This Is Not Exotic Dancing: Interview With Ashley Popoli, Owner of Vertical Addiction; Aerial Arts Studio

“You need to be vulnerable. Doing pole is really different. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever done before.” -Ashley Popoli, Owner of Vertical Addiction

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Ashley Popoli, Owner of Vertical Addiction / Photo Courtesy of Ashley Popoli

The most enticing element of Stamford CT’s paramount pole fitness and aerial arts studio, Vertical Addiction, isn’t the seductive appeal of the street sign of a woman gracefully hanging upside down by her legs. Nor is it the curiosity of the concept of pole fitness and aerial arts, sparking visions of Cirque Du Soleil and going delightfully dizzy. The welcoming appeal of Vertical Addiction emanates from the woman that sits at the helm of the studio, owner, Ashley Popoli. Upon entering the studio, visitors and students of Vertical Addiction are embraced from the start, a result of Popoli’s infectious and dynamic energy.

As an advocate of fitness, self expression and strong women I have long wanted to sit down with a woman not only immersed in the fitness industry, but a woman who is an entrepreneur, and an inspiring  following her passion based on self expression and casting aside the norm within fitness. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Popoli, which instantly felt like sitting down with a best friend, and talked pole fitness, meditation, the Weeknd, vulnerability and the dedication required to train insane.

Ditte Dennisor: Tell me a little bit about how you got started in pole fitness.

Ashley Popoli: When I was little I was a gymnast and I loved it. Later when I was in my teens, I walked away from it and did some high school sports, I played soccer and I danced a little. After I graduated college I came back home and went back to the gym and started working out and I knew something was missing. I knew I liked to workout; I was studying to become a personal trainer- I was always very into fitness! I was working out at the gym and this woman randomly approached me- I didn’t know her, but she taught pole fitness. She asked me if I was a dancer, and asked if I used to be a gymnast. We got to talking and she suggested that I take her class. At the time she taught up in Trumbull- which for me was far, so I kept blowing it off. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested, but for me it was a question of ‘Why am I going to drive almost an hour out of my way for a pole fitness class?’ But she was persistent! Every time she’d see me at the gym she’d come up to me and ask if I was going to be at one of her classes and finally I thought ‘Either I’m going to have to not come to this gym anymore or I’ll have to go take this woman’s class.’ I wanted to try something new. I was looking for a change in my life so I decided to take her class and I was addicted from the first minute! It was exciting and fun and challenging! It was hard but it was different. It wasn’t like anything I had done before. It definitely captivated my attention. I was intrigued by it. I was determined to learn it. I’m a little bit competitive by nature- well that’s a lie- I’m a lot competitive by nature- and I remember doing it and feeling those same feelings from gymnastics. I knew I could figure it out but it was going to take time. I ended up going to class again and buying a 5 pack and I decided to try the class 5 more times and I liked it… but I still didn’t want to commute that far. After the 5 classes I was hooked, I was in it. Soon enough I started to commute into the city to train because they realized they couldn’t take me to the place that I wanted to go to. I needed to go to a place where I could train with real professionals so that’s when I started going into the city.

DD: In Manhattan?

AP: Yeah! So now I commute into the city about two times a week and I’ll work with my coaches.

DD: Why did you choose to open your studio in Stamford?

AP: I worked in Stamford previously in a corporate position and I know it’s a big city, and I did my research. I knew there was no pole fitness studio here. And I knew there was a huge chunk of young professional clientele. There are also the mom’s who stay at home and they spend their mornings working out. I got familiar with the area and I thought this could really thrive if we hit the right people. There’s the UConn [University of Connecticut] campus and the Sacred Heart University satellite campus here as well, so I figured there’s enough young people here in this area that I could hit up a good market.

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The New Vertical Addiction Studio / Photo Courtesy of Ashley Popoli

 

“Some people get into this because they’re going through a change in their life. I’ve seen women in my studio get divorced, find new jobs or quit their jobs because they realize they’re not happy. The pole industry and community allows people to get real with themselves and to feel liberated and confident. Pole allows people to say ‘I’m going to live my life to the fullest and be happy’”

DD:  I’ve noticed that the community at Vertical Addiction and within the pole fitness community overall that everyone is incredibly supportive, encouraging and they embrace everybody. Has it always been that way?

