Archive | February, 2014

surrendering: by mika oakes

28 Feb

mika - cover photoHello and happy Friday!  Today’s post will be a contributing piece by my nearest and dearest friend Mika Oakes whom you may remember from here.  Mika is a certified yoga teacher and licensed massage therapist who recently gave birth to her four month old son, Jonah.  I asked her if she would be willing to do a write-up about her experience through pregnancy and how it influenced and affected her mind and body image.  As a wellness practitioner, surrendering control was not an easy process and I feel that many women would relate to her story.  Thank you Mika, for being brave and honest enough to share your journey with us.

Surrendering by Mika Oakes

Though it’s hard to admit to ourselves, we are all vain. It’s true in some form or another. Whether you are a yogi, a fashionista, or someone that considers yourself “humble”, we all have a sense of vanity beneath our skin. The question is, do we acknowledge it and own it or do we try to deny it?

As a yoga teacher, but more importantly a yoga student for life, I admit that I am also vain. I just spent the last year of my life pregnant and now as a new mother, I have a whole new appreciation for my body and the process of being in tune with it. When the body changes in such an extreme way (and in a way that is completely and utterly out of your control) it’s a mind-expanding, humbling and terrifying experience — all at the same time. We reach out trying to grasp onto anything we might have once been able to control. When you’re pregnant, there is nothing you can control about your figure, aside from the food you put into your body and the exercise/movement you choose to incorporate into your prenatal life.

While my ever-growing belly and breasts (AND thighs, AND ass) were expanding by the day, I would be lying if I said that my mind and attention weren’t distracted, sometimes negatively towards these changes.  I would love to be able to say that I didn’t fear that I would lose the body I once had and was quite attached to. As a person in the athletic, holistic health, and spiritual fields, body image and awareness of mind/body connection is naturally a big part of what makes me tick on a daily basis. I worked hard to release the resistance I was feeling at embracing these changes. I worked hard to understand that I couldn’t control what was happening and moreover, that what was happening was actually quite beautiful and natural. Still, I couldn’t help but feel weird and uncomfortable in my new state. 

As a person who has worked with several prenatal clients for both yoga and massage, going through this process myself was a total game changer. The naturalist in me always made me think that I would be the type of person to marvel in my pregnant body. I thought I would simply love being pregnant and embrace it all as the process itself evolved. Au contraire!  I was challenged each and every day.  My yoga practice was modified, though I would dare say compromised.  I wasn’t “in” my body the same way anymore. Although it was a completely inner body experience, it felt totally out of body.  I was humbled.  I was quieted.  I learned how to surrender on a deeper level every day. 

mika3(1)As I grew larger by the day, the new slower pace of life felt like it made sense. All of a sudden I wasn’t so quick or eager to book up my schedule and run from client to client or schedule dinners with friends.  I began to find a sense of stillness even in my anxiety of the unknown to come. My pregnancy slowed me down not only in a tangible physical way, but more profoundly in my thoughts and mind as well.  There was a level of acceptance and surrender and it was crazy to let go in that kind of a way. It was almost ethereal. As the imminent birth of my son approached, that is of course what mattered most. I began to realize that my perspective and values were shifting almost daily.

When asked to put together my thoughts on how things shifted for me physically (fashion-wise and all other things considered) I had to first take a look at my own vanity and just how much of it I was willing to admit to.  As a pregnant woman you are given the opportunity to learn acceptance in a new way, how to surrender in a deeper way and how to release this idea of controlling the process of how it all changes you, both from the outside inwards and the inside outwards. 

Pregnancy in and of itself is one of life’s greatest lessons, if not THE greatest lesson in letting go. Wanting to look and feel good is not something we should be ashamed of. My pregnancy taught me about my own vanity and helped me recognize the vanity within us all. Most importantly, acknowledging it helped me discover my inner beauty in a remarkable new way. A way that I’ve carried with me now into motherhood. I’m constantly reminded of what’s able to be changed and what needs to be accepted. Realizing the difference is the first step in feeling beautiful in your own skin.

mika - 1Mika Oakes is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, licensed massage therapist in New York State and certified in prenatal for both.  She is certified with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), and is a proud member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).  For more information, check out her website here.

