{Class Review} Booty by Brabants

Good morning! As I mentioned on Monday, over the weekend I had a chance to check out a new-to-me class: Booty by Brabants, by the founder herself, Kelly Brabants.

“Booty by Brabants is a fitness and lifestyle brand inspired by the Brazilian booty.” (from the Booty by Brabants site)

I have to say, the name of the class kind of turned me off initially, only because I’m not really into the whole “booty/bikini/sexy” workout phenomenon. But, I’m happy to say that even though the class screamed a certain type of sex appeal, it was still a really good, challenging, sweaty class! And, the encouragement to throw a little sex appeal into the workout ended up being fun, even though totally awkward feeling at first.

As I was checking out Kelly’s website, I couldn’t help but fully agree with the explanation of the class: Booty by Brabants classes are designed to provide a high-intensity, cardio-based, booty-shaping workout within a 60 minute time-frame. Now a weekly routine for women in the Boston area, the distinctive heart pumping and high energy movements are designed to ignite the core, booty, legs and arms. Infused by Brazilian and classical dance moves, the class strikes a perfect blend of fitness and fun.

I loved that we didn’t do only squats and lunges for the whole class. Don’t get me wrong, we did plenty of squats, but we also used bands, did jumping jacks/mountain climbers/burpees, arms using a towel and lots of dancing. Kelly’s choreography and dance songs were great because they were simple enough to catch on to and to execute the moves, not to mention the music selection was on point (most definitely some Biebs!) so besides the fact I was in my workout clothes and sweating like a pig, I felt like I was at the club 😉

This class opportunity couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me, especially after I had just talked about “getting comfortable being uncomfortable”. While I like to think of myself as a decent dancer, meaning I have rhythm, prior dance experience and I genuinely love doing it, when it comes to dancing as a workout, I always feel a little awkward. This wasn’t always the case, but as I’ve gotten more into other forms of fitness outside of Zumba, I have a hard time letting go of my traditional sense of exercise and movement and tend to focus more on executing the moves “just right” instead of letting my body move with the beat of the music. Since I hadn’t done any sort of class involving dance in so long, I felt extra awkward and uncomfortable at the beginning of class!

But, I reminded myself that no one was looking at me except for me. Everyone was probably feeling the same way I was (well, except for the girls who clearly followed Kelly around from studio to studio, event to event!), so I just needed to embrace the discomfort. And you know what? As soon as I did that, I was able to relax into the moves a bit and just have fun. I love choreography and moving to the beat (my kickboxing class, for example) so I had a blast getting a chance to relive my old dance days!

Kelly’s energy was incredible and she did a great job engaging the class, making us laugh by being silly and giving us a sense of female empowerment. It was clear how comfortable she was in her body and how much she wanted us to be comfortable in our bodies, which is something I’ve become really passionate about. Girls were there in all shapes, ages and physical abilities and it was awesome to all be encouraged to bring out the sexy goddess within all of us. I had a blast shaking my booty and throwing a little club-like sexy flare into the moves thanks to the confidence that was radiating from Kelly around the room. It’s clear she’s got a really fantastic thing going on and her positive energy was a great thing to be around. If you’re looking for a new type of workout that doesn’t actually feel like a workout because you’re having fun jumping and dancing around, you definitely need to check out one of Kelly’s classes at the BFX Studio or The Club by George Foreman III. Also, her “Booty by Brabants” leggings seem to be quite the hit because ¾ of the class was wearing them! I loved that some of them had mesh down the sides and the colors were so fun. I wish I would’ve bought a pair!

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Thanks for a great class, Kelly!

Questions for you: When’s the last time you tried a class that was different than your normal workout? How do you deal with feeling uncomfortable in a class? Have you ever been to a Booty by Brabants class?

Wednesday Workout: Christmas Themed Edition

Good morning! Can you believe Christmas is next week?! How the heck did that sneak up so fast? With that in mind, I thought I’d make today’s “Wednesday Workout” a Christmas/holiday theme, similar to what I did for Thanksgiving. A few of you let me know that you tried some of the workouts that I posted, so hopefully some of these will pique your interest, too!

  • First up is the 25 Days of Christmas workout that I posted last year. I decided to teach it last week and was pleasantly surprised by how fun it was! The members said it was hard, too, so there’s your warning 😉

25 Days of Christmas

  • Another fun workout that I put together when I first started teaching is the 12 Days of Fitness workout. It’s Dana’s favorite so I knew I had to share it with you guys!

New 12 days of fitness

Warm Up Your Core

Snowman Building Total Body Workout

Down the Chimney, Up the Chimney Christmas Workout

Thank you to everyone who let me share their holiday/winter themed workouts- I hope you guys find one you like and want to try try:)

Questions for you: Do you like themed workouts? Have your workouts had to suffer at all because of holiday craziness? Do you wish we New Englanders had snow?

A Healthier Quesadilla

Good morning! I’ve been meaning to get you this recipe, but for one reason or another it just wasn’t able to happen until today. I promise you, though, it’s worth the wait!