AP: I have to say since the day I started pole- and I’ve been to different studios and competitions and I’ve traveled a bit- it has always been this strong. I try to tell people and explain to them that you have to be a part of this just because the community is so amazing! People really don’t understand it until they’re part of it. It is the most supportive environment I have ever been in. You need to be vulnerable. Doing pole is really different. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever done before. You’re probably not feeling so confident at the beginning; you’re starting you might look weird, you might feel weird. But with that, there are other people there being vulnerable with you. I think naturally that forms a connection because you’re all in the same boat together. And once you hit the move, you hit the spin, and you finally get your first climb and you’re so excited and you feel so liberated and empowered! And your friends who have been doing this and struggling with you too are so excited for you that it fosters excitement and a sisterhood and camaraderie. No matter where I go within the pole fitness community that’s all I ever come into contact with; women and men supporting each other in their goals and their journey. Some people get into this because they’re going through a change in their life. I’ve seen women in my studio get divorced, find new jobs or quit their jobs because they realize they’re not happy. The pole industry and community allows people to get real with themselves and to feel liberated and confident. Pole allows people to say ‘I’m going to live my life to the fullest and be happy’  and they can remove those things that don’t make them happy and they now have the support system and confidence to say ‘I’m gonna go out there and get what I want and make it happen.’

DD: I noticed that you have a hammock class. Is that a new class?

AP: We’re starting hammock meditation in our new space. It’s a new class. We’ve seen that people in the city have started this. We’re in Stamford, we’re in a corporate American city- just like Manhattan. People are busy and their crazed and they’re certainly working more than 8 hours. What we want to do is give people – women and men- the opportunity at lunch time to walk away, relax for 30 minutes, close their eyes, de-stress, calm down, do the meditation, and unwind so they can clear their head and go back to work and feel refreshed. It’s certainly not strenuous. It’s more psychological and emotional and reconnecting with yourself and taking it down a notch from your busy lifestyle. It’s for anybody! It doesn’t have to be for the working professional, it could be a mom who just spent her morning driving kids around who needs a space to go and chill out for 30 minutes. In European countries, they do siesta! They shut down in the middle of their day and we don’t here in America.  I think part of the reason that people are so high strung is that they’re never taking time to calm down. A lot of people don’t meditate. I myself just started doing it and it’s hard for me to clear my mind at the beginning, but I have to say it’s so relaxing and calming for me. It helps me to decompress and clear my head. Sometimes from meditating I find really good ideas enter my mind. Hammock meditation could be a popular thing, especially for Stamford because nobody else is doing it.

Before: Vertical Addiction’s New Studio At 575 Pacific Street, Stamford CT

DD: You mentioned that men can take the hammock meditation classes. Are men allowed to take other classes at Vertical Addiction?

AP: Men can take any class! I’ve had men take the pole class. One of our students has a son and he’s taken the hoop class. He’s an actor and he dances as well and he loves it! Most of our clientele is predominantly female but we allow men to come into the studio. Obviously there’s the assumption that you’re going to be respectful and understand this is fitness and truthfully we’ve never had an issue.

” I think that’s what makes people feel so inspired by this sport- they can make it whatever they want. When you can relate to something so deeply- you want more of that! You can express yourself through your movement and your music however you want.”

DD: What’s the greatest misconception about pole fitness and the aerial arts?

AP: The greatest misconception is that people think this is exotic dancing. There’s a platform for that but pole fitness is very different. These are fitness based classes. There are foundational moves, there’s correct technique, there’s muscle engagement and the opportunity to build those muscles that you have to create. We help students create that foundation to build upon. It’s very systematic and there’s a clear plan. You start in intro, move to level 1, then level 2. Then there’s the opportunity to do aerial hoop and we do the same thing. There’s a prep class that helps you to build those muscles and learn the basic entrances and exits in and out of the hoop. Once that feels good you go into intermediate hoop. People think that this is fun and silly and we dance around a pole and it’s sensual. And it can be sensual but these are fitness based classes. Girls are working hard and learning technique. It’s not just turning on music and dancing around a pole. We’re learning specific movements and then learning how to tie them together and build upon them.

DD: How do you stay fit outside of pole fitness? Is this your main form of fitness?

AP: Pole is my main form of fitness. I teach about 4 days a week, I have private clients and I train myself! It’s really important for me- I’m still a competitor and a professional level athlete. I love to train. Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day it’s a nice way to release that out or connect with a song and dance it out and move. I enjoy running- it relieves stress for me. I also cross train at the gym and do my lower body, training my legs, but I never ever lift a weight.

DD: Really?! Even for training for pole moves?

AP: You’ll never see me lift a weight. My upper body is so strong from pole that I don’t need to lift a weight. I’ll squat and I’ll work my hamstrings but never ever will I lift a weight.

DD: So you can build all that strength to do inversions all from doing pole?

