5 Things January 2014

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1Savor The Success
Over two years ago I did something that many of you might think is crazy. I took over a boutique Pilates studio in the heart of NYC. Maybe what came to your mind wasn’t “crazy” per se, but I sure as hell thought I must be a little off my rocker to sign my name on the dotted line, take on a Manhattan-sized commercial rent, and all the responsibility that comes with running a brick and mortar business. Maybe I was bananas, but I am passionate, driven, and somewhere inside I knew I could do it all by myself. Initially, having control of my own show was intoxicating. Eventually though, being the only one that made the decisions, pulled all the right strings, and signed all the checks can wear on you. I needed support and I needed it pronto. It was about that time a friend of mine told me about Savor The Success. Savor, is an all female community of entrepreneurs that not only own their own businesses, but also mean business. At first glance it seemed like every other networking group I’d come across. I delved deeper though, and discovered that the founder and president, Angela Jia Kim’s, success story resonated deeply. What is most appealing about her (and there are SO many things) is that she is just like most of us – no MBA, no previous business background. She too has this contagious fire inside of her and the smarts to boot. I’ve been a member of other “groups” but nothing is like the tribe that is Savor The Success. The women I’ve met in this group are playing big and are changing the rules of female success in our society. If I need help with my budget, I simply post a query on the site and in turn get five recommendations tout suite. If I’m stressed and tearing my hair out about a conflict I’ve had with a client or employee, I can call my savor sister and get the encouragement I crave. THESE are the women I was longing to meet, know, and hopefully, be someday. Already I am seeing what success we can achieve in numbers. I can’t wait to see what this collaboration means for me. I am blessed to now not have to fly solo any longer.

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2Layering
The Fall has fallen and we are being kissed with winter’s chill. My tanks and shorts are living under my bed for next year’s use and I’m enjoying enjoying the change of season and wardrobe choices. As we surrender to colder climes, we have to take care to bundle up, and I often find myself over or underdressed for the day’s adventures. What’s a fashionable (but temperature sensitive) lady to do? Layers lady, layers. The art of layering has long been passed down from fashionistas to fashionistas for generations. The basic rules for covering up with class are: keep the bottom layer fitted to avoid bulk, watch your lengths and proportions like pairing tight with loose and long with short, and always add a scarf on top! Check out my Pinterest board, Layers for some ideas to get you in the mood and inspire your skins! Happy Layering!

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3Tumi Collection
I have a sad tale to tell, but luckily this one has a happy ending. A couple of weeks ago, I took the train to meet my boyfriend for a weekend trip away. In my haste, distraction, and lack of sleep, I absentmindedly left my bag (a grey Tumi I took everywhere) with both my laptop AND iPad in it! Now, don’t judge. According to the NYPD, people leave stuff everyday on the subway. Being a seasoned New Yorker though I figured it was looong gone. By the grace of the universe some Good Samaritan found my electronic gold mine and agreed to return it. Oddly enough, my babies came home wrapped in a plastic bag and my Tumi carry-on was no where to be found!?!? I guess that just speaks to how coveted their luggage is, since someone would rather give up thousands of dollars of technology gear just to keep some free Tumi goodness. Needless to say, I am glad to have my stuff home, but am suddenly in the market for a replacement piece. In perfect synchronicity, in came the holiday Tumi catalog direct to my mailbox. SO many gems in there- but I have my eye on either the chic black and white Everett Tote or the Lejeune Backpack Tote, (or maybe BOTH;). Either way, I’m keeping a close eye on what is apparently everyone’s most prized possession – a Tumi bag.

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4Lady Gaga, Art Pop
Okay, I’m a big Gaga fan. Growing up with Madonna as my creative idol, this lady is like well, Madonna with talent. She really does sing, dance, play, and write her own music. It’s hard to argue with those skills. Finally, her long awaited new album Art Pop has landed and I’m Smitten, of course. My first taste of her sweet tracks came during spin class where good tunes are essential to coax you through sweaty pain. This album is by far my fav with some sick beats and head boppin’ samples. You can listen to it from beginning to end without needed to press the next key. Just trust me, take a listen, and you’ll see why she’s the new queen of pop.

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5Soul-Cycle
New Yorkers are very serious about their fitness. When it comes to Spin, there’s no exception. We have two Spinning cliques, those who do Soul-Cycle and those who don’t. I used to work for those who don’t (as a Pilates instructor, not as a spin one) and for fear of being branded defective, I never crossed enemy lines. Now years later, unfettered by employee obligations, I decided to see what all the fuss is about. What started out as pure convenience (their USQ studio is close to mine), ended up being a love affair that had me at “hello.” Taking a spin class always makes me a bit nervous. I didn’t grow up playing sports or being particularly athletic, but I try to do what scares me and so I took the leap. The space is a perfectly branded setting, with everything bearing their signature color (a bright yellow) and the Soul-Cycle logo, down to the hangers in the coat room. I was amazed that each classmate was plunking down $5 for a shoe rental and a special Smart Water, which fits perfectly in the water bottle cages on their bikes. Donning our special shoes, I waited anxiously outside the studio with the crowd, for the go-ahead to claim our electronically reserved bikes. Once inside, I looked around nervously at everyone making their bike adjustments with such competence. Almost instantly I was eased by one of the perky Soul-Cycle staffers wearing (surprise) a branded t-shirt, ready to help set me up on mine. The teacher was lively but not irritating. The music inspiring but not maddening. The class was really fun, not competitive. In just 45 sweaty minutes, I fell in love with the dance-y bike choreography, the dimmed candlelight, and how the experience motivated me to do things I never thought possible. After class I took my drenched self down to the fully stocked, spotless locker room with SIX (that’s a bunch in NYC!!!) showers so I could start my day feeling fresh. I now get my fix once a week, despite the Darwinian experience of signing up for a class (it’s like a race to see who will get the last crumb of bread aka your desired teacher, class time, and bike). The price is steep with a single class at $34 plus the extraneous $5 to look cool with shoes and a perfect water but it’s worth it every time. I am completely addicted to the experience that is Soul. Chances are, if you muster up the nerve to try a class, you will be too!

