Now Open, An Even More Beautiful Space

Now Open, An Even More Beautiful Space

I am so excited to announce that Upside Motion has officially opened their THIRD studio!  Settled in Singapore’s bustling CBD, Upside Motion has moved in to the new OUE Downtown Gallery at 6A Shenton Way.

To be honest, I was a bit weary of this new location.  Malls irritate me; bottom line.  And when I heard the new studio would be in a mall, I was a bit disappointed.  But when I drove past OUE Downtown, I literally did a double take.  The building is gorgeous.  After I did the double take, I realized this was the new spot for our studio!  I couldn’t wait to see pictures and plans.

My summer holiday is over, and I come back to Singapore to Upside Motion’s new studio.  It is more beautiful than I could have imagined.  With 2 huge group studios and a private Reformer studio, they knock it out of the park.  This is by far the nicest fitness studio I’ve seen in Singapore.

Step aside from the studios and you will find a relaxing zen zone to chill out before or after class.  There is even a work space if you want to get out of the office for a while.  No need to worry about how much you sweat in class because Upside Motion now has a stylish locker room with showers and vanities.  Due note, it is unisex, so don’t get too comfortable after that steamy shower!

I will note it is a bit tricky to find.  So give yourself plenty of time before class or your session.  Look for the travellator to go down to The Providore on B1.  You will see signs above while on the travellator that will direct you to Upside Motion.  You do have to walk through The Providore, so brace yourself; temptation!

As of right now, my schedule at the Shenton studio is below.  Check out my full class schedule on my website!  See you at the barre.

Monday | 7:30pm | Xtend Barre

Wednesday | 7:30pm | Xtend Barre

 

 

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What’s In My Bag; the Long Haul Flight Edition

What’s In My Bag…….the Long Haul Flight Edition

The time has come; the dreaded 24 hour journey half way around the world.  With a 10 month old.  Alone.  Most people would be freaking out about what to pack for the 6 week holiday.  Please, this is the least of my worries. Instead, I am freaking out about what to pack in my carry on, and how to strategically pack everything into one bag.  After all, I am traveling alone, with my 10 month old, so the less I can lug around airports the better.

I start with a checklist, a week before departure.  This gives me time to decide whether or not things are really necessary, or if I’m wasting valuable real estate.  Don’t worry, the gummy candy made the cut.  Obviously.

So what made the list for the 24 hour journey from Singapore to NY? Take a look.  And yes, I did manage one bag, thanks to Lululemon, with a few attachments; the Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station and a cooler bag.

12 diapers.  Better safe than sorry.  Even though James has been averaging five diapers a day, I plan for the worst; a diaper every 2 hours. I put four or five into the changing station bag for the trips to the changing room, while all the others live in the backpack.  In the end, I only used six.

Wipes, travel pack.  Wipes are very heavy, so I opt for the travel pack, which lived in the changing station bag.  I had plenty left over at the end of the trip.

Destin.  Never leave home without it.

2 changes of clothes for James.  You never want to risk the potential blowout.  And, with solid foods, eating can get messy.  We used all outfits, and managed no blowouts!

1 change of clothes for mum.  I think I ended up getting dirtier than James.  I wish I had an extra change of clothes.

2 board books.  James has been loving his board books, so naturally I went to the store and bought two new and exciting books.  They never came out of the bag.

1 soft book.  I am so excited by this new soft book that has all sorts of touch and feel activities.  James has no interest on the plane.  Still, 3 weeks later, he hates it.

3 toys.  Again, I spent so much time buying new toys for James so they seem exciting when I take them out of the bag.  And I strategically pick toys that would fit easily into the bag.  Ironically enough, his favorite game the entire flight was opening and closing the arm rest and playing with the tv remote.

3 chew toys, including toothbrush.  James has no interest on the plane, except for his toothbrush.

2 large bottles, 1 small bottle.  I use the small bottle for water, as it creates the least mess.  Sippy cups are not a good idea at this point in his career.  Staying hydrated on a long haul flight is so important, so we refilled that thing several times.  Because I am still breastfeeding about half the time, I only used one of the bottles, maybe once or twice.  And I definitely took advantage of the lovely Singapore Air crew and had them wash out the used bottle.

Haakaa portable breast pump.  Flight aside, this is the best thing in the world for breastfeeding mums.  Get one!  The worst thing in the world is feeling engorged on an airplane.  Thankfully I didn’t have to use it!

2 magazines.  I didn’t get around to reading these magazine until weeks after we arrived.

iPad.  The best part about being jet lagged is catching up on bad television via Hulu!

Passports.  Yes, I have to put this on my checklist.

Wallet.  Since I’m not planning on bringing my purse, there needs to be a place for the wallet!

iPhone. Can’t forget this!

Oatmeal.  I want to keep James on his normal eating schedule as much as possible, so I brought just two servings of Earth’s Best Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal.

Formula.  James has a history of not wanting to nurse while on the airplane, so I am sure to pack plenty, just in case.

7 pouches of baby food.  Singapore Airlines offers a baby meal, but I don’t love not knowing exactly where it came from.  I instead opt for Earth’s Best Puree Pouches.  I originally had eight, but somehow managed to loose one, so we are down to seven.  In the end, we used four.  These are the best for travel.

Skip Hop cooler bag.  This attaches to my backpack and holds all of our pouches and oatmeal.  I didn’t use it to keep things cool, but just to keep all the food in one place.

