The Namaslay book tour came to a close early this week, and it was definitely a surreal experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd go on a book tour. Getting to meet so many YBCers in person was incredible. I loved hearing your stories and dreams and learn about how YBC has made an impact on your life. I came home feeling tremendously grateful and inspired by you guys, and thank you so much for your support. I wanted to give you a little sneak peek into the behind the scenes of the tour - it was a rollercoaster of emotions!
The first stop on the tour was New York City, and Lauren and I started our journey down there from Connecticut. Before we hopped on the train, we popped into Barnes and Noble in Connecticut and tried to hunt down Namaslay. It wasn't out, so we casually asked an employee if she could bring it from the back. And then we did a little rearranging just to be sure people saw it, hahaha. Feel free to do the same in your local bookstore! :)
Anyway, back to New York. I was so nervous that no one would show up to the signing, and was particularly bummed because my parents both came down with the flu so they couldn't be there. It was a tough time for a signing (6pm) - and I was scared that people wouldn't be able to get out of work and get down to Barnes and Noble in time. In the green room before it started, I went over my speech and just burst into tears. I was super emotional. This whole journey has been such an emotional ride. While the book is very much a yoga book, it is also part memoir and details my struggle with my health. The signing felt like a very full circle moment. Like I've struggled for so, so long, and couldn't quite believe I was about to go on a stage and talk about my book. It felt unreal. When I started the blog, my mom was literally my only reader. Today, YBC welcomes 5.1 million readers a year. And I somehow published a book?! I was just overwhelmed and emotional but quickly pulled myself together.
Aside from sweating profusely from being nervous, I got through the speech just fine and started the question and answer portion and then the signing portion. Signing was surreal. I had no idea what to write. My PR agent had said people in the past had incorporated something from their brand that was funny and cute. Like one author of a Paleo cookbook wrote, "With love and bacon" ....but I couldn't think of anything like that, so I just did a heart with "namaslay" written through it and signed my name.
What I wore to the NY book signing:
After that, we packed up and headed out onto the chilly streets of New York. This is where the drama began, and the start of what Lauren and I now refer to as our Hot Mess Express Train.
As those of you who came to our workshops know, our girl Lauren is pregnant! We are over the moon excited for her! (Feel free to say congrats here!) She is the ultimate champion because she had been dealing with morning sickness that lasted all day long. So we left Barnes and Noble and went to Grand Central and hopped on the train, where poor Lauren threw up the entire hour-long train ride home, and then the entire hour-long car ride home after that. I felt awful for her. I told her to maybe stay home for the Boston leg of the tour but she wasn't having it. "I'm coming," she said firmly.
The next day, we drove to Boston. I was an anxious mess the entire time because Boston traffic is no joke and I was scared we would be late for the workshop.
As luck would have it, we made it with time to spare to our venue, and as people began to file in, I started to get nervous once again. We had a handful of yoga teachers in the room, and I don't know - there is a part of me that just freaks the f out when I have to teach other teachers.
And the lovely Nicole from Pumps and Iron came. She's so awesome and also hilarious, and I absolutely love her online presence and was just overwhelmingly nervous for her to be in my class. I was suffering from serious imposter syndrome before the start of that class- feeling like I had no business teaching such an incredible group of people. Once I started the class, that quickly went out the door and all went well. Just being honest, though - I am not always 100% confident and secure in my abilities.
Overwhelmed with gratitude for the kindness and love shown by so many of you regarding my book Namaslay. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I read every comment, every review and am just blown away by the support. 💜 #Namaslay #yoga #yogabycandace #yogaeverydamnday #marlowemoment || song is love is a losing game by Amy Winehouse
After the most delicious dinner of butternut squash soup and a salad, we went to sleep and woke up the next day ready for our second book signing. Lauren was feeling a little queasy when we got in the car to head out to Barnes and Noble, and soon after started feeling really nauseous.
I was driving, and we were stuck in typical Boston traffic. About ten minutes out from the venue, poor Lauren's head was in a bag as she threw up what little food she'd been able to eat that day, and then things went from bad to worse.
We got a text from our PR agent saying she'd just received an email from the store manager. The pipes had burst and apparently sewage was seeping into the store! The board of health was there saying they needed to close to store down immediately.
