I Made The Leap

Carlie pictured at Crossroads Fitness, sporting @Athleta
and @ToeSox

I did it… I finally took the dive, signed my lease, and committed. If you haven’t heard me talk about this yet, I have officially started my own Personal Training/Pilates business. After training under and with some of the best and brightest in the Bay Area fitness community since 2010, I have decided to take the next step and become my own #bossbabe. 

This has been something I have thought about for a while, however never pursued. What started out as a random cold email to a studio owner (from Bryan actually), turned out to be a great opportunity at an amazing studio close to our home. Could it have been a fear of failure? I’m not entirely sure why I hesitated, but I’m sure glad I made the decision. I am now officially a member of the Crossroads Fitness community and working alongside a community of supportive and strong personal trainers in Burlingame . I have already felt a part of this inspiring family of fitness professionals.

Now that I’m officially my own boss, it’s essential I get my name out and start marketing my little butt off to find new clients to help train. Being a part of a communal studio and larger fitness network allows me the ability to leverage the extra resources and benefits to create a strong presence in the community. Different Pilates studios have different setups; some hire the instructors as direct employees of the studio, and others, the instructors are contractors. After working in a studio for several years, I’m excited to have the freedom to teach the preferred style that best suites my clientele and be able to make my own schedule. I am excited, albeit nervous, about the opportunity to market and position myself as an up and coming Pilates instructor down in my new home in Burlingame. 

I now have the ability to productize and monetize my own services based on the diverse fitness background I bring to the table. Thankfully, I have a strong foundation in marketing, some savvy social media skills and an already functional website. All those years of learning and perfecting this unique style of Pilates has finally paid off. My recent experience building my book of business within Rodan & Fields skincare network has also been very valuable. Over the last year, I have been able to grow my personal skincare business, create an auxiliary revenue string, and learn about how to run my own business and be my own boss. These useful skills will most definitely help grow my fitness business as well!

After I signed the lease, I thought to myself, where do I even begin. I took a look at my current website, did a content audit, and brainstormed all of the possible ways to build and optimize my new business. I accomplished some tasks I even knew nothing about, creating waivers, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my website. It was very interesting learning about LLC formation and how to best set myself and business up for success. Some of my additional thoughts are: creating a new logo, use of different types of multimedia to promote myself and my workouts, as well as creating a newsletter. As you will probably see over the next few weeks, my website is transforming and will be more representative of me, my businesses and the hub for everything CaliforniaCarlie. This will be the go-to resource for questions, scheduling inquires, blog/lifestyle articles and other exciting news. As I continue to become a part of my local fitness community, I encourage you to do the same by staying in touch and connecting with me.

What would you like to see on my website? Feel free to comment below and share ideas on what content you would find useful. I would love to hear your thoughts on what would be of value to you!

Also, please look out for (and subscribe) to my inaugural newsletter to find out where and when I will be teaching, organizing a running club, or promoting other community and fitness-related events. This also allows me the ability to better manage my busy schedule, maintaining my day job working in operations at Amplify Partners, taking care of my pup, and working out on my own. Plus, I will also have some additional free workout content coming soon! 

If you are down in the peninsula area and looking to start adding a new routine to your schedule or want to see how Pilates can benefit your life, let’s chat and see if I can be your partner in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

How Le Tote Helped me Change to be a Business Professional

Over the past several months my wardrobe has been slowing transforming and I’m loving it. When I landed my first real ‘office job, I realized that I had been living in workout clothes for almost 4 years and hadn’t purchased any “real life” clothing. I didn’t even have enough professional clothes to get through my first week at my new job. EKKK!  

Octavia Flutter Sleeve Blouse and BCBGeneration Knit Midi Pencil Skirt

After doing a little research, I stumbled upon Le Tote. If you have no clue what it is, Le Tote is an online subscription-based clothing rental company. The idea is to be able to have clothes for any event, in real-time, sent to your door. LeTote stylists do their best to match outfits to your style. If you decide that a particular piece isn’t right for you, they provide a prepaid label so you can easily return at your convenience. Thankfully, I was able to purchase a few items that I knew I NEEDED in my everyday wardrobe.  

