workout review: soulcycle + cyclebar

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One of the little series I'm going to do as part of Wellness Wednesday is workout reviews. I've been to a good amount of group workout classes and have done even more at home using online resources, so I want to share my experience with you guys to help you pick which classes you want to add to your routine or just try out for fun!

I'm starting with the two versions of indoor cycling that I've tried: the iconic SoulCycle and a similar class called CycleBar which is found in more locations.

overview of workout
SoulCycle - The class is held in a dimly lit room with a loud, energized soundtrack that's different with each class. Sometimes, there are even special themed rides (i.e. Taylor Swift, Hamilton). Upon arrival, you get signed in and rent your cycling shoes if you don't have your own. There are lockers in the lobby for you to store your things (especially your phone). 

When you initially enter the classroom, you want to go ahead and get clipped into the your bike. If you need help with this, don't hesitate to ask because the instructors are more than happy to get you clipped in and adjust the bike height for your body. Once you're clipped in, you'll want to start pedaling to get warmed up.

Each class varies, but typically you'll go through different resistance levels and positions (standing, sitting, and the signature 'tap it back') for the majority of the class. Toward the end, there's a seated arms portion where you used hand weights. 

Classes regularly cost $34.

CycleBar - This workout is pretty similar in nature to SoulCycle but there are a couple of differences. The vibe is the same, with a dark room and fun music.

The big difference is that CycleBar has video monitors in the front of the room that show how your performance ranks in the class. This is really great for someone like me who is fairly competitive because it really makes me want to perform better. If I look up and see that I'm near the end of the pack, I'm really motivated to step it up. If you're new to cycling and are feeling less confident or if competitiveness isn't something you enjoy, keep that in mind and maybe select a different class.

The other difference is that I don't believe CycleBar has a weights portion. It's all cycling, the entire time. Aside from those two differences, these classes are interchangeable and I love them both!

Classes regularly cost $18 and you can get a free intro ride.

what it's actually like
Challenging but really fun! The first time I did SoulCycle, my lungs were on fire after the first five minutes. I was not at all new to fitness and worked out a lot at the time, but it was still really challenging. Those first five minutes honestly felt like I was going to die! Haha. But then, I got into a groove and the rest of the class was super fun and invigorating. I remember leaving class and being able to breathe so well! The fresh air felt amazing on my lungs. My friend and I went to dinner afterwards, had healthy salads, then ran up multiple flights of stairs to our hotel rooms (we were living in a hotel during an internship). 

So yeah, I won't lie and say it isn't hard. It is challenging and at some parts, unpleasant. But the music and energy of the instructors make it so much fun. Plus, you'll feel amazing afterwards.

what to wear
I recommend moisture-wicking, cropped leggings. Bike shorts work too, although I think cropped leggings to be more comfortable. Definitely avoid any long, flowing yoga pants. Pair your leggings/shorts with a tank top because you're going to sweat! 

what to bring
A headband to keep hair out of your face. A full water bottle to stay hydrated. Your own clip-in shoes if you have them. A hand towel just in case your studio doesn't provide one.

reasons to stay in this weekend

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I don't know about where you guys live, but the past few weekends here have been super rainy! It seems like the weekdays are reasonably clear but once the weekend arrives, the weather is rainy and gloomy. However, I'm not complaining. As much as I love sunny days by the pool or perfect breezy weather for going out on the weekends, a proper rainy weekend can be exactly what you need sometimes.

Even if it's not raining where you are, here are a few perfectly good excuses to stay in this weekend:

Bake a batch of Milk Bar cookies at home.
I love my Milk Bar treats and recently discovered that Target sells Milk Bar cookie mixes! We ordered the Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow mix and the Compost Cookie mix. They're only $4.99 each, so pick a flavor and bake some up this weekend! One thing I will mention is that the first time I made these, the dough made according to directions was very wet and the cookies ended up being very flat and cakey. The flavor was still good but the texture wasn't. The second time around, I added some extra flour. The dough still felt too wet but I baked them anyway and they turned out much better (although still a bit too soggy for my taste). So my point is, you may need to add extra flour according to your personal judgment. 

Read this incredible article on manifesting from Goop.
Goop recently did an interview with Lacy Phillips about manifesting your dreams and it's so, so good. There really is a magic power within us all to create the lives we want. I can vouch for that!

Read two new books about royals and Greek gods.
Andrew Morton, the premiere royal biographer, has a new book out about Meghan Markle. Reading this is a great way to ease a royal wedding hangover. Also, there's Madeline Miller's book Circe which is about the daughter of the Greek god Helios. When she's banished to a desert island, she meets figures like the Minotaur, Medea, Daedalus and Icarus, and Odysseus. I've heard it's a really magical story that's perfect to read over the weekend.

Binge watch season two of The Crown.
I love this series and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the royals, history, or even just filmmaking. Season two spends more time following Philip, Margaret, and Charles. Episode nine follows young Prince Philip and Prince Charles at Gordonstoun, respectively, and is my favorite episode of the entire series. Perfect for a cozy weekend.