My heart sank. We were in bumper to bumper traffic but I knew I needed to tell people ASAP, so I had Lauren hold my phone with one hand and her barf bag in the other, and I quickly told people via Instagram stories and snapchat what was going on. Shit happens. Literally. I felt so awful about it and I let people know that if they wanted to trek to the other side of town, they could come see me in Cambridge and that I'd be in the lobby of my hotel from 8 - 8:30pm. Lauren and I turned around just as it started to pour. The traffic was still a nightmare, and poor Lauren was throwing up the entire ride back. When we got to the hotel, she went up to her room and I headed to the lobby to see if anyone would come. I wound up having a nice little visit with a great group of YBCers there, and a close friend from way back when showed up and it was awesome to catch up.
Unfortunately, though, some people didn't see the social media posts. I woke up the next morning to a tough direct message from a YBCer who'd gotten a babysitter for the night, drove in awful Boston traffic, only to find it was cancelled. The message ended with: Thank you for wasting my time.
Just in case there is any confusion, I want to clarify something because I'd like to be as transparent as I can be on social media and on this blog. I paid for this tour myself. I know the value of a dollar, and I know that time is money. I was just as disappointed in the signing being cancelled. Between the cost of the rental car, my food and the loss of sales due to the cancellation, I, too, lost out on money. I would never, ever purposefully waste anyone's time. I did the absolute best that I could, given the situation. I take criticism very seriously, and I was shaken by the direct message. It hurts me to think that someone out there thought that I was so inconsiderate as to not let anyone know the signing was cancelled. Further, it hurt that a fellow YBCer would treat me that way. I welcome and appreciate constructive criticism but this wasn't constructive. I am human, and I did the best I could and I told her that. Anyway.
The next day, we headed off to Chicago. The energy was madness because it was the World Series! There were so many people on the streets, and there was an infectious air of excitement.
Here's the point of the story where I want to talk about the beauty of the internet. About eight years ago or so, I met an awesome woman named Michelle online either on a forum or on twitter or something. We became social media friends. You know the ones - who are always so supportive of each other and kind and who you feel like you know in real life but don't? Anyway, she and her husband are the talented photographers behind Life on Prints. They offered to pick us up, drive (in World Series traffic!) to downtown where we did a quick photoshoot.
Then they drove us to Dry Bar so we could wash our hair (#priorities), and then an hour later drove us to our hotel to grab clothes, and then took us to Whole Foods to grab some snacks and hosted a little CARaoke session of hits from the 2000's (#triphighlight) on the way. Afterwards, they took us to their house so we could change. From there, they brought us to the book signing, and then afterwards drove us all the way back home. Then, as if that wasn't enough, they met us at our workshop the following day and took photos for us. I am so blown away by and tremendously grateful for their generosity, infectious positivity, and talents. If anyone needs a photographer in the Chicago area, look them up. They do a lot of weddings, but they would also be awesome for maternity shoots, newborn shoots, family shoots, bloggers, or new entrepreneurs looking for lifestyle shots or head shots.
So back to the signing. This was an amazing group of people filled with so many from the YBC Community. I felt so lucky to be able to put faces to screen names I recognized. But with the good comes the bad. At this signing, I experienced my first "uh oh" moment.
There was a question from a man. He said that while he believed in what I was talking about in Namaslay - how if you visualize what you want and work hard towards your goals, you can go out and achieve anything you put your mind to - he wondered what I had to say about the "30,000 homeless people of Chicago who do not have access to a warm place to sleep" and also wondered about children suffering from ADHD.
You know when something awful is happening and you sort of feel like it might be happening in slow motion? That's what I was experiencing. He was asking his questions in a very roundabout way, so I had time to sort of panic and think about a way to answer that would let him know that I understand where he is coming from, but that I didn't have an answer. But I was freaking out. Does it make me look bad to not have an answer? I wondered. Then I decided I didn't care. The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is pretend to know everything. So I simply said that Namaslay doesn't work for everything and will not help to fix every issue. I acknowledged that I was extremely fortunate to have support and access to the services I needed when I was going through my health struggle...and luckily the store manager swooped in to help redirect the conversation. Whew.
What I wore to the Chicago signing and yoga workshop:
Lauren and I were absolutely beat after that. We headed back to the Silversmith Hotel, which was conveniently located in downtown Chicago. They were kind enough to put us up for this part of the tour. There's a fantastic gym on site where I shot the above video, and the hotel is located just minutes from all the best shopping.
