WHY I’M FEELING FIERCE THIS WEEK (HINT: ELEPHANT JOURNAL)

Yesterday was a big day. An article that I’ve been working on for months was accepted and published by Elephant Journal. This is a really personal piece so I took some time to consider how I wanted to share it with the World. Here on my blog alone just didn’t seem right.

I wanted to propel this one out, which was admittedly extremely scary and vulnerable. My palms were sweaty. I had to text my Mom and ask if I should share it and I didn’t want to, and she told me to go for it and it would be ok, so I did, and it was. Thanks Mom!

The feedback I’ve received overnight has been tremendous and I’m so, so happy that this piece has resonated with so many. People from my past life in clubs and dance music and so many other areas of my life have come out of the woodwork to share how they relate. The positivity is so energizing and inspiring. Proof that dance creates community.

I wanted to get this one out primarily because I’m worried for women. I’m worried for the stress we’re under, the insane standards we (and society) have set for us, the leaders who don’t understand how to lead us and the other women who don’t support or help others succeed. 

I wrote this piece because I’ve seen women do amazing things, and it had nothing to do with their job title or paycheck, but everything to do with their drive to do something to create change and bring joy, health and healing to others, in big or small ways.

I’ve worked with some amazingly talented people who flew under the radar with their greatness because there is a lot of shit working against them and not everyone wants the spotlight. I work in health and wellness and as much as this is an industry run by women it is also an industry inundated with really bad practices and in some cases men who don’t know how to manage us (not all men, and I’ve had my share of bad female managers too!).

The article was originally titled: “Off the Mat, Onto the Dancefloor” because my relationship with yoga is teaching me that being stuck on a square in a roomful of silent people who are stuck in their own heads, trying to burn calories so they look a certain way, or injuring themselves to get into a pose like their favorite insta yoga celebrity, may be keeping us stuck instead of opening us up. Don’t get me wrong, yoga is deeply engrained in me, but I’m worried about the future now that I’ve seen some of the leaders and some of the direction of growth.

Dancing has always taken me out of my head and forced me to be present. When I worked in clubs or went to parties I was able to fully express myself. The women I danced beside are powerful, creative and never apologized. They are fun, thoughtful and extremely loyal, they brought me a lot of joy in a lot of venues, on a lot of nights. I want to see more of that in my industry. I want to see women working together and growing together, not afraid to say no or ask for help. Not being made small. Not trying to be men or succeed based on the status quo, but instead owning who they are, powerful and strong and always embracing what’s ahead, while being grateful for the things that didn’t work out. Being positive when things get rough and dancing like our life and happiness depends on it.

Hope you get out and dance this week! THANK-YOU SO MUCH for reading and sharing <3

THE FIRST FIVE YEARS

One of my favorite musicals of all time is called The Last Five Years by J. R. BrownI know it by heart and although it’s a sad story, it’s also enduring. Two people tell the story of their five year relationship, she from the end to the beginning and he from the beginning to the end. Sounds confusing, but it’s really lovely. Each tell the story from their point of view and only meet in the middle, where they sing one song together and then are back on the path to their ultimate demise. The point of mentioning this story, and the reason that I think I love it so much is that it accepts and confronts the truth, that marriage is hard, it’s complicated and it’s rarely what you see on social media. It’s getting to know someone more deeply than you ever thought possible. It’s teaching each other things, staying curious and being champions for one another. It’s being vulnerable long past the first few dates and in new ways. It’s good at times, it’s bad at times, but it’s also so rewarding.

Today I’m celebrating five years of marriage with my husband and it’s so amazing to look back on the last nine years of our life together. The places we’ve gone, the journey’s we’ve been on together. The moves we’ve made, the push and pull of two upstaging, ego filled Leo’s trying to share their feelings, work together and understand who we are together. It feels like a lifetime already, but there’s so much more to go. I can’t believe how much we’ve both grown, both together and individually.

I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned and then I asked my other half, W, to be a guest on this post and share his thoughts as well:

What I’ve learned (and am still working on):

Stop striving for perfection and be present with the person right in front of you. The day after our wedding was a hurricane, not ideal, but oh well, it was still an insanely perfect day.

Growing together and as individuals is equally important.

Meet halfway, and also decide what’s truly worth arguing about. Let it go. Don’t pick fights because you’re scared.

Feed the whale. Before we got married, Wyatt and I did a marriage success course (yep, it’s a real thing and I totally recommend it!) and the thing I remember most is that you have to reward good behavior, that’s especially true for men (their words, not mine :).

Stay curious.

Have integrity. If you say you’ll be there, be there. Make your relationship a priority every day.

