Just groove and like feel the music, you know??
Brush your hair. Wink at yourself. You're sexy af.
Are you thinking about quitting your job to pursue something you’re really passionate about? Have you been told, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, as someone who followed that recommendation, let me be the first to tell you - that advice is garbage. Here’s why.
Our whole lives we’ve been told similar messages to the one above, which are beautiful and positive, but have you ever considered what happens after you quit your job, follow your dreams, and get your dream job? What do you imagine happening at that point? That you’ll be happy? Stress-free? Completely in love with life?!…no. The answer is no.
When I graduated from college, I decided to say “FU!” to the corporate world and become a Yoga Teacher. In my mind, I was choosing to do something I loved so that I’d never have to work a day in my life.
However, my first few years teaching yoga - I worked A LOT. I taught 5-6 classes a day, 6am - 9pm, 7 days a week. I got every gig I ever applied for. Within a year and a half, I was a Lululemon Ambassador. Within three years, I was a 500 Hour E-RYT Yoga Instructor, the highest designation you could get. I was successful, busy, and living passionately - but still felt stressed, lost and freaked out! Why? I felt this way after graduating from college which is why I chose to change directions! Why did I still feel so empty inside while doing everything I said I wanted to do?
I realize now why I felt this way. I pursued teaching yoga the only way I knew how: with a crazy over achiever attitude, an obsessive need to obtain mastery, and even though I didn’t mean to - lots of HARD WORK. I wanted relax and do something I love, but somehow I managed to turn the most relaxing career into hard work. Why is that? In yoga philosophy, this can be explained through Samskaras. Samskaras are impressions within us based on experiences we’ve had that our actions stem from. For example, when I was a kid, if I got straight A’s I was rewarded with love and attention. That created a Samskara that caused me to want to work hard and do well in school. I applied the exact same Samskara, skills, stresses and choices to my career as a yoga teacher as I did in high school and in college. I created the exact same life around me, but in a different form. I replaced my world of honors classes and excessive jobs and internships with a world of advanced yoga teacher trainings, classes and events. This was the only way I knew how to do things. This means that back in high school and college, it wasn’t “what” I was doing that was stressing me out, it was “how” I was doing it - like an annoying, overachieving, straight-A good girl. I wish someone taught me this lesson before I went off and carbon copied my habits and stresses onto my dream job.
If you are thinking about quitting your job to pursue something you are really passionate about - consider asking yourself these 3 questions before you do. Write down and reflect on your answers. Do this more than once. Take time to get to know how you operate versus blaming your job or society for your lack of fulfillment. Because the truth is, if you don’t change how you operate in this world, you’ll never be happy with what you do.
- What beliefs do you have about having a successful career? i.e. “Do something you love.” “You can do anything you put your mind to.”
- Where do these beliefs come from? What does each one remind you of? Write down anything that comes to mind.
- Are there any beliefs you want to keep? Are there any you want to change or add? Why?
Notice when you are thinking or acting from one of these beliefs throughout the day. Observe your thoughts and actions without judgement.
PS. Despite this moody picture and blog post, I am good and well! Don't worry. I love being a yoga teacher and entrepreneur and will always strive to learn more about how I operate in this world everyday.
Now I would love to hear from you! Is there a quote, belief or piece of advice that you are sick of hearing or doesn't work for you any more? Let me know in the comments!
My go-to songs when I need a little confidence boost!
Just some fun, catchy jams you can't help but move to, even if you're napping. Namaste.
A reflection on leading my first yoga retreat
When I feel fear, I get anxious and irritated easily. I eat unhealthily as if to slow myself down and I get self-conscious before I speak. I was fearful about leading my first yoga retreat, but luckily, I learned how to choose passion over fear - while still letting fear do its (annoying a$$) thing.
Many people don’t realize that I had so much stress and anxiety about planning my “Let’s Fly to Mexico! New Years Yoga Retreat.” I seriously thought no one would come and I’d be thousands of dollars in debt. At one point I even convinced myself I’d get bit by the Zika Virus if I went to Mexico! Instead, 17 people came from all over the country (almost double what I had intended) and everyone had the best time ever. (No Zika, just good vibes! Margaritas! and dancing!) Leading this retreat taught me that “passion” is a feeling, just like “fear” is a feeling, and at every moment you have the choice to put your attention towards one or the other. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, she writes, “Creativity can ONLY coexist alongside Fear. [...] in other words, you must learn to accept them both, if you want to invent things.” Without realizing it, I chose to pursue my creative desire to lead a retreat, even if at times I felt unsure of myself. Tom + David Kelly of the Harvard Business Review write, “Half the battle is to resist judging yourself. If you can listen to your own intuition and embrace more of your ideas (good and bad), you’re already (on the) pathway to overcoming fear.” I am so grateful that I didn’t let fear stop me from doing something I dreamed of doing for such a long time. I know fear can feel paralyzing, but start small, take baby steps, and be easy on yourself. Your biggest (and meanest) critic is yourself.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind to help you choose passion over fear.
