Intern

4xForth: Taylor Bryant of Jubilant and Forth Chicago's 2016 intern by Clare Johnson

Photo by Angela Miller Photography

Forth Chicago has not one, but TWO new amazing 2016 interns. We introduced you to Carolyn Green on last week's 4xForth and this week, we're highlighting Taylor Bryant of Jubilant. Taylor comes to Forth with a plethora of experience and talent. As a graduate from Vanderbilt with a degree in Human and Organizational Development and Spanish, as well as experience in blogging, public relations and social media management, she is sure to bring a wealth of knowledge and light to the community.

Today, we're getting to know Taylor on a personal level by learning about her favorite places to visit - both in the city and for travel, best bites and favorite sites. 

Places I'll go someday

  1. Italy! I would love to spend a month (or six) eating my way through Italy and soaking up the culture.
  2. Cape Town: I spent time in South Africa. Every one I met gave me a different recommendation for what I should do if I went to Cape Town. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to visit Cape Town during my first trip to South Africa, so I need to schedule a return trip.
  3. Alaska: I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights. Alaska is one of the best places to do that.
  4. Buenos Aires: I speak fluent Spanish, but I've never visited South America. The "Paris of South America" seems like a good place to start!

Best Bites in Chicago

  1. Quartino: I have yet to try something on Quartino's menu that I don't like, but you cannot go wrong with an order of their calamari.
  2. Geppetto's: They have the cutest (and most affordable) personal sized deep dish pizzas. They're only available during the lunch hour on weekdays. Be sure to call about a half hour ahead.
  3. Sugar Fixe: Their macaroons are a surefire way to brighten your day.
  4. Ping Pong: The decor is reason enough to visit Ping Pong, but you'll stay for the modern take on Chinese cuisine.

Sites I Love

  1.  NovoEd: This site has a host of (mostly) free online classes. I like to browse their catalog every couple of months, or whenever I'm in the mood to develop a new skill.
  2. Canva and Pixlr: These are my go-to sites when I want to whip up a quick graphic on my work laptop. 
  3. Food Heaven Made Easy:  Wendy and Jess are my healthy living inspirations. Their recipes are always nourishing and flavorful.
  4. Darebee:  This website has an ever-growing collection of free workouts. I promise, they will whip you into shape.

Places I frequent in Chicago

  1. The West Loop Goodwill: Seriously, I get the best thrifting scores from this location!
  2. My local FFC gym: I didn't used to be the type of person who went to classes at the gym, now I'm hooked. I especially love the Barr-e-cuda and the Tread Express classes.
  3. Transistor: This store sells records, prints, and other pieces of art. It also hosts live music events on a weekly basis. I feel instantly cooler just by walking in.
  4. Garrett's: This place is as touristy as it gets, but I find myself wandering into the store when a sugar craving hits.

Thanks for sharing, Taylor! I, too, am a fan of thrifty finds and the occasional adventure to Garrett's. And Geppetto's?! How have I never heard of this adorable spot? The name alone is reason enough to go. 

Forth is incredibly lucky to have you and Carolyn on the team; we could not have imagined two better individuals. Love, hugs and high fives to you both and best of luck! 

Be sure to follow Taylor on Instagram, her personal InstagramTwitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

4xForth: Forth Chicago 2016 Intern and writer Carolyn Green by Clare Johnson

It's 4xForth Friday and today, we're highlighting a very special (new!) member in the community. We're featuring Carolyn Green - writer at VSA Partners one of Forth Chicago's new 2016 interns! This incredible West Coast transplant (originally from Portland, Oregon) moved to Chicago a little over a year ago after graduating in 2014 from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design, a Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor and an accidental almost-concentration in Medieval Studies. 

Beyond her incredible personality and wit, Carolyn is also an accomplished creative writer, runner, adventurer and overly-charming coffee date. We are tickled to have her as part of our team and can't wait to see where she helps take our amazing community. 

Places I frequent in Chicago: 

  1. The Second City: I recently started taking sketch comedy writing classes at the Second City Training Center, and it's been a dream. I mean, when else do you get to watch "30 Rock" for homework? We receive free passes to shows with our student IDs, so I try to see 1-2 shows a week. For anyone who wants to learn more about The Second City and the history of Chicago-style improv, I recommend the documentary "Second to None," a behind-the-scenes look at the seminal Mainstage Revue "Paradigm Lost," starring now famous comedians like Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Scott Adsit and Kevin Dorff.  
     
