color, I work on a puzzle, I bake or I watch a movie. It is very rare for me to put something on the calendar for myself during these sacred hours.  I need the alone time for restoration.  
I have a deep longing for physical proximity to family. It is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing about military life for me.  What I wouldn't give to be able to go over to my mom's house for dinner or to celebrate my Pee Paw's 86th birthday in person. It saddens me sometimes to realize that I moved away so young, and I have never really come back to that home (truly, that "home" doesn't even exist much has changed since I left almost 15 years ago).  I wouldn't change anything, but I do frequently wish that there was a way to lead the life that I have, and yet have them closer.  There is a quote by Maya Angelou that I have been loving lately.  In fact, I just recently taught a yoga class inspired by these words.  She says, "The ache for home lives in all of us, the place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."  It is a beautiful reminder that home is not a place, but sometimes a person, or a feeling that one gets from a sense of belonging.  Even though Bo and I's families are scattered far and wide, I do think that he would agree when I say that we both feel a sense of home in one another.
Lastly, it would be unfair of me not to acknowledge how absolutely phenomenal my husband is.  Even when he is away, Bo does an outstanding job at making Bennett and I feel like a priority in his life.  He uses whatever means available to him to stay in contact with us.  He is tireless in his efforts to continue in his role as husband and father. The uniqueness of our love is not lost on me.
I should have probably added that I try to have family visit me, or vice versa, every 6-8 weeks or so.  Especially when it comes to extended deployments, it really helps to always have a small "light at the end of the tunnel" you are working towards. 
I keep mulling this over, and feeling this sort of nagging I didn't say something important.
The thing is, most days float by as a stream of "new normal" moments.  When it comes to the inevitable long months apart, the only way out, is through. I do it because falling apart isn't an option.  I have been blessed with this beautiful, resilient and joyful little soul that gives me slobbery open-mouthed kisses all day long. I am his everything right now. And yet there is the inevitable day that is filled with cries and tantrums and a never ending series of things that just don't go quite right.  Those are the days when just breathing is enough.  If my child is still alive at the end of the day, and I did nothing other than breathe, it's a success.  
R+F: That last line. That's so beautiful. I keep coming back to how strong you are. Let's talk about you as a yoga teacher... What style do you teach, being a teacher versus a student, the connection with the room and maybe you could talk about the dynamic of practicing presence and mindfulness in the midst of a life governed by sudden change. 
ALLY: I began teaching yoga full-time right after Bo and I got married in 2011.  Since then, I have taught classic Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative and Family yoga, depending upon the needs of the studio.  My heart lies with the Yin and Vinyasa practices, which is interesting, considering they punctuate two ends of the yoga style spectrum.  Yin has radically transformed my practice.  It has made me a more mindful yogini on and off the mat, and has opened my body in ways I wasn't even sure were possible.  In my heart, I am a dancer, perhaps not in the classical sense, but a dancer nonetheless.  My classes are heavily informed by my playlists, which I choose with intense care and purpose. Even in my Hatha classes, I find my instruction gravitates towards fluidity and flow.
I see myself foremost as a student. I have a personal rule that I only teach as much as I am able to practice.  Therefore, even with Bo deployed, I have our nanny's schedule set up so that I can take three classes a week in the studio for myself (this is in addition to my daily meditation and any home practice I find time to fit in).  I find that if I am not AT LEAST practicing as much as I am teaching, then my voice becomes less authentic and relevant.  The practice is a living and breathing thing, and it requires our attendance and constant nurturing.
I received my teacher training from Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville and am certified as an Integral Yoga Hatha Teacher. I mention this primarily because I have a strong connection to my lineage and the "integral" approach that it offers. While viewed primarily as a hatha yoga teacher, I strive to live out all aspects of my life as a yogi.  I practice bhakti yoga through my meditation and chanting, I incorporate karma yoga - the yoga of service - into my everyday life, and I constantly strive to learn more about my own soul - and my connection to all other souls - through raja and jnana yoga. When I step onto my mat to teach, it is my intention to integrate all of these systems of yoga into my hatha class.  Ultimately, I hope to inspire others to seek the guru, the spark of divinity, that is the true teacher within. I am just the vessel.
R+F: Would you want to do or share a playlist to accompany this piece?
I feel like we have covered such a beautiful breadth of topics here. Is there anything else you would like to share?


