7.30.2015

Eeyore and Intention







Dress: The Impeccable Pig, Shoes: Nordstrom, Bag: Lotus (I think)

I spend quite a bit of time reading.

I used to read predominantly fiction, but in the last few years I've started reading more books about intention, money, and stories that inspire me to live my "best life". You know, the type of stuff that makes you sit back and think. Where you close the cover of the book and really evaluate what you just read. Swallow it whole. Books with messages that hit home... heavier stuff with meat that sticks to your bones.

I just finished reading a book by Napoleon Hill that made me do just that. The first page of the book had a quote on it that I must have read about 3 times before turning to the next page.

"FEAR is the tool of a man-made devil. Self-confident faith in one's self is both the man-made weapon which defeats this devil and the man-made tool which builds a triumphant life. And it is more than that. It is a link to the irresistible forces of the universe which stand behind a man who does not believe in failure and defeat as being anything but temporary experiences." - Napoleon Hill

Let THAT shit sink in for a moment.

Fear is man-made.
Self-confident faith in one's self is the weapon which defeats fear and is the tool which builds a triumphant life.
The irresistable forces of the universe (God, nature, positivity) stand behind a person who does not belive in failure. 
Failure and defeat are temporary experiences.

Maybe you're thinking... what the hell is she talking about? And why the HELL am I still reading it? But, stay with me.

Have you ever met those people that seem to have the worst "luck"?

Every time you talk to them or hear from them they lead with bad news or a story about their misfortune? Someone (usually themselves) is sick, broke, in a bad relationship, sad, mad, a victim of someone else doing something to them? Most of what they post on social media is pessimistic or depressing (or an attempt to fish for sympathy). They "wish" they could change, but they "just can't" and it's not their "fault". It's just that nothing seems to go their way. Then, when you do try to offer an alternative way of thinking/solution/option they are too scared to change? Scared to leave a relationship, terrified to be alone, nervous to lose money, to meet people, to try new things, to make lifestyle changes that may in fact just make them happier?!?!?! They'd rather stay unhappy because their identity is tied up so tightly in some mess they always seem to be in. These are usually also the first people to talk smack about people around them who seem to be happy and doing "well".

Now... don't get on my ass. I'm not talking about people with clinical depression. I'm referring to people who find it preferable to go through life with a woe-is-me attitude all the damn time.

If you think back through people you've known for a long time, or at least a few years you can probably recall a few of these people in your life. The Eeyore's of the world. You know... the loveable, but forever gloomy character in all of the Winnie the Pooh stories. It seems a rain cloud follows them wherever they go (but speeding up or changing direction to lose it never crosses their minds).

Then there are the other people. The one's who seem to "have it all". Rainbows and stars shoot out of their asses. They are always doing something, going somewhere, posting about their loved ones, sharing something inspiring or encouraging. They may look good. Glow almost. They travel, have lots of friends. Money, success, fortune and all around "good luck"? It's as if nothing too bad really happens to them. They are always doing something, trying something new, swallowing life whole. They are the people you love, but also love to HATE.

Well, the book I just read said that the difference is that the "Eeyore's" of the world live a life ran by FEAR, and the "rainbow and star" people of the world live by FAITH. Faith that everything will work in their favor; faith that defeat is temporary. That you're much more likely to live a happy, successful life when you set your mind and intention on doing so. When "Eeyore's" get knocked down, they stay down making every excuse in the book why their life is harder than everyone else's. The other people fight the same battles. They get sick, hurt, disappointed, lose money, jobs, relationships, get scared and fall down. The difference is though that they decide that down is not where they are going to stay. They don't waste time wondering if people are talking about them, annoyed by them, "hating" on them. They don't even see those people because their focus is fixed. Their gaze is forward. Always.

Fall down?
Get up.
Every.Damn.Time.