Puffs.  The ultimate distraction!

Gummy candy for mum.  I love gummy candy on airplanes.  However, I never opened a single bag.

Overall, I used most of the things I brought.  I will be referring back to my handy checklist for the long journey back.  On the plus side, my hubby will be traveling with us!  He has no idea what he’s in for.

Confessions of an Expat Mom

Confessions of an Expat Mom

…or should I say “mum”.  Five months ago, my family relocated back to Singapore.  It’s been two years since we’ve lived here.  This time around, things are different.  We have a baby.  So I am officially an expat mum.

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It’s been far too long since I’ve written anything on the blog, let alone something relating to Pilates or fitness.  My time for the past five months has been devoted to James, our now eight month old son, and setting up our new life in Singapore.

Yes, I flew 10,000 miles alone with my 3 month old baby.

It all started with a 26 hour journey half way around the world.  Alone, with a three month old baby, I put on a happy face as I entered the first class cabin of Singapore Airlines.  I know, I know, first class seems a bit much.  But it was the deal I cut with my husband; if I fly alone with James, I have to fly in first.  Deep down though, despite the luxurious accommodations, I was terrified.  Terrified to be bringing a baby into first class, spending the entire flight on edge that at any moment this little monster would start screaming.

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James was an angel and slept almost the entire journey.  The flight attendants even set up an entire bed just for him.  Gotta love a cabin that only has two of the eight seats occupied.  Word of advice for mammas traveling on a long haul flight with a baby?  Cash in all of your airline and credit card points for a business or first class seat.

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Landing in Singapore, I finally took that deep breath I had been waiting for since we left the US.  Steve greeted us at amazing Changi Airport and our new life began.

The dreaded move in day.

Our container arrived about three weeks after James and I arrived.  Yes, that meant we were all living out of a suitcase (or 7) in temporary housing for 19 days.  Most of which were without Steve, who was traveling for work.  It was the worst 19 days of my life.  So I will not elaborate.

The day came that I’m sure Steve was dreading; showing me our new house that weeks before I arrived, he had picked out.  Good news is I loved it.  Bad news is I was going to have to manage move in day alone; Steve would be in China.

The truck arrived and as one would hope the team unloaded faster than I could keep up.  One would hope; not me.  I had no idea where anything was going.  So before I could even decide where I wanted the toaster oven that we couldn’t even use due to its American voltage, we had dozens of other appliances stacking up.  The result? A whole house literally dumped into the rooms of our new home.

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Home is where all of our furniture is.

After probably 2 weeks everything was in its place.  Our high rise Tanjong Pagar condo was now beginning to feel like home.  This so far has been the biggest difference between Singapore 1.0 and Singapore 2.0.  (1.0 refers to the first time Steve and I lived in Singapore, 2012 – 2014.  2.0 refers to our current stint).  The first time around we were in a tiny furnished apartment; it felt more like a hotel.  We were both always itching to leave the island and go on an adventure.  Now, I look forward to our weekends home, lounging on our Pottery Barn sofa.  We have the space to host guests, to let James run free, and even a few outdoor patios!

Don’t get me wrong.  One of the major advantages to living in Singapore is the travel we get to experience.  And to have James along with us is something that I am so grateful for.  James has already banked stamps in his passport from Thailand, Vietnam, and Australia, and will soon get some from the Maldives and Indonesia.  After all, this is exactly what being an expat is all about.

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The true confessions of being an expat mom. 

When news first came out that we were moving to Singapore with our new baby, the first question out of everyone’s mouth was “…but your family will be so far away! Do you have any idea what it’s like to not have any support system?”  Well, yes, actually I do.  Living in California, our family was still on the other side of the country.  So what was another ocean, right?

But I will be blunt now; in Singapore we have a live in “helper”.  A good helper can do it all.  She is a maid, a nanny, a dog walker, a cook, a shopper.  I will not hide it; I will be completely honest.  Beth, our helper, is the glue that holds our house together.  I will not lie and say I am the glue.  I do not do it all.  Far from it actually.  In fact, I am a better mother because of Beth.  I am amazed when I look at friends and family back home, and they do do it all.  They are superheroes.  I may be selling myself short, but I really don’t think I could do it.  Not without Beth.

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Since James, I have put my full time career on hold.  You probably have noticed a lack of Pilates and fitness inspired posts, a very slim teaching schedule, and more and more photos of James.  So why the need for Beth?  Well, like I mentioned earlier, to help me be the best mum I can be.  I am happier, healthier and stronger because of the help she gives us.   We can go out with friends, without thinking about a babysitter.  I can workout without feeling guilty.  I can have some alone time to enjoy a long shower.  And I can go out to teach a few classes.  The time I then spend with James (and let’s not get confused or the wrong idea, I am with him most of the day) it is more cherished because I don’t feel like I am being put on the back burner.  I will never be ashamed of admitting I have help.  I never forget how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live in Singapore, where we can have this help.  I also think about how hard it is going to be when we do eventually repatriate back to the US.  Which is why we must stay in Singapore until James can take care of himself…so at 5 years old, right? They are pretty self sufficient by then, aren’t they?

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Adventures with a baby; not so adventurous. 