I just want to thank Ally for sharing all of this and being so open and honest! Thank you, Ally!

CommentsCategories mother monday Tags army wife navy wife semper gumby yogaville hatha yoga ally behne mother monday

Sep 17, 2015

On the importance of space and my new studio

I've been thinking a lot lately about what real luxuries are. You know, the things beyond indulgent purchases. While I love a good $36 lipstick or the ultra sexy new organic xyz triple-clay masque fondue, these things are not deeply important to me. Luxury is so relative, right? It's relative to your geography, to your socio-economic situation, to the home you grew up in and the experiences you've had through your life. Luxury is relative.

So one of the things that I have totally realized since having a child is that space is precious. Physical, personal space to do you. Yes, TO DO YOU. Duq and I have been sharing studio space (in the guest bedroom, no less), and it's awkward. It's crowded. It's inefficient. And it leaves both of us feeling uninspired creatively-- and that's not acceptable. There's no weirdness here, of course. We each just need quiet space to create our individual atmospheres to do the things that we do in life. 

I need a space with light, air, bright white walls. I need surfaces and floor space. I need shelves to hold sheets of blank papers and paints and small plants and crystals. I need to be able to move and to be still without distraction. 

So my husband had a brilliant idea... we turn our never used sunporch into my studio. It's essentially a galley so it's got this amazing cross breeze that happens when I open the windows to the front of the house and the giant french doors that open up into our definitely magical backyard. It really has never been used for anything other than the dogs' playroom for the six years we have lived here. Insane. 

We briefly talked about it yesterday, and BAM, we woke up this morning and painted it, moved all the furniture around and got my studio set up in its first incarnation. I have to give my husband the deepest gratitude and love. This was all his idea, and basically all his hard work too. He loves me so much and believes in me so much that he worked his ass off to create the most beautiful and perfect and luxurious and sacred space for me. 

THANK YOU DUQ. You are so loved. 

I am so loved. Man, that's something I just can't take for granted. I know not everyone has that kind of love in their life and that we are blessed beyond wildest measure. I mean, don't we all just want love in our lives?

So here are a few photos from the studio space as it came along today.

The moment my husband suggested I float my desk out so I can open the doors and look outside and breathe. 

An old architects' table I found at a thrift store many years ago for $6. My inspiration photo of Picasso in his Paris studio. This is ALWAYS hanging in my studio. 

This chalk pastel piece is OLD and so treasured. It reminds me of this bedroom my grandmother Tot had in her basement. There was a midcentury painting of a woman from Valencia. And there was a velvet bedspread. And it was AWESOME and made me feel bohemian and European at just the tender age of 7 or 8. I love this piece so much. (Another thrifting gold moment.)

Small little treasures to me. The jade plant was big and beautiful, but I somehow manage to kill all of them. Trying to save this one so desperately. It was a gift from my stepmom and means a lot. The rose quartz and air plant were a love gift from Shannon (my guhl) and the Ganesha was a birthday present from my other guhl, Kim. The amythest and petrified wood and quartz are randoms but feel so good. Oh and the giant white thing is selenite and looks INSANE in the light.

My first little painting in the new studio. I found this great little traveling watercolor kit that I bought years ago and had never used when moving my stuff around today. So while Tennessee played around me and yelled out the open doors at his daddy and his dog, I painted a picture of my view out the back doors. 

You guys. I am so filled with gratitude and love right here. 

A verrrrry vague reference to an upcoming Rugged and Fancy announcement. But here's a glimpse onto my giant shelf...

My bookshelf. Because I ALWAYS want to know what people are reading.

Do you have a unique luxury? Do you have a sacred space? I'd love to hear about it in the comments or post a photo on Instagram and tag me, @ruggedandfancy

So much love,


CommentsTags sacred space luxuries morgan johnston rugged and fancy home

Sep 14, 2015

Duquette Johnston "It Was You," a living portrait


This past April, filmmaker Dillon Haynes joined us for a whole day start to finish, capturing the beauty, the simplicity, the joy of our little family. This song is really powerful. Duquette wrote it in the aftermath of the Aprill 2011 tornadoes, standing in the middle of a pile of rubble surrounded by people grieving deep, deep loss. There was the foundation of a house, an untouched armchair and a single wall, upon which someone spray painted "GOD BLESS THIS MESS." 

