Find Balance.

Finding balance is a constant dance. I’ve finally admitted to myself that I have been working too much lately. It’s difficult for me create boundaries. I love to do so many things within my business + I truly struggle with how to divide my time, energy + efforts. That said, I am energized to share a few helpful tactics I’ve used recently.

1)   PRIORITIZE. I’ve written down my 4 core values / goals + I try to align all of my efforts to match these values / goals. No matter what, there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I’d like. I’ve learned to say “no” to opportunities that do not align with my values / goals.

2)   FEEL. I ask myself how do I feel while I am in the midst of preparing or doing the task at hand. If I have an anxiety pit in my stomach, I notice that feeling + try to investigate the why. I am trying to direct my efforts to endeavors that feel super energizing + uplifting.

3)   PAUSE. Instead of immediately saying “YES!!” to a new, exciting opportunity, I try to take a few hours to reflect. I look at my schedule + current bandwidth holistically in order to decide if the time is right.

I hope these tips are useful for you. Keep on shining! Create the magic that you were destined to create – we are all waiting!



PS, you might like this NYT article on Turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Ones.

Just Breathe.

If you come to class, you know I often ask, “Are we breathing?” In exercise + in life, sometimes we can simply forget to breathe. I manage my anxiety to the best of my ability with my breath. Over the past few years, I’ve been curious about meditation. Sit still? Ugh. Not me. I still struggle with it but here are a few ideas of how to get started with conscious breathing.

1)   Listen to Guided Meditations.

a.     Kayleigh Pleas. My dear friend, yoga/barre/meditation teacher, positive psychology + nutrition coach + overall dreamy human (…PHEW!)…has amazing meditation recordings on her website. They range from 5 to 20 minutes with themes including: loving-kindness, compassionate visitor, willpower pause + gratitude practice.

b.     Headspace. This meditation app / website is a subscription based model that gain you access to a variety of meditations. Headspace offers a free 10-day trial.  The idea is to “Take 10” – take 10 minutes to meditate each day for 10 days.

2)   Attend a meditation class.  Here in NYC there’s a studio specifically dedicated to meditation called MNDFL with an array of meditation methods – for all levels. MNDFL has an intro offer of $75 for one month of unlimited sessions. There are three locations: UES, Greenwich Village + Williamsburg. Check your local yoga studio - often times meditation classes are offered!

3)   The 4-7-8 Breath.  I use this one often to manage anxiety + help me fall asleep. This method is super effective + I highly recommend it. Here’s the dealio: Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. More here from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Science shows that meditation + conscious breathing helps to improve focus, sleep, eating patterns while also reducing stress and worries. Yes please!

Try a few approaches from above -- I’d love to hear about your breath adventures!

With heart,


Show Up.

I’ve always loved being on a team. The camaraderie, collaboration, the common goal – working together to make magic happen. Two heads are better than one. Since joining the fitness world, one of my favorite aspects is the teamwork + the willingness to help each other out. In difficult times + in exciting times, I often wonder if people understand the sheer magnificence of showing up. Life isn’t easy + showing up for one another is so vital to surviving this rollercoaster. Here’s why.

1)   When you show up for someone, that person feels SUPPORTED. I recently had my audition class for Pilates at FLEX Studios, and nearly all of my fellow trainees showed up. Even if I messed up, I knew I had an entire cheerleading squad on my side ready to lift me up. By simply showing up, you’ve expressed you care + are rooting for that human.

2)   When you show up for someone, that person feels LOVED. When I was in the midst of my 6-week stay at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, my sister organized a blood drive – dozens of family, friends + even friends of friends showed up in Manhattan to donate blood + platelets for me. Because people disrupted their schedule + carved out time to trek to MSKCC, I knew I was deeply loved.

3)   When you show up for someone, that person feels VALUED. Everyone has different passions + interests. Since working within the fitness space, I’ve met so many incredible creative, talented performing artists – singing, dancing, acting – you name it. Even if I’m not intrinsically SUPER into what the person is up to, I stay curious. I show up to their shows / performances – their passion for their purpose in life is so contagious + inspiring. My hope by showing up is to let them know that their craft is valued.

I invite you to: Stay curious. Show up. For Support. For Love. For Value. Keep on shining your light bright so that others may shine on right next to you – together as a team.

