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

 

 

Advertisements

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.

IMG_7588

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.

IMG_7546

IMG_7524

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.

IMG_7537

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.

IMG_0219

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.

IMG_1917

IMG_2731

IMG_2693

IMG_2646

IMG_1820

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.

IMG_0882

IMG_1497

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?

IMG_1453

IMG_1278

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!

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.

2
Equinox PIlates

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.

Club_MDR_Hero_Tablet_1024x500_Pilates copy

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
FullSizeRender us now, which is awesome.  Minus the horrific smell.  However, one afternoon we decide to go snorkeling in the Cove. We joined all the tourists and jumped in.  I was surprisingly shocked at what we were seeing. Bright colored fish and coral.  Luckily, no hammerheads.  Pretty damn cool.  Just steer clear of the sea lions.  They really are everywhere, and although they are used to humans, please, do not try to pet them.  They will bite you.

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.

FullSizeRender2

IMG_4608

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.

IMG_4300

IMG_4303

 

 

 

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.

FullSizeRender-4 FullSizeRender-5

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.

FullSizeRender-6

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.


FullSizeRender-2 FullSizeRender-3 FullSizeRender-7 FullSizeRender-8 FullSizeRender IMG_2510

FullSizeRender-1

Side Bend

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.

view

EQXSC-SF-LP-HERO_NONMOBILE