The song was written as if Duq and I lived in that home. If we had had a family. If we had experienced this loss, this change, this shift in life. And now four years later, we do have a family. We have experienced great challenges and have overcome them with some deeeeeep stretching and the letting go. (I will simply call it "the letting go.") 

And here we are, waking with the sun and our son. Chasing each other in circles, laughing, holding each other, kissing. This video will forever capture this brief moment in time-- that sunny day at the farmer's market, the long country drive, the unwinding of a blissfully simple day. 

We hope it reaches you with all the love, all the peace and all the hopes that you can find a moment to pause and fully be present with the ones you love.

So much love,

Morgan, Duquette and Tennessee

CommentsCategories music Tags duquette johnston it was you dillon haynes pop matters best videos 2015 family matters

Sep 11, 2015


I love Tonia Trotter. We met via Instagram shortly after she moved to Birmingham from Nashville. We bonded over simultaneous pregnancy, glamour and art. She's a gallerist/curator on sabbatical after having her second child. We go to yoga together, text each other OMG photo moments of both Porter magazine photo spreads and ridiculous baby stuff, and we encourage my son Tennessee and her daughter Elise to kiss each other while we take pictures. Yeah, I know that sounds creepy and will expire in appropriateness very soon. 

Tonia is no stranger to Rugged and Fancy either. You can read her Korean beauty secrets here and if you're so obsessed with what she's obsessed with, you can check out what she was into last Summer here

PHOTO: Kenslie McGuire for Soca Clothing.


EATING// Noodle bowls. So easy, versatile and perfect for picky kids or entertaining. I prepare lots of toppings and everyone can make their own. My fave combo is buckwheat noodles in beef broth with kimchi, chopped kale, radishes, hardboiled egg and lots of green onions.

DRINKING// Very little alcohol. After two years of pregnancy and subsequent nursing, I have become such a lightweight! I can catch a buzz off of half a glass of wine these days! Since a full night of sleep isn't guaranteed with two munchkins, I've eschewed booze during the week for quality rest. I drink kombucha or herbal tea instead. On the weekends, I'll sip on a glass of Four Roses bourbon, Trim Tab's Raspberry Berliner Weisse, or Montinore Estate's Pinot Noir.

READING// All the September issues! I've devoured them every year since I was 13! Also, Judd Apatow's "Sick in the Head." I'm a sucker for a funny guy, and I have a girl crush on his wife, Leslie Mann.

LISTENING// Jenny Lewis, The Mavericks, Moon Taxi, Elle King, The Weeknd, Fetty Wap.

PRACTICING// Yoga. I've practiced on and off for a decade and have amazingly maintained my status as "beginner." I decided to step it up this summer- practicing 3-5 times/week, attending classes and pushing myself into more advanced poses and the ones I tended to avoid in the past because I always fell over. I would still describe myself as a novice, but I can feel myself getting stronger with every practice.

MASTERING// Dressing with purpose. I committed to the capsule collection movement this summer and have loved it! I enjoy having a uniform. I feel like I have such a better understanding of my style and how to compliment my body type than I did in my clotheshorse 20s. 

WORKING// I have been so fortunate to have been able to take some time off with my daughter. I took a year off when my son was born too, but that proved to be a difficult time financially and ultimately not as stress-free as I intended it to be. This time, we are a little older and more stable and have been able to live comfortably off og my husband's income, due to his hard work and keen budgeting. He has been immensely supportive of my staying at home with the kids, although sometimes, I wish we could trade places! I am definitely feeling ready to get back to work but am carefully considering what I want to do and how to balance it with motherhood. My background is in fine art, design, marketing and public relations, and I am always drawn to the creative. 

TRAVELING// My bottle-shunning 16-months old is nearly weaned, and I can't wait to go away for a few adult-only weekend trips! The Gulf Coast, Nashville, New York and Auburn are on the docket for this Fall.