Seek Inspiration

It goes without saying that the past several weeks have been rocky.  My heart is heavy to see the divide that is happening (no matter what side you’re on). In times of challenge, I devour inspirational passages + words. I have 3 favorite humans that instantly lift my spirits (aside from my love snuggled next to me in this New Zealand honeymoon pic!). Read more.

1)   Ralph Marston: If you’ve ever taken class with me or I’ve taught you in a private session or corporate wellness class, you know I adore Ralph’s The Daily Motivator. He has a special knack for saying the right thing at the right time. The topics are fairly broad but each nugget of wisdom nestled within can be applied to so many aspects of our lives, regardless of what we have going on. Read a classic here.

2)   Molly Hahn: Molly is an artist that sends daily “Buddha Doodles” sketches, often with inspirational quotes baked within. She’s extremely talented + nearly every day her messages resonate with me. I adore this one.

3)   Alexandra Franzen: This professional writer’s spirit literally leaps off the page with each word she writes. You feel like she’s sitting on your couch + talking with you as a dear friend would. She touches on so many life moments + challenges + ALWAYS KEEPS IT REAL. A straight-to-the-heart article here.

I feel like even the air feels heavy. However, I ask that you try to support one another; I am confident we can rise together + brighten our world together as a team. Every. Damn. Day.

"The time is always right to do what is right." —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take Action

I give my whole heart + soul into everything I do. I’ve been asked – how do you get all of these different opportunities? The truth is, I take small steps every day. I recall my dad saying something along the lines of “you have to throw a lot of sh*t up against the wall + something will eventually stick.” And that’s exactly what I do. Every day, I wake up unemployed. I take 5 action points each day toward my ultimate goals (which can often change!). Here’s how.

1) Seek. I am always reading up on what’s going on in the industry – events, fundraising + fitness. I specifically search for potential opportunities that excite me + that I’d like to be a part of.  I think, Why not me?  All of my outreach comes from an authentic place. If I truly want to make something happen, I stay patient + understand it can time to build relationships + make awesome things happen.

2) Share. I adore sharing my knowledge. I am a life-long learner + now feel so privileged to be a teacher.  Whether I am in the studio teaching class or training someone 1:1, I try to educate the people I am working with. It’s so important to know the WHY behind what we’re doing + I try my best to inform my rockstar students.  When you are open + share information, most people tend to feel comfortable enough to share back + POOF – there’s a beautiful connection!

3) Be Passionate. I literally light up when I am talking about the projects I’m working on or classes I am teaching.  When you do what sets your soul on fire, people can see that + often want to be a part of whatever you’re up to!

4) Stay Consistent + Fail.

I put coals in the fire every day. Sometimes it’s cold outreach, trying a new class, going to an event or chatting up a stranger. I stay consistent with my efforts in gathering more knowledge + connecting with others.

In terms of failure, I always like to think – what’s the worst that can happen. Someone says “no”? Meh. That’s ok! Remember that Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team + there are LOADS of opportunities out there.  Regardless, you want to ensure you have a good match on both ends.  Sara Blakely,  CEO + founder of SPANX, has a brilliant take on failure.  Watch here.

5) Connect + Follow Up.

I deliver Chi Chi Pulse within the first few days of the month – no matter what.  As I pour hours into thoughtfully crafting the newsletter, I am going to be honest here– I’ve paused + thought, does anyone actually care?  But then I hear feedback from people who devour each section -- and this makes my heart happy! This goes back to #2 - Share. 

When I meet someone new, I like to find a common ground + a reason for me to get their email to stay in touch.  I send a note within less than 24 hours – sometimes connections are formed, others I never hear from the person again!

So, my friends, I encourage you to TAKE ACTION. We have this one beautiful life, let’s live it to its fullest -- each moment, each day, each week, month + year. Cheers to a magical year filled with love, laughter, adventure and, of course, ACTION. 

Gather The Energy

In class I’ll often say, “gather the energy from your neighbor”.  We step into each day with varied levels of energy + that’s totally cool. Why? Because it’s real. I often get asked, do you workout every day? Do you always have this much energy? 

The answer is NOPE.