  2. Lincoln Park: I love to run, and I finished my second Chicago Marathon this October. In Portland, we have an abundance of trails within the city, and I try to mimic that soft-surface experience whenever possible. In general, I'm a big fan of city parks. I love visiting NYC and running in Central Park, and I spent a semester abroad in London, where I would explore the city by running through St. James, Green and Hyde Parks to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, or spy on Will and Kate at Kensington Palace (never saw them). I can do multiple loops of Lincoln Park and never get bored. I'm also on a kickball team through Chicago Sport and Social Club. We're called the Kickbrawlers, and you can find us making memories on the Lincoln Park South fields every Friday night in the fall. 
     
  3. Green, Inc.: Crazy plant lady is the new crazy cat lady. I can guarantee you that if I'm walking down N. Wells Street (a frequent occurrence), I'll stop into Green, Inc. to see if they've received any new shipments of succulents or other "drought-resistant" plants (the only thing I can keep alive). My apartment is kind of modern, with lots of white, so I'm always looking for ways to make it feel more homey.
     
  4. Trenchermen: Wicker Park is one of my fave neighborhoods in Chicago, and Trencherman is one of my top restaurants in the area. Birthday dinner, Sunday brunch, whatever, I'm always down for a meal here. May I suggest the pickle tots or the eggs florentine? Housed in a refurbished Russian bath from the 1920s, it's worth visiting Trencherman just for the atmosphere.  

Things to do with out-of-town visitors: 

  1. Chicago Architectural Boat Tour: I tried kayaking on the Chicago River last summer, which was decidedly better than not kayaking...until a dead, decaying rat floated past my paddle. Coincidentally, that was the exact moment I decided my preferred Chicago River experience is an architectural boat tour—a great way for out-of-towners to learn about the city's history, feel the city breezes upon their face (smelling faintly of hot dogs) and hear some really great jokes from the tour guide, such as, "Never take marble for granite." 
     
  2. Art Institute: My parents gave me a membership to the Art Institute for Christmas, which includes free admission for one guest. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Visitors are usually interested in an afternoon at the Art Institute, even if we just head straight for the "Ferris Bueller painting." My goal for this winter is to go to the Art Institute on my own (if I bring friends, we usually just end up talking and not really looking at anything), choose one gallery/genre, and read about every single painting in that section. Rinse and repeat.  
     
  3. Aquarium: I was born in Oak Park and still have a fair amount of relatives in the Chicago suburbs, so my family would spend 1-2 weeks visiting every summer when I was a kid. My mom was big on museums, especially the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. The Shedd was always a favorite of ours, and when my brother and sister visit me on breaks from their respective colleges, we have to go back. It's not like otters will ever get less adorable. I've been to Adler After Dark, but Jazzin at the Shedd is next on my list! 
     
  4. Chicago Cultural Center: On the way to your requisite visit to the Bean, stop by the Chicago Cultural Center. It's free and they are usually featuring some pretty cool traveling art exhibitions. Walk upstairs to see the stunning Tiffany Dome, a 1,000-foot dome that contains over 30,000 pieces of glass (!!). Also, the Cultural Center is really warm, in case you have visitors who were brave enough to visit in winter. 

Sites I love: 

  1. Man Repeller: I follow too many design/photography/lifestyle blogs to count, but Man Repeller is a site that I check daily for fashion, humor or cultural inspo. Anything written by Amelia Diamond is right up my alley. 
     
  2. National Geographic: When an article from National Geographic shows up in my feedly, I always click on it. In another life, I think I would have been an archaeologist. 
     
  3. Design Sponge: Solid ideas for DIY projects and cool profiles of creative people. I love their city guides
     
  4. The Toast: Writing goals, humor goals. See "Women having a terrible time at parties in art history." 

Places I want to go:

  1. Frank Lloyd Wright Bike Tour in Oak Park: Biking and talking about historic architecture—what's not to love! Unfortunately, this tour was sold out every single time (once) that I tried to buy tickets last summer. Now I know I have to act early for next summer! 
     
