Yuri Dibble

Badass Human #3: Dana Spaulding of Wander + Ivy

Yuri Dibble
Badass Human #3: Dana Spaulding of Wander + Ivy

It's been a hot minute since I threw a Badass Humans post on this bad boy, but that's only because, well, it's hard! I find a lot of badassery surrounding me every day in the people I cross paths with, so it's hard to find the line of extraordinary badassery. You know what I mean? Yea, me either. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have been waiting for the right person and then, BAM! I knew I had my next Badass Human. 

I met Dana during our Corepower Yoga Teacher Training. She is a unique balance of power and humility, She is stylish, kind, and has amazing abs (seriously Dana, can you help a sister out here?) As yin is to yang, so is her kind smile to her strong spirit. She humbly mentioned in passing one day that she was starting a company. It was clearly in the beginning stages and we didn't really talk about it a whole lot after that. But after graduation, after we had all grown so much, and so close over the hours and hours spent together over the previous 8 weeks, I decided to ask her again about this company. 

Dana is starting a single serve, organic wine company. I know. It's badass. 

Wander + Ivy, is a new brand focused on single-serve wine made from organically grown grapes and sourced from family-owned vineyards around the world. The idea is for consumers to enjoy a quality glass of wine without the worry of wasting an entire bottle and without the harmful chemicals that are often used in the wine-making process. Quality wine. Organic grapes. Convenient single. 

I'm pretty picky about what goes into my body these days. I mostly try to eat fruits and veggies for a good portion of the week - organic of course. I'll have the occasional piece of toast or brown rice pasta, maybe some salmon or oysters or a salad with questionable dressing if we are out. But I don't think twice about my wine. And let's be real, I drink a lot of wine (and whiskey...but that's neither here nor there). 

Ever had a bottle of wine on a plane? Or what about a fast casual restaurant where you want just one or two glasses at a reasonable price? Well, how awesome would it be if you didn't undo all your hard work of making sure the ingredients in your salad are locally or organically sourced, by drinking a cheap glass of wine filled with preservatives? I'll tell you with 100% certainty that if I was on a plane and had a choice between Sutter Home and an organic bottle of pinot, I'm going with the organic glass 10 out of 10 times. 

I can't wait to see this thing take off. 

Here is where I let her take it away:

1. What does an aligned and centered life look like for you?

For me, an aligned and centered life means having the right balance of work and spending time with family and friends. It's also really important for me to take the time to care for myself. I need to make sure to sleep well, eat well, and fit in a yoga class, run, hike or simply a long walk with our puppy every day. 

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

Corepower Yoga Teacher Training definitively took me out of my comfort zone. As a former dancer, I love yoga, particularly Corepower, and have wanted to do the training for years. I knew, though, that my prior work schedule would never allow time for such an intensive training. After I left my finance job to start my own company, I finally had the flexibility to join the yoga training. The program challenged me in more ways than I imagined, but it was so worth it. I walked away with a deeper understanding of the practice and many new friends that I’ll cherish because of the wonderful experience we shared together. It also brought a lot of perspective and balance into my life during the busy and challenging time of starting my own company.   

3. What does your perfect day look like?

A perfect day for me starts with a yoga class or hike, followed by relaxing with my family (husband, parents and sisters), ideally on a beach somewhere. We would have a huge family dinner with lots of wine, then relax with our pup and watch a movie. This is pretty much what our family vacations look like :)

4. More importantly, what would you eat that day?!?

I typically am pretty consistent with my meals, even on vacation. I'd wake up and eat a protein bar - quest blueberry bars are my go-to right now. Then have a big brunch, either an omelette with veggies or a salad with chicken. I'd add champagne in there on vacation! I'd snack on an apple and Justin's to-go nut butter (love to travel with these). For dinner, one of my favorites is Italian family style; a mix of meets, cheese, salads, fish & pasta! A little bit of it all plus a lot of Chianti, one of my favorite reds. Chocolate is a must in our household. At home, we normally stick to a small bite, but on the perfect vacation day, I'd splurge and share some cake with the family!

5. How do you handle negative emotions when they arise?

I always try to get myself in a yoga class or go for a run. This normally makes my body feel great, awake and energized, and helps me deal with negative emotions. After yoga class especially, I walk away feeling calmer and more at peace than I did when I walked in. If this doesn't totally solve what I'm going through, I need to talk it out. My husband is fortunately a fabulous listener. 

6. Can you recall the last time you took a leap of pure faith?

Moving to Denver 4 years ago was a huge leap of faith. I met my husband Gus at work in NYC. We each had promotion opportunities and the chance to relocate to a city of our choice. Gus suggested we look at Denver. I laughed and immediately vetoed the idea. I had never been to Denver and knew no-one there. East coast was home and what I knew. After a few long talks, I agreed to consider it as an option because Gus loved it. We visited and I was shocked but how much I loved the city and people here. We were both offered jobs; after some serious consideration, we decided to take the leap. I'm still somewhat surprised I made the move, but deep down I think I knew it would be an awesome adventure with the person I wanted to spend my life with. Turned out to be one of the greatest decisions we ever made. We were married last year, have had amazing career opportunities, met such wonderful friends, and have loved exploring this beautiful state. 

7. When do you feel most “yourself?”

In yoga class and pretty much any time I’m relaxing with my husband, puppy, parents, sisters and closest girlfriends.

8. Can you divulge one current struggle you are working through?

Self-doubt. Starting your own company is incredibly exciting but of course very challenging as well. I have noticed many times of self-doubt throughout the process. I'm really working on staying focused, confident, and patient; trying to be OK with the uncertainty throughout it all and enjoy the journey. 

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

I can think of a few scenarios but one would be sitting on a beach with a cocktail next to my husband after a yoga class. Ideally, celebrating big milestones in both of our careers. Somewhat like a day on our honeymoon.  

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

Being a loving wife, daughter, sister and friend.  These relationships are the most important things in my life and I am very proud of how strong they are. 

11. What’s one thing you think we all as humans have in common?

I optimistically think it's compassion. 

12. What traits do you find badass in other humans? 

The courage to be different, take a risk and stand up for yourself. Knowing who you are and proudly sharing that with others.   

13. What traits do you acknowledge are badass in yourself?

I don't often take NO for an answer. I think it’s a combination of witnessing my parents’ strength and determination, my professional training and mindset, and a little bit of inner fight that I was born with. There’s almost always a way to get something done; be persistent, and you’ll find a solution. 
It’s somewhat hard to admit but I also think my willingness to take a huge risk is badass. This is a ridiculously challenging path that most people fail at, but hey, why not take a shot? 

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

Typically it’s some form of exercise and at least speaking with (if not seeing) my husband. 

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

Try not to care so much about what others may think. I think this is really hard in our world today, but incredibly important. Do what is best for you and don’t waste time worrying about the judgements of others.


Cheers to Dana and her brilliant idea benefiting what I hope to be, millions of yogis across the country.