Posts tagged “feature writing

Yogalosophy

Posted on November 13, 2013

Photo: Seal Press

Photo: Seal Press

My yoga practice has fallen apart over the past couple of months, in part because of various work projects that have kept me busy, but also because of a back injury that has been flaring up off and on during this time. With the holidays right around the corner, there is no time like now to get back on the mat (once I can move painlessly), because the breathing, twists, turns and stretches have a way of helping anyone (not just me) stay calm and focused when things get hectic.

ModernWomanThat’s my Yogalosophy, but in the recent issue of USA Today’s Modern Woman, I talked to celebrity yoga and fitness expert Mandy Ingber about hers. Ingber, a former actress, believes we already have the perfect body. It just may be hiding behind layers of fat, or (in my case) compressed spinal discs. What you have to do is love the body you have in order to get the body you want.

Ingber speaks from experience. After being “all over the map” with her own body, she overcame her own eating disorders and body image issues through the self-love she preaches. “I started making better choices as a result of loving myself,” she told me in an interview. “I used to think that if I did something wrong (like gain weight) that I ruined everything. Now I don’t have that black-and-white thinking about myself anymore.”

Now she’s known as the yoga and fitness guru behind some of Hollywood’s hottest bodies, among them, the actresses Jennifer Aniston and Helen Hunt. Her latest book,¬†Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover¬†provides readers with an easy-to-use wellness overhaul that includes traditional yoga poses, toning and cardio exercises, recipes, music playlists, journal exercises and other action items that support physical and mental wellness throughout the day.

“This is really a ‘Start where you are, take what you like and leave the rest’ type of book,” she says. And it’s one I’ll have to reacquaint myself with very soon.

If you practice yoga, what is your favorite type of class to take and why? Or, if you’ve read Ingber’s book, what did you think of it and what sort of results did you get from following her program? And finally, what sort of fitness or wellness ideas do you have for making it through the holidays? What is your holiday-related health or wellness downfall? Please leave your insights in the comments section below.

Swimming With The Great White Shark

Posted on November 6, 2013

I was at my desk earlier than usual today so that I could interview legendary golfer Greg Norman. A top-ranked player in the 1980s and 1990s, Norman is known by his nickname “The Great White Shark,” in part because of his aggressive style of play, but also because you can find a lot of those toothy predators around his native Australia. Reebok helped him develop the shark logo and brand during his golf heyday and he has since expanded it to include about 20 different businesses, from golf course design, to eyewear and a wine label too.

I always enjoy talking to creative and entrepreneurial people who pursue their passions and (most importantly) execute those pursuits well, no matter what the market, or other people say. I also confess to being a bit mystified by people like Greg Norman, or actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who have been able to sell people a lifestyle or products based on whatever their brand may be. So I got off the phone with Greg Norman this morning and was really, truly inspired by his accomplishments. Then, I had a little brainstorm that I took to my Facebook page. Granted, I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek (maybe), but I asked my Facebook followers to help me develop a brand, logo and lifestyle that I could sell to the people, a la Norman or Gwyneth. The immediate feedback was that whatever it was, it had to have some element of Frenchness to it. But I pointed out that because I’m based in the South physically (only mentally do I drift along the Seine…for now), it needed to have a Southern element.

So I submitted this to them: Deep Fried French.

Deep Fried French was very well-received, so I reserved the domain name. What I’ll do with it is anyone’s good guess, but my Facebook brain trust is guiding me toward ideas that may (or may not) result in a site of some sort, someday (maybe). What I know is that the demand for something Deep Fried and French is there. I also know that I’ve hired some people (sort of) who have developed the Sheryl Sandberg-esque corporate motto of “Jean In” which has a nice ring to it. It says “casual, but purposeful” which is what I try to go for all in endeavors.

Won’t you Jean In with us?

If you have any recommendations about what may or may not be a good idea for this endeavor, please send them my way. Or, if you’d like to share your thoughts on brands and lifestyle ideas that resonate with you, please do share your wisdom in comments.

 

 

There’s Something About Lola

Posted on November 5, 2013

Photo: Michael Price

Photo: Michael Price

I profiled Russian-American piano virtuoso Lola Astanova for the November issue of Palm Beach Illustrated. By age 8, Astanova was giving performances alone and with orchestras throughout Europe. By age 13, she was featured in a UNESCO documentary about twentieth-century child prodigies. But her childhood was normal, she says, adding that she even played with friends and Barbie dolls.

Now, Astanova is bringing classical music to a new generation of listeners, thanks in no small part to her penchant for hard work and her social media savvy. She became a YouTube sensation (1.5 million page views and counting) after she infused Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” with a heavy dose of Rachmaninoff-style drama. She has also graced some of the world’s great concert venues, among them Carnegie Hall in New York City. Next week, she’ll perform in Charleston, West Virginia with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

You can find my story about Astanova here, or on newsstands in South Florida. In the meantime, here are a few highlights from our interview:

* Astanova’s mother was a piano teacher and didn’t want her child to pursue a musical career because it was too difficult.
* She studied at the V. Uspensky Specialized School of Music for Gifted Children and enjoyed the competition and rigor that came with learning at such an elite school. To this day, she says “I’m very critical of myself and wish I could change that, but I don’t think I can so it doesn’t make life easier for me.”
* Having said that, it’s worth noting Lola loves reading the philosophical works of Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer wrote that the world was driven by a continually dissatisfied will and was always seeking satisfaction, a belief that must speak to the perfectionist Astanova.
* Astanova moved to Houston in 2000 and studied music at Rice University. But she maintained her ties with her Russian teachers.
* She is a fashionista known for wearing Chanel and Tom Ford. She’s also a self-proclaimed “beauty product junkie.” She justifies her passion for fashion by sharing an anecdote about the time Chopin lamented a pair of fabulous gloves he couldn’t afford. “He was into fashion,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s a sign of respect for the audience.”

Lola Astanova was a really fun interview. I really enjoyed meeting her and learning about how someone has followed their passion successfully and on on their own terms. Definitely catch her in action if she comes to your town. For a taste of what she’s like live, here she is in an exclusive performance for PBI’s YouTube channel:

She also maintains a pretty sassy Twitter feed at @followlola, where she shares her global exploits, hair color changes, fashion adventures and on-stage triumphs with her fans.