  2. Evanston: My mom went to Northwestern, and always talks about how much she loves Evanston. I haven't been there since I was in high school, but would love to take a day trip soon. Ideally, I would bike there! (Can you tell I'm from Portland?)
     
  3. Renegade Craft Fair: I was out of town for this event in September, but I'm looking forward to the Holiday Fair in December.  
     
  4. Iceland: Not in Chicago, but Iceland is a dream vacation destination. I haven't looked into all of the details, but apparently Icelandair will let you take an extended layover in Reykjavik on your way to, say, Amsterdam, free of charge! Hiking, horses and hot springs, come on...and if you need any convincing, Arlena Armstrong on Instagram provides all the aesthetic appeal and wanderlust you'll ever need.  

Thanks for sharing, Carolyn! 

You're in good company when it comes to exploring the city and its many culinary and cultural wonders. Anytime you need a partner to help you explore Green, Inc., Evanston or any Chicago craft show.. you just call out my name (and you know where ever I am....). 

Be sure to follow Carolyn on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest and stay tuned for our second intern introduction, coming to you next week on the 4xForth series.

2016 Interns Wanted! by Julie Schumacher

It's that time of year...Forth is looking for 2016 interns! Come be a part of the supportive community of bright Chicago women that we're building. Read below for details.

If you're interested, don't delay! We'll be reviewing applications as they come in and setting up interviews. We hope to select our new gals in time to get training from our current kick-ass interns this Fall, have you attend our all-member Winter Party in December and leap into 2016 ready to roll.

Read More

2014: The Year I Decided to Go For It by Natalie Pavela by Natalie Pavela

Natalie 2014 has been my biggest year of growth; a year of saying 'yes' to one new opportunity after another. Yes to new jobs, new love, more flexibility and creative freedom, which also brought less income, security and stability. I've recently spent a lot of time reflecting on all of the big life changes that have taken place over this compact period of time. I'm documenting my journey below to hopefully provide inspiration to those of you who are looking to make bold moves in the coming year. Be forewarned, it's a lengthy post.

January 2014

I'd been working in marketing research for two and a half years with a great creative agency. I was surrounded by insanely bright and witty coworkers, but found myself lacking the passion for brands and communications that I saw in each of my teammates. I was feeling burnt out - I wasn’t challenged in the right ways and my creative needs weren't being met in that role. I had been contemplating a big career change for over a year, but without a clear vision of what direction I should head down next I stayed where I was, feeling paralyzed.

Around this time, my roommate shared an internship posting she found on The Everygirl for a group called Forth Chicago. Forth was presenting an opportunity to aid in planning, styling, and putting on intimate 'salons' that brought together Chicago creative female entrepreneurs. Other internship responsibilities included spearheading content for the blog and utilizing multiple forms of social media - twitter, facebook, instagram, and pinterest - to connect and champion women who had attended past events. I could only imagine how inspiring it would be to work with this small community of bold, bright, risk-taking females.

Opportunities similar to this internship had come across my radar in the past, but in the end I would always chicken out, never submitting an application out of fear of not being qualified or selected. I did my homework before applying - as one should when there's an opportunity they really want - reading every one of their blog posts from the previous year and finding out as much as I could about the founders through a little internet research. I quickly learned that I shared some similar interests with Lisa, Julie and Kelly and decided to approach my application in a playful way - noting small things like how Julie and I share a love for trying our hand at Heidi Swanson recipies or how I was eager to recreate the fringe balloons they made for their first winter salon thanks to the tutorial they shared on the blog. It was refreshing to build a cover letter and resume that felt true to my personality. Lo and behold, a few exchanged emails and a hilarious Skype interview later, they picked me! I remember feeling a strong sense of pride in this moment - knowing I could channel all of my creative energies that weren't being met at work through time spent working for Forth on evenings and weekends.

February 2014

I had yet to date anyone in my adult life, as I was too busy working and exploring every inch of Chicago with friends and family to have time for a relationship. But we don't pick timing and a man entered my life when I least expected it (hi Charlie!). Right from the beginning, there was such a strong sense mutual understanding, curiosity and eagerness to learn new things. This man has become my partner in adventures and is the love of my life, and while it was scary as hell to be vulnerable by opening up my heart, I trusted my gut that these new feelings were good. Honestly, I think my new role with Forth bred confidence and an openness to embrace new and unexpected experiences.

