Living in New York City has forever changed my perspective on the 9/11 attacks. There is an indescribable energy and sense of community in this city that you do not fully experience until you build your life here. I can’t even begin to fathom how that energy shifted on September 11, 2001.
“The President announced that Friday was a National Day of Prayer. Our Social Studies class gathered in a circle at 12pm, held hands, and everyone bowed their heads. That was awesome. But the truth is, I’m scared.” – Journal, September 14, 2001
I was reading back through old journal entries from that day and the days and months to follow. I was only thirteen at the time, in the eighth grade, and I was scared for our nation. I visited NYC for the first time with my parents five months later, and we went to ground zero.
“There wasn’t much wreckage left. We got to see all the mementos people left on the fence around the construction site. There was a slightly different smell and feel in the air.” – Journal, February 9, 2002
I moved to NYC last November and finally went to the 9/11 Memorial a few weeks ago. It was an incredibly emotional and sickening experience. In fact, it was too much for me to handle all in one visit, but I look forward to going back sometime soon. What you realize when you live in this city is how close everyone is not only physically but also emotionally. The community here is like a set of dominoes. When one shifts the others follow suit, altering the collective energy. I imagine on September 11, 2001 that as the Twin Towers fell and people fell, NYC fell with it. Not in defeat, never in defeat, but in reverence.
Today is my first 9/11 in NYC. As I reflect on the impact of the attacks that happened fourteen years ago, I’m awe of the resilience and strength of this community, and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be a part of it.
Nothing in New York City ever starts on time. At least that’s what I thought until I discovered the Yogasmoga popup events at the South Street Seaport. When I arrived at the free class with Erika Bloom Pilates, I was ten minutes late, embarrassed, and flustered. I signed in, threw down a mat, and quickly tried to regain some Zen as I began my Pilates practice. At first, I’d been skeptical of doing Pilates in the midst of the concrete jungle, but there was one particular moment during the mat work that changed my mind. We were on our backs doing some bridges, the breeze off the river was washing over us, and as I gazed up between the high-rises at a perfect blue sky, I felt bliss. Needless to say, by the end of the class I was on a high and wanted more than ever to learn about the brand behind the event. I struck up a conversation with a couple of the girls representing Yogasmoga, and the next week, I found myself in their NYC Headquarters.
Katherine Bacino, Yogasmoga’s New York Community Coordinator & Editor of Rangoli, the brand’s community platform, served as my leader and guide throughout the HQ. There, I met members of the Yogasmoga team, previewed the upcoming fall collection, and got a taste of what’s in the works for the brand in 2016, all while experiencing just who Yogasmoga is.
Katherine started with the basics and explained the story behind the brand’s name. Yogasmoga comes from a Hindi colloquialism that combines a base word (like yoga) and a rhyming word (like smoga). The meaning is “yoga and the things that go with it.” Yogasmoga is not just a brand for yogis. It’s a brand for those who embrace the principles that go with it: joy, energy, and balance.
Next we moved on to the upcoming fall collection, which embraces the theme “unrestricted movement.” The motif reflects the brand’s belief that activewear should hug and support the body without compressing or constricting it. This idea immediately hit home. I recently got into a discussion with my dance group about how uncomfortable and unhealthy activewear can be that promises to slim your stomach or slenderize your thighs, leaving lines and indentations on your skin. Instead, Yogasmoga aims to celebrate the natural shape and curves of the body with the mindful design of their fit and fabrics. I’m particularly excited for one of the prints in the upcoming fall line called “Topography.” To create this design, Yogasmoga used a technique called bodymap printing. Typically, patterned fabrics are cut for the desired garment at random, which means the print appears on each article of clothing in a different way. With bodymap printing, the pattern on the fabric is specifically designed to suit the garment and the part of the body on which it’s worn. So, Yogasmoga’s Topography print leggings highlight the line of your waist, curve of your thighs, and muscles in your calves.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived. It was time to actually test out the clothes! The minute I slipped on the first pair of leggings, I experienced just how awesome this apparel is. The fabric is rich, mobile, weightless, and just feels good on your body as you move. I’m also completely smitten with the Topography print in the upcoming fall line. It’s a feminine and flattering work of art. I can’t wait to get my hands on a style from the new collection! If you’re having trouble deciding which piece of Yogasmoga apparel to try first, check out the company favorites or some of my own:
- Katherine, NYC Community Coordinator & Editor of Rangoli: Tippy Toe Twist Legging & Oh La La Bra (great for busty girls!)
