Massive Appreciation for Amsterdam

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Let’s set the stage. I’m sitting at the kitchen table overlooking two canals. Small quiet boats pass through, breaking the still waters as I type. Before I found myself in this position, and on my walk home, I discovered a specialty foods shop a stone’s throw from the apartment. It’s exactly the kind of specialty shop you want to stumble upon: A smorgasbord of black truffle potato chips, fudge made in small batches, old Amsterdam cheese, various types of prepared organic salads that are far more appetizing than those found in whole foods, brownies, vegan and vegetarian choices and so forth. Effectively, something for everyone. A large convection oven protruding from the wall stands ready to warm your bread or pastry and a moments notice and a warm inviting atmosphere drew me in the way a disney character smells a freshly baked pie from a mile away, levitates off the ground and floats inside in a dream like state. Incidentally, the waffle and crepe shops will give you the same effect.

But for now, several of these gourmet ingredients are spread across the kitchen table as church bells signal that it’s half past the hour. As I let the slow drip of honey spread across my warm gluten free bread, I top it with a slice of special cheese and consume the whole thing at once.

The canal is quiet. But only one night ago there were rain and thunder and lightening storms so loud and bright it felt like an IMAX experience, or better said, a real nature experience.

Earlier today I was on the subway it might as well be called the nicest underground I have ever laid my eyes upon. Immaculate from top to bottom, no doors separating each train so you can see straight through to the very end and possibly cleanest floors ever. It was delightful.

Simply walking through the streets of Amsterdam as an experience in itself. Like many European cities, the streets are lined with cobblestone and different textured stones and that makes just the mere act of walking a joyous moment. Different smells waft by, sometimes fresh air, sometimes pot, sometimes delicious cooking. My favorite is when a family is at home and about to eat dinner.

And Taxis. Can you imagine that if an E or S class Mercedes Benz doesn’t pick you up, any number of 100 different Tesla’s will? Fully Electric, top of the line, cutting edge Teslas as taxis!

Having lived in Venice for a year many years ago, it’s hard to not immediately notice the similarities between Venezia and Amsterdam. Fantastic architecture, the numerous uneven and winding canals and waterways, small boats, bridges, all nestled in a small compact city that is easily accessible by foot. But what is so interesting about the Dutch style of architecture here, is how narrow everything is. Because property was taxed based on it’s width, people built their homes as narrow as possible and as deep as possible and generally with high ceilings.

And, as I can vouch for in my previous house in the Hollywood Hills, having your first floor begin a couple meters above street level, gives inhabitants a nice sense of safety. And this is how most homes here are built. You come up to go in.
I am also thoroughly impressed with much of the contemporary architecture as well. So many unique and bizarre shaped buildings to take in.

The quantity of cheese to be found in Amsterdam is literally beyond compare. There are many different flavors, sizes, shapes to choose from. Naturally each shop is usually also lined with freshly baked bread with unique flavors such as chestnut, mushroom, caramelized onion… every day is Christmas in Amsterdam.

Certainly the more lascivious side to Amsterdam bears mentioning as well. Passing through the red light district is a very interesting feeling when walking by yourself as a man. Women bang doors, knock on the window, wink, flirt, tease, smile, call you from across the road, make inviting and come hither gestures. I imagine it really gives the sense of what it must be like to a woman who is constantly hit on by men. Walk down the same streets with a beautiful woman by your side and the girls hardly take notice of you. And sex shops… what can’t you find in Amsterdam? I saw a man purchase a ‘cage’ and some other devices that could only be described as painful. There’s a lot of contrast in the world.

It is also so interesting to see not just marijuana sold at every “coffee” shop openly and plainly, but an entire menu of selections accompanied by a knowledgable staff member ready to advise you on how to have the best trip possible. I overheard, “Well this one is a happy high but this one is more of a… stoned feeling… always wait for it to kick in before overdoing it.” Just walking by these places feels like you get a contact high as the smoke literally billows out, again, almost in a cartoon like fashion. It amused me to imagine what America would be like, if Starbucks offered such a menu of services.