It’s true that I do lead a scheduled life but I need to if I want to maximize my time in the most effective + efficient way.   That said, I firmly believe in rest days – at least 1-2 days per week. Everyone’s body is different so you need to find the right balance of pushing yourself + resting your body so your muscles can recover. I also don’t always have energizer bunny-like energy.  Sleep is super important to me so I do my best to keep an early bedtime which marries well with my early mornings.  There are days that I need to shift a few appointments / meetings around because I simply don’t have the energy to make them all.

The amazing thing about “energy” is that it is quite contagious. Which brings me back to my opening line, “gather the energy from your neighbor”. I adore group exercise classes because you have the opportunity to inspire each other. When you feel like you cannot continue, you do – because you have another rockstar next to you, laying it all out on the line. 

After teaching a class, I often leaving with MORE energy than I left because I had the beautiful privilege of soaking in my student’s drive + determination. So, I encourage you to share your energy.  When you are bursting with it, find someone who may need a bit of a refill.  When you’re depleted, reach out to those who you can count on to give you a boost. 

You make the world go ‘round my friends, let’s make this world shine bright!

Holiday Gift: Private Class Experience for 4 Rockstars!

Rally your pals for a 60-minute in-home Sweat Sesh with NYC-based Barre, Pilates, HIIT, TRX teacher, Lauren Chiarello of Chi Chi Life NYC. This gift makes a super fun mindful movement experience for any fitness lover!  Class will be tailored to the students interests / needs.

PRICE: $400*

*20% off using WE Rule Dreamers // Doers code. Must be located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City or Hoboken. Must be redeemed by December 31, 2017.

Heart, Soul + Barre // July 2 - July 7 in Bali, Indonesia

Sunday, July 2 - Friday, July 7

Sharing Bali - Bali, Indonesia


>>>The Why

Ever since I saw a travel show on Bali, I knew I had to visit this majestic land. It's been a dream of mine to visit. I stumbled across Sharing Bali owner, Australian Karen Willis, online + fell in love with her story. Karen is married to a Balinese man, Wayan + has spent the past 7+ years developing a jungle oasis for lovely souls --  to recharge, take time for themselves + enjoy simple living in their small village. Most of the exercise equipment is natural - coconuts, bamboo! We've been crafting this retreat since earlier this year via Skype + loads of emails.

>>>Summary / Highlights

  • 2 daily mindful movement classes (Pilates, TRX, Barre, HIIT, Stretch)
  • Sunrise Volcano Climb / Hot Springs Visit
  • Cultural Bike Tour
  • Day of Service in the Community
  • Massage
  • Yoga / Meditation by a Balinese superstar
  • Reflexology / Body Scrub Workshop w/Pedicure
  • Jungle Trek
  • A portion of your retreat price supports the Bumi Sehat Foundation
  • All meals / accommodations
  • RT airport transfer

Get the full lowdown here.


There is a fantastic drone video showcasing the village where Sharing Bali is located which you can view on the website. There are 9 bungalow(ish) units on the property, 5 are 1 double bed, 1 is 2 double bed, 1 is 2 twin bed, 1 is 3 double beds. Accommodations will be assigned on a first come, first served basis and you can note if you prefer your own room. Important note: We will be in a remote village. Basic first aid / CPR / AED is available on-site but we will be 20 minutes away from a doctor + 90 minutes away from an international hospital.

>>>Estimated Price / Flights

$ 1,300 Retreat Price - Everything that's mentioned above Summary - FYI on website, price is listed in Australian dollars of $1,750.

$ 1,000 Flights* As of 11/3/16

Unknown - Fri / Sat (2x) night in Denpasar - will not be too pricy

$ 35 Visa Upon Arrival

$ 100 Travel Insurance (Estimate)

$ 2,435 Total Estimated Cost

*I am hoping we can all plan to book the same outbound flight; I know people's time-off / additional travel will vary.

Thursday, June 29

China Southern

11:15am - 3:15pm (Thursday, June 29) - 16 hours

JFK - CAN (Guangzhou, Hong Kong) -- layover 3 hours 35 minutes

6:50pm - 11:59pm (Friday, June 30) - 5 hours 9 minutes

CAN - DPS (Denpasar)

Saturday, July 8

China Southern

1:00am - 6:15am - 5 hours 15 minutes

DPS - CAN (Guangzhou, Hong Kong) -- layover 13 hours 20 minutes**

7:35pm - 11:00pm (Saturday, July 8) - 15 hours 25 minutes

CAN - JFK (Still Saturday, July 8 - We gain the day back on the return)

**This layover in Hong Kong is perfect for a full day exploration of the city; ideas here.


July is dry season + high lands around low 80's + low lands around low 70's.

