Empowered Movement: Discover Your Strength

The inaugural Empowered Movement event was held on July 19th at The Baker House in East Hampton, co-presented with James Lane Post. As the name suggests, it’s an event that aims to give guests a new authority over their bodies and strength over their lives in a 30-30-30 format: a 30-minute panel discussion, a 30-minute workout, concluded by 30-minutes of networking.

We had a panel of well-received wellness industry experts— SLT’s founder Amanda Freeman, DanceBody’s co-founder and COO Courtnay Mariani, Paddle Diva’s founder and CEO Gina Bradley,  and CoreBarreFit’s co-founder Fred DeVito. They each discussed their journeys as business owners and how certain physical motions can improve mental strength to overcome obstacles. Just like power posing, there are movements we can tap into during our workouts that deliver the confidence we need to push through adversity. To apply this theory, immediately following the panel was a Hip Hop Hits class from DanceBody, intended to let go of inhibitions and discover true strength, followed by refreshments and light bites.

The better we can harness the power of mental strength the more empowered our lives will feel, and the stronger we become. “Empowered Movement: Discover Your Strength” embodies what happens when you combine the elements of connection, community, and conversation to bring a brand’s narrative to life, and it is a true representation of the Nikki On The Daily brand.

As it grows, I hope to see you at the next one.

Sponsors included: Owyn, Liquid Death, Scott’s Protein Balls, Silverspoon Specialties, Barry’s, Inner Beauty, iTri, and Platedate.

The inspiration behind Empowered Movement

Strength is often associated with physical ability, but we underestimate the power strength has on our minds. It turns out that there is a direct correlation between mental strength and physical fitness. 

You’ve likely heard the term “mind-body connection” in regards to mental health. How we feel on the inside can positively or negatively impact the way our bodies function. But mental health and mental strength are not the same. There’s another layer to the mind-body connection. While mental health addresses a mental state, mental strength deals with how we cope with our emotions. A better breakdown is that mental health is a noun and mental strength is a verb. So, while mental health is important, developing mental strength can improve cognitive function and emotional stability. What’s more, it can make us physically stronger.

Sports Psychology Today explains that “mental training is the segment of sports psychology that concentrates specifically on helping athletes break through the mental barriers that are keeping them from performing up to their peak potential.” And studies have shown that individuals who combine mental training with physical training see a significant increase in overall strength and performance. That’s because when we increase emotional resilience and awareness we are better prepared to handle adversity—the adversity we feel within and the physical challenges ahead of us.

For years I’ve used the social media hashtag #StrongNotSkinny, as a tool to bring awareness that strength should be celebrated over body type. However, it wasn’t until I started to run that I was able to truly tap into mental strength. It was the conscious effort to show up, pushing through the discomfort and stigma I long held about running, that transformed how I ran. Mental training taught me that I didn’t dislike running, I disliked the adjustment. And, most importantly, it wasn’t that I couldn’t run but rather I had to work through the mental barriers that stopped me from trying. That’s when an idea hit. If more people understood the power of mental strength would they, too, be able to accomplish more of their fitness goals? That’s how Empowered Movement was formed.

6 Tips on How to Become a Runner, From a Non-runner

Running is an invisible divide between where our mind and our feet take us. The goal is to balance that divide from beginning to end.

When I first started to run my mantra was an internal dialogue of “nope, nope, nope.” With every step, eventually, that turned into “okay, okay, okay.” In time, it became an enthusiastic “yes! yes! yes!” That’s because running is flat-out horrible when you first do it, and anyone that tells you otherwise is either lying to you or themselves. But here’s the good news—it gets better. 

As a non-runner, the hardest obstacle to overcoming my negative mindset was to simply begin.  I wanted to chase the runner’s high I heard so much about, at least to see if I could achieve it. In time I came to learn that running isn’t about running at all. Rather, it’s about the mind-body connection that results from a continuous stride forward.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” —John Bingham, American marathon runner 

Here are six tips on how to become a runner, from a non-runner.

Pick your happy place

“Never limit where running can take you. I mean that geographically, spiritually, and of course, physically.” — Bart Yasso, chief running officer for Runner’s World magazine

Every run begins with a single step. For beginners, it’s where you choose to make that first step that matters most. While convenience is practical when you first start it isn’t everything. To become a runner you need to first pick a place that makes you happy. Whether that’s the treadmill in your home, a scenic view outside your front door or a destination you have to drive to your first step as a runner needs to be somewhere that you look forward to showing up. When you create a positive association with running you’re more likely to lace up. 

