I love hearing stories about women finding themselves after feeling lost for a while. It motivates me to keep pushing.  Aixa Owens’s recount of freedom is inspiring!

“My experience at Grrrl live, wow, where do I begin? I walked into the Golden Nugget to not knowing what to expect and I came out of there with my mind blown away. Not only was the insane energy so powerful, every GRRRL there was just like me, needing to be surrounded by other GRRRLS who understood them. 

I was meant to be there, share my story and listen to everyone else’s as well. As we cried, hugged and cheered each other on all weekend, I grew stronger. What ailed me no longer held me back, my self greif  and most powerful of them all, the hatred I carried inside. For so long I carried this burden written all over my face and as I broke my board I felt that demon leave me. 
Now like Bruce Lee, I crouch down, whip my arm forward and with the palm of my hand I invite any other doubt to try and get me, cuz it will go down! 

GRRRL Live  saved a part of me I knew I was losing. Thanks to KO for giving me the opportunity to be surrounded by so much love and acceptance. For my GRRRL Heather and Annie, for sticking with me knowing I was panicking being submerged by so many people. As I type these words, tears are flowing down my face but, these are tears of joy and acceptance. I am a free GRRRL.

 

I am certainly excited for GL19 as I sit here and read all of your stories

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky

“Grrrl Live 2018 was monumental for me.  When I went to GL17, I was trying to find my way in life and trying to build more confidence. I walked away from that conference not only realizing that I was on the right path but that many of my dreams were achievable and I shouldn’t let my insecurities get in the way.  Fast forward to GL18 and my life is different. On the plane to Las Vegas I realized just how I’ve come so far in my life. My insecurities have diminished, my confidence has increased and my life is great.  
 
GL18 was just as impactful in so many ways.  For one, I got to see a lot of the Grrrls that I met last year. Grrrls that I’ve made friends with through the private group or on Instagram. There were also so many that I had not yet known.  The hugs and the love just overflowed my heart and soul. Now I miss my #grrrlarmy sisters so much.
 
The presentations during GL18 were epic and there was so much that I took away from each one.  However, the most impactful was the Intersectional Feminism panel.  To listen to my sisters talk about this topic was deeply moving and I walked away more informed than I ever. I look forward to doing a self-check again for GL19 reuniting with my Grrrl Army sisters and meeting so many more next year. It’s going to be an epic year! I just know it.”
Adele George @adele_grrrlarmy

Your stories keep rolling in and I couldn’t be happier to share them. This one from Gretchen has me in tears. I can relate to this feeling and I admire her courage and transparency in sharing this :

Chuckie Welch, Gretchen and Meg Squats!

“GRRRL Live was not at all like I anticipated it would be. It was better and harder. It kicked my ass more mentally than physically. I was walking to the event Saturday morning when I got the call that my 5 year old son was sick. As a mom I instantly felt guilt for not being home. I walked into the room and the #GRRRLARMY was already in formation. I made myself feel like an outsider. With each passing empowering moment I shrunk a bit more. The old voices in my head were gaining strength. “You’re not one of them. They won’t like you. You’re not enough. Women like them aren’t friends with girls like you.” And you know what? The voice won for most of the weekend. I sat alone in a room with the #GRRRLARMY and silently struggled. I cried when I couldn’t will myself to participate and I debated attending Sunday. I worked up the nerve to chase two of my IG (s)heroes down and emotionally explained to them how following them has helped me. 

Day 2 came and I slowly I got that inner voice to shut up. When it came time for board breaking I couldn’t break my board in the room with everyone else but I worked up the courage to do it in my hotel room alone. I introduced myself to another Gretchen, and then another Gretchen. There’s some magic to the fact that a name unused for 1000 years belongs to 3 women in the same movement. I gained strength at GRRRL Live by being my weakest, by realizing I still struggle to accept who I am becoming, by still being intimidated by the strength of other women because I’m scared to find my own. I can’t wait to go back next year!”

We all struggle at times. Getting out of our comfort zones and into the right environment is key. There is no better place or time to do that than at  GRRRL Live with the #GRRRLARMY standing with you. I am so excited for you Gretchen. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. It takes TONS of grown ass woman strength to step out and fight the fear that is in your head.  That was no small thing! I cant wait to see you next year! Be prepared for one of my patented Spunky Hugs. We love you GRRRL xo

Spunky

That feeling when you go away but it’s just like coming home. That’s what reading Lydia Valentine’s story about what GRRRL Live meant to her reminds me of.

