Get to Know Emily Saramak

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 When Emily sent me the below interview, I responded that I laughed & I cried.  And I did.  This girl is as genuine as they come & I’m so lucky she stuck around the studio long enough to hire her.  We bonded first, now years ago, over Barretendings & finance conversations.  She approaches her life both methodically & spontaneously.  She knows her worth & goes after what she wants.  She can be silly & goofy & doesn’t take herself too seriously.  And she’s basically a blogger which is just cool cool cool in my book.

Can you tell I like her?  I knew all of you would too, which is why when the opportunity to bring on more instructors presented itself, I crossed my fingers.  Her years in the studio have given her expertise & natural grace with the body of work.  And her charisma & presence bring levity & hilarity into the room.

You can find Emily at the barre Monday & Wednesday evenings 5:30pm.  Please read on & enjoy... Melissa

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm Emily (nope, not that Emily, I'm the other Emily) and I was born and raised in Lake View, NY. After going away to school in the Adirondacks, a brief internship in NYC, and a year in Cali, I couldn't be happier to have my life settle back where it all started. I'm a writer for the money-saving blog Hip2Save, so I get to work from home (which is honestly as great as it sounds) and create frugal living content based on my own experiences and research. I have two older brothers, incredible parents, a hilarious set of friends, and a great boyfriend who are all the reason I'm usually smiling — that is, when my resting bitch face isn't taking over.

What originally brought you to the studio & what made you want to teach

Fun fact: I actually was considering moving into the studio beforeit was the studio. The building owner was in the middle of deciding what the space would be so a potential apartment was up for grabs. I ended up finding a place downtown so I settled in the Elmwood village instead. But sure enough, he sent me a gift certificate for a class at the Barre Studio Hamburg after it was established! My friend Noelle had already been frequenting the studio and got me to come along for my first class, and I was hooked. I found myself "teaching" my friends the basics of the class and would always be practicing the sets anytime I was bored. I asked Melissa about teaching but she had just brought on two new instructors (Alex and Emily!), so all I could do was hope the studio would continue to grow. Two years later, Melissa shot that barre studio bat signal up the in the sky and I answered the call. In literal terms, she texted me if I was interested and I said yes, please.

Most rewarding part of the job?

This is going to sound really weird, but there's a point in the class where everything feels like it's on autopilot, and I snap back into reality when we hit child's pose. For a while, I never felt present in class — there was always a deadline, an event, a conversation, or just some sort of brain matter that wouldn't let me focus on being in the moment. After I started teaching and becoming so ingrained in the movement of the class, all that clutter dissipated and I would honestly come out of a set thinking, "Shoot, was I talking at all during those moves? What did we even just do? Why is my thigh/glute/hamstring on fire?" The ability to make a workout feel relaxed, invigorating, mindless, and concentrated all at the same time is pretty powerful. Even more so is the feeling that my mental space is completely clear — that's some Gandhi level stuff right there.

What do you do in your free time?

I love hitting up a good happy hour, watching puppy videos, gossiping with my mom, eating tacos from Chipotle (which I have roughly 2-3 times a week), and relaxing at my family's cabin in Ellicottville. I like to cook, mainly because I think I'm really good at it, which is only due to the fact that I love the 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's and I put that s*** on everything. Also, I read a fair bit. Not like novels or the paper, but blogs that have the writing style I want to emulate or the content I want to create. I get my news from the Skimm, which is a daily email that breaks down the day's headlines into an easy-to-understand synopsis, and I highly suggest checking it out if you haven't. I like getting out and experiencing life, but my real happy place is laying on my couch with a face mask, a glass of wine, and a bag of Poppables watching Live PD. All in all, I'd say I live a pretty well-rounded life.

Proof of Abundance

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Happy December Monday.  I had a really nice weekend filled with a holiday girlfriend dinner and a lot of really therapeutic time in the studio.  I recently read this that sums up so nicely one of the many ways the studio feeds me, maybe you too.

To quote, “As much as I love the shroud of quiet I get to pull over myself at the end of a long day of human interaction, community is also where I find the greatest tangible proof of abundance. I feel the most full - of love, of hope, of certainty that the world is fundamentally good - when I am surrounded by like-minded people working toward a common goal.”

In other news, am I the only person obsessed with this?  Do yourself a favor & watch the DWTS Juniors finale this coming Sunday at 8.  I promise you you will be glad you did.  These kids are incredible.

In holiday news, gift ideas:

✔️ Gift certificates are available in all class & dollar denominations.  They can be purchased in the studio or by phone, in which case they are mailed out the next day.

