Pure Barre, Busy Mama: Worth It?

It’s no secret that I LOVE all things barre related– I’ve been a Stroller Barre instructor for 2 years, a barre-client at numerous studios over the years, and grew up with a strong affinity for the ballet. When I found out there was a Pure Barre studio just a few miles from my house, I let out a little squeal! I wanted to join so badly; I NEEDED to switch up my routine as I felt like I was hitting a plateau. But honestly… in this season of life… it’s so dang hard to find the time, not to mention the motivation, to get to any sort of workout that doesn’t involve my littles. Would it be worth it?

Enter the Pure Barre Challenge. I saw an ad on Instagram for a 31 day challenge. Complete 20 classes in 31 days and see your body change and your confidence soar. {Inner dialogue “okay… this sounds slightly insane and really hardcore, so yeah, COUNT ME IN.”} I wasn’t really sure how I’d make it work, but I figured even if I decided I didn’t want to keep up with it after the challenge, it would be a great way to break through a plateau and get some (much needed) mama time for myself.

The Classes

Pure Barre Classic: this is THE Original. Rooted in classic technique, this is the fastest, most effective full-body workout. The instructor leads you through a series of low-impact, high intensity movements that are designed to strengthen and tone your body in ways that no other technique can. 50 minutes.

Pure Empower: similar to classic, but more cardio. Like, a lot more. According to their site, “Pure Empower is a fusion of barre and interval training designed to elevate your heart rate, build strength and rev up your metabolism. For 45 minutes, you’ll use multi-directional, dynamic movements with ankle weights and a plyometric platform to target different muscle groups simultaneously – all at an invigorating pace.

Pure Empower equipment: hand weights, ankle/wrist weights, platform

Pure Reform: a hybrid of resistance training and pure barre. Still a total body workout that targets, shapes, and defines all major muscle groups, but this time through resistance‐based strength training. This class will challenge your strength, coordination and balance by using resistance bands, sliders, and the barre. 50 minutes.

Image from IG stories

What I love about Pure Barre: Honestly, these classes make me feel SO strong. Every single class, regardless of format, is a crazy challenge. The instructors are super knowledgeable and use hands-on correction to ensure your tiny one-inch movements are giving you the most bang for your buck. Also, they have early morning (5:45 am) and late evening (7 pm) classes, so I can leave the kids with the hubby either before or after work, which is an issue I found with a lot of group classes.

What I wish I could change: Selfishly, all the things I want to change are personal problems! I wish the early classes were everyday instead of MWF, because T/TH is when I truly need them. The other biggest factor is obviously the price. Trust me, the cost is totally WORTH it, but my midwestern bargain-hunter, sale-only roots run deep.

Final Verdict: Did I complete the challenge? Absolutely not. I completed about half, due to traveling and general #momlife. Buuuuut I did love it so much that I’ve decided to tackle a few more months and see what kind of progress I can really make. Oh, and for you, sweet friends: a deal! New clients can use the code JESS20 to save $20 on an intro month. That makes it just $79 for unlimited classes*, and if you haven’t snagged a free week yet, you can stack that on, too!

*this deal also works with their current Black Friday specials, making your total cost only $59 for an unlimited month of Pure Barre! Valid in Round Rock and Cedar Park through 11/25/18

Unicorns, Donuts, and Sassy Pants

This. Is. Four.

It’s crazy how four years can go by in what feels like a blink of an eye. It seriously feels like yesterday when we were sitting (okay I was laying) in the hospital trying to decide what we’d name our sweet girl. Who would she be? What would be be interested in? Would she be like I was as a child or something totally different? From that moment, our world was forever changed.

Since that day, she’s blossomed into the sassiest, smartest, most hilarious little creature I’ve ever encountered. She loves crafts and science and riding her scooter. She lives for cake pops and Target runs and jumping on the trampoline. Gymnastics and dance are her love languages. She’s got her father’s sense of humor and my passion for learning. In short, she’s everything we could’ve ever hoped for… and so much more.

Parenting is a crazy dichotomy of wishing you could freeze time and wanting to fast forward because you’re ecstatic about the little person they’re growing into. I’m sure the next four years will pass even faster than the last, but one thing is for certain: it’s going to be glorious.

