Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Alex approved workout

This post brought to you by the gluttonous week of Thanksgiving. Think of it as inspiration!

Anyone who knows me is aware of my disdain for exercise. 
A nice, five mile jog? Nope.
Long sessions at the gym? I'm lucky if I make it 20 minutes.
Dreams of running a half marathon or any comparable distance? Now that's funny.

I exercised, but only out of necessity [and many times, really half assed]. After all, I do live in one of the top culinary hot spots in the U.S.

BUT THEN. But then.

Along came Pure Barre.


I'd heard whispers of this mystical barre workout, along with others such as The Barre Method, Cardio Barre, Define, etc., and it definitely caught my attention due to my childhood spent dancing [badly].

When I first heard about this holy grail of exercise I was several months deep into an outdoor boot camp that met three times a week. 
It was hot.
It was dusty.
There were too many repetitions.
Hatred filled my soul.

So when a Living Social deal came up for two weeks of unlimited Pure Barre, I snapped it up immediately and planned to transform my body before my big work trip to Singapore. 
Let's say I was taking preventative measures for the mass quantities of food I knew I'd be ingesting.

I was excited but nervous before my first class. Thoughts ran through my head.
"Shit. I need to buy some Lululemon pants ASAP."
"This workout is so expensive. I'm going to be the poorest person there."
"I wonder how bad my turnout sucks now?"
"There's no way it can be THAT hard."

My first class arrived.
I bought Lulu pants to make myself feel better.
And it really was that hard.

Like really hard.
My body hurt in places I didn't know could hurt.

What?!?! I loved a form of exercise?! The sky must be falling!!

I took advantage of my two weeks and attended eight classes. After only THREE of those eight classes I saw muscles starting to form on my arms [where previously none resided] and a bit of definition in my abs. 
Say what? 
To say I was impressed and mystified over my results, then depressed over the real cost of the classes once my deal ran out was an understatement. 

Then I went to Singapore, ate all the things, and wondered how much of my hard work I had ruined. 
I only had one choice: buckle down, stop being notoriously cheap, and buy a membership.
Lucky for me, the studio was running a back to school special and I was able to get a good deal on three months of unlimited classes, which is where I am now.

Since that first foray into Pure Barre back in July, I have taken almost 50 classes. 
I go 4-5 [sometimes 6...but my body kind of hates me after] times a week, which may seem like a lot, but GUYS. The results. 
The motto "Lift, tone, burn" is taken very seriously. 
I have definitely done all three of those things, though there is still much work to be done. 

Most importantly, though, I LOVE IT. I actually WANT to go to class! 
Yes, some days I'd rather go home and lay on my couch or have a margarita or three, but I've somehow managed to make this a very regular part of my daily routine while still having time for my usual social activities. 

It definitely never gets easier, but I recognize that my body is getting stronger and I feel good about myself after every class.
I've reclaimed a lot of the flexibility I lost when I quit dancing, which makes for great party tricks.

My three months are ending soon, so I'm hoping Santa Claus brings me another three month package to sustain me before I move.
Slash I'm going to need these classes even more after I eat everything in sight over the holidays.

Is anyone else out there a Pure Barre junkie?
Have any questions?
If anyone is interested I could do a run through of a typical class accompanied by my witty commentary. 

So after all this talk of exercise...Happy Thanksgiving! May you eat all things delicious in very large quantities! :)

This post was in no way sponsored by Pure Barre. These are my own opinions on a class that I just really happen to love!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Friday...from two baby BFFs

Blue Ivy and Knorth West would like to wish you a very happy end of the week! 

These were our very last minute Halloween costumes that no one understood until we explained them. We thought they were pretty clever though!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Orleans...bachelorette style

Ah, New Orleans. You are grand. 

For dear Haritha's bachelorette party we made the trek to the state next door and rented an awesome apartment underneath a giant old house. I may or may not have convinced everyone that it was very haunted. Maybe I watch too much American Horror Story.

We ate delicious pizza, had a fancy, three course jazz brunch at Commander's Palace, got our fortunes read [my first time for that, and it was pretty cool], strolled around the French quarter, and had a classic night on Bourbon Street. 

Only three months until our little doctor is married! 

Yes, the placement of the green dresses was intentional.

Leave it to us to run into an Australian rugby player. Aussies are EVERYWHERE.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Girls Trip, version 5.0

Immediately upon return from London, I was swept up into the fifth annual girls trip.