There are some pretty crazy places to go in this part of the world.  Tree houses in the jungle, beach chalets with no locks on the doors, dusty temples in the equatorial sun, and endless hours snorkeling the world’s best reefs.  Well, we quickly realized after our first trip to Phuket with James, that these trips are few and far between.  When the simple task of washing a bottle becomes a 20 minute endeavor, you think twice about where you want to travel.

Kid club? Check.  Shady beach and pool cabanas that shield you from the sun? Double check.  Overpriced big name resort that purifies its own water? Jackpot!  All things that we would have run away from in the past are now at the top of our list.

The ultimate expat mum adventure? Bringing your helper on your holiday.  Now that sounds like a plan.

There is no place like home.

Every now and then I think about home, and what we are missing, and what James is missing.  He doesn’t get to grow up with his cousins, or his grandparents.  There are no Sunday dinners with all of them.  His only perception right now of them is on a screen.  We don’t get to keep a car seat permanently installed in a car, let alone drive him to soccer practice.  And I do miss that.  I am so grateful for everything we have here in Singapore, especially Beth, and the time that I get to spend with him, not working full time.  But I do look forward to the new experiences we will have as a family back on the homeland.

We will see you this summer!  James and I will be back Stateside on June 30th. We will spend a week out in NY on Long Island with my family, and then a few weeks in Houston, and will finish the trip in Boston in August where we will be reunited with Steve!

Coming Soon, Baby Lampert!

Coming Soon, Baby Lampert!

I promised myself I was going to blog about our exciting announcement as soon as we began telling people.  But naturally life got in the way.  Believe it or not, Steve and I are expecting our first baby in just 2 weeks.  August 14th to be exact.  I look back at these past 9 months and am kicking myself for not sharing stories, feelings, cravings, and all the things that come along with growing a human inside of me.  But, I will try to condense into one story.

The Day We Found Out…

It all starts back in December, like most pregnancy stories begin; peeing on a stick.  My timing is, as always, impeccable.  Steve is getting ready for work and I just go for it.  He waits the 3 minutes it takes for the stick to tell us our lives are about to change forever.  And there it is.  +, clear as day.  Neither of us speak a word; we are speechless.  The feeling at this moment can hardly be explained.  Excited, scared, terrified, overjoyed, denial, are only a few words to explain.  Before all these emotions completely took over, we think we should try again, just to be sure.  And sure enough, not one but two additional tests later, it is certain.  We are going to be parents.

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I break the rule and immediately call my mom who was in Australia visiting my brother and sister in law who coincidentally just had a baby on that same day I find out we are going to have a baby.  I don’t want to take away from their big news, but I may have.  We decide to only tell our parents at this point because it is still so early.  In fact, we decide to wait until March to tell everyone outside of our close friends and family.

First Pregger Trip

Two weeks after finding out the news, we are off to Mexico with the family to celebrate Christmas.  Luckily I am not suffering from any morning sickness, but I never did feel 100%, so the thought of rice and beans and drowning in sun while my husband and his family enjoy ice cold cervesas did not excite me, as it normally would.  Do you know how much I love Mexican food?  And Margaritas? Yea, well I definitely kiss those goodbye.  For some reason, all the food completely turns me off.  Maybe I am subconsciously remembering all the stories from people who would get so sick when traveling to Mexico, and I didn’t want to risk it.  So I enjoy the week eating pasta, toast and crackers.  Awesome.  However I will say it is so wonderful being able to spend this exciting time with family and to share all of our excitement.

Daily Advice

Every week we watch a new video, to see how big our baby is, what is developing, how my body is changing, and the best part….what fruit it is!  I don’t know why, but they always compare the size of your baby to fruit.  When we first found out it was a blueberry. It then became a raspberry, a prune, a peach, a large banana, and so on. It is always a fun surprise as to what it will be next.  Our favorite app to get our weekly updates is What to Expect.  In addition to the weekly fruit update you get daily tips and advice.

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The First Look

Surprisingly when you find out you’re pregnant, you actually don’t go to the doctor for a few weeks.  It was week 10 (the size of a prune) when we have our first doctor visit.  This is the moment every girl thinks about; seeing your little peanut on the screen and hearing its little heartbeat.  But what you don’t necessarily know or think about is how uncomfortable getting an ultrasound is.  You have to have a full bladder going into it, so they tell you around 32oz of water prior to the visit.  For some reason, I hear 60oz.  That’s right.  On the way to the doctor, I drink 2 big bottles of Smart Water in preparation for this moment I have been waiting for.  Within 20 minutes I am not only incredibly full from drinking water, but have to pee more than I ever had to before.  All I can think about while in the waiting room filling out endless paperwork (yay for being a new patient!) is going to the bathroom.  They finally call my name and I can barely stand up.   I am also so excited/nervous I can’t stop shaking.  I get up on the bed and in so much pain lay myself down.  As the technician does her thing, all I want to do is leave and relieve myself.  She can’t see anything because my bladder is so full.  Wait, what? I thought it’s supposed to be!  She asked, “how much water did you drink?!”  She allowed me to use the restroom.  OH THANK GOD!!!!!!

I get back and she tries again, and in a much more comfortable position we see it; our little blob that we created.  And I can actually make out the features; it is amazing.  The heartbeat comes in at 165 beats per minute.  How is this thing living inside of me? It is all very real now.  We are given an estimated due date of August 14th.  It seems like ages away.

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Boy or Girl?!

