Living Better

LAUREN'S RULES FOR AGE-PROOFING YOUR BODY + MIND

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Is aging backwards a thing? They say that 40 is the new 30 - and for many aspects of life it’s 100% true. But if there’s one area the adage doesn’t totally apply, it’s to our health. You have to consistently work at it.

Working out and eating well to age proof your body (or to become fit) means that you’re strengthening the systems of your entire body for everyday peak performance. It’s a lot like servicing your car. And that’s what your main goal should be.

In my opinion, the ultimate outcome of any fitness and wellness program is feeling GREAT in your skin at any age. Age proofing is a lifestyle, and it’s a high vibes only attitude on every level - more on this later in the post.

So many of you ask me how I look so “young” (THANK YOU) and at 41 I’ve never felt better in my skin and I’m still learning, but I’m excited to see what my 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond bring. These are my current rules of the game when it comes to ageless living and age proofing your body and mind.

Move Everyday Exercise brings blood to skin level and makes you look and feel alive. Do what feels good for you, but aim to eliminate a disordered relationship with exercise. So many people think of movement as solely a means of undoing what they’ve consumed, but It’s much more than that. Get moving and feel the lifeblood.

Water With Lemon Just do it everyday, trust me.

Sunscreen See above re: water with lemon.

CCS & Studio LB Both the method and the programming protect the body by maintaining lean muscle mass, flexibility, muscle balance and endurance via resistance training, cardio, and core strengthening. Whether it’s a cardio or sculpt, a Quick Burn or Full-Length workout, every session has core strength, stability, and muscle balance as it’s foundation.

Joint Care Beyond your thirties, you’ll start to notice wear and tear on some of your joints, which is normal – those joints have been in use for some time – and not anything to freak out about in itself. However, heavy training, especially impactful endurance work like running or high impact cardio, can sometimes exacerbate things. It’s important to really listen to your body and consider a couple of useful supplements like glucosamine, turmeric and collagen – which can work to slow and even reverse joint degeneration. 

Commit To You Consistency is so key. You have to commit to your health and own your choices. What we do everyday counts more than what we do a few times a month. Don’t just exercise when preparing for a wedding, event, or vacation. When health becomes a habit, everything shifts and it becomes your lifestyle. Try to focus less on the end goal and more on what you do daily and watch real transformation take place!

Love Yourself Stop berating yourself and do not compare and despair. Tell your brain to STOP IT. So much precious time is wasted on shaming and judging yourself. It’s your job to break the brain that habitually believes a story that’s hurting you.

High Vibes Only What does this mean? Making the conscious decision to be holistically healthy and happy in all aspects of life. If we are operating at a ‘lower vibration’ then that means that something is blocked. You want nothing to do with anything that makes you feel sh*tty, so when we make conscious decisions to bring our body back into balance, the body will vibrate at its highest potential, generating health and happiness.

Embrace The Power Of A Whole Foods Diet Whole foods literally put your body in a power position. Don’t eat the crap. Basically everything we need is whole and unpackaged.

Make Space Schedule time for both productivity and relaxation in order to lower stress. During your scheduled workout time, clear the way for clarity. When you’re in your home studio you want no trappings of daily life, so move the laundry hampers and take-home work. Clear out whatever isn’t serving you or is weighing on you to maximize your me-time.

Feeling great in our 40s and beyond does take some work. For me, the transition from 30s to 40 was a little challenging mentally, but what happens to women at 40 is nothing short of astonishingly beautiful. Everything changes for the better. Beauty and confidence really starts to radiate from within and you really do love yourself a whole lot more. I notice that I move feely now and I love being myself, and I love being a woman.

Oh, and IMO, a little Botox never hurts, either. ; ) Next up, I’ll focus on the products and clothes that help me glow from the inside out!