March 2014

The Forth spring salon was a magical evening at Heritage Littles with such lovely ladies sharing their stories. I was honored to prepare a few items on the menu, help decorate the space, prepare takeaways, serve endless amounts of processo, and just be in the presence of their conversation for the evening. Bright women have such an amazing energy when you get them all in the same room!

spring 2014 forth salon

Meanwhile, my younger sister Andrea (who works as atraveling healthcare consultant by day) was looking for a way to break into the Chicago yoga scene after moving back from New York where she got her certification and had been teaching a few months prior. Until she got plugged in with a local studio, we spent every other Sunday afternoon gathering a crew of 4-8 for a free class taught by Andrea. We met at a different friend's apartment each time and this roving apartment yoga class was one gathering I always looked forward to twice a month. A new adventure was about to unfold...

After a few months of those apartment class meet-ups, Andrea and I were dreaming of taking it beyond our own social circle. A bright idea was conceived over deep-dish pizza at Pequod's one night in March: Yoga+ Chicago. The idea was simple: a workshop series that always began with a vinyasa yoga class (taught by Andrea) followed by an educational or interactive workshop. We probably brainstormed a list of 20 different '+' workshop ideas and I ran home that evening and quickly reserved social media handles and a website domain. We'd spend the next month and a half building the website ourselves on Squarespace and finding partners for our first workshop: yoga + floral arranging.

yoga plus chicago

June 2014

The first Yoga+ event took place on June 21 - yoga + bloom arranging with Larkspur, hosted at Workshop Chicago. This was an experiment in and of itself - would people even buy tickets? Yet it seemed like there was a market for what we were creating, as we sold 35 tickets and had a packed house of eager ladies joining us that day! I will always be grateful to Beth from Larkspur and Ben from Workshop for taking a chance on partnering with two bright eyed twenty-something girls. Andrea and I might have been up until 2am cooking our snack spread and finalizing the custom yoga class and playlist, but in the end it was all worth it. While I entertain on the regular at home, I was now gaining experience hosting small gatherings with Forth gave me confidence in my ability to execute unique events.

June also brought the Forth summer salon, a chance to welcome 10 new women into the the growing supportive Forth family. I jumped right in with assisting the second event and made sure no small detail was overlooked. Kelly, Lisa and Julie really amaze me with their ability to create an ambiance that is so warm and inviting, and it's something I've drawn upon as I venture into curating my own events with Yoga+. Read Lisa's helpful post on 5 ways we create an intimate event!

forth event detail prep

I have to admit, it was difficult getting deeper and deeper into a community of women who had pursued their passions as careers, all while I hadn't taken any steps to pursue a career that I dreamed of.  At the end of June something finally put me over the edge at work and I made the decision to put in my two weeks notice with no plan for the future set in place.

July 2014

With big plans for the future of Yoga+, I was looking for a career path that gave me flexibility - say to meet up with a potential workshop partner at 11am on a Thursday - something a 9-5 couldn't offer me. I realized that outside of my career I had always been seeking opportunities to get involved in events during my free time. I had previously spent two years as the events chair for the junior board of Urban Gateways (a non-profit arts education organization) and now I was in the full swing of my year with Forth. Time spent working in these roles left me feeling creatively satisfied.

During my last two weeks at my corporate job, I confided in as many friends as I could about the career opportunities I was looking to pursue. One of my girlfriends pointed me to an instagram post where Dean Renaud of South Social & Home had announced that she was looking to bring on a part-time intern. Then Julie from Forth alerted me to two opportunities she saw on Facebook from women who I met at the summer salon - Jamie Davis of Greenhouse Loft was looking to bring on a Social Events Manager for her venue and Michelle Marchisotta of FIG Catering mentioned they were looking to grow their catering staff. All three opportunities were part-time and equally intriguing, so I applied for each position. I also thought to myself, 'Is this what the job world looks like these days?', with instagram, facebook, and blog posts publicizing new opportunities? In a way, it makes sense - why not spread the word to your own network first, in hopes that a potential applicant might be one that a friend can vouch for.

I was on a roll of being bold and going after what I wanted, and to my amazement, I was offered the chance to take on all three opportunities! Here's how my new schedule plays out: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays as well as some weekday evenings and most weekends are spent with Greenhouse Loft, I'm with SS&H on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I'll fill in my schedule with catering shifts from FIG and Yoga+ Chicago events on weekends.