Don’t fear change. Thinking that a relationship will ‘change us’ causes us to become guarded. Call it growth instead of change. Growth is inevitable (and amazing) when we choose to share our lives with someone else.

Listen. Seriously. Put your phone down and hear what the other person is saying, be curious, be understanding.

Sometimes going to bed mad isn’t such a bad thing, resolution is often easier after a good nights sleep.

Keep exploring. Each other and the World.

What W’s Learned:

Focus on your own individual happiness. This way you can bring joy and love to your partner when you get to spend time together. 

I consider my wife my best friend, I share everything with her good or bad. This friendship is imperative to our relationship.

Time apart is awesome, every time I’m away from my wife, I miss her – we are independent souls and individualists so this time apart is an important space to create and then get to refill!

Make decisions together and be OK with the answer when it’s NO. The more important decisions you work through as a couple, the stronger the bond. 

Touch each other – even just a pat on the butt or holding hands often – it’s something to remind us that we are sensual beings and to take it easy.

Learn the signs of a bad argument and draw lines around the communication. My wife and I occasionally get stuck and dig our heels into an argument. It’s better to take a walk, blow off steam etc. before saying something that leaves a mark. 

Sex – often, it matters. 

You can’t make the relationship be anything other than what it is. Life is too short to try to change people. I accept my wife and love all the nuanced behavioral traits as a part of what makes her whole.

Explore the world together. For my wife and I, rarely are we as alive as when we are visiting a new country- Romantico!

Be curious, learn about what makes her happy. I often ask to try something out that she’s interested in. Right now we’re cooking Blue Apron together. 

It’s been an awesome journey and I’m so excited for the next five years to come.

GOODBYE 20’S, WELCOME 30’S

This weekend I turned 30 and I’m over the moon excited and so ready to enter this new decade. Not to put any pressure on it, but I have a strong feeling my 30’s are going to be more amazing than my 20’s could’ve ever hoped to be. I’m not sure why everyone is so scared to leave their 20’s? Frankly, I’ve found this past decade to be somewhat unnerving.  I mean you get out of school and everyone is like, ok, you studied something random for four years, now go and be a productive part of society, ok?!  I mean entering the workforce at exactly the moment the economy took a dive has been interesting, to say the least. Plus, apparently I’m a millennial, I get that now and am actually ok with it thanks to this new podcast, the most recent episode, ‘Screw it, I’m going outside,’ basically sums up my career path thus far.

Thirty feels like the age of wisdom, maybe the path will begin to become clear, maybe not, and that feels more ok. NOTHING IS A STRAIGHT LINE! I trust that every step I take and every person I meet is moving me in the right direction.

I have to say, though, when I wrote down everything that I accomplished in my 20’s I realized two things:

  1. I’m really hard on myself. It’s never enough. Why do we do this (ladies, I’m looking at you)?
  2. I actually accomplished a lot and I’m pretty proud of it.
  3. I spend too much time comparing and that is pointless!

30 events that have transpired and lessons I’ve learned in the last decade that have helped shaped me:

  1. Lived in NYC for five glorious years
  2. Worked in theatre in NYC and saw more shows than I can count
  3. Travelled to Spain and Tokyo on my own on my first big adventure that forever changed me
  4. Switched career paths and left theatre to find my calling in health and wellness
  5. Worked for several amazing companies including Wanderlust, Integrative Nutrition and now sweetgreen making friends for life and gaining amazing experience
  6. Met and married a really cool guy that I met in a night club through odd circumstances. The odds were probably against us, but I love him more than ever and we’ve been married five years in August!
  7. Got married in Montauk on the beach
  8. Travelled a ton with above mentioned dude and have had a million incredible experiences with him in Australia, Indonesia, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Hawaii, Mexico and more states than I can count.
  9. Learned that travelling and experiences are the best things to spend money on
  10. Learned that obsessing over food gets you nowhere, balance is everything
  11. Became a health coach
  12. Quit smoking
  13. Lost my Grandma to cancer
  14. Moved coasts twice
  15. Welcomed my niece Anjali into the world
  16. Welcomed my baby sister August into the World and embraced my modern family
  17. Supported my Mom through recovery and my sister through pregnancy
  18. Went to Thailand to deepen my yoga practice and get certified
  19. Taught yoga at my home studio and others in Brooklyn
  20. Did the AIDS walk every year that I lived in NYC
  21. I actually get paid to write for amazing companies and people- what?!
  22. Built this blog and am writing for so many others that I don’t get to write here enough
  23. Wrote a musical about dance music culture
  24. Danced on stage at Red Rocks twice
  25. Danced on stages all over NYC and Denver
  26. Completed the full Landmark Education program
  27. Became a dog mama (twice!)
  28. Worked at Wanderlust festivals around the US and Canada, practiced with the greatest teachers and made the most amazing connections and friends
  29. Realized the importance of keeping the good people close and losing the ones that don’t build you up, inspire you and help you grow.
  30. Learned the importance of self-care!