More than Mama

In these little years, it be incredibly hard to not let motherhood completely consume you. You’ve got these tiny little humans depending on you during their every waking moment. Whether you’re with them all day or not, they’re on your mind 24/7. And that’s great! That’s evolution at it’s finest— you’re hardwired to put their best interests above your own. There have been countless hours of sacrificed sleep, endless skipped meals, and definite periods of life where you’re kids looked like a BabyGap ad while you were rocking three-day-old yoga pants and a ponytail.

Sweet Mama, you’re doing an amazing job, but there’s something I want you to remember: you’re not JUST Mama. You’re so, so much more than that.

You’re a wife

Before those little sweet humans arrived, there was just the two of you. And when those same littles grow up, it’ll be the two of you again. Don’t let that spark fade, Mama. Kindle the fire, nurture it, and let it grow.

You’re a friend

Remember all those people you used to talk to before motherhood consumed you? They miss you. They’re still there, waiting. Reach out to them.

You’re a child

Funny how it all comes full circle. Those things you swore you’d “never do” or “never say” to your future children slowly manifest themselves to humble you and remind you to call your mother. Do it. Remind her how much you love her and thank her for raising a strong, self-sufficient adult (#humblebrag).

You’re a goddess

YAS, Mama. You are a mother-freaking goddess who should be treated as such. With no makeup on, dry-shampooed hair, and athleisure wear as a daily staple, you’re still fire. You are a strong and powerful woman who is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t forget it.

You’re a warrior

You have taken on one of life’s most noble tasks: you’re raising the next generation. You’re grooming and teaching and molding and sculpting these tiny humans into incredible global citizens who will no doubt change our world. You’ve got this.

You’re YOU

There is only one you, Mama. You’re the one that your littles need right now, even when you don’t feel like you’re doing enough. The world needs you, in all your stunning mama-goddess-warrior glory. Embrace it.

Xo

The Motherhood NO ONE Warns You About

If you’re a new(ish) parent and you aren’t being bombarded with parenting advice, stories, and helpful “tips” 24/7, consider yourself an anomaly. In today’s society (especially in this world of blogging and social media), it seems like everybody is an expert. You have kids? Great, tell me how to parent mine. Oh, you DON’T have kids, even better! Keep the advice coming. It can be insanely overwhelming and while sometimes helpful, often times leave you feeling like you’re doing this whole thing totally wrong.

Guess what? You’re not. You’re doing YOU and your family and that’s totally legit and bad ass. There are a few things, however, that I feel like we don’t talk about enough. Things that happen much later– after that “new mama” stage, once you *think* you have things under control and handled. Things that are totally real and true, but you won’t really understand ’em until you live ’em.

  • You’ll do weird, gross things all day long and not be phased: Between changing (and examining) dirty diapers, wiping snotty noses, and eating random scraps of old toddler food, you’re definition of “gross” will be markedly different than that of your childless friends. You’ll do things that you’ll vow to never tell another human about and then proceed to tell your spouse in painfully specific details, because if you had to experience it, so do they.
  • You’ll be insanely silly and pray no one sees you/heard what you said: If you’ve never gotten WAY TOO INTO a game of make-believe, showcased your horrendous dancing or singing in the name of pretend concerts, or told knock-knock jokes that make virtually zero sense to entertain a child… just wait. You’re time is coming… you just better hope no other grown adults (or cameras) are around.
  • You’ll have REALLY hard minutes, hours, days, and even weeks… but you’ll bounce back: Man, parenting is so.freaking.hard. I don’t know that there’s a truer test of self-confidence than parenting a young child; those little humans will break you down and test every ounce of patience you didn’t even know you had. The crazy thing? Moments later (if you’re lucky), they’ll be back to their incredible selves and they’ll remind you why you don’t just up and leave ’em. {Real talk, though: post-partum depression is NO JOKE and if these moments aren’t passing, there’s ZERO shame in seeking help}.
  • You’ll have ALL THE FEELINGS: People talk about being more emotional after having kids and I always equated this to a more compassionate, lovey-dovey kind of emotional. Wrong… sort of. This one swings all over the dang emotions map. Feeling sad for your kiddo? Grab some tissues and get ready to cry a river. Feeling happy for your kiddo? Mama, that pride is shining out of you like beams from the sun. Feeling angry at your kid, because of your kid, or at someone else FOR your kid? Ohhhh Lord, ain’t no wrath like that of a mama bear. Also, you should probably grab those tissues again, because as a parent I’ve angry-cried more than I ever would’ve predicted. Parenthood brings out #allthefeels for all the reasons.

