Aspiration, Inspiration: GOOD + My Relationship With Wellness.

Aspiration, Inspiration: GOOD + My Relationship With Wellness.

Body Community Motivation + Inspiration WANT Women

I don’t often post about the events I do or the places I speak. I feel like, for me, it borders on self-indulgent and sets a precedent that I’ll write something about every event I do or place I speak. But I do like sharing with you the ones that spark something new inside me…the ones where I can sense a shift happening. The ones that offer up more than just a recap and some fun photos. The ones that blow my mind.

This weekend, I had the immense honor of speaking at The GOOD Festival, an all-day wellness festival in Philly for anyone wanting to live well and “make choices that are in alignment with their body, their career, and their lives.” Basically, the GOODfest focused on all of the things I love about the wellness industry: the community, the curiosity, and the small choices that end up making a big difference in the long run.

But I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t love everything. A couple years ago, I felt my relationship with the “wellness” community starting to shift. Because wellness was shifting as well. And I didn’t really like much of what I was seeing: elitism, ego, judgement, and a focus on the external WHATs instead of the internal WHYs. Leaders and “gurus” encouraginig spiritual bypass, the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with hard things, was becoming just as if not more common than encouraging spiritual growth.

I felt torn. The wellness world had introduced me to some of my very dearest friends, launched my career, and helped me realize my through line. Heck, if it hadn’t been for the wellness world, I would have never started sharing my writing publicly or be even close to the person I am today (fun fact: my first blogs and first freelance jobs circa 2008 were all in what’s now considered the wellness realm). I owed so much of who I was to the wellness community – and yet I felt like I was watching a genuine and loving best friend get lured in by a Mean Girls-esque squad of crystal-carrying, sage-burning, side-eyeing Regina Georges. All aspiration on the outside and very little inspiration on the inside.

It broke my heart.

~

I’ve been very vocal about ways I feel the wellness world can shift, and every single WANT Woman that’s been featured on the site or the podcast is a shining example of what wellness can be if we lean into the parts of us that make us unique and let them lead the way. Literally, every single one of them. 

But still. It’s so easy to get caught up in the parade and charade of the opposite end of the spectrum when you’re scrolling through Instagram or reading an article and then all of the sudden it’s 12:42am and you’re paralyzed by fear that you’re not only doing everything wrong, but that your idea of what leadership means in the wellness world is no longer relevant.


One of the reasons GOOD was such a reaffirming experience for me was that it reminded me why I fell in love with wellness in the first place. Wellness, after all, isn’t just about the “well.” It’s not just about the adjective – or rather, the noun we’ve created from the adjective.

It’s about the verb – the “LIVING” part of living well.

“Well” is subjective. We cannot possibly know if what works for one person will work for someone else.

 

But living? Living is action. Living is experience-oriented.
And living well is…well, it’s moving forward fearlessly into the you you know you’re meant to be.

 

The GOODfest team blew me (and everyone else there, ps) away with their thoughtfulness and attention to detail. They’d carefully curated the day to reflect their mission and their values, and it showed in not just every single speaker and sponsor, but in all 300+ people who chose to spend their day with us. Deep conversations happened within a matter of seconds – real, no-bs, walls-down conversations – and each time a speaker walked onstage it was like they were being greeted by a room full of old pals.

Speaking of the speakers – the SPEAKERS! Oh my god the speakers. Being a part of this group was a dream come true. Some people were old friends (Jessica Murnane, Katie Dalebout, Jordan Younger), some were new friends (Gianne Doherty, Kristin McGee, Cassandra Bodzak, Sara DiVello, Kimmie Smith), and some I met specifically because we were both speaking at the GOODfest and then one month later we were the best of travel buddies (hi, Talia Pollock). In an industry that can sometimes seem so cliquey and elite, the GOODfest was anything but. It revived my love for wellness; for how *I* view living well. Which is all about being proactive, not reactive, when it comes to how you want to feel. All-around. Mind, body, soul.


Living well is about being proactive, not reactive, when it comes to how you want to feel. - @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet

This post is obviously about the wellness world, but I think this disconnect between aspiration and inspiration applies across industries and even life stages. Maybe your thing is fashion. Maybe it’s academica. Maybe it’s music. Maybe you’re just starting a family, or have been single for a while, or are just about to graduate college or enter empty-nestville. There are so many opportunities for us to doubt that what we’re doing is right or where we are is where we’re supposed to be (yes, social media is a big way we can get triggered into self-doubt).

But what the GOODfest reminded me is that those people who seem to have everything perfectly manicured and are “too cool to care” are in the minority. WE are in the majority. Side by side. No one has it all figured out, but if we join forces in our curiosity, we can explore the options together.

And that’s what I love about wellness: I love the CONNECTION. The community. The willingness to open up and move forward fearlessly…on the same team. We might not know anywhere near everything, but each of us knows something – and when we all work together to both hear and be heard, we’ve got a whole damn lot of options on the table.

Thank you Kate, Jess, Jen, Sienna, Brea, and the rest of the GOOD team for creating a space for women to unlock themselves and fully exhale. To my fellow speakers, I adore every single one of you and am honored to have been in your presence.



