Girl boss Valentina Rose forerarm stand
Blog, Life

#GIRLBOSS

I’ve recently enjoyed reading #GIRLBOSS, a book by NastyGal founder Sophia Amoruso.

Her story sounds all too familiar: she spent her youth as a total rebel, hating school, quitting jobs, broke, directionless, and angry at the world.  Then she started selling vintage clothes on eBay. Eight years later, she is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer.

While I’ve never shopped at Nastygal and don’t have a career in fashion, I completely relate to this book’s practical advice. Sophia’s writing style is blunt, contagious and she definitely keeps it real.  As a #GIRLBOSS in training, I feel totally motivated.

Here are my 5 takeaways from the book.

Girl boss Valentina Rose forerarm stand
I do what I want

1. A #GIRLBOSS Works Hard

No matter what you do, you have to put your heart and soul into it. No half-assing. Whether you’re vacuuming your living room floor, or teaching a yoga private, making soup for your neighbor, giving legal advice or managing a pharmaceutical company, you have to mean it and do it well with 100% of your effort. And effort doesn’t go unnoticed. You may feel as if it does sometimes when you don’t get immediate gratification, but people who matter will eventually notice. And you will be rewarded. The golden rule is: if you put effort into something, it will show results. Maybe not in the way you expected, and maybe you still don’t feel that you succeeded, but if you do the  best you can, you won’t have any regrets.

2. A #GIRLBOSS Values Every Experience

For as much as we all love to hear about our cousin Laura who  knew in kindergarten she wanted to be an eye doctor, and goes and does exactly that, we have to realize that not everyone has the same path. And although it seems easier for Laura the eye doctor to have it all figured out while we are to struggling talking to college advisors and taking the Myers-Briggs 5 times, it doesn’t mean that she’s not busting ass in med school and having to sacrifice years of her life to study rounded over her desk in the library so that she can one day fix our eyes. So maybe we didn’t have an epiphany in kindergarten and we still don’t know what we want to be in life, but the good news is there’s other people like us out there. In fact the majority of people are confused on what to do. The key lays in appreciating every single job and every single experience that comes across. IF anything, it will teach you what you DON”T like, and that’s start.

For example, that job you had in high school standing outside Whole Foods getting people to donate for Greenpeace? And you hated it because everyone took the long route to get in the store even at the cost of stumbling in the grocery carts just so they wouldn’t have to talk to you? You can probably thank that job because it motivated you to find a different job that you enjoyed more.

Did you know I had a lot random jobs? I picked lavender, worked in a cheese factory, worked in a costume shop, fed elderly in a nursing home and  taught Italian to drooling pre-schoolers all before I even finished college undergrad in Legal Studies, which has nothing to do with yoga.

Earning my college degree was a struggle but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I didn’t like having to sit through classes, the all-nighters before finals, and being permanently broke. But at the same time I really thrived from being in an educated environment which forced me to think critically and learn to write properly. At the end of the day, I can look at that piece of paper that constitutes my BA and say :”I did it. And if I did that (and it was hard), I can do anything else I put my mind to.” Right now I’ve been teaching yoga and barre for two years and have successfully been leading yoga retreats in Costa Rica.

3.  A #GIRLBOSS Has a Vision

Having a vision is so important. Don’t be afraid to vocalize what it is that you want in the future. It is by saying it out loud that you begin the build momentum and create energy around it. And if you don’t talk about it, or write it, or dream it, or think about it, how will you ever start? Although Sophia Amoroso speaks of this concept in depth and vividly, I have to give credit to Yogi Aaron of Blue Osa for first introducing me to this idea. 🙂 So have a vision, hold onto it, but don’t make it too narrow that you can’t take a detour and jump on the bandwagon of opportunity when the chances arise.

4. A #GIRLBOSS Owns Her Style

I live by this rule. Wear what you want and own it. Create your own style. Please don’t ever let the latest edition of Cosmopolitan dictate which color you should wear this summer. You can get anyway with anything so long as you do it with confidence. You could wear a Moschino dress, but if you feel uncomfortable in your own skin you’ll look awkward  and everyone else will know it too. Or you can wear a Target tank top along with your mom’s vintage shorts and own it and look amazing. And everyone will stop you on the street to ask where you got your outfit.