“Ever since I became aware of GRRRL Live and it’s inception in 2017, I knew I needed to go.  I had already followed GRRRLS from all over and I wanted to meet them all. Rarely do I stay interested and passionate about things in the “fitness” industry. But, I have only grown more involved and intense about this brand and what it’s about.

I work a full-time job on a college campus that prevents me from leaving town during the school year. But when the opportunity came up for me to attend GRRRL Live 2018, I did everything in my power to make it happen.

I had had a long few weeks before the weekend of GL and found out last minute that I could get coverage at my job, so I made a decision and did it. I was so tired from the week when Friday rolled around (my flight was at 10pm) I almost wasn’t excited about it; I just wanted to sleep. But I’m so happy I made it happen.

Through the GRRRL Facebook page I was able to find one of my GRRRLS who was landing around the same time as I was. We took an Uber to the Golden Nugget together.  She ended up being my closest friend for the weekend and we always knew we had someone to hangout with. Shout-out to Krystal Schmidt for being my airport buddy! We finally got to the hotel. But, sadly it was after the pool party had finished and we hadn’t seen any GRRRLS until we went to the lobby to check in. Who was the first person we saw? None other than Kortney Olson herself!! There may or may not have been some crying. I was exhausted but, I’ve never felt more comfortable around a group of women.

For 2 days I forgot about my other worries. I let myself feel completely free and comfortable in the company of these amazing women. They were nothing but welcoming, friendly and loving. All things good. I tend to get caught up with how I look. I’m afraid of doing things that I want to do in fear of looking stupid and I worry about what others might think.  At GRRRL Live I was entirely free from that feeling. I learned about myself, and how to be a better person for the people in my life

You know when you get so accustomed to something and you figure that’s just how it is? But, then you try this other thing and it’s so much better? and you’re like, “this is how it’s SUPPOSED to be.” That’s how I felt when I was surrounded by these women. I was accepted for me exactly as I am. I normally surround myself with supportive people but this was a whole new level!

GRRRL will always be a part of me and I couldn’t be more thankful that I had the chance to attend GRRRL Live 2018.”

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky

 

I had a lot of fun in the body confidence break away session at GRRRL Live and I know all of you GRRRL’s did too! There was so much energy and freedom in the room that day.  Here is what Yassmin Diab  had to share on her experience with teaching us all about the beautiful art of belly dancing:

 

“What an absolutely incredible opportunity this was, not only to be present for GRRRL Live 2018, but to be a part of teaching a workshop with 2 other bad ass women.

When I approached Kortney after GL17 about teaching a belly dance workshop, I was really doing so on a whim.  Kortney didn’t know very much about me outside of being a part of the GRRRL Facebook group, and that I live in Vegas.  But she was all for it!  How thrilled was I?!  A few months later, she emailed me about combining dance workshops to create one MEGA workshop, and that sounded like WAY too much fun to pass up!!

I’ve been a student of Arab Dance for 15 ½ years.  I’ve taught various classes and workshops over the past 10.  This was by far the most challenging, and the most rewarding.

I say challenging, because I’m used to teaching for an hour to an hour and a half.  The structure of this workshop allotted myself and the other two GRRRLS about 35 minutes each.   Who doesn’t love a challenge?

Preparing was hard.  There is SO much material that I wanted to cover, I overwhelmed myself a bit.  I’d go off on crazy tangents, I had well over 3 hours of music to sort through and select.  However, with the help of my amazing GRRRL Supporting husband, I got the structure, the material, and the music laid out and ready.

I loved the concept of the workshop, too:  Body confidence through movement!  Leslie and Iryss both brought incredible classes!  Leslie’s twerkshop was super high energy, and had GRRRLS dancing on the walls!!  Iryss brought the super sexy chair dancing, strutting, and hair tossing!  It was amazing to share time with them.

