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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cardio Barre: My Review & Experience

Cardio Barre
So I have been taking Cardio Barre classes on and off for almost a year now, and I am still pretty addicted to it. I thought I would do a review about it for anyone considering taking a barre class like this.

Cardio Barre is a full body one-hour workout at a "ballet" bar. If you have never taken a ballet class, don't worry because it is not really a "dance" class. It is more of a "cardio, mixed with weights" class. A typical class starts off by stretching, and warming up your muscles at the bar. Then, we usually go into Plié and squat-like moves that work on toning your calves and thighs. After that, we may get into the cardio part of the workout which I would almost describe as a Jane Fonda-like aerobics workout -- we do torso twists, and we do kicks as if we were the Rockettes (all of this to upbeat music like Justin Timberlake or Flo Rida). We go back to the bar, and then we start the leg workouts which are for me, the hardest part. While holding onto the bar with both hands, we do different variations of leg lifts and these cause your thigh and glute muscles to buuurnn! Afterwards, we do floor exercises on a towl such as ab crunches, and other workouts designed to tone your butt and thighs (e.g. donkey kicks, thigh lifts, etc.). Before you know it, the class is over!

I love these classes because I feel like this is a great workout for women. I've tried Crossfit before, and I run in the gym sometimes. Crossfit wasn't for me because it was too focused on the upper-body, and muscle building. For me, I want to have a more feminine shape, while maintaining a low body weight. Cardio Barre allows that because its goal is to tone your body, not to beef up your arms and legs. It also incorporates ballet and dance moves which are more graceful, feminine. This is more my style - and just because it's "girly" doesn't mean it is easy. After your first class, your thighs will burn the next day I promise you!

I don't think any one workout is perfect, and it's good to mix up your exercises every so often. If you happen to come across any of the many Living Social or Groupon deals for these Cardio Barre classes, I recommend you give it a try!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hiking in Encino!

I've mentioned before that hiking in Encino is one of our favorite ways to spend a Sunday morning.

We often like to come to Westridge Canyonback Wilderness Park in Encino since it's close by and one of the more beautiful hikes (although my ultimate favorite is still Escondido in Malibu!).

What's nice about this Encino hike is that you can see some very beautiful, large homes. From the trail you can see the mountains and as far as the downtown LA skyline. This place is also dog-friendly and many dogs are not on a leash.

The weather in LA has been 80 degrees the last few days, so we may be going on more hikes very soon!

Beautiful Homes

Downtown LA in the distance

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teddy Goes to Vegas!

I think it is safe to say that Teddy had a blast on the Vegas roadtrip. I think he is better behaved on vacation than he is at home!

Meeting Spiderman on the Vegas strip
Teddy cheesing it up in front of New York New York Hotel

Vegas Day 3 | Eating, Shopping & Carrie Underwood!

Inside the Venetian
For our last full day in Vegas, we really had no plans. We started off by wandering around the Venetian, Bellagio, Cesar's Palace and MGM.

While we were walking around the hotels, we got a call from Rickard's dad if we wanted to go to the Carrie Underwood concert that same night... Which of course we wouldn't miss it!

Fancy Shops

Feminine & Colorful Kate Spade Wallets!

Kate Spade Store

Carrie Underwood!
Carrie Underwood sounds amazing live. I remember watching her on American Idol and I like several of her songs so this was a great surprise for me to be able to see her perform.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
We also grabbed dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Bar & Grill inside the MGM Grand and it was super delicious! Probably the best we had in Vegas. Since we had won a little bit of gambling money, we wanted to go out and celebrate.

Sometimes the most unplanned days of a vacation, end up becoming the most favorite days - this was definitely one of those days. :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sunday in Las Vegas

Sunday was our first full day in Vegas, and the sun was shining bright. If there wasn't so much wind that day, it would have definitely been a perfect pool day!

We spent part of the day watching basketball and eating pizza at The Sporting House with Rickard's dad. Their portions are huge and it's pretty awesome that our booth had its own television.

Then we played roulette for maybe a few hours where I won a little bit of money! (beginner's luck!)

The Sporting House, New York New York Hotel

MGM Grand

In the evening, Rickard and I headed off on our own to find a place for dinner, just the two of us.

We settled at Mon Ami Gabi, a top-rated French bistro, located in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel on the strip. We had been here before for breakfast, but this time decided to try out their dinner selection. I enjoyed the ambiance of the dinner since you could feel that romantic Parisian vibe a whole lot more at nighttime by candlelight. The salmon I had was amazing, but I think they are known for their steak and fries. The portions here were also large!

Paris Las Vegas Hotel
Mon Ami Gabi

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Las Vegas Roadtrip

Outside the Starbucks in Barstow, CA
This past weekend, Rickard and I headed out on a roadtrip to Las Vegas. As mentioned, we took our little dog with us since our hotel allowed pets.

Teddy was such a good boy on the trip - he napped most of the time in the car, and when we were at the hotel he was on his absolute best behavior. He is a very good pup and made us proud.

With Rickard, at Starbucks

Insta-pic from the car

Teddy in the hotel room