Cozy up in a pair of Iris & Ink pajamas.
This brand has the cutest pajama sets right now. I love this cornflower blue set and this classic metallic-trimmed pair.

 
 

Try out two new cooling face masks.
Perfect for summer skin, there are two masks on the market that are meant to cool and refresh. First is the Cold Plunge Pore Mask from Ole Henriksen and second is the five dollar Sephora Collection watermelon After-Sun Mask.

At home workout, yoga routine.
Yoga with Adriene has a great Peaceful Warrior routine while Juliana at Boho Beautiful does her routines set against the most beautiful, real-life backdrops from a beach in Costa Rica to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

Chill with the Baltic Amber candle from Voluspa.
Cozy up with a blanket, a film, and light this baltic amber Voluspa candle for the ultimate chill experience.

weekend list no. 36

Happy Saturday! It's another rainy weekend here, which is enjoyable in its own way, but I'm definitely looking back fondly on our weekend in Palm Beach. This photo above was from the courtyard of the beautiful Aerin store just off Worth Avenue. Is it not the perfect little spot for Pimm's cup and a magazine?

Lean Cuisine did a really cool experiential installation in Chicago. Check it out because I've never seen anything like it!

ICYMI, The Cut gave a rundown on some things that happened at the private reception after the wedding. Their first dance song choice makes me so happy.

If you're still in the royal wedding mood, I have so many good documentary recommendations for you (I've been watching these and reading the books for ages)! I can do a full post, but three great docs on Netflix are: Elizabeth at 90, The Royal House of Windsor, and Diana: In Her Own Words

I loved seeing Rosie's dispatch from the beautiful Chelsea Flower Show!

Karlie Kloss has a new series on her YouTube channel about trailblazers in STEAM. You should check all of them out starting here.

This home in an old bread factory in Carroll Gardens is an absolute dream.

I'm in the market for a new rain jacket. What do you guys think of this one?

Rebecca's post about fairytales made me want to pick up some classics. I've always loved that kind of simple storytelling.

Here are seven healthy breakfasts you can prep in advance over on A Pair & A Spare.

As I've mentioned recently, I'm in a big travel mood and the blog Hand Luggage Only is only fueling that! Loved this post on foodie spots in Italy and this one about Arundel Castle in Sussex.

I'm planning an Italian dinner party this summer and was so inspired by this piece about Brunello Cucinelli's dinner parties. I had read about his parties previously in Vogue or Town & Country and have wanted to attend one ever since! Another bit of inspiration was all of the outdoor dining in Call Me By Your Name.

wellness wednesday: cute workout clothes to get you motivated

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

I've been doing the Tone It Up bikini series since May 7th and am really loving this round! I've done the series before but this time around, I'm feeling really motivated and excited about getting up to do the workouts each day.

I swear, a cute outfit always makes me more motivated to do my workouts, whether they're at home or at the gym. Over the years, so many brands have popped up in the activewear space and it seems like more and more cute options are in the shops every time I look. 

I did a little round-up of cute workout clothes that will get you motivated for your workout. They're also perfect for summer with a neutral, sort-of bohemian color palette and featured a . beautiful assortment of patterns. 

how i'm celebrating the royal wedding this weekend

It feels like just yesterday, the year was 2011 and we were all watching Kate Middleton in her Alexander McQueen dress getting married to Prince William. Actually, that feels like a long time ago if I'm being honest...can't we please go back to that simpler time? Haha. I'm probably the most unabashedly royal-obsessed person I know. I've read the biographies, I've watched the documentaries, I've copied Kate's outfits, I've successfully predicted the babies' names (with Louis being the exception....didn't see that coming at all but love it). 

So, of course, I'll be watching and celebrating Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle this weekend. Last weekend, we were treated to the Lifetime movie but now it's time for the real thing. So, how am I celebrating and how should you?

It's going to be pretty low key, considering none of us are going to throw a full-on party before seven in the morning. At least, I don't think anyone is going to do that.

I'll be making my favorite cranberry-orange scones the night before in preparation, as well as an easy fruit salad to have for breakfast. In the morning, I'll get up at an ungodly hour to lay out the food and prepare my cup of tea (Earl Grey with sugar and a splash of almond milk). 

The coverage begins at five in the morning (EST) ceremony starts at seven, so I'll be in the living room, likely with the comforter from my bed and my favorite matching pink pajama set. I'll get super excited watching the ceremony and afterward, I'll probably drift back off to bed to catch up on the sleep that I missed by being an absolute nut for waking up this early to watch two strangers wed.

P.S. We watched the Lifetime movie this past Sunday and I was really, really surprised at how good it was. Definitely the best quality Lifetime movie I've ever seen! The two leads were great. I didn't love how Charles, Kate, and William were portrayed but that's ok :) 

Are you guys going to watch the wedding? How will you celebrate?