To Knot or Not. September Challenge.


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 ~


This Booty Needs A Vaca


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.


Swag Sale, Barre Brunch, Oh My.


 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 ~

Here We Grow


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


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.


Sunday 8am Overflow!


It’s almost that time!  The July Challenge starts Sunday.  For more details, click here.

The Sun, July 1st 9am waitlist is lengthy... an 8am class has been opened as well.  Please book / rebook as needed!

Speaking of waitlists, there are a lot of new faces in the studio, so I thought it would be helpful to do a Waitlist 101.  Here’s how it works & I first will say, do not fear the waitlist.  They move.

✔️ If a class is fully booked, you will be given the option of the waitlist.

✔️ Should someone cancel, you will automatically be booked & notified via email and/or StudioBookings app notification.

✔️ You can also see your Waitlist vs Booked status in the class calendar or your app schedule if you are ever unsure of your status.

✔️ This promotion will happen at least 4 hours prior to class time.  That is the latest that people can cancel, so it’s the latest you can get in off the waitlist.

✔️ Didn’t get booked?  That waitlist credit will be refunded back to your account after class time.

✔️ On the waitlist but changed your mind?  Your waitlist spot can be cancelled just like a regular booking in your online history or app schedule.

✔️ Separately, but related:  you can cancelclass up to 4 hours prior.  But you are welcome to book class right up until class time assuming there is space.

See you at the barre,


My Recent Findings


Happy Friday, ya'll.  Most mornings, I can be found starting my day early with coffee & a book or my blogs.  Friday is my dedicated day off, so sometimes this coffee hour extends way past its prime (like today)... and I don't hate it.  Thought I'd share a few recent favorites from the web & beyond.

Most favorite recent purchase.  Those Turkish Towels in the studio?  My personal collection of them is obscene.  And then I went & ordered this.  I legit feel like I'm on vacation or at a spa when I wear it.  I almost took it with me to a pool day this week, but thought that might be a touch too Hugh Hefner-esque.  It's the perfect summer weight.  Order one size up.

What I'll be doing tomorrow.  Going to see this.  Between being a voracious reader & loving slash idolizing Jane Fonda & Diane Keaton, I am ridiculously looking forward to making a treat of this for myself.  #selfcare

And speaking of reading.  My current summer must read list includes The Perfect Couple (I'm a sucker for a Nantucket novel) & Educated (I've heard nothing but great things).  In between buying books I can't wait to get my hands on, I'm a library girl & just returned Save The Date.  Circa 2014, not sure how I missed it.  Such easy chick lit.

Sugar Face.  So yeah... between my KBeauty obsession, reading this, and hanging out with my momma (who is sugar free)... exit refined sugar.  It's been almost 2 weeks now.  Yes, I had a mild withdrawal headache for 2 days.  Yes, I had that one day I binge ate Watson's sugar free chocolate (don't do it).  I do feel like my skin is a little brighter (who knows....) but I gotta believe this is a good move regardless.

And along those lines.  No added sugar?  No problem.  Our Ayurvedic chefs at our retreats create the most beautiful food.  These coconut macaroons were no exception.

What to do in July.  Nuff said.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.  And see you at the barre ~

Another S’well Summer


Just when one challenge ends, another begins.  I could get used to this.  You guys earn swag, I get to shop, and we all keep our barre practice summer strong.  Win win win.

I get the question, “How regularly should I be in the studio?”  In my moderate mind, 10 classes a month is a healthy goal & healthy number.  It’s manageable with life & travel, other workouts, other time restraints.

It’s a realistic commitment & yet also enough where you will feel the benefits of being consistent.  It’s also a flexible goal as opposed to more rigidly committing to EVERY Tuesday & Thursday, only to potentially break that commitment when life gets in the way.

So, here we go.  July Challenge ~

When? July 1-31

How?  Attend TEN classes in July & take home a tighter summer booty, AND... a S’well Traveler.  Loving this smaller, rounder water bottle.  Easy to throw in my bag & especially loving it for coffee.  Okay, and a margarita by the pool.  I’ve ordered it in 5 different styles.

