Monday, March 17, 2014

100 Classes Later

On Friday, I took my 100th class at Pure Barre Boulder. At Pure Barre, that's a big deal! I get to sign the special 100 Club barre and I get a pair of special 100 Club sticky socks! Not to mention, I get to know that I have 100 classes under my belt and I'm 1/3 closer to the 300 Club!

For the past few months, I've talked a lot about Pure Barre to friends, family, and total strangers. I'm completely obsessed with it, if you haven't figured out from my Twitter or Instagram. I love ever second of it. Even when my abs are burning and my thighs are shaking. Every second! I figured this milestone would be a great time to talk some more about my love of Pure Barre and maybe even give someone considering trying it out for the first time a few pointers.

Here are 10 things I've learned in my first 100 classes of Pure Barre:

Being early means being on time.
We all have our favorite spots in the studio, so get their early to claim your carpet.  Being late to class is disruptive to the other ladies in class, the instructor, and yourself.  You miss out on completely warming up your muscles while you're putting away your belongings and grabbing your equipment. Stay for the entire class (I've been guilty of leaving early too) because stretching is just as important as working.

Listen carefully to the instructor.
Unlike a lot of fitness classes, the instructor is only there to teach and listening to her queues is the key to your success.  Sure, I've started on the wrong standing leg a time or two because I wasn't listening, but the instructor gives you all your moves, along with helpful tips and encouragement.  She might also adjust your positioning, but that's to make sure you're doing the moves correctly to ensure optimal results and to protect you from injuries.

Stay hydrated. 
I think some people brush off barre workouts because they don't look hard.  But just because you're not sprinting or jumping or lifting heavy weights doesn't mean you're not working hard.  In fact, you're working extremely hard.  I usually go through 32 ounces of water per class (and I sweat most of it out).  Without water, there's no way I could make it through 60 minutes of LTB, so bring some water!

Eat well and do cardio to keep it balanced.
In my opinion, Pure Barre is one of three things needed for major health change.  You've probably heard that no amount of working out with cancel out a bad diet.  Simply eating healthy is the best diet there is and there is no trick to it.  Cardio is important too, for so many reasons.  I mix up my work out routine with walking (sometimes light jogging, but my knees don't love that), spinning, and swimming. 

Use the muscle you want to change to find the movement.
An instructor said that in class recently and it couldn't sum up Pure Barre any better. Pure Barre is all about working a muscle group to fatigue using small movements and isometric holds, then stretching to elongate the muscle. Focus is key because when you're in seat work, you want to movement to stem from your seat, not your legs. When you're in ab work, you want the work to come from your abs and stay in your abs.

Don't compare yourself to others.
Sometimes it's helpful to check out a veteran's form to make sure you're doing it correctly, but the instructor will also help you make the necessary adjustments. Don't get too caught up in what someone else is doing because it may be their 300th class and only your 3rd.

Mix it up with the instructors.
 Each studio has a variety of instructors and I always recommend to anyone new to take them all if they can. I don't have a favorite instructor because they're all great. I try to mix it up as much as possible. Every instructor will offer great tidbits over the microphone to encourage and motivate you, as well as to help you step up your Pure Barre game. They'll also give a variety of helpful tips that you can take with you to every class.

Push yourself. Challenge yourself.
When I first started out, I struggled to keep up the entire class so I started setting small goals for myself. For instance, by the end of class I was wiped out and could hardly make it through the last 2 and a half minutes of class where we work our butts off (and abs and thighs) in a bridge position. I started challenging myself to stay with it the entire time. Once I conquered that, I challenged myself in other positions. "Ten classes without coming out of the position during thighs" or "Ten classes where I really work my abs". And then suddenly you can't remember any other way.

If you need a break, take one.
You can do Pure Barre every day if you want. Heck, you could conquer your first 100 classes in just a 100 days. (It's been done and that woman is my hero!) But if your body is asking for a break, listen to it and take a day or two off. Don't push yourself so hard that you end up hurting yourself and having to take more time to rest than you'd like.

Dress for class.
 They recommend you wear pants or capris and a tee or tank to cover your mid drift because they want you to keep your muscles warm throughout class, so save the shorts and the sports bra look for the gym. If you feel comfortable avoiding baggy clothes, that's good too so the instructor (and you!) can see that you're doing the moves correctly. And definitely wear socks. You don't want to be the barefoot girl during plank when everyone has their faces to the floor. Pure Barre has great sticky socks for sale that will prevent sliding. I've recently purchased sticky fingerless gloves (from Nordstrom Rack) to wear in chair and waterski positions and it's helped me A LOT.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Ten on Ten :: March 2014

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!

Unfortunately, I forgot to charge my camera yesterday, so I had to resort to my phone for the day's photos. 

