Angela's Blog Has Moved

Angela’s Blog, life, unscripted, has moved to her personal website. Find her new posts at her new website www.angelawagneryoga.com and specifically her blog here.  She promises to write more in 2013. 😉

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An Army of Support

Eight years ago today, I was a terrified 26 year old, opening a yoga studio on Lemmon Ave.  I remember being so scared that I couldn’t sleep.  What if no one shows up? This question has haunted me in my life. What if no one shows up to my party? What if no one shows up to my step or spin classes? What if no one shows up to my yoga studio? Oh crap, this is a really big deal.  I can get over a scarcely attended party and a step class with only a few dedicated divas.  But an entire business? What was I thinking?

These were the thoughts in my mind and in my heart on May 15, 2004.  I knew that my dedicated few from 24 Hour Fitness and the seven other places that I taught would at least come by for a class. I knew my super awesome friend Holly H. would come as much as she could (and she did for 30 straight days). But then what? My dad had given me a small business loan, a set of wings and essentially said, “Fly Baby Girl.”

I will never forget the first few days and even the first few years of the studio. It was exciting, don’t get me wrong, but it was challenging.  I was shlepping towels to my condo to wash them every few days, getting there early to clean the space, learning how to HTML code my website (blog website? not available yet!) and oh yeah, teaching a lot of yoga! There were many days and nights where I thought, ‘Is this worth it?’ The sexiness of owning a yoga studio had disappeared and reality had set in. I wasn’t a full time yoga teacher with a cool space. I was a small business owner, marketer, maid, tech gal, designer and oh yeah, I taught some yoga too.

4140 Lemmon Ave before

At year three, I was done. Mending a very broken heart, alone, broke and tired of having crappy health insurance, I was OUT when my three year lease was up.  My dad, who had been my biggest supporter (but silent partner letting me make all decisions thus far) said, “I really think you are so close.  Give yourself just one more year. Ask your landlord if he will extend one more year. Do everything you have ever wanted to do. Drain the bank account and if you are going to go out, go out BIG.”  I thought long and hard and really didn’t want to keep going but the Barrese’s have a skillful way of convincing you to do things you never thought you could or would do. And being my Dad’s biggest fan, I just couldn’t let him down.

It's Real!

So I extended my lease. ONE YEAR. That’s all I had in me.  I told my yoga students and staff. I rallied them, was honest about my decision and asked everyone to show up.  Ask? I had never thought of that! I hired a brilliant woman to re-brand the studio and the yoga man logo was born.  With a fancy new design, new website, testimonial video and an army of support, YogaSport took off.  Year four was a true breaking point in my career and in my life. I realized that I can do this and that asking for help is not only OK, it’s necessary for success.

On May 15, 2012, I look back on a roller coaster of eight years that I simply wouldn’t trade for anything. I have grown so much as a person, friend, daughter, partner and yoga teacher/mentor. Today, I look at The YogaSport Community (YSC) and am in awe of what she has become.  Our incredible staff of teachers, assistants, the world’s best manager and pretty much the coolest people in Dallas all work, play and sweat at 4140 Lemmon Ave. Aside from my home with my hubby and fur babies, it’s my favorite place to be.

So I thank each and every one of you who has shown up at YogaSport. You probably thought you were showing up just for you.  But here, you are never alone.  Without even knowing it, you were also showing up for me, the teachers and The YSC.  YS is no longer my studio. She has a life, energy and excitement all of her own. I look forward to eight more years of sweat, smiles and seriously awesome yoga. In the comments below, I invite you to share what YS has meant to you.

In love and light,

Angela Wagner (formerly Barrese, I also found the love of my life in year 5!)

yes, there are mirrors behind the curtains!

Shakti Style-Closet Zen Round 3

BY BRITTANY WITKIN

Closet Zen/Shakti style is evolving into something even more than I had originally imagined. Angela’s virtual closet is up and running. On top of that, I have started branching out into other amazing closets, and along the way, I’m learning a few things.

First, I’ve got to get back to Angela’s and do a re-shoot. I’m a stickler about aesthetics. It may be because I’m in fashion, it may be because I’m shallow, but really I think it’s because I’m a very visual person. So, when I started my second closet project and took some updated pictures, I realized I was doing Angela’s closet no justice. The lighting, the propping, not so hot… Live and learn. This is the part of the ‘practice’ where you evaluate the pose, adjust to what feels right, and continue breathing. Translation: re-shoot. I know in the end it will be worth it.
That’s me. Let’s get back to the yogi we all know and love.