In his book, "Outwitting the Devil" the author calls the first set of people, Drifters, and the second set Non-Drifters. He gives characteristics of both that I found fascinating. I'm sharing them in the hopes that not only will you also find this interesting, but that if you find yourself falling into the first category over and over again, the list of points from the second or third group will provide you some direction as how to "right your ship" so to speak.

Most of us want to look back at our lives and see that we were positive people. People who helped, gave, loved, dared greatly, provided our children and loved ones with great examples of faith. Living our days to the fullest. Not so consumed by fear that you were paralyzed, negative, and unhappy.   

Some characteristics or things you will notice in-

DRIFTERS:
  • Total lack of a major purpose in life
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Never accomplishes anything requiring thought and effort
  • Spends all he earns and more
  • He/she will be sick or ailing from some real or imaginary cause
  • Will have little or no imagination 
  • Will be ill-tempered and lack control over his/her emotions
  • Personality will not attract other people
  • He/she will have opinions on everything but accurate knowledge of little 
  • Be a jack of all trades, but good at none
  • He/she will neglect to cooperate with the people around him
  • Intolerant, ready to crucify those who may disagree with him/her
  • Begins many things but completes none
  • He/she will eat too much and exercise too little
  • He/she will criticize others who are succeeding in their chosen calling 

NON-DRIFTERS:
  • Always engaged in doing something definite
  • He/she has a major life goal in which they are always working, and many minor goals, all of which lead toward his/her central plan
  • The tone of voice, quickness of his/her step, sparkle in their eyes, quickness of his/her decisions all clearly mark them as a person who knows what they want and is determined to get it, no matter how long it takes 
  • He/she extends many favors to others
  • He/she will be found up front, whether they are simply playing a game or fighting a war
  • He/she is a go-getter and a go-giver 
  • He/she is an inspiration to all who come into contact with his/her mind
  • He/she has a mind of their own and uses it for all purposes

Now I think we could all find that we fall a bit into both categories and at different times in our lives more into one than the other. << LAWD knows I've spent all my money before and even money I don't have and I have damn sure (for years) eaten too much and not respected my body enough to exercise.>>  But there was something about seeing all of that written out for me. It hit me like a ton of bricks...

In the rest of the book, Hill, discusses his seven principles to attain spiritual, mental, and physical freedom:

1. Definiteness of Purpose (Intention)
2. Mastery over self
3. Learning from Adversity
4. Controlling the environmental influence (watch the people you associate with)
5. Time (giving permanency to positiive, rather than negative thought-habits)
6. Harmony (becoming the dominating influence in your own mental, spiritual, and physical environment)
7. Caution (thinking through your plan before you act)

I'm not sure if any of this interests you at all, but I have not been able to stop thinking about the book since I finished it, so I thought I'd share.

Essentially: You cannot control everything life hands you, but you an control how it ultimately shapes you. And... if you don't like the shape you're in, lucky for you there's still time to turn it around!

BOOM. 

7.20.2015

Hefty Cinch Sack








Dress: Lotus, Shoes: Off Broadway, Purse and Watch: Michael Kors

Sometimes you just have to hit the reset button.

I made one little change last week and now I feel like a million bucks.

Last Sunday night I was lying in bed and I thought... "Oh shit. I forgot to create the schedule for my week's group Pilates/PiYo classes, post it, and create the class sign ups online." So... I typed myself a reminder in my phone to do it in the morning and I went to sleep. About 3 hours later (at 3:30am) I woke up and could not get back to sleep. I started thinking about all of my "to-dos". Things I "had" to get done, things I "planned" on doing and things I wanted to do that week. I started to feel overwhelmed and resentful... and the week hadn't even friggin' started yet. (Sound familiar to anyone?)

So... I decided to take a break.

I decided that I was going to take one thing off of my plate that I had control over. I was not going to teach my evening Pilates and PiYo classes for one week. Don't get me wrong... I love them, but teaching 4-5 classes a week (after my own workouts, other classes and working all day) and not getting home until 9:15-9:30pm on weeknights can be a wee bit of a bitch sometimes. Getting home that late puts me in the shower as soon as I get in, dinner after that, defrag time and then bed (normally no earlier than midnight).