>>>Secure Your Spot Today!

  • Step 1: Complete the form below to let me know you're IN! + include any additional information.
  • Step 2: Send me a check (Made Out to Chi Chi Life) for $380 (USD)
  • Step 3: Book your flight.
  • Step 4: Get excited! 


  • Fill out the form below + ask away!
Name *

Open Your Heart.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been open + honest. This used to get me in trouble at school when I was super vocal in class + shared my opinion perhaps not the most diplomatic way.  I used to think that my audacity was both a blessing + a curse but now I truly see it as a blessing - as this trait has cracked open my heart + the hearts of others. Here’s why.

We are so much more alike than we often think. Strip away our financial status, race and gender – and you’ll find that we all have basic human needs.  And when we are open + honest + share, we connect.  We need a strong community to survive + thrive.  Teaching has allowed me to build beautiful relationships and hold space for others.  When we speak of struggles and endeavors that set our souls on fire, we have the amazing opportunity to be vulnerable + grow.

In the studio, my students share their ups + downs of life – from engagements and pregnancies to injuries and miscarriages.  I hear it all + I feel honored.  My heart is always so open …like, I literally want to hug everyone I meet…and sometimes do!  Ultimately, I want to ease people’s pain. We show up (in class, in life, in wherever) because we know we can depend on each other.  My students lift me up. I keep my class tough but light. I love class participation. And when my students make some noise (in whatever capacity!) – I know they are alive.  My latest favorite line is: “You have to MOVE IT to CHANGE IT!”

Recently, I shared my experience with cancer to the entire exhale community (and 300,000+ people on their mailing list around the world!) in the hopes of making someone’s life easier. We all have our own challenges. Mine happened to be cancer + I came out on the other side.  We face so many different challenges in life + when we provide support, we have the ability to shine bright together.

So, I encourage you today + everyday to open your heart – maybe even just a tiny bit – then, sit back + watch the magnificence of life unfold.

From the core,

Lauren @ChiChiLifeNYC


Move Past Resistance

If you’ve asked me for a book recommendation lately, I am sure I RAVED about Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. It’s essentially all about Resistance, turning pro + getting out of your own way. Ever since I had a miniature thought in my mind that I wanted to teach, there was always part of me that was fearful + doubted my abilities. Steven makes several great points in the book that sing to me + I had to share them with you.

But first, let’s chat about how Steven defines Resistance. “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? … Then you know what Resistance is.”

Essentially, how can we push past this Resistance to lead the lives we know we are meant to live.  How do we eliminate the excused + make the changes we know we must make. How can we start today?

One of my favorite sections is titled “Resistance and Procrastination” + it states “Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down + do our work.”

I mean – who can compete with that? The external forces, the inner dialogue, the social media – all of that can derail us. But you have the choice everyday to pave your own path. I used to sit behind my desk at work + know I was meant for more.  I am a dreamer; I am a doer. It just took me awhile to find my stride.

The next one has been a tough one for me: “A Professional Endures Adversity.” As a people-pleaser, I want to make everyone happy. Um, this is not possible – ESPECIALLY in New York City. Ha!  Steven states, “The professional cannot let himself take humiliation personally. Humiliation, like rejection and criticism, is the external reflection of internal Resistance. The professional endures adversity. He lets the birdshit splash down on his slicker, remember that it comes clean with a heavy-duty hosing…The professional keeps his eye on the donut and not the hole. He reminds himself that it’s better to be in the arena, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot."

Standing up in front of hundreds of people per month in a group fitness setting can be intimidating. Feedback will happen – and not all of it what you might want to hear. I learned quite quickly to develop thick skin + teaching has taught be to become more self-confident. My motto in the studio became, “As in life, not everyone will like you.”  You gotta take the good with the bad.  I try my best to tune out the bad. Instead, I listen to my students who tell me I inspire them + have changed their life. If I’ve accomplished that, I can die happy.