Of course I cannot go any further without mentioning that our experience here simply would not be the same without the constant attention and above and beyond care of Jim Klinkhamer and Det. If it wasn’t for this man, I don’t think I would have experienced half of what Amsterdam has to offer, from the actual buildings he designed and remodeled, to unique museums, special facts about the city and Dutch way of life, fine dining, cooking, grilled vegetables and fine salads, fine wine, beer, the best cheeses…. Plus a phenomenal tour to the outskirts of Amsterdam which proved to be exactly what you would imagine Holland to look like: fresh air, blue skies, a cool wind, water, grassy fields, free roaming cows and sheep with a little black sheep to boot. We stopped at someone’s house who’s Lassie dog came running up to greet us, as the wind blew briskly through his fur. A house whose back yard simply backed up into the bay / ocean and I thought to myself, this must be the Dutch version of the Hamptons.

Now, I don’t like beer. In fact it’s often one of the more shocking facts about me that I have never drank one full glass of beer or one full cup of coffee or espresso in my entire life. I realize that this juxtaposed to the average human who does this upwards of three times a day is bizarre in itself but I digress. So I generally have a healthy disgust for beer. And I would NEVER consider drinking alcohol after acrobatics, but here, people go for a drink. So after Anastasia deeply enjoyed her second beer that Jim recommended because it was only made in small batches and only available to a dozen or so restaurants in all of Amsterdam, curiosity got the best of me…

And wow! Great beer! Great cheese! Great vegetables! Great wine! Great food! Great prices! The dutch really know how to do it. And I appreciate small things like the fact that the Dutch aren’t obsessed with closing their blinds and shutting out the light. They are not vampires but actually welcome the light and don’t gawk into other peoples houses. They are simply used to sharing space and having windows open. Of course, as usual, I have found people here to be friendly, amiable and generous, offering good eye contact, and good vibes.

I am particularly excited about the bathroom hardware I often see here in Amsterdam. For instance to turn on your shower, rather than bending over and turning a few dials dials. there is a shower mechanism that looks somewhat like a small thin cylinder with two easy to turn dials on either side and then the shower hose attached to this. When you gently twist one end, the water comes on, and when you twist the other, it adjusts the heat. It’s so simple, and elegant, I want one for my own place.

Our eyes have also gotten to witness something else that is very special. Much like my small family at JJ’s in LA, there are a group of 50+ and 60+ year-old acrobats, who all bass and fly each other in the most outrageous of tricks! Tricks such as handstand on head, Corbets and cascades, jumping from the head into hand-in-hand, toe pitch to high bird and so forth. In sum, tricks that would give a 20-year-old pause. I am touched, inspired, and thankful to know that I can be 60 years old and still playing safely while doing outrageously fun things.

Now, when I came to Amsterdam, I had a decent handstand. Now I have the sense that I am leaving with a much better handstand, shortly to become a great handstand for all of my bases and flyers around the world.

Unfortunately for the last several days I’ve had a pinched neck from who knows what. I had the opportunity to stop at a physiotherapist, thanks to Jim of course, who was able to see me within less than a days notice. Not only was my treatment affordable (35 Euro per visit!) but I also got to experience something called “dry needling,” which almost instantly removed the extremely sharp pain from my neck!

But if there is one thing I feel that I am taking away, That will benefit me most, it is finding proper alignment for my back, when basing hand flying acrobatic tricks. It is my sincere hope that this shift will dramatically change my ability to perform at my best.

Yes, being in Holland makes me thoroughly pleased. It’s a shame there is a 90 day limit that Americans may spend in Europe, because quite frankly I can see myself living here for quite sometime, as I could also in Vienna, italy, Barcelona and I’m sure if I saw it, Sweden. Oh and Switzerland, ESPECIALLY Switzerland.

My heart is so full of appreciation and wonder. Having lived in Europe on two separate occasions for a year each time, I thought being back here perhaps might feel a little same old, same old, but my travels to Europe have in fact been anything but that. I hope that those of you who took the time to read this will also feel inspired, and that maybe it has given you a taste of what it is like to be here. I know the traveling is not for everyone, nor is it accessible to everyone, but I feel very lucky and blessed to be able to have this experience this point in my life. Wishing you all the best wherever your road is taking you!

Warmly,

Tari Mannello for Elegant Acro™ and Tari Television

Aveda… And my hair

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It’s strange that over the past fifteen years only three people have ever cut my hair.  I’m not sure I’ve had that kind of relationship with anyone else. Back in my UCSB days when a man named Phillip took my hair from my shoulders to a rather amazing Russell Crowe Gladiator look, he must of somehow convinced me that his “precision haircuts,”  and mastery over hair couldn’t be found anywhere else. Oh the hype.  Interestingly, my Dad used to be a hairstylist in the 70’s and 80’s in Beverly Hills.  He often created hairdos for celebrities and cut my hair for the better part of my adolescent years.

