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For this week’s post, I’ve decided upon a bit of a departure from the travel and style guide blogs that are a mainstay on SJ’s Style Compass.  Over the last several weeks, I’ve been reconnecting with old friends through a series of inspiring, intimate dinners, and I’ve begun to realize that nearly everyone around me appears to be in a MAJOR state of change.  As a result, I’ve also been inspired to turn inward, to think about ways that I can challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone, and to make positive changes in my own life.  Whenever I think about change, I always come back to the subject of fear, as I believe fear is (and has been, in my own life) often one of the biggest impediments to enacting truly positive change.

I’ve always been a believer in facing your fears and am a subscriber to the thought that the thing you fear most is exactly the thing you should be doing.  There was a time where my absolute fear of public speaking caused paralysis and when I was asked to be a guest speaker on entrepreneurship at USC I politely declined.  I thought I could avoid fear by walking around it and saying no to any offer to speak in front of a group.  Shortly after the USC invitation, The Learning Annex asked me to teach a three hour class on how to start an accessory company.  I was smart enough to see that the universe was giving me opportunities to face my fears and move beyond them.  I said yes.  Hours before the class, which I had painstakingly prepared for including creating an A-Z manual on ‘how-to’ as well as listing valuable resources (for free!), I lost my voice.  My panic was so extreme that it was manifesting itself physically. The show must go on and rather than cancel I looked fear in the face and taught a great class that was deeply satisfying.  I taught classes for The Learning Annex in New York, L.A., San Francisco and San Diego for several years and selfishly looked at each class as an opportunity to face down the fear and hone a new skill all the while sharing the knowledge I had about starting a company from nothing.  In recent years, I’ve continued to face down the anxiety with a handful of television appearances.


I have discovered that being prepared goes a long way to helping with my anxiety, but more importantly that the love and support I feel from friends and family is what really buoyed me when I thought I might sink.  And recently I’ve noted that in almost every conversation I’ve been having I’ve heard women tell me some amazing story about how they are ‘in transition’ or are ‘reinventing’ and how many of them have connected with communities that are inspiring them to make change and do the impossible with their businesses and personal lives.  They are throwing fear out the window and realizing how it doesn’t serve them.  If change is the only constant, I am seeing it everywhere I look now.  People moving, getting out of relationships, moving into new partnerships, downsizing, having children, losing parents, getting sick, getting healthy, changing careers, selling it all and seeing the world, moving to another country, creating and inventing new businesses and new ways of doing business, leaving the known for the unknown in everything and embracing it.

I’m inspired to stop talking about it already and start a salon at home where friends share experiences, ask questions, motivate, inspire and support.  It seems I’m not alone in this movement and I’m excited to embrace the change that is inevitable, and to surround myself with like-minded people who have an equal desire to improve the quality of their lives and relationships.  Below are some of the resources I’m currently tapping in my quest for inspiration and everything good.


Read:  The 4-Hour Work Week.  If this book doesn’t kick you in the ass and make you laugh while doing it I don’t know what will.

Do:  Juicing.  I received a juicer for Christmas and ever since, I have been obsessed and amazed at how much healthy I can put in my body in thirty seconds or less.

Listen:  Daft Punk.  The grooves on Random Access Memories inspire me to get moving and keep creating.

Role Model:  Gwyneth Paltrow is ‘the person whom I most admire’ at the moment.  Rather than talking about reinventing, she is enhancing the rich life she already has by adding author, fitness guru, and app designer to her already impressive resume as actor and mother.  Say what you want, but there is no denying that this is one woman who is going for it.

Do:  Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  If you’re unfamiliar, here it is in a nutshell:  a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public.  Customers purchase a share and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.  It’s a great way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Do:  JumpLife.  A super fun trampoline workout that feels more like playtime than anything else.

My Hero:  Erela.  My (nearly six-year-old!) daughter inspires me every day.

What inspires you to forgo your fears and embrace change in your own life?  I’d love to hear your comments below!