Toward the end of the book, Steven dissects the concept of “Fear”.  He says, “Resistance feeds on fear. We experience Resistance as fear. But fear of what? Fear of the consequences of following our heart. Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency…Fear of Failure. Fear of being ridiculous. Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have scarified so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. ..These are serious fears. But they’re not the real fear…Fear That We Will Succeed. That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.”

This is the big kahuna, eh?  I am terrified + anxious every day. The hustle is real, especially when no one is sending you a consistent paycheck.  Each day is a fresh start. But I move forward because I know there are beautiful connections to be made + lives to enhance. Sometimes I look at my 15 hour stacked days + wonder how I will get through it. But I often surprise myself.  When I work with people who are raw about life + that moment, I am energized because it’s so real. I work with amazing people training them 1 on 1 and in companies. We all arrive as we are. And that’s all anyone can ask. When everyone keeps it real + honest + authentic, we develop a bond that creates a community of support.

So, let’s move past Resistance together. Every. Damn. Day. Why? Because you are worth it.

Surround Yourself with Life-Lovers.

Last Saturday, I married my best friend -- a fellow Life-Lover. We had the most magical weekend ever. The energy was electric + I have never felt so loved. The entire celebration was filled with dancing, feasting, laughter + endless joy. Even before I got sick, I was a life-lover but recently, I only seek out meeting other Life-Lovers + here’s why.

Life-Lovers will help you:

·      Grow + Learn:  I love meeting new people with different passions + background. When people are passionate about something, there’s an excitement that sparks a fire in your soul, too… don’t ya think?

·      Push Yourself Past Your Comfort Zone: Fellow Life-Lovers will encourage you to try new things, even if you’re afraid + unsure. When we try new things, our world is limitless.

·      Stay Positive: Everyday is not sunshine + roses but I firmly believe attitude is integral to the trajectory of your life. If you have a positive attitude + get rid of the negative chatter in your mind, you may surprise yourself to see how much magic you attract. I truly have no room or patience for negativity in my life. My friendships have changed over the years because of this.

·      Think Why Not? In his wedding speech, my dad mentioned that before taking on a new challenge – I never ask “Why?” My approach is always “Why Not?” Believe you can + you will. Dream it + then go + do it. It may take longer than you think. You may fail, but oh gosh – that’s where the goodness lies. I promise you.

Join me + other Life-Lovers at this month’s #ChiChiSweatSesh in Central Park – you have TWO JUICY chances before #ChiChiSweatSesh retires for the winter:

THURS 9/8 + WED 9/21

$20. Recruit 2 friends + you attend for FREE.

Sign up here.

I hope to see you at one of them! Lots of love. Cheers to you, my fellow Life-Lover!


Cultivate Community + Connection

Since I started teaching fitness, my most favorite part has been community + connection. As the person who stands in front of the room leading others, I have a magnificent  + unique opportunity to impact lives – in mind, body + spirit.  I’ve always been a connector who loves to build community. My students are the best! Recently, my fiancé, Russ, teased me, as I was hopeful he would make it across town quickly without traffic saying, “You’re a dreamer” + my response was: “Is there any other way to be?”

My ideas usually start with “well, why not?”  From a super young age – and I have my parents to thank – I always believed anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  Time + dedication = you will get there. 

After a summer internship as an Auditor, I quickly realized that role was not the career for me. I graduated college with my Accounting degree + was a bit stumped as to what should come next. I looked at how I spent my time outside the classroom -- volunteering, fundraising + planning events. Then, someone told me more about the nonprofit world + told me about how organizations have “development” departments. Wait. I could actually plan awesome events in which people pay to attend to support a mission? And make a living?  I treasured the time that people gave me to share their insight + knowledge into the field.  I didn’t know much, so I was like a sponge.  Over the years, I have informally + formally mentored many young rockstars in + out of college. I love to give people a chance, an opportunity to take the steps needed to move toward their passion.  I remember my eager spirit + I feel blessed that I can give back to others in that way.

Over the past few years, I’ve met incredible teachers + the seed was planted for #ChiChiSweatSesh to further cultivate community + connection.  Bringing together like-minded people literally lifts me up. At #ChiChiSweatSesh, we move our bodies + enjoy a potluck picnic post-workout.  It’s super fun with everyone swapping recipes + stories – learning + growing by sharing knowledge.  I’d love for YOU to join us for the AUGUST #ChiChiSweatSesh in Central Park – details below.

