Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm Still Alive: My First MEGABarre (Pilates Reformer) Class

After seeing a Facebook special for Barre. in Pikeville, I decided to take advantage and get bikini ready. I didn't even do any research on the specifics about class style or any of that. A one hour class generally goes for $30, so this deal of 3 classes for $30 was too good to pass up.  I came in to a full class, with about 8 people. Everyone in the class looked like a rich housewife who comes to the gym everyday after they send their kids of to school. But I didn't let those size two's intimidate me!
Looking back on it, I may have screwed myself by starting off with the most intense workouts that they had to offer. They recommend taking a few barre classes first, but I jumped right in. And you know what? It was tough. Really, really tough.

You will never, ever believe just how much you can do on these machines. My instructor, Nan, was assertive, and I definitely needed that. She'd show me when I was doing things wrong (basically every move), and also told me when I was right. Moments after the class, my body was in some serious pain. And you know what? It's the first time that I ever really felt like I got a real workout. By the time I was out the door, I was plotting how to change my budget so I could sign-up for more. Three days later, I could still feel the pain! But I know pain like this equals results, and I'm ready to see everything pay off.

What I Learned:
  • Just because everyone else is wearing Lulu Lemon, doesn't mean you have to too. 
  • Wearing a tank is a great idea. You'll get really hot really, really quick. 
  • Also, wear fitted clothes. Nothing loose or baggy. 
  • Stretch a bit before you get there. Any little bit helps. 
  • If you shake while you're doing it, apparently you're doing it right. 
  • Bring plenty of water and don't forget your towel.
Drop-ins are $30, but I really think I'm going to take advantage of the 4 for $60 special (must be used in 30 days). I'm hoping for Black Friday deal or a Groupon. For more info, check out

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How To Make Coffee Shop Quality Iced Coffee

How To Make Perfect Iced Coffee At Home

Tonight was a really, really great night for me. I've spent two years drinking iced coffee, almost every day. Over the last year or so, I've tried to make it at home. Let me just say, I'm not a super coffee snob (the real snobs would think I'm an amateur), but I chuckle at the people that say, "oh, just pour your pot of coffee over ice."I tried the Toddy (didn't love it), the New York Times cold brew method (didn't move me).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

15 More Reasons I Need to Practice Yoga

When you find articles like this one in the Huffington Post, it kind of makes me want to slap myself. Why have I been waiting so long to do this? The article claims that you get these benefits even after one yoga class. So that's it. I'm off to GroupOn to find some deals. Get more info here on the Huffington Post.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just when I thought I didn't want wedding cake..

Today on my lunch break, I took a quick trip to La Cakerie in Charles Village. As I paid, I looked up and saw this cake. This caught my eye for several reasons:
a) Glitter has been really, really been exciting to me for the last couple of months. 
b) It's classic with a glam twist, which I'm totally aiming for
b) It has our initials on it!!!

Speaking of delectable treats, I'm taking my mother and father to the cupcake tasting tomorrow morning. We're planning on having a cupcake tower and a small cake on top for us to save. Can't wait! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm a future Yogi

I've wanted to be a yogi for years, but I just haven't committed myself. I've only been to a few classes here and there, but I need to go consistently. I went tra-la-la'ing around Hampden in Baltimore city yesterday, and stumbled across this cool sign. Then I realized this was right about Bikram Yoga Hampden, a venue that's always on Groupon. It's only a few minutes away from my job--so I have to take advantage! I'll let you know how it goes. : ) 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Frugal Bride Files: Baublebar Wedding Accessories

When I first got engaged, I was looking at every expensive piece of jewelry I could find. Harry Winston. Tiffany & Co. The whole nine. I've got my shoes and accessories budget set to around $300, but I'd love to get it down to about $120. Could I really get a hair accessory, earrings, a bracelet and necklace in that price range?