When we all work together to both hear + be heard, we've got a whole lot of options on the table. - @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet


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The WANT Women: Nicole Sciacca on Taking Big Risks, Prepping For Curveballs, and Laughing At Life

The WANT Women: Nicole Sciacca on Taking Big Risks, Prepping For Curveballs, and Laughing At Life

WANT Women

No matter what, the future is based in my reaction. - @nicolesciacca Click To Tweet

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years of building a career, birthing a business, quitting a job, moving across the country, and getting engaged (it’s been a busy few years.), it’s that no matter HOW far you think you’ve gotten, there is still so much more to learn. And moreover, you don’t have to go at it alone.

I recently started working with a coach to help gain clarity around a few big-time goals of mine (more on that in the future – both the coach part and the goals part). After unpacking stuff like my alternative definition of “accomplishments” and my love affair with structure, she asked me about role models. And after listing people like Jenny Lewis and Glennon Doyle Melton, I told her about one of my first friends to truly show me what I was capable of. That friend is today’s WANT Woman: Nicole Sciacca.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, you’ve probably at least heard of Nicole if not experienced her Force Of Nature-ness firsthand. Nicole Sciacca is a yoga teacher, professional dancer, actress, host, personal trainer, and (most importantly) a mother to her three year-old son Beau. She is currently the Chief Yoga Officer of Playlist Yoga in West Hollywood, where she spearheads their programming and works with teachers to turn each class into the kind of unique, music-driven experiences that have earned Playlist the nickname “The SoulCycle Of Yoga.”

This LIFE business is scary. And beautiful. And unnerving. So let's just laugh. - @nicolesciacca Click To Tweet

Backstory: Nicole moved to Los Angeles from Birmingham, Alabama over sixteen years ago. After suffering a horrible back injury in 2006 that changed the trajectory of her dance career, she needed to find an outlet for her energy and genetic disposition for sweat. What originally seemed like her biggest roadblock ultimately introduced her to her greatest passion. Nicole simultaneously began yoga while recovering…and knew she was onto something. Although she had swam and danced professionally her entire life, it was yoga that transformed her mind, body and spirit all at once.

Nicole has always believed in the power of “the journey, not the destination,” so when her Venice Beach studio Hustle and Flow was forced to close, she knew something big was bound to be on the horizon. Days later, she met Playlist owners Jorden Cohen and Rob Rubano. The timing could not have been more perfect – and Nicole found her new path as the face of Playlist.

women against negative talk playlist yoga nicole + i at the one year WANTiversary party in 2016

Our story? Well, I need to preface this by saying that I have spot-on friendtuition. I don’t know how, but I can so much as hear about someone from someone else and have a gut feeling that we’re going to be friends. I’ve learned this about myself in time, but when I met Nicole eight years ago in her spin class and had that friendtuition feeling right off the bat, I was so confused because I was also ridiculously intimidated by her.

It wasn’t that Nicole was actually intimidating or scary in the least. It was that I was in the midst of figuring myself out. I was just finding my voice as a writer and fitness instructor, was battling self-doubt when it came to calling myself a leader…and here was this woman who freaking OWNED THE ROOM the second she walked in.

I’d never seen anyone foster such a deep sense of community (“a following,” if you will) like Nicole did. She made people work hard without even realizing it was hard work. She made people laugh but never at the expense of anyone or anything else. She looked you in the eye and listened to what you had to say, even if she’d met you three seconds beforehand. And she didn’t apologize for being herself.

She was badass. She was soulful. She was exactly what I wanted to be like but didn’t know I could become.

Fast forward to the Now, and she’s one of those “lifer” friends of mine. We’ve seen each other through some high highs and low lows, and I can say on my end that I’m not only a better person to have had her cheering me on, but am a bolder person for bearing witness as her story unfolds and seeing her move forward fearlessly through it all. Injuries. Relationships. Speed bumps. Successes. She’s the definition of fearless: when the fear is less than the faith.

The more comfortable I am being uncomfortable, the better prepared I am for surprises. - @nicolesciacca Click To Tweet

I realized the other day that I hadn’t spotlighted a WANT Woman on the site since last year – crazy, right? Especially since one of the things I value most is connection. This means not only introducing you to WANT Women around the globe, but helping you connect with women who can ultimately help you find a deeper connection with YOURSELF. And so I thought, who better to get back into the flow of things than one of the WANTiest women I know. I love our WANT community so much, it was crazy to me I hadn’t introduced you to Nicole yet. So. Here. Done and done.

They (whoever “they” are) say that you need to see it to be it. And for me, Nicole was one of the first people to show me the kind of person I could become if I was brave enough to go there. Our story is never finished, our practice is never perfected, and if we just hold the mirror up and reflect our light onto one another, we’re able to surpass our wildest expectations.

WANT NICOLE.

Name: Nicole Sciacca


How you’d know me (occupation or role):
I have been teaching yoga, group fitness, and indoor cycling as well as private training for almost a decade in Los Angeles, California. I formally owned a cycling and yoga studio called Hustle & Flow Fitness on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. Currently I am the Chief Yoga Officer (CYO) at PLAYLIST. Yoga in West Hollywood.


