Pilates with Ashlee

Although I have never met IRL Ashlee Carignan, she is the new hot pilates teacher in LA. Strong, cool, motivated, interesting, and fun, we were put in touch when Ashlee agreed to participate in Natori Caftan Day (thanks Mary!). Always interested in health, wellness, fitness, and cool, I had the chance to interview sweetheart Ashlee, so take a look. Thanks so much, Ashlee, and I can’t wait to come to Los Angeles and take a class from you!

 

Beauty Ashlee of PWA (Pilates With Ashlee)

Beauty Ashlee of PWA (Pilates With Ashlee)

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What led you to become a pilates teacher?

 

I grew up playing competitive soccer so I’ve always been active. After being in and out of gyms through my early 20s, I needed something different more stimulating, where I could lengthen and tone, not bulk. A close friend told me about Pilates (about 13 years ago, this December will be my 10th year training and will be considered a “Master Trainer”,) saw a local studio, signed up, and knew from my first class this is what I wanted to do!

 

Ashlee in her caftan for Natori Caftan Day.

Ashlee in her caftan for Natori Caftan Day.

 

Where are your classes held in LA?

 

I recently expanded my new boutique studio this past January 2017 located in the heart of Beverlywood, Los Angeles. In just 6 short months PWA’s success has been exceptional! Our studio offers a warm environment for clients to come and feel comfortable, confident, and achieve and maintain their workout goals.

 

Long and lean.

Long and lean.

How do you find that pilates benefits / enhances / helps the body?
Pilates has endless benefits, really! Out of any other workout practice, and of course I’m a bit bias, I feel Pilates really encompasses so many benefits to match any clients needs. It’s incredible for rehabbing injuries, helps correct posture and especially front forward posture ( when your head is pushed out further than your spine allows) which is extremely common these days from looking down at our phones, computers, iPads etc! Pilates helps and maintains balance issues and/or vertigo, great for RA and osteoporosis, and of course it’s great to keep your body looking and feeling strong as well as long and lean.

 

In Josie!

In Josie!

 

Do you practice pilates on your own time / is it your exercise of choice?

 

100% This is what I love to do in my spare time! I’ve been doing pilates 13 years, teaching for 10, and Pilates has consistently maintained my body’s shape the exact same way, it’s incredible. Of course there’s been peak times where I can workout more than others but when I’m not consistently practicing Pilates, my body feels it!

 

Feeling good and looking good!

Feeling good and looking good!

 

Do you teach mat pilates or reformer pilates? Which do you prefer and why?

 

Yes, I’m certified in both and I can’t say whether I prefer one over the other since they both have their benefits. Mat Pilates uses your body weight, activating different muscles, whereas the reformer is resistance training using 5-6 differently weighted springs. Currently I’m teaching at ALO Yoga’s flagship store in Beverly Hills as their first and only Pilates instructor which is an enormous honor! Every last Sunday of the month I host a “Mat Pilates Party,” which is more of a destination event for my clients to come get a great workout while having a blast. We don’t take it too seriously, it’s more of an event to showcase and support new collaborations happening at PWA while also creating a PWA community. It’s really quite beautiful to see 20-30 of your clients all coming together, I definitely look forward to my monthly classes 🙂

 

On the reformer.

On the reformer.

 

Why is it important to have a strong core (speaking from someone who has a weak core and doesn’t do pilates…)

 

Core strength is so important because it helps support the entire body and one of the 2 main things that gives you balance, CORE and FEET. A stronger, tighter core alleviates back pain because your whole body is balanced better, if your abdominal muscle aren’t being used then your body will compensate elsewhere usually the low back, glutes and neck/shoulder area. Also a common misconception is that the core is just made up of abs, it’s not, its everything associated with your midsection i.e. back and glutes. So within every Pilates exercise we’re trying to connect that movement to your “core.”

 

Ashlee, strong core, strong mind.

Ashlee, strong core, strong mind.

 

Do people sweat in your class?

