Pure Barre On Demand Workout Review

I’m a freelance writer. Which means sometimes I’m commuting to the city and sometimes I’m working at home. When I commute to the city, I spend 3.5 hours a day commuting. And when I work from home, I basically wake up, maybe walk the dog, and start working right away because I can. I never know what type of work situation I’ll be in, so a gym membership is dumb and so is committing to any kind of studio unless I only want to go on Saturdays. Also, my super-affordable, on-the-way-to-daycare bootcamp has moved and become a less-affordable F45 on the other side of town, so… I’ve been classless for a bit.

I needed a new home workout. Yes, I still like the Aaptive training app and my treadmill. But I was hungry for something new, and something that didn’t make me feel like a prisoner sweating alone in my basement. And I need to build strength and get results fast, so I researched on-demand barre classes.

Now, a good little blogger would re-do the research for you and post the costs of different on-demand barre classes here, but I threw away my notes over a month ago and I don’t feel like looking all that shit up again.

All you need to know is the best deal is Pure Barre on demand.

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What you need to know about Pure Barre On Demand:

  • $30/ month
  • Access classes on any device
  • A really good amount of classes in any length you could possibly want: 5 minute, 10-15 minute, 30-40 minute, 40-50 minute and full length 50-60 minute lengths
  • They add new classes all the time

And the classes are taught by a mix of instructors, so if you think one is annoying, you can avoid her. What you can’t avoid is stupid pretzel position, which is incredibly awkward and I really, really, really hate it. But they’re videos, so if you’re a lazy piece of shit like me, you can just say “nope” and skip to a less ridiculous part of the workout.

A lot of the classes are “live” which means recorded live in one of the Pure Barre studios. They look like they’re shot with a nest security cam, which is totally fine by me. I like how it feels like I’m in a real class. There are also more “workout video”-type professionally staged and shot workouts. There’s really a lot of content. It’s pretty great.

Here’s what the two kinds of classes look like:

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A “live” Pure Barre on demand class

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A “legacy DVD” Pure Barre class, available on demand.

 

 

About Barre

Not gonna lie. Barre sucks. It’s painful, awkward, and uncomfortable. And super hard. BUT, I’ve found that it is a really fast way to change your shape and get strong. And that’s what I need right now. I think of it more as physical therapy than a fun workout. Wow, that’s depressing, isn’t it? OK. It’s not that bad. It’s a CHALLENGE. Is that more positive? And I get to do different video every time (so far) so that makes it feel a little more special.

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All barre workouts are based on the same principles from The Lotte Burke Method: proper alignment, a large number of small movements done to failure, then you stretch that muscle group. “Failure” means your legs will not only burn, but they will literally quiver and shake, and that’s the goal. Yup. (“Shake to change” is the mantra in Barre Amped.) And all barre workouts use similar exercises and follow the same patterns (core, arms, legs, butt, abs).

 

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Look at my arm! A result! 

The vibe is a little different from brand to brand, and Pure Barre has the vibe that I like the best, but it’s up to you to see what you like. Pure Barre, for example is a little more casual/city and they work out to a beat. Dailey Method feels slightly more formal, closer to a ballet or yoga studio vibe.

They all have a little bit of equipment involved: light weights, a small inflatable ball, something to use as a “support” (barre substitute), sometimes tubing. Overall, I like doing barre at home better than in the studio because I don’t feel looked at, and most importantly, I don’t have to wear those stupid barre socks that lose their grip and become useless the first time you wash them. I hate working out in socks.

For home workouts you really only need the light weights. A ball is a bonus. I have a barre, which I ordered from Amazon, and it’s fine. But there are some moves where they hold on to the barre and lean back, and for that type of stuff you actually need a counter, so don’t feel like you have to buy a barre. But if you want one, this one’s the one I have. It’s pretty cool except you get a big box on your doorstep that says VITA VIBE. Oh hey neighbors! I promise it’s not a four-foot dildo! Link here, too: https://amzn.to/2qazoQ7

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Vita Vibe 4 foot portable barre

 

Oh, and Pure Barre sells apparel with a lot of good cuts (meaning: long, not skin-tight tanks). I would totally order some if they didn’t have Pure Barre logos on them.