I haven't had a break from my schedule for a whole week in over a year (and that was when my grandma passed, so I'd hesitate to call that a "break").

What I really wanted was a summer vacation.

Since I couldn't take a week off from my corporate job and run away to a beach I made a simple, realistic change to free up some mental and physical space in my week. It was just what I needed. I went for walks, shopped for, prepared, and ate dinner all before 8pm. I finished a book, started another one, had two date nights with my manfriend. I hung out with girlfriends, watched a soccer match, worked my Rodan + Fields business (which I am loving, by the way) and took Pure Barre classes. I got my workouts in, but as a student. When I am teaching I am on  high alert, watching people's form and focusing on giving adequate modifications for various fitness levels and past injuries. When I am the student I can really get in the zone.

Most days I love my schedule. I like fast-paced. I'm a mover and shaker by nature, and being that way allows me to live fully. I get a lot done. I am conscious about what I spend my time doing and who I spend it with. Plus... a full schedule allows me to truly appreciate free time. I am grateful for it. I do not take it for granted. Sometimes though, you just need to slow the hell down and smell the proverbial roses.

Is there anything in your life you can take a quick break from that will allow you to rest? If so, I highly recommend it. It did wonders for my soul.

Sidenote: 

Have you ever worn an outfit and thought... "Ehh... this is fine." Then you see a picture of yourself and think... "What is Sam-Hell was I thinking?" Yeah... this is a perfect example of that.

I put this on last week and felt okay about it; then I saw these pictures. I look like I am wearing a garbage bag. All I could think of was that damn jingle for Hefty Cinchsacks.... "Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy... Hefty, Hefty, Hefty". Not to mention that when I sit down, my ass must eat the entire bottom half of the dress. It gets SUPER short. I hope no one chokes around me while I am wearing it, because it would be best for me not to make any sudden movements. "Sir, I see you asphyxiating on that steak, I'll be there in a juuuuuuust moment."

7.08.2015

Brownies for Breakfast









Dress: Marshalls, Shoes: Guess, Watch: Michael Kors, Earrings: Versona, Bracelet: Celene Stones (email Krista for 15% off your custom order CeleneStones@gmail.com)

You know how when you are a kid you can't wait to grow up?

You wait longingly for the day when no one tells you when to go to bed... when to shower... checks if you really brushed your teeth... makes you clean your room... clear your plate... comb your hair... tells you what to wear... when you need a haircut... to be quiet... to be still... grounds you and takes away your privileges, etc.

You run instead of walk, yell instead of whisper, laugh when everyone else is quiet, have no concept of fear. You jump off of things, sing even if you're not "good" at it, try things you've never done before (without fear of embarrassment of judgement). You draw, imagine, create, laugh til it hurts, eat brownies for breakfast, you don't worry about what other people think of you. You dance. You live loudly, free, wild, and with reckless abandon.

The catch of course is that you spend a lot of time during those years wishing you were older. Then you spend your adult years wishing you were younger. As our bodies and minds get older and more mature we start to lose some of the spark that we had as kids. Now... some of this is for the best (I probably should floss and skip brownies for breakfast most days), but some of the things we shed as we get older are a true loss.

I was at the pool recently and there were a lot of children there. Skinny little boys and girls, chubby ones, Black, White, and Latino kids. They didn't seem shy about being in bathing suits, about yelling, laughing loudly, going down the slide roaring with delight all the way down. They were happy and free. They weren't divided by gender, by how much money they made, or race. They weren't insecure or judgmental. They didn't have an inflated sense of self nor were they split down political party lines. They were so happy.