 

Oh YES they do! I guess you could consider me a “cardio” Pilates trainer, meaning I have a strategy to my workouts/workout flows. I tend to use less weight and more reps to build up the exercise to the point of muscle fatigue! When you’re legs are uncontrollably shaking that’s because we’ve broken and beaten down the muscle in a healthy way so it’s only choice is to grow back stronger. Depending on my client male or female by nature our bodily makeup is different, so for woman I like to do a lot of leg work because the quadriceps is our largest muscle, by working that you increase your heart rate thus burning more calories. Men I do the opposite, lots of upper body to get them breaking a sweat 🙂

 

Sweaty, but looking good in Natori!

Sweaty, but looking good in Natori!

 

What type of music do you play in your class? What are your current top 5 favorite songs to work out to?

 

Most people wouldn’t assume this about me, but I LOVE hip hop and rap! I love all music, lately I’ve been rocking the classic 90’s hip hop songs we all know and love. Top 5’s at the current moment are:
1. Humble- Kendrick Lamar
2. PnB Rock- There She go
3. Dj Kahled- I’m The One
4. Kid Ink- Time Of You Life
5. Anything Future and Drake

 

What do you love most about living and working in LA?

 

LA is such a special place and definitely what I call home, I’ve been living here almost 11 years! There’s so many things to love about SoCal one of which of course is the weather. It never gets old waking up to sunshine and palm trees, everyone’s always in a good mood lol. LA is so close to multiple little getaways like Vegas, Palm Springs, Mexico, Big Bear mountain so whenever you wanna jet town you don’t have to go very far and you feel  like you’re in a completely different part of the world.

 

Working in LA as a Pilates instructor has definitely had its share of struggles because there’s just so much competition, there’s some sort of studio on every block! I apprenticed and was mentored doing privates so that’s where my heart is, but I had to join studios for extra money while growing my personal business and found myself not enjoying the 10+ group class training. I’m so happy I decided to finally take the leap of faith and trust myself when I opened PWA earlier this year. Of course I went back and forth and wanted a plan B, what if it failed?? All these questions kept circling my head but one thing always stayed the same, I knew in my heart and soul that there was no way for me to fail! The success of the studio is unbelievable and I really feel like we’ve hit our stride and are making PWA a known name in LA. I like to look a challenge straight in the eye and wink at it!

 

High five.

High five.

 

Thank you so much, Ashlee! To follow her on instagram, go here. To see her website and book an appointment and class, go here.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Pamela Gold’s New Book

There you go; you set a goal, you work towards it, and you make it happen. I guess I try to do that as much as possible, but there are always roadblocks or excuses….which is why I am so intrigued by my good friend, Pamela Gold, who sets her mind to something and actually makes it happen. No ifs, ands, or buts. Pamela is Wonder Woman, and GETS THINGS DONE!!!! This year, Pamela wrote her own book — YUP — her own book. I am lucky to have read it in its first draft and have bought several copies of it now that it’s out (highly recommend it — buy it here). Here is an interview with the one and only Pamela Gold, enjoy!

 

Pamela

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Interview with Maisonette

Maisonette, founded by Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza Roccia, two (beautiful) alums from Vogue, is the new (online) hot destination to buy anything KID. Everything on their site is perfectly curated and tasteful… it makes you want Sylvana and Luisana to be your new BFFs. They are certainly smart, creative, fashionable, gorgeous tastemakers, and their website offers the best of the best of children’s brands — think Net-a-porter for kids. I had the opportunity to interview them, so take a look.

 

Sylvana

Sylvana and Luisana, and their kids.

 

How did you come up with the idea for an e-commerce kids site? What was the inspiration?

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Ilary Perfume

The other day, I was walking down the street with a good friend and was entranced by her smell. It was divine, amazing, luscious, and beautiful, and I knew I needed to know more about the scent ASAP! Luckily, she put me in touch with the creator of the perfume who happens to be a good friend of hers. This incredible scent, ILARY, is created by Hillary. Hillary currently lives in Chicago with her husband and 2 young sons. and is busy building her perfume empire. I had the opportunity to interview her about her company. Take a look! And Thank you Hillary!