DREAMING// Of a second honeymoon. My husband and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary next year, and we are planning a romantic getaway. We're debating whether we want pampering or adventure. 

FEELING// Liberated! I have both kids in preschool a few days a week and finally feel like I'm not drowning in motherhood. I actually feel ike a kinder, more engaged mom because I've had some time to myself. 

PLAYING// Explorers with my kids. We live on a river with lots of incredible plants and wildlife exclusive to our area. We are always hiking, fishing, canoeing, skipping rocks and digging for fossils. It's so fun to watch them develop a love for science!

MAKING// Chai and matcha lattes with coconut milk, banana bread and pumpkin quinoa waffles with cashew butter, sliced apples or figs and local honey. Basically anything that tastes like Fall!

WANTING// Cooler temps and some kick-ass Fall boots. I'm drooling over Chloe's knee-high "Susanna" shit-kickers, because you can take the girl outta Nashville, but not the Nashville outta the girl.

Follow Tonia's adventures in life, art, fashion and family @toniatrotter

CommentsCategories ESSENTIALS Tags tonia trotter rugged and fancy fall essentials 2015 chloe susanna knee boots

Sep 9, 2015

ESSENTIALS: the first recommendations of Fall

There was a distinct moment that I got over Summer. I am all about living in the moment, but with the first several days of a cool breeze, the passing of Labor Day and a change of produce at the, when those squashes start coming out IT IS FALL!

You may remember our series ESSENTIALS ,which you can check out here. The series has been super neglected in the past year, but I am all about picking things up and breathing in new life, so without further ado...


C.J. Adams is one of those guys living the good life. His sense of humor and knack for smart timing, complemented by his love of watches and a desire to make life more enjoyable and streamlined make for a pretty inventive and adventurous life. Duquette and I have known who C.J. is for a long time, but this is the first time we have had a chance to really chat with him. He would also like you to know he loves to wake up early, drink too much coffee, dance to Taylor Swift, eat tacos, and his ultimate dream is to live on a sailboat, rocking back and forth with the waves. Oh, and PS- C.J. is the man behind Flight & Feather, my favorite collection of graphic tees-- they're simple and powerful with messages I can get behind. (I mean, ADVENTURE ALWAYS is basically my life mantra!) For real, when I saw the ADVENTURE ALWAYS tank, I basically hunted down the faceless person behind the line. I was super excited to hear the man behind the brand is C.J.! 

EATING// Ice cream... lots of ice cream. I probably go through a pint a day. It's so freaking delicious.

DRINKING// La Croix Coconut like it is going out of style. I might as well have an IV of it. Between that and my excessive coffee consumption, I'm pretty much set. 

READING// "Crazy From the Heat" by David Lee Roth. I think it was on some suggested reading list for easy summer reads. It was $1 on Amazon, so I figured it must be fantastic. So far, I just want to do a photo shoot recreating the cover. Know any of the models that want me to hold them in the ocean, while I do my best DLR impersonation?

LISTENING// I just saw Straight Outta Compton, so I've been listening to a bit of hip hop. If you know me at all, you know that this is very odd.

PRACTICING// Sleeping more. I'm one of those folks that has always said I don't require much sleep, but I'm really making an effort to get a good eight hours a night these days. Easier said than done. 

LEARNING// To commit. I have severe commitment phobia in pretty much every aspect of my life. For starters, I typically don't live in the same place for more than six months. 

WORKING// On some exciting new projects. I'm the type of person that is always doing multiple things at once. 

TRAVELING// A lot. This summer has been a fun one... Charleston, Atlanta, NYC, Destin...headed to Baltimore, Chicago and Southampton in the next few weeks. 

DREAMING// of Tulum.

FEELING// Excited about Fall. Big things are going to happen in the coming months... and I love Fall weather. It's the bees knees. 

PLAYING// as often as possible. People need to get outside and play more.

COOKING// often. There's something therapeutic about being in the kitchen, whether I'm cooking for a dinner party or just for myself. 

WANTING// To climb the Seven Summits. It's always been a dream of mine, and the upcoming movie, Everest, has revived that desire. 

