Molten Glass

Now that I am living back home, am single, and working only one job that currently is mostly 9-5, I have a lot of time on my hands. This free time has motivated me to try some new things I’ve always been interested in but never had the opportunity to experience! One of these things is glass working. [Disclaimer – I mostly only started to have an interest in it after I’d found an awesome Groupon, so it wasn’t quite “always”.]

Glass working is not really an activity you can take up on your own. It’s expensive, first of all, to purchase supplies and equipment, and as good as YouTube and Google are, it could potentially be dangerous when tried alone without an expert. Fortunately, I found that great deal on Groupon for a local artist with equally great reviews, and equally fortunately I had a good friend equally excited to #trythenewthing!

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Different Pure Barre Studios

About one year into my Pure Barre adventure (and three months into my everyday Pure Barre adventure), my body and health has changed drastically. I fit into clothes I never thought I would again, and I have visible abs for the first time in 27.5 years. At this point, while I am willing to pay the high Pure Barre prices for the admittedly incredible results, I also do have my standards for what constitutes a good Pure Barre studio/teacher/class.

  1. Technical expertise. It is important (surprise surprise) that an instructor is familiar with the curriculum and the subject matter. Obviously no one is perfect, and everyone will make mistakes, but I look for instructors who do make form corrections throughout the class, who ensure we get the same balanced workout on both sides of the body, and who are in-tune enough with the music to blend exercise changes seamlessly with the beat.
  2. Energy. For me, the most important thing other than technical expertise is the energy and enthusiasm the instructor brings to the room and the session. And this, unfortunately, is one of the things I’ve had trouble finding at some of the new studios I’ve visited. How am I supposed to be giving it my all and enjoying myself if the instructor is clearly not giving it her all nor enjoying herself? The instructor has the power to change the entire energy of the room, and that of each and every student, and you can feel the difference.
  3. Community. Now, I’m not working out to make friends or to socialize, but when you spend more than an hour each day every day at the same place with the same people, it’s nice to feel known, recognized, and appreciated. Not all studios greet or even acknowledge you when you walk in, and many instructors don’t make the effort to encourage students by name throughout the workout.
  4. Facility. At this point, the set up and cleanliness of all the studios I’ve visited has been excellent, so I don’t have much to say here. I’m sure I would not visit a second time if I happened to discover a dirty or uncomfortable studio. I should say that I do enjoy the studios with fans in them more! It’s nice to have some airflow within the sometimes stuffy and steamy exercise room.
  5. Musical Mix. I’m much more motivated by songs with lyrics, I’ve realized. A background electro-funk beat doesn’t inspire me to push harder and tuck longer the way a lyrical story does. The mix can really make or break the class, and so I always do my best to tell the teacher when I especially love a mix with the desperate hope that they’ll do something with that feedback… I think different studios and different teachers may take different artistic freedoms with the music choices, though.

So far, my amateur hypothesis based on this very small studio sample size is that the regular presence of the studio owner, especially a studio owner that also teaches classes on a regular basis, can make or break all of the categories above. It makes sense that this would be the case – the regular presence of the head honcho keeps other employees on their toes and can reinforce the sense of importance and sense of community for not just the customers, but also the teachers. The same way an instructor can affect the energy of a class, the studio owner can affect the energy of the entire studio.

Basically, I am missing my Pure Barre Naples home, but change can be good and force us to grow… so… I will keep #tryingthenewthings.

  • Naples, FL
  • Estero, FL
  • Boston, MA
  • Wellesley, MA
  • Fort Collins, KY
  • Nashua, NH
  • Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
  • Central Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ


The Magic of Harry Potter

Once upon a time, my pizza-loving-man and I tried to plan a spring vacation. We wanted this vacation to be a lengthier international trip, a la our trip to Nicaragua last March. Alas, I had an un-missable (that’s a word, right?) work event smack dab in the middle of the break, so we had to get creative with a variety of local trips. In the end, it was well worth it and AWESOME!


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The BEPPO Method: Evaluating Brewery Visits

Beppo final

Partially inspired by Beppo the super monkey whose Kryptonian powers make him secretly the best at evaluating craft breweries, I’ve established the BEPPO method of brewery reviews. This is an easy and fun way to tell others about what worked and what did not in your recent brewery visit!

Beer, Entertainment, People, Place, and Other important things!

Beer – The most important part of a brewery visit is, of course, the beer! What are the options? Are they tasty? How are they served?
Entertainment – I would consider this to be the second-most important part of a brewery visit. What is there to do for fun (other than drinking delicious craft brews)? Are there tabletop games? Yard games? Is there music? Can you take a tour?
People – People are an important part of any visit! Are the staff friendly and welcoming? What is the vibe of the visiting crowd?
Place – Definitely not the most important, but can be a factor in ultimate visit success. Where is the brewery located? Is it easy to get to and are there other fun things around. What is the facility like?
Other – There are always fun unexpected standout items, and we can’t overlook those! Mostly, though: what is the food or snack situation at this brewery? (Beppo the monkey, who partially inspired this method due to his super powers, opposed to the use of F or S at the end of the clever acronym.)