Mind-body connections work in both directions, and sometimes your body gives the directive to your mind about whether to feel happy or sad or grateful. For example, researchers have uncovered a very simple (albeit temporary) way to cheer up. If you're in a bad mood, take a pencil and put it horizontally between your teeth. Bite down gently and hold it for ten seconds. Feeling better? The pencil forced your facial muscles into the same position as a smile. In the constant interplay between mind and body, your braid gets the message that you're smiling, so voilà, you must be happy. -Janice Kaplan, The Gratitude Diaries. #smilemore #yogabycandace • romper from @victoriassecret, lipstick is lady danger by @maccosmetics
The rooms are beautiful at Silversmith Hotel - lush carpeting, bold yet clean decor, incredibly comfortable beds, and such a kind staff. Also, the lighting in the bathroom (see above) is so flattering (#thingsonlyabloggerwouldnotice), and I was impressed by how quiet the rooms are. Despite being on a main street and in the middle of the world series, I didn't hear a peep at night!
My favorite workshop of the tour was in Chicago. I got lost on the way there, so I showed up pretty much right when we were supposed to start and everyone was already packed in the room like sardines but in a way that just worked. Like sometimes I'll attend a packed yoga class (those are actually my favorite, to be honest), and you can feel the energy of the room and it feels like people are annoyed they're so crammed in there, but this was different. Opposite of that.
The energy was warm and overflowing with enthusiasm. I tried my best to tweak the class so that it didn't have a lot of poses where they'd be hitting one another (there were literally just two inches or so between each mat). At the end of the workshop, people lined up to say hi and get their book signed and take pictures and it was just awesome. Everyone was so full of such great energy, and it just made me fall in love with Chicago. I really would like to go back for a weekend of workshops.
Lauren was doing pretty well that day...until we got into the cab. Poor girl was throwing up so badly that when we got to the airport, I had her sit down outside while I asked an attendant inside to call for a wheelchair. I was so worried about her and she understandably didn't want to bring attention to herself (people were probably like - oh this girl had way too much to drink at the baseball game last night!) but I told her there was no arguing with me - she was so weak and needed a wheelchair to get through the whole airport security process.
I guess this is a good time to tell you that I injured my shoulder way back in New York walking through Grand Central with all of our stuff. I don't know what I did, but I tweaked it really badly, and was in a lot of pain, so when the wheelchair arrived, I put my own bag on the handle as well and I hobbled through the airport behind her. It's so laughable now, but at the time it was absolutely miserable.
From Chicago we traveled to Seattle. I'd never been, and was excited to go. When we arrived to the Pan Pacific, who gave us a media rate for the duration of our stay, we were thrilled to be welcomed with bone broth (!!!) and an incredible view! There was also a Whole Foods literally right downstairs from our hotel, so we were able to stock up on some healthy snacks while in town. The staff here went above and beyond. They knew us by name, and made us feel so welcome every time we entered and exited the building. That kind of stuff goes a long way when you're on the road for an extended time.
The signing went well, but I was in a tremendous amount of pain from my shoulder. Lauren was starting to feel pretty good because my cousin who works as an IVF nurse in Chicago was able to get her more of the anti-nausea medicine she takes.
Shop our Seattle looks below:
The next day was our Namaslay themed yoga workshop. We had an amazing group of incredible women who weren't afraid to try new things. In the vid above I'm about to teach headstand. I was starting to feel pretty run down between my shoulder issue, jet lag and exhaustion from all the travel, but I just had to power through. The next flight was off to San Francisco.
In San Francisco, the InterContinental Mark Hopkins gave us one night free and one night at a media rate for the duration of our stay. They put us up in gorgeous suites with plush carpeting, an amazing jetted tub, and plenty of space to hunker down and try to get some work done. The concierge was most helpful in booking me an in-room massage, and helping us figure out BART - their subway system so we could get to Oakland for our yoga workshop.
In case there was any concern, the hills are alive not only in the Sound of Music but also San Francisco. Holy SMOKES. My glutes were on fire just walking around town. Like, I can back squat 165 pounds. I can crush any wod you put in front of me. I can walk on my hands and do freestanding shoulder taps. But make me walk three blocks in San Francisco and I will be a hunched over, hobbling disaster.
Anyway, the workshop went really well. We had an amazing group of people of all levels and the energy was so good!