 

ILARY

 

How did you start your own perfume?

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Interview with Lucie Ayres- Interiors 22

I recently posted tips from our friend Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors on how to make a great master bedroom. Read below for more insight into her interior decorating and her business.  Thanks Lucie!

 

When and how did you decide to become a designer?

 

I’ve wanted to be a designer ever since I was a little girl and rearranged the furniture in my room constantly.

 

Lucie at age 8.

Lucie at age 8.

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22 INTERIORS – Guide to the Perfect Bedroom

We are so fortunate to have a lot of great friends, many of whom are incredibly talented in their field. One of these peeps is Lucie Ayres, a dear friend of Ken’s from his junior year study abroad program in Prague. Lucie is an interior designer for her company 22 Interiors based in Los Angeles. She has a beautiful eye, incredible taste, and great style. If you ever need a designer, I highly recommend her. And even if you want some inspiration, subscribe to her blog and follow her on instagram. In the meantime, here she is for a guide to the perfect bedroom!!!! Thank you, Lucie!  Take it away!

 

The perfect bedroom, styled by 22 Interiors. Photo

The perfect bedroom, styled by 22 Interiors.

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Quickfire Interview with Jennifer Maanavi – Founder of Physique 57

Holy moley, speaking to Jennifer Maanavi is like speaking to a legend! She is the founder of Physique 57, the boutique barre class that helped change the fitness scene in New York, and now, globally. She is not just smart, beautiful and fit, but she is also incredibly thoughtful, sweet, and incredibly friendly. Take a look at the quickfire interview, and thank you so much, Jennifer!

 

Jennifer.

Jennifer.

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Onda Beauty

As a devoted regular of Taryn Toomey and her class, I have met a group of tremendously talented and incredible women. One of them, is Larissa, who just started Onda, a store that sells natural beauty products. She has incredible taste and has curated the best assortment of products currently on the market. She is incredibly thoughtful, knowledgeable, and is a walking encyclopedia on every item — Enjoy!

 

Larissa: a beauty inside and out!

Larissa: a beauty inside and out!

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Upper SweetsideNYC Ilana

Honestly, nothing makes me happier than homemade baked goods, creative touches, and a hard working and inspiring mother. And Ilana, the founder and creator of Upper SweetsideNYC is all that. Ilana has created her own business of custom cakes, cupcakes & cookies for kids bdays and special occasions. Not only are the baked goods beautiful, but they are delicious too. Ilana is a fellow mother at my kids’ preschool, and through our morning chit chats and social media, I discovered her incredible talent. Ilana is a true example of a strong, empowered, and passionate woman who dreamed and created her own destiny! Here is an interview: — thank you!

 

One of the beautiful cakes created by Ilana!

One of the beautiful cakes created by Ilana!

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Pamela Gold: Post #3

As the (still?) New Year is a time of reflection and improvement, I sought out my ever so wise friend, Pamela Gold, to answer all my dying questions. Forever a source of knowledge, she was the perfect person to ask a series of  neurotic and panicked questions! Thank you, Pamela! You are the best! And yes, her answers are novels because she has so much to share always. It is a lot of information all at once, so if I were you, read it now, save some for later, but READ IT. It is worth the length and time it takes to read it. (NO PICTURES BECAUSE THE WORDS ARE WHAT IS IMPORTANT).

 

Peaceful images.

Peaceful images for peaceful thoughts.

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Truly Madly Guilty- Interview with Liane Moriarty’s Literary Agent

Don’t you love how small the world is? I was raving about Truly Madly Guilty this summer, and the next week Ken discovered that his friend’s wife, Faye Bender, is the literary agent for Liane Moriarty (not to mention a number of other authors).  I had the privilege of interviewing Faye and finding out more about literary agents and the writing world. Take a look!

 

Meet Faye, Literary Agent Extraordinaire.

Meet Faye Bender, Literary Agent Extraordinaire.

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The Josie Girl Blog- 5 Years!

Hi.  This is Ken.  The Josie Girl’s Husband.

 

I am hijacking the blog today to let you know that today is the 5 Year Anniversary of the Josie Girl Blog, which all started with this post here.

