Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Inspirational Women ~ Donna Smaldone

I am so incredibly lucky to be able to introduce the next wonderful woman in the inspirational women blog series! Donna Smaldone is both a wonderful friend and an amazing ambassador for health and happiness! She is a Take Shape for Life health coach as well as the founder of The You Evolution! Not only does Donna inspire one to be the best person they can be, she also has an infectious smile and can make you see amazing aspects of yourself that you didn't know was there! 

1) What inspired you to found The You Evolution?
I believe we are ALL unique creatures, designed by God to be individual – each like NO other. My hope through The You Evolution is to challenge each one of us to embrace our own unique journey so we may contagiously enjoy community, relationship, and health with each other. No matter who you are, what color you are, what faith you embrace, where you went (or didn’t go) to school, who you were born to love, or if you’re right or left-handed, The You Evolution speaks to the human core of individuality and reminds you that you're beautiful just as you are -- and that all of us can be Seekers Of The 'Er (...happiER and healthiER). 

2) What is your favorite thing about what you do?
Without question, my favorite thing is sharing hope with others.... especially because so many have given up having any. I believe in others until such a time that they can believe in themselves. 

3) If possible, what would you tell your 18 year old self?
Be true to yourself. Be unabashedly YOU and experience all that strikes a fancy. Don't be afraid to make mistakes (it's how you learn what you love). Live in the present, be kind always, and best you can, be a general lover of life.

4) Do you have any advice for a woman (or anyone) starting their own business?
Do it for the right reasons. Don't do it for fame or fortune but for FULFILLMENT because you WANT to.  

5) What do you do to keep your mind and body healthy?I engage with those who inspire, love, challenge, and encourage me. I do Pilates 2-3x every week (for the last two years) and I walk my dog *almost* every day. When it's sunny, I grab 10 minutes of Vitamin D (and just let the sun shine on my face and soak in the sounds of nature). And I eat healthy fuelings every 2-3 hours. 

6) What three things could you not live without?

God. Family. Authenticity.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Inspirational Women ~ Natasha LaFayette

I am thrilled to announce the launch of an Inspirational Women blog series on The Looking Glass. Throughout the next few weeks I will be posting interviews with women I find exceptionally inspirational in my life. One of the greatest female role models in my life is Natasha LaFayette. I have been lucky enough to be able to call Natasha my Pilates instructor and my friend for about three years. She has taught me so much about fitness, entrepreneurship, and how to live life to the fullest. 

Natasha discovered the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning while as a dancer as a way to keep up with the strenuous demands that dance puts on the body. After practicing Pilates for over 20 years it has become an integral part of her life. Natasha pursued her Pilates education through Power Pilates® in NYC. She has since received her Gyrotonic® Certification, MELT Method® and Reiki certification throughout the following years. She often describes her experience with Pilates as one that allowed her to dance longer and stronger injury free. Her Pilates training opened the door to other modalities to introduce to her clients as an effective means for re-patterning movement and moving pain free.

Natasha’s love of Pilates and anatomy has developed into a passion of teaching her students and watching them discover their own physical capabilities within their bodies as they grow through practicing the classical Pilates, Gyrotonic®, and MELT Method® techniques. She finds it especially fulfilling to see her clients excel at their crafts as performing artists and athletes when they develop that core strength that too will keep them going longer and stronger.
Natasha may speak first hand about the results she has achieved through Pilates and what she has observed in her clients. Her reputation extends far beyond Saratoga Springs but to Boston, Nantucket, New York as she has worked with professional athletes from major sports teams all over the US, and talented dancers from New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet etc. She has traveled internationally for both dance related projects and teaching Pilates. Natasha has also been affiliated with the Saratoga Summer Dance Institute teaching their Pilates program during the summer.

What inspired you to take your passion for pilates and turn it into a career?
It was my love of movement. Having retired from a successful ballet/dance career, where I thought "hey this can be just as big" and you can help more people get out of physical pain like I had personally experienced. It truly was a challenge of seeing how successful I could push this business and industry too! 

If possible, what would you tell your eighteen-year-old self?
I would say "clean your room!" I function the best at work with a clean, clear de-cluttered space. It's when I'm the most creative. If only I had a clear, de-cluttered space, my thoughts would have been way more organized at that age and maybe my suitcase too! I traveled so much and was always forgetting things like tooth-paste and a hairbrush! Every hotel I ever stayed in was always getting a call for random things I forgot. Had my room been clean and my bed made, it would have made for a more harmonious mindset like I experience now. 

How do you balance your life? 
I balance my life pretty easily! I simply live by the mantra of unless the sky is falling or unless it's a life threatening issue with ones health, I don't get rattled. Life is too short,  if you love what you do and commit yourself to a life of happiness with no contingents whatsoever you can make anything you want happen. 

Do you have any advice for a woman (or anyone) starting their own business?
I would advise anyone starting their own business is put in 110% even when you think you are tired, do more. Most likely you'll find you aren't tired after all. No excuses, you must be all in! I read a saying once that entrepreneurship is being willing to live a few years of your life like most people won't, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't! I keep it posted on my fridge and it's true! Being a successful entrepreneur is like being in an exclusive club. Take any fear you have and throw it away, it will keep you from moving forward. Only through your own personal experience will you know if it was right for you or not. 

What do you do to keep your mind and body healthy?
To keep my mind and body healthy I drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, and truly listen to my body if it's telling me to rest, I rest. If it's telling me go all out I go all out. I have found an amazing balance for my mind, body, work and play. Everything is 110% effort. I also have learned to say "no" without feeling guilty. If something doesn't work for me physically, mentally, emotionally, personally, or professionally, I say "no" and call it a day.

What three things could you not live without?

My lavender eye pillow! I can't sleep without it! I travel so much and I like it really dark while sleeping plus the smell of the lavender is really relaxing.

Coconut oil! It has so many uses and health benefits! I can't be without it!

My Tracie Martyn Amla face cleanser! It  keeps my skin glowing! Especially traveling between time zones!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


My normal snack routine can get pretty dull. My go-to snacks usually include carrot sticks with cottage cheese, anything dipped in hummus, fruit, almonds, and chocolate. However, I was lucky enough to receive a box of delicious healthy snacks from Bestowed this holiday season. Bestowed is a subscription based company that delivers boxes to your door full of snacks selected by nutritionist, Heather Bauer. You can sign up for a monthly subscription or for a year's worth of healthy snacks, drinks, and more. The December box was full of yummy food perfect for cold weather and offered some great healthy takes on comfort food. My box included a Kind granola bar, Pacific chicken broth (perfect for a soup), the best mediterranean herb dip (all you have to do is add greek yogurt), a Thai red curry sauce that I am dying to try, and a bunch of other awesome on-the-go nutritious snacks!

I'd highly recommend Bestowed to anyone who wants to spice up their normal food-routine and try something healthy and delicious! If you order before January 15th, enter HELLOYUM40 to get $9 off your first box!