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Posts Tagged with: One Down Dog teachers

#ODDLight Teacher Feature: Courtney Sauls

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Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class.

Name: Courtney Sauls

Nick Name: Court, Courtie, CoCo, CoCo Chanel (my rap name…seriously, I drop bars), Co, and C.Sauls

Hometown: H-Town (Houston, TX)

Favorite Place: My bed. Sleep. Dreams.

Favorite color: Yellow (mustard is my fav tone but I like all yellows)

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What’s your sign?  LEO!

Most embarrassing moment? 

Ok, I’ll probably regret sharing this but there’s been a handful of times in my adult life that I have peed in the bed. Yeah. The only reasonable explanation is extreme stress and anxiety (something I’ve dealt with my entire life). When my boyfriend and I started dating I had one of those incredibly humiliating occurrences while he was sleeping over. Mortifying. He stuck around. That’s compassion.

Most empowering moment?

Breaking up with my ex and living alone for the first time ever. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Being independent provided such a huge growth spurt for me.

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?

  • I changed the spelling of my name in the 4th grade to COURTNIE cause I saw it in a magazine and spelled it that way until a few years ago. I got into college and did other very official things under that spelling. It took my mom years to remember to spell it that way and one day I decided I wasn’t “IE” anymore. I’m back to the original spelling on my birth certificate. I have friends since childhood that still spell my name Courtnie.

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  • My playlists match my themes for class. I check the lyrics for EVERY song I play to make sure it fits into my teachings for that week/day/class. It might be a stretch sometimes but it always makes sense. I believe playlists are a subconscious layer to the practice. Listen a little closer next time 🙂
  • I’ve watched every episode of SEX AND THE CITY so many times I can quote the entire series! My best friend and I would watch it incessantly while living in NY. It’s a go-to background for cleaning, cooking, or really anything. I hate Carrie’s scream though!

 

Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something hat you love to tell.

I don’t know if this is something that I LOVE to tell but it was definitely life changing. I was living in New York City during 9/11. Actually I lived a few blocks away in an NYU dorm.  That morning my roommate and I were getting ready for class and the building shook when the first plane hit. We went onto the balcony to see what was happening (earthquakes are not usually a thought on the East Coast). Unable to see anything we boarded the bus to campus.  Driving by the towers we could see the gaping hole in the building. Phones weren’t working. There was chaos. I watched the second plane hit surrounded by others at Washington Square. The hospitals were turning people away because of all the volunteers for blood donations. I ended up sleeping on a friend’s floor for days since I was not allowed back to my dorm (it was too close to ground zero). The city was changed after that day. People oozed with compassion and kindness. I’ve never felt more a part of something than I did after the tragedy of that day. I will never forget.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? 

Acting. I’ve been acting my entire life. I went to a performing arts high school and graduated from NYU with a BFA. I’m still acting and I still love it!

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How do you define yoga? 

I believe yoga is a lifestyle. It is the constant quest for light, love, and freedom. It is the understanding that challenging times are opportunities for expansion. It’s fucking up and moving on. It’s grace. It’s connection. It’s anything and everything that is mindful and from the heart.

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Why do you teach?

Yoga changed my life. It has made me more loving to myself and others. It has given me tools to calm my anxiety. It has helped me love my body which I hated for so long. It has given me the strength to live my dreams. It’s a daily reminder to live fully. I’ll share it with anyone who’ll listen. If you’ve taken one of my classes, you know.

What brought you to become an instructor?

I was in a class once with a teacher I loved and trusted and afterwards she came up to me and said another student randomly asked if I was a teacher.  Both of these ladies claimed gifts of special vision. A teacher training was starting soon and every time my teacher saw me she would hand me a flyer about the training. I knew I couldn’t afford it but I was incredibly interested. I ended up taking the training the next year originally just to deepen my practice but after a few weeks the bug bit. I knew I was called to teach others what had changed my life in such a remarkable way.

What is your favorite song to play in class? 

Anything Erykah Badu or Radiohead. You will hear at least one of their songs on almost every playlist.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?

Backbends hands down. Love opening that heart thang. (WORKSHOP MAY 7th and MAY21st!)

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Memorable yoga moment?