I then looked at the adults at the pool. Looking one another up and down behind polarized shades, sitting a safe (and socially acceptable) one to two chairs away from their nearest neighbor. When they did start talking it went to what neighborhood in the community you live in, what do you do for a living, what do you think about politics, do you have kids, are you married, etc.? We try to figure one another out.  It's more about impressing each other than enjoying one another. Adults are very concerned with being cool. We don't want to be embarrassed, be vulnerable, or thought of as weak or silly.

The cycles of life are weird that way.

Most of us are pretty carefree as children... then we try to "fit in" as a teenagers... stand out as adults (ie: have a high paying job, the most talented children, be mother of the year, post picture perfect photographs to social media, etc.)... then as we get older we kind of revert back closer to who we were as children. Have you ever noticed that old people wear what is comfortable, make friends easily, laugh a little too loud, eat pie for breakfast, speak their minds, hug you a little bit too long, kiss you on your mouth, and make time for the people and things that bring them joy?

I think most of us are awesome kids and are going to be awesome old people, but somewhere in the middle we get lost. We get it all wrong. We start to care too much about shit that doesn't matter. Like looking cool... looking like we have it all together. Looking like our spouses, kids, bank accounts, and values are perfect. We hide behind groups that we belong too, the brand names we wear or carry, our religion, socioeconomic class, what our spouses, friends, and neighbors think of us. We spend a lot of time talking about how "wrong" other people are for the choices they make in their lives and doing that makes us feel like we are doing something with our lives. That we are somehow better. You know what we cared about as kids? If you were nice, and if you would trade me your grape juice box for my orange one. You know what we hated? Broccoli. That's about it.

It's pretty simple, really.

We are all made up of strengths and vulnerabilities. Although we don't like to admit it,  most of us are one bad day away from a life totally different than the ones we are live right now. We can all be abandoned. We can all get sick. We can all become broke. Our shit can get turned on it's head in any moment.

So maybe playing a little more, bitching a little less, laughing, singing, dancing, making friends with people who don't look like you (or live exactly like you) and hugging people too tightly aren't such bad ideas afterall.




6.29.2015

I got my red dress on tonight...






Dress: Lotus (15% off online with code: MODA), Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Skincare: Rodan + Fields

Hola Mamacitas!

This dress may look familiar. I wore it a few weeks ago to a friend's engagement party. I posted a picture on social media (with my dapper manfriend) and started getting quite a few questions about where I got it from. I had to give the worst answer ever.

I bought the dress at Lotus. In.... wait for it........... 2010. UGH.

Over 5 years ago. Doesn't that friggin' suck; when you really like something and it's no longer available? One girl acted like she was legitimately pissed when I told her that, as if I shouldn't have worn it because she couldn't get it. << I was like... Uh???... my bad, I guess???>>

I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks.

I have been ridiculously busy, stretching myself to the point of breaking. I took a bit of a step back last week and decided to change some things up. I found that I had booked myself up every day of the week and I had less and less time for the people and things in my life that I love.

I work my corporate job Monday through Friday, was teaching Pilates EVERY single day of the week (most days at least 2-3 classes a day at different locations around the city before and/or after a full day of work),  teaching bootcamp here and there and starting to work my Rodan + Fields business. I wasn't giving myself any time to be spontaneous. I was missing out on date nights with my manfriend and girl's dinners with my friends. I was too tired to watch a movie, go to a Pure Barre class, call my brothers back at night, fold a load of laundry, or do anything at all that wasn't scheduled on a calendar.

Balance is not my forte. Clearly.

So, I have changed some things up.

I am still working in Corporate America, still teaching Pilates, and putting time and effort into growing my Rodan + Fields business, but some other things had to go. I am cutting down on my Pilates classes (private and corporate), no longer teaching bootcamp, giving myself a night off or two during the week, and making more time for my friends. I may even blog a bit more because I'll actually have a chance to wear some of the clothes in my closet. For about a year it's been gym clothes every day and every night. The other day I even said... "Man, these shoes hurt my damn feet." I hadn't been in heels for a full night in so long that my feet forgot how to handle them!!!!  Hold the fuk up. That is UNNNNN-acceptabe.

