5 Things January 2014

5-things-62

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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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 61

Justin’s Almond Butter
With my active lifestyle, I’m always on the go, so sometimes fortifying myself on my feet can be tricky. On the streets of NYC, where a pizza slice is a given, I find myself ferreting around for something wholesome to put in my belly. After much thought, I’ve conjured up my all-time favorite childhood snack, an apple with peanut butter, and gave it 2012 makeover. Thanks to Justin’s (who produces the most divine nut butters), my kiddie nibble is even more nutritious with 6-7 grams of protein per serving, free of gluten, dairy, and trans-fats, and is completely vegetarian, and kosher. Justin, is founder Justin Gold, who started his first batches of gourmet nut butters in his home kitchen with one food processor. Now, you can find his products at Whole Foods, Safeway, or Kroger. You can purchase the 16oz jars for at-home use but I prefer the 1.15oz squeeze packs. I snapped up every flavor, like classic almond, honey almond, maple almond, and chocolate almond, to throw in my bag with an apple. Now that’s something that’ll keep the doctor away!

 

Tumi Luggage
After Christmas shopping is almost as good as getting gifts under the tree. This year, my Mom and I headed downtown to SoHo to do some damage. We stumbled upon the Tumi store front and wandered in. I’ve always associated Tumi naturally, with luggage. That’s what they do and they do it well. With some of the lightest luggage, one of the first to do 360 degree swivel wheels, a tracer that helps locate lost luggage, and even a comprehensive warranty, they are simply the leader in suitcases- but did you know they also have the loveliest bags, wallets, and accessories? The day we went they were having a killer sale and I got THE best tote with loads of inner pockets for all my stuff (similar to this), a wallet that has more compartments than I can fill (and my last wallet was stuffed!!), and a key chain that has removable hooks and matches my bag. The sales people in the store went above and beyond with service, like sending me a brand new version of my wallet right to my door complete with free shipping. All of my goodies have warranties just like their iconic suitcases, so now I’m not just traveling in style but commuting in it as well.

 

Sally B’s Skin Yummies
Last edition I mentioned my infatuation with Kimberly Snyder. Besides her food wisdom Kim endorsed only one manufacture of the stuff that goes on after you wash your face, makeup. Sally B’s Skin Yummies is one of the few in the cosmetic industry that is truly organic, hand-crafted, non-toxic, and completely Paraben-free. I ordered Sally’s tinted moisturizer (it feels like smoothie for your skin), and her Get Even Finishing Powder which is a light mineral powder that blots out excess oil and evens out my skin tone. I’ve been using the two together daily and my skin looks flawless and without irritation. The organic nature of these products make my skin feel healthy and don’t irritate my breakouts. Now, a convert, I’m dying to place my next order and try some other products such as her B Glossy Lip Gloss, Herba-pads Underarm Deoderant, and her Natural Buff Cuticle Bar.

 

Comptoir Des Cotonniers
More Mother and daughter shopping ensued during the holidays, this included my first purchase from Comptoir des Cotonniers. Obviously French, this clothing label is just like a French woman, stylish, sophisticated, a la mode, and ephemeral. Not new on the scene, this brand has been trending since their inception in 1995. Notorious for using un-named models, Comptoir uses real mother/daughter combos for their advertisments- they even have a link to apply to model their digs on the site. Mom, interested in playing dress up? While the price points definitely reflect the luxury of this line, it is worth every penny! I snagged a pair of the most gorgeous high-waisted black cotton blend pants and a classy wool boucle jacket that’s perfect with an oversized scarf. They have pretty hefty sales so their goods can be found on the cheap-er. Bloomingdales has a mini-store version of their relaxed and intimate boutiques, which there are 5 of in NYC. Their spring line is equally to die for and is sporting white tuxedo jackets with hints of lemon. Le sigh….

 

The New Starbucks App
Well, the java kings have done it again with their newest innovation that enables you to get your coffee in under 10 seconds flat. The newest version of the Starbucks App spotlights the ability to pay for your beverage with your iphone! You can still do all the things you used to with on the previous version of their app like, reload your card, find the nearest Barrista, and track your stars in their rewards program. Just bring up the barcode on your phone, they scan it directly, and voila! You are seconds closer to getting caffeine in your veins. You can thank your local Starbucks.