AP: All from pole! I’ll go to the gym and people will always ask me if I do CrossFit and I always say no and explain to them that I do pole. At first they’re kind of confused but then they’re like ‘Oh my God! That’s all from pole?’ And I tell them ‘Yes. This is all from pole.’ I don’t need to lift a weight, I don’t need to do crunches. I get such an intense workout on the pole for my upper body, my back and my core that I don’t need to do that. So many girls will say pole has changed their body- and it does! You’re lifting and controlling and balancing your own body weight. You tone muscles and build strength and burn the fat.

DD: What music do you like to dance to?

AP: I’m an R&B fan! I love the Weeknd. His music is sexy. I like music that tells a story. If I can connect to it emotionally that’s what I want to dance to. Sam Smith has songs where he’s talking about something he’s experienced, love or heartbreak. The music that I’ve chosen for every competition that I’ve done is directly correlated to what I’m going through in my life at that time. If you go back and listen to the music that I’ve used that’s what you’ll find. I think that’s why people love this art so much. There isn’t a set style of music or a set style of dancing- it’s what you make of it. If you decide that you just need to go and dance to a sad song and cry- you can do that. If you decide that you need to put on [Ginuwine’s] ‘Pony’ and grind on the pole you can do that! I think that’s what makes people feel so inspired by this sport- they can make it whatever they want. When you can relate to something so deeply- you want more of that! You can express yourself through your movement and your music however you want.

DD: What are you most looking forward to in your new studio space?

AP: So many things! The 13ft ceilings! We’ve been looking for higher ceilings for over a year and a half. When I walked into that space I saw it was a nice sized space. I looked up and saw there was so much height! I was in heaven. Ceiling height gives you the opportunity to do more and connect more movement and it gives us the opportunity to bring in different forms of aerial arts. To do silks you need more than 12ft so now we can share that and bring in the trapeze bar. The ceiling height is going to give us the opportunity to expand our class offerings and get more creative. The location is fantastic! We’ve been dying to move downtown, right near all the young people in the Harbor Point area- it’s a no brainer!

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Intro Pole Class In Session At The New Vertical Addiction Studio

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Merchandise Wall At Vertical Addiction

DD: What advice would you give to a beginner who wishes to go to the competition level?

AP:  Train! If I know I have a competition coming up I know I need to be focused, I know I need to be taking classes, I need to be training, getting sleep, and taking care of my body. I think anybody can compete. There are competitions for students that are level 1 who don’t need to go upside down! Anybody can do it, but don’t be fooled- it is a sport and it’s a competition- you need to prepare and you need to train. If you think you’re going to throw a routine together in a month it’s not going to happen. The girls that I just had compete at APC [Atlantic Pole Championships] in Virginia, started their routines 2-3 months ahead of time. They booked private sessions and were working with me or a different instructor to coach them to put together their routines. You have to practice. It’s like if you compete in gymnastics, skating or boxing- anything. It’s a sport. You need to prepare and train and perfect your routine over and over again.

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Vertical Addiction is holding their grand re-opening party at their new location on June 4, 2016! If you’ve ever been curious about aerial arts and pole fitness the grand re-opening is a perfect opportunity to meet the amazing women of Vertical Addiction. Check out the new space on June 4, 2016 at 575 Pacific Street. The party will be held from 10AM – 3PM and feature free mini classes, instructor performances, food trucks and team races!

You can follow Ashley and Vertical Addiction at:

Instagram: VerticalAddictionCT

Twitter: @vapolefitness

Facebook

Website

♡ Ditte

 

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Style and Event Survival Guide For NYFW February 10 – 18, 2016 New York, NY

With Fashion Week right around corner two questions come to mind: What do I want to see and what am I going to wear?! More than ever emerging brands, designers and networking communities are taking part in one of the most exclusive and anticipated global fashion events – New York Fashion Week. The fashion set has marked their calendars and made notes of who to see and who to skip and there’s always room to discover something fun and unexpected. Once the schedules are determined it can be impossible and daunting task to assemble an outfit that is chic, stylish, comfortable and accommodating for the chilly and potentially icy, snowy weather. With the Spring collections debuting at the height of Winter Fashion Week allows an escape from the onset of Winter ennui and the glacial temperatures. Fashion Week is an opportunity for adventure. It’s a chance to discover something, new, fresh, exciting and a great occasion to see and be seen. With so many opportunities for events and shows it can be hard to navigate what to see and what to skip- that’s where incredible sites like Eventbrite come in. Eventbrite is a one stop site featuring amazing local events in and around the NYC area pertaining to fashion week!

I’ve assembled the ultimate survival guide for navigating Fashion Week. From what to wear to create an effortlessly look to dash around in for Instagram ready pics to shows that can’t be missed and shows that can be skipped, my Fashion Week survival guide has everything you need. You’ll know where to buy tickets and where to put that cell phone where tickets and invites can be stored for easy access. 