This was a terribly exciting and terrifying time all at once. Leaving a steady job for a hodge-podge schedule that had me working 6-7 days a week, forced me to get my own health insurance (which took me three months to do...), and provided intermittent paychecks doesn't sound that glamorous. Would this new schedule drain me? Would I be successful in each of these roles? Would I make enough money to cover my cost of living? It was something only time would tell, but I was ready to start hustling and I had never been happier.

September 2014

Between my personal life, Forth, and all the new jobs I was juggling I was now manning 4 email accounts, 3 blogs, 3 twitter handles, 3 instagram accounts, 2 facebook pages and a merging of at least 10 different google calendars. Yikes! I'm normally a lady that keeps myself pretty busy, but this was the first time I truly felt like I couldn't keep up with it all. A girl's gotta carve out some time for herself, as well as for family, friends, and this new relationship that kept on getting more serious. I was committed to more than I could handle and not everything was getting my best effort or attention.

At this time, Lisa, Kelly, Julie and myself decided to put feelers out for the Forth 2015 intern, with hopes that they could start in September, train along side me through the end of the year, then take the reigns into their own hands in January. There were so many lovely applicants but two stood out above the rest - Clare Johnson and Katie Kenney. I had met Clare a few times through a mutual friend and knew she would be the perfect fit for this role. Katie attended a Yoga+ event this past summer and we spent about 20 minutes chatting about Forth; I new she would be a great addition too. As I began to phase out of the intern role, I knew that I was leaving it in good hands. These two ladies are killing it and I'm so excited that they have this chance to interact with our founders and this community of rad Chicago women that they're building.

Today

So where does that leave me? I'm proud to say that Yoga+ continues to thrive - we have hosted 7 unique workshops to date, with 2 more planned before the end of the year, and about 50 new ideas for future workshops. Yoga Plus Chicago is an LLC and my sister and I are in the thick of creating contracts, making sure we're squared away with our taxes, and other things I never imagined getting to gain first hand experience with. I've been so amazed by how much we've grown as business owners over the past few months - we're making more strategic decisions, delegating tasks, planning further in advance, and are much better about negotiating with our partners and standing up for ourselves. We've also been so grateful to have creative friends support us, whether it's with the rental of their space for an event, their talent for leading a workshop, or their skills in documenting each event on camera.

And my new jobs have allowed me to get involved with events from all different angles. At Greenhouse Loft I'm a tour guide and the main point of contact many of our clients, handling all the details for weddings and other social events. Working on-site for the duration of the event and building relationships with caterers, florists, DJs, bands, photographers and other vendors has been a rewarding process. With South Social and Home I'm getting hands-on experience with event production, wedding planning, interior design and styling. I feel confident crafting minute-by-minute plays of the important moments in a given evening to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. With FIG, I've been exposed to the catering side of the event world, and let me tell you, that's a hard working team!

In my opinion, gaining experience in different pieces of the event puzzle all at once has proven much more valuable than what I could have gained with a few months in a singular role a full-time job. Working for all small businesses, I've been fortunate to gain ownership quickly and have very hands-on roles due to the small teams at each place.

The Takeaway

I’ve always been adventurous in life, but not in love or in my career until this year. I can't imagine what life would be like if I hadn't taken a leap and pursued these new opportunities this year. I'll forever be grateful to Forth Chicago and Julie, Kelly and Lisa for the chance to play with event planning and production, social media management, and blogging in a safe environment that brought love, feedback and support. While my new lifestyle and unorthodox schedule might not appeal to a given individual, I've learned that I function well as a jack-of-all-trades and like having my hands in multiple roles.

There are the hard parts in a career transition like mine - adjusting to a drastic decrease in salary, being responsible for my own health and wellness benefits, and other sacrifices. A month before I left my research job I moved to an apartment where my portion of the rent was half of what I had been paying previously. I adapted my lifestyle and drastically cut down on luxuries like entertainment and dining out...and I am completely comfortable with all of those decisions. I'm not saying that working multiple jobs and keeping my schedule straight and finding time for me all in a given week isn't tough - it IS hard. But that's what I want - a challenging adventure and the chance to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Ultimately, I don't care to compare myself to friends who are quickly moving up the corporate ladders in their respective fields, we each have our own path. I've been blessed by new connections and friendships, and am excited when I get to support other friends who are just trying to get after it too. I’m unapologetically pursing my passions through my career choices these days and I'm not looking back.

kane county flea market forth meetup

It’s been a beautiful year of transformation and I encourage anyone who made it to the end of this long essay to challenge yourself to go after something you’ve been wanting to for a while, but have put on the back burner. I'll be cheering you on from afar - go chase your dreams!