Photos via Tara Eden

quilt-y pleasures

26 Feb

soho - 7Now that sweatpants, joggers, boyfriend jeans and slouchy fits are all the rage, I’ve embraced this trend with full force.  As if I’d choose to wear a skinny jean over pants with breathing room when given the option – come on!  My tight bottoms continue to take a back seat and this winter has got me questioning the body hugging silhouette all together.  Which is why when I found this H&M quilted style, I scooped it up to add to my rapidly-growing collection of glorified pajamas.  Although perhaps this pair reminds me more of a blanket.  I wear them here with booties and sweater for a casual weekend ensemble, but will just as easily pair them back to my black suede pumps for some Saturday night swag.  You can find them at an H&M store (sadly, I can’t find on their site) or re-visit this post with similar suggestions.  Cheers to comfortable fashion!

photo - 9

spotlight: base range

24 Feb

base rangeThe fashion market is saturated with under the radar designers so when I discover a brand like Base Range, where the product is not only gorgeous, but made from sustainable fabrics as well, I’m super grateful for having this platform to share.  I was recently shopping in a local boutique called Personnel and spotted a table presentation full of beautiful bras (and underwear).  Equal parts clean, sexy, feminine and sporty, I was cynical about the bras also being supportive.  It’s been an upward battle to find an aesthetically pleasing bra that also functions well since I detest underwire, lining, thick straps and padding.  I wear a C cup and am not interested in an undergarment that feels like a full metal jacket or can be found on a playmate.  Millions of bra specialists have told me that it’s never going to happen, but alas – if you seek it, you shall find.  Base Range, founded in Copenhagen, is a line of sustainable under and easy wear with a design sensibility that balances energies of both the modern and natural worlds.  “The focus is on working with high quality, organic fabrics in innovative ways that benefits both producer and consumer while minimizing environmental impact.”  I wound up purchasing the soft bra which was not only lovely looking and comfortable, but supportive too.  AND environmentally friendly.  A major soul style win.  Free-standing Base Range stores are only open in Europe, but shop their e-commerce site which ships to the states and includes their full line of goods.  The brand can also be found at Net-a-Porter, La GarconneOpening Ceremony and Need Supply Co.  Enjoy!

01 triangle bra black-438x600h

01 x bra black-438x600h

01 strap top nude-438x600h

photos via Base Range

in the trenches

21 Feb

trench coat A forever fashion staple, trench coats have been around for eternity.  Which is why it’s a good idea to keep one on rotation in your closet since season after season, the classic silhouette proves to stand the test of time.  Whether your look is boho, edgy, polished, etc., a trench works well with any particular style and keeps you just the right amount of warm on cooler spring days.  The interweb is bursting with newness from low to high price points so now is the time to get on it!  Here’s an edit of some current faves for your shopping pleasure.  Happiest, happy weekend!  See you on the flip side.  xx jenny

in the trenches

SHOP IT:  1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

photo via vanessa jackman 

protesting the vortex

19 Feb

winter weekendThis winter has been one of the worst in history so unless you live in California or Florida you’ve likely been freezing for months, have skin like an alligator, and your snow-boots are a permanent fixture by the front door.  Despite another storm blowing in this past weekend, I decided to protest anything that would be practical to wear in weather as such. If you follow me here, you know – I am over it!  My ensemble included boots with no traction, pants with zero insulation and a coat that was clearly more fashion over function.  Sometimes a girl just needs to put her proverbial foot down.  On a positive note, I had a hat to protect my hair and water resistant MZ wallace metro tote which has proven to be one of the best purchases of 2014.  I managed to stay warm, not slip and avoid ruining my suede boots which was nothing short of a Chanukah miracle.  The temperature is supposed to stay in the mid-fourties for the next five days which for us New Yorkers, is also somewhat of a small miracle.  Enjoy the heat wave.  Happy hump day!