- Fear is an emotion. It is not who you are. You experience fear - it’s not what makes you, you. YOU are made up of shiny, bright, beautiful star stuff my friends, (hey Cosmos) and that’s what makes you a human being. Fear is a feeling. And feelings are temporary.
- Let yourself feel fear and observe how it manifests in your body and mind. Don’t try to fix yourself or stop feeling fear. Let it happen and observe.
- Take action. Any action. This could be something that you do because you are scared and want to push yourself, or because you are scared and want to stop. Either of these options are ok, but see if you can consciously choose an action vs just having a reaction.
Fear can cause us to do exciting things, or make us want to run away and hide. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to be creative and passionate but are feeling scared, stuck and fearful about it - it’s ok! With practice, self-awareness, and trust in yourself, it will get easier and easier to choose to follow your passions over fear - if that is what you want. Just know that in most creative pursuits, Fear and Passion like to fly together and you’re in the middle seat. I highly recommend trying to fall asleep on Passion’s shoulder. Who knows! You might even fall in love.
Here are the daring, adventurous + passionate humans who attended EAT STRETCH NAP's New Years Yoga Retreat
(first image is of Brian Witten, my handsome, strong + kickass co-teacher!!)
...but if we're being honest here, our bartender + friend Raul was the real star of the show!
WE LOVE YOU RAUL <3
This is the perfect playlist to do yoga to. Or just listen? Your choice!
Goodbye 2016. Let's dance 2017!!!
The end of the year is time for reflection, goal setting, and letting go of what doesn’t bring you joy. I’ve practiced this by investing in a Passion Planner, doing a Death Meditation, and planning a New Years Yoga Retreat! Sometimes letting go of things or creating new intentions is overwhelming. The changes you make don’t always have to be big or life changing, they can be small, but meaningful. One small change I’m making is openly expressing my opposing opinions - even if they don't seem like a big deal. I hope that by being brave enough to say something trivial, like "I hate Soul Cycle," even though I know people who love it, will give me the courage to speak up about deeper things that matter in my life, especially when others disagree with me.
Classpass is dumb and I’ll never use it.
It's ironic that Classpass exists. Everyone wants to go to a boutique studio that specializes in something - an aerial studio, a pilates studio, a boxing studio - and Classpass is sooo smart because it gives you access to all these different styles of classes. You know what else gives you access to a whole bunch of different types of classes? A GYM! An old school gym with weights, group fitness classes and treadmills. I’m sorry if your average Equinox or Chicago Athletic Club isn’t Instagram worthy enough for you, but it’s there. Pick one gym or studio and get to know their instructors. Make workout dates with other members. Strong relationships with people will keep you working out more regularly than the “convenience” of Classpass. The less choices you have to make about where you work out - the better. Wouldn’t you rather spend the time it takes scrolling through different studios on your phone making friends in real life? I do.
Soul Cycle is the worst.
I hate the mantras written on the walls. I hate the positive affirmations instructors yell. I hate biking in place! Fitness is “the new church.” People are getting high off of positive affirmations, intense workouts, and sweaty selfies. I think people are looking for something more than that - they just don't know it yet. You know how hard it is to convince someone they need something that they don't know they need yet? Really freaking hard. Soul Cycle is popular because people want to believe in something bigger than themselves. Seeing your body improve, clearing your mind through sweat, and being a part of a likeminded community are all wonderful, positive things - but what we’re really in need of is deep, spiritual shit! Mother Teresa said “The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” We need a spiritual awakening. One that doesn't come in the form of sweat on bikes in a glorified basement or from following a religion. But from a deep personal connection to yourself and your purpose in life. An awakening from within. Soul Cycle is literally banking on the fact that you are in search of that - even if you don’t know it yet.
I don’t want to be a #girlboss. I want to be a housewife.