This exercise of looking back was really powerful for me and a great reminder that we never give ourselves enough credit, never appreciate all of the work that we’re doing, all of the growth that we’re experiencing, all of the lives we’re impacting. Is every day perfect? No! Not by a long shot. Honestly, some days I want to just give up, I get worn out and anxious, I wonder what all of the hard work is for, but it’s coming, I know it is, and it’s so exciting to think about the possibilities.

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In my 30’s I’d like to give back more, find a company that I can really grow with (or create my own), extend our family, become a gardener, spend more time with friends and so much more TBD…

I HAD A SPIRIT GUIDE READING AND HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED

Remember The Wonder Years theme song about getting help from your friends? I love the premise of that song, we all need guidance sometimes and lately I’ve been feeling like a little support may be just what the doctor ordered. Afterall, I have some super exciting stuff going on and really feel that I’m closer than ever to my calling, but sometimes the messages are unclear and my energy scattered. My brain is often super busy questioning if I’m on the right track and doing what I “should be” doing. Sound familiar? If not, please share your secrets! Anyways, I shared this feeling with my friend Emily at brunch recently. Emily is a manager at Lululemon and an amazing life crafter, goal-setter, manifester type chick, who sent me the name and phone number of a woman named K who does spirit readings. K only corresponds via text until your phone call, which I found to be at first since my job is to market health and wellness and I can’t imagine having just referrals create a business, umm, wow! But, after setting up my appointment (2 weeks out) I thought, ok, this chick must be doing something right.

THE READING

I’d consider myself a dabbler in the spiritual world. I’ve worked with coaches, done crystal skull healing in Mexico, numerology, tarot cards and I draw Art of Attention cards daily. However, there is still so much out there that I haven’t tried so I couldn’t wait to learn more about those forces around me that “have my back”, so to speak.

The entire week leading up to my reading I was so excited for it, I had a great feeling and was energized by the experience. Thursday was a busy day and I just barely made it home in time to pick up the phone and call K, but when she picked up I immediately felt relaxed,  in tune and focused; K is soft, warm and lighthearted with a really genuine laugh. We started by breathing together to ground ourselves in the present moment and then she asked me to say my name out loud three times and start thinking about my life and questions that I have, but not to say them out loud as she wants to gather the information from the reading. As usual, my brain was flooded with a million thoughts, mostly future focused and probably largely fear based. I thought of my husband and my dogs, my career and our lovely new life in Oakland as well.

Loud sound in the background– cards being shuffled. K asked me to tell her when to stop. I barely had to think and said, ‘now,’ I was sure.

K began talking, a lot, and really fast. I was writing furiously, I’m a chronic note taker. She said the spirits were very active and had a lot to share, she seemed to be having two conversations. One with me, and one with them. She said there was a sadness around my heart, a sense of loss, a scattered energy. Hmmm. She said it’s not a person, but maybe a place, a home, people. Looking too much in the past. Yep, that’s NYC. I guess I am still mourning my loss of that home and all of the inspiration I left there.

She spoke of my marriage; ‘you’re both looking in the same direction’, that’s good! 

And the most poignant part of the call was on the second shuffle of the deck when she spoke of my purpose. This was it, what I really wanted to know. I’m here to share knowledge, to teach, and do so through a creative outlet which has always been dance, cooking and especially writing. She said this calling will eventually bring me money!( What?! For real? Great!) She continued–You are a story weaver, a creator, and have a great piece of work inside of you. She said, ‘The spirits say this year you will get your wish, but you’ll need to plan for it and I see a lot of work in your future!” At this point I’m totally on-board and excited– “yes, ok, great, amazing!” Finally, she says, you’ll encounter bumps, but your guides want to remind you that you’re EXACTLY where you need to be. Who doesn’t need to hear that from time to time?

AN INTRO TO YOUR SPIRIT GUIDES

Another fascinating part of the reading is being introduced (unless you’re lucky enough to be tapped in already) to your spiritual guides and angels. K said, “we call them angels because we envision them protecting us, wrapping their wings around us, we can relate to that imagery, but really, I don’t see wings, I see energy, they wrap us in energy”. I did further research after and read another definition that resonated: ‘ Spirit Guide is a non-physical entity that is usually seen as the higher self, an angel, a highly evolved being or group of higher beings, their main purpose is to help protect the individual, assist in spiritual development or even provide a source of inspiration.” Pretty cool, right?