Sometimes you have to hit the "pause" button and evaluate where you are, what you're spending your time on, who you're spending it with, how you are feeling and take a bit of a mental and emotional inventory.

Busy is not something to be proud of. Balance is.

We have glorified busy SO much that we wear it as a badge of honor. We say it ALL of the time. Someone asks how you are, how you've been, what you've been up to, what you have planned, how your family is, why you haven't done something you said you were going to do... "Oh, I've been SO busy." We default to it. When we look at our lives and ask ourselves why we haven't done more of what would make us happy. Why haven't we gone back to school, seen an old friend, gone on a vacation, started exercising, been cooking healthier meals, called our family, read a good book... "I WISH I could, but I am SOOOO busy."

Sometimes busy is legit. Working and raising a family, taking care of a home, that's a lot of responsibility. Some things you can't get around doing; but every so often it's good to just step back...  take a moment and make sure that you are not SO busy living that you forget to make a life you love.

I don't want to look back on my years and realize they were mostly made up of calendar reminders and scheduled meetings. I want to go more places, eat great food, take more pictures, watch good movies, read great books, take walks and spend time with the people in my life that I love most.

Maybe you already have the balance thing down, and if you do... props to you. If you don't though... perhaps it would be worthwhile to take a look at how you spend your time and figure out how to fit in more of what makes you happy, because this one, beautiful life goes by in the blink of an eye.





6.12.2015

From the Inside, Out.


















ALL PHOTOS courtesy of  the BEAUTIFUL, TALENTED, SWEET, SOULFUL Stephanie Ramsey Photography

Here are the pictures from the Pilates photo shoot I had two weeks ago.

My beloved Synergy Yoga was kind enough to let me use their studio and Stephanie Ramsey (the sweet, beautiful soul in this last picture) took all of the photographs. 

These pictures turned out just as I had hoped. Simple. Strong. Classic. Artsty. Real.

I don't have the body of a ballerina. I'm far from a skinny-mini. I don't have a stereotypical "yogi" bod, that of a fitness competitor, or a model... but as I look at these photographs I feel immense pride.

I'm proud of my progress. Proud of my strength. Fortitude. Proud that I didn't listen to the voice in my head telling me that I don't "look the part" of a Pilates teacher and therefore shouldn't try to play it.

I took my first Pilates class (here at Synergy Yoga with my beloved teacher and friend, Gayle Stefanelli) two years and three months ago.

I have been teaching for the last one year and three months and in that time my whole world has completely changed.

Some of us have a moment.

A moment when a switch clicks for us. Someone we love gets sick, or passes... or maybe we can't walk a few flights of stairs without being winded. We feel self-conscious, sad, mad, hopeless. Maybe it's as simple as a pair of pants that no longer fit, or we see a picture of ourselves that we don't like. No matter what it is, something shifts in that moment. We don't want to just "stay the course". We have to change. We commit. We give up the fads, the unrealistic expectations of perfection, and the quick fixes. We just start to show up. We start to do the work. It is not pretty at first. In fact... it sucks. Bad. Even at our "best" our bodies may not ever look like ones in fitness magazines, but we become the version of OUR own best selves. Proud. Strong. Accepting. Happy.

These pictures represent that journey for me. A journey from doubt and fear to happiness and acceptance.

By the way... these are the pictures that did it for me. The ones I could not ignore and ones I cannot believe I am sharing. My "AH-HA" moment .They were taken at an event (two and a half years ago) that I was speaking at. When I was tagged in then on Facebook I cried. Well, I IMMEDIATELY (faster than a speeding friggin' bullet) untagged myself and THEN I cried. I didn't like what I saw. So I changed. Not overnight (I didn't even take my first Pilates class until months later), but eventually... I changed. Not into something I am not and not by unsustainable means, but slowly, and imperfectly. Complete with setbacks and meltdowns. 

I am a different person than I was in these pictures.