GL18 was incredible.  There were so many important topics discussed over the weekend, I can’t possibly describe all of them with the attention and accolades they deserve. One that did have a profound impact on me was the Intersectional Feminism talk and the Panel. This tied directly into my portion of the workshops the next day:  as a white woman who studies, performs, and teaches Arab dance, I am always conscious about cultural appropriation.  I don’t want to pick and choose bits and pieces of the dance, leave the rest, and claim it as my own.  I have the utmost respect and love for Arab culture.  I study with Arab musicians, dancers, and teachers. This dance is someone’s culture. I have a responsibility to educate my students about it. Even if it’s something as brief as making a statement about where the dance originates from before diving into movement, or using as many of the Arabic terms for movements as possible. 

Having the opportunity to not only educate the incredible GRRRLS who took the class about the origins of one of the oldest dance forms in the world. And also sharing my passion, and hopefully help impart a bit of the confidence that studying dance has granted me, has been an incredible experience.   Every single GRRRL present did an amazing job picking up the minute and a half routine I presented.  I couldn’t be more proud and more humbled to have been a part of this incredible event.  I hope there will be opportunities in the future for me to do this again, and again, and again!! ”

 

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky 

Your stories from GRRRL Live 2018 are starting to roll in and I’ve made it my mission to share as many as I possibly can! That weekend meant so many things to so many of us. I find myself wiping away tears while reading all of the beautiful recaps of sisterhood, new friendships and strength. My inbox is flooded and I’m loving it!

I caught up with Clinay Cameron  and here is what she had to say about her experience in Las Vegas last week:

“I want to first start off by saying thank you for reaching out. I’m honored to share my experience with you. I wrote a lot because I had a lot to say. Words can’t describe how great my experience was.

I came to Grrrl Live 2018 with my friend and teammate Inky from Northern California. We both had no idea of what to expect but we were ready for anything. On Day 1, I was excited to have seen and/or met surprise guests such as Chuckie Welch and  Amber Galloway. With them having roles in events like this (big or small) just makes the experience much more impactful, because you have that true form of representation in the conference. To be able to physically speak with or hear from a person you resonate with on a more personal level, is both refreshing and empowering.

I was also greatly appreciative of the themes we went over for each day, which included public and interpersonal issues we as women deal with on a day to day basis. It was awesome to see Kortney and her team of speakers addressing topics such as intersectional feminism, and the public issue of immense lack of diversity and inclusion in society as a whole.

Lastly, I was hesitant to participate in either of the Strongwoman or deadlifting competitions because I didn’t want to intimidate any of the GRRRLS from trying because of my size (and I have bad stage fright when it comes to competitions). So, I definitely did not dress or prepare for the occasion. But, what hit home for me, was seeing many of these GRRRLS go out of their way to support and cheer on one another during these two workshops. The positive energy was AUTHENTICALLY INSANE! I attempted to stay off to the side to support, but Inky and several other GRRRLS were not having it and encouraged me to deadlift and do the Strongman medley. Had I not listened, I wouldn’t have had the experience of hitting a 400 pound deadlifting PR with the #GRRRLARMY rooting for me! That was one hell of an experience I’ll never forget. I’m one who encourages people to step out of their comfort zones for a living and my hand was dealt to do do the same.

I want to give a special thanks and congratulations to Kortney Olson for doing it again! We could not have made this visit possible if it weren’t for your love, encouragement, and support. I’ll be seeing you, and thank you for all you do.”

 

Thank you Clinay for sharing your awesome #GRRRLLIVE2018 story!  Congrats on that badass deadlift PR!

Peace, Love and Lollipops GRRRL’s

Spunky

 

 

Hey GRRRL’s Hey, it’s Spunky. I’ve made it my mission to catch up with as many of you ladies who attended GRRRL Live as possible over the next few weeks! GRRRL Live meant many different things to each of us. We loved, we hugged, we cried but most of all we GREW. We grew so much we came home different. I know I did. That’s sisterhood. That’s what happens when you create a space for women to step out in freedom. It’s a beautiful thing.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Leslie Parker who opened up the first part of our Body Confidence workshop on day 2. Leslie Parker is the creator of the TWERKXING PROGRAMM she is also a fitness and boxing instructor. This woman possesses such incredible soul and energy. She’s next level in the BADASS department! It was hard not to feel comfortable while attempting to shake my own ass! That says a lot because twerking and I were not friends before this workshop. Here’s what Leslie had to say about her experience:

 

I had an incredible time in Vegas last weekend with all those amazing GRRRLS.