LIVING BETTER: CARRIE WHITCRAFT

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If you were a bride in the Philly area between 2004 and 2017, you’re likely familiar with the work of creative powerhouse Carrie Whitcraft. She worked at Philadelphia magazine during that time, and for many years was the editor of the twice-a-year bridal mag Philadelphia Wedding. Her book The Bride’s Instruction Manual is a no nonsense guide to wedding essentials. We talked to her about her own nuptials, new(ish) motherhood, and how our bodies change with the years. Carrie lives in Berwyn, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and son Jack.

You wrote for Philadelphia Magazine about all things wedding-related. Did this affect how you planned for your own wedding?

Having my life be all about weddings even before I got engaged meant a few things when it came time to plan my own—the absolute best being that I got to skip the whole vendor-research part of the program, which tends to be super daunting right off the bat when brides first dive into it all. My husband and I decided we should do New Year’s Eve before we had downed our first celebratory drink post-proposal, so I texted Alison Conklin, who I knew would be my photographer (possibly before I even called my parents!), right then and there to see if she was free, and then lined everybody else up with a quick email in the coming week or two to tell them I was engaged and say hey, what are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Having done so much with weddings over the course of so many years also meant that I already had things in mind that I knew I wanted, and things that I knew I didn’t feel were necessary. And coming back to my amazing vendors, it also meant that I didn’t stress about a single detail, because I fully trusted them to hit it out of the park. (I didn’t even know a thing about my bouquet! My florist, Sullivan Owen, said she’d love to make that a surprise for me, and I loved that idea.) In fact, many of them were surprised and amused to find that they had to keep reaching out to me to discuss various details of the day. It really allowed me to focus on making wonderful memories with my family and friends and husband-to-be during that time.

You're consistently recognized on the 100+ minutes list in our community facebook group. When and where do you practice Studio LB?

I tend to do my workout right in my living room while my 22-month-old son naps. My TV browser won’t load the workout videos for some reason, so instead I do them on my iPad and use the reflection of the dark TV behind it as my “mirror.” It’s my goal this summer, however, to get into the habit of doing them at least a few days a week in the morning before he’s up (I have been blessed with a late sleeper, but a short napper) so I can use his short naps to get some other stuff done. I’ve been successful a few times so far!

How has having a child changed your approach to your health and fitness?

I feel like when it comes to fitting in my workout now, it’s not just when, but how! On days when nap time doesn’t work out, it takes a lot more effort and finagling to get it done than when I used to just decide on a 7am, lunchtime or post-work class. And when it comes to diet, things have definitely changed since having a baby (and, let’s be honest, since mid-30s turned into late!): what I used to do to drop a few-to-several pounds any time I needed to now does literally zilch. So that part of it definitely takes more effort, and isn’t something I’ve completely figured out just yet.

I also think that now, in addition to wanting to feel strong (I hate when I don’t) and fit into my jeans (I really hate when I don’t) like I always have, I love doing my workouts—especially these workouts, since I used to go to Lauren’s Philly studios—because they’re kind of a constant in my life when lots of other things have changed in recent years. For a really long time, I lived and worked in Philly and worked out at Lithe. Now, I live in the ‘burbs with two boys and don’t go into an office; I smiled about five minutes into my first Studio LB workout because of how oddly comforting it was to be doing the waist rotations and Thriller and bow-and-arrow-jacks (which I hate, btw) that I’d been doing since long before my life looks like it looks now. So that part of it motivates me to keep up with it, too.

What's one beauty product you can't live without and why?

You know, for years, any time I was asked this question, my immediate answer was P50 (Biologique Recherche’s miracle product that they got me hooked on at Rescue when I was in my 20s). But these days I actually think I might be more dependent on Beautycounter’s Facial Oil (I do #3, Balancing). It fixes oiliness, dryness, breakouts, flakiness—seriously any ailment your skin might have. My face literally drinks it in and feels relieved every time I put it on. I plow through it, but much like I’ve always felt about P50, I don’t consider it so much a splurge as an investment. I mean, your face is your face—when something works as well as this, you gotta keep it coming.