Fast forward a decade and every so often I would stray to someone new, have a mortifying experience, and cower back to my old stylist- even if they were an hour away.  Over the past five years I’ve softened my ridiculous beliefs that there must only be a tiny handful of people who could cut my hair in the world, but because a couple of them we’re still geographically close to me, I’ve always just gone back to the classics.  At the beginning of 2013  I said that’s it. So much in the universe is changing so fast these days and so easily that I am rewriting my beliefs and my actions on anything that doesn’t have a clean energetic to it. I’m cleaning up my feelings on this subject.  Two months ago it was time to get my haircut somewhere else.

With the vast array of passions I engage in, Living in Studio City has been all about convenience.  I’ve managed to figure out a way to have most of the things that I want appear at my doorstep or close to it and I love that. Amazon prime, private dance classes, teaching Acro out of the house etc. I decided I needed to do the same with getting a haircut. No more driving to Santa Monica. My usual guy was getting crabbier and crabbier as he got older and though he’s damn good, I wasn’t appreciating the feeling I had when visiting him.

I remembered there was an Aveda Salon (Experience) right down the street from my house by Laurel Canyon. I’ve probably used Aveda products for the last 13 years and, despite their five star price tag, I have always loved them. Scent and performance are everything and they continuously outdid themselves in both those arenas. So all of this buildup to say, I call Kriza Aveda on Ventura Blvd, and ask if there might be someone there capable of doing a mans haircut.  Imagine that. There was, and so I quickly setup an appointment with a man named Ericmo. What follows has been THE best salon / haircutting experience I have ever had to date.

You walk in and the place is gorgeous, like many Aveda or Aveda Concept salons are. Product abound, alternative stylists, friendly faces, product specialists etc. I was greeted with Aveda tea, invited to sit, and within two minutes, Ericmo, a young Asian guy with wildly blown dry hair and shaved sides dressed in black greeted me. As a guy, I am expecting shampoo and a cut. Oh no no. I was sat down inthe chair and asked to pick my favorite scent of three botanical oils. I then received a 3 minute scalp massage and shoulder massage with those oils which instantly put me at ease. Then we went back to wash my hair. Feet up and laying back I got another scalp massage while being shampooed, and then while Aveda Conditioner was left in my hair, I was given… a facial!

First a hot towel was placed over my face with room for my nose and mouth to breathe, then Aveda cleanser, toner moisturizer… I was so relaxed I couldn’t believe it. Then a curvaceous blonde looked over at me a couple times and finally walked up to me and took my hand and started massaging it!  She did the other and then continued on with her work. By the time I sat back in my chair I was so relaxed and in such a positive mood, only good things could have unfolded.

And they did. Ericmo took no less than an hour- and you all know how short my hair is- meticulously finding a way to create style, elegance and sharpness with my hair.  By the time he was all done I could not be happier and the price? Only $5-10 more than I have paid for a hair cut in the last 15 years!  $50!  I was in. I knew I had to blog about it and share my experience. I will probably post this on Yelp as well.

So, if you’re in Studio City, or any place near by, Sherman Oaks or Woodland Hills, I would STRONGLY encourage you to have an Aveda experience for yourself. Oh one last thing. Aveda products never go on sale. They have a little points thing they do when you buy product… $10 to sign up and you get all sorts of free stuff and points and what not. I wasn’t going to do it at first until she said, oh and by the way it includes a 25 minute scalp treatment or facial. I was sold.

 

Kriza Aveda Salon Spa – Studio City
www.krizasalon.com
3 Google reviews
12132 Ventura Blvd
Studio City
(818) 506-1220

Kriza Aveda Salon Spa – Woodland Hills
krizasalonspa.com
3 Google reviews
#1042

6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park
(818) 348-0800

Lululemon

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I had my first Lululemon experience today. Now that may seem like an ordinary statement but I know in the minds of some people, women especially, this is sacrilege. “You’re only just now having your first Lululemon experience?” Yes. But it was a good one.

It’s taken me a long time to embrace and understand this brand partially because, well for starters they don’t use any kind of natural fiber whatsoever. Everything is all synthetic. I think the last time I was in the into synthetic I was 16 years old and wearing those three striped Adidas pants that crinkled like a shopping bag when you walked in them. However times have changed, and evidently now there is very breathable synthetic fabric that you can work out in, feels great wear and lo and behold, isn’t noisy.