I discovered a spirit where it’s more about how can I use my difference as a strength. Where one doesn’t judge the other because she doesn’t answer to the society code about how a female body has to be to be great.

During our workshop, I really enjoyed seeing freedom in all those women who had suffered with their appearance or body-weight.  

They really played the game. They were shameless and had a lot of fun. I love seeing happiness when I teach a class and I could feel a huge positive energy in the room during my workshop.

Some of the girls came over to me at the end of my twerk & fitness class to tell me thanks!

The energy with Yasmine and Iris was super cool. We motivated and supported each other. Our goal was to give our best to make the group feel comfortable. I could feel what we call “sisterhood”

As a badass as I am, I’ve had a hard time with people in the past. But with these GRRRL’s, I could really feel a support and a validation of our deep talent.  We are all different. We all have a talent and this spirit helps highlight our greatness.

I hope you will understand my text I’m French and I have to improve my English!!

Big thanks to Kortney and her super team. Long life to GRRRL”

Leslie Parker.

 

Hey GRRRL’s Hey, it’s Spunky!  I just got home from GRRRL Live 2018 and I’m still trying to absorb it all. What an amazing, life changing event!  I came home a different woman and I’m certain any woman who made it out to Las Vegas this year feels the same.

Here’s what some of you GRRRL’s had  to say about #GRRRLLIVE2018

Yet again GRRRL Live delivers. A weekend of fun, friendship and badass bitches. Sharing, supporting and shaping the future. The workshops, speakers and the OG event were out of this world! I will be back (and bringing my friends) thanks K.O and team GRRRL‘ – Mish x

” I’m almost certain that I’ve never been in such an encouraging, supportive group of WOMEN like this. Without judgement or competition. The vibrancy made my soul say ” This is what it is. This is truth”  Thank you! Can’t wait for next year! – Severina – Felicia’s assistant.

“My favorite thing about GL18 other than seeing my sisters was one of the speakers. Her message about freedom from food really spoke to me.  So much so, that I linked up to talk with her in a week or so. It’s a start in the right direction. As an OG, I really enjoyed the boudoir shoot more than I realized.  It touched a part of me that I didn’t even know existed.  Thank you!  – Kanoe

“GRRRL Live 2018- what an experience! Absolutely life changing, revolutionary and therapeutic. Thank you #Grrrlarmy for providing a place for growth, fun and connectivity.” -Kayla Hamilton. 

GL17 gave me the beginning tools, planted the seeds and ignited me on my mission to grow. GL18 empowered those tools, gave me new tools and more perspective. It has me leaving stronger, more educated, more aware and so much more driven. I’m excited for my growth, journey and change between now and GL19! – Cassandra Cuskelly.

“OG is the best part of GRRRL Live for me. It gives me extra time to know the amazing GRRRL’s in my sisterhood on a much deeper level.  The photoshoot gave me such anxiety but, once I got into my outfit and started having my pictures taken it really boosted my confidence. It was so much fun!

“What an amazing experience at GL2018! i met a lot of strong empowered women.  I’m happy to be part of our GRRRL family and already looking forward to next year!

 

 

 

 

 

Hey everyone it’s Kelly AKA The SpunkyCanuck checking in with the scoop on an awesome GRRRL fairy tale.

Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Lizzie and Suzy two GRRRLS who have an amazing story to share. I was familiar with part of their story catching bits and pieces of it here and there in our closed FB group and on Instagram. But, after spending some time with these ladies, I experienced first hand the love that they share for each other.  It’s evident that this couldn’t have happened to two more deserving women. After our talk, I was left feeling inspired and hopeful that real life whirlwind, butterflies in the stomach type of romances actually do exist and still happen.

Lizzie, 26 a sweet fun loving pastry chef from Christchurch New Zealand and Suzy, 37 a passionate children’s daycare worker in Chicago IL, had no idea that their lives were going to be completely transformed in EPIC proportions when they became a part of our closed Grrrl Facebook group. I must  say that I did get a little emotional putting together this interview. It’s just really nice to see genuine beautiful people fall head over heels in love and come out on top.