Angela has responded amazingly well. While I was on vacay in Florida, I spent my time between floating on a boat (it’s a tough life) and filling in what is now called her ‘Shopping List.’ This happens to be the part of the process that I love sinking my teeth into. It’s a puzzle, and who doesn’t love a good puzzle right? Sudoku anyone? Moving right along…

To my surprise, the response to the Shopping List links I sent was beyond positive. To tell you that this made me happy would be a massive understatement. Just to shoppingprintscreen1know that my ‘eye’ was helping Angela sink into her Shakti-self felt like home. And it was just in time for Christmas so several picks made it onto AW’s wish list. I’m hoping Santa brings it this year and gets a few of these pieces into her closet. If they work, I’ll add them to the virtual closet as an update.

Virtual shopping is one thing. It was time to hit up the mall, Northpark to be exact, and yes, we made the trip three weeks before Christmas. Suffice it to say, the situation called for a couple of mojitos.
All in all, I wish I had more energy in me to shop (long week, day, all of it) but as soon as I saw Angela, I managed to perk up. The mojito didn’t hurt either. Overall, it was smooth, but I will say (one must give credit where credit is due) Angela found everything. I browsed, pulled a couple of things, and readjusted hangers (can’t help the impulse after working on a sales floor at Neiman Marcus for two years; it’s a sickness). The most helpful part, from my point of view, was giving the thumbs up or down on the pieces she tried on. That’s my role in the in-person shopping trip. Noted:)

We were at Northpark for a few hours and managed to walk out with a couple of great pieces, one from Banana Republic, three pairs of baby socks that cost half of what I just spent on my tall latte, and a snood. The girl went for a snood! This is what I love, the unexpected. I learned so much from the closet consultation, the conversations we’ve had, and so many other things, but I would have never known Angela would have fallen for a snood. Brilliant pick and completely saturated in that super-femme, Shakti-vibe. Speaking of feminine, all of the colors on the picks that went home with her fell into the burgundy/dusty rose spectrum.

That is the update. As for the rest of the project, time for a quick recap…
The intention was set, the closet was raided, the consult went down over champagne, the mall trip is behind us, and it’s time to bring it all together. On my list is the following:

* My OCD self gets to take another trip out to the Wagner home to kiss Bella and re-shoot Angela’s closet so it’s up to par and looking gorge. And yes, that’s my own word so no need to spell check me.

* The ‘how to wear it’ part, an incremental part of the process is up and running (unannounced to Angela; I’ll reveal when the product is finished). During the re-shoot I’ll be able to accomplish part of this with hangers & my hands, but for my next trick, I’m going to leverage some software and create a ‘lookbook.’ Secret stuff here people. Think: A Dub’s Looks. Done and done. I’ll start with a solid amount, and then possibly update both the Lookbook and Shopping List monthy/seasonally, whatever she needs.

* Finally comes the best part, the celebration. This is between myself and the client. It’s a tailored piece of the whole project that is completely personalized based on the client. This is where we celebrate the process, from setting a stong intention to that gorgeous, divine shavasana.

Shakti Style/Closet Zen Round 2

From Brittany…

Bella helping us clean the closet and drink champagne.

Bella helping us clean the closet and drink champagne.

Here’s the latest update…
Allow me to set the scene: a closet split 50/50 between a married couple (I’ve heard of this phenomenon, but until last Saturday, had never seen it), tons of pictures being taken of clothing, a bottle of champagne, and a ‘Bella,’ (the cat).

That was Round 1, as I like to call it, for the Project. I’m not sure when the six hours passed, but they did. Time flies when you’re digging through a closet with a bottle of champagne and ridiculously good conversation.

This is a status report so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
• Inventory has been taken and recorded on my DSLR camera. I have yet to download the pics, but I’m getting there. I’m learning as I go so that’s always ‘interesting…’
• The intention is set from Angela’s end; you’ll read more on that soon.
• The behind the scenes compilation and creation of her very own ‘Closet Lookbook’ is underway. Again, I have no idea how this is going to happen, but I’ about to figure that out.
• The shopping list to fill-in the missing ‘holes’ in the wardrobe is coming together.
• I’m getting organized while Angela is getting slightly nervous about the upcoming shopping expedition. I also have a feeling you will hear more about this soon.