It just might be possible, thanks to the new wedding collection by Baublebar. I found beautiful earrings for $40-$60 and bracelets and necklaces for $50. I don't know how long they'll last me, but that's totally okay. Plus, they have coupons all the time, so the price will drop even more! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LISTEN: Blue-Eyed Soul is back with James Blake

James Blake has one of those incredibly soulful voices that takes you by surprise when you hear it. I heard about him during a Jill Scott interview on Power 105.1. If Jilly says she liked him, you know he must be legit. Last week, my brother (and thousands of other people) found Blake on Masters of Sex. All I can say is take a listen, and tell me what you think! 

If you can't get enough, go ahead and spend some time with this Spotify playlist that I created.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Decor Obsession: Bar Carts

It made a lot of sense to me to sign up at Crate & Barrel for our wedding registry. They have all the dishes, stemware and gadgets that I could dream of. I attended a registry event, and fell head over heels for these bar carts! I can't imagine spending over $500 to store my liquor, but my oh my, this is so chic. The Libations Bar Cart (left) is my favorite!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prepping For My First Dinner Party

For the premiere of Scandal, it only made sense for me to  host a "dinner party" for my girls before the show. I hosted it at my fiance's home, even though he didn't have much for me to work with. I went to storage (aka, grandma's basement) and picked up a table that I scored at moving sale for a store in the mall. I also picked up the crockpot trio from my parents (that I'm keeping until Thanksgiving) to cook the sides and keep them warm. I also stopped by Ikea to pick up some stemware, glass bowls and serving dishes. I had a few bottles of wine on hand, so I threw them in our wine holder.
We had such a great time! Lots of salmon, chicken and veggies to go around. I ended up spending about $150 for all of the food, wine and kitchenware. I learned to:
  • Find food that you can make ahead of time, then reheat the day of the party
  • Check out the ready-made section at Costco/Sam's Club.
  • Throw the food in the crockpot before work. Three dishes could have been cooking all day, cutting dinner time down.
  • Buy wine by the case, so you don't have to make a trip every time (and you'll have plenty for your party)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dream Wedding Reception Space: Peabody Library

This week at the Baltimore Book Festival, I finally got to see the legendary Johns Hopkins University Peabody Library.  This is one of the spaces that I wanted to be married in the most, because come on, just look at it! Wedding photography posts like this and this really took me over the edge. The parking situation isn't ideal (they recommend you hire a valet company) and it was much smaller on the inside than I expected. 

At the end of the day, I'm really happy with the venue we ended up with. I'll give you all the details after the wedding!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Meal Prep Plan

As I'm preparing to do this new mom and wife gig, I realized that food is going to be an issue. I know I can't just go out and grab Chipotle when I'm hungry anymore. 

So far, my plan is to create four meals in a week. I will scout them out on Sunday, then make them early in the week. I'm hoping this will keep costs down, give us plenty of leftovers for lunch, and to keep me from having to do a ton of cooking. 

Update: This work perfectly! Most of the meals actually lasted us for about a week and a half. I made two of the meals in my handy crockpot,  and I will continue to use it every week.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The 90 Pop Pilates Challenge: I'm In!

I absolutely love Blogilates workout videos. Cassey is enthusiastic, she's fun, and really brands herself like a boss. So in my Popilates newsletter today, I found a link for the 90 day challenge, complete with a workout calendar and printable meal plan. I've been slowly trying to create a routine that works for me, but Cassey did all the work! If you're new to working out (like me), you might also want to try the beginners workout calendar. So the fun starts for me on Monday, September 30th. This will give me enough time to finish most of what's in the fridge so I can clean it out and start over. My fiance is already totally in grind mode with workouts, and has been for months. I'm glad I'll have a support system, and someone to enjoy these meals with! Now, I just need to get into the gym and do something. Anything. I am literally starting from the very, very beginning. But in the end, victory will be mine!
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Monday, August 26, 2013

How My Wedding Coordinator Won Me Over

You know the saying "first impressions are everything"? It's true. After seeing Torrey and Chanel Smith's wedding on Instagram, I basically crossed out every other planner I'd inquired. Fast forward to our first meeting. I pulled up to the Elle Ellinghaus HQ to this sign. OMG. Such a lovely gesture. I'll be working with Jillian for day-of coordination for our wedding. We talked over a glass of sangria, and trust me, I'm so glad that I went with this team. She had answers for all of my questions, and gave me tons of suggestions and ideas, even before I signed the contract. I'll be sure to share my experience with the team after the wedding!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Saving Money on Save The Dates