Quesadilla’s aren’t a common occurrence around our house, not because they’re not delicious, more because we just never think to make them. Tacos, though? You bet we keep those on a frequent rotation- I love, love, love all types of tacos and we’ve mastered a few “recipes”  (fish tacos, steak tacos). After our most recent bout of quesadilla’s, I know these will become a staple, too!

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For these, I decided I wanted to get creative and offer 2 types: standard peppers, onion, spinach & chicken and then another that was a little less traditional, but perfect for this season: butternut squash, brussels sprouts & goat cheese. Both came out really great and it was hard to choose our favorite since they had such different flavors from one another.

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On top of the veggies, we opted to use the mini Ezekiel wraps we had in our freezer, which ended up working out great because they didn’t get soft and soggy like traditional flour tortilla’s tend to get when you fill them with cheese and sauteed veggies. I also got all fancy and bought some nice, sharp cheeses and shred my own cheese rather than buying a bag of shredded cheese… not necessary, but it was a nice touch!

The only downside of these is that it took a little bit of time to prepare the veggies initially, but the good thing is that if you make a big batch of everything, it’s so easy to whip up more quesadilla’s the next day! Oh, and my hands got REALLY messy as I was assembling the ‘dilla’s… totally worth it, though!

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Ingredients

  • Ezekiel wraps- figure out how many quesadilla’s you plan on eating to determine how many wraps are necessary. Also, if you use bigger wraps, you may not need to make as many quesadilla’s
  • 2-4 boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 butternut squash, chopped into small pieces (I bought an organic one that was already skinless so I just had to  chop it up)
  • 1-2 handfuls of Brussels sprouts, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 small block of Gouda or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 (or so) cup of crumbled goat cheese
  • EVOO & S/P/Garlic powder to taste

Directions

1. Cut up your veggies & heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the EVOO and sautee your onions & peppers first. To help speed up the cook time of the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash I steamed them before sauteeing them. Once they softened up, I added them to the skillet for a bit (after I had removed the peppers & onions). When the Brussels sprouts & butternut squash are done cooking, throw a handful of spinach into the skillet; remove once it’s wilted.

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2. Once the veggies are cooked, remove them from the pan and place into separate bowls. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked all the way through. We like to sprinkle salt, pepper & garlic powder on each side while they cook.

3. While the chicken is cooking, shred your cheese 7 set aside.

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4. Once the chicken is done cooking, turn the heat down on the stove a bit and place one wrap/tortilla on the greased skillet you’ve been using (why waste more dishes?!). Add a thin layer of cheese, your chicken & veggies (changes based on what option you’re making) and the put a final layer of cheese on top before you cover it with the other tortilla/wrap. Let it cook for a few minutes- at least- on each side so that the inside is nice and melty and the outside is a little crispy.

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5. Once they’re cooked, slice & serve with a side of homemade (or store bought) salsa.

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These were such a fun Friday night meal and I love that there are endless options for the different types of quesadillas you could make. We loved these so much we ate them for lunch the next day, too!

Questions for you: Do you like quesadillas or tacos better? What’s your favorite quesadilla or taco filling?

 

Weekending: Drinks, Booty By Brabants Class, Christmas Partying & Home to Maine

Good morning! Is it just me or are the weekends/December FLYING by?! This weekend was no different… except for the fact I’m in the office today instead of working from home 😦 Oh well- I’m traveling to South Carolina for a few days this week so it’s not a big deal! Let’s recap the weekend, though 🙂

Friday

After work on Friday, I went to the Legal C Bar at the M Street shops with a work friend. We had a blast chatting and sipping on some vino. Once we parted ways, I headed home and realized that RM would not be around for dinner. I was in no mood to stay in by myself- and we had no food- so I walked over to Social Restaurant for dinner and drinks… by myself! It was actually nice- I ordered a pizza, kale and bubbly. Always bubbly. And, since I posted a photo on Instagram, the manager gave me another free drink. I’ll take it!

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RM and his cousin ended up joining me and then our friends Bob and Kristen randomly popped in, too! Kristen and I have recently connected through blogging and it’s been so fun. She writes an awesome blog highlighting on restaurants and travel and her posts are so beautifully written and have really nice photos. You need to check it out!

Saturday

Rm and I took our time getting up and then puttered around the house and took a walk before I headed into the city for a Booty By Brabants class at the BFX Studio. I had heard so much about Kelly’s class and about the BFX studio so I was pumped to get invited to check both out! BFX is a beautiful studio with nice locker rooms and class space and Kelly’s class was FULL of energy, smiles, sexy dancing and sweat! Remember how I talked about getting out of your comfort zone and getting comfortable being uncomfortable? This class was a great example of doing this! I want to do a full review of the class in a separate post so I’ll leave it at that. Such a fun Saturday!

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After the class we had a chance to try out juices and smoothies from Nourish Your Soul and paleo meals from Paleo Life. The juices & smoothies were fantastic and I was so excited when the founder of Nourish Your Soul gave me a free smoothie to take home. It was the perfect post workout treat. I also really enjoyed the food items that I sampled from Paleo Life. If you’ve never heard of it, Paleo Life is a healthy meal planning & delivery service which is great for those who are “too busy” to eat healthy. They seem pretty affordable and deliver to all around Boston so if it’s something you’d be interested in, check them out!