There’s probably about 10 more things that no one told me about (like how awful breastfeeding can be, how ridiculous mom-shamers are, how to teach my kids to be bored once in a while), but #mombrain is also a very real thing. And if you’re a mother, you know that I currently have approximately 12 other things demanding my attention at the moment, so off I go.

Until next time, Xo.

Jess

 

Fave Finds {11/13/17}

Current

o b s e s s i o n s :

Y’all I’m starting with this one because WHAT?! IT’S SO GOOD. I am a sucker for anything local and for anything sweet & spicy. This one hits both marks, which means I’m all in. As a company, they’re about real ingredients and intentional cooking. As a sauce, it’ll rock your socks off. Seriously, I ate it on all three meals today (eggs for brekky, left-over pulled pork for lunch, and tacos for dinner. No shame). We got ours at H-E-B, but you can also order on their site.

 

  • Fitness Challenges/Streaks

It’s kind of crazy to think it was about a year ago when I started my #runstreak. Everyday, for 51 days I ran at least a mile (and in there, a 5 miler and a half marathon!). What I love about monthly challenges and running streaks is that it’s NOT about the actual thing you’re doing. Not at all. At least, not for me. For me, it’s about the discipline. It’s about making a commitment and sticking to it, even on days when it’s the absolute last thing you want to do. Over the 51 days I ran, I learned so much more about myself than I improved upon my running. Start something. Just do it. I promise you won’t regret it (and maybe you’ll improve your plank time or gain an ab or two).

A shirt with toys attached?! What is this sorcery?! At first, I wasn’t sure McKenna would be into it. But honestly, it’s the perfect shirt for a few reasons.

  1. Fun numerical design. McKenna loves that it’s her “three” shirt.
  2. It can be for a birthday, but doesn’t have to be. I usually get my kids birthday shirts that are “that day” specific and then it’s kind of weird when they wear it again. This one can get a ton of wears without being weird.
  3. The fact that the shirt has snap-on finger puppets means it’s ideal for Stroller Strides! I can get McKenna dressed AND pack her some toys in one swoop. #momhack

Bonus reason why Yippitee is awesome?! They were the October FIT4MOM Austin Vendor of the Month, but she didn’t stop there! For the rest of November, you can get 15% her whole site with the code “F4M1017”.

 

  • Wet & Wild Gel Nail Polish

I’m constantly on the hunt for at-home gel polishes that don’t require the whole set-up. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to sneak away to get a legit mani, but let’s be honest… who was the time?! So I fake it at home, usually with Sally Hansen. The ones I’m used to using are a two-step process, which is fine, but I love my polish to be super-shiny, so I usually hit it with another top coat. Again, who has the time? This wet & wild polish is new and only requires one coat (well, one bottle, I used two coats). I’m reeaallly rough on my hands and it’s held up great. I’m linking the color I’ve got below.

Wnw Nail Color Gel-Maroon Size .45z Wnw Nail Color Gel-Left Marooned

  • Leather Earrings

Saving the best for last? I want to say yes, but I really can’t pick a favorite from this week’s list. I love a big statement earring, but I am pretty picky about the weight of my bling. I also love a statement earring with a simple outfit. No joke, I can go from asleep in my bed to hair in a messy bun, makeup on, random dress, statement earrings in like 15 minutes and look totally put together (for real—this is my work look almost errrrryyyday). All this to say GET YOU SOME LEATHER EARRINGS. So light-weight, so gorgeous. I have two brands at the moment (Lavish Leathers and Nickel & Suede) and I love them both equally. I am slowly building my collection so that I can seriously wear them all the time. So far I have a black glittery pair, a copper and camel pair (pictured), and an emerald green pair (pictured). These will change your fashion-life in the best way.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY DIGGING? WHAT PRODUCTS SHOULD I TRY?  WHAT SHOWS CAN I BINGE ON? WHAT PODCASTS ARE YOU LOVING?

tell. me. everything.