As the days go on and the budget gets wrecked, I have to keep asking myself: is it really worth it to purchase save the dates? For the longest, I was attached to Shine Wedding Invitations. I loved the shimmery paper and the fancy branding. But the save the dates, programs and invitations would cost us close to $700 from the company. And really--are these paper accessories really worth that much money? I'd rather people be wow'ed at the ceremony and reception rather than looking at some sheets of paper they'll likely throw away.

As far as the invites go, I'm highly considering buying printable invites and using a local printer to get the job done. We got a quote from an independent printer that says we can get 100 invites on card stock plus envelopes for $45! You seriously can't beat that. Here are some of the companies that I'm considering:

E.M. Papers --Unbelievable prices! (Image above)
Up Up Creative
Printable Press (pictured above)

I'm going to take some extra time to really weigh out these options. I'd hate to jump too quickly, but I'm pretty sure we'll go with E.M. Papers. I'll keep you posted! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Perfect Gym Bag

I went to the gym for the first time a few weeks ago, and didn't really realize how important a proper gym bag was. I packed my huge bag with a bunch of unnecessary items. I need something a little smaller, with a zipper, where I can keep my socks, deodorant, lock, towel, and all that other stuff. I used my ShopStyle app to grab a few options. I'm kind of cheap, but it might be worth it to invest in this.

Friday, August 9, 2013

LISTEN: Jill Scott’s New Collab w/ Robert Glasper “Calls” Our Name

I discovered Robert Glasper a few weeks before the debut of his last album, Black Radio. I still have Lalah Hathaway’s cover of “Cherish The Day” on repeat. Jilly from Philly has teamed up with Jazz musician Robert Glasper for his new CD, Black Music Vol 2. When you hear combinations like this, you don’t have to hear the track to know it’s a hit. Tonight, I got my first listen–and there was no way I could keep it to myself. Everything about the arrangement sounds like Robert Glasper, but the track takes you back to the “Who Is Jill Scott” period. Remember that soulful, pour your heart out in the coolest way era? I miss it–but I can get a great dose with this track. Black Radio Vol. 2 is available October 29, 2013. Be ready.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Five Realities of My Recent Engagement

Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm engaged! You might have met my fiance in this Youtube video a couple years back. Ever since the proposal on the 4th of July, I've been going through all kinds of wedding blogs and sites to get tips, advice, and see how other brides made their day happen. But along the way, here are some things that I've noticed.

The Great Migration

If we're going to be married, we're going to have to move in together. Josh bought his first home last year, so we've already got that figured out. But wait. Where the heck is all of my makeup going to go? What about my Kitchenaid stand mixer, my rice cooker and my wok? There's very limited closet space, do we need to get an external closet? Is he going to see my razors in the shower? It's all so exciting, and a little nerve-racking too!

We Know A Lot Of People

We're working on the preliminary guest list now, to help us narrow down a venue. It's looking like most places are charging about $100-120 per person after taxes and fees. Our goal is to get our list of 150 guests down to about 100.

I'm DIY'ing It Up

There are a lot of things for the wedding that seem more like fun projects than overpriced purchases. I'll be making my bouquet and centerpieces, the ring bearer's pillow, and a few other things. I'm excited to put my own flair on some things instead of just purchasing them.

My Obsession with Weddings Has Quadrupled

I was already an avid follower of wedding blogs and pinterest boards. But now, I read them constantly. Like, on and off all day long. I love getting ideas from other people and hearing how their story had gone.

I Actually Have to Work Out Now

Ugghhh. I've been saying that I need to get my body together for quite awhile, but now I have no choice. I want to remember my honeymoon in the best way, with pictures of my husband and I on a beach, sans a cover up to hide any pudge. I want definition in my calves. No tire around my stomach. No jiggly arms.