I have no interest in “working hard” or making a bunch of money. When I take 2 naps a day AND still make enough money to pay rent, bills etc.— that’s when I feel the most successful. I didn't create EAT STRETCH NAP™ to take over the world, I created it so I can be a housewife and work from home when I have kids while also doing what I love. However, if you want schedule flexibility and the ability to "mentally check out" of work - starting a business isn't always the answer. There's a million ways to create the lifestyle you want without navigating the uncertainty it takes to start your own company. I started a business because it made the most sense for what I was already doing. The opportunity was there and I took it. We need to stop glamorizing the entrepreneurial life. It's not always what you think and it definitely won't solve all your problems.
I hope this posts inspires you to take action towards the things you believe in, even if you know someone might disagree with you. What do you want to accomplish this year? Do you hate Soulcycle too?? :P Let me know in the comments!
Move and flow, baby. Use this playlist to inspire your practice.
My husband Mike and I recently went on a trip to Thailand for two weeks. Mike made this awesome highlight reel (above! ^) of our trip. The video makes it seem like I was there by myself because he filmed most of it and decided to edit himself out completely, ugh. Below is a short compilation of where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate. When I was planning this trip, I wished there was a blog out there with exactly two weeks in Thailand planned out with everything I wanted to do, needless to say I didn't find it, but hopefully this helps one of you out there who is planning a visit one day.
My vision for the trip:
Hop around from place to place for the first week and see as much of Thailand as possible.
Spend the second week at a fancy resort and just chill/beach, sleep, eat, repeat.
And of course, check out the yoga + wellness scene!
Travel Books + Blogs I followed:
Lonely Planet's Thailand Travel Guide, I buy a Lonely Planet book for all my travels. It's my most trusted guide! I keep them as a little memento of the places I've been.
NY Times 36 Hours in Bangkok, a yoga client told me to Google "New York Times 36 Hours in Bangkok" for travel recommendations. I'm totally going to do that for every city I visit now.
Design Sponge Chiang Mai City Guide , Design Sponge is an awesome design blog so I knew they'd have some fun hipster-y stuff to do in there.
The Travallure, I met the beautiful babe behind this blog, Amanda, while studying abroad in London in 2011. She recently lived in Thailand for a couple years.
Nomadic Matt, stumbled upon this blog. I like that it has a lot of practical advice and includes price points.
We bought rounds trip flights from Chicago to Bangkok. My go-to search engines for flights are Google Flights, Hipmunk and the app, Hopper. Our tickets cost about $800 each. There were some for around $600 each but there were more than 1 stop involved and the layovers were really long. I decided the extra $200 was worth it to get to there and back in the shortest amount of time. We flew Korean Air from Chicago (ORD) to Seoul (ICN) to Bangkok (BKK) and took the reverse back, obvi. Highly recommend Korean Air, they served soo much food + red wine and gave out plane slippers. Who doesn't love plane slippers??
In the interest of time, we flew to all our other destinations: Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Phuket. We booked all our flights the day before we wanted to leave. They varied in cost, anywhere from $36-$200. To me, this was worth it because if I liked a city a lot, we had the option of staying in it a little longer, on the other hand, if we got through everything we wanted to do quickly, we could book an earlier flight.
Day 1 - 3: Bangkok
WHERE WE STAYED:
The beautiful, AriyasomVilla.
Everyone I know who’s visited Bangkok told me that it’s an amazing place, but like all major cities, it’s busy, loud and always on. So when I read that this hotel was in the heart of Bangkok, but quiet, zen and had an authentic Thai feeling, I knew this was the place the be. Upon arrival, the staff gave us a free room upgrade and a bottle of champagne! Breakfast was included and the food was extremely fresh and flavorful. Staying there was an absolute joy, I highly recommend this hotel!
WHAT WE DID:
Chatuchak Market aka “JJ Market” - The largest market in Thailand.
This was one of my favorite experiences, I’ve never seen so much stuff in one place! You could easily spend all day here and buy all the things.
We loved this place so much we went twice. I had the best Thai massage of my entire trip here. Mike preferred the foot massages, which if you ask me is totally underrated when people talk about Thailand. They go on and on about Thai massages -- but the foot massages are phenomenal! Especially if you don't like people touching you all over. Thai massages are intense and can definitely be hit or miss.
Khao San Road
The "Wrigleyville of Bangkok," in my opinion. You can go out anywhere on Khao San Road, there’s so much going on and it's the wildest bar street I've ever seen. We sat down at some tables, technically not even a bar, right outside of Brick Bar. People were drinking mystery alcohol out of sand buckets. We stuck to Chang.
