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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



Beginning To Barre.

Writing last weekend’s race recap got me thinking about how much more fitness-focused a lot of my posting here used to be.  And while I think it’s very natural and normal that that’s changed, I also miss sharing that part of my life.  Since Cullen was born, running has taken a major back seat.  Formal exercise in general became a much lower priority during his first year, and looking back now I doubt I would have done anything differently. 

But he’s older now, and I’m no longer a “new mom” – at least not new enough to make excuses about still trying to figure out the daily grind.  It’s funny that I write so little about exercise and fitness, although I’m actually doing more regular exercise now than I have in quite a while.

I’ve mentioned it here plenty before, but I thought maybe it was worth a post of it’s own. 

I’ve gotten totally hooked on barre classes. 

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I went to my first one back in November – a complimentary offer to go try out a class with one of the Barre3 corporate managers.  At that point we were planning to start trying for a second baby soon, and I knew that if I didn’t figure out how to make fitness a priority now, it would only get harder during pregnancy/new motherhood. 

It was love at first “shake” and it felt wonderful to be back in a group fitness setting.  I didn’t go back right away.  We traveled and had family in for the holidays, but I continued to think about how much I enjoyed the class. 

When January rolled around, a new month and new year were just the motivation I needed to start something regular.  Since then, I’ve been going to classes at two different Barre3 studios, and I try to make it to at least two classes each week.  The closest studio to my house doesn’t have childcare, so I only head there on weekends and in evenings.  During the week, Cullen and I head to a different studio about 20 minutes away, and he plays in the childcare area while mom gets her butt kicked.

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So with all of that said, I thought I would talk a little bit about barre in general, since it’s a relatively new-ish fitness trend.

What is Barre?

Contrary to popular belief and an understandable misconception from its name, barre really has nothing to do with dance or ballet.  That’s not to say that dancers wouldn’t enjoy it, but if you’re looking to arabesque or chasse, that’s probably not going to happen here.

Barre is actually a low-impact strength workout that involves lots of posture holds and “micro-movements” in order to get muscles burning to the point that you are shaking uncontrollably.  Imagine doing a wide squat and holding it for several minutes at a time,while pulsing up and down moving only an inch at a time.  It is INTENSE.  I was embarrassed that my whole body was shaking like jell-o during my first class, until I realized that I was in good company.

In my Barre3 classes, we usually start with planks and pushups at the bar (chest and arm work), followed by a ridiculous leg set that leaves me ready to collapse.  Next is arms, where we use either 1, 2, or 3 pound weights (I use 1lb, and it feels like 20 after a few minutes).  After arms is “seat work” which buuuuuurns and burns, followed by abs and stretching at the end.  I like that the sequence is always the same so I know what to expect, but the actual moves and stretches are different each time.

Barre During Pregnancy

The thing that I like most about barre is that it’s really low impact.  While I get a really intense workout that leaves me shaky and sore, I rarely actually leave the studio sweaty.  As a mom, this is nice because it means no double shower necessary (finding time for one is hard enough!). 

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Being pregnant again, I’m continuing to enjoy the barre workouts, and it’s nice to have a low impact option since I have to watch my heart rate more closely now.  So far I’ve been able to continue to do most of the classes in their entirety (while taking breaks as usual), but I think I might have trouble with some of the longer abdominal sets (usually done on the back or stomach) as I get bigger.  There are some very pregnant women in my classes though, and the instructors are always offering modifications (which I have started paying attention to!). 

Barre Basics

It is probably worth noting here that I’ve tried three different barre studios so far – Barre3, Pure Barre, and a small local studio.  Like any fitness program, every class and instructor is different, so it’s worth trying a few to find the right fit.  For me personally, I like Barre3 the best of what I’ve tried.  I like the sequence of the workout, and I have found it to be the most challenging.  I tried a Pure Barre class in Cincinnati a few months ago, which I also liked, but the music was deafening and the atmosphere was more intense than what I’m used to.  That said, I would still definitely go back and do it again.

