…And the fun in between- Barre & Soul, Portsmouth NH

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Barre & Soul Photo courtesy of Barre Soul

As a part of Blog & Tweet NH, I was invited to a VIP session at Barre & Soul, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire before they opened. Barre & Soul is a mind and body barre studio, with now three locations: Portsmouth (opened August 16, 2014), Melrose, MA and an affiliate in Lexington, MA (first classes began 2013).

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looks fairly easy- but its not! this move is the most difficult part of a sit up- and it works wonders! Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

Barre & Soul was started by Andrea Isabelle Lucas. She had taken up barre classes while pregnant with her second child in 2006, and never thought she would have a bikini body again. A year later, she was in the best shape of her life- not just physically, but spirituality and mentally as well. Andrea didn’t begin barre with the thought of how great she would look, and was amazed with the results- one day, while getting in the shower, Andrea’s reflection caught her eye and she immediately had to try on one of her swim suits. In 2007, Andrea began to teach barre.

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Andrea Isabelle Lucas, photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

Andrea’s background:
*Bachelor of Arts in Women Studies, Lesley University
*200 hour yoga teacher training completed at Prana Vayu Yoga with the founder David Magone
*studied the use of yoga in healing trauma in Haiti
*studied aerial yoga, performed in a circus and burlesque troupe
*former Mind Body Manager for exhale spa, where she led their 275 hour barre teacher training
*barre fitness resource for the lululemon athletica blog

*she has been through Hell and back again (read her story here)
What is barre?
Barre method class combines ballet conditioning, interval cardio, Pilates, yoga and meditation with the benefit of a strengthened core, lengthened muscles, total body toning flexibility and a better mind frame. Barre method is inspired by the Lotte Berk Method. Lotte Berk was a professional ballerina, who, after having a serious injury combined the orthopedic exercises with her dance training. This result is a safe, yet challenging workout. Barre can be made more challenging, and can also be modified around injury.
My visit:
I met Andrea, Lindsey (Portsmouth’s studio manager), Kristin, Liz and Crissy when I took my class. They are all instructors there, and carry other hats there and in life.

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Lindsey, Andrea, Michelle (Miss Portsmouth Area 2015), Kristin, Liz, Crissy

Andrea led my class, with the assistance of Kristin. Kristin assisted us with our form. Andrea mentioned at the beginning of the class that you may dislike her and the other instructors mid class, but would still be friends when all is done. Each instructor is hard on you during the class, so you work hard.

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window box!

The set up of the room was beautifully done- many windows to allow for natural light, plant boxes in the windows- full of succulents, and barres lining four walls. The desk where you check in fits in perfectly as well.

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sign at the desk

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inspirational message at the desk

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beautiful desk that greets you as you enter

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shoe holder

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shoe and bag holder don’t mind our stuff!)

Under the barres were mats- one for each class member with two set of hand weights, two blocks, a ball and a strap. All would be used during the workout.

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set up for two

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set up for two, head on

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The workout is relaxing, fun and challenging, It is designed for all levels and they take note of any old injuries people have at the beginning so they don’t push you too hard or adjust you.

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one of the rare photos from my class

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work it!

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can you bring both feet over at once? use your abs!

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the view from barre assisted abs

I don’t have too many photos from my workout, so you will have to take a class to experience it yourself!

My hour long class was one of the quickest hours ever. I was surprised when we were done. The workout was fast paced, so you don’t get bored, stop paying attention and also so your muscles don’t catch on!
I stayed and chatted with some of the other students and instructors for a bit after, and was able to see what a fun group they are.

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

 

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

 

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

Will I see you next time?

Class Schedule

interested in a two week trial? $25 unlimited for two weeks! Click here for that and their other programs!

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myself and fellow Blog & Tweet NH-er: Devan from The Daily Dev!