So, I’ll boil it down into yoga terms: the class has begun, we’re officially out of Child’s pose, the initial ‘Om’s’ have come and gone, and we’re beginning to heat up. The busy mind is still shuffling through all of the ‘noise,’ as movement and awareness comes into the body.
We’re both definitely ‘in it’ right now. It’s a good place to be.


From Angela…

Brittany failed to tell you that before we even touched the closet, she couldn’t believe how few clothes I have. I laughed.  I cleaned out so much stuff when we moved, and then her and I cleaned out even more. The “Pepto Bismol” skirt and rhinestone leggings were her fav. I am scared, I ain’t gonna lie. I feel like the fresh, new yoga student that isn’t sure what she got herself into. But it will be fun to go shopping with Brittany. Pretty much anything is fun with her.  She is my teacher. I will be a good student.

Feminine Power

As I was teaching to a Level One Teacher Training Bootcamp, I heard Baron ask, “Are you afraid of your feminine energy?”  I suddenly stopped, looked around at the 100+ yogis in the room and became quiet.  I was shocked by this question, not really understanding why it was being asked.  But I thought about it for a while and answered honestly and without emotion, “I think I am.”  It was one of the biggest “A-ha” moments of my life.

That was almost three years ago. I was participating at a Baptiste Training called BADASS, a breakout program within Level One. Nine of us were coached all week on our teaching and our big finale was teaching to the Level One Participants while being coached by our teacher, Baron Baptiste.  I was super excited about this moment. It was rare to get one-on-one coaching from Baron.  But, I never expected such a life changing moment to happen while teaching Triangle Series.

Baron continued on. “I know and we know you are a strong, powerful and successful woman. I have seen you grow yourself and your studio throughout the years.  But now you don’t have to prove it. Find your softness and give that to yourself and your students. You won’t be able to take away the strength and power. That is a part of who you are.” I started to tear up. It hit.  It really hit. But in a good way. There was so much freedom in what I was hearing.

After the training, I met my then-boyfriend (now hubby) John in Hawaii for a vacation. I immediately told him what Baron said. He wasn’t at all surprised and acted as if it was common knowledge.  When I got home, I called my parents and told them the story. My dad said, “Well, Duh.”  Seriously, my dad said “Duh,” I will never forget it. And then my dad continued on about how I had always been a bit of a Tom Boy. I was floored by their responses.  How could this be so obvious to the men in my life and not to me?  Why didn’t someone tell me?!

My experience led me on a path of personal exploration and excavation.  I began to see myself from an outside view. As a kid and teenager,  I didn’t sing in the choir or play an instrument, I participated in track and field hockey.  After college, I became a fitness teacher and personal trainer. I liked feeling strong.  In addition to being physically strong, I always felt like I had to prove that I was good enough. I always felt like I had to prove my abilities, strength and success to people.  I always felt like I had to be fiercely independent and not need anyone. Then I started to think about my daily life.  How I hate to blow dry my hair. I dislike it so much that I used to go outside with a wet head in the winter, in Boston, and freeze my booty off.  That’s how much I hated doing my hair (and still do).  I wore clothes that were too baggy, and very often raggedy.  I lived in sweats or my yoga clothes.  Even when I wasn’t teaching yoga.  Well yikes, there really wasn’t much femininity, or gentleness in my life.

The femininity part was interesting. But what was even more interesting was the question about my fear.  Was I afraid of my femininity? Well shit, yes.  I didn’t realize it but my quest for independence, a successful business and a need to always prove myself made me think that the opposite qualities were weak.  Staying home to take care of my condo, learning how to cook, spending time on my hair and makeup? Are you kidding? And Baron really understood it for what it was. A fear. If I let people see this soft, gentle side, what will they think? What will I become? Of course now I realize what a crazy lie I was living.  And I had created a pretty tough path for myself.  It was exhausting.  I didn’t realize that I needed someone to say, it will be OK. You will still be Angela. You will still be strong and successful. But you can be pretty and soft and gentle too.