And if you're looking for a good read to inspire you, may I suggest checking out an interview with Elle Luna for The Great Discontent.

All photos by Kelly Allison Photography, with the exception of Greenhouse Loft photo, by Steve Ewert, and Yoga+ Chicago photos, by Carolina Mariana or John Philp

Forth Chicago is looking for a 2015 intern! by Natalie Pavela

  ForthChicagoInternships2015-16

It's that time of year...Forth is looking for a 2015 intern! Come be a part of the supportive community of bright Chicago women that we're building. Read below for details.

If you're interested, don't delay! We'll be reviewing applications over the coming week, interviewing at the end of the month, and hope to select our new gal in time to start contributing to the team this September.

Position

Forth Chicago Social Media & Event Planning Intern

Compensation

Unpaid. If you are in college, we will work with you and your college for college credit if applicable.

Hours

Part-Time (+/-10 hours a week) starting in September 2014. We are looking for a 15 month commitment starting in September: train with our current intern Natalie for the remainder of the year, then take the reigns on your own starting in January. You'll also have the opportunity to train the 2016 intern the following September. You will be able to work remotely but would be expected at the four seasonal salons and planning meetings.

Who We Are

Forth Chicago is a quarterly salon than brings together Chicago's creative women entrepreneurs. We host four seasonal events each year with a curated guest list ranging from hands-on craftswomen to designers of all kinds, tech-savvy disruptors and hand illustrators, writer, producers, photographers, connectors, stylists, artists, and more We style each event both visually and with food and drink, at a new venue every quarter. We also create a theme to inspire the salon's flow. Our goal is not networking, its authentic conversation and connection, creating space and time for bright ideas. Talk is honest, open, real, and often very, very funny. We also maintain a blog that features posts from the founders (recipes, event styling, reflections, etc) as well as guest posts from participants. The founders of Forth are brand designer and strategist, Lisa Guillot of Step Brightly, copywriter Julie Schumacher of Well Turned Words, and photographer Kelly Allison of Kelly Allison Photography. Collectively we are all excited to share the wisdom we've gained from our years working as independent (and not-so-independent) creatives with you.

Responsibilities

- event planning and scheduling - vendor planning and scheduling - day of event responsibilities - demonstrated ability to take projects from conceptualization through completion - social media including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest - strong writing for social media (blog, Twitter, Facebook) as well as more formal business communication writing skills - updating the Forth website and blog (images and copy) in WordPress - if you have Adobe photoshop skills that is a plus

Requirements

We are looking for interns who embody Forth's spirit: strong, witty, smart and all about building a community of creative women. Candidates must have their own computer and software. You must have access to the internet, e-mail, and phone calls during your working hours. You must be available to attend our events, as well as help set-up and tear-down.

To Apply

Please email julie@wellturnedwords.com a brief cover letter introducing yourself, why you want to work with Forth Chicago, and if you'd be able to start this September and will be in Chicago to fulfill the 15 months commitment, running through December 2015. Include your resume, a link to any online portfolios or attach a PDF portfolio if available.

Yoga+ Comes to Chicago by Julie Schumacher

There are people who seem to be able to eek the most out of minutes, hours, days. Our intern Natalie is one of them. She's got a legit job. A social and travel calendar that makes this mid-thirties lady swoon, an internship with us that requires all her organizational wizardry, and a community-building mindset that means I've watched her bump into people she knows every time we've been together. And, she's got a slew of adorable sisters. See?Yoga Plus Chicago 7 Yoga+ is an innovative, make-the-most-of-it collaboration between Natalie and her sister Andrea. A vinyasa-style yoga class is offered along with a hands-on workshop in something fabulous (the list they showed me? Amazing). And, their first workshop is being offered at one of my favorite places, Workshop, on June 21st with Larkspur, a beloved Chicago flower shop. Let's get to know Yoga+.