 

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And the Fun In Between… Aerial Yoga at Kickstart Fitness and Nutrition

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take an Aerial Yoga class with Blog & Tweet NH. Our Aerial Yoga class was at Kickstart Fitness and Nutrition, located in Sandown, NH. Our trainer was Karlene Murphy. Karlene has a vast expertise- she is certified as a Fitness Trainer, Yoga Instructor, Pilates Instructor, Nutrition Specialist and Wellness Coach. She also has her black belt in Martial Arts. She started by showing us a bit of what can be done…

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Kickstart Fitness and Nutrition currently has two yoga swings, so we went two at a time. With me was Kristen, of Good ‘N Good For Ya. Karlene started by asking us what types of workouts we did, so she would understand us better while we were learning Aerial Yoga. Now, this is the first time I’ve done yoga in an organized fashion (aka not on my Wii Fit), so I can’t recall what we did by name- but we have plenty of pictures to share (special thanks to Marlana, Candra and Amber for helping with that!).

1617176_197233723819219_572802105_o 1658357_197233783819213_623094873_o 1921246_197233637152561_1871612195_o  1962127_197233853819206_606684102_o 1973546_197233937152531_141961427_o“jump into the swing, just like you are a kid again”

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 to end our session, we were encouraged to swing 🙂

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After our session, Karlene shared her Yogurt Protein Energy Balls with us- so good- you almost didn’t know they were good for you!

This class was a lot of fun, and something different. Different parts of my muscles ached the next two days- in that good, I worked hard way. Any stretch you can do, any yoga position, you can do better and deeper.

Prior to taking this class, I had heard about Aerial Yoga being great for people with back issues, and let me tell you, it certainly stretched me out well! If you take a class with Karlene, tell her about your life- she showed me stretches to do based on the fact that I sit in a cube for 40 hours a week.

I enjoyed it so much, I bought a yoga swing and have a time set up to learn more!

Interested in setting up a time with Karlene?
Shop-workshops-classes-coaching sessions- Ebooks
Visit her Blog
Like her on Facebook

A New Seacoast Brewery! 7th Settlement Brewery, Dover NH. Part 1

A few weeks ago, I was honored with an invitation to meet Kristen, from Good ‘N Good For Ya at the 7th Settlement Brewery. The 7th Settlement Brewery recently opened in Dover, NH and Kristen was there for a networking event. Although I was not able to be there for the beginning of the networking event, it was great to have an opportunity to: 1. Meet Kristen, who is part of Blog & Tweet NH and 2. see (and taste) 7th Settlement Brewery.

This is not a full review, since I was there for only a short time, and it wasn’t with Mark- as our goal states we both need to be there. Mark and I will be back to visit after Christmas at some point.

IMG_406598334-300x224Myself and Kristen

photo 21896- Cochecho Winter Wheat

photo 17th Settlement’s Blackboard Menu- it changes daily with all locally sourced food!

photo 3Roasted peanuts- yum!

Want to visit?

Hours: Sun/Tue/Wed 11am-11pm, Thu/Fri/Sat 11am-midnight

Check their website or their facebook for the most recent menu

 

And the fun in between… Stonyfield Yogurt!

I recently went to Stonyfield Farm (located in Londonderry, New Hampshire) with BlogTweetNH. This was my first event with BlogTweetNH, but it defiantly won’t be my last. Upon arriving, we were met by Kristina and Chandra, who both work in the marketing department. Kristina and Chandra showed us a video-tour. Stonyfield no longer offers a typical tour, but the video-tour covered a lot, while still allowing us to stay cool. The video-tour covered how Stonyfield makes their yogurt (Stoneyfield Yogurt has 6 live cultures in it, while most other yogurt has only 2), organic dairy farming, how they use energy and produce energy (the sun plays a HUGE part) and other important topics.

Stonyfield began as a farming school, in Wilton NH in 1983. Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg opened the school together, and started to make yogurt for their own consumption. After determining that the yogurt was good enough to sell, they began to sell the yogurt to help raise funds for the school. After a few years, they determined that a successful yogurt company would make a bigger impact in the community than the school, and decided to run with it. Stonyfield moved to their current location, in Londonderry, NH in 1988. You can now find them everywhere- from grocery stores to colleges.