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New fitness fashion brand: JoyLab by Target review

Target has been sniping successful brands and making their own versions for a few years now, but this spring they’ve really stepped on the gas in the fashion brand style-biting department…

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I get that they have to follow trends, but it’s a little blatant. And as a card maker who’s had one of her designs low-key copied by Paper Source and who has a few other maker friends who this has happened to…I can only imagine how these big, established brands feel about Target copying their whole entire vibe. Eeeeeesh. Not very cool. Anyway. Tabling the issues of brand-swiping and business ethics and moving back into FITNESS FASHION REVIEW LAND…

Target now has a fitness fashion brand called JoyLab that’s kind of like Outdoor Voices + all the other cute fit fashion brands rolled into one trendy package.

JOYLAB REVIEW

The quality is pretty good. Better than Target’s terrible Champion/ C9 stuff (so thin, so clingy, makes me so angry), but not as thick as “real” fitness brands. Then again, what do you want for under $35 per piece? Basically, if you have cellulite, you might be able to get away with their pants, depending on the color and how few fucks you give. But I only found one pair of pants that I felt OK in, and they have a distracting pattern.

But the bra tops are all really cute. They cover a lot of different trends in color, pattern, and cut. Mostly I noticed a lot of “long line” bras/ bra tops which means they go further down towards your waist and *some* people can wear them as tops with high-waisted leggings. ICYMI, this is my formula to find out if you are one of those people. (From my post about jog bra trends from a while back.)

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And JoyLab has a lot of cute jackets and sweatshirts. A few different takes on bombers (mesh, scuba, sweatshirt, etc.) and a lot of cute sweatshirts. But the sweatshirts are mostly pretty cropped, so I only tried on the (totally predictable for me) big baggy long one. I’d put pictures of the jackets and sweatshirts here, but the pictures online don’t even come close to doing them justice. You have to see them in person.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT JOYLAB BY TARGET

  • Affordable. Pants $35. Bras $20.
  • You get more than what you pay for in the style dept.
  • You get about what you pay for in the quality department.
  • 900 times better than C9.
  • Check out their jackets.

Here are some JoyLab things I bought:

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Here are some other JoyLab things I tried on:

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Here are some other cute JoyLab things:

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And Imma just put this here…

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Lululemon Jacket Round Up

I had a “treat yo self” moment this week and an hour to kill, so I went in to Lululemon to buy me a jacket. (Because Athleta has shit for jackets right now. Waiting for some new options for spring, but…right now there’s nada.) So for your virtual shopping pleasure, here are some Lululemon Jacket Reviews.

First I tried the Define Jacket, which is super popular. (Don’t judge my footwear, I was heading to a meeting after this. And yes I have giant water-ski clown shoes for feet.)

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Define Jacket:

  • it’s tight AF
  • it doesn’t cover your ass
  • but it comes in the best patterns they have in the store

 

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Lululemon Define Jacket

 

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Lululemon Define Jacket

 

Then I tried the Round Trip Jacket. I was curious about this one because of the almost empire waist detail, hour-glass friendly cut, and interesting gathered material panel in the back. But…

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Round Trip Jacket:

  • The material is really thin
  • The front seems kind of blah
  • But the back is as cute as it looks in pictures
  • It covers your ass
  • Yes I’m cross-eyed and have a double chin, apparently

 

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Lululemon Round Trip Jacket

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Lululemon Round Trip Jacket

 

Then I tried the Stride Jacket II. Which is what I was really there for, because I own three jackets in the same shape/ length, and that’s what I’m most comfortable in.