The Red Light District/Go-go bars etc. This is not something I would necessarily recommend, but after a few drinks my curiosity got the best of me and next thing I know I'm in bars called "The Pink Panther" and "Super Pussy." Most people probably know this already, but it’s actually more depressing than fun to be here, but some of it is really circusy and crazy to see. This article sums up the experience pretty well.
Very chic rooftop bar. We got one drink, enjoyed the view and took selfies. It was an expensive cocktail, but you're paying for the Instagrams.
We took a boat ride from Sathon Central Pier to the Old City to see these famous temples:
Wat Phra Kaew + Grand Palace
Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha)
Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha)
WHERE WE ATE:
If you go anywhere to eat in Bangkok, this is the place. It’s not in any blog or travel guide I’ve read. It was recommended to us by my cousin’s friend from Bangkok, Um (yes, Um is his name!). It was the best pad thai I’ve had in my entire life, and I eat A LOT of pad thai. Here's the restaurant name in Thai in case you need it! ผัดไทประตูผี
Street Food, always.
We ate food off street stalls everyday. We were told it's best to eat street food in areas that are busy because food gets turned over a lot faster so we stuck to that rule and neither of us got sick so that's good! A lot of people I know said they got stomachaches from street food, but we were fine.
Or Kor Tor Market
Right by JJ Market. This is a fresh food market with lots of options. In the back area by the parking lot, there's a really good and cheap Thai restaurant we ate at, it doesn't have a sign, but maybe you'll see it!
This is the fanciest dining experience we had, unfortunately the food was underwhelming. We found it to be overly salted and the flavors didn't really come through. But if you're in the mood for a sit down dinner this place is poppin and lots of people were there. We wanted to go to Gaggan, but it was fully booked for months.
Not the prettiest spot but very, very good Indian food in Chinatown.
Um took us to this restaurant (at 2 o'clock in the morning!) which felt very cool, local and authentic. I recommend getting any of the fish ball soups! And Thai Iced tea!
DAY 3 - 5: Chiang Mai
WHERE WE STAYED:
This boutique guesthouse was super cute! It's one of those places that looks really great in photographs, but in real life you notice the little oddities and inconveniences. However, none of the little things (like a slow AC unit + weird bathtubs) are bad at all. The staff was so friendly and the cocktails were really good too! The location is also convenient. Above is a photo of the actual room we stayed in.
WHAT WE DID:
One thing I will say about Chiang Mai is that everything was further away than any guidebook or blog led on. We took a cab pretty much everywhere and most major sights like temples and national parks were at least an hour away by car. There were some attractions within the city walls by our hotel, but most required a drive.
This place was very popular and had high ratings, but I didn't like the group massage setting. Everyone is getting a thai massage in a big open room and the ladies who work there are chatting with one another. It wasn't the most relaxing atmosphere.
Mike and I both got herbal balm foot massages here, so great!
Doi Suthep National Park
San Kamphaeng Hot Springs
Random Waterfalls along the road leading up to Doi Suthep
This was by far one of my favorite experiences in Thailand. It was such a great way to meet people from all over the world. Mike and I were the only Americans in our class and everyone else was from a different country, not one of them being the same. Our instructor was also really fun and engaging. She did an amazing job teaching us how to cook a variety of dishes.
It was fun to explore this market at night, it definitely has a different vibe when it's dark. Mike and I bought most of our souvenirs here.
Another great market to check out. This one had a lot of produce and meat for sale. We went here during our cooking class to shop for ingredients.
HQ Paper Maker
For some reason I wanted to go to this paper store I read about in my Lonely Planet book. It was cute, small and nothing special, but I liked it! I bought a bookmark and some blank stationary and envelopes.
Save the Elephants:
There's some shady businesses out there who claim to be saving elephants like Elephant Nature Park does, but it's rumored that some of them are only pretending to in order to attract tourists. So do your research! Or just go to this one.
WHERE WE ATE:
This is more like "what we ate." Kow Soy is a curry soup dish that is really popular in Northern Thailand. I'm not a fan of curry, but Mike enjoyed it a lot and wished he had more.
I wanted to check out this vegetarian restaurant because it's called AUM and that's the proper way to spell "Om." That's really the only reason I wanted to go, luckily the food was proper as well!
A nightly food market. Mike and I were overwhelmed by all the food choices here. Everything looked so good!
We went here for breakfast on our last day in Chiang Mai. This was a very westernized restaurant. It felt like I was in a hipster cafe in Logan Square. After 6 days of eating Thai food, we welcomed their good ol' American style brunch.