Photography by Alison Conklin

LIVING BETTER: ALYSHIA OCHSE

Photograph by Dana Patrick

Photograph by Dana Patrick

If you’ve watched True Detective, How I Met Your Mother, Hart of Dixie, General Hospital, or Ballers, you’ll recognize actress Alyshia Ochse. But you might not know that she’s also an author, accomplished athlete, and host of her own podcast “That One Audition.” Alyshia and I met through mutual friends and I totally admire her sense of humor and tenacity, and wanted to learn more about Alyshia’s approach to her career, creative expression, and commitment to fitness even while on set.

Photograph by Kate Hauschka

Photograph by Kate Hauschka

Did you always want to act, and which came first for you: writing or acting? 

I’ve always wanted to be an actress.  One of the first memories I have as a child was daydreaming out the living room window making up stories about the people outside.  Stories fascinated me, the people fascinated me.  Movies allowed me to escape my reality.  When I was learning how to write in kindergarten, I wrote a note saying “I want to be in the TV when I grow up.”  Writing came later in my life.  I started writing in a journal and writing poetry around 10 years old.  My first poem was published when I was 11.  Sitting in math class, words poured into my mind and I scribbled out a poem with words I didn’t even understand.  Words that I had to look up and learn.  Creativity knows no age and I am grateful for the opportunity to daydream about another reality for myself.  Writing is now a tool I use to feel my way through a situation, to express myself and to be connected to the flow of pure creativity.

Hollywood is a funny place.  It IS the place where storytelling dreams do come true.  But the thing that I have learned about Hollywood is that your “dream” is another person’s long journey that they achieved with a set of goals.  Typically, an actor’s dream becomes a reality about 10 to 15 years after they have been grinding at it.  It is not for the weary.  You must be resilient and remember that it is about climbing and staying the course.  There is no overnight success.  Only the press makes “overnight successes.” Many of those actors and storytellers have been working relentlessly not only on their craft but on many side jobs to keep the bills paid.  My suggestion after surviving for 16 years is having a game plan and having annual goals that allow you to see your progress to help you from being discouraged. 

Photograph by Kate Hauschka

Photograph by Kate Hauschka

You host a podcast called "That One Audition." Tell us about the inspiration behind starting your podcast and what the process is like.

“That One Audition” spawned out of a hilarious audition experience where I was running in a bikini and my own flatulence was THE show stopper that left a whole room speechless.  I left that room and wondered how many other people had bombed auditions or how many auditions left the actors ‘ vulnerabilities exposed.  After discussing the experience in my acting class, many other actors shared audition stories that were beyond hysterical and exposing. 

At the time I was volunteering at Young Storytellers helping kids learn how to write a story.  These kids held the acting profession in the highest esteem but for reasons that made actors not human, not capable of making mistakes.  I wanted to expose the journey of an actor through various different audition stories that allowed others to see the amount of rejection, humility, vulnerability, excitement, serendipity and hope that transpires day to day in this profession. 

The process for the podcast is simple.  I find creative storytellers that excite me for their longevity in this business.  Every conversation leaves me with an insane amount of insight into another creative’s journey, pure inspiration and tangible tips to improve not only my career but the career of every listener.

Photograph by Jessi Arnold

Photograph by Jessi Arnold

How does Studio LB fit in to your fitness and wellness routine while on set? Have you taken a strong interest in your health your whole life, or is it something you've focused on more as an adult? 

Studio LB is my go to workout when I’m on set because very rarely do I shoot at home.  I have done Studio LB in an airport, a hotel, in my trailer, and at midnight when I arrive to a new location.  It keeps my jet legged body feeling strong, agile and in shape without having to search for the nearest gym.  I am so much less stressed now when I travel or when I work because I know I just need my computer or phone to get in the workout that keeps my mind and body in flow.  I’ve always been a person who loves to workout and keep my wellness in check.  My body craves a good sweat!  The best part of Studio LB for me is even on days when I don’t want to workout I can still motivate to do a 5 or 10 minute workout.  