After the event, I did some Christmas shopping and then baked a batch of the most delicious Hidden Avocado Brownies from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen to take to Jessi and Chuck’s party. It’s the second time I’ve made them and I’m totally obsessed. Not only are they easy, but they taste so rich & moist you’d never know there was an avocado in them!

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The party was a blast! It’s always so fun getting dressed up, laughing and chatting with friends, drinking wine & eating fun party food. Thanks for hosting such a fun party guys!

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Sunday

I woke up on Sunday and packed up to head to Maine for the day. I hadn’t been up there for a long time and was in need of a little quiet time with my parents. I stopped at Kittery for a little shopping before meeting my mom for lunch at the Springvale Publick House. I enjoyed a locally brewed beer and homemade turkey chili. Both were unbelievable!

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Once I got home, I helped my parents bring in and decorate the tree, squeezed in a workout and relaxed with some vino and blogging. It was such a nice Sunday!

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For dinner, we had Pork Tenderloin Medallions, baked sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli and everything was great!

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One last thing before I sign off for the day… my friend Kelly works for a company called Schoola which collects & resells gently used clothes to help provide schools with funds for various things. Right now, they have an incredible sale going on where you can buy BRAND NEW Athleta clothing for super discounted prices and the best part is that a huge portion of the proceeds go to the Mala Fund. I recently requested a bag so that I could send them some clothes I no longer wear. You can use that same link if you’re looking for a good place to donate your gently used clothes! And, if you want to shop some brand new Athleta clothes for a great discount, check out this link. I just bought the black sweater!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Did you have any holiday parties? Have you ever grabbed dinner at a local bar by yourself?

Five on Friday {12.11.15}

Good morning! How has your week been? Mine has felt long… I am so ready for the weekend to be here! In case you missed anything from B2B this week, you can catch up here, here and here. For now, though, let’s talk Friday Favorites!

1. Wellcoin I’m excited to announce that I recently became a Wellcoin Ambassador! New to Wellcoin? Basically, it’s an app that pays you to live a healthy life! No joke- you get points for all sorts of “healthy living” things from working out to buying healthy groceries to choosing a healthy drink to doing something fun, and then you can “shop” in their marketplace for lots of different things like Whole Foods gift cards, free class at a participating studio, items at Thirst Juice Co. and more. I plan to do a whole post on it, so I won’t share all the details here, but if you’re interested, head on over to Wellcoin.com and check it out. Also, if you sign up, be sure to use the code “burpeestobubbly” which will get you 250 points right off the bat! I’ve only been using it for a few weeks and I already have about 6000 points. When you join- give me a follow so we can cheer each other on because that gives you more points, too 😉

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2. Christmas Decorations/Movies/Music/AlltheChristmas- I love, love, love this time of year and it’s been so fun decorating OUR home- getting our first tree, hanging up lights, watching Christmas movies, etc. RM laughed at me the other morning when I was WFH and had the tree lit at 7am… hey- it’s the little things 😉

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3. Free sweetgreen lunchsweetgreen recently opened up a new store location in the M Street shops near my office and the lovely Rachel of Healthy Chicks has been spoiling my group with free lunches. She brought us some delicious salads yesterday for lunch which was perfect timing since I had gotten home late on Wednesday and was in no mood to pack a lunch. Thanks girl! (ps they also opened up a new location in the Prudential Center- it’s amazing to see them growing so much!)

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4. Dealing with no internet- This was a busy week and I had a hours of blogging planned for Tuesday night, so imagine my frustration when I realized we did not have internet. My initial reaction was “ugh omg how am I going to get my Wednesday Workout post up? I can’t post my recipe on Thursday because I won’t even have time on Wednesday night to blog”, etc. etc. I’m happy to say that I took a few deep breaths and just let it be. It’s sad to realize how much I depend upon and use the Internet- for trivial things like checking facebook and Instagram. I mean, common Monique. It shouldn’t be that hard to just sit and watch TV! But this day in age, with technology and social media as such a huge part of our lives, it’s just second nature to be on our phones… and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m on mine way too much. Tuesday night was a good reminder to just leave the phone be for a while.

5. Little words that mean so much– While I love blogging SO much, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a lot of work… and sometimes frustrating. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is even reading this silly thing and whether or not I’m actually inspiring and motivating people, so when my friend Meg sent me these texts today, it made me feel SO GOOD. Knowing that I can provide tips, share my experience and motivate/inspire even just one person makes my hard work on B2B so worth it. Thank you, friend. You made my day!

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And that does it for me today! I’m excited for this weekend- I think I’m going to a fitness event on SaturDAY and then Saturday night my friend Jessi is having her Christmas party and then Sunday I’m going to head up to Maine to spend some time at my parents house…. but not without a stop at the Kittery outlets first 😉 What about you guys? Do you have anything fun planned? What are you loving right now? Anything from the week you want to share?