 

Events: You won’t want to sleep on some of the hottest events happening at new York Fashon Week! Tickets are moving fast and EVENTBRITE is how to get them! EVENTBRITE is your go to spot for discovering cool, exciting, fun events during fashion week. whether you’re a fashion week vet or a newbie on the scene, EVENTBRITE offers awesome options for fashion week events that can’t be missed, events to skip and how to CREATE your own local event:

Hit

Small Boutique Fashion Week | SAT, FEB 13 AT 11:00 AM, NEW YORK, NY: featuring small scale boutique owners, celebrity stylists, custom made goods and handmade clothing.

Couture Fashion Week New York February 2016 | Friday, February 12, 2016 at 6:00 PM Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 11:30 PM:Lovers of avant garde, experimental, stunning high fashion, This is your event! Don’t miss one of the most sensational couture events of the year.

NYFW RISING STARS OF FASHION | THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016 AT 7:00 PM, NEW YORK, NY: SAINT X SINNER and PINK SHEEP HEIRESS are two emerging fashion brands that are rock n roll inspired, edgy, sexy and intriguing.

 

Miss

NEW YORK CITY FASHION WEEK FINAL MODEL REVIEW AND TRAINING FOR HIGH FASHION MODELS 2016 | FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2016 FROM 11:30 AM TO 1:30 PM (EST) MANHATTAN , NEW YORK: this event gives undiscovered talent an opportunity to be seen and pick up some valuable tips for breaking out in the model industry. when i envision this event i imagine a slew of models herded in a beige colored room all ranging in ages 0 – 22. everyone is sitting, standing, leaning, and avoiding eye contact. some are accompanied by parents. some are hunched over their cell phones, scrolling through social media and glancing around the room for an available spot to plug in their cell phone charges. all are impatiently waiting to be called to be prodded and judged in front of an aloof panel. No thank you. this would be the perfect time to grab a latte or touch up my lipstick.

create your own event

CREATE your own event! are you a creative with a fashion week event that deserves to be in the spotlight? EVENTBRITE makes event planning and management simple and gives you the freedom to create your own local event!

The events have been narrowed down, tickets have been bought and it’s time to finalize your look of the night. Throw on a dress, grab some booties and toss all your precious belongings in a clutch. Mix and match for funky to sexy to subtle and sweet show stopping looks.

Dresses: When heading out for events one of the simplest looks that can look like a lot of work is the dress. Flared, playful, patterned and modern to create a look that requires minimal accessories and maximum panache.
Boots: There’s every chance that the pavement of NYC will be slick with snow and ice. Perhaps your Uber will pull up to the curb and you’ll be met with slush and puddles. When making your way from show to show  opt for boots that will keep your toes warm and dry.

 

Clutches: ✓ cell phone, ✓invites, ✓tickets, ✓Lipstick, ✓liner, ✓blotting papers, ✓sunglasses. Put all of your important items in one convenient spot in a small, compact clutch that won’t get in the way of sliding in and out of the uber or the subway. find a clutch that makes a statement or go with something more subtle and subdued, but whatever you do, don’t leave your ticket or invite at home!

Have fun!

The Miss World Collection: Nasty Gal x Courtney Love

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Image Source: NastyGal.com

Courtney Love is an indelible force on the music, art and fashion scene. The iconic living legend queen has made enticing appearances on Sons of Anarchy and Empire, leaving fans and admirers following and anticipating her next surprising debut. Fortunately for the fashion set currently regaling in the revival of the 90’s grunge scene and avid fans of Ms. Love, the team at Nasty Gal has collaborated with Love on a collection, Love, Courtney, that is reminiscent of Love’s most memorable and beloved looks. Outfits that hold a whisper of sultry doll baby, a hint of gregarious sex, a smattering of body and grit, and a full helping of unapologetic, charmingly narcissistic, attitude.

“Outfits that hold a whisper of sultry doll baby, a hint of gregarious sex, a smattering of grit, and a full helping of unapologetic, charmingly narcissistic, attitude..”

Without a doubt the collection is nostalgic and full of something sentimental. Perhaps the sentimentality is drawn from memories or a yearning for another time. Perhaps the sentimental feelings come from the notion that this collection isn’t simply a collaboration that will crash and burn and fade out with passing trends. The Love, Courtney collection feels like an intimate invitation from Love herself. An invitation to get examine her doll parts and to be the girl with the most cake. It’s full of Love’s tantalizing spirit and includes pieces that embody the 90’s. Velvet, lace, satin, crystal, rhinestone- these are embellishments meant to dazzle, and fabrics aching to be touched, lived in, lived through. This collection is Love.