Photograph by Kate Hauschka

Photograph by Kate Hauschka

Do you have any methods for or ideas about creative expression to share?

I have daily practice to allow myself to be in the utmost, connected creative expression.  Every morning I write three pages of just free flow, uninterrupted stream of consciousness that is not grammatically correct but just getting the thoughts out.  These pages are a part of my ritual to get ideas out of my brain and flushed out.  The pages also provide a safe space for me to work through any conflict or negative self talk that might be getting in the way of my art or life. 

Also, in order to completely be of service to my creative process I have to do a daily ritual of mirror work.  Louise Hay’s morning ritual of mirror work always allows the negative inner critic to take a back seat and allow the Universe/God to work through me.  It is a three minute process of looking in the mirror and affirming my love for myself.  Health and wealth of thoughts giveaway to the best creative expressions for me.

You can find Alyshia on Instagram @alyshiaochse, at alyshiaochse.com, or catch her podcast That One Audition.

LIVING BETTER: JULIA WESTER

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As we continue to recognize inspiring women, creativity, and general badassery in our Studio LB community, Julia Wester immediately comes to mind. She is the Creative Content Producer and Prop Stylist for Oh Joy! in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, Dave, and their two children Zealand and Bodhi. We chatted with Julia about the elusiveness of work-life balance, and she gave us a few LA insider tips along the way too.

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Tell us how you came to join the Oh Joy! team from your background in television. 

I was a reality TV producer for ten years before I came to Oh Joy! My husband and I were engaged at the time. He also works in reality TV, and the production hours are long. I wasn’t satisfied anymore being a producer. I was in the middle of planning our wedding, loved being creative and planning for it, and I had just wrapped on a TV show. My husband suggested that I take that time off to see if there was something else I wanted to do and suggested reaching out to event planners and other creatives to see if I could intern while I was in between jobs and had the free time. Eventually I found Oh Joy! and saw that she was hiring. I applied, and the rest is history.

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You are a working mother of two, how do you find time to dedicate to your health? 

Being a working mom is hard. Being a working mom of two is chaos. I have a full time day job but once I leave the studio, I continue with my other full time job as a mom. 

What has kept me from focusing on myself was the lack of time and how tired I’d be at the end of the day after putting both my kids to bed. After my son was born, I decided to give myself six months of enjoying him and to focus on my new life as a mom of two and then start focusing on my health. It was also conveniently when the New Year started. 

What has helped is working out at home, which is why I love Studio LB. I can turn on a 30 minute Quick Burn and do it once my kids are in bed in the comfort of my home. I needed to get the train in motion and once I did, I realized the 30 minutes I spend on myself working out has made me happier and has given me more energy, making me a better mom, wife, and person overall. 

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We really appreciated the real talk from your Instagram post in January about accepting your post-partum body. Has Studio LB been part of your fitness routine, and does sharing and connecting on social media motivate you? 

I’ve found a great support system and mom tribe on social media. Studio LB has been a major part in my fitness journey and I love sharing it with others.  It has been so amazing to have so many supportive moms. Talking about it also holds me accountable too.

Do you have a favorite meal, snack or drink that only locals would know about around LA? 

Ohana Poke is my favorite go to lunch. I get it with olive oil kale as the base and it’s my jam. I try and stay away from sweet treats, but they have my all time favorite chocolate chip cookie there too. My fave milk tea drinks are from Milk+T but I haven’t had one since January. I miss it! 

You can keep up with Julia on all things family, fitness, and French bulldogs on Instagram @juliasirwester.

Photography by Casey Brodley, Morgan Pansing and Lily Glass.