- Katie, Marketing Analyst: Tippy Toe Legging
- Tom, Director of E-Commerce: Nirvana Short (yes, they have a men’s line too!)
- Emily, Social Media Manager: Tippy Toe Legging
- Faith, Director of Marketing: Vivacity Legging
- Trish, Wholesale Specialist: The entire Vivacity Collection
- “Super” Alex, Customer Service Specialist & Project Manager: Run Jump’N Twist Crop
- Cait, Yogasmoga Enthusiast: Run Jump’N Twist Crop & Yantra Tank
For those in the NYC area, check out the full list of free popup events that Yogasmoga is hosting at the South Street Seaport now through September. Then, follow Yogasmoga on social media, and stay tuned this fall for a series of live panel discussions with the brand. Finally, hold your breath! There’s rumor of a brick and mortar Yogasmoga store opening in NYC next year!
Today I’m kicking off a monthly series, the Creative Habit, inspired by Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit (which I highly recommend reading). The focus of the book and this new monthly series is best summarized in a passage from Tharp’s practical guide:
“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone. Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for businesspeople looking for new ways to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way… Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Since leaving college and the cushion of being surrounded by countless peers, professors, and mentors all of whom were writers or dancers or artists, I’ve struggled to maintain my creative self. In my experience, the older you get, the more you lose that youthful abandonment and in turn, begin to lose your creativity. In addition to outside forces impacting our creative selves, we’re at greater risk of inhibiting our own creativity as adults. We allow the left brain to kick in with logic, analysis, and judgement, and we become quick to extinguish or abandon our natural creative impulses. Slowly but surely, over the past five years, I’ve fought to maintain my creative self. It’s challenging, and that’s why I believe in forming a creative habit.
For this Creative Habit series, I’ll present you with a creative assignment toward the end of each month. Then, for the thirty days that follow, I challenge you to incorporate the creative habit into your routine. The tasks will start out very basic so that you can discover what creative habit works best for your lifestyle and your creative self. September’s challenge is to simply embrace the last several weeks of summer weather and go outside every day. I don’t just mean walk from your car to your office or step in the backyard to let out your dog – really go outside! When was the last time you sprawled out in the grass and gazed at the sky? Do you ever go on a walk or run without your headphones and let your surroundings speak to you?
So many of us are confined indoors for 80-90% of the day. As a freelance writer who typically works from a home office, there have been periods where I didn’t leave my apartment for three to four days at a time! This is an extremely unhealthy work practice, and I can definitely say my creativity was at an all-time low during these stints. Now, living in New York City without a car, I’m forced to spend time outside almost anytime I need to go somewhere, but that doesn’t always mean I’m engaged with my surroundings. Most people who are going from Point A to Point B on the streets of NYC are in their own worlds – talking on the phone, listening to their headphones, or even reading a book or newspaper. Remove the extraneous technology, noise, and distractions! Don’t just go outside, be present in the outdoors and appreciate your natural surroundings.
Over the next month please share your experience making a habit of going outside with the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit
Crave, a verb:
1. To long for; want greatly, desire eagerly
2. To require; need
A few months ago I debuted the first edition of CRAVE with a compilation of my virtual hoardings. You know all those pictures, articles, and posts you Like on social media? What happens to them? How many articles have you Liked and actually read? Did you ever buy that great new product you Liked? Most times, the answer is no. So, I began periodically reviewing my likes and bookmarking the information in a folder called Cravings.