Don’t give up.

81489682ba2f05b13c3ce8af8d39a155Just six short months ago my life was at a standstill. Due to the wear and tear of being a professional dancer, I had seriously pulled my left hamstring. I always thought that when I had a life altering injury it would be my back or my knee. Although back and knee injuries are much worse, they often require surgery with a prescribed recovery. Hamstring injuries are much more elusive. No one really knows how long it can take to heal. In denial and jobless, I continued to dance and desperately audition on it for months. One particularly hectic morning, I forgot to pack my dance pants to wear under my skirt for an audition of West Side Story. I franticly ran around the garment district praying for a solution. Finally, I had to purchase an industrial sized pack of granny panties! By then I was too late to properly warm up for the audition (which always includes my hundred!) and dancing on it cold just made it worse. Finally, with much regret I realized I had better lay off of it or it wasn’t getting better. So, I went back to my roots. My Pilates roots that is.

At first I was unable to perform anything more than beginner Pilates exercises. I was pissed off and depressed not being able to dance for the first time in my life.  Somehow everyday I painstakingly practiced the basic Pilates repertoire. The hundred with bent knees, the 1/2 roll down, single leg circles with bent knees. Pilates was the only thing I could do to be physical and I clung to it like a girl overboard clings to her life raft. The days crept by like a death march and there was many a time during my long eight-month recovery (and my boyfriend can attest to this, he’s a saint by the way) that I was ready to throw up my hands. I was thoroughly convinced that I was never getting better, that I’d never be like I was before. I had resolved to give up my dreams. Before my injury I was an advanced Pilates student, and avid yogi, a professional dancer, a warrior. Being weak and in pain almost constantly drained my natural good nature and strength. I had no sense of who I was without my physicality. I wanted to give up and just be miserable and bitter, but I didn’t. Well at least not for long.

That’s when I started thinking, when do you know it’s time to give up? At what point do you accept where you’re at and just resign? As a Pilates instructor, I have had many a client try to convince me that they “can’t” get an exercise or “never will” progress. And although normally it’s an easy job to inspire them and convince them otherwise I was at a loss in my state. I could barely convince myself to get out of bed some mornings. I felt like a sham.  Who am I to lead others to recovery and health when I couldn’t inspire myself? My mentor overcame a serious neck injury with Pilates (and LOTS of hard work) and is now the strongest woman I know. I decided to make Mr. Pilates prove himself. It was him that said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” How do you begin to build without a single brick? Or be patient when you can’t seem to find anything worthwhile? Peter Drucker said “There is a risk you cannot afford to take, and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take.” Giving up gets you nothing. I decided to plant the seeds and try not to get discouraged if I didn’t see immediate results. So I pulled up my boot straps and kept going.

Here’s some tips that helped me:

1-    Find a mentor. When I lived in Los Angeles I had a Pilates instructor that knew my weakness and pushed me accordingly. Now in NYC I had to really look to find someone that inspired me. Taking with a great teacher motivates me to do the exercises correctly and do my homework.

2-    Do the things you don’t want to do. In my experience, the exercises and systems I loathe are the best ones for me. If I continued to only perform the easy exercises I’d have never gotten stronger. The added benefit of doing something you hate is the self confidence that only comes with slaying the demon.

3-    Limit stinkin’ thinkin’. Negative thoughts lead you down the road to no-where. Why not believe in the impossible?

4-    Progress is personal. Comparison to others is pointless. In the studio and in life. We’re all originals. There is no one just like you, so celebrate your unique-ness. Make the most of your sessions and focus on you!

Sometimes life takes you in a different direction than you were first headed, often at an entirely slower pace (just click to tweet;) Pilates is a constant. The specificity of the order and the precision of the exercises can lend comfort and familiarity during a time when nothing else can. I’ve been practicing Pilates for over ten years now (I’m older than you think!) and it always fits in my life wherever I’m at. Pilates is for you whether you’re healthy or injured, fit or out of shape, young or old, That is it’s magic. My advice is to you, take it or leave it, is not give up on yourself five minutes before the breakthrough occurs. In the end it’s always worth the effort, whatever the outcome.

I want to be your business and life mentor! Live your dreams! Get your FREE 1/2 hour consult with me in person, via phone or Skype.

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