When I came back from that Bootcamp, I started teaching my powerful classes but I added gentleness, ease and grace to my teaching. It was like magic. My classes were packed. One of my teachers said, “I don’t know what happened at Bootcamp but I LOVE the way you are teaching. I am not even sure what is different, but I love it.” I smiled. I kept this story close to me for a long time. While I explored how this affected different aspects of my life (my relationship with John, my teaching, my dress, my attitude towards my studio, staff, etc), I applied my new way of being.  And it worked. I now let John take the trash out in the alley behind our condo. I didn’t need to prove that I could do it on my own. I let him take care of me and it felt good for both of us.  I approached my students with a new, softer attitude. I still made them work just as hard, but it came from a softer place.  There was more compassion, ease and joy.  Ah, there was joy.

Today, almost three years later, I openly share this experience.  We as teachers often say that the way you are on your yoga mat is the way you are in your life. It’s so true. We can’t change our way of being by putting on a new hat.  And I certainly couldn’t hide this when I taught yoga. I feel grateful that my teacher took a stand for me and my growth by telling me the truth.

Today I have a new freedom in my life and I work on it everyday. Just last night I had another femininity fight with myself.  It had been a few days since I had shaved my legs and tomorrow was my day off with John.  Ugh, I hate doing this, I’ll just do it tomorrow.  I looked at the razor and said, discipline.  Shave your legs.  These kinds of things seem silly and small, and they are in the grand scheme of life. But I make an effort to enjoy the feminine side of myself because I have realized that it really is pretty fabulous. And, while we were watching TV and cuddling on the couch, John rubbed my leg and mentioned how soft my legs felt. He had no idea that I was writing this post.

So, if you have read Brittany’s post about our new journey together, it will all make sense. Clothes are a huge issue for me, and you can now understand why.  I’ll share more about this struggle as the Closet Zen/Shakti Style Project continues. For now, I will continue to put effort into my soft side. I even made an appointment to get my hair cut this week. These are all big things in my world.

Shakti Style/Closet Zen – The Beginning

Written by Brittany Witkin

A few weeks ago, I dug up my Clueless dvd and popped it in while getting a little work done.

There’s a part of that movie that I’ve kept in the back of my mind since the mid-nineties, and that is the closet scene where Cher has all of her clothing rotating around her closet as computer software works everything into a look. You know exactly which one I’m talking about right? I think we all collectively drooled over it the day we saw it.

Looking at that clip more than ten years later, after a decade spent working in the buying offices of a luxury retailer and having built several websites, I had a little moment. Something clicked immediately in my mind when I saw Cher scrolling through tops and skirts, all to get to the perfect outfit that answered her question, “what should I wear today,” and that was, “oh my god, I still really want this. Whoa, I can do this. I think I can figure it out.”

I dropped everything and immediately started taking a visual inventory of my closet that I later loaded onto one of my tumblr accounts. Every morning before work I go to my desk, coffee in hand, and I create the answer to my ‘what-to-wear’ prayers. I’m the first to admit this experiment is just that, a work in progress, but I have a gut feeling about it.

This Closet Experiment, as I’m calling it, is evolving and when I love something this much, I want to share it. I wanted to help friends and family that have the similar issue of waking up in the morning and standing in front of their closets for an exorbitant amount of time waiting for some sort of ensemble to magically jump out at them, only to find that fifteen minutes had passed and it was straight to the black, basic, standby pieces. Blech.

So why am I writing on Angela’s blog? Right. Cue an opportune email conversation with my kindred spirit/yoga guru Angela. She was attempting to get me to RSVP to an upcoming event, a gathering of the amazing women I went on a journey with during our Spark program (my initiation into the yoga community), and that’s when the conversation veered off into Wonderland, my favorite place to be during my ‘off’ time. It’s where all the ideas start to flood in. In this case, it was during this conversation that the idea of Project: Shakti Style/Closet Zen (more on the title debate) was born. We both got so excited about the idea of using my Closet Experiment concept and finding a parallel with the world of yoga that we started the ball rolling…

When it came to how to parallel fashion to yoga, I drew directly from what I learned in practice. The fashion part for me is just gravy. This is what I came up with, and to be honest, I’m kind of in love with it. Humility is something I’m working on.

One thing I love about the ninety minute yoga practice is how it begins with setting an intention. The mind is still relatively busy with stresses of the day, doubts, worries, fears, and so on, but one great way to keep things in focus is setting this intention. From there you see where you can go as your ego slowly slides away amidst a higher level of awareness and breathing through each challenging pose. The instructor reminds you to breathe, even when you think you may not be able to hold it or are even capable of making it through the class. Next, something remarkable happens when the thoughts move out of the mind and it becomes solely about you and your heroic, steady (most of the time) breath.