A Progressive Yoga Class Takes Shape

Andrea got her teaching certification while living in New York City. When she moved back to Chicago last August, a travel schedule for work make it tough to get plugged into a local studio right away. She looked to Natalie to gather friends for a bi-weekly Sunday afternoon apartment yoga class. If you've met Natalie, you won't be surprised to know she can rally the troops. Rotating between participants' apartments, it was a great way to grow in a yoga practice in an informal setting that encouraged asking questions and trying out new postures.

At some point this past winter the Ladies Pavela dreamt about taking these yoga classes out of the apartment and into other fun spaces around the city. Eager to learn and grow, they thought they’d try their hand at hosting yoga + educational and interactive workshops with some favorite Chicago businesses and subject matter experts.

Can yoga impact our ability to learn or try new things? Is there something magically zen about yoga that opens people up to a new experience? Anrdrea: Absolutely – the thing I love about the physical practice of yoga is that it provides a safe space to do just that – try new things, fall over, and ultimately learn how your mind and body respond in the presence of challenges, fear, frustration, progress and success! My personal yoga practice promotes a sense of empowerment, positivity, and receptiveness to new opportunities.

I benefitted from yoga teacher trainings largely because of the community cultivated in the process. The community was tight knit after all the the time spent learning, discussing, laughing, & eating after our daily physical yoga practice. Through this workshop series, my hope is to recreate that environment.

Yoga Plus Chicago 2

What are you looking for when you plan workshops? Natalie: It’s important for us to create events and select workshop partners that resonate with our core mission. We value the following: 1) introduction to new and unique skills, 2) connecting with and learning about local Chicago businesses, 3) building community, and 4) promote well being.

When keeping these things central, we seek out partners that are also community focused and enjoy connecting firsthand with the consumer - encouraging questions and providing a face to the business. We want our workshops to be interactive and fun, and look for personalities and companies with a product, service, or skillset that we are eager to learn more about. Overtime it will be interesting to see what types of workshops resonate most strongly with our core audience.

Are the yoga classes inspired by the workshops? Andrea: Yes! The sequences and focus of each class will be inspired by an aspect of the workshop, partner, or space. For example, our floral arrangement class may focus on postures that challenge your balance, encourage rooting into a foundation to rise, and inspire creative expression, while our pasta making class may have a focus on postures that stimulate metabolism and promote nurturing self-care.

Some aspects will definitely remain the same from workshop to workshop – all will be 60 minutes in duration with an emphasis on alignment, the breath, and hands-on adjustments. All classes will conclude with a refreshing infused washcloth to cool down before transitioning into our educational workshop portion of the event. It is impossible to know the background and expectations of each of your students that walk in the door. The best thing I believe I can do is to teach what resonates with me in my own personal style and encourage each individual to make the practice their own. For Yoga+ event classes, I will focus on the basics, offer options to accommodate varying levels, and work to clearly guide my students through safe transitions and alignment. (note: Andrea also offers private classes custom tailored to students' experience and goals.)

What makes a great venue? Natalie: I’m always dazzled by a space with loads of natural light, neutral colors, natural elements, sparse decorations and a blank slate, but an open open floor plan is a must. The space needs to allow enough room for each of our participants to comfortably spread out during the yoga class. Transitional spaces are also key as we move from the open floor for yoga to bringing in tables and seating for the workshop portion of each event.

Ideally, we’d love it if our workshop partner to have enough space to host the event within their shop (i.e. we’re using Sepia’s private dining space for the pasta making demo), but when that’s not an option, we enjoy bringing on an additional cool venue partner, as is the case with Workshop Chicago for our upcoming Floral arrangement class with Larkspur.

Yoga Plus Chicago 6

What’s the benefit for local businesses who collaborate with Yoga+? Natalie: We’re tapping into a diverse group of Chicago yogis who are eager to connect with their community, learn about local businesses, and gain a new skill. We highlight our workshop partners in our ‘Behind the Brand’ blog series, and promote the event and partner through social media prior to, during, and after the event.

Our goal is to connect Chicagoans with some of the coolest businesses/places in our city and give a face to the brand, which hopefully encourages future patronage.