 Today's outfit.
{Similar Blazer | Tee | Jeans | Similar Flats | Similar Watch}

And now for the biweekly lunch date with Stephy at a new favorite, Chick-Fil-A. Where else?

Back at the office. Fun fact: I work in the office where my mom worked in the 90's. Her office is now our waiting room.

You know I love me some Sudoku and fancy pencils from Target.

I love the new waxing room at my studio--or should I say 'tudio'. It makes getting my eyebrows done feel fancier.

 What's a trip to the salon without a trip to Starbucks?
{Similar Jacket}

The Rocky Mountains are beautiful everywhere, but the flatirons in Boulder are something special. I'll never get used to the view.

Class 98! I'll reach 100 on Friday and I couldn't be more excited!

 I needed sunglasses when I went for a short walk at 7:00. Yay for Daylight Savings!
{Similar Sunglasses | Capris | Shoes}

 I love this candle almost as much as I love red velvet cupcakes.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

2nd Annual Academy Awards Party

Last year, my mom and I threw an Oscars Viewing Party for the first time. We decided to create a spread based on the films nominated for Best Picture and it ended up being a lot of fun. Ever since our first party, I've been looking forward to this year's party. We kept the same idea food and drink inspired by the nominated films and it was a lot of fun to find something tasty and fitting for all nine films.

I started with the invitation, which I designed myself in PicMonkey. I was inspired by a pin I found and made it look like an event ticket. Unfortunately, I had the times off by an hour and had to contact everyone about the time change, but oh well!

12 Years a Slave 
blackberry cobbler
Solomon attempts to use blackberry juice as ink to write to his wife.

American Hustle
clams casino
Irving and Carmine bond of clams.

Captain Phillips
The pirates hail from Somolia, a coastal country in Africa.

Dallas Buyers club
green juice
Ron travels the globe to find natural treatments for HIV, including aloe.

moon & star cheese crackers
 The entire film takes place in space and no food is consumed, but the moon is made of cheese, right?

margherita pizza
Theodore orders a slice of pizza at Samantha's request.

corn fed buffalo wings
They mostly drink, but they do enjoy some football snacks.

waffle bites with raspberries, blueberries, and brandy sauce
A key scene takes place over breakfast and Philomenia is quite a fan of brandy.

The Wolf of Wall Street
sugar cookies with lemon frosting and powdered sugar
Jordan loves cocaine and Quaaludes, a powerful form of which is nicknamed "lemons"

I created a Pinterest board in the weeks leading up to the party to organize my ideas and get even more good ideas. This was key in planning the party because I found some great decorations and favors. I got these chocolate Oscars to send home with the guests.  I also purchased an Oscar statue from Hollywood Mega Store online. 

I created a garland with this Academy Awards printable and hung it over the fireplace, as well as hanging fun facts about the Oscars from gold balloons over the food table. (I had to tape the balloons to the ceiling with packaging tape to keep them up, even with helium.)  

We also had a cute print-out of every dress worn by the Best Actress winners, dating back to 1929. Of course we printed out ballots for our guests to fill out. My mom got the most correct answers with 15. I got 13 correct. Finally, we played a game with this graphic of the Best Picture winners where we had guests guess which movie it was. We provided an alphabetical list of all 85 winners and it served as a lot of fun during commercial breaks and (sorry to say) some of the smaller awards.

As for the ceremony: I figured Gravity would win everything it did. Visually, that movie was fantastic and I think the director did a fantastic job. The I only acting award I correctly predicted Jared Leto. I hoped Lupita Nyong'o would win, but I figured the Academy was just too enamored with Jennifer Lawrence to not give her the statue again. I didn't see Blue Jasmine, but I thought it would be Amy Adams year. She was great in American Hustle! And finally, I'm not please that Matthew McConaughey won. I saw Dallas Buyers Club and I wasn't too pleased with the movie either. From what I read, the real Ron Woodruff wasn't homophobic and was actually bisexual or homosexual. If they wanted to make a movie about a straight man getting HIV when most people thought only gay men could get it, then they should have made up a story about it! Also, I don't think McConaughey can act. I think he just plays himself whether it be muscular or sickly thin, whether it be in leather pants or a swim suit. I thought it might have been Leo's time to shine. (Don't worry, I'm not one of those crazies that gets too caught up in why Leo hasn't won an Oscar.) And the biggest question of the night: Why was Lady Gaga there?

My picks for Best Dressed:

Kerry Washington in Jason Wu
Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen
Lupita Nyong'o in Prada
Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace 
Jenna Dewan in Reem Acra

I have so many more ideas for next year, so hopefully the annual bash will keep getting bigger and better!

What did you all think of the Oscars this year?
Who were your picks for best dressed and worst dressed?