✔️ Barre Studio OnDemand gift certificates.  Contact Melissa to purchase.

✔️ 2019 Rifle Co planners.  Leftovers!  $20 in the studio.

See you at the barre,

Melissa

Holiday Pop-Ups

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 Sunday, December 16th 🎄

Holiday Barre Brunch.  10am class followed by an hour of mimosas, hot cocoa & coffee in the studio.  Pick your poison. 

Thursday, December 27th 🎄

9:30am class taught by our Cali based teaching team.  (We’re just gonna keep calling her that)... Emily McCreary will be home for the holidays & manning the barre that morning.

Book both online!

~ Melissa

A Grateful Heart

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the studio.

I find myself more grateful than ever this year that the people I love are safe & thriving.  I also find myself wanting to share that gratitude in the most basic of ways.

Hand written notes are a part of my love language.  I love writing them.  I’ve chosen 8 beautiful Rifle Co cards & assembled them in my living room into my own personal box sets ($16 value).

Today is Black Friday & as usual, my preference is to reward rather than discount.

December can be a difficult time to stay consistent in the studio. Attend just five classes in December & take a set home.  Enter 2019 armed to let the people in your life know how much they mean to you.

Call it a Mini Challenge.  Call it a commitment to “you time” throughout the holiday season.  Call it paying gratitude forward.  Call it a holiday gift from us to you.

We will track progress in the studio, as always.

Lots of love -
Melissa, Sara, Michelle, Taylor
Alex, Emily & Caitlin

Thursday is Thanksgiving

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First, how?  But second, I can’t wait.

My favorite classes of the year are Thanksgiving morning.  There is still one spot open in the Thurs 8:30am.  And we added a Wed 8:30am as well with a few spots to grab.

I’m heading back to NYC again to eat & shop this holiday weekend.  Thanksgiving dinner here and Friday dinner with a girlfriend here.  I’ll torture myself in a humbling intro to beginner ballet class & hit a few Black Friday sales.

All the bloggers I follow are already coming out with gift lists ... does it just start earlier & earlier each year?  But these two felt worth sharing with a studio full of thoughtful women:

Need a $30 Secret Santa gift that feels oh so personal?

Or a gift for that grandparent, aunt, caregiver that loves your child like their own?

Enjoy this week, your families & your Thanksgiving traditions. 
~ Melissa

Podcast Addiction

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As many of you know, I live in Ellicottville & am therefore often asked if I mind the commute to Hamburg.  Not a bit.

There is zero traffic, it’s predictably 40 minutes door to door, and best of all, it keeps me current on my podcast addiction.  The random days each winter that 219 closes find me cozying up in Alex’s guestroom if need be.  There’s a first world problem for ya.

Thought I’d share my favorites if you’re looking for new pod material.  Similarly, I always am - so please respond & let me know what you’re loving. 

Forever 35.  It bears repeating.  Hands down my favorite pod of the week.  Doree Shafrir & Kate Spencer talk self care shop & continue to entertain & influence me.  This is, in my opinion, the best of the best.

Bad on Paper Podcast. I’m likely biased on this one because one of my favorite bloggers, Grace Atwood of The Stripe, hosts it.  She & co-host Becca Freeman live in Brooklyn & NYC, respectively, & review Young Adult novels on the odd weeks.  Even weeks, they offer listener advice & I find them raw & unpolished & relatable.

Second Life.  Host Hillary Kerr is half of the duo behind the fashion line Who What Wear at Target.  They also launched the site MyDomaine where I find myself reading articles like this.  On the pod, she interviews women about their transition from first to second career life (women you’ll know!)

Alison Rosen is your New Best Friend.  I found this pod because she interviewed Kate & Doree (the hosts of Forever 35).  I enjoy her.  I think she’s a natural interviewer & her guests are typically people I’ve never heard of, but find interesting.

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. I really enjoy Dax’s co-host Monica Padman & her fact checking in each episode.  I will say, I am very partial to his interviews with women.  I’m a Parenthood fan & he interviews a lot of his cast mates & also his wife, Kristen Bell.  Amy Schumer... Mila Kunis... Lena Dunham.

Enjoy & see you at the barre this week

💕 Melissa

Holy Grail

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This month has been packed.  From talking to many of you in the studio, I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.  My holy grail practice when life feels overwhelming?  I’ve said it before... waking up before everyone else on the planet.  I loved this article.  The ability to read or work or think without distraction only occurs for me in the wee hours.  And I embrace that.

When I think about the holy grail products in my life, these Rifle Co planners definitely are at the top of the list.  I live out of mine.  I’m always excited to share them with you each Fall.

Holy grail planner pens?  So good.  No bleed-through. 