The first time I did crow into headstand I was in a class of about 7. The teacher is my main teacher now, my mentor, my friend. Everyone in the class was fairly advanced practitioners. She cued the transition and I hesitated because I had never done it before. Because the class was small and all of the students her regulars she said we would all go together. I just remember hearing her say “Courtney, we’re waiting on you”. I was so caught off guard and slightly embarrassed but I joined them immediately! She knew I could do it. It was the moment I stopped being afraid on my mat. Well, mostly.

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What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) 

A towel! I sweat like a beast. Seriously dripping no matter what. I hate when I forget a towel. It makes it harder to focus when sweat is burning my eyes and tickling my ears. Ha!

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?  

Donate to Flint, Michigan or Bullies and Buddies

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to connect with you on or tell people about?

My 2 part backbending series! Put Your Back Into It – Saturday May 7th and Saturday May 21st – 2-4pm do one or both!

@court_mcgee (my IG)

#ODDLight Teacher Feature: Hallie Anoff

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Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class.

This month, get to know Hallie Anoff, lover of cooking and country music!

Name: Hallie Anoff

Nick Name: Hal

Hometown: Bethesda, MD

Favorite Place: The east coast during the fall

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Favorite color: Purple

What’s your sign? Capricorn

Most embarrassing moment?

Oh geeze, I’ve told this story out loud before but I’ve never written it out. Here we go. In middle school I had a crush on one of the baseball players. I was on the softball team and one day after school practice was cancelled last minute so I had to take the bus home. I grabbed an open seat and then my “crush” got on the bus too. He asked to sit with me and of course I said yes. We were friends and he probably heard through the grapevine (do people still say that?) that I had a crush on him. We shared awkward conversation, I don’t remember what we talked about specifically but I remember the group of boys who always sat in the back of the bus. They were a grade below me and I thought we were all friends, but then this happened. So my “crush” and I were talking, all of a sudden his eyes went to the top of my head and a look of disgust washed over his face. He gestured, “Umm, you have … something.” I thought maybe a gross bug landed on my hair. No, it was not a bug. I went to brush it off, and I felt a greasy sack on my head. “What the hell is this,” I thought before I saw what it was. The boys in the back of the bus had planted an unrolled, unused condom right on the top of my noggin. When I pulled it down and saw what it was, a huge rush of heat went through my body. I turned the color of a tomato and felt mortified. Luckily the bus ride from school to my house was less than a mile so I didn’t have to suffer much longer. The weirdest part of it all? My “crush” asked me out a few days later. I think our little relationship lasted 48 hours.

Most empowering moment?

I moved across the country at 22. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to live in Los Angeles. I was fascinated with the culture, palm trees and weather. I was obsessed with “Saved by the Bell” and “Clueless” … okay, I still am obsessed. As I was nearing college graduation, I came to the conclusion, “I can move to California, try it out and always move back, but I would rather that than never take the leap and wondering what could have been.” I had a job lined up, so I did it! This is one of the first photos of me and my pup Milo hiking (okay, walking) the Santa Monica Mountains.

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Fun Facts most wouldn’t know about you? 

  • I’ve been a vegetarian for 12 years.
  • I was a cast member at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
  • I really like country music. It started with Shania Twain back in the nineties and I still listen today! I went to Stagecoach a couple years ago too. I’ve sneaked in a couple country songs in class, Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and some tracks from “Nashville.” 😉 

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Share a story or anecdote with us. 

In teacher training, we learned about goal setting, something I had always done, but at this point in my life I wasn’t chasing any career goals. Jessica asked us to take out a blank piece of paper and pen and set a bhavana – a vision that furthers one’s self. She said a bhavana should be positive, clear and specific. This scared me! If I write something down, then I really become accountable. What if it doesn’t happen? I wrote down what I really wanted to be doing for a living and what I dreamed of. A week before training ended, I landed the job I envisioned at the start of training. You could say it was a coincidence but I don’t think so. If it wasn’t for training and my new way of thinking, I never would have scored an interview for the position. If there is something you want to achieve, write it down and the key is to be specific!

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?

In a kitchen! Lately I really like cooking and find it really relaxing. I usually try to make something elaborate on the weekend so then I have kick ass leftovers for lunch! Recently when I visited my parents, I cooked them a few meals from scratch. Even though it was MY vacation! My parents cooked for this picky kid (that’s me) for 18 years so it’s the least I could do.

How do you define yoga?

