Pure Barre: my journey so far

Pure Barre equipment

I am going to categorize this post in a list of “things I have been planning to write about but haven’t had time to yet.”  The reason why will present itself as this unfolds, so bear with me. Today I want to talk about Pure Barre. Specifically, how I found it, and why I love it!

Things have been relatively quiet here on the blog for the past two (ok, more like 3) months. I know this. That is because I’ve been a wee bit busy taking on a new adventure! If you asked me at the beginning of 2014 what I thought I’d be doing by this time in 2015, I never would have dreamed it up. So, let’s start from the beginning.

Pure Barre studio

How I found Pure Barre

I had a pretty strict gym routine. Justin and I would head to the gym on most weeknights (and some weekend mornings) to weight train and get in some cardio. All of a sudden in late April, disaster struck. I developed a painful case of tendonitis in my left thumb, which made it impossible for me to attempt gripping weights and putting any kind of stress on my wrist. What was I to do? I moped around for a few weeks in self pity, heading to the gym but just running like a hamster in a wheel on the treadmill. Fun fact: I hate running on the treadmill. I knew there had to be something else.

So, I took to the Internet and thought about trying something completely new for a change. It just so happened that I’d been hearing about Pure Barre classes from a few acquaintances, so I looked up where the nearest studio was located. I registered for my first class and headed there the next day. And the rest is history.

Pure Barre balls

The first class

I’m not going to lie – even if you are a physically fit individual, taking your first Pure Barre class is going to be a bit of a new experience (and a challenge). You’ll work muscles you didn’t know existed. You’ll be a little overwhelmed as you go through the routine. Paying attention to the teacher is important and confusing at first. You’ll have to learn the difference between a tuck and a pulse, and realize that making one inch movements is a LOT harder than you would think.

I went in thinking I was going to be good at it, and I quickly realized that it was going to take a few classes to understand the technique fully. It does, by the way – I would say you need to take at least 3-5 classes to fully understand what is happening and to get comfortable. On my very first class I experienced what it felt like to have my legs shake (which is a scary scenario when you first see it happening, but you learn to embrace it for how great it is). I honestly needed help getting up out of bed the day after my first class: I was so sore! But in a good way.

Pure Barre stretch

Getting hooked

After the first class, I knew I was hooked on Pure Barre. I found myself attending classes regularly, and getting excited to hop in my car to go to the studio. My flexibility increased SO dramatically, as well as my core strength. I went from being able to get about a third of the way into a splits position into almost fully sitting into the splits a few months later. Being able to physically see how much more flexible and strong my body was getting was definitely a huge hook. That, paired with the flow of class, the music, and the interaction and support I received during classes. It all added up.

Pure Barre sticky socks

The next step

About 6 months after taking my first Pure Barre class (late November 2014), an opportunity presented itself. A new Pure Barre studio is opening nearby, and at that time they were searching for teachers. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and got in touch. Despite my fear and nervousness, I auditioned. What did I have to lose, I thought? The next thing I knew, I was being booked on a flight to South Carolina to attend teacher training for four days the following week. What?!?!

Training was a whirlwind. Pure Barre from 8am to 4pm in the training facility, but really more like eating, sleeping, and breathing Pure Barre 24 hours a day. I was able to bond with my fellow teachers during that time – it felt like we were all college roommates as we sat in our hotel room eating pizza and studying into the wee hours of the night. Who would have thought that after meeting as complete strangers at the airport on a Wednesday night that we’d end up being fast friends by Sunday?

After returning home, it was crunch time. I spent the next few weeks practicing diligently so I could take my teacher test. There were days that I just wanted to throw in the towel and sit down on the floor and cry; it got a bit overwhelming to balance work, practicing, getting errands/chores done, and having some personal time to myself. But thankfully it was all worth it in the end, and now I am so excited to be able to help others to get the most out of their Pure Barre experience alongside me when the studio opens in a few short weeks! The journey continues…

Have you been to a barre class before?

Holiday Hangout with OXO

It is absolutely baffling to me to think that it is already November! What is going on!?!? With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s time to get the kitchen prepped for the occasion! Today, Sunday Supper is teaming up for a Holiday Hangout with OXO. We will be getting together for a live event this evening on Google+, and I hope you’ll join us!

OXO tools
Join Veronica from OXO, Isabel from Family Foodie, Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, Amy from Kimchi MOM, and me on a live Google+ hangout at 7pm EST as we demo four amazing OXO tools that will help you put together a fabulous holiday meal! Mark your calendars…we hope you’ll stop by and watch!

Click HERE to visit the event page and RSVP for the event.

