Five on Friday {8.19.16}

Good morning and TGI{freaking}F. What.A.Week! And on another note, how is it August 19th already?! I feel like this summer has flown by especially fast for us since the first part of it was spent planning for and having our wedding, which I am by no means complaining about! I had wanted to blog last Friday, but I ended up not having time. Womp, womp. I’m here today, though, with some great things to share- enjoy!

  • Pure Barre Platform VIP Class- As I’ve mentioned in a few other posts, I was given 3 months of unlimited classes at Pure Barre, which has been a fun addition to my normal workouts. Last week they hosted a “VIP” class at their Newbury Street location for everyone who is part of the media team to run us through their new Platform class. I had taken one Platform class the week before so I knew what to expect, but the class last week was much better! The Platform class is entirely different (literally, not anything like a normal barre class) from their signature Pure Barre class, mostly in that it involves some cardio but also that the moves are encouraged to be big, not small. Since I’m a recovering cardio queen, this class is definitely more my style because I like big movements and moving a lot. If you stray away from barre because it’s not your style I suggest checking out Pure Barre’s new Platform class- I think you’ll enjoy it!

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  • Beautycounter- I was contacted by an independent consultant for BeautyCounter, which is a personal beauty company with a mission to make safer and more effective skincare and cosmetic products for women and children. I hadn’t heard of it, but when I checked out their site, I was very impressed with their mission and their pledge to clean up the skincare industry. Melissa sent me so many things to try- I can’t wait to share my thoughts on them with you in a few weeks!
  • New Bike- Last weekend, RM and I bit the bullet and bought some bikes. RM has been wanting a new bike for a super long time and since we live in an area where biking is easy (we are super close to the Charles!), I figured I might as well get one, too. Plus, any excuse for us to be active together is good enough reason for me to splurge on a bike. So far, it’s been really fun and I think once I get more comfortable riding it and being on the road, I’ll really enjoy using it to run local errands, go to church or the gym, etc.


  • Wine Drying Rack- My friend from work, Stephanie, bought me the best gift that I finally was able to use over the weekend: a wine drying rack! I absolutely hate putting wine glasses in the drying rack because I’m always afraid of them breaking, so this rack designed specifically to dry glasses is pretty much the best invention ever! I will be buying this for all my friends, haha


  • New Balance swag– Last week, I came home to the best surprise from New Balance- a whole outfit from their new Newbury Collection!! I nearly jumped for joy when I opened the box and saw everything. Not only do I love the color (I don’t have much red or navy), I loved the fit and feel of everything, too. The pants are so funky and soft and react so well to movement, meaning they don’t ride down or up. The sports bra is a little longer so I would feel more comfortable wearing it on its own and the shirt is super lightweight and flowy- perfect for hot, summer workouts. I’m also obsessed with the jacket, although it’s too warm to wear that now 😉 and lastly, the Vazee Transform Graphic Trainers are super lightweight and SO comfortable- it’s like not even wearing anything! Thank you, thank you, thank you, New Balance! You outdid yourself 🙂

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And that does it for me- I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend!!! Chat with you next week 🙂

Questions for you: Have you tried Pure Barre’s Platform class before? What’s your favorite brand of workout apparel? What line of beauty products do you use for your skin? Any cool kitchen “must have” gadgets?

Five on Friday {7.1.16}

Good morning, friends! Can you believe this is my LAST post as a “single” lady?! So crazy, but so awesome. As I’m sure you can imagine, this past week has been filled with lots of last minute wedding “to-do’s”, which has taken precedent over blogging. I wanted to pop in today, though, to share a few things before we go off to get MARRIED! I won’t be blogging next week, either 😉

  • Spoiled by Pure Barre- I have been getting SO SPOILED by Pure Barre lately! They are introducing a new class format and invited me to check it out by giving me THREE free months of unlimited classes at the Pure Barre location of my choice. Since there’s one right near my office I opted to choose that location. And, while barre isn’t my number one favorite workout, I do like to continuously try new things and their new class format sounds pretty intense since it’s adding a level of cardio to it, so I can’t wait to see what it’s all about! As a welcome gift, they sent me some fun things to get me started, like socks, a towel & a water bottle. Then, just this week they sent me a new Garmin tracker with the sweetest note. Love that!

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  • ProYo Giveaway- Did you guys see the giveaway that I’m hosting on Instagram? ProYo will be giving one lucky follower a free box of their ProYo treats, which I have to say are SO tasty! Tomorrow is the last day to enter, so if you haven’t entered please head on over and comment with what flavor you’d like.