After San Fran, it was time to go to LA. We woke up super early and ordered an uber. The only option was uber pool, which I'd never used, and since we were early, I figured it wouldn't be a big deal. Well, we officially got the worst uber driver in the history of the world, and the drive was a nightmare. She slammed on her brakes any time the person in front of us tapped their brakes. She wasn't tailgating or anything, she just SLAMMED on her brakes. I get queasy in the back seat as it is, but this was a whole new level. Neither Lauren nor I had eaten before getting in the uber since it was supposed to be a 15 minute drive, but let me just tell you, that was a poor decision on our part. I was miserable and feeling so sick in the back of the car (the guy we were pooling with was in the front), and I had to focus on my breathing so I wouldn't lose it.
Once we got to the airport, we realized that we'd gotten the time wrong and we had exactly 30 minutes until take off. I am TSA Pre-check, but Lauren isn't. On previous flights, United had given Lauren Pre-check since she was traveling with me, but we were flying Virgin America and apparently they don't do that. So she rushed off to the security line, which of course was backed up. She was feeling so dizzy from the car ride and not eating, that she asked an attendant for a wheelchair but was denied! She let them know she was pregnant and feeling weak and dizzy and they said, "Sorry, we don't service this terminal with wheelchairs."
Are you kidding?!
So there I am, having already gotten through security, waiting there for Lauren so worried that she would 1) not make the flight, and - what's worse - 2) might pass out from being so weak. I was livid they didn't service the terminal with wheelchairs and tried to talk with another employee but was told the same thing. Insane.
Anyway, it was nothing short of a miracle that Lauren made it through the line and was the last one on the plane right before they shut the gate down for boarding. We were thrilled to be on schedule, but overall just hungry, exhausted, and run down.
Los Angeles is one of my favorite cities. It has a vibrancy and IDGAF attitude that I just love. I love that you can wear whatever you want and eat whatever you want, and no one will look at you twice. I also am a huge fan of the weather. And the endless food options. And the shopping. In fact, I'm pretty much a fan of everything except for the traffic. But that's to be expected, I suppose.
Packed a lot in today: filmed a bed yoga sequence and guided meditation, ran a thousand errands, ate fish tacos on the Santa Monica Pier and am now taking off for Austin. Thanks to the @hollywoodhotel for putting us up on this leg of the Namaslay tour! Don't forget that if you DM your Amazon or Barnes and Noble review of Namaslay to @ybcsneakpeek, we will send you a free gift. Thanks so much for the support! Now please hit me with all your Austin recommendations. Specifically looking for unreal food and even better coffee. #priorities #namaslay #yogabycandace #yoga #yogaeverydamnday
We stayed at the Hollywood Hotel, who generously put us up for the LA leg of our tour and it was such an unexpected gem of a boutique hotel. The rooms are newly renovated and exceptionally comfortable. I absolutely loved that each room came with an empty fridge and microwave so that you could keep snacks in your room. They also had a fantastic buffet breakfast complete with an omelet station, fresh fruit, cereals, breads and baked goods, yogurts, fresh juice, and so much more.
We did the book signing in Manhattan Beach which I started off with a little chair yoga sequence. After that, Lauren and I, along with Namaslay book tour giveaway winner Jen went out with our friends for some ice cream. The ice cream spot had a killer playlist and we were all in a great mood dancing and singing along. So much fun.
The next day, Lauren and I ran a bunch of errands and got some laundry done. We also squeezed in a bit of thrift shopping (favorite stores: Wasteland and Crossroads on Melrose). I scored the best jacket! It's a Veda jacket I've seriously wanted for years (see above) and I still can't believe I found it!
My shoulder was really acting up by that point, though, and I had a persistent headache all day long. That night we headed over to our yoga workshop. Booking the workshop venues for the tour was tough because I'd never been to any of them before. I used Peerspace to book most of them. Peerspace is kind of like an AirBnB for meetings and event spaces. Some hosts were very relaxed on start and end time, and some were much more stringent. We had a barrage of emails at nearly every city in which we held a workshop that were asking logistical questions like where to park and if the area was safe, and we honestly didn't have any idea. A lot of the time we just felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants, which isn't a very good feeling when you're trying to just keep it all together and deliver a good product to your audience. Thankfully everything ended up working out just fine, but it's a real risk to do it like we did.
When the LA workshop was over, I burst into tears again. If you have snapchat or followed on instagram stories, you saw that in nearly every single clip of the class I was rubbing my shoulder or neck. I was in so much pain from my shoulder and had such a pounding tension headache stemming from the pain. Couple that with the exhaustion from the jet lag and travel, and the fact that in my personal life I am dealing with some tough stuff, and I just felt like I was about to have a breakdown.