Stonyfield Yogurt started as two guys who did everything- milked the cows, made the yogurt, made sales calls and even deliveries. Now, they have grown to producing 1.5 MILLION SERVINGS PER DAY!!

After the video-tour was complete, Kristina and Chandra had us all introduce ourselves (and our blogs!) and answered any questions we had… Then came the tasty part!We all went into the yogurt room, and were told to grab a Greek yogurt and Blend yogurt from the fridge. I chose Greek Chocolate on the Bottom, and the Blackberry blend. 

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So delicious! To be honest, I had been afraid to try Greek yogurt- afraid that I wouldn’t like it. It was soo good! The Blackberry Blend was also delicious, and another type of yogurt I probably would not have chosen previously at the supermarket. In the past, I have not been too fond of yogurt that has fruit in it, but the Blend is perfect- you still know that there is fruit in it, it is just finely chopped.

While we were enjoying our Greek yogurt and Blend yogurt, we were told about a fairly new part of Stonyfield, Brown Cow. Brown Cow started in the 1970’s in New York and later moved to California. In 2003, Brown Cow was purchased by Stonyfield and became part of the Stonyfield family. Brown Cow recently introduced Cream Top Greek Desserts. We had the opportunity to try both varieties- Creamy Yogurt with Caramel on the Bottom and Chocolate Yogurt with Cherries on the Bottom. I am usually more of a chocolate person, but since I had just had the Greek Chocolate on the Bottom, I decided to try the Caramel. OMG. Amazing. The yogurt had more of a custard consistency, and when you dipped your spoon just to the bottom and grabbed some caramel- YUM! I was also able to try the Chocolate/Cherry, which was also good, but caramel would be my 1st choice.

IMG_3020[1]They are currently available at Sam’s Club exclusively.

Next up- Frozen Yogurt! The first two varieties we tried were the Greek OIKOS variety, Super Fruits and Honey. The Super Fruits was really good. Great combination of Pomegranate, Raspberry and Acai berry; very smooth. The Honey I wasn’t as fond of, but I think it was more so that the flavor was unexpected. Next was Blueberry, which was very true to flavor. IMG_3021[1] IMG_3022[1]

After trying three of their frozen yogurts, we were told to look in the fridges and see what else we wanted to try. Check out their fully stocked fridges!

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We decided to try three more frozen yogurts, this time we tried the regular yogurts (not Greek). We tried Minty Chocolate Chip, which had a great and strong mint chocolate flavor. We also tried the Vanilla Fudge Swirl.

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My favorite frozen yogurt was the Gotta Have Java- it is like eating a cold cup of the best cup of coffee you have ever had- SO GOOD!

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Stonyfield also had really cool spoons- they were strong and durable, but surprisingly were made from recycled yogurt cups!

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After we were done filling our faces, we each were given a goody bag. The bag itself is really cool- it is a ChicoBag, made from 7 recycled water bottles, and stuffs into itself so you can throw it in your bag. Also included was a Stonyfield pencil, Stonyfield Carabiner, Stonyfield lip balm, coupons and the Stonyfield Yogurt Cookbook. I can’t wait to try out a recipe from the cookbook! We were also each sent home with a 12 pack of the Brown Cow Cream Top Greek Desserts. IMG_3016[1]

Before leaving, we stopped for a group photo (or 2…)

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Want to visit? Stonyfield visiting hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday from 8 am to 5 pm

Thursday 8 am to 6 pm

Saturdays from 9:30 am to 5 pm
Closed Sundays, holidays and holiday weekends*.

Other Blogs From the fellow members of BlogTweetNH (featured are those who also attended the visit to Stonyfield!):

Allie Janine Amy  Sarah  Sarah Jane Emily