K described my spirit guides to me and my primary guide, the one that was most present during the reading had a male presence, although “spirits are sexless”, she added. K told me my guides were adamant that I wasn’t asking for help enough, “but I didn’t even know I could,” I protested”! She advised me to start asking in small ways, to build the muscle so to speak. Ask for a parking spot, ask for advice on a tough decision, ask for a miracle! Done and done.

This call was personal, moving and emotional, she said things about my future, my husband and my possibilities that moved me and held so much truth. During and after the call I felt a strange vibration and excitement, like I was winning the lottery, and I still feel that way a few days later. Some parting words of advice I received were, “Let your path unfold, get quiet, focus on the third chakra (the source of power, self-esteem, transformation), breath and get calm to hear the answers within you, listen to your deep intuition, because it is in you.” My spirits insist that there is never a right time to take a leap, so you just have to go for it, do it and trust. We are all here for a specific purpose, we have a contract to fulfill and it’s so important that we each go for it!  She said, “when you’re doing what you’re meant to do it will just flow out of you”.  Funny, I wrote this piece like my hands were on fire. I feel good, alive and reaffirmed in my mission to spread the love, light and wisdom in whatever ways I can. 

A GOODBYE LETTER TO 2015

Thanks to E.B. for introducing and offering this end of year practice. I recommend everyone try this, it’s felt very liberating getting these words out and saying goodbye to the good and the bad!  

Dear 2015,

Before we say goodbye I want to thank-you for everything that you have been and everything that you have not. This has been a year of change and opening, learning, feeling alone and embracing a new life. You’ve asked me to find growth and accept change in new ways, starting with a cross country move from NYC to Berkeley. Leaving friends and a life that was invigorating and inspiring, but draining and ripe for change was a sudden and intense experience.

You forced me to help my family in a time of need, mourn the loss of two people close to me, not just through death, but also separation, which often feels worse. Alternately, you allowed me to welcome in health and light for my Mom and be with her through an amazing transformation.

On the West coast you’ve put me through the ringer and asked me to truly consider what the work is that I’m after and that will feed my heart and soul, I’m still on that path, but my writing truly lights me up and I got to do so much of it this year; meeting new people, writing for amazing brands and entrepreneurs, stretching my skills and giving me some time to enhance my own blog and clarify my work.

You gave me my dream home in the hills surrounded by nature where I can really let my mind wander and get great sleep. You’ve given me new friends and re-connected me with a few oldies that I’m so glad to have near me!

2015, you’ve asked me to be ok in extreme change and it’s been really hard and uneasy, but I know this is something that I’ve needed to work on for some time. Fortunately, I have the best partner anyone could ask for and this year has been one of hard truths and growth for us as well as we learn more about one another and discover what nearly a decade of togetherness looks like and who we want to be as a pair and individually.

You’ve also allowed me to rescue the sweetest little being I’ve ever met, a 6-lb Chihuahua named Bernadette who has brought me so much joy and love I can’t even describe it. I feel my love and dedication to animals growing non-stop and I truly desire to commit myself to helping bring change for them next year. 

You took me on so many adventures I can’t even count. Not only in this big move but also around the World to BerlinCabo San Lucas, Whistler, NYC, LA, Australia, Colorado, Calistoga and more. You’ve kept Wanderlust in my life literally and figuratively and staying in that community has meant so much and I know I’m not meant to be still. 

2016 is a year of expansion, not staying in something that doesn’t resonate, continuing to find my true path and staying present throughout the ups and downs. Feeling less constriction in change and being open energetically to what may come, continuing to strengthen my body and settle my mind through an ever changing yoga practice.

Thanks for everything 2015, you’ve been real but it’s time to move on. Goodbye 2015.

All my love,

C

TALKING ABOUT MY NEW SITE NAME + INTRODUCING THE FIRST FIERCE LIST!

Close to 4 years ago I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and my own life and health changed forever. Before finding this course I still smoked, usually daily, I had no idea how to eat in a way that would make me feel great, or how to take care of myself and find balance. About halfway through the year-long program I attended one of the live conferences in California with my sister C and we were both blown away by the people who spoke there and how huge an impact they were each making on the World through their work as healers, chefs, entrepreneurs, coaches, etc.