walking on the wild side

17 Feb

649765_mainIt’s not uncommon to find a clothing item you love, but veto purchasing it because you’re stumped on what to wear it with.  We tend to get stuck inside our style boxes, making it impossible to envision anything outside of them.  And then we wind up wearing the black version, envious of the person who had the courage to take a chance on the leopard print.  Playing it safe can land you in a fashion funk, wondering why there is no excitement in your wardrobe.  And most of the time, the riskier version works just as well as the basic.  I recommend adding a few less predictable items to your closet for days when you want to embrace your daring side.  This River Island sweatshirt can be found in solid colors anywhere and it’d probably get way more mileage if you went that route, but today why not give the animal print a-go. Sometimes we all need to take a walk on the wild side.  Happy Monday!  xx

Have an item that you’re confused on how to wear?  Send it my way at yoursoulstyle@gmail.com so I can feature a style post that will help you out!

leopard sweatshirt

SHOP IT:  1. River Island sweatshirt // 2. Current/Elliot denim skirt // 3. Dannijo joan earrings // 4. Topshop moto jacket // 5. Clare Vivier oversize clutch // 6. Zara high heel sandal

homes & spaces

14 Feb

6aa1845b90789fc498370e456884492cDina and I started the semi-serious conversation about moving because although we love our apartment, we simply need more space.  I avoid this chat like the plague because despite the excitement of a new home, it’s stressful and nerve-racking at the same time.  New York City is a tough market to find a dream situation and one way or another, you are compromising somewhere (unless you’re SJP & Matthew Broderick).  Whether it be natural light, a doorman, neighborhood, closet size or layout – you are not going to find everything you want in one place.  It’s the nature of the beast.  That being said, the decorating is all yours!  My ever-growing home pinterest board is full of inspiring spaces and I can’t wait to implement some of these amazing ideas!  Along with the ones mentioned here and here.  Happy weekend!  Hope you stay cozy in your home!

And happy love day to you and yours!  xx jenny

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photos via:  2 modern // sf girl by bay // poppy talk // style by emily henderson // refinery 29 // sulia // style files // blood & champagne // cush and nooks

inspiration board

12 Feb

inspiration boardFor the past few months, I’ve been working with the very talented Aileen Cheng on redesigning this blog.  It all began with building an inspiration board via pinterest that best represented Your Soul Style.  Color, print, pattern, logo, symbols, typography, layout, verbiage, the list is endless.  A true labor of love, this project has taken many twists and turns but I’m proud to say it’s finally nearing the end!  I’m super pumped about the re-launch and can’t wait to share it with you in the coming weeks!  The above photo is a sneak peek, a compilation of images Aileen pulled directly from my inspiration board, but you can check it out in its entirety here.  Woo woo!

spring things

10 Feb

spring edit

I was debating a “no-shop february” challenge with intentions of inviting you to participate because I always like to check myself when behaviors become perpetual – even if they are benign.  Taking a break from something you love puts things into perspective and raises awareness to your relationship with that habit.  However while thinking it through (and virtual window shopping in the meantime), I’ve decided to hold off.  Spring product is trickling in and I was already wait-listed for two of my “must-have” finds!  In hindsight I should have proposed this challenge for January, right after the holiday shopping binge.  Lesson learned!  So instead of “no shop february”, it’s turned into, “get ’em while their hot”.  Although shelved for today, we’ll explore this challenge later.  For now, here’s what’s topping my spring list.  Happy, happy Monday!  xx jenny

SHOPT ITart inspired I fringe benefits I going global I pretty in pink I heavy metal I electric slide

travel: LA

7 Feb

los ángelesHello and happy friday!  Tomorrow we head out to LA to visit Dina’s family.  New York City is home and definitely has my heart, but every time out west, LA pulls on its strings.  We’ve fantasized about moving there, landing in Malibu and enjoying year-round beach life in a house like David & Yolanda Foster’s (shameless Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reference).  But we’d settle for a little surf shack too.  Until then, escaping this brutal winter of polar-vortexing for a bit will suffice.  For the next five days, follow me on instagram where instead of posting photos like this, they should hopefully look somewhat like above.  Happy weekend!  xx jenny

photo via pinterest

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