For more about C.J. check out his personal site here. And be sure to follow @flightandfeather on Instagram and C.J. too @seejayadams.

CommentsCategories ESSENTIALS Tags flight and feather flight and feather graphic tees c.j. adams

Aug 31, 2015

Four Instagrams to Follow Right Now

1// @m.parkestudio: I LOVE this woman and what she does. We have very similar approaches to wellness. I always am learning something from her, and her story of living with Lyme disease and treating it holistically is really powerful. She's got a BEAUTIFUL web site too, check it out here

2// @the_adventuresofus: From what I can gather, this is a young couple traveling the world together. Whatever kindo f love they share is so romantically depicted through their photos. Wanderlust to the max. They have a web site launching soon, but I cannot figure out exactly what their thing is. And I am fine with it. 

3// @radianthuman_ : This is a traveling aura photography studio. And it's beautiful. They're on tour with their portable geodesic dome studio and you can nominate they visit your city

4// @mooseandbeanbooks: This is my friend Sunni Parrish's side project. She's the best mom I know and my inspiration in creating an imaginative, exciting world for my son. Anyway, this account is fully devoted to children's book reviews. AND IT'S AWESOME!!!!! 

And don't forget you can follow along with us on our adventures at @ruggedandfancy and @rebelking.

CommentsTags favorite instagrams m parke studio radiant human aura

Aug 27, 2015

Life Lately...

I believe a new chapter is starting in the life of Rugged and Fancy. I have personally been steadily improving my health over the last 18 months, and I finally have confidence in my health, my body, my wellbeing again. It has been a journey, for sure. Duquette and I have always been creative hustlers, and I say that in a way that means you just move your ass, you hit the proverbial pavement and you make things happen. We have done a lot of heart work the last few years, and I know in my heart that we are right where we are supposed to be today, triumphs, struggles and all. 

I watched the documentary Happy last night. And it made me really sit and think about what is it that I want in life? I want to provide well enough for my family through our creative gifts cover all our needs and some of our wants. I want it to be more than enough so that we can help others see their dreams come true, even if it's just getting out of a tight spot to move on. (We've been there. Everyone needs help sometimes.) I want adventure in our lives. That's one of my highest values in life. I want our family to see the world together. I want my son to see the broad world out there and how different and similar we all are within it. I want us to be happy. What does that mean? That there's peace and joy and minfulness. That we live in the moment, consciously and with great love and open hearts. 

Here is Duq, taking stolen moments to get in the studio and work on two new records. It can be a battle many days to find the time to do. I try to do what I can to give him that space and encouragement. 

Tennessee's first "guitar," a little ukelele that he strums and hums to and claps for himself. And his best friend, Tigre. 

The temperatures have been a perfect 70-something degrees the past few days, so we have been outdoors as much as possible. This is Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham. It is spectacularly beautiful. 

Railroad Park occasionally has a free yoga class. It's a beautiful time to experience all of nature, including the sounds of trains in proximity, thunderstorms over the mountain (hence the pavilion location) and just big open space. There were ducks walking beside our mats. Cute little ducks. 

Overnight there is ivy crawling up our bedroom window. I haven't pulled it off yet. I am so fascinated by the way that nature will overtake things if you allow it. To see the backside of the ivy and it's tiny white fibrous claws is pretty mind blowing.

Candlelight in the daytime and zinnia from my first garden from seeds. Every flower I clip and bring inside gives me a deep sense of accomplishment and joy.

My 31st birthday, catching rainbows and laughing with my boy. 

I marvel at how beautiful he is. Constantly. And I often think "I hope I am doing this right." I think we all hope for that. 

We have started taking morning walks together. We go to the neighborhood where I grew up and we just walk as long as we feel like it. We talk a lot. We stay quiet a lot. We smell flowers and say hello to the dogs that run past and just take it all in. It's my favorite thing we do these days. 

I have really been working on maintaining a home yoga practice, which is honestly tough for me. I love a class. I love someone leading me and the ability to surrender to a guide. It can be hard to guide myself. But I am overcoming that. I am doing it. This photo is HILARIOUS to me because I was taking a photo of this great modified down dog and I hear Duq screaming as Tennessee comes running around the corner laughing maniacally. Duq yelling "He's got poop on his hand!!!!" And it was perfectly captured. AWESOME. HAHAHAHAHAH.