My husband and I decide to do some prenatal testing early on.  We think it is important to prepare ourselves if need be, and also just want a bit of peace of mind.  One of the tests we did actually looks at our baby’s DNA.  You know what that means, don’t you?  Boy or girl?!  We could have obviously elected to not find out this soon, and wait for the anatomy ultrasound, but we thought, why not? I receive the phone call while I am in the presales office at Equinox.  I step outside and my heart feels like it skipped a beat.  First, the nurse explains all the tests came back clear, and our baby is, so far at this point, healthy.  She then asks if I want to hear the sex.  I hesitate for a moment as this one word will change everything.  I say yes, and she says “you’re having a boy.”  For some reason this is so much more emotional than seeing our baby at that first appointment.  I wasn’t hoping for a boy or a girl, but knowing makes everything so different.  “It” is now a “he”.  Our son.

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I immediately call Steve to tell him the news.  I can feel his excitement when I tell him.  “Can we name him _________?!” is his first sentence.  I kept that out because we are keeping his name a secret.  And although Steve’s original reaction was our first choice for a name then, we have decided to go a different route.   Stay tuned!

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Zika

Steve and I have a long weekend trip planned with our friends and their new baby to Cabo for February, when I am just starting my second trimester.  However, Zika is in full force and travel advisories are popping up all over Mexico.  We decide to play it safe and cancel our trip.  We do get to change our flight, so long as we travel during the same time, and on the same airline.  We decide to go to Maui, since it is the only other tropical place Alaskan Airlines flies that does not have a Zika threat.  We have a lovely time, despite the fact that I am still in the place where people have no idea I am pregnant; I just look chubby.  Not a good feeling when you are in a swim suit all day.

Ugh, My Aching Back!

Now fully in to my second trimester and I feel great.  Except for one thing.  Back pain.  Sciatica to be exact.  Very common for this to hit at about this point.  I have never experienced back pain before and holy cow, it’s debilitating.  I cannot put any weight onto my right leg at times.  I am longing for my chiropractor back in San Francisco, Dr. Nick!  In fact, I actually have a trip planned to see some friends in San Francisco, and make sure to stop by and see him.  As soon as I return to San Diego I find a chiropractor, Dr. Robinson, and see him twice a week for a small adjustment that seem to make it a bit better and more manageable.  I also start prenatal massage every other week which helps even more.  And yes, you guessed it; I also get myself an obscenely big pregnancy pillow.  The Snoogle. It is great, until I wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the bathroom or change positions.  I have to literally snake myself out of it.  Still, highly recommend one.

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The Preggo at the Bachelorette Party

Another highly anticipated trip pops up; one that has been in the works for about a year.  My sister’s bachelorette party will take me just outside Austin, TX to Texas Wine Country.  Yes, that is correct; a weekend of wine tastings.  Temptation at its finest.  I proved to have incredible self control.

When You Find Out You Are Not in Control of Everything

At week 20 we go in for our big anatomy ultrasound.  This is when you would typically find out boy or girl.  But we already know, so the excitement for this one is to see our baby boy again and to make sure he has all 10 fingers and toes.  The technician points everything out; the head, the nose, the leg bone, the kidneys, and the boy parts! There it is!  Definitely a boy!

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As she continues with the ultrasound, she stops pointing things out.  Maybe it’s because it’s nothing too exciting.  But I sense something else; and I immediately have a bad feeling.  When she is finished she tells me the baby looks great, and the Dr. Nelson will be contacting me in the next day or two.  There is was.  Something was not right.

Steve assures me everything is fine, and that is is probably just common practice, since she is just the technician and it’s not her job to go over the results.  The next day I get the call from the doctor.  She happily tells me the baby looks great and from what they can tell is perfectly healthy.  She then goes on to tell me that I have what is called a velamentous cord insertion, or VCI.  In the simplest explanation, it is when the umbilical cord does not properly insert into the placenta.

“What did I do? How did this happen?” These are the first thoughts that go through my head.  My doctor assures me it is purely by chance that this happens.  Nothing I did, or can do, will make it better or worse.  It turns out the biggest concern with VCI is that the baby doesn’t get the nutrients it needs.  Based on the anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks, our baby was measuring in the 86th percentile, so clearly the baby is growing.  Going forward I will just need to be monitored with a few more growth ultrasounds to make sure baby is growing, and later on, go in for frequent fetal monitoring.  You never want to hear that something is not right, especially when it comes to your baby, and the possibility of not being able to give him what he needs.

Back to Work! 

In the midst of my second trimester, Equinox finally opens, and I am back at work.  I’ve never felt better, and more like myself.  I love telling clients and students that I am expecting, and being an example of how Pilates can help you feel amazing when pregnant. In fact, a member almost brings me to tears a bit later on when she stops me in the locker room to tell me how inspiring I am.  She had seen me and my big belly working out with a trainer and wanted to thank me for being an inspiration to her and all women!  Is this a joke, I thought?  And when I see her sincerity, I almost break down.  Maybe it’s the hormones, but it’s a pretty cool feeling.

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Child Birth Class….hee hee hee who.

Steve and I decide to take a child birth class.  We thought it may be a good idea to get a sense of what to expect and how to prepare ourselves as best we can.  The class runs for 4 weeks, every Wednesday night from 6:30 – 9pm.  Although long, the class is extremely helpful.  Taught by a doula, we learn all the stages of labor and different breathing and relaxation techniques to get through it.  We also learn about all the different birth scenarios that can occur during labor and how to prepare for them.  I highly recommend the class for all new mommies out there.