Let's talk dream workshops. Andrea & Natalie: There are SO many workshops we want to put on and we're very interested to discover what our participants and followers want to learn about as well! We like to think seasonally, and would love to utilize outdoor spaces while the weather’s nice (rooftop, park, etc.), and incorporate workshops that can be useful for gift giving or party hosting during the winter the holiday season. We’re already talking about taking Yoga+ on the road, hosting one-time workshops in other awesome cities where we already have friends that are local experts - Seattle, Dallas, Santa Monica, Denver, San Francisco, and more!

I begged for a sneak peek at their dream list. Here are just a few of the options they showed me:

Forth Spoiler Alert: Our fall salon will focus on passion projects. How do you two do it all and fit it all in? Andrea: It’s all in the name – passion! If it’s something you love or are excited about, it is easy to make time for it. I find it rewarding to put time and energy into growing something outside of work and  my social life; developing entrepreneurial skills and cultivating the community we want our workshop participants to benefit from. Advice: celebrate small wins, set realistic expectations, and work hard to develop positive, collaborative working relationships.

Natalie: I second Andrea, we are both passionate about yoga, leading a healthy + active lifestyle, exploring Chicago and connecting with our community. This passion project feels like an extension of something I’d already be doing, so it doesn’t always feel like work! I love having Yoga+ as a platform that allows us to grab the attention of awesome Chicago businesses we’d already be frequenting, opening up a path for conversation around event partnership and collaboration. I love fostering communities and hope we can tap into something special by bringing together individuals with similar interests for unique and special weekend events. I studied entrepreneurship in college and am feeling alive in this opportunity to fully execute my entrepreneurial muscles! Having my sister as a business partner is such a fun new extension of our existing relationship - we’re learning as we go, and it’s been wonderful to see how truly unique we are (even as sisters), as our different skill sets compliment each other well in this partnership.

Bust out your yoga mats and get ready to smell the flowers. Tickets to their first event, an awesome floral workshop with Larkspur, are available now. Na.ma.ste

Learn more Yoga+ / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Fabulous photography courtesy of Carolina Mariana.

 

We by Julie Schumacher

20140220_FORTH-31Last month we put an intern posting up at The Everygirl, knowing that the kinda gal we want to work with reads it. There were replies a-plenty. Incredible women with talents and interests and passions and blogs and drool-worthy Pinterest accounts. So it was going to take someone pretty darn special to stand out. Think a lady who hosts a regular apartment yoga class, who belongs to social groups like Garnish & Glam and Cinq. A lady who is a brand researcher by day and an everyday explorer. Who's my kindred cooking spirit and can take the Three Forth's informal interview process (think a giggly Google Hangout) and organize it into a masterful list of awesome.

And we found her! Well, to be fair, she found us first. But hot damn, are we excited to introduce Natalie, who will be working and planning and saloning alongside us this year. She'll be a frequent face on the blog, so get ready for some verve and charm.

So, Natalie...we have some questions for you so the Forth faithful can fall for you too.

This is the first of our Friday Four X Forth posts where in-the-know women will share some of their faves.

Places I frequent in Chicago: 1. Heritage Bicycles General Store 2. Lincoln Hall 3. The Green City Market 4. The Moth (True Stories Told Live at Haymarket or Martyr’s)

Places I'll go someday: 1. Italy (though a few of my best girlfriends and I are making the trip this May! We’re traveling across the country, with plans to visit Cinque Terre, Florence, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast & Sorrento!) 2. Montreal 3. Seattle, Washington 4. Morocco

Words my friends would use to describe me: 1. Adventurous 2. Curious 3. Social butterfly 4. A human guidebook to Chicago restaurants

Best bites in Chicago: 1. Longman & Eagle 2. Avec 3. Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits 4. Ada St.

Sites I lurve: 1. Design Love Fest 2. Wit & Delight 3. 101 Cookbooks 4. The First Mess

A note from Natalie:

I am thrilled to be joining the lovely three Forth ladies this year as a fresh source of energy, lending a helping hand for event planning and social media. There is such beautiful power in bringing together small groups of bright women who are talented, encouraging, and willing to share their ideas. I’m eager to help facilitate the quarterly salons where we can make the space to discuss important topics and celebrate you as individuals. I’m looking forward to connecting (both on and off line) with all of the women who make up the amazing Forth community. We’ve got an exciting year ahead!

Follow Natalie on her blog Street Smarts, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.