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Stride Jacket II:

  • The fabric is thinner than past versions
  • (most lulu reviews, for all products, bitch about the declining quality of all of their fabrics)
  • The colors are super boring and limited and I’m mad about it
  • I mean, can we be done with this heathered burn-out thing already? Can we do something else please? Does spandex only come in heathered basicness? C’mon.
  • But it covers your ass the most
  • It’s the longest jacket you can get at Lulu
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Lululemon Stride II Jacket

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Lululemon Stride II Jacket

 

I also tried the Sleek Essentials Jacket. It seemed…simpler and thinner than most Lulu jackets. It’s a more affordable Lulu jacket. But I didn’t like it more because it was tight and short.

Lululemon Sleek Essentials Jacket

  • cheaper
  • feels and looks cheaper
  • short and tight-ish
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Lululemon Sleek Essentials Jacket

 

 

I also tried the Gait Keeper Jacket. Which you would think I would like because it’s basically got a peplum (read: pear and hour-glass friendly). It really sticks out in the back, almost like a bustle, which makes it pretty unique and interesting and style-y. But the cut is higher in the front. And the front’s a little plain. So…meh. Not good enough.

Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

  • Cool peplum detail in the back
  • Covers your ass
  • Short and plain in the front

 

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Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

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Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

 

So I ended up with…what I already have, what I know I’m comfortable in: a really long, looser-cut jacket. But now I have a lighter-weight one for running and spring time running around. Now…if they had the Stride II in the cool black and white blizzardy pattern that the Define jacket comes in…then I’d be really stoked! HEAR ME LULU? Y’ALL SHOULD MAKE LONGER JACKETS IN COOLER PATTERNS. WE WILL BUY THEM SHITS.

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Public service announcement: The Contour Jacket looks like another pretty long option. I didn’t get to try that one. It’s online only and sold out in my size in black, because of course. Maybe if I can’t bring myself to settle for the boring ass color of the Stride Jacket, I’ll return it and order a blue Contour Jacket. Maybe. But you know how I feel about color…so probably not.

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Lululemon Contour Jacket

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Lululemon Contour Jacket

 

And if you’re into long jackets like I am, I’m still liking my Stronger Hoodie from Athleta. Although I think mine might be a CYA (cover your assets) length, which they don’t seem to have right now. Mine’s pretty damn long. But at any rate, it’s a warmer, cozier, fleece-lined option.

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Stronger Hoodie from Athleta

 

 

Sole F80 Treadmill Review

An ode to Sole.

(Specifically the Sole F80 Treadmill.)

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One of my favorite things.

In 2011 I broke up with the 24-7 full-time advertising life in San Francisco and moved back to the Midbest to live the dream. What is the dream? The dream keeps changing, but at the time of departure, the dream meant parking in a garage with a garage door opener (!) somewhere that didn’t involve getting out of my car to unlock a gate or run away from violent homeless guys and hurriedly, horror movie-style, try to unlock another gate without dropping my keys. (Only happened once, but it happened.) The dream meant not working every night and weekend. The dream meant buying a house. And having a yard. And some private outdoor space. And a dog. And not having to get on a freeway to go to Target. And most importantly, the dream included having a treadmill.

Living the dream included having a treadmill. 

When we bought a house, I bought a treadmill. I did my research and ordered a Sole F80. (Free shipping. No tax. 10 year warranty on motor.) They delivered and assembled it and I could run or walk inside, anytime I wanted to like friggin’ lottery millionaire. BAM, LIVING THE DREAM.

Then, there was a huge storm and our stupid house got two feet of stupid water in the stupid lower level where my brand new dream machine treadmill lived. Pro tips: don’t shop for homes in the winter, don’t buy a house at the bottom of a hill, and when the mailman says the property you just bought “gets water” he doesn’t mean the backyard gets puddle-y, he means it capital F floods in your house. Often.

Pro tip: When the mailman says the property you just bought “gets water” he doesn’t mean the backyard gets puddle-y, he means it capital F floods in your house. Often.

We trashed mostly everything in the basement, but crossed our fingers and let the treadmill dry out. And get this: it worked! I can’t remember if it worked and then something went wonky, or if it was wonky from the get-go after the flood and we had a repair person out, but whatever the order of events was, the treadmill was under warranty, a repair was made, and it worked.