Breastfeeding Class

We also decide to take a breastfeeding class.  And yes, Steve joins in on this.  Only one night, we learn the importance of breast feeding and how it’s harder than you will ever imagine.  I had no idea how many positions there were to hold your baby while feeding.  Also, the importance of a good latch is key!  Steve once asked me what I was most excited and most nervous about.  And I told him I was most excited about the prospect of being able to breast feed, but also most nervous about it too.   I can’t wait to have that bonding time where I can look down and see him looking right back at me.  But at the same time I am also pretty nervous about the whole thing.  The class put me at a bit of ease, and knowing that there is help from specialized lactation consultants and support groups is comforting to know.

Babymoon!  and Pop Goes the Belly…

Week 32 or so hits and I have officially popped.  People weren’t kidding when they would tell me it happens over night.  Not only do I really look pregnant, but I am feeling more and more pressure in my low belly.  Walking around I feel comfort in holding it up.  Now I understand why I would always see pregnant women holding their bellies.  It feels so much better!  We also decide to take an official Baby Moon to Palm Springs.  I know, I know.  Palm Springs in the summer? Are we crazy?  The answer is yes.  Absolutely.  I do not recommend it to anyone, especially if you are pregnant!  It tops out at 119 degrees.  All we can do is sit in the pool.  Thank God we are in a peaceful, gorgeous hotel, the Korakia Pensione.  It is perfect.  I would just go back maybe in October.

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Twice Weekly Doctor’s Appointments

At week 34 I begin twice weekly doctor appointments and get to know the receptionists and nurses all too well.  Monday is AFI and NST and Thursday is AFI, NST and a visit with my doctor.  AFI is a quick ultrasound that measures my amniotic fluid, plus I get to maybe catch a glimpse of the little guy.  NST is when I get to sit in a nice comfy reclining chair and listen to his heartbeat and watch my contractions for at least 20 minutes.  I grow to actually enjoy this time; no cell phones, just me and my baby’s heart beat.  They look for a certain amount of activity within the 20 minutes, so we want to get him moving to elevate that heart rate several times during my visit.  Ice cold water or apple juice usually does the trick.  Otherwise he tries to just nap; he takes after me.

On Thursdays I see my doctor and she goes over the results of the tests, checks in with how I am feeling and will also begin checking to see if I am dialed.  To be honest, I love the attention and knowing that baby and me are doing just fine.

Another Move

Week 36 rolls around, and naturally we are moving.  Luckily we are only moving 2 miles away, but nothing is ever as easy as you expect.  We, and by “we” I mean my amazing husband, do a lot of the packing prior to the movers arriving, so most of our things are already in boxes.  Well, leave it to highly articulate movers to take 4 hours to load our 750 square foot apartment into the truck.  I make myself unavailable for most of it; sitting by the pool, interviewing pediatricians, and hanging out with Paya and her BFF Molly at Molly’s highly air-conditioned apartment watching old episodes of Law and Order.  It’s lovely.  Still, it is now approaching 6pm and they are just finishing up.

Being only 2 miles away, the movers should have been to our new house in no time.  30 minutes go by.  Then an hour.  No movers.  Steve is convinced they stopped somewhere for dinner.  Now it’s been over an hour and we call the moving company.  They assure us they are 5 minutes away.  Now it’s 8PM.  No movers.  They somehow went to the wrong house.  How? Where?  Mexico??  They finally arrive after 8PM and begin to unload frantically.  Long story short, they finish by 11PM.  Typically I am the type who cannot go to sleep until everything is put in its proper place.  Not tonight.  I wake up the next morning to a house full of boxes.  And because I have the world’s best husband, I go off to teach a few clients, and he unpacks.  By that evening, we are settled.

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We Made it! The Countdown Begins

Week 37 comes and goes and I am officially 1 cm dilated.  It’s happening!  This is real.  This naturally puts me in “go time” mode and the nursery is complete, the car seat is installed and breast feeding accessories purchased.  I am ready!

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We are currently in week 38 and I have started my maternity leave.  Steve’s parents arrive next week, and then my parents arrive just a few days after.  In a perfect world, baby Lampert will be patient and wait until everyone is here to make his grand entrance.  I cannot wait to share the rest of this journey with you, and join the amazing club we call motherhood.

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Hunting for Pilates

Hunting for Pilates

The moment I find out we are moving to San Diego I start researching Pilates and Barre studios in our new city.  I am bombarded with google results.  Now, in the back of my head I know I will be starting at Equinox as soon as they open their doors, so my research is less about finding a studio to teach at and more about finding a studio to work out at.

Disclaimer: Most studios will remain nameless.  

My first class was terrifying.  There, I said it.  First of all, I google this Pilates “chain” as I have been  hearing so much about it.  Being new to the area, I have no idea where anything is, but assume it can’t be that far.  This studio has several locations all over San Diego and I pick the one closest to me.  Still a 20 minute drive, I arrive to the studio and am a bit put off.  An office park, literally off the highway.  Hmmm, interesting.  I go in, and feel as though I’m arriving for a dentist appointment or to see my dad for lunch.  I take the elevator up and stroll down the halls, looking for the suite number.  It’s a door; a wooden door.  I have no idea whether or not to go in, if there was a class going on, or if I should just wait out in the hallway.  Luckily the instructor shows up and opens the door to showcase a freezing cold room full of 15-20 Reformers.  I would count, but I am so cold and confused I forget.  There are about 10 of us in the class, with several open Reformers.  The instructor never introduces herself, never asks about prior Pilates experience and never asks if anyone has any injuries.  I do have an injury, so it would be nice to know that the instructor is aware of this.