It also took me a while to find a cut and style that was right for me. I’m always on the lookout for something that lets me experience life in a way I haven’t before. To to my shock and amazement I discovered several pairs of pants that actually look like formal Italian tailored slacks, but have the flexibility and breathability to do Accra yoga or workout in. Now that’s not something you see every day.

So, despite my usual propensity to lean towards a boot cut or a wide legged bottom that covers my shoes or feet, I got in touch with my Italian roots and selected the Mission Pant, and the Trainer Pant. You know you’ve got it right when you step out of the dressing room and the already overly enthusiastic staff widens their eyes and gasps slightly. Ha! I feel like I could step foot onto a runway in these pants, and then turn a few backflips at the same time. It was quite an amazing discovery I have to say. This for me was pivotal because I did not know this was possible in a workout style pants.

The exciting part of this whole experience came when the girls asked a key question, but I’m sure they ask everybody, what are you going to wear them for? When I said AcroYoga it started some commotion And I told the girl who was most helpful to me that if she grabbed a yoga mat I would fly her.

Lululemon, I have gathered, is notorious for strange and exciting happenings right smack in the middle of their retail floor. They hold events, parties, dances, and yoga classes to name a few.

Naturally, they sell yoga mats so it was easy for her to procure one immediately. She hit me with the usual rounds of last minute resistance: I am scared, I don’t like being upside down, I’m not an acrobat! I told her to give me a hug, and to trust me and I would take good care of her.

We cleared the space for her first flight, and as per usual when we get a little nervous, she thrusts her arms and lock them out against mine, lifted her head up and looking right knee and was like okay now what??

It took only a moment to get her body to feel trust, and be able to let go. Then, as a small gathering of girls began to watch and take photos, we moved through a series of postures and positions that stretched her and lengthened her.

The aftermath is something that I always love. When she got up, it was a little difficult for her to get her bearings and gather herself. She felt lighter, lightheaded, and couldn’t quite communicate clearly with her customers for a good five minutes. Such are the results of dropping a little AcroYoga love bomb onto someone for the first time!

I think experiences like this last along time and are very impactful. It’s what makes me feel excitement for what I do, and it’s a gift that I carry with me in my back pocket wherever I go. If this is got you curious if you want to learn more, check out our Los Angeles based crew:

AcroYoga Los Angeles

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Best Dance Class

It’s common to hear phrases like, “The best sushi in LA” or “You should go see my Dr. He’s the best!” “This attorney is the best attorney in California…” “Best actor,” “Best set of heels…” If you give it more than a moment of thought, one could never quantify what is the best for anybody other than themselves. I think we share common agreement on great places, people and things however it is always subject to opinion and always subject to what is active in a persons field of desires at that moment in time. So I recognize that when I’m going to issue recommendations about doing the best things in Los Angeles or in the world, this is largely dependent on my personal opinion.

That’s said I do feel like quite the collector of peak experiences, and the feedback I have got from friends and family that I’ve about these peak experiences is also an alignment with feeling like the best for them as well. So while you certainly have the option to take my opinions, as with anyone else’s, with a grain of salt, I’m still going to strongly recommend you trust me on these recommendations, they come from a good place.

So what’s the best dance class Los Angeles? Wait no longer, it is with Kennis Marquis at Debbie Reynolds dance studio in North Hollywood. This man has the most profound understanding of grooves and movement that I have ever encountered. For more information on grooves, something that every human being should be aware about, see my article on grooves here.

Why do you want to take this class? Because whenever you learn a new skill, there is so much going on that you’re not aware of. Are you taking with the right teacher? Does this teacher resonate with you? Is he an outstanding performer or does he have an outstanding ability for what you want to learn or is he horrible teacher? Can this person communicate in such a way with body language and words that you actually learn the material? Would you like to learn something that would normally take several years in a period of several months? Do you feel safe with your teacher, does he or she help you feel confident? All of these questions are things that we either consider don’t consider on an unconscious level. I think they’re worth asking ourselves before pursuing any endeavor.

For me, the practical application of learning is very, very important. I want to learn as quickly as humanly possible, from a master who is the best at what he does in his field, in a way that I feel supported and strong and capable along the way, and in a way that is fine and quickly for me to learn. The nice thing about that tall order, is that if I just intend to learn that way, and I have excitement around and desire to learn that subject, then the universe will open up easily for me and deliver me the tools necessary to do so.

