molli sullivan & mk hurlbutt are soulcycle instructors, podcast hosts and entrepreneurs (and that's just their day jobs). we caught up with them recently at the new BEI hotel in san francisco to hear how they make it all work with a life full of travel, workouts, meditation & more.
thanks for catching up with us, molli & mk! we've loved getting to know you both since our earliest Rec Room days, and were excited to interview you because you've built such purposeful and impactful lives! so to begin, tell us a little about yourselves.
mk: i'm a master instructor at soulcycle, cofounder of the she's thriving podcast, and cofounder of the sf-based chorus meditation studio. i came to the bay area to attend college at stanford and have been here ever since! i married the love of my life in november 2019. i think joy, connection, and gratitude are the most powerful tools we can cultivate.
molli: i'm a dancer, former techie, senior soulcycle instructor and co-founder of she's thriving, a company dedicated to helping individuals thrive in their personal lives, professional lives and communities.
if you're not working, where can you be found?
mk: hanging with my husband and friends. reading anything and everything. at a concert, musical, or comedy show. outside enjoying the sunshine.
molli: mostly in the kitchen cooking or hanging with my friends! i try to hop in dance classes as much as possible and 2020 I have dubbed the year of the hike!
my style? j lo meets lululemon, lol.
how would you describe your style?
mk: athleisure-centric. loves a jumpsuit, overall, and bodysuit.
molli: j lo meets lululemon, lol.
what's your favorite Rec Room dress?
mk: lol the strap! i live a pretty full life, bouncing from soulcycle to chorus to meetings to nights out. and the strap fits in to all the aspects of my life in such a chic way. it's the perfect one piece outfit to dress up or down. it feels good to throw on after a sweat sesh, to dress up with a jacket, and everything in between. plus, you never forget your first love. [ed. note: mk bought one of our very first versions of the strap before when we were in soft launch mode. it turned her into our first evangelist!]
i live for a little skin moment, so love the open back.
you two have a really unique working relationship & friendship. how do you cultivate & nurture that?
mk: omg i love this question! molli is one of my best friends and has been one of my greatest teachers. first & foremost, we love each other, and so everything starts from that place. we also have created a working environment where honesty is the best policy, and a dynamic where we feel empowered to be vulnerable.
molli: i totally agree and am so grateful for the connection that mk & i share. we met 5 years ago and the connection was instant. we often joke that our relationship has turned into a marriage of sorts, and like any great partnership, vulnerability, honesty, communication & passion are key. we laugh a lot! we also try to make sure our individual cups are full so we can bring our full selves to our relationship.
we make sure our individual cups are full so we can bring our full selves to our relationship.
talk to us about she's thriving and how it got started.
mk: she's thriving is a space for us to talk about the shit that matters! we started st to help people thrive personally, professionally and in their communities. simply put, we wanted to create a space to talk about the stuff that matters: honest, open, and fun conversations that help us all learn, grow & heal.
molli: st started because mk and i were learning how to thrive in our own lives and wanted to share and discuss the experience in community. i had just come back from being in new york for a year and a half, and i moved in with mk while i was looking for a new place. the little seed of our idea grew into a panel discussion which turned into us launching the podcast and our she's thriving events. it was a very natural evolution over time and we've just been following the "big magic" along the way (btw, big magic, by liz gilbert, is one of our all-time favorite reads!)
coolest place you've ever visited?
molli: tulum, mexico is absolutely one of the most magical places on earth.
location you're dying to go to next?
mk: bali for my honeymoon!
molli: i would love to visit australia! i'm very much a water & wide open spaces kind of girl, maybe because i'm an air sign (shout out to my fellow libras!), but i just love the expansiveness of a coastline.
legitimately, i pretty much never travel without my Rec Room strap dress because it goes with anything.
one thing you always pack in your suitcase?
mk: legitimately, my Rec Room strap dress. I pretty much never travel without it because it goes with anything. and sunscreen. always sunscreen.
molli: books! Reading is my jam, and I love a traditional book where I can turn the pages, take notes, use a highlighter, dog ear pages, and then go back and read it again a couple years later and it always seems to resonate with me even more deeply the second time around.
best travel hack?
mk: get a large travel bag that fits under the seat in front of you and slides over the handle of your roller bag. it's basically 2 carry-ons for the hassle of 1! my go-to carry on luggage is the away suitcase with my stella and dot crush it carry on
molli: i always enjoy my trips most when i feel good, so my biggest tip is to just bring all the things you love about your day-to-day life—workouts, meditation, eating delicious and also healthy food—with you wherever you go!
mk, chorus is all about making meditation more accessible & community oriented. do you meditate on the road? how do you stay grounded while traveling?
mk: traveling can be one of the most stressful experiences any of us encounter. nothing like a delayed flight, lengthy security line, or missed connection to get your heart rate up, your cortisol going, and your mood plummeting. I utilize the power of my breath when I'm traveling all the time. a really simple way to help calm your nervous system when you're experiencing travel related anxiety or stress is to engage in a practice called box breathing. start by exhaling all the breath out of your lungs, then slowly inhale through your nose as you count to 4 in your head. hold at the top of that inhale and again count slowly to 4. then slowly exhale out through your mouth, counting to 4 as you do. And then holding for another slow 4 count. repeat this pattern until you feel yourself begin to calm, which can happen after about 4 rounds.
try this: exhale all the breath out of your lungs, then slowly inhale through your nose as you count to 4. hold at the top and again count to 4. then slowly exhale out through your mouth, counting to 4 as you do. hold for another 4. repeat until you feel yourself begin to calm
molli, fitness is obviously a huge part of your life. how do you keep up your fitness routine while traveling?
molli: yes! keeping my wellness & self-care routine up while traveling is a must because it truly grounds me and makes me feel my best. when traveling, i'm most excited to check out local classes. so whether that's a quick trip to LA or a trip to mexico, i love to pop into a yoga class or any other class that sounds interesting or fun! i also travel with booty bands and i have a couple of apps that I love: tone it up and the nike training club app.
alright, last question. we know you have to stay up on the best beats for soul classes. what are your top songs on your road trip playlist right now?
mk: shake ya tailfeather by nelly, good as hell by lizzo, stronger by britney spearss
molli: anything lizzo, keep it moving by alex newell, anything j lo, all the lovers by kylie minogue, good things by kehlani, me & my girls by selena gomez, nice for what by drake
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and thank you to praise of comeplum photography & the beautiful BEI hotel in san francisco for an amazing shoot.