From the inside, out.

So, if you're reading this and you want to feel better... start now. Start where you are and with what you have. Throw "perfection" out the effing window and do it. You don't need a "buddy'. You don't need people to "get it". No one needs to believe in you, to encourage you, or do it with you. It's your life. It's on you. Do it now. Do it for the person you want to be. Make yourself proud.





6.08.2015

Don't Be a D!ck.








Tank: Marshalls, Pants: Lotus (15% online with code: MODA), Shoes: ?. Bracelet: CeleneStones (EM Krista at CeleneStones@gmail.com for yours- Instagram: CeleneStones, 15% off if you mention ModaFresca), Skincare: Rodan & Fields


Let me start by saying that I am 100% guilty of this when I am driving. (But I am working on it.)

I have noticed lately that everyone is in a big, damn hurry.

And because of that a lot of people act like rude, assholes.

Why is it that when "we" are in a hurry it's for a legitimate reason (we are running late, someone is waiting for us, we are trying to get to the airport, etc.) but if someone in another car is in a hurry they are just being a d!ck?!?

You never know why someone is in a hurry, and on the road it could be for a million different legitimate reasons. Maybe they are sick and going to shht their pants. Really. You don't know. So... giving someone the benefit of the doubt may be a good idea once in a while. I'm going to work on that on the road, but I've noticed a few other instances lately of people being rude because they are in a rush that are a bit more unacceptable.

I've seen three examples this past week:

1. A woman in line at Starbucks. She kept checking her watch, shifting her weight back and forth on her feet, and rolling her eyes way up in her head because she had been waiting for all of 3 minutes. Chick... you are at STARBUCKS buying a $5 cup of coffee. Clearly this is not a necessity. If you are in that much of a damn hurry, here's an idea...  skip Starbucks. Moron. When she finally got her order taken she was rude to the barista I pictured myself walking up to her and bitch slapping her. Instead,  I just locked eyes with her and gave her a dirty look then loudly complimented the barista on how hard he was working.

2. At the nail salon. Women walk in all of the time without appointments then get all huffy and puffy because there is a 15 minute wait. If your time is so precious, make an appointment. You are not the center of the universe. It is not the salon owner or the technicians fault that they are not telepathic. They did not "sense" that you were coming and clear their schedules for you and your field mouse-catcher, talon toes. Sit down and wait or politely leave. Geesh.

3. A woman walking out of Target was walking SO close to an elderly man that I bet he could actually feel her breath on his neck. There were quite a few people walking out at the same time and she couldn't get around him so she just got right on his heels. Literally. This man was hunched over, was taking each step carefully as not to fall, and using a cart to keep steady. This able-bodied 30-something year old woman was acting like a snotty teenager with no manners. It was insane. I got instantly angry. All I could picture was my own grandpa before he passed, moving slowly but still out and about. I haven't wanted to throat punch anyone that bad in a long, long time.

All of these examples happened in places that I would consider places of relative leisure. Starbucks, Target, and a nail salon.

I think I became acutely aware of these moments because the universe was trying to tell me to slow down. I may not be a bitch in quite the same ways that these women were being, but I sure as hell need to be checked when I am on the road. I expect everyone not going 25 miles over the speed limit to get the hell out of my way. I never stop to think that maybe they have a newborn in the backseat or a tray of food they are bringing to someone that they don't want to spill. Maybe they are driving an elderly parent, or they see a cop up ahead and are actually saving me from getting a ticket?

Anyway, I share all of that not to claim that I have the patience of a saint (because I sure as hell do not) but because I needed to be reminded of it. At a time where everyone seems to be in a giant rush, it's good to pause and remember that we are not the center of the damn universe.

Slow down... take a pause... give a little grace... be extra nice. It doesn't cost you a damn thing; it takes no more time to do and you never know who was an asshole before you. Smiles, compliments and patience could go a long way to make this insane world full of people needing instant gratification (and double-pump lattes) a better place.