AND IT HAS worked, since then. I do a little maintenance. And aside from being slow to get up to speed, it’s been kickin’.

Well, until last week. It stopped starting. No power. I checked all the things, and opened it up and checked all the things. Nothing. “Uh oh,” I thought  “Is this the big one? Is it over now?”

Well, I just had a technician out, and guess what. He didn’t replace the circuit board ($250 part). All he had to replace was a $15 on/off switch. HALLELUJAH!!!!

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Granted, the tread is wearing out ($175). And the deck will wear out ($250). And the hesitancy getting up to speed is probably the $250 circuit board. BUT.

As far as I’m concerned I’m running on a WALKING DEAD TREADMILL. A free treadmill. A magical ghost treadmill. Because we lost 1/3 of our HOUSE in the flood. And this thing SURVIVED. (OK, not 100%, but still.)

I could pay for the new parts. But it doesn’t make sense to invest in something that went through a flood. And I’ll have to buy a new one or give up that dream and run outside eventually. BUT FOR NOW, fuck yes.

And if you are shopping for treadmills, the Sole F80 is a survivor.

At least mine is.

For a little while longer…

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Me and my Sole F80 buddy.

 

 

 

I’m trying Sun Basket meal kits.

I’m trying Sun Basket. Because I suck at cooking, Paleo is boring when you don’t cook, and I’m sick of salads. I’ll let you know how it goes. But until then, here’s a link that gives you a discount because nobody wants to pay full price for a meal they still have to cook themselves. You’re welcome.

https://sunbasket.com/invite/aimee1045304

Here’s what I get to eat (and have to cook) next week: Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 2.47.31 PM

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Yes, I looked at other meal kit delivery services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron (and the keto ones) but the more specialized you get (keto or paleo) the more expensive they get, and this one is kind of right in between. So Sun Basket it is! For at least a week…

Bandier is giving Carbon 38 a run…

Move over Carbon 38, I’m maybe feeling Bandier.

Bandier is a fitness fashion boutique selling their own and other brands, online and in some brick and mortar locations. And they have some pants that cost $50, while Carbon 38 doesn’t.

Here are some tasty things I saw on their site:

Terez Performance Leggings $78

I can tell that they are white on the inside, so they’ll look grey/see-through when stretched, which is a bummer. But still. I haven’t seen this kind of illustration-style graphic on leggings before…

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Kule X Bandier The Jordyn $125

Kule is the hipster sweatshirt brand of the moment. So Bandier is on top of it with this collab. I’m not showing you the velour track jackets because I refuse. Nor am I going to show you the leggings with black and white horizontal stripes that are a riff on Althleta and Onzie and a few others. But I do love these “knee socks built in”-looking leggings. Pretty clever. (I apologize for the arrows. I’m a lazy screen-grabber, those arrows are from the bandier site, they’re not active.)

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Beyond Yoga Ombre High Waisted Long Legging $115

I know. Burnout fabric is years old. Ombre is years old. But put them together and it feels a little new. And super cozy. Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.24.18 AM.png

Laain Sheila Diamond Legging $215

I can’t decide if these are rad or if they’d be a sweaty mess but I can’t look away, so I think I might love them…And I love blue on blue…so, yeah. I LOVE THEM! Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.31.18 AM.png

The Upside Tails Bomber $305

Now I’m not saying this will work, but mega points for trying.

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Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack $175

How cute is this? Is it rubber???!!!?? No. It’s neoprene. So great.

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Terez Tall band Capri Iridescent Oil Spill $59

And for Halloween extra credit: Unicorn Pants!!!

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What I like about Bandier:

  • The site isn’t overwhelming.
  • They don’t show pictures of things that are sold out (Why, Carbon 38? Why?).
  • It’s a little more funky than “sexy rich lady.” (Still, lots of expensive things, but the vibe is different.)
  • Check ’em out.