In addition to the hangout, OXO has generously offered to give away a set of the four kitchen tools we will be demonstrating tonight – stop by our announcement post on the Sunday Supper website to enter for your chance to win!

Halloween aftermath…

How was your Halloween? How is the Halloween aftermath looking? It was one WILD night for us over here….cough cough cough.

Halloween aftermath DIY skeleton lawn decorations

It just so happened that on Halloween night the temperatures here dropped quite a bit and the wind picked up. And that wind took our DIY skeleton lawn decorations with it. When we woke up on Saturday morning, Justin and I could not stop laughing when we looked outside.

Halloween aftermath DIY skeleton lawn decorations

….looks like someone had QUITE the rager, eh? Face down on the grass for one of them, glasses askew for the other. We didn’t pose them like this intentionally, I swear! I absolutely had to run back into the house and grab my camera just to snap a few photos. Too darn funny.

So – how was your Halloween?

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market (plus a giveaway!)

Well, it is the start of a new week, and although that sometimes comes with the dragging of heels while returning to work/a busy schedule, I’m here to brighten your Monday a bit with a giveaway! And not just any old giveaway; in honor of American Cheese Month, I’ve got a giveaway for a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card for you to create the cheese tray of your dreams!

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market

American Cheese Month spans the month of October, but I don’t know why you have to relegate yourself to eating amazing American made cheese during those four weeks only. Undoubtedly, my favorite aspect of our brand new Whole Foods Market near my house is the cheese section. When I’m shopping, you can almost always be sure to find me visiting that particular counter. I love trying out cheese varieties that are new to me, and Whole Foods never seems to disappoint with their selection. So, when Whole Foods asked me to try out some American made cheese, how could I possibly say no???

I asked my in store cheesemonger to set me up with a variety of textures and flavors with the cheese, and I left it up to her to surprise me with what she thought I’d find interesting. I ended up with five different cheeses, along with some flatbread, for my cheese tray!

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market

My first selection was the Rum Runner BellaVitano by Sartori. The cheese is made in Plymouth, Wisconsin and is a Whole Foods Market exclusive. The texture is slightly firm, and the initial flavor of this cow’s milk cheese is buttery. The cheese is soaked in a Wisconsin-produced “Heath rum,” and you can definitely taste the sweetness as you enjoy every bite. It was definitely one of our favorites in the tray!

The next cheese on my journey was the Saxony-Alpine Cheese made in Cleveland, Wisconsin. It is full bodied and features sweet and nutty flavors. This cow’s milk cheese has won awards at both the U.S. Cheese Championship and the Wisconsin State Fair, so it isn’t fooling around!

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market

Moving on! The third cheese we sampled was the Five Peppercorn Raclette by Emmi Roth out of Monroe, Wisconsin. I had never tasted a raclette cheese before, and it was the cheese on the tray that brought the most controversy, if you will. The aroma is very distinct (which is what could draw people in or drive them away if they aren’t used to strong smelling cheese), but the texture is smooth and great for melting, which is what I would recommend doing with it instead of eating it cold. It is another Whole Foods Market exclusive!

Next up – the Snowfields-Aged Butterkase Style Cheese by Saxon Creamery. This is another raw milk cow’s cheese. During the late fall and early winter in Cleveland, Wisconsin, their herd produces a unique milk that is high in protein and cream. It is aged for 6 months and rotated through 3 different aging rooms in order to develop it’s unique flavor – buttery, with notes of parmesan. Yet another crowd pleaser on our cheese sampling tray!

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market

The final cheese we sampled was the Rogue River Blue Cheese from Central Point, Oregon. The cheese itself is beautiful, marbled with bright blue specks. This blue cheese is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that have been macerated in pear brandy. It is cave aged for a minimum of 9-12 months. The texture is unbelievably creamy and the flavor is vibrant.

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market

Of course, it wouldn’t be a great cheese plate without some sort of cracker or flatbread! I had to pick up a package of the new Raincoast Flats. These non-GMO flatbreads are debuting exclusively in Whole Foods Market this October in Kale and Walnut and Lemon Fennel flavors. I opted for the Kale and Walnut Flatbreads, and they were the perfect complement to my cheese. The long, thin flatbreads add the perfect crunch, and the flavors are light. They quickly disappeared from our tray…I guess I’ll have to return to Whole Foods to replenish!

American Cheese Month at Whole Foods Market

Have I made you hungry for cheese yet? Fear not, Whole Foods has also given me a $50 gift card to dole out to one of my fabulous readers! You too can create the cheese plate of your dreams! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Disclosure: Whole Foods Market provided me with a gift card to purchase cheese samples, as well as a gift card to give away. All opinions are my own.****