What I love about myself (and why):
One of the things I love about myself is my sense of humor, because what are we doing, you guys? This LIFE business is crazy. And awesome. And scary. And beautiful. And unnerving. So please…let’s just laugh. Also, my resilience. I’m pretty sure that is a new found quality over the last 4-5 years but I can tell you I see the importance in resiliency now more than ever.


What is your definition of “positivity?”
 The energy that is extended when the deepest motivation is love, compassion, joy, and kindness. Or Katie Horwitch. I’m not saying that because this is your site. I honestly would define you as “positivity personified.” True story. (note from katie: omg.)

When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” Oddly I don’t remember this “turning point” but I do recall my mother and father really establishing my self worth and the value of my individuality at a very young age. They let me wear the same self chosen outfit 4 days in a row to kindergarten (thankfully my mom washed it every night!). There was a prominent shift when I began to dedicate my life to helping others through fitness and yoga but I was certainly raised with an awareness of “self love.”


How/where negative talk shows up in my life:
Paying off debt. Debt that I incurred from taking big risks. Strange thing is that I don’t necessarily regret those choices because the lessons are plentiful. Negativity shows up at least once a month when I feel bloated or hormonal. Sometimes as a mother I find my inner critic beating me up as I compare my parenting to other mamas.


When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually…
If I feel a lack of energy or physically lethargic, I blame my diet and for not having the discipline to eat more carefully. If I get a piece of mail that worries me, I doubt my capabilities to run my business. If I’m struggling on my mat, I tell myself my priorities are out of whack… There is a great deal of personal critique on my end and that has been a voice that I’ve battled my entire life.

When others talk negatively about themselves… I have a completely different reaction. I listen and immediately drum up all the reasons they are shining, glorious, star fairies!!


It baffles me that women still…
make less than men dollar to dollar. Seems like we should just cut that shit out now.


I wish that more women…
would praise, support, nurture and enable one another. I surround myself with some incredibly strong and driven ladies which makes me proud to be a woman in this industry, at this point in history. We are a great force for good and the world NEEDS us. Our children need us.



I wish more women would praise, support, nurture, and enable one another. The world NEEDS us. - @nicolesciacca Click To Tweet

The coolest thing about women is… we can bring life into the world. Cliche? I don’t care. I have been blessed to do this and it is the coolest thing I’ve ever been privileged to experience. Also, we can multi-task like a BOSS.


My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive:
Pray or meditate or sweat. Nearly all my problems can shift when I do one (or all) of these 3 things. Also, I call my mom.


My top female role models:
This is a random list here…. I’d say Elizabeth Lesser. Her life’s work and exceptional use of language as seen in her books is just incredible. Johanna Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper. I only know what I see and read but from the dynamic she shares with her husband, her 4 children, their farm, and businesses, I’m constantly inspired.


Favorite negativity-busting activity:
Spending quality time with my son. He fuels my heart in ways that I can barely explain. He reminds me of where I’ve been and that no matter what, the future is based in my reaction. I can shift energy by actively loving him.

Fave self-love ritual: beauty upkeep. Hair cut, a facial, a nice manicure and pedicure. IS THIS SHALLOW? My non-shallow answer is getting a good night’s sleep. Actual rest.


Favorite feel-good food(s):
My mom’s cooking. Specifically her homemade red velvet cake or her German sourkraut, potato, and pork recipe. It has a name but I don’t know it.


Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down:
This is 40 or Deadpool. (sorry.) Strangely, I don’t really re-watch movies. THIS HAS BEEN A POINT OF CONTENTION BEFORE. I think it makes me an oddball…so I don’t have an answer. Outside of Love Actually and All About Eve. Those are my all-time Favs!!


Favorite empowering book(s):
Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Welcome to your Crisis by Laura Day


My feel-good playlist:

Like That – Memphis Bleek
How Do You Want It – Tupac
Lemonade (the entire album) – Beyonce
Rock and Roll or Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Stand Back – Fleetwood Mac
Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood
River – Leon Bridges

Advice I would give my…

…4 year old self: It’s okay that you like micro machines and dirt. And maybe eat less Velveeta cheese.
…14 year-old self: You’re not too tall. You’re perfect. Don’t worry about boys and take more ballet classes.
…24 year old self: A partner should compliment your life, not fill the holes. GO TO YOGA RIGHT NOW.

A partner should compliment your life, not fill the holes. - @nicolesciacca Click To Tweet

5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list: A trip or yoga retreat to New Zealand or Iceland. Go on safari in South Africa. Maybe another child. Build a house. Ride in a hot air balloon.


When I truly love all of myself…
I feel enamored and in the presence of God.


Right now, I am most excited about…
my haircut and color this Wednesday. Also, the rest of 2017!! I have a couple big things in the works and am excited to get the ball rolling on my potential collaborations.


My body is:
a freaking temple. I am shocked that it puts up with me. haha. We stay healthy 98% of the year, we breakdance at weddings and we operate on less than the desired amount of sleep.


Three words to describe me:
goofy, hard-working, and compassionate


Current mantra:
The more comfortable I am BEING uncomfortable the better prepared I am for any and all surprises. Or: I am becoming my best self and living my most fulfilled life here and now.

I am becoming my best self + living my most fulfilled life here and now. - @nicolesciacca Click To Tweet


WANT YOURSELF:
Loved Nicole’s answers to this one, so now I want to hear from you in the comments…
What is YOUR definition of “positivity?”