Deeds over Intentions

“The smallest good deed is better than the greatest intention”

– John Burroughs 

The other day I found myself grumbling at work about how people seem to use “I don’t know what to do” as an excuse to do nothing at all. It’s become a re-occuring theme that if someone isn’t 100% sure what to do, the next logical step seems to be to do nothing at all and to claim ignorance. The more I thought about it, the more it stood out in my life. It happens at work; between friends; with political and social injustice. And after some procrastination, ehh… self-reflection, I realized it also happens with my writing. If I can’t think of the perfect, most compelling way to say something, I convince myself that it isn’t worth writing at all. What a shame, because Laawwwdd knows I have lots to say!

I think there are two groups of people who fall into this trap: the lazy and the perfectionist. Considering that I am consistently trying to complete no less than 10 tasks at a time, I’m going to lump myself into the “perfectionist” category. I do it a lot: decide that if it isn’t perfect, than it isn’t good enough. If you know me, that might surprise you, as often times I “just wing it”. But truth be told, this stuff stresses me the F out! I recently read a blog post by Rebecca Cooper that resonated so hard with me (you can and should read it here on Simple as That). She talks about wanting to be and to do #allthethings and how it’s just not possible.

Instead, what she focuses on is how you can reclaim your happy and still do SOME of the things. I think this relates so wonderfully to how this whole post started. You don’t have to know the exact right way or even the best way to do something to get started. Just START. Start small. Ask questions. Help in any way you can. We often underestimate the power of the small things, like a smile, a hug, or simply holding the door.

In honor of doing small things with great love (shout out Mother Theresa), I’m partnering with #DoGoodWeek to change the conversation towards more positive action. I’ve planned activities for the whole next week for me and the fam to pay it forward. I’ll record the fun stuff we’re doing here on the blog and of course on my insta stories so that y’all can follow along!

Now I just need to know: Will you join me?! 

Check out http://dogoodweek.org/  and @dogoodlivewell for more information.

Insert Coffee to Start

Do you ever feel like you have so many things to do that you don’t even know where to start? So instead, you do nothing? Or maybe you start everything, but can’t seem to follow through to complete a single task?

Oh, all of you? Shoot.

Guys. Life is overwhelming. How do you keep it all under control? SERIOUSLY HOW?! Some days I feel like a mother-freaking rockstar, handling business no problemo. Other days I feel like I’m a circus performer who is failing miserably at her job. Here is what I’m currently working with (in zero particular order, because honestly, I don’t have the time or energy to rank them):

  • Momming
  • Wife-ing
  • Self-care
  • Friends
  • Job #1
  • Job #2
  • Job #3 (which is really two positions smashed into one, all expected to be done on a part-time basis)

… insert big, exhausted sigh.

And coffee. Insert aaalllllllll the coffee.

I’ve been meal planning. I’ve been utilizing my planner. I’ve (sort of) been trying to give myself grace. So, there’s progress there! Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like my planner is just reminding me how many things are slipping through the cracks. Things that are not getting done, so they get marked with an arrow for the next day… and then the next day. (makes mental note about the giving yourself grace thing)

Lots of you are probably thinking, “Yeah, ya crazy person. If you didn’t have three jobs, maybe you wouldn’t be so busy”. Valid point. HOWEVER, if I’m being super honest, each job fulfills it’s own little happy place in my heart under “self-care”, no matter how stressed it makes me. It’s a viscous cycle. I love being busy, I love all the work that I do, but it also makes me insane (hmm… sounds a lot like parenting!).

All that being said… there’s really no point to this post. My only goals in writing this are: to solicit advice on how you prioritize tasks and to procrastinate on things I SHOULD be getting done.

If you have any advice, send it my way.

Or Starbucks gift cards, those would be super helpful.