[Let the record show that October was the booziest busiest month ever for me.]

Seeing as how three out of six girls trip participants got married this year, we decided to keep things simple for our annual trip. 

It was a perfect weekend of girl talk, game playing, wine tasting, and a night out on the town. 

Highlights included a highly offensive and hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity, the most delicious pumpkin cream crepe, a sweet winery in the hill country, target practice in the backyard with a pellet gun, making best friends with a cab driver, and devouring most of an ice cream pie after a night out. 

Clearly, it was a classy weekend.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Walking across London Town

Three weeks after getting back from Italy, across the Atlantic I went again, this time to one of my favorite places ever...London!

We were technically working in three towns outside of London, but we decided that having to get up early every morning to catch trains was worth it if were staying in the heart of the city. 

London is one of those places where I just feel at home. It's easy to get around, there's a vibrant energy everywhere you go, and there's so much to do. It will always be on my short list of places I must live in life!

And the best part....THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT. I was shocked. I almost cried from happiness. No rain, no painfully cold winds; there was even some sun! Thanks for playing nicely, London.

Our hotel was right by Hyde Park, so getting places often meant walking right through.

Per a recommendation I read on Aspiring Kennedy, I knew we had to have sticky toffee pudding at The Prince Bonaparte in Notting Hill. It was one of the best decisions made on this trip.

A friend living in the UK met us for the weekend, so it was necessary to visit some cool spots. We had dinner at this very neat restaurant in Soho called Inamo, where you do all the ordering directly on the table. The tables are touch screens! It was very hip, and the food was actually pretty good. 

Of course there had to be a day of typical sight seeing. 

And on Sunday...a Sunday roast. It's only proper.

Not a bad view on the way to work, hey? 

We ended the trip with a visit to Duck and Waffle, which was on the top floor of Heron Tower. The food was delicious, and the views couldn't be beat. 

Aside from a conference last week in Vegas, that was my last work trip of the year. While I'm glad to be home and getting back into a semblance of routine, I do already miss the travel lifestyle. Though exhausting, it's also exciting to always be on the go and getting far too acquainted with the airport. 

Now I'm trying to soak up my last months in Houston/Texas/America. Here's to a staycation!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Italia...and how I ate all the pizza in the country

I'm alive! I'm alive! 

For the past six months I've basically been living out of a suitcase. Between work and personal travel, I kind of forgot what it was like to be at home. Or cook. Or exercise. Or blog. 

So let's recap what the hell I've been up to, shall we?

After my jaunt to Singapore, the next work trip was to northern Italy. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put an office on Lake Como...bless them. 

I hadn't been to the land of carbs since my graduation trip in 2009, so I was overly eager to eat every pizza, panini, and cup of gelato in sight. So I did. 

I was also our designated driver and only got sideswiped on a windy mountain road once. Hooray!

We first stayed in a sweet little town called Salice Terme. It is apparently a popular summer holiday spot for people who live in Milan. If you ever find yourself there for some odd reason, the Hotel Milano was a charming, family-run place.

In classic European style, there's even a castle on a hill that you can visit and get a view of the town from. 

Our next destination was Colico, a town right smack dab on Lake Como. Let me tell you, pictures don't do this place justice. I'd always dreamed about visiting Lake Como [and running into Mr. Clooney], but seeing it in person was like looking at a painting. Unreal. The view from my room was pretty spectacular, though it was quite hazy while we were visiting.

It was recommended that we visit the town of Bellagio to get a quintessential Lake Como experience. We took a ferry over, but if only we had known that many people show up in their private time.

On a Saturday off, my boss and I took a drive into Switzerland since the town of Lugano was so close. I think my palms sweated profusely the whole time I drove on those windy, narrow roads. But good God, were the views ridiculous. The pictures really don't capture it, but the water in this lake was greeeeeeen. Like, fairy tale green. I spent a lot of time just staring at it.

And because it wouldn't be normal if I didn't show any food, here are the things I ate pretty much every day.

The trip ended with a one day meeting in the town of Celle, Germany. Never heard of it? Neither had I. But I was able to have a radler and eat some delicious, non-German meals, so I was pretty happy.

Some good times were had on this trip. I think I've perfected how to have an excellent time on a work trip. I've also decided that one day I just want to run away to Switzerland and live in the Alps. I'll have cured meats, cheese, and wine sent up to me every week. It will be a fabulous life. 


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