Finally, and this is the best part of any class in my opinion, there is the last pose, Savasana, a figurative ‘death’ at the end of the class. Morbid? A little bit, but we’re talking death of the ego here people. And, let us not forget, with death comes rebirth. It is the great change agent that reminds us of our mortality and that we have nothing to lose.

All of these thoughts, memories of the classes I had just been a part of, came flooding through over the course of two or three emails with Angela and the Shakti Style/Closet Zen picture came into focus.

Here’s how I see it:
Setting the intention:
Each morning you walk into that closet, whether you dread it or not, and what you put on your body will be speaking to the world, whether you like it or not. People take other people at face value before the talking piece of the equation comes into play, and that is why what you wear can be a very powerful thing. Depending upon the day, you could be walking into a major interview, meeting up with an old friend, or just running through the usual routines, there is plenty of intention setting that goes on with that first pass at what to wear. Your mood and your individuality can be extended from within to the external, that’s the fun part. It can actually be fun, I promise.

Breathing through it all to eventually see an inner strength you may have been unaware of:
Most of us have no clue what to wear, what the trends are, or even if we feel we could work into them in our everyday life. It’s easy to go with what you know, the same old cardigan, those stretchy pants that just expand right where you need them to, the jeans that have seen better days but you can’t seem to ditch them, and the list goes on. You know the drill.

The thought of seeing yourself, with a little direction (ah ‘hem, in this case from me), in a new light using clothing can be daunting. You may not buy into it, and literally, you may not want to buy it. You don’t see the value, it’s painful to try this crazy stuff on, and you don’t know even where to start…breathe. Breathe in, breathe out, and let that breath become victorious. This is when you may need support of a friend, stylist, etc. But as you breathe in and out, you realize, “um, that wasn’t that hard,” or, “whoa, I never knew I could look like this.” Transition and strength both happen and are cultivated at this point.

A death and rebirth:
Finally, the death of what you thought you knew to be true about your inner self. I say inner because, even though clothing covers the exterior, it is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside. If you don’t put time into it, you don’t put time into yourself. If you go overboard with accessories, you’re quite transparently trying to be something you’re not, or wanting the ‘flash’ to do the talking for you while avoiding harnessing your original voice.
You say who you are with what you put on your body. It sounds intense and heavy, but it’s really not. This is creative, genuine, and yes, challenging, but what worth doing isn’t a challenge?
Your ego, who you thought you were based on the clothing living in your closet, goes bye-bye. You come out on the other end of this process reborn, evolved, and hopefully, with a confident sense of personal style.

I firmly believe that yoga can change a life, and I firmly believe that a platform pump and power jacket can change the way a woman walks into and through her day. Both pieces of this puzzle, though seemingly from the opposite ends of the spectrum, can make you walk taller and change your perspective. You just have to breathe, be open, get to the mat or closet as it were, and let it happen. And in this case, Angela is openly letting me invade her closet to see what I can do in there. See? Fashion and yoga, the exterior and the interior, the yin and yang, they speak to one another, and when you least expect it.

So, that said, Angela and I will be posting after our meetings. We’re learning as we go. As I said, my closet is all good to go. Replicating this for someone else is another story. We’re both so excited to bring the YogaSport community along for the ride. And yes, there will be before and after pictures.
Enough said for the introduction post. It’s time to get this party started…I’ll be back soon with updates!
Best,
Brittany

Honor

Yesterday was September 11, 2011.  I cringe at the sound of that date. The simple words, nine eleven, are so heavy and weighted with so much history and meaning.  To be honest, it’s something I have avoided thinking about for the past nine-ish years.

On 9/11/01, I had just moved to Dallas. I was working for a small advertising agency and trying to settle into my new life. I remember waking up that morning to my radio alarm clock (remember those?). I didn’t hear my usual morning show banter or the latest pop song, I woke up to something much different.  As I tried to clear my head and figure out what I was hearing, I got dressed and headed to work.  It wasn’t until I got to work and talked to a co-worker, Sarah, that I realized what was happening. And even then, I really had no idea.  She immediately said, “It’s Osama Bin Laden.” I remember thinking, “Who? What is she talking about?”