WANT more Nicole?
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Photo credits: Caddie Hastings

Ain’t Nothing But A Number: Cameron Diaz On Longevity + The Years You’ve Spent Becoming

Ain’t Nothing But A Number: Cameron Diaz On Longevity + The Years You’ve Spent Becoming

Body

Around age twenty eight, I began experiencing something new: the You-Don’t-Look-A-Day-Overs. You know what I’m talking about. The strangers, mostly women, who when my age was revealed to them, would gasp in awe and tell me I didn’t look a day over twenty two. Or twenty three. Or nineteen.

My relationship to age has always felt different than those around me. When I was younger, I was a pretty typical preteen/teenager – I loved that I looked older than I was. This meant that I was automatically talked to like an adult instead of a child. The reactions back then were more You’re-Onlys than You-Don’t-Look-A-Day-Overs. Sure, there were the uncomfortable looks from men and my own personal struggle between wanting to shop in both the Juniors and the Womens departments of the store. But for the most part, age to me felt like maturity – like a sign I was worth taking seriously.

Around my mid twenties, the way I looked stopped changing year after year. This was around the time I transitioned away from acting – which was funny, since I had always gone to auditions and been told I looked either too young or too old for the characters I was being called for. Finally, the way I looked and the age I was had leveled out. And I LOVED it. What’s more, I found it fun – confidence-boosting, dare I say? – to speculate how I’d change decade to decade. I didn’t wish I was older, but I also didn’t wish I was younger. I was happy where I was, and excited to see where I would go from there…

So you can imagine my surprise when I got my first You-Don’t-Look-A-Day-Over. I remember it clearly: I’d just taught a cycle class. Sweat flowing. Zero makeup. No frills. Just me. A girl came up and introduced herself to me, asking how long I’d been teaching. When I told her it was close to a decade, her eyes widened and she gave me a once-over. She told me I didn’t look a day over twenty three.

I didn’t know what to say. So I just smiled.

The best way to age healthfully is to live fully. - @CameronDiaz Click To Tweet

Using a change in appearances – or lack thereof, in this case – as a compliment has always sat weirdly with me. The media’s obsession with youth is part of the problem, sure – but the bigger problem is how we talk about age, and the subtext of what we’re really talking about when we talk about age. Why do we associate getting older with the worst case scenarios, when in reality we’ve got the wisdom, life experience, and self-knowledge to make every single day a best case scenario? What are these comments about how “young” we look – or are supposed to look – doing to our internal monologue about how we are “supposed” to be as the years go on?

When someone marvels at how old I am (and I’m only 30!), it makes me wonder if I should rethink my positive relationship with my metaphorical tree rings. I love my laugh lines. Should I not??

And then I stop. It’s just like any sort of negative self-talk – where confidence is synonymous with narcissism or vanity, and it’s a lot easier to connect over what’s wrong than what’s right. I refuse to do this. Why can’t I love where and how I’m at right now?

It’s for all of these reasons (and more) I was so excited to read Cameron Diaz’s The Longevity Book. Cameron has created something really special: a no-holds-barred conversation about aging and our relationship to it, a conversation that is way too long in the making.

In this book – and the excerpt below – Cameron dives into what it means to age not just gracefully, but with downright pride. Because we can only ever truly love ourselves if we’re down to love ALL versions of ourselves, every single year a little more than the next.

I’m honored to be sharing Cameron’s words here today – words I wish we heard more. Already planning on buying this for every woman in my family for Mothers’ Day (act surprised, mom).

Here’s Cameron:


WHEN SOMEONE asks you how old you are, what do you say? I know that there are plenty of women in my line of work—and many other fields in which young people rule the roost—who like to trim their age back a little bit because they believe it makes the people around them feel better when they say they are younger. We live in a culture that celebrates youth, and none of us are immune to the pressures of wanting to seem forever young.

But one of the reasons I wrote this book is because I believe that we would all be a lot happier, feel a lot better, heave a big sigh of relief, if we could just answer “how old are you?” with the truth. Without fear. Without hesitation. Without shame.

Because I believe that age is a marker of achievement.

Shouldn’t we be congratulated for all that we’ve accomplished over the decades instead of being asked to pretend that they didn’t happen? I think those years are a part of what make us the people we are today. I think we should get to keep them, all of them, and proudly. Every time I celebrate a birthday with people that I care about, I think about how blessed I am, how lucky I am, what a gift each year is. That’s why I celebrate. Because I have lived long enough to have learned these lessons, to have earned these relationships, to have discovered all these new layers of myself that I didn’t know existed years ago—or that hadn’t yet developed.

Longevity is a gift we should all be celebrating. - @CameronDiaz, @thebodybook Click To Tweet

Longevity is a gift we should all be celebrating. The more years you have enjoyed, the more time you have lived, the more chances you have been given. Chances to take on challenges, to explore possibility, to create your life’s story. Time to forge meaningful connections with others—time to love deeply, to be hurt deeply, to become a role model for all the daughters and nieces and granddaughters and sisters and young friends in your orbit.

So I would like to propose a new way to think about getting older. I would like to boldly suggest that we take those years back. No hiding. No apologizing. No deleting. No erasing.