When I originally created my account, I filled out a questionnaire about my style, what I’m looking for, and my general size range. Based off my answers, LeTote puts together a few outfits that fit my style and body preferences. Once the recommended pieces are created, you can either choose to keep those options or look around for different things you might like to try. I chose a few of the options they picked out but selected a few others on my own that I wanted to try. Here are some of the items I was sent to try, to give you an idea of the clothes:

With working full-time, plus Pilates, my dog, and social life, I knew I wasn’t going to have time to go shopping for new clothes. This was such a great option for me, especially since I went straight from one job to the next, with no downtime in between. Another benefit is that once you’ve worn the items, you can place them back in the prepaid mailer to return without having to wash them. WHOHOOO! I don’t know about you but I already have enough laundry each week as it is, especially now that I live with my boyfriend. ugh #Adulting

Once I approve the box, it ships out and I typically receive my package within 2 days. I was shocked by how fast I was to get my new outfits. It made me happy realizing that time wasn’t being wasted just waiting around for the clothes since the subscription is monthly. Everything I see on their site always looks the same, if not very similar in person, and always feels of the very high quality. The large variety of clothing is very useful as well. I love that I can pick business casual or fancy outfits for when we nicer have events at work or for a night on the town.

Velvet Heart Tie Sleeve Chambray Dress

So far, I’ve loved all my items from LeTote! I think my favorite piece has been this Velvet Heart Tie Sleeve Chambray Dress. I had some much fun taking photos in it with Bryan at the beach. I think most of the items I’ve been absolutely in love with are from the brand Olive & Oak. The fun of getting surprised by clothing that I can wear if I want or not is definitely something I look forward to, even if I don’t necessarily always look forward to the photoshoots or going to work. Either way, I’m loving this whole Le Tote thing.

Thanks to Le Tote, I’m dressing like a boss babe and am feeling more confident in my new look more than ever. Le Tote has become my fashion go-to for keeping my wardrobe refreshed, and I can’t express enough how much peace-of-mind it has given me. I’m impressing everyone at the office and don’t have to waste time finding a style that suits me when my personal stylist (Le Tote) knows me so well!

If you’ve previously tried Le Tote, I would love to hear you opinion. Comment below!

**I haven’t been paid for this article. This is just my experience and opinion on Le Tote. If you would like to try it out enjoy a special discount from Le Tote, by clicking here.

North Bay Wildfires

It breaks my heart to see so many loved ones in my hometown at the center of such a big disaster. With several wildfires raging through Napa County and many neighboring counties,  I’m in shock and overwhelmed with emotions like many.

The wildfires still are not yet contained, all we can do it hope no more lives are lost as the firefighters continue to bravely save as many lives and homes as they can. Please stay safe and check your local news for the latest updates. The easiest way to get this information is to text your zip code to 888777 to new information via texts such as evacuations, emergency shelter locations, and road closures.

As a third generation “Napkin” I’m so proud to say I was born and raised in a beautiful, friendly and strong community. I know we will all come together to help those in need. With me living in SF, while my whole family is in Napa I’ve felt a little helpless. Many people I’ve talked to in Napa actually feel the same. I started looking into ways to help and have listed some below.

#NapaStrong


Donations

With so many friends and family affected by these fires I wanted to give back as much as I can. So I’m teaming up with MNTSTUDIO in SF to host a donation-based class on Saturday October 14th at 9am.  You can sign up online, here. All donations will go to the Napa Valley Community Foundation. I will also be going up to Napa to check on my family and friends. Along with volunteer at the shelters currently in place. If anyone would like to come help please reach out, or if you have anything you would like to donate to help, it would be very appreciated.

Many have lost everything, at this time we need to come together as a community and help those in need. With so many way to help, you can donate to the Red Cross, drop off supplies to the shelters listed below, or donate to the food pantries.

Evacuation centers

If you live in the area and would like to volunteer please check in with your local evacuation centers listed below to see how you can help, or you can sign up with The Red Cross as a volunteer.

Napa County
Crosswalk Community Church in Napa(at capacity)
Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga on Oak Street
Napa Valley Junior College on SR-221 south of Imola Ave
Sonona County
Analy High School, 6950 Analy Avenue, Sebastopol
Guerneville School, 14630 Armstrong Rd. Guerneville
Healdsburg Community Center, 1157 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg
1st Presbyterian Church, 939 B Street, Petaluma
Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. South, Petaluma
Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma
Sonoma Raceway campground, directly across from the raceway on HWY 121
Casa Grande High School, 333 Casa Grande Rd, Petaluma
Church of Christ, 370 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma
Sally Tomatoes, 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park
Technology Middle School, 7165 Burton Ave, Rohnert Park
Waldo Rohnert Elementary School, 550 Bonnie Ave., Rohnert Park
Burton Recreation Center/RP Community Center, 5401 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park
Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa
Finley Community Center, 2060 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa
Cook Middle School, 2480 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa
New Vintage Church, 3300 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa
Victory Outreach Church, 4042 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa(at capacity)
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 500 Robinson Road, Sebastopol
Altamira Middle School, 17085 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
Windsor High School, 8695 Windsor Road, Windsor
Huerta Gymnasium, 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Windsor
Elsie Allen High School, 599 Bellevue Avenue, Santa Rosa
Lawrence Cook Middle School on Sebastopol Road in Santa RosaNew Life Christian Fellowship Church in Petaluma, at 1310 clegg street
Petaluma Community Center at 320 N. McDowell B. (at capacity)
Rohnert Park Rec Center at 7421 Burton Ave.
Santa Rosa at Finley Community Center on West College Avenue at Stony Point Road (at capacity)
Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris Street, Sebastopol
Sonoma Valley High School

