Smoke Sisters / ERIN ROMNEY-CAZES

 

In this series, we explore what it means to be a “Smoke Sister” through interviews with inspiring women that we either know personally or admire from afar. Smoke is a brand of connection, intentional living, self-care, and uplifting friendships. With each interview, we hope to delve deeper into this culture.

Erin Romney is a New Orleans wellness pioneer and legend! She led the wellness movement in New Orleans long before it became a trend, and now her beautiful studio offers so much more than it's base of Pilates. You simply can not discuss wellness in New Orleans without invoking Romney's name. Her interview is a beautiful reflection of her values and philosophy. We are so inspired by her. Enjoy!

Bio: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your work, and where we can find you?

I love to create beautiful things, like art, design physical environments and atmospheres that then foster specific feelings.  I love movement in all its forms. Because I'm an emotional cancer, my movement depends on my mood; sometimes intense and fiery and other times calm, fluid and relaxed.  There is an unspoken language in movement and I see it in people. I see how they hold themselves, how they move and how they respond to others. A lot of that is reflected in their emotional state. 
I do all of the above everyday within my studio.  It's an intentional multi-sensory experience when you walk in the door.   My intention is to create internal peace within others through the environment, the movement and the engagement of the mind into the body. This peace will translate into every other area of our clients lives for the better. 
You can find me at the studio 6 days a week or at home working on projects or nurturing myself and family. 

 

Perfume: What is an early or favorite scent memory you have? What comes to mind when you imagine your favorite scent?

I grew up in Utah so the smell of pine trees evokes that innocent childhood period. We lived in San Diego for a short period of time and my first smell of the ocean was there. So that's my second favorite scent, the ocean, Pacific Ocean to be exact. Surprisingly I studied Marine Biology  in college so I'm really drawn to everything about the ocean. 

Self care: What is one non-negotiable self-care ritual that you try to regularly attend to?

My non-negotiable self care ritual is a bath with a ton of salt.  In fact, I'm writing this in the bath. I use a ton of salt to detox from the energy of a lot of people, business matters and emotion from my day.  The water calms me and it's my sacred time. 

 

Nature: We take great inspiration from travel & nature. What is the most inspiring natural place you’ve ever been to and why?

I haven't met a natural setting that I didn't appreciate but my favorite would be Northern California in the redwood Forrest. It's mythical. It's lush. Its vibrating with the buzz of the trees surrounding you.  It's also right near the ocean so you get that mixed scent of the sea. A perfect combination.  The rainforest in Costa Rica is another incredible place I've been. It's a dream of mine to travel Africa and the amazon and experience the beautiful wild there.  

 

Joyful Presence: Here at Smoke, we believe in fostering joy. We feel that this emotion is a key element in well-being, creativity, resistance, and productivity. How do you cultivate joy in your daily life?

I experience joy when I am in alignment with my purpose.  When I'm learning, creating, traveling and helping others find their strength and joy. I'm learning to read the signs from the universe a lot more so I'm letting it lead me down my next path in life...I'm appreciating the space between no longer and not yet. 

And finally: What’s your greatest hope for the future?

My greatest hope is that others will find their light and shine it.  We need that light more than ever in this world. 

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Smoke Sisters / TRIXIE MINK

In this series, we explore what it means to be a “Smoke Sister” through interviews with inspiring women that we either know personally or admire from afar. Smoke is a brand of connection, intentional living, self-care, and uplifting friendships. With each interview, we hope to delve deeper into this culture. 

I couldn't be more excited to welcome Trixie Minx to the series! Trixie is the queen of New Orleans burlesque, an institution, and a total goddess! We hope you enjoy this peek into her life as much as we did. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your work, and where we can find you?

My name is Trixie Minx & I am the burlesque Queen of New Orleans. Beyond the whole royal title bit, I also produce several burlesque/circus themed shows & create custom entertainment experiences for private events through my company Trixie Minx Productions. I’m also a healthcare advocate & work with the New Orleans Musicians Clinic to get performers access to affordable healthcare services. But most importantly I’m a goofball that loves New Orleans with every bit of my being. You can learn more about me & my ridiculous shenanigans at www.trixieminx.com / facebook.com/trixieminxproductions / instagram.com/trixienola / and on twitter.com @trixminx

What is an early or favorite scent memory you have? What comes to mind when you imagine your favorite scent?

I love the smell of clean laundry. For some reason the act of folding freshly laundered clothes is super calming to me so whenever I smell a dryer sheet or drive by a laundromat I feel relaxed. But this question actually reminds me of my Mom. My Mom always used to say she loved the smell of BBQ sauce & sunscreen because it reminded her of summer. We still joke about trying to find a perfume or candle that can somehow capture that scent.

What is one non-negotiable self-care ritual that you try to regularly attend to?

I always wash off my make up & apply night cream before I go to bed.