The struggle is real: most of my day is spent trying to teach him NOT to climb on the table. Or catching him as he falls OFF the table. Geez. Can I just get rid of the chairs all together and just do a Moroccan table setting??

Duq is working on a new acoustic record using this beautiful D'Angelico guitar that they kindly sent down to him. It's so beautiful, the sound, the mother of pearl inlay details, the sunburst. It's magical. 

Relishing beautiful afternoon in the backyard. I scored these handblown glass cups at the thrift store for a quarter apiece. WHAT. Yes. 

Late summer/early fall blooms and Nikes all walking long!

I started coloring. It's a big thing, and yes, grownup coloring is a great form of meditation. It means you're NOT spending time on your phone. 

The magical forest backyard. 

I really want to know.... WHAT IS HAPPINESS TO YOU?? 

Love y'all and hope you have the happiest day.


Morgan, Duquette and Tennessee

CommentsTags family rugged and fancy railroad park yoga birmingham

Aug 17, 2015

Return of Mother Monday: I'm almost really IN my 30s and I have a toddler.

Wow, it's been so long since a Mother Monday post! Tennessee Wolf is now officially 18 months old as of today. And I will officially be 31 years old on Friday. I feel like I am having that really sick feeling realization that I am now the age of women whom I once regarded as "old" when I was 22 and taking on the world in outfits that were probably really inappropriate. OMG. That sounded old, didn't it??

This is actually a real conversation happening in my head and with some of my girlfriends in our early 30s. See, here are me and Senior Art Director at Big Communications and Tastemaker of the Year Shannon Harris discussing the various perspectives of the shy side of 30-something. She thinks it's funny and awesome that we are considered "old" because it means we get to mentor 20-something versions of us and that be simultaneously a little cranky and stylish in a mature way. 

That HORRIFIES me. Because there's this notion of no longer being the cool ones. Ugh, I feel like this is such a real life post, like I am writing to my diary... Yes, I totally want to still be cool. Or relevant. And free. 

So here's my take on it, I think. I spent my twenties wanting to be in my thirties because of women like Gwyneth Paltrow. She looked better than ever at 30-something. You know, all that yoga and clean eating and conscientious parenting and Stella McCartney is REALLY good for the body/mind. When I was 20-something, I was convinced that my thirties would usher in an age of sagesse, that confident, quiet knowing, often brought about by spiritual enlightenment and career success and perfect glowing skin, a "naturally" peaceful brow (is it the meditation or Botox? No one will ever know!). And now I am here, and it's just as real and terrifying (and awesome, too!!) as my twenties. Just with more responsibility.

And yes, I actually do the yoga and the clean eating. It's absolutely my lifestyle and a huge part of what makes me a good human being, a good wife, a good mommy, a good version of ME (who was of pretty questionable character at 20 years old...) 

What am I so scared of? I don't know. Death maybe? One day becoming irrelevant? I think that may be the only two things for me. Again, whoa this post is almost more raw to me than writing about my post partum depression. Yeah, I am totally freaked out about those things. 

So to fight against that little part of me that has been a big part of me lately, the part that says "I'm so sleepy because of life and I just want to Netflix and go to bed," well I made myself get up, dress up and show up for the season's closing Art on the Rocks at Birmingham Museum of Art...after putting Tennessee to bed. It was a really glamorous moment in motherhood for me. We haven't been huge social function people in the last 18 months, so this is not my typical portrait of motherhood. It was special. 

I had a blast. There was a wall of doughnuts, a GIF-generating photo booth and the most stylish and fun crowd I have ever seen in Birmingham ever...I felt slightly older than some people and still much younger than others...

I am still growing and evolving, still in the process of becoming me. Transitioning from freewheeling Morgan to being MOMMY Morgan on top of everything else has been freaking HARD. Because I'm not the same person I was before, even though I thought I surely would be. I love who I am, but I am definitely a little older and the responsibility of life with a child, a part of your family, your world, your heart 24/7, that changes you. I haven't quite put my finger on the change exactly, but maybe it's that Gwyneth Paltrow sagesse after all.



