If you know me, you know how important my girlfriends are to me. I cherish each and every one of them, and they are a big reasons I live in DC – most happen to live there. If you know me, you also know I spend a lot of my time in New Orleans. My love story with New Orleans started in 2008, and continues strong. There is something about the spirit of the people there that I have yet to find elsewhere. And little by little, I am discovering amazing women there, some who have become girlfriends, and some whom I hope to one day have the privilege of calling that.
Erin Romney falls in the latter group. The friend of a friend, I reached out to her because of her very New Orleans story – and cannot wait to meet her, and get to know her in person.
Read on… and go visit her studio!
AP: Tell me a little bit about yourself. ER: I am the owner of ROMNEY Pilates and RIDE. I started this studio 11+ years ago shortly before Katrina. After losing the studio for a bit while New Orleans built back up I lived in Paris, France teaching Pilates there.
AP: Katrina… such a loaded name. ER: Yes… Katrina changed me, like Katrina changed the personality of New Orleans. All for the better of course and I appreciate what I went through now but it was a rough go for a while. People are passionate about this city and it showed in the rebuilding efforts.
AP: You moved from New Orleans to Paris… and even Paris couldn’t keep you from coming back to New Orleans. ER: I came back to New Orleans with a vengeance to rebuild my business in the city I had fallen in love with. I realized when I moved back that people needed a place to escape the stress the city was under, and for a time our studio was a refuge. People would stay for hours. It was a source of happiness and release not only for clients but for me as well. That’s when I took it over the top to create that atmosphere that provided that daily escape through the surroundings and movement. Today, 11 years later, three studio upsizes and a location within The Ritz-Carlton is we are where we are. We have expanded our offerings to Pilates, Cycling, Barre, Gyrotonic, Megaformer and now boxing. I have got an incredible team that I work with daily and we are in a beautiful facility that my father designed in a lovely location.
AP: What city were you born in? ER: I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but shortly after my birth we moved to Salt Lake City, UT.
AP: What city to do you live in? ER: I live in New Orleans (NOLA, The Dirty, The Big Easy, The Crescent City).
AP: What is your astrological sign? ER: Cancer with a sprinkle of Leo.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? ER: I love interior design and fashion. I love creating beautiful spaces to surround oneself in. A beautiful, comfortable interior really affects people. Fashion is a way to express yourself. It’s your personality coming out for everyone to see even if they never have a conversation with you.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? ER: Eat healthy, that is number one! It’s what fuels you. It’s what raises your vibration. Beauty is from the inside out. It’s your skin, your physical shape, your hair, the clarity of your eyes, your mental and physical energy. Those all contribute to beauty and it begins with a healthy diet. I’ve been down that road before of abusing food (sugar in particular) and suffered the consequences of bad skin, low energy levels and physically not my best.
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? ER: I start every morning with lemon water, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper in warm water. It’s alkalizing, anti-inflammatory and speeds up metabolism. I limit dairy, gluten, caffeine (former addict) and sugar (former addict as well). I only drink on special occasions because alcohol affects me negatively and I’m suffering the next day. I know it sounds like an extreme diet and it’s certainly not how I’ve eaten in the past but the results are outstanding in my physical body and mental clarity!
Every season I do a food based cleanse. It’s 10 days, seasonal, vegan, very clean vegetable based recipes. Since doing this cleanse/detox I have managed to rid my addiction from caffeine and sugar. I will trip up after a few months and then it’s time for the next cleanse so it gets me back on track.
AP: What do you do for exercise? ER: A lot of different things to cross train: Pilates, Cycling, Megaformer, Barre, Gyrotonic and recently Boxing. Everything I do I really believe in for the specific results it provides. No one exercise covers it all unfortunately. Fitness is not about one modality, you can’t train the same way over and over and get the same results. That’s why we offer a variety at our studio, we are basically five boutique studios under one roof. You eventually plateau or over-train the same muscles groups the same way and then injury happens. I want to look good and feel good well into my older years. To live life with vitality, vigor, and no physical pain.
AP: What is your favorite thing to eat and drink? ER: One thing that I love to drink but I don’t think it’s great for you is sparkling water. It prevents me from drinking soda or sugary juice drinks. To eat? Circa 3 years ago it was pizza, fried stuff and sugary desserts. Today, I actually love roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale salads and avocado toast.
AP: Botox or not? ER: Whatever makes someone feel beautiful…within reason. I always say try natural alternatives first, facial massage, creams, acupuncture, to see if those are effective and if not then take the next step if you feel like you need it. Skin ages differently over time. Aging and gravity take their toll on people in different ways and someone else’s path is their path. Just remind them of their worth and inner beauty with or without the needle.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? ER: I’m still trying to figure this one out. I absolutely LOVE what I do and I also am blessed with the most magical family but both worlds pull at me like a tug-of-war.
I’m proud to show my children what hard work looks like for an entrepreneur. I have found my life’s work and I believe that I’m showing my children that anything is possible in life with some passion, grit, and elbow grease.