Yoga is my happy place. It’s how I relax, unwind and come back down to Earth. The work week is incredibly stressful and it’s nice to focus on something else for an hour and come back out into the real world rejuvenated and refreshed.

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Why do you teach?

I teach because yoga brings me joy! If I can spread a little joy to just one person after class, I would feel fulfilled. I spend a lot of time at work and coming to yoga is an escape for me. I love to help people relax because people (especially in L.A.) forget to do it! If everyone practiced yoga the world would be a happier place. That should be a bumper sticker. 😉

What brought you to become an instructor?

It never crossed my mind that I would want to be a yoga teacher until I went to One Down Dog. I met a few teachers and they all loved teaching, I had never “loved” any job! I signed up for teacher training as a way to further my practice. Once it ended, I wanted to learn more and becoming an instructor was the next step. It challenges me, makes me step out of my comfort zone and I get to make people laugh!

What is your favorite song to play in class?

I don’t like to play the same songs over and over again, but there are a few artists I like to include on every playlist – right now it’s Beach House, Troye Sivan, BØRNS and Bieber. A little indie mix with a splash of pop.

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What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? 

I really love spinal twists before savasana. You’ve done all the hard work and now it’s time to relax and soak it all in. Spinal twists are like a reset button, massaging your organs and detoxing your body. I love the visual of twisting like a washcloth, wringing out everything you don’t need with every breath.

Memorable yoga moment?

That moment when you try a pose you didn’t think you could do and you totally rock it. I went to a local studio in Florida and I ended up being the only person in the class, which meant it was really hands on. The instructor asked me what I wanted to focus on and I told her twists so our peak posture was side crow. I had never tried it or thought I could even get close but since it was just me and the teacher, I gave it a shot. With the teacher’s encouragement, I found side crow! If you are ever in Sarasota, let me know. I will give you the studio details 🙂

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?

I really like to light candles in class, especially lavender. It is soothing, calms people’s nerves, and smells good too!

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings?

Yes, let’s be friends! I’m on SpotifyFacebook and Twitter.

#ODDLight: Cindy Godell

Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class.

This month, get to know the ambitious and adventurous Cindy Godell…

Name: Cindy Godell

Nick Name: My real name  is Cynthia, so Cindy is technically my nickname! But I’ve gone by Cindy my whole life.  It gets confusing, my IG name is CynthiaCher because when I initially signed up for it years ago – I didn’t want anyone to find me.  But then that name kinda stuck on social media and I like it there, so I never changed it.

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Hometown: Houston, TX

Favorite Place: Bali

Favorite color: Indigo

What’s your sign? Aries

Most embarrassing moment? Hard to pick just one. I used to be a wine rep, and when I was going to meet a client I stood up to give him a handshake and fell flat on my ass..in a dress…legs above my head.  I tried to stand up but fell right back down.  Apparently, my legs had fallen asleep while waiting.  As teachers we say get back up when you fall, but like maybe – take a minute.

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Most empowering moment? A couple years back, a good friend and I contemplated bungee jumping while we were in Queenstsown, New Zealand (aka. the adventure capital of the world).  We decided to watch people jump before committing to this crazy decision. What we noticed was how nervous we felt for the people who were the most scared to jump, those who took ten minutes to take the leap while clinging to the support rail for dear life. Naturally, after observing person after person throw themselves off a bridge, we decided to forgo jumping and make our way to the next city on our travel agenda.  But when we went to rent a car for our excursion, we mentioned  to the lady that we chickened out of bungee jumping and she told us that the Kawarau Bridge was where A.J. Hackett founded the recreational bungee chord.  “Fuck!” we thought, “We have to do it now.”  So on our way out of town, we drove our rental car to the bridge.  The good friend, Lily, went first and she screamed “I’m from fucking Brooklyn!” before she took her plunge towards the crystal blue river below – supported by a rope – of course! And me?  Well, after observing the people who were too scared to take the leap, I thought, if I’m going to do this – I am not hesitating.  So I told the sweet, soothing bungee chord strapper guy I was nervous and then I walked right on up to that ledge and didn’t hold onto anything for support.  Instead of looking down, I looked out towards the vast sky beyond and I jumped. And it was the most exhilarating, freeing moment of my life.

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I named my first fish Bob because I loved the movie “What About Bob” with Bill Murray.  Whenever I couldn’t find Bob in his tank, queue the obvious question “What about Bob?!”