Moto Leggings for Fall

Oh My Gosh, I totally owe you guys a post about moto leggings. Sorry. I’ve been busy with day job jobby job ness. SO. MOTO LEGGINGS. Let’s do this.

MOTO LEGGINGS are probably the biggest legging trend for fall. They’ve been around for a while, but they’re reaching critical mass for fall/winter 2017. You can find them in any store you walk into. There is a version of moto leggings for any style of pant you want. Even sweats. Which doesn’t make any sense. But they exist.

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I love the look of them. I used to have a pair of grey moto jeans that were my favorites until I wore them out and split the inner leg seam in a non-repairable way. So I thought, “Sweet. Moto is back in my life!”

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UM. NO.

Moto + Jeans = cool if it’s placed on the right part of the thigh.

Moto + Leggings = a sausage-creating, super unflattering disgusting disaster.

Why? Because the cut of the moto trend right now is a diagonal across the thigh. I repeat: A DIAGONAL CUT ACROSS THE THIGH.

If you have THIGHS with a capital THUH, you don’t want lines across your thighs. The jeans I had that I liked had the moto panel starting just above the knee and were more of a knee patch/ reinforced knee kind of vibe. That works. This? Does not. Especially because they’re a stretch material so you get an extra indent at every seam. No bueno.

(These are the high waisted ankle length moto leggings from Zella at Nordstrom.)

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Zella Moto Leggings

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Now I’m not saying every pair won’t work. The ones below this paragraph are from Spanx, and they know flattery. They designed the panel to divide the thigh vertically instead of cutting across, so they’re probably good. I don’t know. I haven’t tried them on. Then again, they also draw a line beneath and pointing to the saddle bag area, so maybe not.

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BUT, I had tried some on to hilarious result, so I thought I should share the pics and warn you. Good luck finding a pair that works if your thighs are bigger than your arms. There are probably some out there BUT THEY ARE NOT SPANDEX WITH A SHEER PANEL fo’ sho. *shudder*

Flattering fall hoodies and a photography fail.

I’m shopping for a long fall hoodie or jackety thingie because

1. I don’t wear short ones, see my previous post about long hoodies here. And

2. My Athleta CYA Strength Hoodie is looking a little faded and sad, because it’s black and cotton and I’m dumb and that’s what happens.

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Athleta CYA Strength 2 Hoodie

I’ve been eyeing the Blanc Noir New Traveler Jacket on Carbon38.com (schmancy fitness fashion webstore) for over a year, and never pulled the trigger because it doesn’t have a zipper and it’s basically a sweatshirt cardigan that costs two hundred bucks. But I always look at it…because a hoodie just feels too functional and basic and a little flair goes a long way in me not feeling like a pajama person.

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Blanc Noir New Traveler Jacket

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Blanc Noir New Traveler Jacket

So I googled it to see if it was cheaper anywhere else, and I saw a NEWER updated version (Blanc Noir Update Traveler Jacket) on Blanc Noir’s own site. Even better! Love it! HOT! And it has a zipper!

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Blanc Noir Update Traveler Jacket in Charcoal

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Blanc Noir Update Traveler Jacket in Charcoal

 

So then I googled THAT jacket to see if it was cheaper anywhere else, and it’s on Zappos.  BUT, look at the difference! Same jacket. Same color, supposedly, but…um…WHAT THE WHAT?

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Blanc Noir Update Traveler Jacket in Charcoal…on Zappos

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Blanc Noir Update Traveler Jacket in Charcoal…on Zappos

Same jacket. Supposedly the same color. Two different sites. WHAT’S THE TRUTH??? Probably the Zappos version. Probably the one that looks tackier and cheaper. Lesson: photography and styling (and filters) matter, kids. Also, I probably won’t buy anything and just keep on wearing my faded black Athleta Hoodie. Probably.

Although…upon further investigation…there’s no white piping on the Blanc Noir site’s version…maybe they really are different colorways…two colorways that reflect two very different taste levels…perhaps this is a merchandise labeling mistake…OK. Maybe I’ll buy the grey on grey one…Maybe.