I had a birthday recently and as birthdays often do, it got me thinking.  I realized that since the birth of my daughter, who shares the same birthday month,  I haven’t celebrated me and my birthday as I’m so centered around her big birthday plans.  This year was going to be different.  I knew I wanted to share my day with close girlfriends and I wanted to do something special.  So the invite called for spandex and sneakers, and I surprised everyone with a trampoline disco party.  What better way to kick start your new year than with a kick ass fitness class that leaves you feeling healthy and strong?

JumpLife is the vision of Montserrat Markou.  Its first and only location happens to be two blocks from my house, making it exceedingly convenient.  They provide two class options, JumpDance, which focuses on all dance and cardio using individual trampolines, and JumpGym, which incorporates hand weights and some ab work.  You feel like a rock star (probably healthier than a rock star) when you leave this place and safe to say you’ve lost a pound in sweat.  I love my girlfriends for joining me to jump!

I’m committed to growing older gracefully and staying fit and sexy is part of the plan, as is putting the right foods into my body.  Fittingly, I received two books as gifts that fit right in with the plan.  One, the Art of Attention is a beautiful book (workbook really) on an evolving yoga practice.  Perfect for me since I’ve been a yogi for over twenty years now.  The other, is a truly stunning cookbook (that word doesn’t do this work of art justice) called Plenty.  It’s the all-vegetable book I’ve been dreaming of, with photos that will blow your mind.

Another friend gifted me a ticket to the Edible Schoolyard NYC fundraiser.  Founded by Alice Waters, Edible Schoolyard works to bring gardens to schools where children who normally wouldn’t have access to fresh produce can grow their own.  They provide a hands-on edible education that includes teaching kids to embrace sustainable eating practices and to make food choices that will change their health.

If last year was about getting outside my comfort zone and experiencing new things, this coming year is the time to reconnect with friends over a healthy meal at home and get back to basics.  Less technology and more personal connection.  Health and wellness in body, mind, and spirit.  And appreciation for everything I have.


The SJ Dream Team is a little offbeat – groovy even – and consists of my perfect storm of practitioners and experts.  Try not to judge my woo woo sensibilities, as those who know me also know they have served me well!


When I was 18 my stepfather had an astrologer come to the house to read his chart.  My stepdad seemed to think the only reason he knew as much as he did was the person who referred him must have told him everything.  I, on the other hand, was just plain curious and there began my lifelong relationship with Ken Bresee.  Ken is a gentle soul with a gift for interpreting the stars whose genuine care and love can be heard in every word.   Ken works from his home in Taos, and will record and send a CD to you anywhere in the world.  Contact him by email at

Gahl Sasson is a spiritual teacher who teaches workshops around the globe on Kabbalah, mythology, and astrology.  He is the author of two books, a frequent television and radio guest, and an overall brainiac and hottie.  We met 10 years ago when I took his class ‘A Wish Can Change Your Life,’ which was the basis for his book of the same name, now in its fifth printing.  I see Gahl for private readings and I have a special connection with his Tarot deck.  Subscribe to his very smart newsletter, take a workshop, read his books, or schedule your own reading.  You can find Gahl at and see when he’s coming to your city or country.

My Aries brain (and Gemini Moon) are always on overdrive and I’m constantly in my head.  Meditation should be part of my daily practice, but alas it isn’t always.  Tanda Tashjian is a psychotherapist, astrologer and teacher of meditation in the Buddhist tradition.  She taught me how to calm my mind and just be still.  Check out one of her intensive meditation workshops or join a weekly class in her home in L.A.

Several years ago, I was driving past The Kabbalah Centre and saw they were having an open house.  Being open to everything, I thought I’d check it out and I popped in on veteran Kabbalist and teacher to the stars, Eitan Yardeni (yes, he is Madonna’s teacher), giving a lecture.  I signed up for classes on the spot and have been learning the teachings of Kabbalah ever since.  Not as woo woo as some of you may think, the basic tenant of this ancient wisdom is ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’  Imagine if we could all master that!  Check out Kabbalah classes online or visit a Centre near you.

I’ll be highlighting other members of my Dream Team in upcoming posts on Style Compass.  Stay tuned!


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