Choose your playlist

“Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”—George Sheehan, author

Running is repetitive. It’s the same motion from start to stop, which can either free your mind or hold it captive. For beginners, it’s usually the latter. To avoid getting stuck in a pessimistic loop, prepare your running playlist ahead of time. Traditional workout playlists don’t always work because, unlike your gym workout, there is no break between reps. Be open to the idea of background noise, a continuous melody, meditation, podcasts, or even sans a playlist completely. To become a runner you’ll need to determine what gets you in the mental space to hit the ground running, literally. 

Create mental markers

“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.” — Paul Tergat, Kenyan former professional long-distance runner.

When you run for the first time you won’t know what your body is truly capable of. Your mind will create excuses on why you should quit, slow down, or take a break. “I can’t go any further.” “It hurts to breathe.” “I ran enough.”  Don’t listen. Instead, focus on your body. 

A great way to check in with yourself is to break down the run with mental markers. Focus on a corner, tree, lamp post, trash can, or street sign. Choose a marker that’s a short distance away but close enough that you feel comfortable crossing it. At each marker ask yourself if you can go any further and then repeat the process. Choose a point in the distance. Run to it. Check-in. When you break down the run into bite-size accomplishments you’re more likely to push your body to reach what it’s truly capable of. 

Track distance, not time

“That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.” — Kara Goucher, U.S. Olympic women’s marathoner

There are two methods to measure a run— distance or time. While it’s natural to be preoccupied with what mile-per-hour group you fall into, as a beginner that’s a false way to track progress. You’ll naturally feel fatigued early on. Your legs will become sore, your head might hurt, and your lugs will almost certainly burn. This is all completely natural, you just need to push through it. As your body acclimates these symptoms will become more moderate, almost tolerable, and you might even achieve the elusive runner’s high when you hit a certain distance. Once you’re able to tune into your pace you will naturally increase your speed. Have patience. 

Learn your heart rates

“There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.” — Kristin Armstrong, former professional road bicycle racer and three-time Olympic gold medalist

As with any workout, your heart rate (heart beats per minute) is a good way to evaluate how hard your body is working. You want to push yourself without exceeding your maximum heart rate for too long, too often. The way to do this is to learn your resting heart rate and its rate in the five different training zones (1-2, long-distance; 3-4, speed; 5, sprint). To become a runner, begin with the lower zones (1-2) and as you build endurance you’ll work your way into the higher zones (4-5).


“Running has taught me, perhaps more than anything else, that there’s no need to fear starting lines or other new beginnings.” — Amby Burfoot, former American marathoner

The final step to becoming a runner is to commit to running. Do it on the days you don’t want to when life is most stressful. The days you’re tired and rather give up. Those are the moments you need it most. You’ll enter a meditative zone, the zone where you run away from life’s problems and towards clarity. Commit to one day a week, then more. Even a single mile counts as a run, it just takes that first step.

On average, I run about three days a week. Yet, I still don’t consider myself a runner because, even on my best days, I prefer other forms of exercise. But I run for the person I once was, the former self who became out of breath after four blocks that can now complete a 10k (with a lot of huffing and puffing). As a non-runner, I run because it pushes me out of my comfort zone. It’s both my starting line and finish line, every time.

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” — Bart Yasso

The weekly wellness series is in partnership with James Lane Post, an East End experience.

48 Hours in Sequoia National Park

It’s difficult to imagine trees as tall as buildings, and wider than the average city street. But in eastern central California, in the Sierra Nevada, about a 4.5-hour southeast drive from San Francisco’s International Airport, you’ll discover a land of giants in Sequoia National Park.

What makes Sequoia National Park truly remarkable is the sheer size of the giant sequoia trees all around, which are oftentimes confused with California’s other natural skyscrapers the coastal redwoods. Though not necessarily the tallest in the world, the giant sequoia is the largest tree by volume with a trunk so massive that it is awe-inspiring. Imagine tilting your neck to view the full canopy above and only to discover full-size normal trees as mere branches of the giant sequoia—evidence of the volume, and strength, of the trunk.

Sequoia National Park

On your next California trip, put 48-hours in Sequoia National Park on your adventure list.

Where to stay: Three Rivers

Three Rivers is a village on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada along the Kaweah River and is about a 10-minute drive to the Ash Mountain Entrance Station of Sequoia National Park. You can find perfectly suitable AirBnBs or explore several of their lodging options. What makes this location special, aside from the location, is its small mountain town charm. 

Tip: If you’re driving in from the west, drive by Lake Kaweah at sunset for a breathtaking view over the golden hills.

Sunset at Lake Kaweah

Places to taste (right on the river)

Sequoia Coffee Company is an ideal spot for breakfast and the necessary coffee before your hikes.

Ol’ Buckaroo, a casual but inconspicuously delicious place for dinner. They do all of their cooking right from a food truck, and their meat is locally sourced.

Three Rivers Brewing Co., because all good destinations have microbrews that provide a deeper sense of the local community flavor.