DAY 5 - 7: Koh Samui
WHERE WE STAYED:
My birthday happened to be during our trip and Mike said we could do whatever I wanted so I obviously decided to fit in a mini yoga retreat in the middle of our trip. We bought tickets to Koh Samui because I heard it's the ultimate wellness destination and we booked 2 nights at Absolute Sanctuary. We didn't end up booking our hotel until we landed at Koh Samui's airport because I couldn't decide where to stay until last minute! Thankfully, this place was a gem. One thing we didn't find out until we got there was that Absolute didn't serve alcohol because it's a detox center. (Boooo!) But we had green juices and healthy smoothies galore!
WHAT WE DID:
Pilates Reformer Class
I made Mike do a Pilates Reformer class with me. They had old school machines which was fun! The instructor also had great cues and amazing form.
Absolute is up in the mountains, about a 20 minute walk from any major beach. If you walk along the roads near Absolute, there are a few secret passageways that lead to smaller, unnamed beaches. These beaches are rocky and good for photographs and morning runs vs. swimming and lounging around. It was really fun to explore these seemingly uncharted lands :)
Their pool has an amazing view. Mike and I spent most of our time swimming in the rain drinking mocktails.
Absolute had a shuttle service to the Sala Hotel which has more of a standard "beach front hotel." We spent some beach time there and had some real cocktails.
This was my favorite market of the entire trip. It had all the same cheap and interesting stuff, but a really fun, chill beach vibe. There was also a lot of space which made it more enjoyable.
WHERE WE ATE:
We ate most of our food at our hotel because it was pretty secluded. The food was very tasty and it was all fresh and organic.
There was plenty of street food at Fisherman's Village. I had some of the best spring rolls there.
Mike and I happened to walk by a Korean Restaurant called Dawn. It looked crowded and we were hungry so we tried it. It ended up being amazing! One of our best meals.
DAY 7 - 14: phuket
WHERE WE STAYED:
Our time in Phuket was essentially our second honeymoon. For our wedding present, our Aunt and Uncle let us use their international timeshare at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa. Mike and I felt like Queens as this resort. (I'm assuming Mike felt like a queen too.) This place was magical. It was everything I wanted my last week in Thailand to be and more. It was secluded, private and had one of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen.
WHAT WE DID:
Beach. Pool. Read. Nap.
We spent our days lounging by the beach and the pool drinking cocktails and reading. I finished the book A Man Called Ov and loved it. If I was reading alone in my room I would have cried. It's an easy read and a moving story.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
This yearly October festival happened to be going on while we were there. After Googling images and freaking out a bit, we realized we HAD to go. We witnessed some of the most insane looking things I've ever seen. Definitely check it out if you're there this time of the year.
WHERE WE ATE:
The downside at staying at a fancy chic resort is fancy chic prices. The food was expensive and average at best. But since we had spent a week being adventurous and trying new foods, settling for westernized Thai food and straight up American food like burgers and pizza was an ok trade-off for the beautiful atmosphere. The JW had an array of different restaurants with all different types of food. Nearby was a shopping mall called "Turtle Mart" with other restaurant options, like an Irish pub and a fast food chain called Thai Express. There was also a little grocery store where we bought snacks and breakfast food like eggs and oatmeal to save a little money and not pay hotel prices for every meal. This is a life hack I learned from my parents while traveling. Thank you, Filipino parents!
I realize this isn't a typical travel review or blog post. I wanted to list out everything I did and explain the reasoning behind the choices I made. When it comes to travel, there is a lot of decision making involved that can be overwhelming. I hope it helps make planning a trip to Thailand a little bit easier for you! Please message me or email me with any questions. I love hearing from you!
You'll find me teaching yoga to these songs this month <3
My friend and fellow Yoga Teacher Candice Wu is a Holistic Healing Facilitator, aka one of the most calming, supportive and caring people you'll ever meet! She's shared 5 Self-Love Practices with us here and now she is sharing the secrets to happiness that everyone wants to know! She and I joke around about how the title for this blog post doesn't actually feel quite right, because happiness isn't about just trying to be happy all the time, it's actually about feeling and being open to all the feelings and sensations you have. The more you accept yourself as a whole, the happier you are! I'll let Candice, the Happiness Expert ;) do the talking, read on below!
3 Ways to Cultivate Inner Happiness
By: Candice Wu
Inner happiness is a result of a connected and healthy relationship with your whole self. Instead of pushing forward faster, genuine happiness comes from going deeper. Try these three tips to cultivate an inner happiness to support you in a natural optimism, vibrance, satisfaction, and zest for life.