We spend 25 minutes doing footwork on medium to heavy springs.  Then we stay on our backs and do work with our hands in the straps, on a heavy spring.  I have a neck injury that would have probably been getting worse if I didn’t know how to modify to lighter springs.  Could you imagine if someone else in the class had an injury and had no idea how to modify?  I’m scared for the other 9 students.  OK, it’s now 35 minutes into class and I still haven’t felt my abs.  We finally get up and grab the box for short box.  There are 10 people in class and maybe 2 people are in correct positions.  We are hanging off the box, one leg out kicking up and down, really working 100% in the hip flexors.  Great.  Never once correcting anyone.  How could she? She is on the reformer doing the workout with us.  After some planks and finishing with feet in straps our class is over.

I go back for a second class because I have a 2 class pass.  It is the same exact class.  Word for word, cue for cue.  I haven’t been back.  My biggest concern was honestly for the safety of the students in the class.  When done incorrectly Pilates can be dangerous.  Not to mention ineffective.

Next, I try a studio I haven’t heard of before but came recommended by a local.  Like the other studio, they offer an incredible first time client deal so I go for it.  They offer several different locations so I pick one that is close to my husband’s office so I can go after I drop him off in the morning.  Located in a run down shopping plaza with neighbors that include 24 hour fitness, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Famous Footwear just to name a few, I finally find the studio.  I open the doors and I just see Reformers.  Endless Reformers.  I count 25.  This studio caps the classes at 25!  How in the world is one to get an effective and safe Pilates workout when there are so many students in the class?  After starting the workout which is very similar to the prior studio I had tried, I notice the instructor’s voice is constant.  Meaning, I hear her somewhere in the distance, but she never seems to get closer or further away.  I realize it is because she is doing the workout with us!  How am I supposed to know that I am straight, aligned, and in the correct position to engage the proper muscles?  As a Pilates instructor I know that I need eyes on me, let alone the 24 other people who probably are not instructors and need those eyes even more.  Again, I was terrified for the other students.

I try a few other studios and have similar experiences.  I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the market is saturated with studios that have lost the roots, authenticity and basic principles that Pilates was founded on, and should have.  Now I’m questioning what I should be doing over the next several months before Equinox opens.  All I have to say is that my Pilates team at Equinox is going to bring that strong presence of classical Pilates back to the San Diego area and blow everyone away.

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Now, I do find that there are classical instructors in San Diego; they are just hard to find.  But I find them.  I came across Jessica Janae through an Amazon deal, where she was offering an introductory rate for a package of private sessions.  When I see this I look into her and her background and am springing out of my chair when I see that she is trained and certified through Power Pilates!   Janae Luxe Pilates Studio is a small one woman (Jessica) shop with stylish decor and PEAK Pilates equipment.  She doesn’t strive to compete with all these big franchise studios by offering big classes with dozens of people to drive the cost down for the students.  She doesn’t have to. The method speaks for itself.  She honors this, and teaches true to Joe; in a private, one on one environment.

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With my detailed google search I find another classical instructor who has worked with and trained under proteges of Ron Fletcher and Romana Kryzanowska.  I quickly realize she is the owner and founder of Armone’s Core Connection right in my neighborhood.  I decide to contact Armone to see if maybe she wanted to talk about potential teaching opportunities.  I mean, it’s been a month and I’m itching to start teaching again.  Being able to walk there in 15 minutes is an added bonus.  I arrive to the studio and instantly think to myself, “this is going to be good.”  With only 6 Reformers, 1 Cadillac and a Chair, Armone keeps classes small and focuses on private training, as a Pilates studio should.  She invites me in for the week to take class and get a feel for the clients and classes.  After my first class I was sold.  With class sizes capped at 6 and clear distinctions between level 1, 2 and 3 classes I can tell that I’m going to enjoy teaching the incredibly strong clientele.

Starting now I am available for private sessions at Armone’s Core Connection!  A single session is $75, or you can buy a package of 10 for $700.  Not a bad deal for private sessions!  Stay tuned for a class schedule!

Starting in Spring 2016 I will be back at Equinox, in the studio, as the Pilates Coordinator.  Equinox La Costa will be the club’s first San Diego club.  I will also be back in the group fitness studio teaching barre, Pilates Mat, and fusion classes.

Armone’s Core Connection is located at 7438 Girard Avenue in the Village of La Jolla.

Equinox La Costa is located at 7710 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92009.  Memberships now available.  760.268.9657.

Hola From La Jolla!

Hola From La Jolla!

It is one month since our move from San Francisco to San Diego.   My husband and I decided to get a place for the year in La Jolla right on the ocean.  We thought, we might as well do this right as we try to
FullSizeRender get acclimated and get a better sense of where we ultimately want to buy a home and start a family, and dare I say it? Settle down.  I must say, we picked the absolute perfect place to live.  The Ocean House on Prospect is a new building that overlooks the ocean on the famous Prospect St. in the Village of La Jolla.  We can walk to all the shops and cafes, meet people walking the dog, and most importantly, walk to the beach.  I was told La Jolla is full of retirees, so I was a bit nervous to see what the demographic of our building was going to be like.  Fortunately, many of the residents are just like us; young professionals, most with dogs, transitioning to a new place.  After the first week of meeting everyone, it is clear; we are in our own little “Melrose Place”.  Reality show anyone?