CommentsCategories mother monday Tags turning 30 30 something gwyneth paltrow mother monday stella mccartney art on the rocks birmingham museum of art

Aug 10, 2015

Sweet Om Alabama!

Did you know that 90% of illnesses are linked to stress, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, psychological disorders, auto-immune disease, depression and more? Stress hormones are no joke! Your body and your brain can get stuck in a state of stress/distress and your immune system goes into overdrive and suddenly you're in health crisis.

I know. Because I've been there. Almost two years ago I had my first child via a difficult labor and c-section, contracted a bacterial superbug that shut down my organs, couldn't breastfeed and I was SO STRESSED. Even as I began to heal, the stress level just wasn't changing, and in turn, I wasn't completely getting better. 

And then I picked up my yoga practice. When practiced regularly, yoga has been proven to decrease anxiety, improve your body's ability to heal, and it increases your overall well-being. Yoga was the missing piece of my body/mind/healing/wellness puzzle. Yoga gave (and still gives) me a safe place to just let it allllll gooooooo. I can get on my mat and tune into my breath and turn away from racing thoughts or searing pain. Yoga reconnects me to everything: my body, my mind, the universe around me, to God.

A year ago, I connected with Annie Damsky, owner of Villager Yoga and president of Sweet Om Alabama. She took me in as a student and a friend, empowering me with the tools to progress on my path and connecting me to the incredible yoga community here in Birmingham, Alabama. 

A HUGE part of the yoga community here is Sweet Om Alabama, a nonprofit organization with the mission of cultivating health and wellbeing and bringing the healing qualities of yoga to people who lack access to it.  Sweet Om Alabama currently has programs at Children's Hospital of Alabama, Pathways women's shelter, Alethia House, AIDS Alabama, East Lake United Methodist Church, St. Anne's Home and Yoga of Recovery. 

As someone who has survived life threatening illness and the emotional side effects of that time in my life, I can attest that yoga is powerful, transformative and so important to make available to the people that need it. 

So last night, Sweet Om Alabama and Athleta at the Summit invited some people to hang out after hours, try on Athleta's new collection for Fall, strike a pose (look on social media for #omyourpose!) and learn a little more about some exciting events coming up!

(My Warrior 1 is a little weak here. See how my right hip is higher than the other? They should be even! Proper alignment is super important to your yoga practice and prevents injuries!)

So what's going on? Global Mala 2015 is coming up SEPTEMBER 19th at Vulcan Park! This is such an incredible event that gathers over 300 people on top of Vulcan Park, overlooking the city of Birmingham to do 108 sun salutations in an effort of love and peace. And all around the world, on the same day, people will be doing this very thing with us! 

It's a free event with an awesome DJ, incredible teachers leading, some really cool sponsors (including Athleta!) and all you have to do is show up in something comfortable. It's a beautiful experience that I really hope you'll share in with me! 

Here's a photo from last year's Global Mala. It was such a perfect day!

As Sweet Om Alabama is a non-profit 501c3 organization, it depends on donations to keep these programs going, and 2016 has big plans for FIVE new programs and a scholarship program for organization personnel to become certified to teach yoga, thus carrying on the practice within their programs.  

To donate, go here or attend any of these awesome upcoming community events...

TUESDAY AUGUST 18 5.00-10.00pm at ROJO: 10% of food and drink sales go to Sweet Om Alabama!

SATURDAY AUGUST 22 11.00am-2.00pm at WHOLE FOODS: "The Giving Grill," Whole Foods will be grilling outside! 100% proceeds will benefit Sweet Om Alabama. PLUS $2 raffle tickets for free yoga gear and accessories!

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 17 6.00pm- 9.00pm. GLOBAL MALA KICK-OFF CELEBRATION at TRIMTAB BREWERY! It's free and open to the public! Come out and meet the yogis from all over Birmingham, #omyourpose in a photo booth, eat and dance your booty off! 

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CommentsCategories community health and wellbeing Tags sweet om alabama yoga birmingham yoga annie damsky global mala 2015 global mala