#NastyGalXCourtneyLove

 

Shop The Love, Courtney Collection 

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Image Source: Nasty Gal

♡ Ditte Mia

 

Just Do It

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“Knowing how wonderful it feels to be comfortable in my own skin, having more energy,  managing anxiety and stress, feeling as if I’ve discovered the fountain of youth and never questioning if I look good in an outfit or for an event is fantastic motivation.”

 

As someone who is in the gym 5-6 days a week and has spent the last few years revamping and remodeling her body I’m often asked by others, “How do you do it?” It’s a flattering question but it’s one of those questions that I always have trouble answering because the short answer is, “Hard work.” I get up and I do it. It’s grueling, exhausting, painful but I know how great the reward is. Knowing how wonderful it feels to be comfortable in my own skin, having more energy,  managing anxiety and stress, feeling as if I’ve discovered the fountain of youth and never questioning if I look good in an outfit or for an event is fantastic motivation.

Of course I realize that people aren’t asking for a magic potion. It isn’t one simple question with a simple concise answer, it’s a number of questions wrapped neatly in one frustrated sigh, “How do you it?” What this overwhelmed sigh entails is:

“I’m terrible at portion control. How do you stick to eating healthy? How do you meal prep? Do you really never eat after 7pm? Do you really eat 5 meals a day? How do you track your calories?”

“I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym. How do you work out 5- 6 days a week? How do you fit in 2 workouts a day?”

“How do you wake up early?”

“How often do you lift? How much? Do you still train if you’re sore?”

“How do you give up sugar? How do you drink your coffee and tea black? Do I really have to stop salting my food?”

“Water is so boring. How do you stay hydrated?”

When I first started working out and taking my health and fitness seriously I didn’t really know what I was doing. I only knew that I wasn’t thrilled with the state of my body and I wanted to be healthy.  I needed to exert my body physically because I already exhausted myself mentally and that wasn’t bringing me to the place I wanted to be. The only concrete solution was to start moving my body and make better choices about what I ate. I had to get up and do something and try. 

 

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In the beginning I had no answers and minimal guidance. I went through basic trial and error. I read a lot of articles, spent a lot of time on Youtube Pinterest, ToneitUp.com and BodyBuilding.com for help, motivation and support. I succeeded and failed countless times. I got bored, I got tired, I got stressed, I got lazy, I got discouraged, and I got doubtful. I also gained strength, endurance, confidence  and a renewed belief in myself. When women ask me how I do it, I want to tell them the honest truth about the work it takes to achieve the results they see from me. I want to encourage them to be their best, healthiest, sexiest self and offer them the tools to love themselves and love their body.

“….because frankly, it’s not all gym selfies and sexy sweaty abs. It’s not always yoga on the beach and toned thighs in Nike Pro’s while casually food shopping at Whole Foods.”

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As a writer it’s always awesome to use my words to give back and share my experiences with others. When I thought about the direction I wanted to take this blog and my website I knew I wanted to incorporate fitness with my other passions.  I knew I wanted to approach fitness from an honest, relatable perspective because frankly, it’s not all gym selfies and sexy sweaty abs. It’s not always yoga on the beach and toned thighs while casually food shopping at Whole Foods. Sometimes it’s sweaty abs, toned thighs, bags under your eyes and a torn hair tie in the middle of burpees. Often it looks like doing walking lunges to and from you car during lunch breaks at work, or arriving from lunch with a sweaty sheen and out of breath. Sometimes it’s  going to bed hungry only to wake up at 5am for fasted cardio in 30º weather.  It’s not always Instagram ready, but it’s always worth it. I know firsthand how hard it is and I want to share tips, my favorite products and insight into how to make it manageable and realistic for my audience and my gym friends.

This blog is still about fashion, art, music and personal writing but now I’m moving forward with a new, long overdue addition: health and fitness!

♡ Ditte Mia

Take My Picture

Forget everything else and remember the hue of his eyes and the sound of the waves. Remember sitting on the train, biting your lips, trembling and all those soft sighs just before you pulled into Grand Central. Remember waking up to his poetry and his smile, remember his head on your thighs in the morning sun and try, try, to remember holding him against you, you against him, your bodies pressed together in sticky evening sweat.

Hold on to your heartbeat.

Don’t listen to the drum of a broken, wounded heart, listen to your heartbeat, listen to the sound of your footsteps against the pavement as you ran to him through Midtown. Listen to the wood of your heels against the concrete and the pace of your own breath as you ran into arms.

If nothing else cling to his words. Cling to how he bent his head to meet your gaze, think of holding his face in your hands as he spoke about the air, the heavy thick night air, that could have suffocated you, swallowed you, and carried away. Remember how you wanted to dive into his heart, surge deep into his soul and find that place within him that was a mirror of your very soul.