In this edition of CRAVE, I’m sharing some of my latest cravings from a Saturday of shopping around New York City. A couple weekends ago, I was hosting some out-of-town company. We walked through the park, hopped onto the subway, and ventured out onto the streets of Soho with one destination in mind: The Reformation. Coincidentally, we’d both been eying dresses from the sustainable LA-based boutique. Next, I suggested we shop for accessories at Erica Weiner, a Brooklyn-based antique and vintage-inspired jewelry brand with a shop on the edge of Little Italy. After that, we let or instincts guide us and roamed based on the flow of the crosswalks. This landed us at our final destination: a below-ground shop with an interesting window display and a name we couldn’t resist: Fair Folks and a Goat. As we explored the wares, I was reminded of that spark you get when a store window catches your eye, you wander inside, and touch, feel, or taste things as opposed to just reading reviews or looking at images on a screen. It was then I realized how much I’d been craving a shopping experience offline.
Not in NYC, don’t worry! All of these retailers are all available online as well.
Pining for… the perfect LBD to take from day to night? Head to The Reformation and check out their collection of ribbed stretch jersey shift dresses. I opted for the Arly Dress in black. No matter which style you choose, it can easily be dressed down for daytime with flats and a crossbody or dressed up for nighttime with wedges and a clutch.
Yearning for… a unique conversation piece to wear to your next event? You need a Heartbeats necklace by Erica Weiner. I wore my Heartbeats necklace featuring the Talking Heads lyric “This must be the place” to a garden party a week after purchasing it, and nearly every person I chatted with that night remarked on the necklace and the quote.
FAIR FOLKS AND A GOAT
Longing for… the most functional bag to carry in the city or on your next trip? Let’s start a movement to revive the fanny pack, which has now been rebranded by Herschel as the hip pack. If you’ve ever lived or traveled in an urban environment like NYC, you know it’s essential to have a great bag that is functional and fashionable. I typically turn to my crossbody or occasionally a backpack, but I have to admit, the hip pack is the most aptly designed for pedestrian, city life.
Still craving more? Check out CRAVE: First Edition!
Nothing will rally a group of freelancers living in New York City like the promise of drink specials. The August Freelancers Spark event took a departure from the typical topic-driven meetups and simply offered an opportunity for freelancers to mingle and network over wallet-friendly cocktails. To get the conversation started, we were handed a classic BINGO board upon arrival.
The mission: find fellow freelancers with the given qualities and write their name in the corresponding spot on the board. Get five in a row, and win Freelancers Union swag, either The Freelancer’s Bible or a fun tote.
The most difficult items to match on the board included….
- Has achieved inbox zero,
- Gets dressed everyday (sweats don’t count), and
- Enjoys working on the weekend
I quickly became known as the freelancer who “handwrites their to-do list.” Yes, I still use a physical planner in tandem with Google Calendar to build my schedule, write notes, and track my to-do lists. In extreme cases, I even write outlines or excerpts for pieces in a notebook then retype and edit them on my computer. Somehow, creatively, my brain still works best that way, and although it’s much more inefficient, I write something by hand on a daily basis. Next time you’re in a creative rut, give it a try – it might work for you too.
The Freelancers Union Spark Happy Hour was a purely fun Spark event (even though I didn’t win bingo or any swag). However, most Spark events centralize around a specific topic relevant to freelancers (and bloggers too – Freelancers Union has a ton of applicable information for my fellow bloggers as well!). September’s Spark will focus on how to hook clients with an authentic story (for obvious reasons, I’m pretty excited for this one). Spark events go down once a month in 18 cities around the country. Visit the Freelancers Union site to find yours. Plus, if there’s not a Spark in your city, you can apply to be a Spark leader and bring these awesome events to your neighborhood.