{Interview with yoga superstar Alexandria Crow} Client: WorldLifestyle

ImageImageWorldLifestyle: You’ve been on the cover of Yoga Journal, modeled for Hard Tail, and shot a ONE Coconut Water ad campaign with Olympic athletes… but to you, what are your biggest accomplishments, both professionally and personally?

Alexandria Crow: My biggest professional accomplishment is being able to hold a job that I thoroughly love doing and that affects positive change in the students I have the privilege of teaching.

Personally, my biggest accomplishment has been and will always be more willingness to constantly admit that I don’t know everything, that I am a work in progress and always will be, and that I get up every day and work toward being a better person. I am proud that I accept change and growth.

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WL: How did you fall in love with yoga?

AC: I fell in love with the physical practice of yoga because it was exercise and felt reminiscent of gymnastics (I was a gymnast until I was 20) and I dislike the gym so much. Yoga was a pleasant surprise. I fell in love with the philosophy of yoga because I have always been on a quest to find contentment in my mind and life, and when I learned that yoga was about effort toward steadiness in one’s mind and life, I was hooked.

WL: What is your absolute favorite yoga pose, and why?

AC: To be honest, these days, sukkasana during seated meditation. I love teaching all of the arm balances, inversions, etc., and teaching them in a detailed way. But for me, seated meditation has become where I do the most profound work.

WL: OK, you’re stuck on a desert island for eternity — what 3 things do you bring with you?

AC: I’d take my best friend, Jessica; we could have fun in a cardboard box, so I’d be assured the island wouldn’t be lonely or boring. Alkaline water, because I love it and I usually hate water. Lastly, my music collection; I can’t live without music.

WL: You have really lovely hair… what are your favorite products for getting those California-beachy waves?

AC: Thank you! The waves are either from air-drying or from a curling iron, depending on my amount of time. I love Moroccan Oil’s shampoo and conditioner, as well as its oil. My favorite product is Oribe — [it’s] as if hairspray and dry shampoo had a baby. It’s fabulous.

WL: Your go-to easy, healthy recipe?

AC: I have a bunch of food allergies that I have recently developed, so I have to be really careful. I live on spinach, avocado, and eggs. I make this recipe every morning:

Poach 1 egg. Sauté 3 large handfuls of baby spinach in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a handful of chili flakes until wilted. Layer the spinach, 1/4 of an avocado, and a ton of Cholula under the poached egg. Enjoy!

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WL: If someone came to you and said, “I want to start practicing yoga, but I’m intimidated,” what would you say?

AC: Don’t be. As long as you understand that there’s no such thing as “good at yoga” in terms of accomplishing fancy poses, or being flexible. Yoga is about learning how to work hard wisely, [how] to be at ease in the face of discomfort, [how] to concentrate on what’s happening in the moment, and [how] to make wise choices based on the information you get back. That’s all. It’s really simple — not easy, but simple.

Find a teacher who works for you, [and] be willing to take a bunch because we all teach differently and have different personalities. Lastly, try a beginner’s class first — ALWAYS.

WL: Favorite workout other than yoga?

AC: Walking, that’s it. I’m not a workout type at all, but I do love power walking up the beach more than anything. I LOVE downhill skiing, too, but that’s not really a workout; that’s just plain joy.

WL: A quote that completely inspires you?

AC: I have so many, that’s hard to say! My Buddhist meditation teacher says something along the lines of, “Learn to be at ease in the world of impermanence and discomfort.” The understanding of that really changed my life. I love knowing that life is bumpy forever. So now I think of life as if I’m mogul skiing and I just soften my knees and ride over the highs and lows with contentment.

WL: On a lazy Sunday afternoon, we might find you…

AC: Well, I work Sunday afternoons, so they’re never lazy — you can find me at Main Street YogaWorks or leading teacher trainings! Lazy Saturday is a different story. You’ll probably find me sitting on a restaurant patio enjoying some food, drinks, and friends.

{“Let’s Talk About Love — Body Love”} Client: WorldLifestyle

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Love is in the air this time of year — carefully chosen gifts, fancy dinner reservations, and single-girls’ celebrations out on the town. We put so much kindness and effort into our relationships with other people, but what about how we love ourselves?