Maybe It’s The Pre-Workout

NaNoWriMo was always one of those things I wanted to do with all my heart, with all my conviction but I never got around to doing it.

It wasn’t because I couldn’t sit myself still long enough to crank the words out, I just couldn’t commit myself to a plot, a storyline, a set of characters, or anything that remotely resembled a novel. My thoughts were intense, focused and scattered. My words were powerful, intentional and sometimes dangling off cliffs.

When I realized it was the first Monday of November I thought a few things:

  1. I’m gonna kill this month.
  2. Can’t miss a Monday workout.
  3. Isn’t it NaNoWriMo?

I haven’t thought about NaNoWriMo in years. I’ve tossed it aside as I’ve tossed aside a lot of writing and ambitions over the years. But it seems that a part of me is stepping into the light, dusting off forgotten things, and turning “I can’t”s into “I absolutely fucking can”‘s. One of the best parts about getting older is that I’ve been torched with confidence and self-assuredness. I still have tremendous fears but I don’t allow them to hold me back. I’m always struck with the fear of what I want to write versus what I think I should write, what this blog should be versus what this blog shouldn’t be.

Maybe it’s the start of a new month, and reminder of Nanowrimo. Maybe it’s this sunny morning and the prospect of a great breakfast ahead of me. Maybe it’s because I’ve come to see vulnerability as a sexy, beautiful, brave thing. Maybe it’s this pre-workout and this comfy t-shirt but I’m ready to step into the light. I’m ready to write.

Closer

There’s nothing alluring about being a distant vixen. If I am going to assassinate you I want it to be with tenderness and pleasure. I’d rather be charming and warm and full of light. I’d rather be a breath of fresh air, affectionate, soft and enveloping. I wanted to draw you nearer, I wanted you closer. I didn’t want the distance and I couldn’t keep you at arms length. I wanted you to see me as I am, vulnerable and disoriented, giddy and playful. I wanted you inside the deepest parts of me, I wanted you to know my core, the depths of my soul that are vast and varied and never get carried to the surface. I wanted you inside of me.

Miss you, mean it

The people who know my heart are the most important people in my life. When my heart is craving company it’s longing for the people who have stayed up with me until 6am and gone to bed with me as the sun was rising. It’s longing for the people who know that i am more soft than i am hard and know my laughter better than they know my icy stare. The ones who have seen me on my cloudiest, rainiest days, those awful days that roared like thunder. I miss the ones who stayed until the clouds parted and danced when the sun was high and the sky was clear. I miss you the most when the weather starts to shift and the leaves begin to change. I miss you now. I miss you always.

It’s a beautiful day today. I wish you could feel this air. I wish you were here in the sunshine. I’ll always wish for more and more time with you. All of you.

Mourning Hue

I’ve been wondering when the fog will lift, when the world will return to it’s regular hue. I’ve been wondering when I’ll stop looking for you, when I’ll stop saying good morning to an empty bed. I keep wondering when they’ll get your things, when I’ll be able to go through the photographs and the records. I keep putting the flowers in the sunlight, hoping they’ll open and bloom and give me something else to look at in the sunshine rather than an empty room and empty deck chairs.

I keep dancing through the fog, I keep singing through it all. I don’t know which way to turn or what to move toward. I know these are the things I must do: I must laugh, I must move, I must be patient, I must try. When the fog lifts, when I move through it to the other side of it I’ll find the hues of life I remember– the hues you loved, the tints of life you saw that so few ever get to paint their lives with, the hues you used up til the pot ran dry.

My heart will never be the same again. My life has forever been changed. Once the fog fades my love, my life, my footsteps and my breath will be bolder because you gave me the privilege of seeing the colors and the rich aspects of what is real.

Never, Not Ever

You won’t catch me writing about tragedy again. You won’t catch me writing about sitting on the stairs and gathering my tears into the hem of my dress after work. All of that is boring and dull. You won’t catch me hand writing invitations to my own pity party and I won’t ask that you help me off the floor when heartbreak has left me weak. I will ask you to dance and to share a gaze at a shooting star. You will find me writing about celebration and surrender. You’ll catch me writing about reverie and ecstasy. You will catch me feasting on the parts of life that should be cherished and the things I want you to have forever. I’m gonna make you go dizzy expressing all the ways this world can give you love if you’ll let it.

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Writer unblocked. Writer with the words flowing out of her as if she’d been lifted from some curse.

Filled up on you. Fueled up on you.

You’re walking through my dreams, I can feel the softness of your skin, we’re hiding away, we’re hiding out, we’re fueled on desire and I can’t shake you.