Instead of dreading whatever the magic number is for you, decide now to honor it and to own it. Let’s push the midlife crisis off a bridge and throw ourselves a party instead. The midlife celebration: a personal holiday that celebrates the journey we’ve made to get here, and the unexpected places we have yet to discover.

Because the best way to age healthfully is to live fully. To take care of your body and your spirit in this moment, where you are now. You can spend your energy on love and not on worry. You can love the world, you can love the people around you, and you can love the person you have spent all these years becoming.

Yourself.

cameron diaz the longevity book women against negative talk
Did you love this as much as I did? Check out more from Cameron here, here, or on her site OurBodyBook.com.

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Photo credit: ourbodybook.com
All assets reprinted with permission

The WANT Women: Emily Greener On Curiosity, Complexity, and The Choice To Connect

The WANT Women: Emily Greener On Curiosity, Complexity, and The Choice To Connect

Community WANT Women

If you’re anything like me, your entire experience from freshman year of high school to senior year of college was a massive lesson in self-discovery. Never before are you not only forced to think for yourself, but learn how to delicately balance that newfound independence with the expectations of the world around you. Those eight-ish years of school are really the years you start to meet yourself as you really are, in all your high highs and low lows. It’s liberating. It’s stifling. It’s fun. It’s scary as all hell.

For the most part, we feel like an anomalies. How on earth others could be feeling the exact same pushes and pulls as we are completely baffles us.

If only our younger selves had known we were not alone. If only we’d realized that other girls our age were experiencing the same exact things. If only we’d had I AM THAT GIRL.

emily greener
Emily Greener is the CEO and co-founder of I AM THAT GIRL, a global movement inspiring girls to be, love, and express who they are through education, content, and community. She’s been Emily and the IATG crew have taken their movement off-line into communities all over the world, motivating girls from SoCal to South Africa to live the lives they were meant to lead, judgement-free.

Emily originally came to Los Angeles as an aspiring actress with a hunch: she knew she wanted to make major change and influence the world, but had no idea just how far her bright personality and can-do attitude would lead her. In one of those beautiful moments of kismet, Emily met now co-founder Alexis Jones at a random LA party, and was immediately hooked on this idea Alexis had to create a platform – and, subsequently, world – in which young women collaborated instead of competed. The platform was called I AM THAT GIRL. 

Fast forward to today, and IATG reaches literally millions across the world. The IATG website is chock-full of empowering content created both by and for users, yet what’s mind-blowing about this movement is how it’s resonated IRL. IATG’s local chapters not only create the community we so crave while we’re trying to find our way in the world, they provide a safe, fun place for girls to express their thoughts freely and realize that no matter our backgrounds, successes, or struggles, we’re all in this together. And their focus on young women between the ages of 14 and 22? Can you imagine if you’d had this kind of supportive space to just be yourself all throughout high school? Game changer.

As we’ve discussed over and over here on WANT, fearlessness is not the absence of fear – it’s when the fear is less than the faith. Emily leads the IATG tribe with humor, humility, radical self-love, and the kind of unshakable fearlessness that inspires others to do the same in their own lives.

Sound like someone you’d want in your tribe, right? Emily wants you in hers. Read on for Emily’s inspiring thoughts on curiosity, complexity, and the choice we all have to not only be positive, but really own that power. She is bold. She is visionary. She is THAT GIRL.

WANT Emily.
Emily-Greener


Name: Emily Greener


How you’d know me (occupation or role): Co-Founder, CEO I AM THAT GIRL


What I love about myself (and why): My curious nature and adventure seeking heart, my desire to keep growing and learning and being humbled.


What is your definition of “positivity?” Being positive is a choice to create and embody a perspective on the world (and any given situation) of magic, miracles, and optimism.

Being positive is a choice to create + embody magic, miracles, and optimism. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” I have always both loved myself and simultaneously had fears, doubts, and insecurities. And I’m pretty sure that is a lifelong reality to exist with both. I would say the ratio of more love for myself than not happened when I started seeing my therapist. I call her my heart doctor. She taught me how to feel all of my feelings which opened up a huge space to love ALL of me, not just the “good” parts.

i am that girl


How/where negative talk shows up in my life: When comparing myself to others


When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… quickly resolved by remembering our values of I AM THAT GIRL


When others talk negatively about themselves… I remind them what there is to love about themselves.


It baffles me that women still… tear each other down.


I wish that more women… could be who they are instead of who they think they’re supposed to be.
I wish more women could be who they are not who they think theyre supposed to be -@thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


The coolest thing about women is… our tendency to connect and feel multiple complex emotions all at once.


My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Picturing myself or others as a little kid = instant compassion and love and joy


My top female role models: Michelle Obama, Oprah, you know… the usual ;)


Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… reminding them how powerful they are.

i am that girl


Favorite negativity-busting activity: Picturing myself or others as a little kid = instant compassion and love and joy


Fave self-love ritual: Being in nature


Favorite feel-good food(s): Ice cream


Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: Pretty Woman


Favorite empowering book(s): Half The Sky


My feel-good playlist: Oldies


Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self: I love you
…14 year-old self: It’s okay to cry
…24 year old self: Hold on tight, you’re about to embark on a crazy roller coaster that will help you become so much more of who you are.