1. Get quiet and be in your body
When you ally with your body, body sensations, emotions, thoughts, and images by witnessing and feeling, you can open to a plethora of wisdom, healing, and self-knowing. Your body wants to support you and provide you information. Your true nature is to be happy. Respect your body by taking good care of it and spend the time listening and being aware of what is happening inside.
Yoga, meditation, and tuning in when done with compassionate awareness all support you in standing behind yourself and embodying yourself. Internal happiness requires us to feel all of the possibilities and emotions of being human with grace and understanding instead of with resistance.
2. Dialogue with your uncomfortable emotions with compassion
Brene Brown states, “’We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” Instead of ignoring or avoiding the challenging emotions, face them with love. In doing so, you reclaim the energy that is loaded up in them and has been taken up by fighting against them. The body stores emotion and unresolved past experiences as tension, blocking the digestive flow and other important systems of the body.
Talk to the parts of your body that feel sensation, or the emotion that you’re noticing as if it could talk to you back. Imagine this part of you and notice it, sense it. Journal and write to this part of you that is feeling this challenging emotion and ask what message it has for you and what it needs from you (without filtering or judging what it says). Offer the antidote. When you clear up what is unresolved or needing something, flow and ease in the body are restored.
3. Get to know your essential self
Honor what lights you up and what makes you feel most like yourself. Write a letter to yourself from your higher self, soul, spirit, inner guide, or future self. Dialogue with your true self through a visualization or Constellation exercise and ask for any wisdom, comfort, love, or messages it has for you. Get deep and truthful with yourself and journal with this inquiry:
-Who you want to be?
-What would you do today if you loved yourself?
-How you are connected to the wellbeing of yourself and the whole?
-What makes you feel energized?
-What do I need to know or hear at this time?
While these are simple exercises for inner happiness, they are not always easy. However, the more you build your capacity, the easier it becomes over time. Find the compassionate support of a loved one, therapist, or healing facilitator to support you in any deeper or overwhelming emotions that present itself, especially if you have had traumatic or previous overwhelming experiences.
September is my birthday month and Lady Gaga just released a new single. So far..so good.
When I set up Eat Stretch Nap as an official business, there were a couple of annoying things I learned that were actually really important. I thought I’d share them with you here since it seems some people would rather rave about “Starting a business!” and being an “entrepreneur” to make you jealous and think they’re awesome, instead of being honest about what it’s really like to set up your own company. The most exciting thing about starting a business is telling people you started a business. After that, it’s just work, but “if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Yes, that is true Confucius, but I still don’t like making invoices and handling payroll and I don’t think I ever will. Starting a business means there will be a bunch of work involved that you don’t want to do, but you’ll have to do it anyway. At least until you can afford to have someone else do it for you, and even then, you should still know how it works.
1.) Creating an LLC costs money.
Yes, like $612.75 to be exact. However! It’s really easy to do. You can do it yourself and you don’t need a lawyer. Just fill out everything on this link and give them all your money:
2.) What is a “Managing Member” ?
The definition of a Managing Member is obvious now, but I didn’t know this while I was filing LLC paperwork online. I unknowingly made my husband a Managing Member of my company. So I had to drag him to the bank with me to open a business account because apparently you have to have all “Managing Members” present when opening an account or making any changes to it. Since I accidentally made him a Managing Member, I decided he deserved it and gave him a percentage of my company, which felt very Silicon Valley of me. I was super into it!
3.) What is a DBA?
DBA means “doing business as” which I had to file for at an additional $174.00 because I named my LLC, Aldasana LLC “just because” even though my business name is Eat Stretch Nap. Because you know, sometimes we all make decisions based on feelings and fairy dust, ok?? Nbd, it all worked out. FYI Filing for an “Assumed Business Name” and “DBA” is the same thing, at least in Illinois. Here’s where I filed for a DBA:
4.) Insurance is expensive.
I have to have insurance to cover myself and the yoga teachers teaching for me. I contacted big companies like Geico, State Farm (doesn’t even do it) and Nationwide and they were all $900+. Luckily, a really nice Tax Accountant told me that I should look into getting insurance through a trade association, like the Yoga Alliance. So I was able to work out my insurance through them for half the cost. Amazing.
5.) You need a lawyer, an accountant and maybe a business manager or a finance dude.
