My Pilates Anytime Trip- Last Day!

Unlike all of my other posts, I’m writing this one quite a bit after the fact. I actually don’t mind this as I feel like I’ve had a great opportunity to reflect on the experience that I’ve had- I just hope to capture as much of the good stuff as I can! In some ways it feels like it was all a dream while I then feel like it was just yesterday that I was on the West Coast of the USA.

My final day at the conference was meant to start with a presentation by Diane Diefenderfer- Sharing and Comparing The Work of Two Masters (Romana Kryzanowksa and Ron Fletcher) I had been looking forward to this as soon as I had access to my schedule as these two elders seem the most different of them all. I am intrigued by the commonalities and differences between the elders considering their shared experience of working with Mr Pilates. I was but I had to make a call and miss it. Deciding to stay until the very end of the Pilates Anytime party had consequences…

Unfortunately my LONG haul flight home that night meant that I was not going to have time to pack at any other time. While I felt as though I had completely over packed for this trip I still had lots of room in my suitcase. This was fortunate as I was going home with a few extra items… all of my beautiful Pilates Nerd clothing and accessories (I am one lucky girl), My ‘JOE’ book by IC Rapoport (eek!), an amazing pair of loops by Good Citizen (and the cutest t-shirt), various balls, loops and small props by OPTP and Balanced Body and Ben’s birthday present (still a secret). IMG_6961.JPG

I figured if I could get everything packed I could still observe the final session of the conference which was a mat class by Kathy Corey. To be sure that I didn’t hold up my ride home in any way, I decided just to observe the mat class rather than participate in it.  I was all set just before 10:00am so I had time to check out and make my way to the Mountain View room for the class. Unfortunately a few of the photos that I took over the weekend didn’t seem to save onto my phone (not sure if it was due to lack of reception???). It’s such a shame as this also included the photo I took from this room- the view was so beautiful.

Kathy’s class was great as she really made it feel like it would be an individual experience for everyone in the room. She didn’t rush in to the traditional order but instead gave everyone time to figure out where their asymmetries lay and to try to create as much balance as possible. Starting seated on the floor (not your mat) all the participants were asked to figure out where their body was positioned. The next stage was a series of movements to help create that balance that we all strive for. Kathy calls this the pelvic imprint. You can experience this yourself- I’ve chosen this class on Pilates Anytime for you to try. I loved the simple way this made such a difference not only to the body that is about to begin the Pilates class but to focus the mind. There were some beautiful rotational exercises that I was able to do while seated too.

I was so grateful for the beautiful bunch of flowers that Pilates Anytime presented me with at the party. Luckily we had room in the car and Gia (who had been so supportive throughout the process) was able to take them home- they were too beautiful to throw out!

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The drive home was a great opportunity to be able to speak with John a little more. I got to meet John at the dinner on the first night of the conference but of course it was a busy night for everyone. On the drive home I got to learn more about the business and to get a sense of the value base that he, Kristi and Ted all work from.

By the time we got back to LA I still had about 4 hours to wait before I needed to go to the airport so after storing my luggage at Pilates Anytime HQ I decided to take Gia and John’s advice and head over to Venice Beach. I jumped into an Uber and had a great conversation with Stefanos. We talked about how LA had changed over the years that he had lived there and was changing now, Donald Trump (and his hope for an impeachment) as well as what I should do when I reached my destination.

There had been so much new information to take in over the week away that I was looking forward to a little bit of alone time to absorb it all. Somehow seeing the Ocean up close felt like the right way to send off this trip and it was quite emotional. The great thing about the Venice boardwalk was that you could actually spend a great amount of time on foot and have so much change around you. As I made my way to the boardwalk I stopped by a local market (and found a great card for Ben’s birthday too- score!) as I was hoping for some dog patting opportunities but they didn’t really present themselves. At the beach, I enjoyed a quesadilla while I took in the sights of the stall holders- a guy selling a photo opportunity holding a python (tempting), break dancers (impressive), a group preaching a strange version of redemption (not for me) and many (awful) t- shirts.

On my way back from the beach, I finished my souvenir shopping at a great little store for a few more family members and found the perfect pair of sunglasses for myself- woo hoo! Once I arrived at Abbot Kinney Boulevard I meandered along with an amazing hot chocolate in hand (the heat wave had finally finished) and did some great window shopping. I also had the pleasure of discovering the G2 Gallery which I highly recommend if you’re ever in town. There were two photography exhibitions on view while I was there and the work was exquisite. The Designed Environment was my favourite (probably because of the road trip I had just been on) as the photos of Death Valley were amazing.

I had been in LA long enough to know that allowing extra time for traffic would be a good idea and so before I knew it the time had come to order an Uber and get moving. On the way to the airport after picking up my luggage, we actually had some Australian hip-hop playing on the radio (Horror Show)- clearly it was home time.

After clearing customs I completed my going home from holidays tradition- buying a magnet for the fridge at home (and some duty free whiskey) and made my way to the QANTAS BUSINESS LOUNGE. That’s right- JoJo was finishing this trip in style, an upgrade to business class on the A380! My previous post was actually mostly written while enjoying a Californian red and a little cheese plate that I whipped up for myself.