Kelly: Tell me the story about how you each found GRRRL Clothing.

Lizzie: I came across Grrrl while I was looking for some new gym wear. I had just started going to the gym with an Olympic lifting friend who was slowly getting me addicted to lifting heavy shit! I loved the clothes so much and through them, I found the Facebook page. I fell in love with the vibe  in the group and all the amazing Grrrls. I started talking and interacting with Grrrls and made some really cool friends around the world. Jumping on the Grrrl page felt like coming home.

Suzy: I found Grrrl through a close friend whom I used to Crossfit with. I was down dark path and at the end of bad relationship. I was Literally starting my life over again after a 5 year relationship. One day my friend says to me  “Have you heard of Kortney Olson?” and I’m like “who?” and she was like “ what you have never heard of Grrrl?” I hadn’t so I quickly checked them out on Instagram and was added to the FB group shortly after. I was in awe!! I was amazed at all the strong females. And even though I was in the group, I didn’t feel quite up to par. There were so many lovely Grrrls commenting and building me up. Slowly, I was finding my way and.making a couple Grrrl purchases at a time. Even at my heaviest, I was sporting around in shirts that exposed my sports bra and all my jelly rolls. I didn’t care because I represented a brand that was about something. I even attempted to get a Grrrl tattoo  however it was spelt accidently with and “ I” in it. I didn’t care, I was invested in this movement. I was a Grrrl!

Kelly: How did you guys meet?

Lizzie: One day I was just cruising around the group seeing what everyone was up to and this Grrrl posted about her donut shorts. She shared about how she wore them to the gym and felt self conscious and awkward. So, I commented about how I have the same shorts and I understood the feeling. She looked amazing in them and I wanted to offer her some support. A little while later I saw she had posted again and I won’t lie, in my head I was like. “she is freakin hot!” After a while seeing her posts and commenting back and forth, I added her as a Facebook friend.

Suzy: I began friending girls slowly and getting to know them a little better. I friended a cute girl named Lizzie who was full of energy and life. I noticed that I could always relate to her quotes about life and relationships. We were literally FB friends for 6 months before we actually spoke to each other!

Kelly:  Can you tell me a little bit about how your relationship developed?

Lizzie: We continued commenting on each others posts but, we barely talked at all for several months. Then one day Suzy posted about a dinner voucher she had and that she needed someone to go with her to this dinner. So, I cheekily commented that she should take me on a date! The comments went back and forth about this imaginary date we were going to have. I decided to send her a private message to continue the conversation. I didn’t go to sleep till about 4am that night. I just wanted to keep talking to her. She was so interesting and funny. I was worried if we stopped talking that day, we wouldn’t talk again! How wrong I was!

The next day we just kept talking and to this day the talking hasn’t stopped. We slowly got to know each other. We got good at the time differences and at remembering each others schedules to maximize our talk time. We got up early and stayed up stupid late just so we could talk longer. We started sending each other music to listen to. All of our favorite songs and bands. The music became love songs and the conversation changed from our friendship to something more.

I remember one day I was wondering what her voice sounded like. I sent her a little video just saying “hi”. This is me and my kiwi accent, i’m wondering what you sound like.”  This poor little sausage was so nervous about sending one back. It took some encouragement, but she did it for me and a little while later she was comfortable enough to video chat in real time. We started having little dates on video chat. We talked about life and what we both wanted and cared about. It felt crazy to be falling for someone on the other side of the world, who I have never met. It happened so naturally and so easily. I never imagined that it would actually become something. When I realised I had fallen for her, I knew that I had to do something!

Suzy: In June of last year I posted about a birthday voucher and how I needed someone to come with me for dinner. I had no idea that my whole world was about to change. After chatting through a private message with Lizzy I knew I had found a solid friend. I honestly had no intention of finding love at this point. I had been talking to someone for a few months who lived states away. That relationship was pretty much at its end when Lizzie and I started chatting. I was very upfront about my situation. I had been in a dishonest relationship previously and didn’t want to hurt this dear person that I had just met. But, as we continued to talk everyday. I found myself not being able to get through my day without finding out what she had been up to, or what funny things she’d say. She was so very funny and so very charming. Our conversations consisted of real things. Hopes and dreams. She was also encouraging me to go back to school. This girl was amazing and I couldn’t get enough.