We take great inspiration from travel & nature. What is the most inspiring natural place you’ve ever been to and why?

To be bluntly honest nature & I aren’t the best of friends, but I’m always a sucker for a beautiful body of water. I truly believe there is inspiration in everything but there are two particular places that stand out in my mind. A beach on one of the Greek Islands & a natural stream in the Alps of Switzerland. In Greece the beach was covered in perfectly polished marble stones of all different rich jewel tones; paired with the crystal clear water of the sea the whole beach looked like a living kalidescope. And in the Alps the snow turned to stream was so poetically powerful you could see where it carved the stone over time. The color was this rich turquoise blue green & the scent was intoxicatingly fresh, almost too much to breathe.

Here at Smoke, we believe in fostering joy. We feel that this emotion is a key element in well-being, creativity, resistance, and productivity. How do you cultivate joy in your daily life?

I’m naturally a pretty joyful person & have found that being happy is not so much about cultivating joy as it is about not participating or including negative people/behavior in your life. At my company, Trixie Minx Productions, I always say “Teamwork makes the dream work” & have a no tolerance policy for any person or action that does not support myself or my friends. Life is short & we are so very lucky to experience the ride, there’s absolutely no sense in wasting even a moment on something that doesn’t make you happy, support your friends, or benefit your community. 


What’s your greatest hope for the future?

Personally I have a ton of plans in the works for the future but would hate to jinx them or even spoil the surprise but… I can tell you I hope to continue producing beautiful creative shows & private events, working with amazingly talented people, & above all contributing to the bizarrely unique culture that thrives so beautifully in New Orleans.

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Natural Tips for Anxiety

lavender - anti-anxiety herb

 

I never understood anxiety when I was younger, but I do now! Maybe it's the roller coaster of entrepreneur life, maybe it's just adulting, but over the past few years I've learned about the havoc that anxiety can wreck if left untreated. If you are familiar with anxiety, I don't need to remind you how debilitating it can be. The past few years I've been on an active quest to tackle my anxiety head on. In the process, I've gained many helpful tools that I turn to when I'm overwhelmed. Getting a hold of my anxiety has brought joy and confidence back into my life––read on for my natural anxiety tips!* 

1. Eliminate 'black and white thinking.' Anxiety traps us in a corner where we can only see things in stark black-and-white terms. The world is not black and white, it's a beautiful ombre. When you catch yourself caught in black and white thinking, try to take a deep breath and look for the grey...it's there, I promise.

2. Exercise! Move your body, daily if possible. 'Nuff said. 

3. Breathe/use aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has many benefits, but my favorite one is how it connects you to your breath, which stimulates your vagus nerve, which calms the nervous system. Some of my favorite oils to huff in stressy times are clary sage, lavender, geranium, cypress leaf, rose, and ylang ylang.

4. Avoid/limit stimulants. Substances such as caffeine, sugar, and alcohol wreck havoc on your adrenal glands, your blood sugar, and sleep.

5. Speaking of sleep: anxiety loves to play games in this department, and poor sleep leads to greater anxiety (and a slew of other issues). Try to carve out time before bed to relax. I love to do legs up the wall for about 10 minutes, meditate, drink tea, and put away my phone. Taking a hot soak with epsom salts helps lull the body into a relaxed state. If you wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety, don't lie there and let it take over. Get up. Go in another room, read a book, breathe. Separating yourself from the habit of anxiety will help break the cycle. I also love falling asleep to this guided body scan by Jon Kabat-Zinn (an excellent mindfulness teacher). 

6. Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a powerful way to stay focused on the present moment and not get too caught up in the mental games of anxiety. Mindfulness relies on the power of daily meditation to transform reactive habits. Mindfulness can help us identify our emotional triggers, and from there we can retrain ourselves to respond more skillfully to those triggers. There are many online resources available if you'd like to explore the subject. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Tara Brach's free online talks, this book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and this one by Phillip Moffitt.

7. Seek out herbal support. Adaptogens are herbs that help our bodies adapt to stress. These include reishi, holy basil/tulsi, ashwagandha, astralagus, maca, and cordyceps. Herbs to reduce stress and anxiety (and promote sleep) include lavender, scullcap, chamomile, hops, catnip, valerian, St. John's wort, passionflower, and kava. Magnesium is also a wonderful supplement.

8. Get support! Seek the help of a therapist, get bodywork, phone a friend, & confide in your community. The more we can share our personal struggles and dark corners with others, the less power those challenges have over our lives.

Did I leave anything out? Shoot me a note with your favorite tool, to let me know if you found this helpful, or just to say 'Hi!' Here's to a life of more presence, more joy, and much less anxiety! 

*I am a huge fan of an integrative approach. This blog post is based solely on my personal experience as a holistic practitioner. This post is not intended to diagnose or treat. Sometimes the best fix for anxiety is medical attention + medication, and I encourage you to seek such expert help if you need it.

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