When I’m with my children and not working I can really focus on them and be an attentive mother. When I’m with them, I’m pulled into their world, which is very different from business world. Children are so sweet, innocent and awed by life. A very successful business woman told me once that in order to pursue/grow/attend to your company you need really good help/team at home and I have been fortunate to have found that. I couldn’t do what I do without it.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? ER: Oh gosh, I have really started traveling recently because my children are easier to travel with but it’s mostly in the U.S. Roughly about 7 trips per year. I hope to travel to more foreign territory in the next few years.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? ER:
1) I’m that person who cleans my space on the plane. I have this blended essential oil spray that kills airborne germs since the air is recycled on planes. I will also bring hand wipes and wipe down the seat, the air vent and anything I touch.
2) I always bring an apple with me to hold me over. Airport food is horrible and when I’m starving is when I make poor food decisions.
3) Always carry on a simple black outfit in case they lose your luggage and you are without clothes
AP: What is your worst pet peeve? ER: Slow, inefficient drivers. I said it. Not proud but that always brings out a little road rage in me unfortunately. I recently put a calming essential oil diffuser in my car so hoping that helps.
AP: What professional beauty/fitness/wellness experts do you have on your speed dial. ER: Local: Tisa Beauty Bar for make-up, Dr. Deirdre Hooper for skin, Angelina Marzano for massage and Melanie Weller for body work, chakra aligning.
General experts I turn to: Taryn Toomey is my spiritual guru (she’s an amazing human being), Gwyneth Paltrow for various alternative treatments, natural products that I’m into and love her cookbooks, Kate Hudson for a little happiness which is just as important as everything else for health. I also really look up to trainer Todd Durkin, he is another incredibly inspiring person. You can simply walk into his gym and you feel his positive energy.
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? ER: I try to wake up before my children so I can meditate. That’s usually around 5:30am. Meditation has been life changing for me. I am able to handle stress better and I’m overall more calm and focused. I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. I love sleeping and I’m good at it.
AP: Who is your mentor? ER: Salma Hayek once told me that I need to create a mentor within myself. Brilliant words I live by. If I had to pick one person it would be Taryn Toomey because she helps inspire me to build my inner mentor. She’s touched my soul with her words, classes and philosophy on life. I look up to her in so many ways.
AP: What is your skincare routine (products, facialists, etc)? ER: Skin hasn’t been my greatest asset and it’s probably because I ate very poorly for decades. I’m turning that around now and regularly get facials about every 2-3 weeks. The skin should be more about regular maintenance rather than a really aggressive peel once a year when your epidermis isn’t necessarily prepped for that.
I recently switched to the La Mer oil facial cleanser and love it. Exfoliation is good for my skin so I use a scrub as well. I also discovered these natural facial products called Kypris from Donna Karan’s space in Aspen. They are organic, natural and use essential oils in their serums. I firmly believe in the power of therapeutic grade organic essential oils. I use a lot of Skinceuticals products as well. If I need a strong moisturizer, I’ll use Crème de la Mer.
I get facials from Marlene at La Visage Day Spa and my dermatologist is Dr. Deirdre Hooper.
AP: What do you do to relax? ER: I take bath’s daily. I can’t remember the last time I showered. There’s something so healing about being in water and the weightlessness of the body. I love to read and always bring a book/magazine with me. I could stay in there for hours, literally.
AP: Quote to live by. ER: Here are a few:
You are love, fall for yourself. – r.h. Sin
Paradise isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. – L. Boyer
Life doesn’t get any easier. You just get stronger.
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. – Mark Nepo
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. ER: You don’t have to choose the career or the family. You can have both if you want it bad enough. Raising children is very important absolutely but so is following your dreams and becoming your own person. More specifically…
1) Do it because you LOVE it. Do it because you can’t stop thinking about it. Don’t do it for money, that will come because you love it.
2) Surround yourself with people who lift you up and support you. It doesn’t have to be many, but they should be significant.
3) Listen to your intuition. Setbacks will happen and they will sting but know that they are just guiding you to something better.
4) No one is you and that is your power. You have more strength inside of you than you realize, if you only learn how to tap into it you can achieve the life of your dreams. Conquer from within!
AP: Describe your dream day. ER: Even though I’ve created a pretty great daily life for myself I need to be in nature to be well. I would love to wake up early near the ocean with a forest nearby, watch the sunrise and walk around exploring the outdoors or swim for a couple hours. Return to have breakfast with my family and enjoy them for a couple hours then work on an art project. Eat lunch with my family. Explore outdoors on horseback with kids. Read a book in the bath for a bit then help prepare a beautiful, outdoor dinner for a close, fun group of good friends and family. At the end of the night, sit next to a fire under the stars with a cup of tea and reflect/express gratitude for the perfect day.
AP: What makes you feel beautiful? ER: When I exercise, meditate, eat clean and hang out with my loved ones.