Kelly: Can you guys tell me the story about how you first met in person?

Lizzie: A friend of mine sat me down and basically told me that I needed to just go for it! I needed to go and meet her for real and find out if this woman is going to be my forever. My friend set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for my flights and my parents helped out a bunch. I have never traveled further than Australia (3 Hour plane ride). Traveling to America by myself was huge!! I was so scared but also crazy excited!  The trip was amazing and I never once felt alone. I knew the Grrrl Army was behind me and commenting on my journey as I was sharing it with them. It felt like all the Grrrls were there with me.

Suzy: I never wanted a moment to happen more in my life. To have this girl with me whom I barely knew, but was so quickly was falling for.

After months of talking, I knew I wanted to spend my life with this girl. Me!  The person who has been so scared of the whole marriage thing. I wanted nothing more than to make this girl my wife. I wanted her to help me raise my children. She is definitely one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. I wanted a house and the whole nine yards. I wanted it all. Many would consider us crazy because there is 17 hrs between us. But, to be honest there was never a question of will this work or How will this work? Those questions never crossed my mind. All I knew is that she was mine and I was hers. I was going to make this work. I would do whatever it takes.

When I met this girl at the airport and I held her in my arms for the first time and kissed her lips. It confirmed everything I had been feeling for the previous three months. If I had a ring at that moment, I would’ve proposed  to her right then and there. Having her in my space was the best reality I have ever experienced. She was there with me. It was everything. She is my everything. Later on, when I made my journey over to her it was just as exciting! Her world is so awesome and so are her friends and family. I can just tell they helped shape her into the beautiful person she is today.

Kelly:  I’m getting all the warm fuzzies just hearing you guys share from the heart. What a beautiful story. Lizzie you mentioned a crowdfunding campaign and the #GRRRLARMY being  behind you during that first trip. Can you tell me a little more about how that evolved?

Lizzie: The friend I mentioned earlier secretly messaged the MFCEO and asked her if it would be okay to get the Grrrl Army involved in a crowdfunding campaign to help raise the funds for my trip. Kortney set it all up and started sharing it everywhere. All these GRRRLS who we’ve only known online, sent money and left messages of encouragement. It was so incredibly humbling. I couldn’t believe how much people cared about us.

Kelly: That’s extremely heart warming and amazing. It’s so cool to know that this trip lead to your eventual engagement! Congratulations! Who proposed? And how ?

Lizzie:  Suz and I are super romantic, so I wanted her to have the big heartfelt romantic moment. When she booked her flights to come out here to New Zealand and meet my family, I planned this wee picnic in the garden for us. I had a ring made by this amazing kiwi jeweler, it’s one of a kind. When I proposed, about 5 seconds later Suz pulls this frickin ring out of her pocket ! She had the same idea!!!!

Suzy: Yes absolutely!!  She beat me to it!

Kelly: How incredibly special! And now in less than two weeks you will be getting married at GRRRL Live in Las Vegas! That’s insane! How are you guys feeling, are you nervous?

Lizzie:  I am crazy excited! My dress is just having a few final touches this week and everyone at my work is counting down the days with me!

Suzie: I’m super excited! However i’m a worrier. I worry about traveling and making sure everything will go alright.

Lizzie:  I know like we were planning on meeting for the first time and going on a date in Vegas and now we’re getting married!

Suzy: Oh how things have changed. It’s like they say when you know -you know and with Lizzie, I have always known.

Lizzie: I read this thing a while ago about how there are 2 types of people. Jumpers and toe dippers. I have never found another jumper before until I met Suz. Like we just went for it!

Yep, they sure did go for it. It’s amazing what a group of determined women can accomplish when they want to get something done. We’ve seen it with our even more recent crowdfunding campaign, The Self Love Rebellion Project. Grrrls are changing the world. I am very much looking forward to watching these two get married and sharing in that moment. It will no doubt be memorable. I am honored to be involved in sharing their story. I am honored to be a part of  an amazing group of women who are making shit happen every day! Stay tuned, I will be writing a follow up on these love birds after the wedding!

 

Peace love and Lolipops

Kelly