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!

I’m Smitten With…Laguna Beach

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We all have them – those nostalgic places we went to as kids. The vacations we took year after year. The traditions that flagged your family’s summer sojourn. We all have our own, which are as different as fingerprints molding our idea of fun and free time. The joy of taking time off. I certainly have my happy place, and that’s Laguna Beach California. Laguna is the third oldest city in Orange County. Mostly farmland in the early 1900s, by 1920 artists were seeping in between the hills and valleys and into this seaside sanctuary. A group of landscape painters who settled there laid the foundation for the art scene as it is today. A little bit hippy mixed with some serious money (I’m sure you’ve seen the reality show of the same name), the community is filled with all sorts. Although giant palatial homes beam down from the hilltops, they have yet to scare away the starving artists. It’s this symbiosis that makes for a truly magical place.

Every year since I was too young to even remember, my family had an August trip down to “Goonie Beach”. We stayed at a hotel right on the water, beginning my love affair with the ocean. I did everything I could to be as close to that blue scape as I could, even dragging my blankets out to the balcony so the waves could lull me to sleep. On the days we weren’t sunning, we went exploring in the shops, art galleries, and summer art festivals, like the Pageant of the Masters or the Sawdust Festival. The food is typical Californian with all levels of dining experience from a famous waterside Mexican seafood eatery, Las Brisas, to the taco stands complete with surfers in their wetsuits. On the days when the humidity and steamy sidewalks of NYC get me down I simply conjure up a cool Laguna breeze, some sand under my feet, a good fish taco, and pretend I can hear the ocean. 

 

I’m Smitten With- Grey’s Anatomy

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Summer entertainment means great movies but crappy TV. Most shows are on a hiatus until the fall so you’re stuck watching that same episode of Friends for the 900th time. This year, I’ve complicated things even more by giving up my cable box during my last move so my options are even more limited. In a fit of entertainment deprivation, I flipped anxiously through my Hulu Plus library and suddenly, I found it, Grey’s Anatomy. Like an old friend you run into on the street, we remembered each other fondly and it was instantly just like old times! There are a total of 9 seasons and good ole Hulu has every single one. Back in the day, I think I only made it through about 3 seasons before getting irritated by the sheer soap-opera-ness, but this time around it’s just delicious! Plus, it comes in handy to have them all in one place when you’re blowing through 2 or 3 episodes every couple of nights. With this supply, it should last me all summer. I completely forgot how geekishly charming George is or how Cristina and Izzy’s BFF personalities perfectly foil Meredith’s. And COME ON!!! MEREDITH!!! She has the kind of raspy, sex voice one can only hope to attain by sucking down packs of menthol cigarettes, au natural. She’s effortlessly beautiful even after not having a wink of sleep, working doubles, and eating cold pizza for breakfast. We secretly hope she and Derek don’t work out so we can have Patrick Dempsey for our own, but either way there’s plenty of eye candy around if that doesn’t work out. Between all of that AND the odd health issues and tragic accidents, I am completely entranced. Since I am obsessed with the show all over again, I plan to spend my summer watching until my eyes bleed or my AC gives out, whichever comes first.

ps- added bonus is season 10 starts this fall so get to watchin’ y’all!!!