  • Feeling the love- We have already been feeling so much love from everyone regarding our upcoming wedding. From the calls to the texts to the emails, the support and excitement has been so awesome. And, my team threw me a shower on my last day in the office and gave us a super generous gift card to Crate & Barrel. I can’t wait to go shopping after the wedding! And, last night some of my work friends and I went out for drinks which was so fun!



  • Family time- My parents came down yesterday to do some last minute wedding stuff. It was so nice having them here and getting to show them everything I’ve been working on. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive family! We also went out to lunch at Branchline so my sister was able to join us. Last lunch as just “the Gagnons”!

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  • Quality time with my handsome future hubby– Although there’s always stress when you’re getting this close to the big day, RM and I have still been having so much fun together. I don’t really know how to describe it besides saying it’s just such an exciting time! Last Sunday we were able to spend some time at the beach and then went back to KO Pies one last time before getting married. It was perfect!

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And with that, I’ll talk to you guys in a few weeks! I am really looking forward to some extended, uninterrupted time with RM. It’s been a crazy few months so I can’t wait to be able to sleep in, go to the beach and just relax together.

ClassPass is here!

So, if you’ve been reading this little blog or following me on Instagram or Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of ClassPass talk, right? Have you heard of it? I was contacted by a rep a few months ago telling me about the program and from that minute on, I knew it was exactly what I’ve been looking for.


It’s no shocker that I love taking classes at “boutique” studios. From Exhale Spa to Recycle to Flywheel to Pure Barre, I’ve tried a number of studios in Boston that fall into this category and I have never been disappointed. I think the instructors are amazing, I think the exercises are a nice change of pace and it’s just fun to try something new. However, since I have gym memberships to 3 gyms, I can’t really justify getting memberships or passes to those types of gyms. They’re expensive and I’d never know which one to pick since I love them all.

That’s where ClassPass comes in. ClassPass is a month membership that allows you to take 10 classes as various boutique studios in Boston. It’s just $99 a month so that means it is less than $10/class, which is about a third of the price these classes usually cost. Boston has over 27 participating locations in Boston right now, and that number keeps increasing. The locations vary from barre to boot camp to indoor cycling to pilates… basically, you name it and you can find a studio that will fit what you’re looking for. The only restriction is you cannot visit one studio more than 3 times in a month because they want to encourage you to try new studios and if you’re going to visit a studio more than 3 times in a month, you should probably just get a membership or book of classes there, right?

Last week, they hosted an amazing launch at Flywheel to get everyone excited about the program.


The room was packed and the instructor, Ann, was AMAZING (as I’ve said before). Seriously, her music was on point, her teaching style and enthusiasm and spunk were perfect. She was totally jamming out on her bike and I loved it! It also helped that the class was full (literally, over 40 people) of fitness loving ladies (and a few guys). I was literally sweating as much as I do in hot yoga and was happy with the fact I came in 6th place out of 20+ people (they split the score board into two sides). I feel like I’m starting to really get the hang of spinning and I love it more with each time I go.

After the class, we were treated with some snacks from Sweetgreen, which I am now obsessed with. The kale salads were absolutely delicious and the smoothies were so good I had two of each (hey- I was hungry after class!).

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Not only were we provided snacks, but we walked away with a pretty sweet swag bag!

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It didn’t take me long to wear the shirt… I rocked it the following day when teaching my UXF Burn class.


I’m a sucker for free swag, but this was an especially exciting goodie bag! Big thanks to ClassPass 🙂

ClassPass was nice enough to offer me a membership for the month to try it out and spread the word (THANK YOU!!!). So far, I’ve been to Exhale and I am going to Velo City tonight for a 45 minute indoor cycling class. It’s fun to have the opportunity to try out various studios in and around the Boston area. I foresee myself purchasing month memberships on my own after this month is up because it really pays for itself just after 3 visits! If you’re interested in checking it out, head on over to their site.

Questions for you: What’s your favorite “boutique” studio in Boston? Have you heard of ClassPass? Is it something you think you would be interested in?

Weekending: Pure Barre, Crock Pot Meal, Boston Visiters

This past weekend was relatively quiet, which was good since I was still feeling pretty crappy unless I was drugged up on Sudafed. By Friday afternoon, though, I was itching to get out of my apartment (2 days in a row of working from home will do that to you!), so I decided to get my grocery shopping done. Woohoo, wild and crazy Friday night, huh? To spice things up, I stopped in at TJ Maxx first and scored this awesome Essie nail polish. Did you guys know they sell it there for $4.99?? I’ve been really into paining my nails recently, so I was stoked!