 

I am incredibly proud of my wife (Yael if you call her by her middle name, Anika if you call her by her first) for having the commitment, creativity, and discipline to put forth such great content over the last 5 years.  Since her “go-to” toast is lists, I wanted to share the Top Five Things you didn’t know about The Josie Girl / writing a blog:

 

1)      She is the anti-blogger.  Working in the industry, I can safely say writing good content is only 20% of being a mainstream blogger.  The other 80% is promoting yourself, through social media, networking, etc.  While The Josie Girl loves the 20%, she refuses to do the 80%.  She is the shyest blogger ever.  Her Instagram is private.  Her Twitter is run by the company (outed).  And she literally has never shared a single one of her posts on Facebook (and won’t let me do it either).  The vast majority of her friends don’t know about her secret blogger life, and she wants to keep it that way.  (NOTE: If you are a loyal reader, please recruit your friends!)

 

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Me and wifey

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Politics. Sadness. Links.

Although it seems like it should have been a joyous weekend celebrating my son’s seventh birthday (thank you so much to everyone who sent me greetings on his special day — truly felt like my birthday, thank you), it was darkened by the political climate in our country. I spent many “birthday greeting phone calls” talking and worrying about what was going on — it feels like a bad, bad movie.  It’s a scary world out there, and let’s make sure we do what is right for EVERY single person in our country, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc.  Here are some important links around the web.

 

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Family ice cream birthday party (celebrating Cruzzie’s 7th birthday and my sister’s 36th birthday) — the ice cream cake was DELICIOUS and I ate more than my fair share…..but YOLO.

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Around The Web September 2016

Sorry for all the personal posts recently! Seems like there has been a lot of traveling and exploring, and therefore lots of pictures and stories to share with you all. So here is a break from my personal life (thank god, right?) and links to things around the web that I find interesting!

 

My cool kid in the gorgeous state of Oregon.

My cool kid in the gorgeous state of Oregon.

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Must Watch: Tony Robbins Documentary

If you have an hour and a half of free time, I highly recommend watching the Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix. Urged by a good friend to watch it (exact words: “Urgent”), I watched it immediately and found it riveting, emotional, powerful, inspirational, and curious. A must see. If only more people could be as authentic, sincere, deep, and real.

 

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Sawako Furuno Bike Helmets

I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such strong, empowering, creative, smart, and talented friends.  My friend, Sawako, is no exception. Not only is she beautiful, caring, insightful, smart, and a wonderful mother and friend, but she also runs her own business selling bike helmets and accessories. The company’s name is her namesake, Sawako. (To watch a video of the company’s story, go here). Take a look at our interview below. Thanks, Sawako!

 

Meet Sawako.

Meet Sawako.

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Jess Yagan- Life.xls

Readers of the blog know that Ken and I first started dating at Stanford from 2003-2005, when he was at Business School and I was getting my Masters in Education.  To say that his class had some amazing people would be a huge understatement.  (By the way, if you’re wondering what the most read post in the history of the Josie Girl Blog is, click here):  Today, we feature a power COUPLE from Ken’s class, and speak to Jess Yagan.  She shares how she and her husband approach work… and life … Enjoy!

 

 

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Why Teach? This Is Why…

In my previous life, I was a math teacher. I taught for ten years; in a public high school in the Bay Area, a public high school in New York City, and then a private middle school. Each school had its strengths and difficulties, but I was drawn to teach, not just because of my love of the subject matter, but because of my love for the students. Many students were my first children; people that I cared for, worried about, cried over, and loved.

 

Graduating from Stanford with my MA in 2003.

Graduating from Stanford with my MA in 2004. I thought graduate school was hard, but nothing is as hard as your first year teaching.