For most of us, our internal self-talk is just horrific, on a daily basis. We put ourselves down — “Ugh, I look so fat in these pants,” “I’m such a lazy bum for skipping my workout,” “Why did I eat that cookie? I’m disgusting …” — in words we wouldn’t use to address our most hated enemies.

In fact, stats show that only 2 percent (TWO percent!) of women say they would call themselves beautiful. That doesn’t seem to add up, considering the millions of selfies posted on Instagram daily — which gave me an idea for an experiment in loving myself better.

Where does this hatefulness come from, I wondered? Are self-proclaimed “fat days” or bad hair days founded in reality? Do we feel ugly because we actually look awful — or might we be projecting something else onto the experience?

Here’s what I did: For a week, I decided I would take a photo of myself at least once a day as I left for work or went to meet friends. At the same time, I’d write down how I was feeling about my weight, mood, and appearance at that moment.

Here’s a sampling of what my week looked like:

Monday:

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Feeling very frumpy and lumpy. Woke up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight. Ate a breakfast burrito at the airport.

Tuesday:

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Having a fat day (flat shoes are not my friend). My face looks puffy — from the sushi I ate for dinner? Too tired to work out today.

Wednesday:

learning self-acceptance
Walked by the beach this morning. Feeling good and having a good hair day! Plus, this skirt and heels combo makes me feel cute! Breakfast at the hotel — Greek yogurt and berries — was awesome.

Thursday:

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Went for a run this morning. Am feeling pretty lazy that I haven’t cut my hair since moving in September. Yikes. Looking forward to dinner with a friend tonight!

Friday:

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I like the color of this shirtdress, but don’t feel the style is the most flattering. Frumpy, again?

At the end of this experiment, I reexamined my photos and my notes, and made a very interesting, very illuminating discovery. My physical weight and appearance did not change day to day. The photo snapshots didn’t lie — I did not actually gain 5 pounds on Tuesday, but perhaps I was projecting the fact that I ate sushi and a red velvet bundt cake on Monday night (it was a Valentine’s Day present!)? While a sodium-packed dinner could contribute to a feeling of bloat, my face didn’t actually appear different.

And is it any surprise someone would feel “frumpy and lumpy” when she woke up at the crack of dawn, flew all morning, and ate a burrito? Odds are, if I’d had a healthier breakfast on Monday, I would have felt better throughout the long workday ahead of me. And, while it wouldn’t have changed my physical weight in the slightest, it could’ve helped my self-love if I hadn’t skipped the gym the next day.

When I thought about it later, my frumpiness on Friday truly had nothing to do with the dress or my weight, and everything to do with the fact that my hair was in serious need of a cut and color. But again, did it help to call myself lazy? It didn’t. It made me feel worse all day about something I couldn’t control right at that moment. Better to take action — throw it in a bun and make a hair appointment right then — than to put myself down, right?

Wednesday was the day I felt the brightest and best about myself — a good hair day, despite it all!

By examining my notes, it’s easy to understand that a little sunshine, a little exercise, and a healthy breakfast set me up for a day that I felt I looked great (a cute skirt didn’t hurt either).

And that was the biggest takeaway for me — the old adage, work to change what you can, and accept what you can’t change, with kindness. Here’s how:

♦  Wear what makes you feel good about yourself, regardless of trend, or your shape or size.

♦  Listen — flats make everyone, even runway models, feel a little stumpy. But you did not gain 10 pounds just because you traded your heels in for a bit of comfort.

♦  Eat what makes you feel good. Don’t eat what makes you feel bad.

♦  However, if you indulge in something that’s not the healthiest, let yourself off the hook. No one became overweight from a single meal or dessert.

♦  If you’re going out for a salty meal — such as sushi or Mexican — drink lots of extra water. Eating clean, green vegetables and fruits the next day can help flush your system.

♦  Exercise makes you feel good about your day. Bottom line. Any amount of exercise, from a short walk to a full-blown bootcamp, is worthwhile. Nothing is insignificant.

♦  A bit of vitamin D goes a long way. Drink your morning smoothie outside in the sunshine. Get out of your cubicle for a 10-minute nature break.

  Travel already dries out skin and saps energy — pack healthy snacks so you don’t squash your confidence further with icky airport food.

♦  Be kind to yourself, in spite of your failures, in spite of any shortcomings.