Holy grail vacuum?  We use this in the studio & it has been a game changer.  Every night, the last teacher at the barre brings Roomba downstairs & he does his business. With the exception of weekly dusting, he runs the housekeeping show.  I bought one for home too that handles the transition from tile to hardwood to rugs seamlessly.

Holy grail hair product? I had a difficult period in my life a couple years ago & 6 months went by before I noticed half my hair had fallen out.  I talk to other women about this & know I’m not alone.  Therapy, time, and this serum every 2-3 days stopped the cycle.  Stress is no joke.  I’m very loyal to this stuff.

Always grateful to have your ears both in the studio & on the page.  See you at the barre for a feel good month - body, brain & spirit.

~ Melissa

November’s Swoon Worthy Challenge

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These planners are the BEST, and we're bringing them back for the November Challenge.  This is the perfect time of year to get and stay organized.

Attend TEN or more classes in the full month of November & take home a tighter barre booty AND a Rifle Co 2019 planner.

These beauties run August 2018 through December 2019, so you'll be able to start using them immediately.  And... wait for it... this year they’ve added two full pages of stickers.  Yep.  Swoon.

Tuesday / Thursday 8:30am classes have been added as well as Saturday / Sunday 10am.

New to studio challenges? To participate, just book & attend classes!  There will be a challenge board in the studio to monitor progress to ten.

Looking forward to a healthy, productive November!
~ all of us at The Barre Studio

Did You Know ...

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 ✔️ Our Challenges task you to attend 10 classes in one month.  This is twice weekly, then throwing in that third class on the weeks you can.  I hear client feedback that consistently moving from two classes per week to three is a real game changer.  I believe it.  The next Challenge is in November... details out soon & spots are already booking.  #loveit

✔️ We accept health insurance wellness cards.  They do not run through online but I can manually run them in person or via email, phone, text.  And yes, we can split the transaction if needed (part on your wellness card, the rest on a credit card).

✔️ We offer gift certificates.  In all class or dollar denominations.  These can be purchased in the studio.

✔️ Cant get to the studio?  Workout with us in the comfort of your home ... or hotel room!
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thebarrestudiohamburg

See you soon at the barre ~
Melissa

On Joy

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A group of us got together at the studio heading into 2018 for an evening of vision boards.  Mine is above.  See the girl in the cute one piece jumping into the pool, upper right corner?  Yes, I actually did embrace one pieces this year, but that’s not why she’s on my board. I looked at that picture & realized (had been realizing) that I just really wanted more joy.

Brooklyn-based Ingrid Fetell Lee researched joy, and the differences & correlation between joy & happiness, in her book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. 

Her research shows that happiness is an overall opinion that we all make about how we feel about our lives.  It’s a long term view, both looking backward & forecasting forward.  How we feel about our career, our relationships, our health, our purpose.  It is such a big idea!  And perhaps a lot of pressure?

Joy is immediate & simple.  It’s an intense experience of positive emotion.  The teachers & I gathered at Alex’s house yesterday & watched a 3 month old puppy & a 6 month old kitten play & hiss & run circles around each other.  We laughed & exchanged smiles & experienced joy, together.  Sounds so simple because it is.

Joy has a significant impact on our well being.  There is research that states bringing small moments of joy into our daily lives reduces stress.  And that if we already are stressed, moments of joy can speed the recovery.  And sharing & experiencing joy with other people?  It’s shown to improve relationships.  I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.

See you at the barre this week ~

Melissa

October in the Studio

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The September Challenge has wrapped up and 68 of you finished.  This was the largest participation since January, yet the studio felt so manageable with very few waitlists, due to all of you & your organized lives.  So thank you for making your health & wellness such a priority this past month.  We love being a part of that.

Remaining barre tanks are on sale for $20 in the studio, sizes Medium through XXL.  We are out of smalls, unfortunately.

Recent barre find. Montiel Activewear is another company (like Rothy’s) that found me through Instagram marketing.  I finally relented & ordered three camis that fit true to size (I ordered a small).  I really love the fit & the strappy backs.  Excited to try their tanks too, cute open back & flowing styles.

Date Night. Ready to show him what you really do at the studio?  And humble him in the process?  Call it date night & book a dinner reservation afterward.  Bring your boy to the barre Friday, October 26th at 6pm.  7 spots available.  $30 per couple, purchase in the online or StudioBookings app.  No cancellation available once booked.

See you at the barre ~

Melissa

Benefits of Barre

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Happy Monday, ya’ll.