The biggest negative to barre is the price.  I don’t belong to a regular gym right now, so I’m using that money to put toward barre classes instead.  I try to take advantage of promotions like new member packages, Living Social and Groupon deals, and bulk pricing packages.  I’ve also noticed that fitness classes in general just seem to be getting more expensive, unless done as part of a regular gym membership.  Here in Seattle, most drop in classes for barre, yoga, spinning, flywheel, etc. all range from about $18-25 per class.

The advantage to paying a hefty price tag for the classes, is that it really motivates me to work hard for the entire sixty minutes.  Sometimes I’ll realize I’m taking more breaks than I probably need, and I remind myself that it’s only one hour and I paid $18 to be there – I better make it count.

Because it is a strength workout that really works and tests the muscles, it’s also not something I ever do two days in a row.  So even though it’s more expensive, I wouldn’t ever expect to do it more than a few times each week.  Three is my limit, and two is more common.

Overall, it’s fun to have a new fitness program that I’m excited about.  I’m hoping to add some prenatal yoga into my workouts in the next few weeks, and I’ve picked out another 5k coming up later this month.  In the meantime, I’ll keep bellying up to the barre

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55 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Shel@PeachyPalate     at 2:56 pm

Sounds like a great workout! We don’t have any classes or studios yet in Ireland but I’m sure we won’t be far behind!

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Tiff @ Love, Sweat, & Beers     at 3:02 pm

I did a class at Physique 57 once, which I think is similar. It was good, but it was a world apart from my normal workouts. I was shaking and having a rough time of it, but then I wasn’t even sweaty after or sore the next day. Crazy!

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Meg     at 3:08 pm

Great post, Emily! Just today, my friend and I were talking about going to a barre class for the first time, so this is great information!

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LisaR @ Who Stole My Baby?     at 3:14 pm

Sounds like something I might like. I love yoga, but hate every other form of exercise. But this seems to have the same strengthening, hopefully calming, effect that yoga has most of the time. I’ll have to see if Colo. Springs has anything like this.

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Tara     at 3:21 pm

I tried one Bar Method class in San Francisco and loved it. I just can’t find myself to shake up $25 dollars an hour class! 2-3x/week really adds up. I really wish my local gym offed a Barre variation.

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Angi     at 3:23 pm

I am so glad you did this post! I absolutely love Barre3 and have been seeing some amazing benefits from it! And you’re right – the classes are crazy expensive BUT they do have online videos! I live in Alaska and so of course there’s no studio here, but my friend from Portland told me about the classes. I pay $15.00 a month and have access to unlimited online videos, their online blog, recipes, etc. It’s really wonderful and it’s also nice to be able to participate in such a popular exercise regimen without having to actually go to the studio, since we don’t have one! Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to have the group atmosphere but since that’s not possible, the online classes are the next best thing. And, they also have a package deal where for the first month, you pay $28.00 and you get unlimited online videos, a Barre3 ball and a 28 to Great eating/exercise plan (it drops back to the $15/mo after that). And you can cancel any time, so it’s not like you’re tied into any sort of a contract!

And like you said – it’s great for pregnant gals, too, and while I’m not pregnant yet, it’ll be awesome for when I am! :)

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Stephanie Reply:

Will you share the website?

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Angi Reply:

Sure!! Sorry, I should have in the first place, hehe!

It’s just http://www.barre3.com

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Jennifer Reply:

Angi – I was going to say the same thing! I just signed up for the online videos and love the flexibility it affords me to be able to fit it in when I have time. There is a studio not too far from me but with working full time and a little one at home and a spouse who is always traveling I could never make it to the studio. I also love that online there are many prenatal classes – that’ll come in handy when I get pregnant with #2!

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Sarah     at 3:45 pm

I took Bar Method class up until I was 36 weeks, and I felt in shape and strong. I had to do a bunch of modifications ( never did abs, per my ob’s instructions) especially in the 3 rd tri, but got a lot out of it and only gained 25 lbs. it is so worth it!

