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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Currently Loving April 2017

The beginning of April was a complete whirlwind — the night we traveled back from our Spring Break (Puerto Rico, Florida, and Oregon!), we moved into our new apartment. Then, that Friday, it was the Passover Seder at my daughter’s preschool which I have been co-chairing for the past four years (a huge event for 400 plus people). That night, I flew to Paris to run the Paris Marathon. Call me a complete NUT CASE, because all of that on its own is stressful.  Put it together, it is insane. Anyways, now I am back and readjusting to life…….and here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Flying Tiger Flower Pens

 

For those of you who do not know Flying Tiger, you need to. It is a Danish store, similar to Ikea, but for home goods and gadgets. It has everything and anything, at super cheap prices. Luckily for me, it is a block away from my son’s school, so I always find myself in there when I am early for pick up. It is great for party favors, silly gifts, and your own home. Check it out!

 

This pen cost ONE DOLLAR. Isn't it beautiful?

This pen cost ONE DOLLAR. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Paris Marathon 2017

I just returned from a quick trip to Paris where I completed by 4th Paris Marathon (7th marathon total). It was great fun — both the trip itself and the run, and now I am looking forward to not traveling, not doing long runs, and staying put….. at least for the next couple of months (I have already planned my next two marathons…). Here are pictures of the weekend! (And what day is it today?)

 

Crazy as it was, we landed at 2 pm on Saturday. Which meant, the only thing we could do that day was go to the Expo to pick up our bibs and get settled for the race next morning. YUP. The race at 8:20 am the next morning! Here is my feast that morning pre-race.

We landed at 2 pm on Saturday, 16 hours before race time. So the only thing we could do that day was go to the Expo to pick up our bibs and get settled for the race next morning. YUP. The race at 8:20 am the next morning! Here is our feast pre-race.

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Spring Break 2017 Sunriver

We are now full swing back to reality with school, tutoring, responsibilities, etc…so it seems hard to think that we were just in Oregon a couple of days ago — it seems like an eternity. I already miss my parents, the fresh air, the fir trees, the crisp delicious water, and everything Oregon. Here are some pictures of our week skiing in Sunriver, Oregon. Enjoy!

 

Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!

Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!

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Sweaty Betty Ski Pants

I buy new snow pants every 15 years, so when we had our ski trip last week, I knew that I needed an updated pant that was more durable, water proof, and a little more fashionable. There are an incredible amount of ski pant options on the internet (thank you world wide web), but they are either absurdly expensive, way too trendy, or just not good enough. So when I came across Sweaty Betty’s ski pants, I knew that they were the one.

 

 

Suspenders (or you can zip them off)

Suspenders (that are detachable if you don’t want them). They are wind and waterproof fabric with fleece lining, stretchy, lots of pockets, and fit perfectly over your snow boot.

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Val D’Isere

We just returned from a special 40th birthday party of a very dear friend in the French Alps. It was a weekend of snow, ski, rose, fondue, meat, relaxation, and lots of fun. An incredible experience that we will never forget.

 

Val D'Isere is located in the French Alps, a three hour drive from Geneva. We landed early morning in Geneva, took a bus to our chalet, got fitted for skis, and went straight to the mountain. No wasted time on this trip!

Val D’Isere is located in the French Alps, a three hour drive from Geneva. We landed early morning in Geneva, took a bus to our chalet, got fitted for skis, and went straight to the mountain. No wasted time!

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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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Allbirds Shoes

Before the holidays, one of my best friends introduced me to the most amazing wool shoes. She and her husband both have them in multiple colors. Made from New Zealand merino wool, they are lightweight, breathable, fashionable, chic, comfortable, (and warm)! (Links: women and men.) Not only are they good looking but they are a good price point ($95) for a shoe you will wear everyday!

 

Wool and good looking!!

Wool and good looking!! (These are a men’s pair I got for Ken.. I am buying a pair soon!)

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Currently Loving November 2016

Sorry for not doing my typical three posts last week. Truth be told, I was a little (or a lot) paralyzed by the election results and just couldn’t function.  I have been experiencing the grief cycle, and finally feel able to be a little more positive… I hope that feeling lasts more than an hour. In the meantime, here is what I am currently loving this November:

 

1. My number 1 podcast, How I Built This

 

A good listen

I go through phases with  different podcasts, but “How I Built This” is the one that I listen to every single week. And can’t wait for the following week’s edition.

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Top 10 Posts on the JGB

Many of you readers are old timers who have been a part of this process since the very beginning (Thank you so much, loyal friends and family!). Others are new to the Josie Girl Blog, so thank you for signing up, clicking on the link, and just simply reading the posts. I really love sharing my family, life, and thoughts with you all — and I hope some resonate with you as well. Since many of you readers are new, I wanted to share with you 10 of the most read posts over the past 5 years. Enjoy!

 

Five years ago....when I was a little younger, less stressed, more energy, and healthier....but wouldn't trade my sleepless nights or wrinkles for anything!

Five years ago….when I was a little younger, less stressed, more energy, and healthier….but wouldn’t trade my sleepless nights or wrinkles for anything!

 

1. Tsunami Survivor

The story of our good friend Laura Wales.  A MUST READ story about tragedy, circumstance, and perseverance.

