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!

5 Things I’m Smitten With 53

 

Fitist
Before I had my studio, I taught Pilates all over the city. One of my more pleasurable experiences was at Flywheel Sports. I learned to spin, and got to be a part of something on the ground floor, and I met so many fantastic people- including Caroline Levy Limpert. Caroline did press among many other things for Flywheel, and we hit it off right away. Now, about a year later we both have launched our own ventures. Mine, a boutique Pilates studio in Union Square, her’s Fitist, a one-stop website for fitness devotees and those who aspire to be one. Caroline, along with her partner and equally delightful lady, Neda Talebian Funk, are on to something here. These “fitists” have assembled some of the hottest experts like celebrity trainer David Kirsch and well known Pilates mogul, Alycea Ungaro- and invited them to design workout plans for everyone from the tri-athlete to the “rookie”. Partnering with some of NYC’s leading classes and studios, their site is a one-stop-shop to manage, book, and plan your fitness regime. Enjoy perks other than just looking and feeling great- like last minute deals on personal training, massage, and even private Pilates sessions (some with yours truly). If trying to be fit gives you a headache, these ladies will ease your pain.

 

 

Madewell
Ever since my all-time favorite clothing store, Martin and Osa shuttered, I’ve been a fashion ship without an rudder. After months of mourning, I’ve found a new brand for my life, Madewell. Owned by JCrew, Madewell is like their younger, hipper, edgier sister. While they’re still classic and timeless designs (they offer solid basics that will go with everything you already have in you wardrobe), they mix it up with polka dot pants, mis-matched patterns, and bohemian touches like fur collars, bo-ho beads, and combat boots. The designs are the same high quality that you’re used to from J-Crew, at a similar price point. Make sure to sign up for their mailing list to get discounts and be in the know about sales and new styles. Check out their fall lookbook, just be sure to keep a handkerchief handy to wipe up the drool that’s sure to occur.

 

 

Humblebrag
There’s nothing better than false modesty, except maybe the real thing. Addicted to Twitter, I love that I’m capable of perusing the tweet-o-sphere for hilarious little gems. My newest favorite, that’s all the titter of twitter is Humblebrag. The humblebrag is the ultimate ironic statement. You’re so famous that you have to tell everyone you hob-nob with David Beckham, only to add it he is less than stellar. You want everyone to know that you’re a successful novelist, but also that you were pained when you saw someone leaf through your novel only to put it promptly back on the shelf. You’re gorgeous and glamourous enough to be mistaken for Jackie O, but feel the need to make the rest of us ogres feel better by saying they probably thought you were the elderly Jackie O. In other words, the privileged and favored’s laughable views on their lives. Follow them for a daily dose of hilarity and if you hear of any humble brags yourself send them their way!

 

 

Cherries
Summertime means bounty at our local NYC Farmer’s markets. One of my summer favorites are cherries! I eat them straight out of the bowl most times, but lately I’ve been craving some Cherries Jubilee. Here’s the recipe I use. This year I’m getting a cherry pitter to make my life a little easier and make the jubilee materialize faster. Here’s to life being just like a bowl of cherries!

 

Kickstarter
I first heard of Kickstarter when my good friends Lee and Scarlett Cherry, two amazingly talented artists, were using the site to gain funding for their music project- Labor of Love. Scarlett is an incredible singer and together with her husband Lee, they decided to document the birth of their first child musically. It’s a new dawn where artists, musicians, designers, chefs, directors, and writers can bank their dream projects by reaching benefactors where they couldn’t before. This benevolent service resurfaced when my good friend and old neighbor, Christine Haynes who is an budding designer, contacted me about a line of patterns she’s hoping to fashion after her designs using Kickstarter. It’s nice to know that my donation can help artists who need really need it (plus if you give a certain amount you get a gift, GIFTS I said!) So I’m giving what I can to help Christine and you should too. Whether your pockets are deep (or shallow like mine), each dollar makes it way to where it’s needed. So give, just give.

Why you need a website

Last month I did a guest blog for Fit with Flair about the importance of having a website for your business. THEN, just last week a good friend and very talented massage therapist, emailed me to ask for help her promoting her business. The thing is- she has NO WEBSITE!!! I couldn’t believe it. All of that work promoting but no where for people to go to find her! A website is one of THE most important things you can do for your business. Check out my post to see why. Vanessa (I could link to your website here V but you don’t have one!)- this one is for you!

Lindsay Lopez | Form Pilates

Written on November 6, 2011

Websites and Social Media, oh my!

Somehow in the infancy of my business, without being informed of it’s true value, I knew the importance of a having a website.

When I started my company, FORM Pilates, almost 10 years ago now, It was one of the first things I did.

Initially, my Pilates business was out of my home, so I knew that without a website notifying who I was and what I did- no one would ever hear of me. I did my homework, looked at tons of other fitness and Pilates business’ sites for ideas. I saw what worked, but mostly what didn’t. The majority of the sites I checked out were confusing, hard to navigate, and missing pertinent information. Armed with this ammunition I created a site that was visually pleasing, without hard-to-load flash, and was the essence of who I was as a business. It was easy to navigate, with links on each page to anywhere on the entire site. No need to click back to go where you’ve already been.

Ah, those were the days. 10 years ago Pilates wasn’t the phenomenon it is today. The internet wasn’t as congested with studios and practitioners as it is today. I got most of my new clients from my website, and because I was the only studio in my area google ranked me as #1. You won’t find that that’s the case in this technology age. Your website is now a virtual business card and everyone has one. SEO has clogged up the web-o-sphere so much that getting your site to appear in a simple search is harder than getting accepted into college! This spawned the dawn of social-media and it’s importance to getting yourself noticed.

Since our existence can be virtually virtual, we don’t network in bars or at meetings, but online- on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Your website is the final destination, but your connection to the world begins where everyone is congregating. I mean, who isn’t on Facebook these days (except maybe your Mom, which can be a good thing)? Even our children and pets have their own twitter accounts! If you want to spread your entrepreneurial wings you have to be Social Media savvy.

Here’s my bit of advice for anyone who will listen:

Hire a designer to do a professional website and get in-the-know with the social media revolution. Don’t try to do a website on your own- it will look home-made. Ask around for recommendations, you can get a professional website without all the frills for less than $500 these days.
Take courses online for free on how to drop into the social media world. I belong to Ladies who Launch (who have free web-inars weekly) and I also subscribe to HubSpot  who has wonderful free webinars as well. Join Hootsuite to easily moderate your online media presence, and above all stick with tweeting and posting stuff that you find interesting and valuable.

Your followers can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Overall- be yourself, stick to your guns, and follow your gut. You’ll find your tribe, and they will be just who you wanted them to be.

I challenge you to pick one thing you can do to update your website and up your game and get to it now not later! Share your plan in the comments below….

If this article rocks your business pants sign up to my “teacher’s list to get more awesome content here, it’s free! I’ll be launching a FREE website webinar early next year that you won’t want to miss…so get on the list!