Let me backtrack and say that as a young adult, I never watched news, read the paper or kept up with anything that wasn’t a part of my immediate life. I knew more about the world when I was in high school because my Social Studies teacher, Mr. Stockbridge, would not let us pass high school if we didn’t throughly understand what was happening between the Sunnis and the Shiites. I remember going home and my dad being so impressed that I even knew those words.  Being a history buff and political junkie, his mouth watered as I showed interest in the world. And then I went to college. I became totally self involved.  I never read the paper and I rarely watched TV (except the occasional 90210 drinking game parties). I had no idea what was happening outside of the Trinity University Bubble.

As 9/11/01 unfolded, I stay glued to my friend’s TV (our TV didn’t work for some reason).  I stayed at Chuck’s house for hours and hours, crying and watching the tragedy.  I watched it so much that I became obsessed. I couldn’t sleep at night. I had nightmares. I felt terrible for having such a good life.  For the first time, I felt scared that maybe we were all in danger.  So, I decided to stop cold turkey.  I stopped watching TV, I stopped reading the paper, I stopped listening to anything related to 9/11. I pretended that it didn’t happen. And I did this for years.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was so ignorant about it all, I thought last year was the 10th anniversary. Yes, I realize it’s simple math, but I avoided even thinking about the year that it happened.  John and I went about our Sunday, making breakfast, going shopping and teaching/taking my class at 4pm.  Someone walked into the studio and mentioned it. I immediately changed the subject and said, “People do not come to yoga to be reminded of this.”  I didn’t even mention it in the final comments of class.  It’s like it was a regular Sunday afternoon.

After dinner, John asked, “What do you want to do?”  I said, “We need to watch something about 9/11.” He looked at me and without saying anything, he nodded in agreement. It was interesting. Neither of us had mentioned it much that day.  But we knew we had a responsibility, as Americans, to honor the day, the people and the country. We turned on the TV and watched a special on the 9/11 Commission Report. Then we watched “9/11 As It Happened” which replayed the NBC coverage from that morning. We finished by watching the NBC 9/11 reporters talk about what it was like for them to deliver the news of the tragedy to the American people.

We held hands, cried and looked at each other a lot. We told each other we loved each other. We told each other how lucky we are. For the first time, we experienced it together. Then we recounted where we were that day, what we were doing and how we heard the news.  It’s one of those days everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing and how they heard the news.

I woke up today feeling funky. Surprisingly, no nightmares, just a fogginess.  Although I feel a little funny, I feel good that John and I honored an important day together.  Life is not always a party, but ignoring the bad stuff doesn’t make it go away.  I feel less ignorant, selfish and more connected to my fellow human beings.  Today I am excited to connect with people, get out of my small mind, and live my life.  It’s so easy for me, and many of us, to stay in our little worlds. But the big world will continue to happen, whether we choose to pay attention or not.

Last night, I said to John, “We need to get a flag for the house.”  He said, “Yes, we do. Let’s get one this week.”

Wrong Turn

Last week I was driving around town trying to find our local Kroger. John and I moved up North a few months ago and are still feeling our way around our new neighborhood. I completely missed the street and drove miles past it.  As I banged a U-ie (is that how you spell it?!), I saw a sign for TJMaxx.  TJMaxx brings back fond childhoold memories. My mom, a very skilled bargain hunter, frequented discount stores in search of a steal.  I really didn’t have anything specific in mind but I figured since I was sort of lost in space anyway, why not take a few minutes to see if I could find a treasure?  Because I am a  “I can never veer away from THE PLAN” kinda-gal, this decision was a pleasant surprise.

So, I ventured in, found Bella some fabulous kitty bowls and came across this sign.  I didn’t purchase it but I did take some time to soak up the simple yet profound words. You just never know when a wrong turn will take you to a good place.  This sign is full of good advice. My favorite is “Your Life is NOW.” I mean, really.  Simple, obvious, yet something I really needed to hear.  And need to hear on a regular basis.

What’s your favorite?

sign

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All or Nothing – life, unscripted is born

angela_1Well, this is embarrassing. I just checked online and it has, in fact, been over two years since I have written in my column. June 21, 2009. Where does the time go? And why did I stop writing? Read on and you will soon find the answers.

First, thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to start writing again. To be honest, I have been paralyzed by the thought of sitting down to write this first post. Since I last wrote, I got engaged, married to John, bought our first house, started a Teacher Training Program, changed my last name, created the AW brand, became a Certified Yoga Life Coach and well, I could go on and on. These past two years have been full of so much growth and I have shared so much of my journey with you all. In my head. But, why? I love to write and I love to share, so I didn’t get it. Until I went to my life coaching training. And had one of my Oprah, A-ha! moments.