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As far as flights go, this one was pretty good. I repeated my ‘anti jetlag’ behaviours and tried to read and watch a couple of movies before allowing myself to sleep. Those lay flat beds certainly help… I didn’t sleep as much as I would have liked but I rested and that was something I didn’t do much of while I was away. On the flight over, whenever I would wake up from my sleep I would go through the sequence of my classes to be filmed and (much like counting sheep) that would lull me into the land of nod. That wasn’t necessary anymore. What a realisation, all that anticipation and then boom- it was over and I was home! Landing in Sydney just before 8:00am was perfect as we circled the city before coming in from the south (less views) onto the runway. There is something special about seeing this city from the sky before touching down.

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Once I’d arrived home and had my first coffee (bliss), did my washing and tried to make up with Miffy my cat the final unpacking was due. I have a few items that will join my special stripey note book. My first visit to the West Coast of the USA was not going to be forgotten quickly- joining the Pilates Anytime family, my first ever PMA, meeting respected teachers that I have looked up to from afar… great memories. Until next time xxx

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My Pilates Anytime Trip- “All Access Party”

After two days of inspiration and learning it was time to let our hair down and ‘Party Like a Rock Star” with the awesome Pilates Anytime crew. We were so lucky with the weather as the party was out on the lawn at the resort. With Halloween just around the corner the theme was to dress up as your favourite music star. Not having gone to a fancy dress party for a few years, I was super excited. Put it this way, I had decided on my party outfit before I even knew what I was going to wear for my filming!

I’ve always been pretty inspired by the resilience of Cher to really succeed in her field. Coupled with my hairdresser’s inclination to tease my hair to make me look like Cher from Moonstruck it was an easy choice. Thanks to my lovely client June, I got to rock out in a vintage outfit by renowned Australian designer Carla Zampatti. In combination with my column heel suede platforms (that I actually wear quite often), false eyelashes, a ton of eye shadow and my wig I was all set.IMG_6989.jpg

I got to see the party set up for the first time alongside Kristi and Amy and I was blown away. The hard work that this team had put in was so evident- the place looked amazing. On arrival there was of course a red carpet (very much befitting the music theme) and the famous Pilates Anytime media wall. It was such fun to see all of the different groups posing together. I actually ran into Madonna at the party too (or is that Amy Havens?)23000013_10155184632592602_8580844826639492638_o.jpgThere were inflatables that looked a little like a garden, a huge PILATES sign, a silent disco (that I very much enjoyed alongside Victoria Becka and Lanette Gavran) and glow sticks. You could really feel the excitement in the air. Everyone was so happy to be there.

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As people started to arrive the effort put in to the costumes soon became very apparent. Personal favourites were Rebekah Rotsein as Bjork, Madeline Black as Amy Winehouse and Benjamin Degenhardt as Annie Lennox. As for the group costumes I couldn’t go past Devo and the GoGo’s. Those who know me are aware of my fondness for Pilates elder Mary Bowen. I was lucky enough to meet her at the APMA conference in Melbourne Australia last September. Imagine my delight when she agreed to pose for a photo with me in costume! I love Mary (she even had back up wigs).IMG_6997.JPG

After the announcement of best costume and best air bands it was time for me to be announced as the 2017 Pilates Anytime Winner. John Marston the CEO of Pilates Anytime (and an awesome guy) let me know that it would be up to me as to whether or not I should make a speech. I don’t have a problem with public speaking at all (I actually really loved it as a teenager) but the prospect of saying something relating to such an emotional achievement initially seemed like it would be too much. I didn’t want to get emotional up on the stage so I thought it would be best just to graciously accept my flowers, wave and step off. I was so glad that I changed my mind and got to say a public thank you to the other finalists, the judges, those who voted, Pilates Nerd and of course to Pilates Anytime for holding the competition. It allowed me to really be in the moment and acknowledge the journey that I had been on. When I got off the stage who did I see but the beautiful Carrie Pages- beaming at me before giving me the biggest hug ever. It made me certain that I want to be there to do the same for next year’s winner. That was a special moment. 23004667_10155188019712602_5461678963495429676_o.jpg23120192_10155188019697602_9063370241885064100_o.jpg

The party changed location from the lawn to the resort nightclub- if anyone understands noise restrictions compromises it’s a Sydney sider! I knew that the nightclub was going to look awesome but it was a shame to have to relocate. Ever the introvert I felt I needed a moment in time before the venue change. Tasked with the need to put my beautiful bouquet somewhere safe (and to have another slice of the pizza that I had ordered earlier) I popped up to my room briefly to gather my thoughts. I was determined to stay until the end of the party so I wanted to make sure I still looked the part (no panda eyes please) and could handle staying up until the wee hours.

While I reapplied my eyeshadow I looked in the mirror and saw a person who had grown a lot. Two years ago I was so paralysed by anxiety I couldn’t bring myself to step outside the familiar despite wanting to.  Back then I wouldn’t have known what to do with myself at this party. Now here I was accepting the congratulations with gratitude and looking for more challenges with genuine confidence and excitement. This was the real win!IMG_7007.jpg