FullSizeRender1I can’t tell you that it is an easy, seamless change.  Southern California really is dramatically different than Northern California.  Sure the scenery is different, it’s warmer by about 20 degrees and the sun is always shinning. But the whole vibe and way of life is different too.  It is more laid back than I could have ever imagined.  Even in fancy La Jolla.  People walk around with no shoes on for starters.  OK, fine, I get it; we have some of the best surf breaks in all of the US and people are crossing the street with board under arm, ready to literally just jump in the water.  But to get out of your car with no shoes on, to then walk down Girard Ave. to get to your yoga class?  Really?  Not even flip flops?  OK, that little bit of the Northern Cali / New Englander in me may stay forever.  I’m OK with that. It’s just another nuance that makes this place unique.

Now, in terms of my world of fitness and Pilates.  Just as you would imagine, people here are very much into fitness and health and most importantly, looking good.  With that said, there are small boutique studios and gyms on every block, sometimes multiple on a block.  I can’t keep up with them all.  I’ve tried several, not just to potentially teach at, but to work out at myself, and to be 100% honest, none have blown me away.  It is the weirdest phenomenon.  More on that to come in a future post.

With hundreds of fitness studios around, naturally there also has to be juice bars and cafes.  And that there are.  Juice, acai bowls, smoothies, super foods and boosters oh my!  I love it.  I can go to a different juice bar every day.  So far, and I do have a lot of testing to do, but the best acai bowl comes from Nekter Juice Bar.  The best smoothie comes from Juice Crafters.  Again, another blog post with my absolute winners to come soon when I get through them all.

Most people come to La Jolla to visit the famous La Jolla Cove and see the sea lions.  It is a daily walk for
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FullSizeRender3Beaches.  Oh, the beaches.  So many beaches.  My happy place.  I have realized that I can never live some place landlocked.  It has a calming power, like nothing else.  After contemplating getting the ocean view or street view apartment, we decided to splurge the extra money every month to see the ocean 24/7.  Best decision ever.  Especially because when we do buy a house, the chances of us having an ocean view are slim.  My favorite part is that when I am in the kitchen preparing dinner or washing dishes, I look up and see the ocean.  I also strategically put our big mirror on a wall in our bedroom so that when I am getting ready, I look in it and see the ocean behind me.  So, back to the beaches.  My favorite beach so far, is the Del Mar Dog Beach.  Yes, of course it is because Paya can come with us.  It doesn’t feel right going to the beach without her.  Not only is the Del Mar Beach my favorite because of the abundance of dogs, but because the ocean is calm enough on this beach to swim and not get plummeted by crashing waves.  They also host the annual Dog Surf Competition.  Paya is in full training mode.

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I have to pinch myself when I remember that I live here and am starting a life here.  Next year, Equinox will be opening their first club in San Diego where I have accepted my position again as Pilates Coordinator.  Nothing like Equinox exists down here, and we are going to blow San Diego away.  I cannot wait to get back into the swing of teaching and build up my business, creating a name for myself in the Southern California community.

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Moving…It’s Just Our Thing

Moving…It’s Just Our Thing

We start our love story in Boston in 2011.  Then we move to Singapore for 2 years in 2012, which people thought was absolutely crazy.  Crazy, maybe, but one of the best things I’ve ever done.  Then, in 2014, we head back to the motherland to start our life, and possibly a family.  We decide on San Francisco.  This was it; we are going to build our new life in this crazy, amazing city by the bay.  Steve starts his job at one of the oldest brand consultancies, and is eager to climb the strategist ladder.  I go back to Equinox, because it feels comfortable, having worked there in Boston, and is then unexpectedly given the Coordinator position, which is quite the opposite of comfortable.  The first few months in my new role are tough and I come home every night wanting to demote myself back to Pilates Instructor.  But by December I am on a roll, and getting the hang of running the Pilates studio at Equinox.

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After 3 short months, I have built the following at Equinox I have always wanted.  I have a Pilates team that continues to amaze and impress me, to this day, and have made friendships that will last.  My group fitness classes are packed, and I am teaching in front of 50 plus people, all excited to come back for the next class.  I love my job, and I would not change anything about it.

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Last month, only one year after arriving in our “new home” Steve tells me he received a job offer from an advertising agency, wanting him to step in as the strategy director.  I am so happy for him; this is where he had wanted to get to since the day he started this career around the world in Singapore.  Unfortunately, this promotion does not come at his current gig.  Nope, it is for a firm down in San Diego.  Here we go.