LIVING BETTER: LINNY GIFFIN

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Your overwhelming response from International Women’s Day has inspired us to look within our community and recognize some insanely talented Studio LB members here on the blog. First up, we wanted to share a recent Q & A with Linny Giffin, a Studio LB member and multidisciplinary artist living and working in Washington, D.C. Seeing her creativity and and ability to balance form and function in her space, we needed to know more about what drives Linny in her work, her home and her health.

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Can you tell us about your work as a fiber artist and about The Lemon Collective?

As a fiber artist, I do a lot of work with embroidery, weaving, quilting and soft sculpture. I've translated the medium to large scale installation art, creating bespoke pieces for restaurants and homes in D.C. and beyond. Last year I created a loom on the storefront of my studio and wove flowers through it, I called in the Living Loom.  

In 2015, I co-founded The Lemon Collective with two other D.C.-based artists. It originally started as an art studio for us, but quickly morphed into much more. Now, it is more of a brand and creative community that celebrates artists across a range of mediums in a city where creativity isn't always a priority. Our brick and mortar hosts workshops and other events, providing a space for small business owners to exhibit their expertise in anything from jewelry making and flower arranging to embroidery and business development. We're building an online community that connects artists and celebrates the importance of creativity. 

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You live and work in a 350 square foot space in Washington, D.C. In what ways do you find this space limiting or liberating?

Of course, living and working in a 350 square foot apartment is extremely limiting. However, just by opening up the door to my fire escape, I feel a part of the city. The view is amazing and I live on the best street in D.C., there are cafes, restaurants, shops and an independent movie theater right outside my front door. Plus, the small space allowed me to design the apartment very intentionally so no square foot was left neglected. I think that makes the apartment feel liberating.

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Do you practice Studio LB at home or elsewhere?

I practice at home! I just roll out my mat in the middle of my living room floor. One of the many things I love about Studio LB is it doesn't require equipment and I can do it anywhere even my tiny apartment. 

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Linny is currently working on an outdoor installation series around D.C. and Northern Virginia, and you can find her on instagram at @linnyfriend and online at https://www.linnyinc.com. To sign up for the Lemon Collective’s monthly newsletter for news and goings-on in the art world, visit  https://www.wearethelemoncollective.com.

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Photography by Laura Metzler

MOVING THE NEGATIVE

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Last week I started a little weekly column here called LIVING BETTER, where I'll share ways to help you stay inspired to live better, and healthier. 

Today I want to talk about using movement to break negative patterns and shift your mindset. The quickest and easiest way to upgrade your mood is to move.  You can literally move the negative out of your mind and body, because movement can chemically change how you feel.  Emotion is enhanced by motion, and movement can make you feel sexy, strong, beautiful and empowered (especially CCS).

How many times have you gotten up in the morning, sat up in bed and decided right then and there that you were in a bad mood, were totally unmotivated to do anything, or go anywhere, let alone workout.  It happens to all of us.  Just last week I had the worst PMS and I was procrastinating and angry at the world.  I don't think that I moved much for two days straight and then I went for a short walk, and momentum took over.  Later that same day I shot a full length Studio LB workout and felt 100% better. 

Breaking a negative pattern can be easy.  Here are three tips to help you take action and move the negative in a more positive direction: 

1. Movement Creates Movement.  When we're feeling negative or down, certain tasks seem impossible, right?  We tend to put things off (unloading the dishwasher, a 50-min. Studio LB workout), but if we just get started by taking that first step, it will have a snowball effect. Movement creates movement, and everything will fall into place.  

2. Motion Enhances Emotion.  On those days where you don’t feel like doing anything, try a short walk or one of my Quick-Burn workouts.  You can drastically change your mood and your mindset in just a few minutes.  

3. Call A Friend.  If you are feeling stuck, uninspired, you need an accountability partner (this is not a workout buddy)!  An accountability partner is someone that is depending on you as much as you are depending on them.  Who is your accountability partner?  It doesn't have to be in-person to be effective, it can be via phone, email, DM, FB group, or text!