Wednesday, August 10th at 7:15PM: Barreless Barre with Jessica Bailey @sassygirlfit

Wednesday, August 17th at 7:00PM: FLEXPilates on the Mat with Jenn Seracuse benefitting Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. @jennseracuse



If you’ve ever taken my class, you know one of my favorite cues for push-ups is “lead with your heart”. I firmly believe that we must live our lives with our hearts guiding us. Often times we can feel stuck, knowing that where we are in work, life, relationships -- {the list goes on} -- is not quite where we would like to be. When I am feeling overwhelmed or unsure of my next plan of action, here are THREE things I do. 

ONE)   I divide my year up into “semesters” – think seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. Often times, I want to do everything but there is simply not enough time. If a juicy opportunity comes along, I may need to shift priorities around if I feel like the opportunity cannot wait.

TWO)   I sit with my potential decision for a few days + try to feel with my heart. When I think of the next step, does my heart beat faster with excitement or anxiety? This helps me figure out if I say “yea” or “nay”.

THREE)   I look to others for support. I recently attended a “Self-Care” workshop led by Hannah Bornstein (@hanroseb) for fitness professionals + learned useful tools to keep my mind, body + spirit shining bright. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Another piece of leading with your heart is touching other people’s lives. I strive to live my life in service of others. Recently, I attended a yoga class where this passage closed out Savasana. Today, I will leave it with you as I hope you will dive into July with purpose and of course, lead with your heart. // 

Whatever our hands touch,

We leave fingerprints... On walls, on furniture

On doorknobs, dishes, books

As we touch we leave our identity.

Oh please, where ever I go today

Help me leave heart prints.

Heart prints of compassion,

Of understanding and love.

Heart prints of kindness

and genuine concern.

May my heart touch a lonely neighbor

Or a runaway daughter,

Or an anxious mother

Or, perhaps, a dear friend.

I shall go out today

To leave heart prints.

And if someone should say

I felt your touch... May that one sense be

YOUR Love.

-- Author Unknown


Today – June 5 -- is National Cancer Survivor’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrating life. I have always been a lover of life but after battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (2x!), I found a deeper meaning. For me, loving life is finding + living your passion. No day but today. We owe it to ourselves + the world to find the things that make our soul shine. Nearly 2 years ago, I decided I wanted to try to teach. I was terrified + full of doubt. Who was I to teach? 

Trudging through my fears + doubts was not easy. Step by step, day by day, I slowing gained the confidence to take action. Initially, I had a tough time deciding which training to take – I loved barre, yoga, cycling and running. So many things! I researched lots of options, gathered information + asked friends + strangers oodles of questions to try to figure out the best fit – which lead me to the barre teacher training at exhale. I completed my 40-hour barre training while I was working full-time. Once I auditioned + got accepted into exhale’s 200-hour teaching program, I knew I needed to take a LEAP of faith + start Chi Chi Life.

The past 1.5 years has been a wild ride – finding the best balance of my passions: fitness, events + fundraising + cancer advocacy.  Teaching core fusion barre at exhale has literally been a dream come true. I am grateful to learn from the best in the industry: exhale’s founders Fred DeVito + Elisabeth Halfpapp + Barbara Boolukos + Tyler Ingram.  My teachers have been teaching for nearly 35 years. They live + breathe this work. It’s not simply a job -- it’s their life, their craft. They are passionate about the method because they’ve seen it change lives. It changed mine.

At the encouragement + recommendation from my childhood friend, Michelle, I stepped into my first Core Fusion Barre class about 1 year after my stem cell transplant. Even though I had steadily been gaining my strength back + felt pretty strong, I literally wasn’t sure if I could make it through class. Bit by bit, I fell more in love with the method + I discovered strength within me that I didn’t know existed. Nearly every Saturday, you could find me at 980 Madison at Catherine Hesse’s 10:30a class. Catherine’s energy + passion for the work literally lights up the room. Catherine is the reason I wanted to become a teacher. She knows how to work hard, encourage + motivate her students – all while having a great time + cracking some jokes.