Here’s the truth — if a friend belittled you the way you do yourself, you would walk away from the toxic relationship and never look back. But as writer John Steinbeck said, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” Time to work as hard on loving myself better as I do on perfecting the details.

{Timeless Beauty} Client: Phoenix Woman Magazine

This was a fun editorial piece I did on vintage and “new classic” beauty products. I not only wrote the story, I pulled the products and worked with the photographer to style each shot. I remember carrying that heavy modern-glass sink into his studio — now that’s artistic dedication!

Big Day Beauty Must-Haves: Makeup that comes to play and stay

In honor of Sephora’s 20 percent off friends and family discount until 11/2 — go get your code here! — I wanted to share a few wonderful Sephora products I used for my own wedding day.

I didn’t hire a professional makeup artist, I just asked a bridesmaid who is makeup-savvy. She came with me to Sephora where a salesperson helped me choose products I liked and did a makeup run-through. The nice thing about going this route was I saved money on a hiring a pro, plus I got to buy makeup I love and will use again after the wedding.

First and foremost, my skin was a big concern. The move and the stress of wedding planning had taken their toll and my skin wasn’t looking so clear. Airbrush foundation is perfect for your wedding day or other big event because it provides excellent but light coverage, and it lasts and lasts. I highly recommend using Dior Airflash Spray Foundation instead of hiring a professional to do airbrush makeup.  This product is seriously amazing and worth the $60 price tag.

Don’t spray it directly from the can onto the skin; you’ll get better coverage with a brush made just for applying this type of foundation. Spray onto the brush and lightly apply in a swirling motion.

The Sephora makeup artist reminded me of a great tip — go past your jawline and onto the neck for even coverage, and don’t forget your ears if you’re wearing your hair up!

 

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Priming your skin means filling in fine lines, tightening large pores (that’s me!), and creating a smooth canvas for makeup to last all day and night, even when you’re dancing up a storm. Smashbox Photo Finish is one of those beauty products that’s been around for so long because it really works.

You won’t need much. If you aren’t sure you want to commit to entire tube, ask for a small sample and they’ll gladly obligue.

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I wore Illamasqua fake eyelashes — a new brand for me — and they were fantastic. They come in different styles; I chose a set where the lashes are longer in the center to open up my eyes and look dramatic without being at all Halloween-ish. Peel them off carefully and wear them up to 10 times!

A tip: Whenever you buy fake eyelashes, have a salesperson hold them up to your eye and cut them to the right length before you leave the store. Everyone’s eye is a different length and shape!

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Dior Addict Gloss was perfect for me, since I never wear lipstick but wanted a lip color that would stay. It’s thick like lacquer and super-shiny without being goopy. I wore a pinkish brown shade that I’ll definitely throw in my purse and use again for a night out.

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I wanted a smoky eye but to keep it from being too harsh I asked for a brown-metallic version. This Stila Baked Eyeshadow Trio has Kitten, my favorite everyday pink-gold shadow, plus a matte chocolate and a brownish-bronze metallic, too.

My favorite tricks? Choose a small, flat brush, touch it to your tongue, then use the matte chocolate shadow as eyeliner. Also, dot the tip of your pinky finger in the light, shimmery shadow and press it into the inside corners of your eyes to brighten and open them instantly.

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If you don’t know about Nars Orgasm blush, you’ve been living in a cave. It’s definitely one of those new classic beauty products that isn’t going away — maybe because it’s the perfect combo of peachy-pink that looks beautiful on everyone, no matter your skin tone. A myriad of celebs swear by it, and I’ve been using it since college.

On my wedding day, I used a big, fluffy brush to apply bronzer first, and then highlighted the apples of my cheeks with this blush. I got that happy, glowing look every bride wants.

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{Have a favorite beauty product that is perfect for wedding-day makeup? Send me a message on my wedding blog, TheWedLife, and share!}

{The Ultimate Girls’ Guide to Understanding and Caring for Your Body} Client: WS Publishing Group

From periods and puberty to fashion and friends, every teenage girl has questions she’d like answered. The problem is many girls feel embarrassed or aren’t sure who to talk to.

The Ultimate Girls’ Guide to Understanding and Caring for Your Body offers honest, educational advice on makeup, acne, body hygiene, bras, periods, healthy eating, sports and fitness, stress, depression, and more, for girls of all ages.

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