My Friday night wasn’t entirely boring, though, as I did get together with someone for a class of wine, which ended up making me so stuffy I had to stop after one. The horrors!


That was a bottle included in an awesome “box” of wine that I got as a Christmas present. I’m going to do a whole recap on that in another post because good wine deserves its own post, right?!

I had been looking forward to Saturday all week because I was finally cashing in my Christmas present from my sister, which was a class at Pure Barre on Newbury Street. I’ve been to a few barre classes, but I still went in without knowing what to expect. Well, 5 minutes in when I was dripping sweat holding all sorts of leg lifts and inner thigh squeezes and 90 second planks, I realized I was in for a real treat!


I loved the class and could see myself going more often if it wasn’t so expensive, but I have to say that my first reaction of my first class wasn’t what I expected it to be. I think the reason I felt this way was only because the class moved SO fast and I had no idea what I was doing, which left me a little frustrated (it’s the Type A “I want to know exactly what to do, how to do it, what it should look like and how long we’ll be doing it for” in me.). I kept trying to look around for someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, but it was a class primarily full of “newbies” like Danielle and me, so I was out of luck. Even though I spent a lot of time fumbling around trying to figure out what to squeeze and tuck, I was able to “get” the move before it was time to move on, which was good. The instructor was also really attentive and walked around and corrected form (I kind of wanted her to just stand by me and fix me the whole class…) which was great.

I talked to the instructor after class to thank her for a great workout and to ask if it’s normal to be confused with the moves/terminology and she said that everyone feels that way after their first class and that after a few classes you learn the lingo and the moves and it becomes easier in that respect (not in terms of the workout). This made me feel better! And just because I was frustrated didn’t mean I didn’t like it, because I loved it. We worked muscles I didn’t know I had and when I woke up on Sunday morning, I could feel EVERYTHING. Holy moly. My hamstrings, abductors, triceps (I didn’t even think we did anything to work our triceps) and back were screaming as soon as I woke up. It was great. Thanks for a great Christmas present, Danielle! It was so fun trying something totally new and having it literally kick my butt. I want to go back!

After class, we headed to Douzo Sushi for a healthy and light lunch. We shared a Bento Box, Tempura Broccoli and Edamame. We didn’t share our wine, though 😉


I love going out to lunch and having wine SO much. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday! I had to babysit on Saturday night, so I had to stop after 1 glass. Womp, womp.

Sunday morning I got up, did laundry, made granola (I’ll post it soon- SO good), went for a run and then got my crock pot meal ready since Danielle and I were getting drinks with our cousin on Sunday evening. I got the crock pot recipe from Eat, Live, Run and was happy with how easy it was to prepare. Are all crock pot meals as easy as cutting things up and putting them in the crock pot? I should do more of these…

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I followed Jenna’s recipe exactly except I used sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. I tried to halve the recipe, but I ended up doing probably 3/4 of the recipe. Soup freezes well, so I’m sure I’ll be doing that!

On Sunday evening, my sister and I met up with our cousin who was in town for various camp fairs (He’s the director at Hosmer Point in Craftsbury Commons, VT.) at Otto Pizza in Coolidge Corner. We got to meet some of his former campers/counselors which was really fun. We talked about Burpees to Bubbly (Hi everyone if you’ve ventured over here!) and I loved it 🙂

And that about sums it up! All in all, it was a good weekend… a little quiet/laid back, but with this stupid cold thing that’s probably just what I needed.

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Have you been to Pure Barre or another Barre studio in Boston? Do you have tips for a newbie?? What’s your favorite crock pot recipe?

This Week: Workouts, Things I’m Looking Forward To & January Challenge Check-In

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope you were able to get out of the house and do something fun!

Last week, I started to come down with a  cold. It started with an itchy/scratchy throat and then moved to sinus pressure/congestion, etc. I’ve been loading up on Emergen-C, Mucinex and Sudafed and while they are working, it’s getting old taking so many meds! I blame the wacky weather for my cold. I tried to take it easy with my workouts once I started feeling sick, but I’ll be honest, unless I’m SUPER sick and physically cannot move, it’s really hard for me to tone it down. Which, is ultimately why I get super sick- I don’t rest when I should and end up getting more worn out and sick. You’d think since I understand this I’d be better at doing the right thing (resting) to make sure I don’t get full blown sick, but, I’m not. Oh well. With a that said, let’s look at my workouts last week!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I was really in the mood to get to a spin class and was stressed when I called the gym and they said you can’t pre-register. There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym for a class and then not getting to take it because it’s full, right? Luckily, I got the golden ticket and was able to take the class! I’m still not crazy about the instructor, but at this point, it’s just good for me to keep getting more experience.