Some lover. Some dream. My lover in the mirror. Some kind of dreaming love.

love, sex, dreams

Dedication

If I am to do this at all I might as well do this right.

If I am to offer this part of myself I might as well give thanks and offer a dedication. Great works of expression deserved to be honored.

—-

I give thanks to you. I dedicate this to us.

Forever your love, forever in love,

Ditte Mia 

Revived Divine | New Music From Los Angeles art-rock group, Prison For Kids

Prison for Kids have just released a new mini-album called Revived Divine. This is their sixth release since 2013 and first release of 2015.

With Revived Divine, Prison For Kids advances their trajectory as an eclectic, experimental group; embracing pop structures as often as they abandon them altogether. Using warped keyboard textures, crystalline and melted guitar leads, and live break-beats, Prison for Kids crafts a variety of unique, kaleidoscopic gems: from the propulsive art-rock of Who Cares and It Doesn’t Say to the distorted synth-pop of Punktlich.

Prison For Kids / Watts 

Right on time to kick off the solstice, Prison For Kids latest album is vivid with blossoming textural sound and quicksilver instincts. This delightfully transcendent album serves as an excellent soundtrack for the hazy whims of Summer days and euphoric Summer nights.

Full album available to stream or download for free at: prisonforkids.bandcamp.com

Who Cares:https://soundcloud.com/prisonforkids/who-cares

It Doesn’t Say:https://soundcloud.com/prisonforkids/it-doesnt-say

Scratched Fingers:https://soundcloud.com/prisonforkids/scratched-fingers

Pünktlich:https://soundcloud.com/prisonforkids/punktlich

Video for instrumental track Watts:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrGysHHe1Yw

Spring/Summer 2015 : Yoga

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“Be not afraid going slowly, be afraid only of standing still” – Chinese Proverb

This Summer I am challenging myself with yoga. The more aware I become of my body the more I want to challenge it and see what it’s capable of. The more I fall in love with my body the more I want to see it evolve and progress- the more I want to express myself physically.

I’ve always enjoyed yoga but it’s one of those things that I can never remain steadily devoted to. The first rule of fitness is to always challenge your body and to always keep your muscles guessing. Yoga allows for increased flexibility and a deeper, fuller range of motion. Yoga encourages discipline and promotes mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual and physical health- it’s bound to benefit all aspects of life that extend beyond the mat.

♥ Ditte

Knowing

In knowing you, I know ecstasy.

The kind of ecstasy that can only be experienced from a work of art. The kind of bliss that surges through my whole my whole body and removes me from my surroundings. In knowing you I know the sort of pleasure that burns everything else down and brings me to tears. In knowing you,  I know what it is to be exalted.

One Of These Days, Baby

One of these days we’ll run away.

We’ll find a temple in Bali or a beach house in Brazil. We’ll find a cave carved out of crystals in the Patagonia’s, and swim in the waterfalls in the middle of a jungle in Colombia. One of the days we’ll watch the sunset at Big Sur, pitch a tent among the Redwoods and kiss under the stars.

One of these days my arms will grow sore from holding you, our mouths will be sore from our laughter and our feet will be tired from dancing. One of these days I won’t avert my eyes from your gaze and we won’t run out of time, you’ll bring me waffles in bed and drop fresh blueberries into my mouth.

One of these days I’ll show you our constellation. I’ll let you be my Renaissance man and we’ll build fires under that magnificent California sky.

Fern Mallis Releases New Book, Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis

Fern Mallis | Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis

Image Courtesy of 92Y

Who is Fern Mallis?

She’s the woman behind what we know today as Fashion Week. She was the Vice President of IMG Fashion and the former Executive Director of the CFDA. She’s interviewed Suzy Menkes, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Betsey Johnson, and Oscar de la Renta at 92nd Street Y in New York City.  She’s the woman who provoked Kanye West to take to twitter to write a letter pleading with her to meet up at the Spotted Pig so that she could properly understand just how hard it’s been for him to break into the fashion industry. Her most recent contribution to the fashion community is her book, Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis, which provides an intimate view into fashions most compelling and lauded figures in the fashion industry. In her new book Mallis extends the experience of her esteemed interviews at the 92Y through profound photographs and bold discussions with Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Bill Cunningham and Bruce Weber amongst many others.

One of my favorite interviews from Mallis is her Q&A with Tom Ford. It was how I learned he was a Virgo, a native Texan, and a romantic.

Reminder:

It’s okay to discover yourself with each passing year. It’s okay to abandon the person you’ve built yourself to be in order to transform into the woman you are in your soul. It’s okay to be selfish, to say no, to spend time with yourself. It’s okay to love yourself so much that you never settle and always put yourself first.

