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Ask The Expert: BARRE CLEVELAND + A Giveaway!


Confession: I’ve never been a lover of exercise.

It was always a means to an end. Something you had to slog through in order to get the results (healthy mind + body) that you want. In the rare instance I would find a workout I didn’t despise (spinning/running), it would become my long-term de-facto exercise.

Hey, I’m a creature of habit.

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Workout Wardrobe Shape-Up

sneakers workout wardrobe shape up

Now that we’re a few weeks into 2015… how are those fitness resolutions coming along? I was just commenting to my husband that in my 30-some years, this (3 years) is the absolute longest I’ve gone consecutively in terms of maintaining a regular exercise routine. Kind of sad, yet kind of true.

I know how hard it can be to motivate when there are 1000 other things you could be doing (or NOT doing, as the case may be), it’s cold and gross outside and you’re exhausted after a long day. Oh… I definitely know! The standard gym workout was just not enjoyable enough for me to push myself out the door. It took a long time, but eventually I came across a physical activity I love (#PSYCLEPATH) and actually MISS when I can’t partake. Better yet, I finally figured out that I’m (no doubt) a morning person, and it’s much more likely that I will carve out that hour workout time at 5am vs. 7pm. It’s a standing appointment I make with myself that once committed in writing/typing, I’m less likely to break.

You know what else?! It’s so cliché, but clothes in this case really do make the difference. New workout gear always gets me more interested in squeezing into a sports bra and getting suctioned by assorted poly-lycra-spandex blends. These days, there are so many new athletic wear options and brands you can pretty much find something fabulous at every price point and size.

Shop the look by hovering over the image above, or clicking on the individual items below:

How do YOU motivate to get your workout in?

XOXO signature


Pure Barre

About a year ago I was on a beach in Puerto Rico when my close college friend introduced me to Pure Barre.  Obviously, there was some sort of alcoholic drink in our hands as we lounged poolside while Melissa sang the praises of her favorite workout.  Honestly, I don’t think I have ever met anyone THAT enthusiastic about exercise, like, ever. On and on Melissa went about how Pure Barre was the best workout she has ever done and that it has changed her body.  More importantly, she clued me into a new Pure Barre studio that was opening in my town and made me swear I would give it a shot.

Between my devotion to spin classes 3x a week and basic time limitations, Pure Barre was always on my “to-do” list, but just never got done.  This past spring, I made a commitment to mix up my workouts and add some additional strength training to my normal routine.  Perhaps my desire for a plumper, firmer, perkier behind might have had something to do with it too.  Enter Pure Barre.

I am not the most “athletically inclined” so trying out a new workout is always a little intimidating.  I deluded myself into thinking that regular cardio training and sporadic yoga would keep me from totally embarrassing myself.  Ehhh… not so much.  Pure Barre is a combination of isolated strength training and targeted stretching that aims to lift, tone and shape every woman’s most troublesome spots: butt, thighs, tummy and arms.  There are elements of yoga, elements of pilates, some familiar weight training movements and of course, ballet barre.  The class is directed by a “hands-on” instructor and set to a great upbeat soundtrack.  Good thing that music was turned up loud because I definitely dropped a few F-bombs as my legs were shaking during the barre segment. Also, the class makes you really focus on targeting small and very specific muscle groups.  While challenging at first, this ends up being a blessing because you are SO focused on “firing from the muscle under your seat” that you don’t realize how quickly(or slowly) the 55 minutes pass by.

SHANNON AHLSTRAND  photography: Pure Barre &emdash;

SHANNON AHLSTRAND  photography: Pure Barre &emdash;

Am I obsessed!? No, not yet, at least.  Did I enjoy it?  Hmmmmm… It was definitely not love at first “lift, tuck and hold,” but I could definitely see why women are Pure Barre fanatics.  It’s fast paced, it’s low impact and most importantly, it’s ridiculously effective. My butt and abs were sore for 3 days after my first class!  I’m now the proud owner of a month long unlimited pass.  Hopefully, by the end of the month I’ll be looking a little more “Bootylicious” and a little less, suburban mom of two.

What are some of YOUR favorite workouts?



*Pure Barre is now running a “New Client Special:” 1 month of unlimited classes for $99.  Go ahead and treat yourself!  Maybe I’ll see you in my next class? I’ll be the one swearing-like-a-sailor in the back corner and praying I don’t drop my ball (again)!


From Gym to Street

From Gym to Street

Here is my confession of the day:

With my schedule in it’s current state, the only time I am really able to squeeze in a workout during the week is at 5:45am.  In a weird, twisted, masochistic sort of way, I actually enjoy an early morning high intensity spin class to clear my mind for the day ahead.  The downside is that with school bus pick-ups, pre-school drop-offs, client meetings, household errands and appointments, a shower is not in the cards until much later in the day.  Sometimes, depending on my schedule, not until I’m getting ready for bed.  Sorry, I know that’s gross.

This state of nastiness all day is actually NOT as bad as you may think.  1) I wash my hands, face, neck and chest as soon as I get home  2) I remove my drenched shirt and swap into something light, loose and layered (my 3 L’s!) 3) I reapply deodorant 4) I throw in some dry shampoo and style my hair in a cute headband or braid.

See, not TOTALLY disgusting!

The crucial factor to pulling off this gym to street transition without looking like total bum is finding great workout clothes.  Lucky for you, athletic wear is becoming one and the same with casual wear and at ALL price points.  I’ve recently started to venture out of my Lululemon bubble (#lovemesomelulu) and test out other brands with great results!  Athleta, Ellie, Adidas, Nike and Target make some wonderful styles and their price points are a little (or more often, A LOT)  more wallet-friendly than some of Lululemon’s goods. Which obviously means you can buy more of them 🙂

Workout to streetwear fitness exercise attire Champion Target The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno

Fitness Gym to Streetwear Target Champion Nike Athleta The Heart's Delight Stella CompisenoDSC_5339Gym to Streetwear Fitness Athleta Nike Target Champion The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno


Here is my MUST have product roundup for any post-workout quick change:

Oil of Olay Daily Face Wash Cloths, Loreal Colour Riche Balm (in ‘Caring Coral’), Trader Joe’s Shea Butter hand cream, Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo, Secret Invisible Solid Deodorant… and obviously some good cool down music via my iPhone (phone case by Kate Spade Saturday- OBSESSED with THIS ONE).

Oscar Blandi Secret Deodorant Loreal Lip Balm Oil of Olay Face Wash cloths Trader Joe's hand cream


What I’m Wearing:

Sparkly Soul headband / Athleta plum racerback tank (similar style)/ C9 by Champion open cardigan / C9 by Champion X-back yoga layering top / C9 by Champion racerback athletic bra / C9 by Champion leggings (similar style) / Nike Free 5.0 sneakers / Le Sportsac cross-body “Deluxe Everyday” bag

DSC_5397 DSC_5377 Gym to Streetwear Fitness Athletic Target Champion Nike Le Sport Sac Gym Bag The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno

So, what’s YOUR gym uniform?  More importantly, am I the only stinky one out there?