Hikes by difficulty

Day 1: 

Big Trees Trail

Easy: Big Trees Trail: This 1.3-mile loop takes you on a walk around Round Meadow, an open field where the sun’s rays permeate the Giant Sequoias. In May you can find ladybugs by the dozens, a sign of good luck in some cultures.

Tip: For a relatively easy, but long, hike take the ultimate path: Big Trees Trail to Alta Trail, where you’ll pass top tree attractions of Washington Tree, The Cloister, Lincoln Tree, Room Tree, McKinley Tree, General Lee Tree, House Group (along the Congress Trail), Chief Sequoyah Tree, President Tree, and Senate Group. Then backtrack a bit along Congress Trail to see the Founders Group and Cattle Cabin before returning to Alta Trail for a loopback.

Moderate-to-difficult: Moro Rock Trail: It’s a 0.5-mile out-and-back that’s easy for some but dizzying for others. Although not a long trail, its chiseled path leads up the side of a giant rock that’s over 6,700 ft in elevation, with a summit overlooking the Great Western Divide.

Day 2: 

Difficult: Marble Falls Trail: This 7.4-mile out-and-back is not for the faint of heart as most of the trail weaves along the edge of the mountainous canyon, with few places to pass oncoming hikers. However, it’s a beautiful winding pathway with wildflowers that leads to Marble Falls where you can hear to water roar as you rest. 

These paths are interchangeable to pair with since Moro Rock Trail is a fairly quick hike. However, I’d recommend Marble Falls as a standalone adventure with some scenic sequoia stops.

Have you been to Sequoia National Park? Share your suggestions below!

The weekly wellness series is in partnership with James Lane Post, an East End experience

How I Survived: 5 Days Without a Phone

The following is a true story.

It was a bitterly cold morning in rural Pennsylvania. Temperatures hovered around 4°F, give or take, but it felt even lower with the biting wind. I didn’t care. I awoke in a cozy AirBnB cabin on a hill that overlooked a frozen lake. Snow covered every inch of the ground, lingered on bare branches. It was the quintessential winter view. So, I bundled up, grabbed my lightweight tripod, and headed outside with my boyfriend. I placed my iPhone in the phone mount, hit timer, and stepped back. Then the wind picked up.

As if in slow motion, I saw the tripod tilt back and hit the balustrade. In a knee jerk reaction he leapt forward. I can still hear his bellowed “Noooooooo” as the phone broke free of the mount and tumbled below. It landed roughly 15ft from the balcony on an icy shelf.

“I’m going to get it,” I abruptly stated.

“No, you’re not. It’s not safe. It’s gone.”

“It’s not gone. It’s right there. I can get it.”

“Fine. I’ll try and get it.” He began what seemed like a simple downward climb through the trees. But it wasn’t simple at all. An otherwise normal decline (on a thawed out day) was made treacherous by the frigid temperatures that froze both the leaves and water below it. “I can’t go any further without slipping. It’s gone.”

“No. It’s right there. It can’t be gone.”

He found a stick and stretched his arm out to pull the iPhone within reach. The wind returned and the iPhone skated another 20ft down. “That’s it. It’s the phone or me.” I didn’t answer. He crawled back up.

Stubbornly, I lost sight of what truly mattered and could only see pixelated red. “It’s right there!” The phrase was all I could muster. I went inside, changed into my winter boots, and made my way down. As I began my descent, I made it only a fraction of his distance. As a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, this was beyond even my comfort zone. “Alright. It’s gone.” Icy ledge 1. Me 0.

For the remainder of our time in the cozy cabin I went through the motions of denial. Like salt in a wound, I kept going back to balcony and stared at my device, trying to map the ways I could get it. If only I had ice cleats! (yes, I actually considered it). Each time I tried to think of the lesson that was hidden in that moment. The irony that the object of my desires was just beyond my reach.

It’d be five full days until I’d get a new phone– no calls, texts, or social media. Fortunately, I learned a few valuable lessons along the way.

Once my anxiety began to dissipate I realized how truly happy I was in the moment. As a content creator there’s a constant pressure to be ‘on.’ To produce something. Let’s face it, we’re all living in our own version of The Truman Show. Without a phone I had no choice. My TV show was temporarily canceled. And as a result, I was able to do what really mattered to me: read, relax, and enjoy my boyfriends company by the fireplace. I wasn’t distracted. For the first time in a while I was serenely calm.

There’s beauty when we accept the things that can’t be changed. Once I accepted my situation I appreciated it. I thought back to the countless hours I spent aimlessly scrolling, looking down rather than up, and imagined all the moments I missed. The added little details that make up a life. Rather, I imagined all I might’ve missed if I still had my phone.