I finally realized that I am an All or Nothing kinda gal. When I used to write, I would write once a month, on the dot. I would think about my column for a REALLY LONG time. I would write, and rewrite, edit and have Samantha re-edit. And then I would post, html code it to the YS site and newsletter, and then, maybe, I would send it out. Sheesh. Well, no wonder I didn’t want to do it anymore.  My system was ridiculous. It had to be perfect. I never allowed myself any kind of freedom. The freedom to write something short and sweet. The freedom to not relate my post to a yoga class, a yoga experience, etc. (how dare me, I am a yoga teacher)! The freedom to just share, whether or not I was confident it would resonate with anyone. So, instead of writing, I wrote in my head and tortured myself for not writing.

As I uncovered this, I realized that my All or Nothing attitude has played a major role throughout my entire life. When I went Trick-or-Treating as a kid, I would save my bowl of candy for months. One year my mom had to throw it away at Easter. She said, “Nikki (my childhood nickname), it all went bad, you waited too long to eat it.”  After gaining The College 15, I joined a gym and worked out for 30 straight days. Cardio, weights, step, spin, kickboxing. You name it, I did it.  And then I became an aerobics teacher! Geez, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. So, when I can’t do everything, I do nothing. There are many days where I have ridiculous expectations and unrealistic to-do lists.  On these days I create a body imprint on my couch, watch really bad TV (part of the punishment), and think about what I should be doing. One day John found me at home watching reruns of Temptation Island. Seriously. I didn’t even watch that show when it was on. And I didn’t even know there was a network called FoxReality. Ugh. It was one of my all-time lows.

So, now that I have revealed this secret to you all, I invite you to go on this new journey with me. I have no idea how often I will write, what I will write about, if I will post a photo or if it will be inspiring, but I can promise you that I will continue to share. I truly believe that we are all the same. Through sharing, we connect. So I hope you enjoy the revival of my blog. It’s now a real blog, thank you Tom!, and has a fresh, sassy and exciting new name life, unscripted.

Thank you to one of our wedding photographers, Huy Nguyen, for inspiring the new name.  xoxo

Use the Good Towels

This weekend I visited an old college friend. We were chatting about the good old times and how much we have changed though the years. We started sharing funny stories about how frugal we used to be and how we used to save “the good stuff” for later.

A few years ago, my friend had a party at her condo. I had just received a gift of silver rimmed martini glasses so I thought, why not bring one to the party and enjoy my new glassware? I set the glass on the table and watched as someone’s jacket threw it to the floor. Ugh, seriously? Why did I bring the good glass to the party? It was, of course, a limited Christmas edition and there was no replacement glass to be found. I was so disappointed that I had made such a ridiculous decision.

My college friend added to the theme. At her parent’s house, they are only allowed to use the good towels when guests are staying over. The towels are folded neatly and displayed with care along with the good soap, dishes and a few other things that are not for daily use. But when guests are not over, the raggedy old towels with frayed edges and stains are the only towels allowed.

For much of my life I have put the good stuff out for company, waited for a special occasion to drink the expensive champagne and saved so many things well beyond their expiration date. I was the kid that still had Halloween candy at Easter. Seriously. My mom had to eventually force me to throw it away. Saving is a smart idea, at times. But there is something incredibly freeing about living life each day as if you were the guest in your own life.

I have recently adopted my new attitude and find it to be a much more fulfilling approach to life. The other night my boyfriend and I got fancied up, sat on my patio balcony, lit candles, made a berry angel food cake dessert and cracked open a bottle of wine that we had been saving (of course) since the fall. Our neighbors looked on and asked if it was our birthday or anniversary. Nope, just a beautiful Friday night on the patio.

I, and all of us, deserve to use the good glasses, the good towels, the good soap, the good everything, all of the time. So what if I only have five matching martini glasses? Who cares if I have to replace expensive towels and sheets because Bella (my cat) chewed holes in them? Are those reasons really good enough to suffer with plastic cups and scratchy sheets every night?

This month I urge you to treat yourself to the high thread count sheets, feather-filled pillows, fluffy towels and fresh flowers. Life is too short to wait for company.