I took to snapchat to state what I think everyone knows but sometimes forgets: it isn't easy. No matter what job you have, there are going to be ups and downs. Full time blogger and being a traveling teacher and doing a book signing sounds like such a cushy job and so awesome...and it totally is awesome - but it isn't cushy, and it isn't without its struggles. I never want to be someone who sugar coats things or pretends that she's got it all figured out. I feel like that's just discouraging and unhelpful to people who want to do something similar. Lauren and I are just two people trying to hold it down and sometimes we've got it down pat, and sometimes we are the hot mess express. That last night in LA it was the latter... except that Lauren was thankfully feeling great. She and I had a good laugh driving back to our hotel from the venue. I was literally crying and she was in the passenger seat saying, "Candace, deep breath in and think 'I am strong' and deep breath out as you think 'I am capable.'" This was hysterical because it was the mantra I'd be using in our workshops throughout the tour. The death stare I gave her cracked us both up. I am seriously so thankful for her. I honestly wouldn't have been able to do it without her.
When we got back to the hotel, she and our friend Meredith ran out and got us dinner to go while I boo-hoo'ed to snapchat and had myself a good cry (sometimes that's all you need). Then, the three of us had a really fun girls' night in catching up and laughing. And I got a much needed solid night's sleep and woke up without a headache and feeling well rested.
We packed up our stuff and were off to Austin. The Omni Hotel Downtown Austin generously put us up for this leg of our tour. I found the staff very kind and helpful, and found the in-room dining to be extremely affordable and just as delicious as it was affordable. They also have a fantastic hotel gym!
I've never heard anything but good things about Austin, and it did not disappoint. The energy of the city was so good. The food options seemed endless, and the people seemed warm and vibrant and welcoming. My cousin lives there, and an aunt came from Dallas, and we had such a great girls' time in between our signing and workshop!
Our workshop was so much fun but of course it did not go without its drama! I don't think anyone at the workshop knew, but I'd woken up feeling like I may have had food poisoning or something. I felt so incredibly sick to my stomach throughout the entire workshop that I honestly don't know how I made it through. It's seriously a miracle!
I'd booked another Peerspace spot and this one was amazing. The room was located in a wellness collective. It's a giant building that has rooms for entrepreneurs in the wellness industry - psychotherapists, yoga teachers, reiki masters, massage therapists - it was such a great vibe in there and I was psyched to have connected with the manager of the place. Austin is another place I'd like to get back to and explore. Unfortunately, we didn't have a ton of time there, but what we did see, we loved.
From there, it was time to get back to Connecticut for the final book signing. My parents were able to come, as well as some of my girl friends, and it was such a nice way to finish up what was an incredible trip.
- I'll be teaching an arm balance workshop in the greater NYC area on November 19th.
- I will also be hosting a Namaslay themed 15 day challenge on the blog starting on November 15th. You can just follow along on the blog, or if you want the full experience, pick up a copy of Namaslay, and be sure to subscribe to the exclusive section of the YogaByCandace Official App (just search 'yogabycandace' - no spaces - in the App Store - it's available in Google Play and on iTunes). I will share more details soon.
- Please continue to help us spread the word about the book. Your reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble are helping us, so please keep it up and don't forget to screenshot your review to us via DM on @ybcsneakpeek (not @yogabycandace) and we will send you a free gift in thanks. If that's a lot for you (and I totally get it, if it is), please consider sharing on facebook or instagram or with your local yoga studio. Getting the word out to people who are into yoga is so helpful to us!
Thanks to our sponsors
- This trip was made possible in part by the hotels that generously offered discounted or complimentary stays while we were in town. Thank you to Hotel Marlowe in Boston, Silversmith Hotel in Chicago, Pan Pacific in Seattle, InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles and the Omni Hotel Downtown Austin.
- Thank you to Life on Prints for your time, genorsity and talents in Chicago.
- Thank you to Mealmade for hooking us up with lunch and dinner while in San Fran, and Two Peas Inc for lunch and dinner in LA.
A last word
To those of you who made it to a signing or workshop - thank you so much for the support. It was incredible to hear your stories, your words of thanks, your dreams. It was so great to feel your energy as we practiced yoga together. My favorite part of any workshop is seeing someone do something they'd never been able to do before. Nothing beats that feeling.
To those of you who weren't able to make it to a signing, but who picked up Namaslay and shared it on their social feeds, thank you. Because of you, Namaslay is the number one best seller of new release yoga books on Amazon, and I can't thank you enough. You have quite literally helped make a dream come true. Thank you.