So, I want to learn from the best. And the best for me means someone who can teach me quickly, effectively, playfully, in a way that I hear and understand, at a cost that I feel is affordable and worthwhile, they can help transform me into the man that I want to be. In the world of hip-hop, body movement, body language, R&B, and various other styles of dance, Kennis Marquis is the man for this job.

I have been training with him for a handful of months, and after only a couple hours in his presence I have noticed such a rapid acceleration of learning, skill, and just “getting it” that it even makes my own head spin. Years of dancing, different classes, different teachers, exploring, trying, desiring… And it finally all makes sense with Kennis.

Naturally he’s also got the celebrity resume to back it up. He is worked with Jennifer Lopez, LL Cool J, P Diddy, Ciara and Britney Spears… Just to name a few. Kennis works and he gets people work… What more could you ask for? Even as a novice dancer looking to simply improve your skill, there is one fundamental skill that is so elusive and that no one teaches but is so obvious. And that is the art and science of grooves.

His grooves class on Saturdays at 2:30 will rock your world. It will give you after only a few short weeks, a command of your body that you never dreamed possible. It will help you understand rhythm, sex appeal, body language, staying on beat, grooving, and most importantly help you feel confident as a dancer or someone who wants to dance and be comfortable in your own body.
Don’t sleep on this one.

Corporate

I recently placed a simple order from Staples for a couple iTunes gift cards because I had a coupon. Four days later I get a tracking number, and six days later the order still has not arrived. Normally I’m on top of things like this but I’ve been trying to give myself space around them to not cause myself
unnecessary frustration.

Finally on a rainy Saturday morning I called them to check the status of my order. Naturally I need to verify an entire slew of information such as my name, order number, address, phone number etc. and once this is done and placed on hold. Lady comes back and then tells me that she’s transfer me to the gift card department when he can assist me further. I was tell people to please let them know all the information necessary said I’m not to repeat myself as I’ve learned that lesson in the past. The new lady gets on the phone and begins by asking me to verify my information. I tell her that I’m the same human being in and not being held hostage by anyone and the call has not dropped and I already verify my information with the previous Staples representative. She said she understands but nonetheless needs to verify. I say nonetheless I’m not going to waste my breath, the call has not disconnected, and I have already verify my information into not going to waste time repeating it again. I then proceed to waste five more minutes of time telling her how ridiculous it is I should have to repeat myself on the exact same call. Asking her if she thinks that her coworker who already verified me, was an imposter and was secretly able to hack into the Staples mainframe to pretend that she’s her coworker did not help.

Even when I asked her if she remembered when her coworker transferred me and said, here’s Tari Mannello on the other line, it did not suffice. She tells me she can’t give me any information about my order and must verify again. I tell her she has no information of mine I could possibly need to elicit from her. I know my name, address, phone number, order number, product ordered et cetera. In fact, I’m the one you giving her olive the information. I’m simply asking the status of my order.

She tells me she cannot give me this information until I verify my identity. After hanging up on her and calling back again, I finally find out the information. Are you ready for the information that required 12 forms of verification to obtain? “The order has shipped- you should receive it in 7-10 days.”
Need I say more?

And I’ve beat my head against the wall wondering what on earth it takes to just have a simple, easy customer experience with corporate companies. We are so up in arms about fraud, identity theft, fear of giving wrong information to the wrong person… So much so that this has caused the customer, the very person who they say they are trying to help and give a good experience to, to have the worst experience possible on the planet. And I’m lucky this time that I got American-based customer service rep. Usually it takes me seven minutes spelling out my first and last name to an overseas representative before I can even proceed to the next of seven forms of verification.

My credit card companies ask me for less information than consumer stores. Usually credit card companies require my name and the last four of my social and maybe one other piece.

Lately whenever I’m making an inquiry into a product, I have to verify on average seven pieces of information which need to be repeated 2 to 3 times depending on who I’m speaking to.

I have to ask, is all this really necessary? Absolutely is not. It’s just the result of a few people being sued a few times and now everyone must
Suffer. I dream of a better world. A world kind of like the way I run my own business.
“Hi, what’s your name and what’s your order number?” “John Smith. 9872.” “Outstanding, here’s everything you need to know.” Simple, easy, effective and no one gets frustrated in the process.

While you are of course welcome to share your thoughts, and stories in the notes below. I’d especially love to hear solutions to not have to endure this again.

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© 2017 Tari.Tv