I am blessed to have crossed paths with many cancer fighters, survivors + angels. My friend “M” recently won a competition for honorary batgirl for a MLB team. My friend “A” went back to nursing school, got married, had a baby and started his own business. My friend “I” ran a half marathon + fundraised for The Leukemia + Lymphoma Society, had a baby and just celebrated her 5-years cancer-free with a HUGE bash. We are all bursting at the seams to soak in all of the goodness of life. We live our passion. Today + everyday, I honor each + every one of my cancer rockstars. You hold a super special place in my heart.

At my core, I want to serve others. In my fundraising + event planning work within the nonprofit space, I raise money to help others. But teaching gives me an incredibly dynamic platform to directly impact others. I never take it for granted + I am honored each time I step into the studio. I am alive. I live my passion. And in doing so, I hope to inspire others to live their own passion.


Big Sur Marathon

I love people. I’ve always been eager to meet new bright souls + learn their stories. {THE GOOD} {THE BAD} {THE UGLY} A few weeks ago, I met Allison at the Big Sur Marathon Relay + I heard it all.  Everyone has had a struggle that they’ve faced -- perhaps more extreme for some than others.  But the suffering is there. And it is in our shared suffering that we have the ability to heal our hearts + minds.  We can allow ourselves to soften into the comfort of knowing that we are not alone. 

My Stem Cell Transplant birthday fell on the same day as the race – April 24th.  So, when Captain Meg sent the email, I knew I HAD to join.  Many people may not be aware, but my Stem Cell Transplant birthday is a really big day of celebration for me.  It’s the most special day of the year, landing just 1 week after my true birthday. My Stem Cell Transplant Birthday is the day that I was given a second chance at life.  Just prior to the transplant, I had 2 weeks of radiation + high dose chemotherapy.  My blood counts were at zero.  That’s what high-dose chemo does – brings you to the brink of death + the transplant whispers to your body “come back to life”. Thankfully, my body listened. I had another chance to shine in this world.  I never ever take that for granted.

Back to the race…A 3:45AM shuttle bus brought me to the transition point where my teammate Laura would pass the baton and I would cruise along the oh-so-hilly yet breathtakingly stunning Route 1 in Big Sur.  I shared a seat with Allison.  As we chatted in the pitch black hour-long ride, I learned that she had recently moved to Boulder with her boyfriend from Los Angeles.  We spoke about how her + her boyfriend love to climb + they are crafting a business plan to open a “climber’s ranch” in their favorite spot.  She enthusiastically shared that it would be a dream to live their passion + create a space for other climbers to enjoy. She also told me about how this was her second time back at the Big Sur Marathon. Last year, she was the first leg of her team + just kept running the entire race, completing the full 26.2 miles without any training.  That was Allison’s first marathon.  I was blown away by her strength. {THE GOOD} Right after the move to Colorado, both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer. {THE BAD} They are both thriving now – thankfully - but we did also chat more about our families.  Allison said she had a brother and he’s passed. {THE UGLY} We left it there and I didn’t pry.  I listened and touched my heart as she shared that sacred life detail with me.  I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to her brother. 

As we weaved through Allison’s story and the light peeked over the mountains, I noticed she had a few tattoos. I’ve always been curious by what motivates people to ink themselves forever so I asked her about them. When Allison responded, she simply said, “They’re my life story.  Each is a reminder of where I’ve been, what I’ve been through and how I’ve become strong with each experience.” How powerful. As she told me this, I looked down at my 6 radiation tattoos + took a moment to honor my journey to wellness + thought of my fellow thrivers, angels + fighters.  And just like that, I had found my source of inspiration to guide me through the race.

So, I encourage you to REVEL IN THE STORY. Be curious. Listen. Open you heart. Release judgments. Life is not easy; however, it is because of our supportive community that we can rise up + truly soar together. As a team.

Blueberry Muffins by Deliciously Ella

Note from Baker Chi Chi: OH LORDY …YUM! These muffins are life-changingly tasty + ridiculously easy to make. I used brown rice flour - which worked very well.  These dreamboats are super filling + will happily settle into your belly at any time of the day + work quite well for a breakfast-on-the-go.  I can’t wait to hear what you think! 

Makes 12 Muffins

  • 3 1/3 cups buckwheat or brown rice flour (about 14 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1¼ maple syrup
  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • 4 cups of fresh blueberries
  • coconut oil, for greasing

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Pour the buckwheat or brown rice flour, cinnamon, almond milk, maple syrup and ground almonds into a mixing bowl, stirring them to form a smooth batter before adding the blueberries.