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I used to sing, but I haven’t in years and have no idea what my voice sounds like now.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? Annie Hall is my favorite movie

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Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.  I’m an extrovert, but I love quiet, patient moments – like the time I was in the middle of the Java Sea on top of a boat staring at the full moon, or the first time I did a candle gazing meditation and got lost, or when I was lying on an abandoned stage in Joshua Tree looking up at the stars and contemplating life. If I’m not helping someone, I think those are the moments to live for.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? I’d rather be busy than bored, so you can find me traveling, trying new restaurants, and hanging with my ever growing crew of friends.  If I’m being real real, you can probably find me at Jay’s Bar.

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How do you define yoga?  Yoga is the practice of letting go and being present.

Why do you teach?  I teach to pay it forward and empower my community, and I love it so. As humans, we all have our off days, but when I enter a class (no matter how bad I feel) I’m immediately filled with joy that I get to share the yoga love for a living.

What brought you to become an instructor? As a lot of people do, I found yoga when I was going through a tough time. Yoga and my teachers provided me with a sense freedom that nothing else had ever done before.  I wanted to pay it forward and do for others what my teachers did for me.

#tittibasana (and no, I didn’t make up the pose name ????????????)

A video posted by Cindy Godell (@cynthiacher) on

What is your favorite song to play in class?  I start my classes with core, and recently my staple core song has been “Gangsta Luv” by Snoop Dogg.  But, in general, hip hop reigns my class.  It’s always been the best music for me personally to zone out to, and I love watching my students dancing along in their down dogs.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?  Handstand, because I can’t hold it in the middle of the room and I know I’ll be able to once I commit to taking the leap.  Just give me ten more minutes at the rail, I mean wall. 🙂

Memorable yoga moment?  Any time I watch a student have an “aha” moment in a pose or when I, personally, have them in my own practice.  Aha moments!  Hell yeah.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc)  Blocks!  When I started practicing, I didn’t think they were necessary even though teachers always recommended them.  I thought, ‘I’m flexible enough, no blocks needed.’  As soon as I really started to dig into alignment, I realized what a powerful tool they are. I use blocks every practice and will begin extended side angle pose, triangle pose, etc. with one underneath my hand, eventually moving it aside after a few breaths as I gently acclimate to the pose.

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings?

IG – @cynthiacher,. FB – Cindy Godell, cindygodellyoga.com will be coming….any day now.  🙂  Stay tuned!

ODDLight Teacher Feature: Bobbi Erwin

ODDlight teacher Feature Bobbi Erwin

Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class.  This month, get to know Bobbi Erwin, explorer adventuress!

Name:
Bobbi Erwin…although legally its Robyn. I have been called Bobbi since birth and it stuck more than Robyn so call me Bobbi 🙂

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Nick Name:
There have been so many…bobbin, Bobbi pin, bobster, bobs, bobbilicious(junior high, obviously) Robby, obbi, rockin robin, Robin Hood, Bobbi baby (to be sung in a Sondheim style), and as the lovely owner of odd likes to call me (among many others over the years) boobs or boobie.

Hometown:
Yuma, Arizona. Yes the same one from “3:10 to Yuma”. I’m a desert baby!

Favorite Place:
On any mountain.

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Favorite color:
Blue!

What’s your sign?
Taurus and proud of it!

Most embarrassing moment?
Oh gosh I don’t know! The only things that come to mind are from when I first started teaching…in my second class I said “Savasana” instead of “Namaste.” Even more embarrassing though was when I passed gas while demoing a yoga pose in my first couple of months teaching. We all kept going as if it didn’t happen, I mean hey we’re all human right?

Most empowering moment?
Running my first half marathon. I’ve had knee pain and joint issues due to hyper mobility since I was about 14. I never thought that I would have been able to run that far. I put in a lot of work with corrective exercises, yoga tune up balls and was really consistent with my training. It wasn’t easy but by the time I got to that finish line I felt so proud and powerful for the hours of hard work paying off and I knew that I could conquer whatever I put my mind to.

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I was an incredibly hyper child. One of my mom’s friends actually nick named me chucky, and not off the rug rats character. I was fearless and would do front handsprings and aerials everywhere we went, I actually broke my own nose by trying to show off how high I could kick. I used to dive head first down the stairs so for years I had to wear a little pink epileptic helmet. These days I am much much more calm, but I still have my bursts of goofy energy!