5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list: A trip around the world, and African safari, owning a boat, wine tasting through the south of france, building the most powerful movement of girls in the world


My best tip on self love: Look at yourself in the mirror for 60 seconds every day and tell yourself all the things you wish others would say to you.


When I truly love all of myself… I feel most connected to my purpose on this planet


Right now, I am most excited about… camping this weekend (and my new vespa)!


My body is: BeautyFULL

My body is beautyFULL. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


Three words to describe me: Love, light, power


Current mantra: “You yourself, more than anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

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The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

Love Motivation + Inspiration the WANTcast Work

Today’s guest is the lovely Ashlee Piper. Ashlee Piper is a political strategist turned vegan and eco-lifestyle expert, writer, and TV personality whose work has been featured in/on Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Mirror Mirror, Mind Body Green, VegNews, Vegetarian Times, AOL, NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX News, to name a few. Piper is also a brand strategist and influencer for some of the world’s most ethical and innovative companies.

One of the things I love about Ashlee is her versatility and mad smarts. I’m fascinated by Ashlee’s background as a political strategist and creative consultant, and how that has led to her building a name for herself as an “eco-lifestyle expert” over the years.

You only want people and things in your life that want you, too. - @thelilfoxes Click To Tweet

In this episode, we talk Ashlee’s winding career journey that ultimately led her to where she is today, how to pivot both personally and professionally when what you had or who you were no longer serves you, the importance of listening to your intuition and how to discern whether it’s your gut talking or if you’re being triggered, how personal and professional brand can, and maybe even should, be one and the same, and the social media frenzy to keep it hashtag-authentic vs. actually authentic.

We also talk about how to push through when you’re afraid of taking chances and asking questions, self-promotion, and how to deal with that nagging question we all get at one point or another: What Will People Think Of Me? She gets me a little more chatty than usual when we start talking about intuition, and at one point got me revealing a story about a time that I was trying to convince myself that I was following my intuition, but I really wasn’t – a story that I probably would have been more comfortable just writing about and calling a day (because, I don’t know, it’s less vulnerable than saying it out loud?), but I’m so glad that she turned the tables a little on me, because it opened us up to an even greater conversation around what it really means to be happy.

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Whether you’re feeling solid in your career, romantic life, and personal life or you’re feeling like you’re on shaky ground somewhere in the mix, I can guarantee this episode will have something for you to take with you into your day and into your life, and make you even 2% more positive and proactive in being the you YOU know you’re meant to be.

WANT Ashlee:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the pod by shopping on Amazon (just like normal, no extra charge)

Show Notes:
Ashlee’s site
The Little Foxes
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Twitter
Pinterest
Ashlee’s WANT Woman spotlight

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Ashlee’s wisdom is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

Photo cred: Amy Mokris

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The Self-Love Turning Point: 17 Badass WANT Women On When They Started To Love Themselves (For Real)

The Self-Love Turning Point: 17 Badass WANT Women On When They Started To Love Themselves (For Real)

Community Tips + Tools WANT Women

Self-love…it can be so elusive, right? One day we’re our own biggest fan, the next we’re bashing ourselves for missing the mark. One minute we’re flying high, the next we’re buried in a pile of shoulds and doubts and unread text messages and half-eaten bags of kettle corn (no? just me?). 

The thing about self-love is that no matter how much of it we’ve got, its external manifestation doesn’t always reflect the truth. Our lives, relationships, and bodies are constantly in flux – and sometimes we forget that the emotions that fester as a consequence of the situation are NOT the reality of the situation itself. 

Even so, it’s a lot easier to berate ourselves for not thinking enough, doing enough, BEING enough than it is to dive in, dig deep, and really get to the bottom of whatever’s really going on. Doesn’t help that we don’t live in a culture that encourages otherwise: quick fixes are the solution de jour, and we’re taught that negativity is the easiest route to a bond. So is it any surprise we live our lives starved for a sense of self-love?

We can’t expect to like every aspect of ourselves 24/7 – but true, lasting self-love IS possible. And we all need to start somewhere. Your moment might be right around the corner.

Here are 17 badass WANT Women, from activists and actresses to business owners and body-pos powerhouses, on their “self-love” turning point – the moment they started to really love themselves, inside and out:

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Jessica Murnane, author + plant-based pioneer, JessicaMurnane.com + host of the One Part Podcast: Wow. I think it’s always a work in progress. There are certain days that I need to work harder on loving myself. But I’ve come so far that even my “off” days are pretty great compared to the way I used to feel.

I suffered pretty severely from body dysmorphic disorder – brushing my teeth in the dark, avoiding mirrors, but then the next day obsessing over my reflection, wearing crazy makeup and clothes to draw attention away from my face, and just straight up not wanting to leave the house. It’s crazy, because I’ve always been a really social person and was always surrounded by people – but no one ever knew my secret.