Marin County
Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium at 10 Avenue of the Flag in San Rafael
Lighthouse Christian Church at 1915 Novato Blvd in Novato
Novato Methodist Church at 1473 S Novato Blvd in Novato
Marin Humane Center/Animal Shelter at 171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd in Novato
Solano County
Solano Community College Library parking lot at 4000 Suisun Valley Rd in Fairfield

Animal Shelters

Napa County Animal Shelter at 942 Hartle Ct, Napa (will shelter dogs, cats, rabbits and other household animals)
Sonoma County Fairgrounds at 1350 Bennett Valley Road. (Open for large- and medium-sized livestock and farm animals) Access the Fairgrounds via Gate 7 on Aston Ave and Sonoma- Marin Fairgrounds at 175 Fairgrounds Drive in Petaluma
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (open to accommodate small livestock and other farm animals), access via Gate 4 on 175 Fairgrounds Dr (Petaluma)
Napa FFA – Vintage High School Farm is taking livestock in Napa County. Address is 1185 Sierra Ave, Napa or they will pick up animals. Students are working around the clock caring for over 200 displaced animals.


Thank you so much for all of your love and support! Please keep sending positive vibes. XOXO

My “BACK” Story

Everyone has their own unique story about how they started their journey towards living a healthy lifestyle. Asking someone about their fitness journey is honestly is one of my favorite conversation starters because it really shows how different everyone is. Plus the different paths we can all take to end up at the same place, working towards feeling good and being our best self.

My story started when I was 16 years old, I danced competitively throughout middle school and into high school. Around my sophomore year, I started having persistent pain in my hips and lower back. After many doctor visits with my parents, we kept getting the same reasons, “It’s just growing pains” (now if you’ve never met me, I’m 5’2 so clearly this wasn’t the issue) Some actually mentioned that my muscles are just tight from dancing for several hours each day, but I was freakishly flexible so once again I knew that wasn’t it. This kept going on until one day at school I the pain was so unbearable I just sad down walking to class and started crying. I will never forget sitting down and not even being able to explain the amount of pain I was in, I knew something just wasn’t right. 

I started getting X-rays, and MRI’s done to see where the pain was coming from. After several visits I saw a spine specialist and was diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis. Basically, my spine was separating from itself in my lower back (for my anatomy lovers L5-S1). 

After speaking with a few orthopedic surgeons, it was determined that as long as I could handle the pain we could put off the surgery for a little while longer, so I can finish up school and not have any issues. The vertebrae slipping would continue to move at a slow rate, so I would have warning signs before it got to the point of paralyzing me. So I decided to put off surgery until after I graduated high school. Regrettably, I spent two years causing more damage to my spine and taking large amounts of pain medication just to help ease the pain so I could continue dancing. (We did win two national titles during that time so I guess it wasn’t all bad.)

I went in for surgery 5 days after I graduated and 4 days after turning 18 years old. The surgery took 6 hours, the doctors started with a 5-inch incision on my stomach and push my vertebra back into place the screwed in a metal plate to stabilize my spine. After they flip me over to finish the surgery with screw more incisions and 4 screws to hold the vertebras in place. I now have 6 two-inch titanium screws, a metal plate, and a replacement disk, but I can still go through a metal detector with no issues. 😉

After the surgery, I was in the hospital for a week. I was on so much medication I don’t really remember the first few days at all! It almost felt like one of those movie scenes, where the person tries to open their eyes but they don’t open all the way and they can just see their eyelids and a little light and make out people in the room. After a few days, they had me doing “exercises” which was just me trying to sit up, stand and using a walker to take a few steps. I had to actually learn how to walk up the stairs again, which at age 18 felt crazy!

Once I was cleared to start physical activity again I started doing some private Pilates sessions at Pilates Collective in Sebastopol, CA. Quickly I began to notice the benefits of Pilates beyond just for rehabilitation and I fell in love with the method. I knew I wanted to be an instructor and share this new found passion with others. I started my certification training back in 2010, I now am able to teach Pilates and Barre. It’s because of Pilates that I can now walk pain-free without any medication!