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Jill     at 3:56 pm

The shaking is crazy! I go to Bar Method 5 times a week – I have a monthly unlimited pass which is super expensive, so I feel like I MUST go 5 times per week to make it worthwhile. But it’s amazing. I love it so much!

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Daisy     at 4:53 pm

Have you checked out Community Fitness in the Roosevelt area? I went to my first barre class there yesterday and it was very similar to what you just described.

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Bri     at 5:13 pm

I am OBSESSED with barre method. 5 years later, I still for some reason have chronic injuries that would pop up every now and then from college sports. I tried out barre method and within a month all the chronic pains were gone. There’s a local place here in Austin called Dancer’s Shape that is amazing. I have an unlimited membership and like Jill, I got 5 or 6 times a week to get my money’s worth. I only do barre method and my friends say I have never looked better. It is hands down the best workout I have ever done and that’s saying a lot b/c I have literally tried them all.

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Leah Reply:

I agree. I love it. Sadly due to the price and my existing gym membership AND the yoga classes I take I can only do one barre class per week. I would not give up my gym since I love Zumba something fierce. And the yoga helps a lot with all of my work travel. My idea would be a studio that taught everything!

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Bri Reply:

Very true. I am extremely spoiled by my studio because there is a Groove class (a lot like zumba) and yoga classes so it’s a one stop shop!

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Rosie     at 5:38 pm

Hey Emily – are you familiar with GILT? Well they’ve recently come out with GILT city which is very similar to Groupon or Living Social in that it offers daily deals for your particular city. I bring it up because the other day I saw a Barre3 deal for my city which included a package of classes at a major discount. I didn’t sign up for it since I belong to a regular gym that offers Barre3 classes (and this post has definitely made me want to try them!) but it may be worth checking out GILT City Seattle to see if anything similar comes along.

Best of luck with your fitness going forward, and lots of congratulations on the second baby!

P.S. I vote definitely keeping the gender a surprise! My parents did so with both my brother and me and the way they looked at it, there are very few true surprises in life, enjoy this one!!

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JessiRene     at 6:51 pm

Barre sounds like an amazing workout! I wish we had some classes in my smaller city, but no luck. Not yet anyway.

Thanks for sharing! I’m glad that you are able to stay active during pregnancy #2. :)

JessiRene
HartkopBaby.blogspot.com

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Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 7:01 pm

This was a great post, Emily. I enjoyed reading more about barre classes. I’ve wanted to try them since everyone I know who does them really loves the workout, but there are none close to me (the closest is at least 40 minutes away) and they are quite pricey. I hope that one day I’ll live closer to one or that one will open near me, but for now it remains a fitness treat that I have yet to indulge in

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Ali @ Peaches and Football     at 7:04 pm

Lots of Barre posts today – this is the third one! I guess they are really popular. I need to check out some of the youtube videos on them. We don’t have any in town – or anywhere less than 2 hours away! Maybe I can find a DVD to try. :)

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eliz@ourcrazysweetlife     at 7:10 pm

I did Physique 57 in NYC throughout my pregnancy and loved it – it was a great workout, challenged me in all the right ways, and helped me bounce back after my daughter was born. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

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Lee     at 7:13 pm

I have a Core Fusion DVD that I sometimes do and I wonder if it’s simliar. It’s a lot of little pulses with very light weights and killer.

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jenna k Reply:

I was just going to suggest this! Have you tried Core Fusion, Emily? I’ve only done one Barre class (at Barre3), and my class was almost identical to the Core Fusion total body DVD. It might be worth it to try to use a DVD like that (or an actual Barre DVD, of course!) one day a week to supplement your practice and save money while still getting the benefits of taking the classes.

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Jane @ Not Plain So Jane     at 8:09 pm

This definitely sounds like Physique 57, which I tried a sample of recently. It was so hard!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 5:17 am

I absolutely adore Barre classes. Before I first went, I had the misconception that it was all about dance and would be easy. So not true! My butt gets kicked every single time. Embrace the shake!