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Zola: Wedding Registry Made Easy

Luckily (and happily) married for the past 8 years, I have not been exposed to the drag and difficulty of registering for wedding presents. I remember too well the agony of registering, dealing with the stores and returning items, getting the word out to people where we were registered, and suffering through one of the three stores we dealt with suddenly going out of business (and us not getting any of our items). Thankfully, people are way smarter than the rest of us, and there is a new and innovative way of registering… Zola, an online registry where couples easily build, manage, and create registries with a variety of products and services. One of our dear friends, Laura Wales Holliday, is now the CMO of the company and I was able to sit down with her and get more information on the new way to register!

 

zola

 

How does Zola work?

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Wednesday Post-Cinco-de-Mayo

I FEEL LIKE I DRANK TEN SHOTS OF TEQUILA LAST NIGHT! HUNG OVER! In reality, I am still recovering from our weekend and was in my pajamas by 6:15 pm.  We did nothing for Cinco-de-Mayo (my favorite holiday). But still, my head feels fuzzy….

 

EXACTLY! Follow @fuckjerry on instagram for belly laughs.

EXACTLY! Follow this guy on instagram (earmuffs!) for belly laughs.

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Rich Bitch – Nicole Lapin

All, Thanks for all the support about the Paris Marathon.  More later this week, but it went well, and I am on my way back.  I wasn’t shooting for a PR, so it wasn’t quite this in terms of my time, but I emerged happy and more importantly, healthy.  On to today’s post!

 

Beautiful and successful, definitely a rich bitch.

Beautiful and successful, definitely a rich bitch. Empowering and inspirational!

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Mexico – Spring Break

Hola, amigos! The kids and I had a great time with my parents in Mexico (Bucerias, outside of Puerto Vallarta) last week, and are now on part deux of vacation with my beloved husband and his parents in Puerto Rico. One spanish speaking place to the next, (but Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean)! As I am still on vacation mode (= no downtime away from kids, and when kids are in bed, I collapse), instead of a full post, here are 5 photos that give you a good feel of Mexico. Enjoy the brightness, color, and look!

 

Day 1 Yellow wall.

Day 1 Yellow wall.

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Natori Office: The Showroom

On this blog, we have had the privilege of seeing some aspects of my mother-in-law (Josie Natori)’s home; her (sick and drool-worthy OMG I NEED IT NOW) closet  and the (incredible, chic, and original) silver bathroom in herapartment. And now, we have the opportunity to take a sneak-peek look at the Natori Office in NYC (I highlighted my mother in law’s office here — the office within the office). Come take a tour of where the magic at Natori happens! First stop: 18th Floor (come back Friday for more on the 19th Floor).

 

Natori office.

Once you exit the elevator, you see “Natori” written across the wall. Most impressed = Cruzzie. N A T O R I.

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The Glitter Guide Feature!

I am (majorly) blushing…..I’m so excited to share with you the latest feature by my new friends at The Glitter Guide!  The lifestyle website dedicated to helping its readers “shine bright” put together a really fun article featuring our home.  I LOVE the piece and am so flattered they featured the pictures and details of my interview with them.  Enjoy the below pics then click through to the article.. Thanks Glitter Guide!

 

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I am awkward. And it kind of looks like I am wearing 80’s arm warmers (as cool as they are, I am not).

 

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I LOVE this pic!

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Josie Natori Jersey Pencil Skirt

Maybe it is from the extensive NYC Kindergarten interview / application process this past Fall, but for whatever reason, I became obsessed with finding the right pencil skirt. Nothing screams more “conservative” and “boring” and “grown up” than a classic pencil skirt, and yet…….I needed to have one! I scoured the internet for a hip looking skirt, to find that the best one was sitting right in front of me. Yep, a pencil skirt from Josie Natori. And I must say, that it is by far, the most perfect pencil skirt I have ever owned (yes, I only own one, but this is hands down a gold medal winner). I could have saved countless hours and just purchased with one single click. So ladies, you owe me! If you, too, want a great basic in your closet (that is actually FAR from boring, and grown up), then simply go here. And tada, all done. You are set! AND BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS PLUS DRUMROLL…it is on sale! And will not last long….so hit it up PRONTO.

 

Nothing worse than taking one's own picture, but worth it to show the beauty of this skirt!

Apologies for the selfie, but it’s worth it to show the beauty of this skirt!

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