I have so many questions I don't know the answers to and I can only search on Google for so long. Luckily, I have a few people in my network that I am comfortable asking questions to right now, but I know that eventually I will need to invest in speaking to an actual business consultant, lawyer and accountant to make sure everything I have is in order.
This is just the beginning of a very long and arduous journey and honestly, what makes me the most excited about having my own business is not being able to show off about it, but being able to learn from it and share my experiences. In case you were wondering what my business is anyway, I’ve essentially created a "traveling yoga studio.” Eat Stretch Nap brings yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes to your home or office. With my intention of always aspiring to make wellness easy and accessible, bringing yoga to you or your company just makes the most sense! If you have any questions about starting a business, teaching yoga, or anything related to this, feel free to ask in the comments or send me a message.
*These links are only applicable if you are starting a business in Illinois. Every state is different.
Some awesome resources:
https://howtostartanllc.com/illinois-llc -step by step guide in starting an LLC
https://www.legalzoom.com/ - not to use, but to read their blog/articles for tips
https://zipbooks.com/ -free cloud invoicing software
https://www.squarespace.com/ - for building a business website
http://mailchimp.com/ - for email newsletters
Here are some skincare purchases I’ve used for the past month that dramatically changed my skin. Little background info on my skin type: I have dry, sensitive, combination skin, but mostly dry. Prior to using these products, I was deep in the “organic, natural skincare” game. I refused to believe that my skin was getting worse because of the all natural products I was using, but it clearly was. From now on, I’m sticking to these gentle, chemical filled products because newsflash - they actually work! The science-y stuff in here was invented for a reason so I’m here to say "Bye Felicia!" to coconut oil and witch hazel toner, and hellooooo ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
1.) CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
I love this CereVe face wash because it’s gentle and I can use it twice a day without it feeling like I am drying out my skin.
2.) CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
The PM lotion glides on really smoothly and doesn’t feel like I have anything on 10 seconds after it's on my face. I sometimes use it in the morning too if I know I am going to be indoors most of the day.
3.) CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
The AM lotion isn’t my absolute favorite because it takes a little longer to sink into my skin and fade away, but it's cheaper than the EltaMD Sunscreen below so I use it more liberally and pack it with me to the beach or pool.
4.) EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Ok so I lied, one of these products is not actually from a drugstore, it's from Amazon.com, but still easy, right? It's also about $25 ish, so please forgive me! I ordered EltaMD sunscreen online when I was feeling like being fancy and spending a lot of money. Later I found out Kourtney Kardashian uses EltaMD too but it may be due to her “post-procedural skin” vs my sensitive skin. PS. I would also like to mention that I was searching the internet for this picture I saw of Kourtney using EltaMD, and stumbled upon Kendall Jenner’s nipple piercing which took me on a loooong and v v weird tangent.
5.) CeraVe Moisturizing Body Lotion
The CeraVe Body Lotion is probably the best lotion I’ve ever used. I love how it sinks into my skin really fast so I can immediately put on my yoga pants and not feel like I’m sticking to them.
6.) Dove Sensitive Skin Soap
Using Dove soap is me reverting back to my childhood. I used to buy all these fancy organic bar soaps from Whole Foods and from random shops while on vacation, but growing up I used Dove soap and my skin was perfect so I’m going back to it! Placebo effect, I see you.
7.) Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant
I like this antiperspirant because it smells fresh and goes on smooth. It also keeps me clean and sweat free all day which I love. I am not about to join the natural deodorant train - sorry, not sorry. I am too active for that kind of risk. My biggest fear is adjusting a student in savasana and them getting a big whiff of BO. No, thank you! I like smelling good, thanks!
Based on this blog post, you'd think I was a Brand Ambassador for CeraVe or Dove, but I'm not. I just like to make practical choices, save money and use smart products. Cerave has a $2 off coupon on their website so feel free to use that wherever you go! Hope these skincare choices help clear up your skin and keep you smelling so fresh!
10 songs that make me want to sip gin + grapefruit, chill on rooftops and dance all summer xx
Practicing self-love is a major 🔑 lately, and I'm obviously all about it! It seems we are starting to embrace the idea of appreciating ourselves, slowing down, and practicing self-care. Candice Wu, Yoga Teacher and Holistic Psychotherapist shares 5 self-love practices with us that go a lot deeper than many of the other tips and tricks out there. These self-love practices are meant to give you a deep sense of embracing who you are and the reasons you're alive. Check em out!
5 Self-Love Practices
By Candice Wu
Five Self-Love practices to support you in embodying natural ease, authenticity, and freedom.
