Photos by Paul Brooke
lululemon x Whalebone: The 21st Guest Dinner Series
We’re shining a light on six individuals on whalebonemag.com about their involvement and partnership with lululemon, as ambassadors, and learning more about who has helped them along the way. We want to learn how they take those learnings and make a difference towards someone or something else, big or small. We’re encouraging others to pay it forward by interacting with and listening to the conversations. As the 21st guest, you, our audience, get to hear a few cool stories and do someone else a solid. It’s only fitting that all of the guests contribute to the conversation, so send all of your burning questions to Hello@whalebonemag.com—and we’ll fill you in on what our next guests have to say.
For now, sit back and enjoy a robust highlight reel on our second dinner installment, hosted by our friend Jess Davis. Jess is also a lululemon ambassador at their Time Warner store, opening this fall, and is the visionary founder of Folk Rebellion—a lo-fi media brand on a mission, guiding a plugged-in world towards finding freedom IRL. Read on for a first-hand perspective of our dinner series from Nicole Re.
I arrived early and decided to walk down the rocky beach to take in the ocean and lighthouse at the tip of Montauk. I sat for a moment absorbing the energy of the sea and thinking of how I would connect to everyone at the dinner. I had just wrapped up a book and considered a line I read about how each person you come across has a message for you. I thought deeply about who I might meet this evening and what message they would have.
As I entered George’s Lighthouse Cafe, I got the vibe that it was mostly a burgers-and-fries-place with different daiquiri options highlighted over the bar. I imagined that bikers would stop here as they cruised out to the point. There was a pool table outside that sat on top of fake grass. A huge outline of George Washington hung over the fireplace that was on despite the 80-degree weather.
Eclectic in the best way possible, I began to introduce myself to people. I become a bit awkward in these networking settings. I truly go in with an open mind and zero agenda, then I overthink things and it becomes very unnatural for me to try and say the exact right things to represent why I am there.
So why was I here? Whalebone partnered with lululemon to do this series of dinners inviting folks that were making an impact. My reason was to represent lululemon’s social impact program, Here to Be. They bring yoga to underprivileged/under-served communities, and I teach trauma-informed yoga to the women staying at a domestic abuse shelter called The Retreat.
First question was, ‘What was your old AIM name?’
I thought I might emphasize that yes, there are underprivileged people in the Hamptons … then I thought maybe I would insult people (again overthinking … be cool Nicole. Tell them you teach yoga and cook privately, then segue into the most important work you do). It’s a strange thing discussing the work … the topic at the table was about who has done you a solid—led by Jess Davis (whose brand Folk Rebellion strives to help people achieve digital well-being). She had us focus on disconnecting from technology to be present, so we placed our phones on airplane mode. First question was, “What was your old AIM name?” Nice icebreaker, although it gave me the feeling I was at some corporate team-building dinner—despite the feeling it was entertaining and prompted a good laugh.
I started to talk about the work I do when Jess prompted us to share how we landed at the table. It was such a pleasure talking to Aynsley and Brian Schopfer, owners of Grain Surfboards. We laughed a lot getting real about the sustainability of this place, raising kids and Lyme Disease. I asked them how they came to create such a fun business. They explained they had moved from a beautiful space in Rhode Island and that the inspiration came with, “You can push a man into a wave or teach him how to build a board.” I smiled.
Dinner arrived. An unbelievable five-course dinner set in the backdrop of this unassuming bar. The chef came out, and we all applauded. He told us to wait until after we ate the food. After, we should have given a standing ovation. The food was amazing.
Nelli (regional manager at lululemon) also teaches for United We Om, only he shares his love of yoga with the Boys of Mercy First on Long Island (who provide care to families in need). He teaches in Spanish, and you can see the passion for this shine through his eyes as he explains his journey from Columbia, crediting his aunt for landing at this table. He pays it forward by doing things like this and having the opportunity to give back. He can show her through action. Loved that. I followed with the role of trauma-informed yoga and how it can help those suffering from PTSD in a setting like the Retreat Shelter.
Roman Roth of Wollfer was beyond funny and insightful. As the sun set over the Atlantic, we were deep in conversation and totally at ease. Jess created tangible physical connections in the way of little notebooks with the words “Folk Rebellion” on the front. “It gives prompts like talking to strangers and shit like that. Trust me, you’ll be okay.”
As it turns out, a lot of the folks I was dining with were strangers, and although I had to dip out a little early (not checking my phone and the good company made me lose track of time), I have to say Whalebone and lululemon certainly made lightning strike twice by gathering an awesome group of people making BIG change. The message? Put the phones down, take time for self-love. Real self-love. Disconnect to connect and remember those who have helped you on the path and who you have helped on yours.