As I got older and found a therapist I loved, things began to get a lot better in my late 20s. But I truly feel that my “turning point” to loving and accepting myself more came when I changed to a plant-based diet. Everything changed. Feeding my belly with good things made my brain feel better too. It’s weird how it’s all connected – but I truly believe it is. I am happiest I’ve ever been, and even if I don’t have perfect love-yourself days…I have come such a long way that I feel proud.
Even if I don’t have perfect days, I've come such a long way that I feel proud. - @jessicamurnanes Click To Tweet


3A1A9923Katie H. Willcox, model, CEO/founder of Healthy Is The New Skinny + Natural Model Management: I began to love myself when I learned how to live a balanced lifestyle. I started focusing on being the healthiest version of myself in my mid-twenties, and I believe that was my self-love turning point. When I met my husband Bradford, he saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself and I realized that I didn’t need to fit a certain physical mold in order to be deemed lovable.


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Erin Bagwell, director of Dream, Girl:
I’m constantly discovering and exploring self-love. I make it a practice to try to find things that inspire and keep me passionate, which gravitates me towards a lot of love.


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Angela Leigh, fitness + wellness coach, PureLeighLiving:
Sure do! Three years ago I made a choice to put and end to my eating disorder. I was binging & purging for twelve years. I was sitting on my couch, crying, thinking to myself, is this going to be my life? Am I going to be imprisoned by food, my lack of love of myself and my fear of letting go…? It was an ugly cry. I emailed my coach at the time (who is an angel and love of my life) and shared with him my struggle. We met for coffee the next day, I cried it out some more. He promised to take my hand and help me through the transition. And he did. He will tell you, it was me who did the work – but his support was paramount for my recovery.

I tried the group therapy thing, it did not fly, so I started my personal journey back to loving me. And I am still on it. Some paths are brighter than others and some days are just straight up brutal. The battle against negative self talk combined with a severe eating disorder is horrific. The voices never shut off. I am not kidding: you know how people say you think about sex X many times a day? That’s nothing compared to the constant stress of thinking about what I was going to eat, how I was going to get rid of it, and so forth.

The ability to temper these thoughts and then turn them into loving thoughts is a marathon of the mind. But I am not giving up. I have no desire to go back to the dark side. I am stepping up and showing up for myself. I love that I had the courage to stop the madness and I love that I am still working for my peace of mind. I love that that I am willing to open up to the world in the industry we are in and say, I AM NOT PERFECT! I am a beautiful mess, but this beautiful mess has some rich experiences to draw from and share with everyone to inspire them that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
I am a beautiful mess, but this beautiful mess has some rich experiences to draw from. - @pureleighliving Click To Tweet


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Liz Brinson, Swirl Girl Army:
My mom instilled independence and self love in me very early but then my impressionable self endured high school and was highly influenced by mainstream media’s standards of beauty and optimal weight. I was definitely impacted by that in terms of setting unrealistic weight goals for myself. I would say my second turning point was probably when I met my fiancé, D.A. It’s really powerful having someone else in the real world reminding you how awesome you are every day.


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Sascha Alexander, actress + activist:
I started to love myself in dance class, the second I saw what was really inside me. Or to be specific, the second the other women in my class started to tell me what they saw inside me, that I was too trapped and afraid to see myself. I believe above ALL, in the power of loving communities, and people who have the courage to be clear mirrors for one another, which is such a big and scary thing to do in a world that is caught up in scarcity. It takes massive self-esteem to show up in honest praise of another person, especially a person who is shining brightly. I think there are so few of these communities available to us, right now. S-Factor was a paradigm shift for me. The more I let myself be seen there, the more I was praised and told I was “beautiful”…. which I literally couldn’t believe at first because I felt so mediocre at the time – so middle of the road, so… nothing special. Oof! It hurts me to even write those things. I was so confused!

There were so many incredible moments that first year at S-Factor, but the one that stands out right now is lying on my mat in a sideways leg lift and realizing how unbelievably strong and powerful my legs were and my stomach was, and how on fire I was in that moment, just spiritually, and emotionally and physically. I had so goddamn much to say – it was living inside me. Mine. Already within my grip. Fierce and alive and perfect. Later in class, we began moving to a really emotional beautiful ballad and my teacher screamed “No more armor!” at us and I just let myself tumble and express and yearn and I was suddenly like, divinely, aware of how deeply beautiful I was because of what I held inside me ….which was TRUTH.

Women are truth-tellers. We are so often just NOT GIVEN permission to be that big and that important. I could never have imagined how much I had to contribute just with my honesty. I realized my importance, my depth, and my fierce beauty in that moment. That was the spark that I have been fanning into a self-esteem flame throughout my 20s.
I could never have imagined how much I had to contribute just with my honesty. - @smascha Click To Tweet


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Jacki Carr, goal coach, Rock Your Bliss:
Wow, brilliant question. I had a best friend in high school, Zoe who taught me about self love. Probably Junior year, so age 17. We both were uber-athletes; she played soccer and I play volleyball and softball. She was more in the cool crowd and I was figuring it all out with puberty, ego, etc while juggling sports and family. We both had a muscular builds – like, cereal-box type bodies (and yes, I am talking square shape and pretty flat. Late bloomers. Really late) – with really muscular thighs, and I will be real: we could eat a lot of food. Like, an embarrassing amount. Considering we were both doing two-a-day workouts, we were burning calories like whoa.