  • Tuesday- I had dinner/drink plans after work so I got up in the morning and did the strength part of a workout I taught in SHRED a few weeks ago. It was based off of a workout in Men’s Health and it was great!
  • Wednesday- I started to feel sick on Tuesday so Wednesday it was my goal to take it easy at the gym. Instead of running, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical and then taught my first UXF Burn class of the year. There were some new faces in the class which is always fun. I did about 75% of the workout (I just can’t not do any of the workout when I teach- I love it too much!).
  • Thursday- I still wasn’t feeling great, but I was able to get through my SHRED and Kickboxing classes. The numbers are up, but they aren’t up so much that it makes being in class miserable. It’s a good balance! I taught a new format in SHRED and since everyone seemed to like it, I’ll post it for you on Wednesday 🙂
  • Friday- Rest!
  • Saturday- I did my January Burpee & Push-Up Challenge before going to a class at Pure Barre with my sister.

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  • Sunday- I woke up pretty darn sore from the Pure Barre class on Saturday, so I took my time in the morning around my apartment before deciding what I wanted to do for a workout. Since it was nice out, I decided to go for a run to loosen up my tight legs. Little did I know I’d be running into an incredibly strong head wind the entire first half of my run. Woof. I stopped at the “gym” in the park to do some ab work before heading back. Solid workout!

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This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’ll head to a spin class at the East Boston YMCA again.
  • Tuesday- I’m getting together with some other tenants in my building for some wine after work, so I’ll get up and do my usual Tuesday morning strength session (which I’ve been loving lately!).
  • Wednesday- Cardio and then teaching UXF Burn
  • Thursday- SHRED and then Kickboxing
  • Friday- Probably a rest day. I’d like to maybe do 30 minutes of at-home yoga since I haven’t done as much of that in 2014 as I’ve wanted to, but we will see.
  • Saturday- It’s my turn to teach kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA- yay! Hope to see all my favorite familiar faces in the crowd!
  • Sunday- Not sure. I might try to get some strength training in (maybe BodyPump?), maybe something else, maybe a real yoga class? I’ll see how I feel!

Things I’m Looking Forward To

Well, I’m looking forward to feeling better. Even though I never got really sick, it’s not fun feeling off and “kinda” sick. It’s actually just annoying. Other than that, I’m looking forward to having wine with some of the other girls in my building and hopefully getting together with some of my college girlfriends this weekend.

January Burpee & Push-Up Challenge Check-In

Alright, it’s time to check-in with my challenge! Who’s participating? I’ve seen a few tweets and Facebook status’ saying you’re participating, so I want to know what you thought of the first week of the challenge! What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? How did you break up the 100 reps of each exercise? What was your time? Before tackling the challenge, I had no idea what to even have as a goal for the completion time. 5 minutes? 10 minutes? More/less? I ended up completing it in 6 minutes and 21 seconds (took a few seconds to hit the stop button) and I still have no idea where that stands in comparison to some of your times! I feel like I can definitely do it a little faster next week, but my ultimate goal by the end of the challenge is to do it in under 6 minutes, which I think is doable. Few things to note about how I completed it (how you complete it will influence how long it will take you to complete it, so remember that!):

  • 4 sets of 25: I did 25 burpees then 25 push-ups, times 4 rounds
  • I didn’t do CrossFit burees- I just jumped back into a high plank, back in and hopped at the top
  • I did my push-ups on my knees. Over 20 reps of push-ups on my feet leads to bad form for me, so to make sure I was keeping good form throughout, I dropped to my knees.

Things I was thinking during the challenge:

  • “Ok, that first set of 25 burpees wasn’t bad. Here come the push-ups.”
  • “Breathe, Monique… the push-ups are when you get your breathing back!”
  • “Gosh, these burpees aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be.”
  • “I hate push-ups. I need a break. No, keep going.”
  • “Almost done the burpees! Just keep thinking about the Spartan race when you had to do 30 at a time!”
  • “Ok, you can have a 2 second break this push-up round. Make it count.”

As you can see, the burpees weren’t bad for me, but the push-ups sucked! I wish I had more upper body strength, and you’d think that with the amount of push-ups I do (pretty much every workout), I’d get better at them, but I’m not! All in all, though, I was happy with my first attempt. It was fun to give it my all and get me a starting point for the challenge so I can try and improve next time!

Questions for you: How were your workouts last week? Did you try anything new? What are you looking forward to this week? How about the challenge? Did you rock it? What was hardest/easiest? Please share!