The Lampert’s are moving again.  To be honest, I never imagined myself even wanting to live in San Diego.  Southern California, yes.  Secretly I have always wanted to be a SoCal girl.  But maybe Santa Barbara or LA.  I have never even been to San Diego.  After a bit of real estate research, it is a done deal.  I thought the Internet was broken when my results came up after putting in our search parameters.  More than one bedroom and bath, a full stand alone house, a garage, washer and dryer.  It is like real life.  Over the past year I have become so jaded to what is normal.  San Francisco, turns out, is not at all sustainable if you want to start a family, and this opportunity in front of us helped us to realize this. I love our home in Russian Hill; after just a year, it really does feel like home.  It’s absolutely perfect; for just us, and Paya.  But I am not okay with putting a potential child in our walk in closet turned nursery.  First, Steve is not ready to give up his closet, and second, I want more.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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After a weekend trip to San Diego to check it out (although this wouldn’t be my first rodeo….I moved to SF without ever stepping foot here), we find a great place to live in La Jolla, and decided to make this happen.  On August 28th, 2015, we will be moving down south.

San Francisco will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I fell in love with this city, and with all of our friends and my clients and students.  I am excited to start yet another journey, and who knows, this could be our forever home.  And I am so excited to check in with you in another year to share stories of a new place, new friends, new job, maybe new family members??

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Thank you to everyone in SF who have made our time here so memorable.

Trying Something New

Trying Something New

For a lot of us, we find a workout and stick with it.  For me, if you can imagine, it was Pilates, over a decade ago, with some barre thrown in around 2007.  So when an instructor of mine suggested we stroll over to Equinox Sports Club on Market Street to try out CoreAlign, I was hesitant at first.  I first heard about CoreAlign while living in Singapore.  One of the studios I took classes at had offered it, but didn’t ever think about trying it out, because well, I was doing Pilates, of course.  If I had only an hour to myself for my own workout, I didn’t want to risk missing out that workout.

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With a little push from Kathy, we were signed up for a duet with Mona.  I thought maybe being two Pilates instructors, Mona wouldn’t hold back, and just throw us into a tough workout.   The CoreAlign equipment pretty much looks like a reformer flipped on its side.  And instead of springs, it uses rubber cords.  We started by standing with our feet on these two separate carriage like platforms that moved and were attached to these rubber cords.  I thought, “okay, I can see the potential challenge” and was anxiously awaiting for us to really get started.

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And that was just it, I kept waiting for the flow of the class, and there just wasn’t any.  For some people, this works.  For me, I need that flow of a class to keep me going and engaged and working.  Maybe even a little sweat.  The session felt a bit too rehab focused for me.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some challenging exercises!  Especially the ones that involved some sort of planking.  I had a quick little shake going on, but that was it.


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As an instructor I definitely see the benefit of incorporating CoreAlign into a session.  There is a ton of stabilization, alignment and some great stretches.  I would be interested to see a client in a session who is quite advanced to see how it does progress.  And, I’m curious to see how it evolves and how different instructors approach it and use it.  For now, when I have an hour to myself for a workout, I will stick with Pilates sessions.

Thank you to Mona, and Equinox Sports Club at Market Street for letting Kathy and I try it out!  If you haven’t been to this new Equinox, check it out!  The studio and the views from the studio are beautiful.  Be aware, parking is horrific.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Well, we all made it through another year.  I don’t know about you, but 2014 was a whirlwind for me.  I made it through my first year of marriage, traveled to eight different countries, relocated halfway around the world and started a life in San Francisco.  Looking back a year ago, I never would have thought I would be where I am today.  So I begin to think about this time next year, and get so excited about all the possibilities 2015 will bring.

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So like everyone, I have made a few new years resolutions.

One | Travel more.  My husband and I are missing the expat life a bit, mostly because of all the travel we did, and all the amazing things we got to see and experience.  Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco has dozens of amazing things to see, but I want to explore more.  This doesn’t necessarily mean I need a stamp in the old passport every month, but a two hour drive outside of the city to the gorgeous Santa Cruz Mountains or a road trip to Lake Tahoe.  I also want to visit our neighbors up north in Portland, Seattle, and even Canada! Yay, passport usage!

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TWO | Me time.  Starting a new job, and getting the Pilates studio at Equinox up and running has been a huge and exciting challenge.  I will be the first to admit I have, more times than not, put that studio and my team ahead of myself.  I will continue to do that, because I love my job and my team is absolutely amazing, but I am going to make more of an effort to push the pause button and go on a weekend trip or take a class outside of the studio.

THREE | Make juice.  My husband wins.  He bet we would not use our juicer that we got as a wedding gift before 2015.  We have taken it out of the box, but it is still sitting happily on a very high shelf.  I’m not sure what’s holding us back; the huge mess it will make and cleanup it will require, or just simply getting on a step ladder and lifting the huge thing off of the very high shelf.  We live in the land of farmer’s markets, and have access to the country’s best fruits and veggies.  There is no excuse. We WILL make juice.  And it will be delicious.

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I don’t like making huge resolution lists, because let’s be honest, it’s way more rewarding to conquer all than just a few.  To me, the new year means new beginnings, a fresh start, and most importantly becoming a better, healthier YOU.

If one of your 2015 resolutions is to get fit, check out my group class schedule at Equinox Union St., recently voted one of the best gyms in America!

Monday 

12PM | Pilates Barre

4:30PM | Pilates Power Play

7PM | Reformer Semi Private *fee and sign up required

Wednesday

6AM | Barre Bootcamp *Equinox Pine St.

5:30PM | Pilates Power Play

7:30PM | Barre Burn

Thursday

6:30PM | Reformer Semi Private *fee and sign up required

Friday

8:30AM | Mat Pilates

Saturday

10:30AM | Pilates Power Play

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