Yuri Dibble

Badass Human Number 1: Nicole Arranda of Totem True and Apollo Digital Ads

Yuri Dibble
Badass Human Number 1: Nicole Arranda of Totem True and Apollo Digital Ads

I've typed and deleted 10 different introductions to this piece. I just can't seem to find the prose that captures the Muse that is Nicole. 

She is a soiree expert, a cook, an artist, a trend setter, and a puppy mama. Within half an hour of walking into her downtown loft she can show you how to shoot a bow, put together a top notch charcuterie board, and outfit you in one of her dozens upon dozens of silk or lace kimonos. She will be the best dressed in the room 10 out of 10 times, while simultaneously sharing her plethera of camping gear on trips to Moab - and she will do it all while running two businesses. She is hands down, the most creative person I know. 

Yes she is my friend. And yes, I am partial. But do not let that take away from the badassery this chick brings to the table. 

When I first met Nicole she was already kicking ass at her initial career in marketing. But as with most badasses, she wanted more and she had no problem making that happen. In 2013 she set out to start her own marketing company and Apollo Digital Ads was born. While losing one of two partners, and shouldering a lot of the responsibility to make sure a company is successful would keep most people busy enough, Nicole is not most people. Instead of settling for one path to entrepreneurship, she decided to do what she does best - listen to her soul. 

While Apollo allows her to utilize many of her skills, it fell blatantly short in other areas. She's an artist. She needs to create. So again, she did what she does best - she fucking went for it. 

Instead of keeping her artwork to herself, she decided to share it with the yogi's of the world. Totem True is a high end yoga mat company with hand painted designs from not only Nicole's two hands, but her New Mexican bred soul. The designs are feminine, inspiring, beautiful, and dangerous all at the same time - just like Nicole. A perfect blend of form and function. I guarantee you will be the biggest bad ass in your yoga studio with any one of these guys.

But beyond Totem True, beyond the soiree skill, and beyond the fierce fashion, what I admire most about Nicole is that she figures. shit. out. 

If the computer doesn't work, she fixes it. If the pipes in her condo burst, she learns how to plumb (is that even the appropriate verb?) If she needs to find out how to 1099 an employee she learns how to 1099 an employee. If she wants to plant a 6' paper mache flower in a cement pot, she goes to the motherfucking hardware store and learns how to mix cement. (I'm not making this shit up people.)

It's why I know she will be successful in any company she decides to build, and any endeavor she decides to embark on. 

And with that, I will let her answer my questions in a way I'm sure only Nicole Arranda can:

  • What does an aligned and centered life look like to you?

Well, I guess I would have to say balance is key for me. I function best when I find a balance of home, work, life, friends, and family. Obviously it is very hard to balance all things, but I really try to keep some level on all aspects of my life. 

  • Can you recall a time you consciously took yourself out of your comfort zone?

I love this question, because I think I really strive to this often. And if not often, hold onto the times when it does occur. I have always said that change is very rare but it has a type of adrenaline that I find so addicting. These rare moments when you don't know what will happen, but it will be life changing either way. I have now in my 33 years started two companies. Each time I was extremely vulnerable and completely out of my comfort zone, but man was it worth it. 

  • What does your perfect day look like?

Perfect day...I guess that depends what kind of mood I am in. Haha. I guess my perfect day would be something outside, most likely in the mountains or by a river. Obviously have my dog there. Just talking and sharing with friends and family. That sounds like bliss to me. Maybe some Rose to go along with it. But then I think of an introverted day on the couch with (again) my dog and Netflix also sounds like bliss. Hence the "depends on the mood."

  • More importantly, what would you eat that day?!?

hhhh best question ever...definitely Pho. 

  • How do you handle negative emotions when they arise?

I take time to process, I really make an effort not to act immediately. In fact, most times I don't even talk about it with other people. I really like to process things on my own and in my own time. 

  • Can you recall a time you a leap of pure faith?

Again, the two companies. Totem True, the yoga mat company being the latest. Don't know what will happen, not sure if people will even like them. But i have faith and am willing to put my heart, time, and money into it. 

  • When do you feel the most "yourself?"

Back to the balance thing. I feel most myself when I have my shit together. When I feel like I am giving attention to all the goodness in my life. 

  • Can you divulge one current struggle you are working through?

Patience, this is a hard one for me. I have made the life that I live now, and I am so happy with it. But sometimes I feel like certain things are missing. I just know there is more to come. I am curious what the future holds and sometimes I really lose patience and think I am running out of time. I am working on trying to not compare my life to other people and just be in the moment. My moment. 

  • Imagine you are completely content. Now, can you describe what you are doing in this image?

Bath time. This is always my time. I probably take more baths than any adult woman should. But for some reason the water is cleansing for me. I use it as a time to think, a time to pray, and a time to just be. My bath is my alter, and in my alter I am content. 

  • If you had to choose, what would you say you are most proud of in your life?

This is a hard question, I am not one to gloat. In fact most times I think I probably have belittled my success, because I really think everyone has the potential for greatness, and I am still trying to reach mine. So I guess what I am probably most proud of is the support system I have. Without them I am nothing. My family and friends really believe in me, they support me, they pick me up when I am down. I am so lucky for that. I am truly blessed. 

  • What's one thing you you think we all as humans have in common?

The ability for change. No matter where you come from, what you did, what you didn't do. We all have the ability to change...and with that there is hope. 

  • What traits do you find badass in other people?

Kindness, honesty, love, bravery, intelligence, strength, faith, loyalty, perseverance, acceptance, and so many more!

  • What traits do you acknowledge are badass in yourself?

Head strong, loyal, brave, humble, independent, lover, dreamer, believer...again this part is hard for me. I mean, I guess it's pretty badass that I can shoot some shots of tequila ;)

  • Do you have one (or two) non-negotiable items you must include in your day in order to be the best version of yourself?

I am kind of crazy about skin care...it's probably pretty vain, but I really try to take care of the only skin I was given. So for me my skin care regimen at night is a must.

  • Any advice for other people who might be trying to harness their own badassery?

Just be you. I know that is easier said than done, but it really is all that you can do.