March

This weather reminds me of when we first met: White sheets, late nights, early mornings, the sound of the subway whirring below our feet, sunny sidewalks and rows upon rows of red umbrellas and chrome tables. Ditching our responsibilities. Endless possibilities. Every kiss mounted on hope. Hot yoga, fresh fruit, squeezing the lemon over the kale salad. Your Persian rugs, your makeshift dark room, taking photos of each other, tossing the camera back and forth.  Missing the train, wearing your t-shirts to bed. The stubble on your cheeks, the glow of the moonlight on your back and your face. Lazily pouring tea the next morning, me typing away, going through my notes, you kissing my shoulder.

Warm weather reminds you of everything you so cherished. It makes it so real and concrete rather than a distant foggy memory.

“Is it hard for you not to write?”

I used to think I was incapable of writing anything anymore.

For months , even years, I would try in vain to write, but nothing would materialize. I had no problem writing assignments for class. In fact, I would blow myself away with the ability I had when faced with an assignment, with guidelines and a strict deadline. I could knock out interviews, features, flash fiction and short stories with little thought and always, it was up to my standards. Often it exceeded my standards. Through those pieces I knew I still had it in me somewhere to write and write well.

I came to realize that it wasn’t the writing that had left me, it was the ability to write about myself that had left me. A few weeks ago I went through some of my old writing and I was astonished at how the 20 something year old me could express herself with such honesty. The 20 something year old me, put herself out there, she was prolific and unstoppable. She didn’t censor herself and she wasn’t concerned with how it came across, she just wrote. To quote my 20 something year old self, I was rabid in my self-expression. I was filled up with love, hate, anger, purity, frustration, anxiety, questions, longings, and hopes.  Maybe as I matured I was no longer foaming at the mouth to be heard. I calmed down. I shared myself with few, trusted, cherished close friends and held the rest of myself internally or on the pages of my personal journals. I didn’t feel like pounding away at the keyboard and even if I wanted to I couldn’t get the words.

Soon I became drained of all the things that used to fill me up. Maybe it was from maturity, leaving girlhood and entering that place that Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbs, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones always talked about. Maybe it was the result of losing a lover I saw myself devoted to for the rest of my life. It sounds like such a tired thesis: Woman gets her heart broken, world shatters, woman must revive herself to pick up the pieces but not before she throws herself into an emotional coma. I was numb to myself and couldn’t say the things I wanted to say for fear of giving in to the hurt and the pain. I thought, “If I write about him I’ll immortalize him. I’ll give him credit that isn’t due.” I was worried that if I wrote about him I’d put a love story where there was none or expose myself and allow the world to know just how much he had devastated me. The 20 something year old me never cared about any of that. She wrote about her lovers all the time. She wrote about the men she wanted and ached for. She wrote about the best and the worst ones with vigor. When she was in love the whole world envied her lovers She had no problem writing words like “fuck” and “cock” and “skin” and “sweat” and “thighs” and “please”. Sensuality and sexuality were my gig. Love was my drug and I was ever so happy to trip on it until it left me in cold sweats all whilst writing about it desperately.

As hard as it was not to write I knew to give myself time. To let it be. I knew that maybe this was a necessary period of my life that I was enduring to perhaps, one day, get back to writing. At the suggestion of a friend I forced myself to write every day for an hour. He said, “Write what you know.” I wrote what I thought I should. It was all mostly awful. I was trying too hard. The words were contrived. I was avoiding the very thing I wanted to write about which was love. Every time I sat down to write the only thing that came to mind was the voice, the eyes, the lips, the hair, the throat and the gaze of someone my heart was wide open for. When I write about him the words pour out of me. Nothing is forced. For the first time in a long time I am filled up again. Filled up with all the words and passion that were so accessible to me before because my soul has been filled up. I am grateful to the one that helped to top it off. I’m filled up, to the brim , and I don’t care anymore who knows it.

That Which You Love

Spend the whole day locked away doing exactly what you love; the very thing you dream about, the very thing that gets you up and out of bed in the morning and gives you hope.

Spend the whole day doing this thing that makes your heart beat. Spend all days immersed in this thing that puts breath in your lungs until you’re so drained that you feel as if your head could detach from your body and roll across the floor. Spend a few minutes drifting away from this thing once it begins to feel as though your back is about to break from the hours you’ve spent commited to it.

Withdraw from the thing you love sore and wilted and crawl to your bed reminding yourself: Although these days are hard and sometimes more frustrating than rewarding,  and you don’t know if there will ever be a light at the end of the tunnel, I’d rather be here in this muck of my choosing than muck forced upon me.