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with the coconut oil, scoop the mixture into it and then back them for about 45 minutes until the tops begin to turn a golden brown.

*Recipe taken from Deliciously Ella’s cookbook.


Every day when the sun rises, we have the choice to create our best life. Mornings tend to be my most favorite part of the day because they are full of possibilities. We have the chance to start fresh + a new blank slate lies ahead. April is National Stress Awareness Month + I think we owe it to ourselves to s l o w  d o w n. HERE’S WHY...

Starting Chi Chi Life last year was an exciting leap of faith.  Working for myself also creates the feeling of never “leaving the office”.  Most people have the weekends off + last Fall I ran into the problem of taking on too much work with my teaching fitness, training people 1:1, Pilates Mat training + several event clients.  I had 3 days off in 3 months.  Often I worked nearly 16 hour days and I quickly ran myself into the ground.  I promised myself when 2016 arrived, I wouldn’t let myself fall into that pattern again.  I did this by establishing boundaries + learning how to feel more comfortable with saying “no”.  I have a huge heart so I always want to be giving, doing, helping. However, I’ve been learning that it is essential to build downtime into my life.

When we create space, we allow the opportunity for new + magical experiences to show up. I used to feel like I wanted to have every moment planned to soak up the most in life but lately, I have actively carved out open time to ensure I recharge but also have the time to wander + explore.

Managing my schedule + time has been my largest challenge + the mantra of “start fresh” allows me to remember that I have the power to dictate how I spend my energy.  The balancing act is certainly still a work in progress but I am so grateful I have the ability to create my own work.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Thích Nhất Hạnh quotes with I shared in my article feature on The Sweat Life.  It goes: “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” 


One of my favorite people, Marie Forleo, ends her Q&A Tuesday videos with the same quote each week that I literally have memorized by now -- “Stay on your game + keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have.”  In a world where everyone can easily voice their thoughts + feelings, we can often wonder if our voice is being heard.  I have to believe it all matters + here’s why…

We are all unique, individual human beings. Yes, we may have some similarities but we all bring something different to the table. I remember when my first thought of teaching fitness came to mind + immediately rebuffed my thought with – “why me?”

After oodles of marinating on the idea of teaching, the light bulb finally went off – “well, why NOT me?”. I care. I want to help others. I am a giver.  I pour my soul into everything I do. At my very core, I simply want to make others lives better. Through my career as a fundraiser + event planner, I’ve given the gift of memorable experiences to people who gather together for a cause. Ultimately the benefit is for charity – ranging from cancer research to social service programs to global health issues.  With my role as a teacher, I am able to share my passion for life to inspire others to create change in their lives.

Even though there are days when I am exhausted + I beat myself up for taking on too much work, I honestly cannot imagine it any other way.  Afterall, I have Marie in my head saying “stay on your game”…”the world needs that special gift that only you have”.  When my students tell me how much they love my energy, it literally melts my heart.  I’ve passed on the passion + zest for health + wellness + living life for it’s fullest. And I can lay my head on the pillow at night with a full heart.


My heart is always so happy when a new student walks into my Core Fusion Barre class at exhale.  “You found us!” I squeal, perhaps too eagerly?! New experiences + uncharted terrain can be terrifying – especially in a group fitness setting.  One of my top goals as a teacher is to make everyone feel comfortable – and have fun while working hard. I remind my students that every expert was once a novice…

It is key to release any expectations we may have when trying something new.  My students share their insecurities with me – and I feel honored that they have the courage to open up.  I never take this for granted.  The work we do at exhale is not easy – to gain strength you must have an open mind + heart.  I let students know it’s totally fine to come in/out of positions.  Consistency is so critical + if students are able to come 3+ times a week, they will absolutely see a tangible difference in not only their stamina – but also their bodies + minds.  One of the main reasons why people get hooked on barre is because the method is extremely effective.  A lot of the exercises we do are similar to physical therapy movements.  I’ve taught to a 14 year old, a 25-year old with a spinal fusion + a 80 year old with 2 hip replacements – this work is adaptable to ANYONE. 

Give yourself the gift of trying something new.  Maybe it’s within the exercise space, maybe it’s a new recipe or a new experience.  The possibilities are endless if we open our hearts + let the light shine in.  Who’s with me?