Bobbi Erwin ODDlight teacher feature

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I grew up going out to the desert and off roading in various “sand toys.” My dad is a mechanic and is big in the world of sand drags (a form of racing with dragsters, sand jeeps, quads etc. down two parallel, straight lanes) and I used to race quads as a kid! I never got super into racing but I did win a few first place trophies for the kids division!

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I got my first dog from my kindergarten teacher, Miss Ferguson! He was the sweetest little schnauzer named Bailey (looked a lot like Patrick but without clipped ears and his tail was a little longer) and he was such a strong spirit! He was ran over by a car twice, had pins in his hips but didn’t pass away until I went off to college. He lived for about 15 years and had a heart of gold.

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When you aren’t at the studio, where can you be found?
Usually hiking somewhere around LA, either at Griffith or somewhere on the west side where I teach at a high school.

How do you define yoga?
Connection, a way to reconnect all of the pieces of myself and find clarity in the ups and downs of life. It’s not always a series of poses, sometimes it’s breathing, sometimes it’s writing, going for a hike, a run, sharing a laugh with family and friends. I try to take my yoga practice off the mat as much as I can.

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Why do you teach?
To help others connect and breathe!

What brought you to become an instructor?
What brought me to do teacher training is a little complicated but to put it simply I was in a not so great place mentally and it just made sense. I finished teacher training and was afraid to teach. I went on not teaching for about a year. I was friends with Jess and helping her out with studio things and working the desk when the studio was still a baby. Jessica, Arielle and various other teacher friends kept telling me to start teaching and I was scared out of my mind. One Sunday I was at the farmer’s market with Jessica and she was saying how she didn’t have anyone to sub class that evening and something inside of me said I’ll do it! I didn’t have time to overthink it, just a couple hours to figure out what I was going to do. I taught that first class and no one died, within a couple weeks I had my own class on the schedule. I’m so happy for the encouragement my friends gave me and my own impulsiveness when it came to teaching that first class!

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What is your favorite song to play in class?
Anything radiohead!

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
I have a pretty eclectic practice, I love strong poses but I also have a soft spot for restorative and yin so this question is hard for me! When it comes to strong poses I would say either flying pigeon or boat pose. I love core/abdominal work. Having a strong core has completely changed my practice and my ability to work with my hyper mobility in a safe way, it’s not easy but once you get into it you can’t get enough of it!

I also have a soft spot for supta Baddha konasana, restorative style. This pose has helped me connect to myself, my body and work through a lot of crap physically, mentally and emotionally. This pose is in every restorative class I teach!

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Memorable yoga moment?
Teaching at the LAMP community on skid row. The people there were so incredible and grateful for every movement and breath that was offered to them. They were all strong willed, beautiful people who taught me so much. That was one of the first places I taught and they ended up teaching me a hell of a lot more than I taught them. I had to quit volunteering there because of my schedule at the school I teach at, but I hope to someday volunteer somewhere like that again.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
I don’t know that I have a favorite! I would probably say my Mexican blankets in my home prop arsenal. They can be utilized for almost everything!

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What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
I am a huge animal lover, the elephant sanctuary I volunteered at in Thailand was incredible. Elephantnaturepark.org, also unicef, inner-city arts, and a co-worker of mine is a part of a non-prophet called eayikes which works to bring together teens from all walks of life and create a community for them to connect, explore their creativity and empower them to give back and mentor others. They’re doing some wonderful work with teens in Los Angeles and Long Beach! They want to expand to becoming a community that empowers adults to work together and give back as well. I am also a love more ambassador for the Love More Movement created by Sarit Rogers which works to promote loving more even when it isn’t easy! Follow @lovemoremovement!

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Anything Else?

I have three older sisters and they really mean the world to me. We have been through so much together having experienced tragedy, loss, love, heartache and goofiness together…among many other things. We have spent years going in and out of hating and loving each other and now that we are all adults our relationships are taking on a whole new uncharted and wonderful quality which I am so grateful to experience. These girls really helped to mold me into the woman I am. We still fight and frustrate the heck out of each other at times but, when it comes down to it I love them more than I can express and I wouldn’t change one of them if I could (even if they do drive me crazy at times).

 

Halloween Rocktober One Down Dog Bobbi Erwin