Speak fiercely. Express your truth, from your gut; your power. Let your voice be heard, as you are the only that can. Let others take what they will and be free of controlling the outcomes. When you show up genuinely and vulnerably, you make room for others to be vulnerable and themselves also.
Go deep. Seek your essence: what you are about and why you are here. Seek your spirituality, what makes you feel a sense of your own being. Ask yourself, what makes you feel most self-expressed, alive, and like yourself? The deeper we go internally and value what we find, the more we profoundly we love ourselves and others.
Practice non self-improvement. Be where you are. Embrace the parts of you that are undesirable or ugly to claim the energy you’ll need from them. Your wholeness cultivates joy and connects you with humanity. Cleanse yourself of the “shoulds” in your life and stand behind yourself.
Experience every emotion as valuable. Reclaim your emotions as powerful allies that guide wise action, inform you, and support wholeness. Notice, feel, and care for them.
Forget about “good” and let go of what you expect. An expected outcome limits what we receive or accomplish. Release control and open to possibilities that aren’t even fathomable. What is coming your way may come in a form or shape other than what you thought.
So what do you think? Can you practice these self-love exercises right now?? Candice has plenty more where that came from so there will be more posts like this, just wait! The best advice I have to following guidelines like the ones above is to take the time to reflect on what each of these 5 steps really say and what they mean to you. Sometimes, the simplest practices are the most life-changing ones. I can think of a million situations where practicing "Speak(ing) fiercely" could really help me embrace who I am and love myself more. I guarantee if you try at least 1 of these practices and follow it with a strong persistence, an open-mind, and genuine curiosity, you'll feel more love! Just like that.
In the wake of Orlando's devastating tragedy, it's important that we stick together, stand up for love, and give ourselves space to heal. I've spent a lot of time sitting quietly by myself and reflecting on what happened. These 10 songs remind me to give and spread love where ever I go, that music and dance can help heal the heart of the world, and everything's going to be okay.
I'm so excited to share my friend Tracy Stonaker's amazing Golden Mylk recipe! Tracy is a leader in Yoga and Ayurveda. She is my go-to person when I have questions about what and how to eat. The following is her quick and easy solution to adding turmeric to your diet. Turmeric has a million benefits! It cleanses your liver and helps it do its job more easily. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties used to treat arthritis, muscle pain and several chronic diseases including Alzheimer's and Cancer. Studies show turmeric can even help with depression. Basically, turmeric is one of those crazy miracle herbs that people get obsessed with, so don't get too caught up in the hype. Instead figure out if it makes sense to fit it into your diet and observe how it makes you feel. Tracy's recipe is a great way to start a sexy a love affair turmeric. Enjoy!
The following are guidelines, not a set in stone formula. You can experiment with different amounts and different spices according to your constitution (or Prakriti). I usually don’t measure either, so please see the following for what it is: a launching pad for you to explore the many ways in which to enjoy Golden Mylk and to reap the rewards of turmeric. There are 3 steps to this version…but once you get it, it’s super easy!
For Tumeric Paste:
Ground Black Pepper
For added flavor:
Soaked and pitted dates (or your favorite sweetener)
Coconut oil (or olive oil or ghee)
Step 1 – Turmeric Paste
On medium heat, dry roast turmeric powder and black pepper in a small pot for about 2 mins.
Add water and simmer while continuously stirring until it turns into a paste. Think of creating the consistency of toothpaste, my estimate is it'll take about 5-10 mins.
Remove from heat.
Step 2 - Cashew Mylk
Soak cashews in water 8-12 hours.
Rinse until water drains clear.
Place cashews in blender.
Add water. The more water you add, the thinner the mylk, so if you like a thicker consistency, add less water.
Blend well. About 3-5 mins on high, depending on blender power.
*Feel free to use whatever variation of “mylk” or “milk” that suits you best, coconut, almond, dairy, etc.
Step 3 – Golden Mylk
With cashew mylk still in blender, add the following and blend well:
Soaked and pitted dates (or your favorite sweetener)
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil (or olive oil or ghee)
Add ½ to a full avocado or frozen banana to thicken and make creamy
Add more pepper (increases heat)
Add ginger (supports digestion)
Add cardamom (balances doshas)
You can blend on high speed for an extended time to heat up the mylk if you prefer it warm.
Once you’ve got the basics down, have fun coming up with your own version of Golden Mylk. Try not to think about it too much…your body knows what it needs and will guide you to the perfect formula for you!