After the conference, on the drive to Santa Barbara, C and I talked about how we wanted to use this education. I was very excited to try corporate wellness and help companies keep their employees happy and healthy and also to do something that I had always loved, but didn’t previously feel very empowered to do, share information through my writing. C, on the other hand was interested in coaching one on one and working with women. So what does all of this have to do with changing the name of my site? Well, as C and I  talked about our vision for changing people’s lives we also brainstormed business names. The words fresh and fierce really stuck out to me and we wrote them down that day. I ended up choosing a more city-centric name since I was working in NYC, but I still called my blog ‘Fresh & Fierce’ because I loved the words so much. Finally, I’m in a new city and have become clear that writing is my passion and my calling and I need to write, maybe full time, maybe as a hobby, but this site will now be dedicated to that love and passion for sharing information.

These two words merge together two awesome ideas; living a healthy life and feeling awesome doing it, here’s what I mean:

Fresh- Food, ideas, destinations, and inspiration.

Fierce- There are a few definitions, but I like this one, ‘showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.‘ Believing in who you are and sharing that with the World.

I will still be offering my coaching and yoga teaching services, but also want to make this a place for learning, conversation, and creation first and foremost. Hope you’ll join me here often!

In honor of my new name, I’d also like to start a new tradition with the first ‘Fierce list’. Today’s list is dedicated to Women in Wellness that I admire for their amazing work. These chicks are FRESH and FIERCE, and I feel so lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work with them:

1) Sasha Yoga + Wellness– S is like my other twin sister. We have the same likes and dislikes, both do some serious asana and love sun and sand. S is also one of the most dedicated yogis I know, she loves to share her wisdom and run around NYC teaching a million classes a week. She’s a one of a kind unicorn.

2) BeWellWithArielle– My first day working at IIN I noticed two things 1) there were a ton of beautiful confident women there and 2) everyone was wearing really cool rings and necklaces with a silver heart and a pearl in the center. I tracked down the source and purchased myself an i love me ring from A’s collection, she let me walk around with it on and make sure it was the right fit, both spiritually and literally. A is one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met. She has a huge warm smile and takes her work very seriously. She is now a superstar, doing cooking shows on Glamour and helping the planet learn to cook easy and healthy food.

3) Bananas and Bellinis– My sweet friend K is one of those people that you can tell anything, is super warm, and friendly and will always make you smile. Her site is dedicated to those that want to be good but also a little bad. She’ll help you find the right balance of both and have a great time doing it.

4) Whole Foodie Booty S is amazing at so many things. She cooks, she coaches, she plans. If I had to plan another wedding (please no, never again), I’d ask S. She’s a serious do-er and a great friend.

5) 8020 Wellness– When I started my work in corporate wellness I literally googled coaches in NYC and L popped up. I called her and we’ve been friends ever since. She is a fitness and wellness rockstar, helping companies and individuals feel and look awesome. She is also an amazing friend and committed to bringing great women together.

6) Blair Badenhop  I’d describe B as a Jill of all trades. She was my boss for part of my time at IIN, running a large part of the company with ease and grace and I learned a ton from her! She’s now branched out on her own to write, coach, and inspire people to fall in love with their lives. Pretty freakin’ cool.

7) Lemon Stripes– The day I met Julia I thought, I want to grow up and be like this girl. J get’s shit done in a serious way and she is so transparent and straight forward that you trust her instantly. She’s also tremendously talented and runs one of the most popular fashion blogs out there. She’s always sure to throw in some wellness as well. I don’t know much about fashion, but I always trust J to tell me what is in and out.

8) Crop Tops and Kale– Created by three of the coolest chicks I know, Crop Tops and Kale gives a serious (but lighthearted) look at fitness, food, health, fashion, and feeling good. More ‘F’ words that I love!! D, L, and B are all super talented and I have a feeling this will be everyone’s go-to site for useful information in the very near future.

9) Stephanie Morish– S and I attended Yoga Teacher Training together last year in Thailand and became fast friends. She is one of those people that you just immediately get along with and will be your friend for life. S is passionate about Ayurveda and cooking to maximize health and has become seriously educated around both topics. I’ve learned a ton from her, including how to make some amazing Kitchari!

10) Goddess Glow Wellness– M is a sparkly little Grecian with a heart of gold. She offers great advice, health coaching and is a fellow adventurer. Check out her blog and enjoy a ton of fun and thoughtful advice weekly!

11) Living Body Wellness– D is super smart and creative, works full time, and has two kids; she knows a thing or two about creating balance.  She is an amazing writer and has been coaching women for a long time. Having worked with D I can say that she won’t quit until the job is done and always has a million ideas. Check out her pretty new site for tons of great articles focused on health, inspiration, and family.

Thanks for all the amazing inspiration ladies, keep up the #fierceness!