As the days rolled on, I reflected on what the iPhone represented. I questioned my need to feel so connected, and cautioned that perhaps I was even addicted to it. The incessant need to be in contact and mindless scrolling, they were acquired behavior that impeded an ability to simply be with my own thoughts. The facade faded away and only the reality remained.

By day five I lost it. I cried, screamed, and all other adjectives associated with childlike tantrums. This was more than a detox, it was a full blown colonic and I lost my sh*t. Then, the replacement phone came and I couldn’t help but pause. Will I go back as though nothing happened? Will I forget the lessons I just learned? I imported everything from the iCloud. No. Not today.

So go ahead, “lose your phone” once in a while.

8 Things a Good Brand Story Needs

Before the dawn of social media (I’m talking Instagram and Facebook, not Tom from MySpace), the concept of a ‘brand’ was limited to a business or company. Even now, as you read the word ‘brand’, images of products are likely popping into your head.

For me, the Nike swoosh is one of the most iconic logos of all time. It’s simple but memorable. So simple, in fact, that you can see that swoosh upside down, sideways, backwards, and any other way and still associate it with Nike.

Photo by Rafa De on Pexels.com

But unlike its logo, the Nike brand story is anything but simple. It’s one that’s been built over time. As a result, since its founding in 1964, the company has maintained its rank as the largest sportswear brand in the industry, synonymous with determination and athleticism.

But today, thanks to social media, a brand is much more than corporate consumerism. A brand can be a small business, an identity, even a person. All it takes is a compelling story. Don’t know what that means? Or where to start?

Here are 8 things a good brand story needs.


Ralph Lauren (the person) started his line with ties, but his vision was always greater. He wanted to design a lifestyle, not merely a fashion brand. In taking a page out of the RL book, vision not only defines a brand but carries it.

Before you can create your brand story you need to have a clear vision of how that story will read from beginning to end, even if you make up the chapters in between.


The Wing provides flexible workspaces, but the value is much greater. You don’t just get a place to work from. You’re provided with an inspiring atmosphere with a library, complimentary coffee, and even networking opportunities.

A successful brand story provides value beyond the dollar sign. It offers the audience something they can take away with them, or even share with others.


Environmental activism is the thread that keeps the Patagonia brand story together. As a result, the clothing company continues to make headlines as it pursues its purpose.

Once you have your vision and value, a good brand story needs to have a purpose beyond itself. It’s not only about what you are or what you provide, but rather how you hope to make an impact. One that resonates with your audience.

Photo by Sagar Soneji on Pexels.com

Would you trust an Instagram account with 10 posts and 100k followers? Unlikely. It takes countless hours of hard work and months (even years) to build an organic following. No one is an overnight success (even Amazon.com didn’t see its first quarterly profit until over five years later).

Brand stories, like everything else, take time to build. No matter what your vision, value, or purpose is you need to invest in your brand story before it sees real growth. Have patience. When that first domino falls the rest will follow.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

What do Starbucks and AirBnB have in common? They create communities. From loyalty programs to personalized experiences, the two brands have built multi billion dollar companies placing people first.

Once a brand story begins to catch on it needs a community to keep it alive. Those with a shared interest or vision that find continued value in the brand itself.


Disney, from its iconic characters to theme parks, has created a world that resonates across multiple generations on a global scale. And that’s because it connects with its community.

For a brand story to be successful it needs to connect to its audience on a deeper level. Without a heartfelt connection the brand is nothing more than a sales pitch.

Photo by Florian Doppler on Pexels.com

Stickiness can be hard to define. At the most basic level it refers to how memorable or contagious a brand is. Apple is a sticky brand. Its integrative approach (watch, TV, Mac, AirPods, home) is so convenient for consumers that there’s continuous anticipation for the newest release. Let the iOS vs Android war wage on.

To maintain a community connection a good brand story needs stickiness. Something to keep its audience coming back and look forward to what’s next.


Chick-fil-A was founded on Christian values. It’s stated outright in their Purpose. And placing company wide value in God, whether you’re a believer or an atheist, can be appreciated because it’s genuine.

When all is said and done, a good brand story is rooted in sincerity. It remains true to the brand vision, values, and purpose. It’s honest with the community, and itself.

Ready to tell your brand story?

Whether you’re in the beginning stages or years into the process, it’s never too late to implement these 8 strategies as part of your brand story. If you need help, think of the brands that resonate with you and ask yourself, ‘Why am I loyal to this brand? What is it about their message that makes me choose them above all others?’

Want to take your business to the next level? I’m here to support your brand story. Let’s work together: email me at NTeitler@gmail.com .

I want to hear from you! Comment your thoughts on this blog and branding below and let’s continue the conversation. For now, here are some of my favorite quotes about branding from the business experts themselves.