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Shannon     at 6:23 am

I bought an Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled video a few years back and love it. At the time I bought it I remember wondering why I hadn’t heard more buzz about Barre. It’s such an awesome workout! Also, I really enjoy posts where you mention fitness + pregnancy. I think this is my first time commenting in a long time, so congratulations on bebe #2. :)

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Rachel     at 6:37 am

Great post! I was a little unclear on the barre workouts. A Pure Barre just opened in Bozeman and I have been wanting to check it out.

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Leah     at 7:12 am

Fantastic explanation. I shared your post with my health/fitness/weight loss group. :)

I really miss barre and I hope to get back to is this summer.

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy     at 7:35 am

I have Sadie Lincoln’s Barre3 DVD, and I love it! If you ever decide that you’d prefer to do Barre3 at home, I highly recommend it. Indiana always seems to pick up on these trends a couple of years late, so I don’t know of any studios in the area, but it’s nice to do at home!

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Kris     at 8:08 am

Thanks for the very informative post. I might try the fusion dvd another commenter mentioned. LOL, when I first saw the post title, I thought it was “Beginning to Barf”. I thought you were beginning to have second tri morning sickness!

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wendi     at 8:15 am

Hi Emily!

I remember you said in an old post that you wanted to bring Casey to a class — has Casey attended Barre with you yet? I introduced my husband to Barre and he was so surprised at what a good workout it is!

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Emily     at 8:24 am

Great post! I am obssessed with Barre classes as well. We’re starting to see a few more studios pop up in my area as well which is nice. The price tag is a total bummer, so I only buy the deals they have every once and a while or do a Pure Barre DVD in the mean time.

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 8:38 am

I want to try barre so badly! I’ve heard incredible things!

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Samantha     at 9:10 am

I was glad you mentioned the price aspect. Sadly it is the reason I have never tried it either. Maybe at a different stage in life. :)

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Meg     at 9:38 am

I LOVE barre3! When I ran out of all the special promotion pricing I realized that you can join online for only $15/month! It’s cheaper than a gym and stil you get a great workout so I have loved doing that- no class setting or awesome cork floors, but saving the money makes up for it!

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 9:52 am

I wish there was a Barre studio close by to me. I have the DVD, which I love, but would be more apt to do it often with a group.

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Stephanie     at 10:52 am

There is a Barre class at my gym. I have been afraid of trying it because I thought dancing was involved! This is a great, informative post, and now I am excited to try a class next week! Thanks :)

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ML     at 3:02 pm

Hi Emily,

I too love barre! I do pure barre in california, but it sounds very similar to the program you do. Question for you: I remember in the past (and I think during your previous pregnancy?) you did a fair amount of weight training. I could be wrong, but I thought I remembered you praising the benefits of lifting heavy. Given that barre uses very very low weighs, I’m curious on your take on how beneficial this is for muscle growth. I definitely feel the pain in pure barre, but I don’t see huge results in muscle growth in my arms, and I”m wondering if it’s because i’m using 2 lb weights for multiple reps as opposed to lifting heavier, for shorter reps.
Really curious to hear what you think.

Great blog!

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Andrea Reply:

Hi! I do not have barre classes where I live, but I own alot of barre dvds. I started out by using 2lbs, I am up to 6 lbs now. I noticed huge differences in my body since starting barre, I have more muscle tone than I could imagine. It is really great for your body. Maybe do barre couple times a week, than do strength training the rest of the days?

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Irina     at 3:38 pm

Thank you for the review. It does sound like a fantastic workout… Sadly, there are no Bar workout studios where I live and I think the price (fuelded by the trendiness of this workout right now) takes it out of my consideration. Many parents would probably balk at the $18 – 25 fee per class as these add up ($36 – 50 per week) and we already pay for full time daycare, and other essencial baby expenses. Sadly, it is not a matter of making fitness a priority or not, it is a matter of disposable income in many cases, but I think there are many other more affordable ways to exercise.