My sister & I were talking this weekend about our studios & the “work” that gets done there that has absolutely nothing to do with working out.  There are so many benefits to barre.  If you’re newer to these parts, I’ve gone back through my archives and linked some below.

But I’ve come to believe in equal parts there are so many benefits to the studio community.  In our case, women.  Who support each other.  And take care of each other, often quietly, but always profoundly.

I hope you have beautiful weeks.  💕
Melissa

Endurance : http://www.thebarrestudiohamburg.com/blog/2017/8/24/benefits-of-barre-endurance

Flexibility:
http://www.thebarrestudiohamburg.com/blog/2017/5/16/but-im-not-flexible

Mind Body Connection:
http://www.thebarrestudiohamburg.com/blog/2017/5/3/mind-body

Lengthening & Leaning:
http://www.thebarrestudiohamburg.com/blog/2017/5/5/benefits-of-barre-lengthen-lean

Core Strengthening:
http://www.thebarrestudiohamburg.com/blog/2017/5/5/benefits-of-barre-core-strengthening

It’s Stormy & I Love It

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I know we are still a little ways out, but I’m looking forward to the studio fireplace on before class & opening windows after long barre.

Couple things!  These girls... they’ve made training & co-teaching a pleasure.  Caitlin is halfway through co-teaching & will be solo Tues/Thurs 7pmstarting Sept 25th.

And Emily??  Tonight’s the night.  👏👏👏 You’ll find her in the studio Mon/Wed evenings 5:30pm.

We are a third of the way through the challenge & there are about 70 of you on the board.  Love it.  Waitlists have been so manageable & there are available spots both mornings & evenings this week.  If you ever need help finding spots ... I’m your girl.

And finally, I’ve added a Thursday morning 8:30am this week.  Book away ~

Melissa

Sunday 5:30pm Overflows

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Kids are back to school this week, and the rest of us back to the barre, apparently.

The September Challenge has been off to a strong start & it feels good to be solidly back in the studio.  Sunday 5:30pm overflow classes have been added for Sun, Sept 9th & 23rd.  Book away.

One of my goals this Fall is to continue to work on unplugging from my phone.  Anyone else?  The addiction is real.  Some of the time is of course necessary.  A lot of it is not.

I have things I want to accomplish or work on  (or dream up!) and could certainly carve out more time sans Instagram.  Not to mention my little app checking circuit (please tell me I’m not the only one with one of these).    A Girl, A Style’s article on being more mindful hit the nail on the head, especially her suggestions #2 and #4.

Happy unofficial start to Fall.
And see you at the barre,
Melissa

Post Italy Musings

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I had a wonderful trip & a busy week back in the studio.  While I did a ton of walking in Italy, it still is jarring to hit the barre after 10 days off.  Such a great reminder that this work works!  Sharing some finds from my week ... and looking forward to hitting the barre with all of you in September.

Interesting Saving Hack. Have you heard of the app Tip Yourself?  Link your checking account & each time you “tip yourself,” it transfers that dollar amount to a secure Tip Jar.  I love this idea.  Attend class?  Tip yourself.  Meet your daily water goal?  Tip yourself.  You could use this app to reward any behavior... save for vacation, shopping allowance, your next class package... you name it. 

A Few Hours to Yourself?  Go to the Regal Theatre by Target in OP, buy a small popcorn, take in a blanket & set yourself up all comfy.  Spend two hours wishing you were a Crazy Rich Asian.  I laughed, I cried & I want to learn to play mahjong.  It was seriously so cute.

Favorite Meal from Lake Como.  My friend Michelle asked the waiter at our favorite Bellagio restaurant what his favorite dish was.  And we both quickly ordered it.  Oh my god, recreate it!  I plan to.  Finish with lots of Parmesan & black pepper on top.

A Business Idea. I had fairly long layovers in Atlanta last week.  And it occurred to me... Yoga rooms have become popular, but I’ve never seen a true studio of any kind in an airport.  How great could it be to grab a class & a shower before your next flight.  I don’t want to open it 🙃 But somebody please do!

- Melissa

To Knot or Not. September Challenge.

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Knot it.  Don’t knot it.  You do you.

September Challenge ~
Attend TEN classes in September,
And take home:
• A tighter barre booty
• A new Barre Studio tank
• A pair of barre socks of your choice

Discover or remind yourself what consistency feels like on your body.  And reward yourself with new barre gear.

New to Studio Challenges?
All you need to do to participate is book classes & attend.  That’s it!  There will be a challenge board in the studio to monitor progress to ten.  Sat 10am, Tues 8:30am & Sun overflows have been added.

