Bostonista

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Why I Chose ClassPass Instead Of A Traditional Gym

I have a confession to make; 30 is my scary age. So last spring I decided it was time to do something about it. No, I didn't invent a time machine but I vowed to get "hot and healthy" in time for my birthday in July. After looking at all of my options (and boy are there A LOT of options,) I chose ClassPass instead of a traditional gym.

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(Full Disclosure: This isn't me. I'd definitely fall over.)

When I was choosing my plan of attack, I decided that the benefits of ClassPass, for me, far outweighed the benefits of a traditional gym membership. Yes, it's pricey (here in Boston a membership costs $99 a month) but unless you want to slum it at a no-frills gym (and I don't) most people seem to be paying at least $80 a month for their fitness routine. I had an offer of a two week free trial so I tried everything from spin (definitely not for me) to a BFX combo class to Pilates Reformer and Barre. I went to a class every other day for two weeks and while I didn't lose any weight I did gain a ton of confidence. At the end of the two weeks, I was hooked. I hadn't worked out in a long time (certainly not with any consistency since high school) but over those two weeks I realized that I'm stronger than I thought. I learned about what really I liked to do for exercise (barre and pilates) and what I absolutely couldn't stand (heavy cardio). For the first time ever, I have upper body strength. I've never thought about my arms before but toning and lifting and weights are one of my favorite things now! I actually said, "So THIS is why people are so addicted to the gym!" 

Sometimes, I'd schedule my classes a few days out so that I'd hold myself accountable, other times I'd  wake up, think about my day and see what was still available via their handy app. The fancy gym a block away from my apartment (which had a hefty joining fee, and high monthly memberships) is a member with nearly all of their classes available to book. They even have 1 hour slots open just to use the gym equipment for when I didn't feel like taking a full class. But the best part? ClassPass members can use all of the fancy amenities from the clean, stocked locker rooms and showers to the steam room and jacuzzi at this particular studio. 

Once I hit a rhythm, I found myself going to the same four or five studios a lot. Occasionally I'd try a new place if the class sounded fun or was more convenient but I became enough of a regular at certain classes that the instructors usually knew my name. I'd been worried that some studios wouldn't be as friendly to their ClassPass students, on the assumption that we wouldn't be back, but I found the opposite to be true. Once I had checked in my experience was exactly like their full time members. 

Of course, there are downsides too. For example, I became obsessed with Barre & Soul in Lexington (halfway between my mom's house and my apartment) but, with ClassPass, you can only go to the same studio (including their other locations) three times a month. Once those three times are up, CP locks you out of their classes and you need to sign up directly through the studio (and pay their "drop in" fee). So I found myself staggering the classes that I really loved throughout the month (Barre & Soul, B-Tone, and the gym near my apartment) and taking classes that were more inconvenient. For example, I think BFX is a beautiful studio and their classes are great and intense but it can be hard for me to get down there in the middle of the day. Another time, I signed up for a barre class in Southie but got so lost that I ended up missing the class- and being stuck with a "No Show" fee. Another problem? I spend a good chunk of my summer on Cape Cod where, unfortunately, none of the studios belong to CP. The closest one looks to be over the bridge in Kingston, about an hours drive (without traffic) from where I am on the Cape. So, I found a few little studios nearby for barre classes and just paid their various "drop in" charges out of pocket. Totally fine but annoying when I'm already paying $100 a month to work out. I wish that there were more studios available outside of the Boston area and that the three classes per month rule was bumped up to four or five but it's a growing company and it has to keep the studios happy too.

I was able to keep up the routine through my birthday, when I promptly injured myself. I guess that's what you get for blindly throwing yourself into something after 15 years of almost zero exercise? Anyway, I started going less (once or twice a week) to a few light classes that my doctor approved. 
Next week, I'll be clear to work out to my fullest again and, even though I'm a big fan of ClassPass, I was considering canceling or holding my account. Why? Well, it was a great way to learn what my fitness personality is and where I'm most comfortable. Those Crossfit classes? Really not my thing! Zumba? Yawn. My goal has even changed from losing weight to building strength and getting toned. 
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At my 30th Birthday Party with my BFF Angela. Five weeks into my "Get Hot & Healthy" Plan.