5. A #GIRLBOSS Charges Ahead

If there’s one thing that social media can bring, along with tons of inspiration and worldwide connections, is discouragement and isolation. When you’re having a bad day and you look at Instagram, you will become even more depressed because so-and-so can do handstands better than you, and so-and-so has more followers than you, and so-and-so is is frolicking on a tropical beach and you’re not, and so-and-so has a good looking boyfriend and instead you’re sitting on your couch eating muffins  like a lonely fatty and even the mailman won’t say hi to you. That’s when you shake it off, say “enough”, and wipe all that crap off your mind entirely.

A #GIRLBOSS charges ahead and doesn’t let anybody stop her. You are on your own mission, which will be different than any on else’s. And you should not wish to be someone else, because, well, then you wouldn’t be you. And you don’t really know what is going on in people’s  lives behind one amazing photo on Instagram. They could be struggling with depression but you would never know it from their cheery blog posts.

Also, you have got to ignore your competition and the debby-downers. Don’t let them take energy that you should instead devote to carrying on your projects. Remember that people who criticize are either afraid of you, ignorant or down right envious.

Ewa+Valentina after teaching yoga in Costa Rica
Blog, The Interview Series

Interview with Ewa Josefsson

I  first met Ewa in 2013 at Green Monkey yoga studio in Miami Beach where we both taught. Although it took a while to warm up to each other, I eventually fell in love with her classes and then one day, in the spur of the moment we decided to teach a yoga retreat together in Costa Rica. It was a true act of faith; we barely knew each other but instinctually connected and ended up leading a very successful retreat of sixteen people at Blue Osa. We called it the Blue Dream Yoga Retreat.

Ewa and I are hosting two retreats in 2015. The one coming up from June 20-27 is the Blue Wave Yoga Retreat which will offer yoga and an opportunity to surf. For New Year’s eve we will host the second edition of the  Blue Dream Yoga Retreat at Blue Osa (December 27 to January 3, 2016.)

Here is a brief interview with Ewa so you can get to know her better too.

Ewa+Valentina after teaching yoga in Costa Rica
Ewa and I after teaching a two hour class at Blue Osa

Name

 Ewa Josefsson

Hometown

Miami Beach

Profession

 Yoga Instructor 

Favorite Book

 Anna Karenina

Favorite Movie

Wild Strawberries

Where did your yoga journey begin?

I took my first yoga class in New York in 2006. I had just moved there from Sweden and rented a loft in a factory building in Dumbo, Brooklyn. My new-found friend wanted to start teaching yoga and asked if she could come and teach me and my friends in my loft. I said yes having no idea it would change my life. Although it took me about three years to go ‘all in’. I was practicing once a week for a long time until one day I had a sort of awakening. Something clicked in my head and I decided to make yoga my life.

What is the most challenging experience you’ve had in your yoga journey?

In October last year I was bitten by a chikungunya infected mosquito on Jamaica, and infected with a virus that makes all your joints ache like crazy. It took me back to the time when yoga was so incredibly difficult, even the basic poses became impossible, and although it was a challenge and really upsetting at times I now feel grateful for that humbling experience.

What has yoga taught you about life?

To not believe everything I think.

What is the most exciting place you’ve ever traveled to? Why? 

The rainforest in Costa Rica’s Osa peninsula is my current favorite. When I leave the forest keeps calling me back every night, for days or even weeks, in my dreams.

What is the biggest takeaway of teaching your first yoga retreat in Costa Rica last year?

It is so rewarding to get to spend that much time with your students. Normally I have one or maximum two hours and then I don’t see them again for days or weeks. During that retreat, and the following retreat I hosted on Jamaica in the fall, I really had the opportunity to watch the participants grow. 

What was the most challenging part of it?

To leave the group and go home.

Describe one of your favorite moments on a yoga retreat.

The rain pouring while we are practicing on the yoga deck, the feeling of absolute freedom.

 What advice would you give to someone who is considering going on their first yoga retreat?

Go for it.

Find more of Ewa:

Instagram

Her teaching schedule:

Blue Dream Yoga Retreat Facebook page 

Photo credit: Jonathan Hokklo  

Ewa handtsand Playa Tamales beach costa rica yoga retreat
Ewa getting a little time upside down in Playa Tamales