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Lara     at 10:16 pm

So when do I have to turn in my “new mom” badge? I’m still struggling with the daily grind! I bought that Barre3 Groupon and I am determined to go since they have childcare…as soon as I muster up the courage to leave him with a stranger :/

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Gwen     at 4:54 pm

I was JUST looking up barre videos on YouTube to get a better idea. Totally want to try a class but have been afraid weight is a barrier. Need to suck it up and go :)

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Jojo     at 7:40 pm

I want to try a barre class, but I’m kind of poor and don’t want to spend a lot of $$$ on a fitness class. I would totally spring for barre classes if there’s a good Groupon deal or something.

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Michelle (The Runner's Plate)     at 10:43 pm

I’ve never heard of Flywheel before. What is it? I went to the website and it looks similar to spinning, but it must be slightly different somehow.

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Paula     at 2:54 am

I didn’t know what Barre was but it sounds pretty fun, and a great workout. I’m gonna have a look in my area, wouldn’t mind to give it a try :)

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sasha     at 5:07 am

Core Fusion Barre at Exhale is another great option – my personal preference when it comes to barre classes. They also offer Core Fusion Cardio and Core Fusion Sport which incorporate other elements like mountain climbers and burpies and don’t use the bar at all. I leave the classes shaking and dripping in sweat!

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Erika @ balancedspoon.com     at 9:26 am

There are zero Barre classes in my area. The closest one is an hour away. Boooooo. I’ll have to try it someday :)

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C.D.     at 10:22 am

I had a question regarding pregnancy modifications. What is the suggested pose for exercises being done on your back? Thanks

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Kim     at 5:12 am

I wonder if the Gympact app would count a barre class as “going to the gym” so you could earn back some of the $$$?

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Sarah     at 1:44 pm

I loved reading this post, because I too discovered the greatness of bar classes a few years ago. I’ve been to a few Bar Method classes near my home in San Mateo. There are several other studios near me, the original in San Francisco. I think all these bar classes are fairly similar, who knows which came first. But, they are expensive which is why I mostly do the DVDs at home (I’ve always been a home exerciser, alternating between The Firm and Bar Method). I bought the first two before my first pregnancy, but really got into them after getting three more postpartum. And now, I’m pregnant with my second too! I just purchased the Bar Method pregnancy workout, so now I have the whole set. I highly recommend them, even though you love your classes the DVDs can be great for days when you can’t get out now or when the baby is born, and to ease any strain on the wallet. :) You can find them at http://www.barmethod.com
Best of luck with your pregnancy! I think our timelines are pretty similar, although mine will be 3 years apart instead of 2 :)

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Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » A Week of Barre3 for Free!     at 11:10 am

[...] few weeks ago I shared a post about my love affair with barre classes.  I think fitness is something that has to ebb and flow with life, circumstance, and [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Friday.     at 3:34 pm

[...] fitness kick and feeling really motivated.  My current weekly workout schedule includes three Barre3 classes a week, as well as one prenatal yoga class.  I took a short break from studio classes [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Postpartum: 12 Weeks.     at 1:47 pm

[...] around Casey’s availability to watch Cullen.  The one thing I did do consistently was Barre3.  I started barre classes way back in November 2012 and have loved them ever since.  I [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Weekly Wrap Up.     at 7:14 am

[...] and that it is actually better for everyone in the long run.  And so I started back to my Barre3 classes – with him going to the provided childcare – at just about 12 weeks postpartum.  I [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Weekly Wrap-Up: Volume 3     at 1:59 pm

[...] Skipped my usual Barre3 class because I didn’t think Graham should go to childcare.  (10,498 steps // 4.40 [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Weekly Wrap-Up: Double Stroller Edition.     at 3:22 pm

[...] – Casey still out of town.  Did a 60 minute Barre3 class in the morning, and took both kids and both dogs for a 45 minute walk in the afternoon. [...]

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