When we became best friends that year – you know that moment, like in Step Brothers, ‘Did we just become best friends?’, yes that moment – we named ourselves Team Hauss. Keep in mind, this was way before CrossFit came around with their tagline, ‘Strong is the new skinny’ – we were WAY out of the norm from the ’90s string-bean model ideals. And for me, there was a moment there of radiant acceptance of myself, my body shape, my actions, my ability to eat a lot of food and not feel bad about it, and my athleticism in that connection. Though we looked different than the magazine and a lot of our friends, we were ourselves. I am so grateful to have been a member of Team Hauss, it was a gamechanger for me.



Mary Beth LaRue, yoga teacher, Rock Your Bliss:
The summer I moved to NYC to work at JANE Magazine. I’d struggled with body image and eating disorders for years and that summer I gave myself permission to fall in love with life, and in turn myself, again. Rather than restricting and beating myself up I allowed myself whatever I wanted and however much I wanted. Some days it was a big crunchy salad and a green juice and other days a grilled cheese and a beer. As I explored the city I found some many new facets to myself and started to really truly grow into the woman I am today.


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Delia Brown, artist:
In high school I remember loving myself somewhat, but still feeling very split: There was the lovable side, but there was also a side that needed to be destroyed (the part that didn’t match what my ego wanted). I still struggle with total self-acceptance, but I can certainly say that the older I get, the more okay I am with all of my parts. When you no longer see yourself as split, when your parts feel truly integrated (when it’s not You Against Your Body, or The Awesome You vs. The Lame You, etc), you stop being such a harsh critic. I’ve had a couple of really wonderful therapists who helped me with that a lot.


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Lynn Chen, actress + activist, The Actor’s Diet + Thick Dumpling Skin:
It was somewhere in the middle of my eating disorder recovery and while I was trying to have a baby. I think I realized that I had to stop equating my self worth with what my body was able/wasn’t able to do. For so long I thought it would be great to be pregnant, to use that as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Three years of infertility later, I realized nothing outside of myself was going to make me feel like I was enough. I had to start believing it myself, and made a conscious effort to change the way I was thinking and speaking to myself.

Nothing was going to make me feel like I was enough. I had to start believing it myself. - @mslynnchen Click To Tweet


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Tricia Huffman, Your Joyologist:
When I was fifteen. I had lots of undiagnosed pain and other medical problems and was a freshman in high school and dealing with all of that pettiness and my parents weren’t happy. I felt very alone and unloved and contemplated ending it all. I decided if I was going to end it, I may as well give myself one more chance and live my life MY way, not caring so much about everyone else and choosing to love myself. It didn’t matter what everyone else was doing if I could love myself.


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Kit Steinkellner, writer:
Oh man, I hate to say “It was a man” because that goes against a lot of what I– whatever, that’s what happened, I met my now-husband and he thought I was so great and I thought he was so smart, and if he was smart and he thought I was great…I just decided to go with the math and start thinking I was great.


ashleeP6
Ashlee Piper, eco-lifestyle expert, The Little Foxes:
I think this is an ever-evolving process for me (and likely everyone else, too?). I started understanding myself better when I turned 31. I left my 10-year, established career to explore what contributions I could make in the animal rights field, and it was through those challenges of redefining and getting back in touch with who I was and what I stood for that really helped me see and appreciate myself.

Doing television has also been a constantly changing lesson in accepting and loving myself. TV’s not the most forgiving medium and watching my segments has made me more appreciative of myself.

As far as a turning “point” goes – I guess I’ve had none and many, if that makes sense. Every relationship or business dealing where I haven’t felt appreciated or acknowledged has certainly acted as a mini turning point, helping me to get a better sense of what I want and deserve.
Every relationship has acted as a mini turning point, helping me get a better sense of what I deserve. - @TheLilFoxes Click To Tweet


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Sarah Dubbeldam, editor in chief + founder of Darling Magazine:
I’ve always had a positive view of myself for the most part, but it really started to shift from like to love after I’d been doing Darling for a couple of years. It’s amazing how the mentality of this movement of women loving themselves and one another wears off on you in a deep way.


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Ziza Bauer, online managing editor, Darling Magazine:
I think it’s been more of a slow turn, loving myself in looking back and realizing my mentality at different ages and how quick I’ve been to assume the worst. The more I’ve grown and met different people, different ways of life, the less hard I’ve been on my own journey.


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Kyle Wood, media relations, Darling Magazine:
In college I lived with a bunch of girls who cared SO MUCH about the way they looked. I started to think like them and pick myself apart from head to toe. I worried about everything I ate, everything I wore, what my hair looked like…everything. I became so critical about my appearance and very self-conscious. Once I moved home from school I realized that this was not how I really felt. I was adapting the mentality of the girls around me and this was very unhealthy. Ever since then I realized that I need to always think for myself – and to surround myself with like-minded people who are comfortable with themselves.


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Gigi Yogini, writer + yoga teacher:
I’ve had reoccurring awakenings all the time. Sometimes I get into a rut and then do something good for myself (like yoga, dance or take a bubble bath) and think to myself, “Oh yeah. This is what it feels like to love myself.”

Sometimes I do something and think, 'Oh yeah. This is what it feels like to love myself.' - @gigiyogini Click To Tweet

WANT Yourself:
When did you start to love yourself – did you have a “self-love” turning point? Tell us below in the comments!