In Other News:
• Previously cancelled Sat 8/25 9am is back on the calendar.  Thanks Sara.
• Please see below for the new regular class schedule starting September 1st.
• Caitlin Queen & I start co-teaching 9/1.
• Emily Saramak will be solo teaching 9/10.
• Go team.

See you at the barre ~
Melissa

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This Booty Needs A Vaca

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Summer has been busy in the studio with the July Challenge and training and certifying two new teachers (!)  All good stuff.  But August is here and I'll be getting out of dodge before the September Challenge and Fall (my favorite season) begin.

I'll be out of the studio August 18th-25th, heading to Lake Como, Italy...  Icing on the cake?  Alex is meeting me my last couple days.  I'll head home & she and her mom will travel another week.  So if you see us more energetically kicking your booty's this coming week, call it George Clooney prep.

Travel is certainly a passion of mine & a big part of my self care.  Some of my favorite bloggers write trip recaps and city guides & I love reading them. Where they stayed, favorite restaurants, best spots for a cocktail, beautiful boutiques.  If you live for your next trip like I do, enjoy the inspiration.

Literally cannot wait.

Sayulita looks like the perfect girls' weekend away.Grace of The Stripe has impeccable style & as a west coast girl, there aren't many places more relaxing to me than Mexico.

I'm a sucker for Nantucket.  I'm smitten with the island & quickly grab any book with it as the backdrop.  I've only ever visited in the summer, but this Christmas I booked 5 days on the island... can you say fireplace, coffee, read, repeat?

Charleston also remains high on my list of places to return to.  I stopped for one night on a roadtrip years ago & have been itching to get back ever since.  Liz of Sequins & Stripes visits often... and has inspired me to one day stay here.

Ciao,
Melissa

Swag Sale, Barre Brunch, Oh My.

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 July is the toughest challenge in my opinion.  Life beautifully gets in the way in the summer in a way it doesn’t the rest of the year.  So... nicely done, everyone.  FIFTY-THREE of you finished.

What about that leftover swag?

It’s all marked down!

S’well 12oz Travelers $25 (retail $30)
Aloha Collection Pouches $15 (retail $28)

8:30am class times were very popular in July.  You’re attending & I’m listening.  You’ll see 8:30am class additions on the calendar in the Sept & Nov challenges... and my goal is to add Tues/Thurs 8:30am permanently in January.

Our first Sunday Barre Brunch was really lovely.10am barre class followed by an hour of complimentary mimosas & blueberry lavender kombucha from Prima?  Sold.  I’ve added two of these during the September Challenge, book away:
Sun, Sept 9th @ 10am
Sun, Sept 23rd @ 10am

July saw Michelle back in the studio.  We’ve added Emily Saramak & Caitlin Queen to our teaching family.  And we’re about to say goodbye to our soon to be CA Em.  Tonight all eight of us are gathering to celebrate all these things.  There may be tears 😬

Thank you for a vibrant July in the studio & see you soon at the barre ~
Melissa

Here We Grow

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As a rule, the last week I’ve heard a lot of sadness over Emily moving, only to be wildly overshadowed by the excitement for her.

Thank you, everyone, I’m grateful.  I’m also grateful for the generous gift she gave me of a lot of time to think about how to move forward.  Big, beautiful barre socks to fill here.

So, here we grow.  And in two very amazing ways.

I consider myself & the studio very lucky that I can “promote from within.”  Who better to empower to teach than people I know, trust & love.  Who have been in the studio long enough that they know the work & perform it beautifully.  Who love the class, studio culture & community.

That said.  Emily Saramak & Caitlin Queen are joining our teaching team.

Both Emily & Caitlin found the studio in 2015 & have been a strong, consistent part of the community ever since.  Both of their mothers are also in the studio... talk about barre family.  We are in various stages of the training & certification process, but you can expect to see Emily & I start co-teaching July 30th... with Caitlin fast on her heels.

We’re very excited about these two.  There will be moving pieces to the class calendar come September, so stay tuned.

Love, Melissa

BitterSweet Studio News

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This girl.  💕

Our Emily has been offered the most incredible job opportunity in California.  And accepted it.  Emily has long been with working with Autism Services in Hamburg, a non-profit organization committed to outreach with autistic youth & adults.

She has now been offered a full-time position in Camarillo, CA to work hands-on with the special needs community.  While we will miss her dearly (so dearly), we could not be more excited for this next chapter for her.

Emily has been a member of the studio community for well over 3 years, and teaching with us for more than a year.  Our loss is most definitely the west coast’s gain. Her final class will be Wed, August 8th, so get your booty to her barre to give her a hug, congratulate her, steal her hair tips & get a final hour with this gem of a person.

Love,
Melissa