Now that Barre & Soul has opened a new location in my neighborhood, I'm thinking that just going with one of their monthly memberships might be the best route for me. ClassPass has an option for putting an account on "hold" for $19 a month (you can hit one class per cycle while on hold) so I think that's my current plan of attack. Overall, I think it's great if you're just starting out (like me) or if you travel a lot. If you're in love with one specific teacher or studio though it's probably better to join directly. 

What's your verdict? Have you tried ClassPass yet


Monday, August 10, 2015

Recreate Ashley Benson's Summer Style!

In honor of tomorrow night's Pretty Little Liars finale,  I thought I'd share how to re-create Ashley Benson's summer style! Hanna has always been my favorite liar (they definitely give her the best one-liners, don't they?) and Ashley's own personal style has evolved from teen queen to eclectic boho and I love it.

I have a lot of questions about PLL (mostly, why does no one care that multiple adult men in the town of Rosewood are in very public relationships with high school girls, and how is 17-year-old high school dropout Toby, a full-fledged police officer?) but I never question Ashley's fashion sense!

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This summer, she has embraced crop tops and stripes for walking around LA, but you can recreate almost the exact look now thanks to summer sales!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's In My Summer Beauty Bag

Let's face it: I'm a product addict. I get a little thrill every time I have a new potion in pretty packaging to try out. But this year, I've been trying to streamline what's in my summer bag with multi-tasking products that can take me from day to night.

My summer skincare routine hasn't changed much in the past year, but I've been experimenting a bit more with eye makeup. Want to know a secret? Until recently, eyeshadow scared me! I owned lots of it, but almost never wore it. Instead, I'd dab a bit of concealer on my lids, use a silvery white pencil on the inner corners of my eyes, do a thin strip of liquid liner and pile on the mascara. I'd also usually apply a highlighter just under my brows.  It worked around the clock but got kind of boring, so I finally dove in and started experimenting with shadows.

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All of this is to say that I'm loving Maybelline's new Blushed Nudes palette because there are so many different looks that I can create from it. I picked up their original nudes palette a few months ago (since I can't afford any of the famous Urban Decay Naked Palettes) and I really like it but the colors in the blushed set are so much more fun! 

Butter London was generous enough to send me their entire new line of Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayons and I'm officially obsessed. They really are bloody brilliant! Each crayon comes with a built-in sharpener (which means you can actually use the ENTIRE stick) and the color is long lasting and creamy, not sticky! My favorite color so far is Trout Pout- a pink nude that can be subtle or bright depending on how much I put on. I have a lipstick on teeth issue so I always put MAC's Prep+Prime lip treatment first to make color really stick to my lips!

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What's in your beauty bag this summer? 

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

How To Style Ikea's Raskog Cart

You may not know this about me, but I'm a bit of a reading addict. Growing up my dad used to tell people that, "Kara doesn't read books...she devours them!" Even today my bedroom, apartment, mom's house, and car are all filled with books on every topic (although I'm partial to fiction) and every magazine I can possibly get my hands on. So, it's not really surprising that I looked around my room a few weeks ago and thought, "I need more shelves!" Unfortunately, I had pretty much run out of space...enter Ikea's Raskog cart!

The $29.99 cart-on-wheels is tall enough to work as a vanity or bedstand but small enough that it fits into the one tight corner I had left! Of the three shelves, I use the lowest one for tall coffee table books and as storage for oversized beauty products, the second shelf for magazines, books, and a spot to charge my iPad. Of course, the top of the turquoise metal cart is just screaming for bright, pink peonies!
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Casual Friday at Assembly Row

It's been a strange few weeks in a number of ways but the biggest change? My BFF moved to Florida! She had a quick two weeks to pack and be on her way so we decided to check off a couple of boxes on her Boston bucket list! Like an afternoon at the vibrant Assembly Row! We ate sandwiches from Paul by the river, got ice cream from JP Licks, and did some serious retail damage.

For such a casual afternoon, I went with a shorter twist on my summer uniform from BCBGeneration with my favorite gold belt.

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