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Evolve Fit Wear

First of all, thank you so much to your comments, emails, texts, and love for the 5th year of the JGB. I am blushing and so appreciate it all– thank you so much, and most of all, thank you for reading and letting me be in your life!  On to today’s post…

 

I spend half my life in fitness clothes — or at least, a big chunk of my morning — and therefore, like to be dressed in high performance (makes you run faster, right?) and cute (makes you hotter, right?) gear. So when I came across the fitness clothing site, Evolve Fit Wear, I was incredibly happy. AND THEN WHEN I FOUND OUT that the owner and creator of Evolve, Kyla Smith, is a blog follower (#humbled), I jumped at the opportunity to interview her. I love digging into people’s business and seeing what makes them tick and operate. Kyla is a strong entrepreneur who created an e-commerce fitness website from scratch. Take a look — what an inspiration!

 

Kyla -- can you handle the cutness? I want her whole look. Puppy included.

Kyla — can you handle the cuteness? I want her whole look. Puppy included.

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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!)

 

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-8-59-10-pm

Me and wifey

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Superhero Muffins

As I mentioned last week, my new favorite cookbook is “Run Fast Eat Slow” by Olympian Shalane Flanagan — I literally can’t get enough of it.  My most recent obsession is the “Superhero muffins,” as I have made four batches in the past two weeks (no joke). They are moist, filling, sweet, delicious, and healthy. And refined-sugar and gluten free.  And they make you feel like a superhero.

 

Run Fast. Eat Slow. (Not Run Slow, Eat Fast).

Run Fast. Eat Slow. (Not Run Slow, Eat Fast). Basically, all you need in life is a stick of butter and some veggies.

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Currently Loving October 2016

Can’t believe it’s the beginning of October! Here is what I am currently loving.

 

1.  Starboy by The Weekend and Daft Punk

 

I can't help my tween music taste, but really, The Weekend and Daft Punk together is the best duo ever. Kinda like if Coldplay were to jam out with Justin Bieber, I might die out of happiness. This song is everything. And helps me move.

I can’t help my tween music taste, but really, The Weekend and Daft Punk together is the best duo ever. Kinda like if Coldplay were to jam out with Justin Bieber. This song is everything. And helps me move.

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September 2016 Work Out Playlist

One of Ken’s pet peeves is listening to me LISTEN to music to add to my playlists. Yes, it is a lot of stops and starts, but I need to in order to find good workout music! Since I am yet again running the NYC marathon and doing lots of long training runs, I am fired up for my newest running playlist.  Sorry, Babers! And yes, a reminder on why I run.

 

Hiking this summer. Yes, hiking is not running, and there is no ipod or music involved in hiking, but it is the closest photo I have of running.

Hiking this summer. Yes, hiking is not running, and there is no ipod or music involved in hiking, but it is the closest thing I have to a recent running photo

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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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My Eugene Summer Routine 2016

I love my summers with my parents in Eugene.  It couldn’t be any different than our routine in New York, and I love the change of pace both for me and for our family.  Not very glamorous or fashionable or social; but very nature-centered, kids focused, with lots of fresh air. Take a look.

 

I wake up very early and do my morning workout before the kids eat breakfast. I just get up, and do it. Then, after the kids are fed and dressed, I take Cruzzie to camp (in the car). From there, Tusia and I start our day of Tusia-Mama Camp (the oh so exciting camp) which means:

 

Trips to the grocery store...who knew that they could be so exciting?

Trips to the grocery store…who knew that they could be so exciting? And who knew I needed to go most days? (Her cousin Nadia is pictured – Toosh is hiding behind the grocery cart).

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Quickfire Interview with Josie Natori

Are you curious about Josie Natori’s habits and everyday routine? Here is a quickfire interview with my mother-in-law. Enjoy!

 

The beautiful Josie Natori.

The beautiful Josie Natori.

 

CLOTHES
Jeans: not me but if I have to choose, then I like my Balenciaga jeans
Heels: Gianvito Rossi
Flats: Do not wear flats.
Boots: Louboutins
Sunglasses: Natori
Watch: Hermes
Day bag: tote
Jewelry you wear everyday: Josie Natori
Workout wear: leggings and t shirt
Designers: Alaia and Alexander McQueen
Lingerie or underwear: Natori
Where do you shop: Paris
Shopping mecca: Paris

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Yosemite 2016

Saddened.. yet again.. by another mass tragedy.  France is incredibly close to my heart as I spent all my summers going up with my French exchange family and try to go back as often as I can.

 

I am sad for all of the victims, and for humanity.

 

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Let me count the ways that I love the West Coast: 1) Oregon 2) California 3) Washington. This past week, we traveled to Yosemite with Stanford Classmates where we lounged, hiked, made smores, laughed, swam, and simply enjoyed the simplicity of the California Nature. AHHHHHH California.

 

Hike Day 1.

Yosemite National Park is known for its waterfalls, meadows, giant sequoias, and vast wildnerness. This is a photo from our hike on Day 1. It was an easy hike yet truly beautiful, surrounded by trees, water, and waterfalls.

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Summer 2016 To-Do-List

I realize that for many of you, summer started almost a month ago.  But it is never too late to create a summer 2016 to-do-list / wishlist.  (Here is my To-Do-List from last summer). Enjoy!

 

1. Go to Hot Yoga twice a week. (Already been twice in this past week, so we are off to a good start! #HumbleBrag)

 

Shavasana counts in yoga, right? (This is my dad last year on the Oregon Coast)

Shavasana counts in yoga, right? (This is my dad last year on the Oregon Coast)

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