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.

Saturday 10am classes have been added to the calendar along with additional Sunday times (some morning, some evening).

Book away!

See you at the barre ~

Retreat Recipe: Thai Quinoa Salad


We had a lovely time last weekend in the Finger Lakes.  An amazing group of women, wonderful classes, and great food.

I tested this recipe three times before we used it at the retreat.  I couldn't get the dressing quite right.  But practice makes perfect.  Enjoy.  PS this can live in the fridge for days and is so perfectly lightly filling...

Cook 3/4 cup quinoa, set aside to cool.

Combine the following:
1/3 head chopped red cabbage
3 grated then chopped carrots
2 big handfuls sliced snow peas
3 sliced green onions
Big handful of cilantro, chopped
The cooled quinoa

The dressing:
Whisk 2 Tb tahini (sesame paste) with 2 Tb peanut butter
Add in: 2 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb rice vinegar
2 Tb sesame oil
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
Juice of 1 lime

Dress salad (you can do so well in advance).  Top with peanuts before serving.

See you at the barre,

K Beauty, My Newest Jam

I’ll get right down to it.  My latest obsession?
K Beauty.  Thanks to the best podcast ever, Forever 35, I’ve become increasingly intrigued with Korean skincare.  And I’m the nerd that then goes & does research.  So here we go.

K Beauty is a seemingly complicated world of layering a million products.  Most traditional K Beauty regimens involve a minimum of 10-12 steps.  Can seem daunting.  But once you understand the basics... you’re left with this wonderful new thing you get to organize!  My happy place.

Here are the K Beauty basics.  Note:  all the products I’m using are not Korean, I'm slowly using up existing products first before I assuredly go all-Korean, all-the-time.

The Double Cleanse.  The Oil Cleanse.  Counterintuitively rub oil all over your face.  This I'm still getting used to & it always feels wrong.  Once massaged in, place a hot washcloth on your face, let briefly steam, then gently remove makeup.  I am using up some Argan Oil I had on hand.

Then... The Water Cleanse.  I am using & liking these Micellar water wipes from Trader Joe's.

Toning Essence.  This is the hydration step that I am not yet doing & really need to be.  I’m perhaps the most dehydrated person I know.  On my to do list...

Serums.  I just started using this Vitamin C serum eye cream.  Vitamin C seems to be a go to serum & touts all the anti aging fine line benefits.

Moisturizer.  I then layer on pink juice.  I like it but don’t love it.  I bought it solely because it’s Korean & pink (I know, killer reasons). It came in a box set with an overnight mask too & the packaging just reeled me in.

But I do love & may go back to Belif Aqua Bomb. I love that Korean moisturizers are often gel based and so light.  They feel hydrating.

I will, however, be trying this Peach Slices Aqua Glow first.  Can’t resist, it’s a serum & moisturizer in one.  PS I love all the K Beauty girlie product names.  Last month I visited a K Beauty shop in NYC and it looked like Hello Kitty exploded in there.

SPF.  The final layer & only needed in the morning (obviously).  I will probably try something else next out of curiosity but this Missha Sun Milk is thin & wears well, I definitely like it enough to return to it in the future.  Apparently, you're so last year if you're using a combo moisturizer & sunscreen.  Who knew?

Intrigued, like me?  This Glowing Up podcast episode breaks down K Beauty so, so nicely.

Wishing us all glass skin & barre booty’s ~

In Studio News ~


We are a little more than halfway through the May Challenge.  8 of you have completed & it appears another 50 will do so in the next 12 days.  All overflow classes are on the calendar, so make sure you are booked to get your ten!

I had lunch with Michelle yesterday to celebrate 2 years of teaching.  She & Abigail are doing so well, Abby is absolutely precious & Michelle looks amazing, it’s a treat to watch her “momma.”  Emily & I have brunch next week (at The Grange) to celebrate her 1 year anniversary.  It’s never lost on me how lucky I am to be surrounded by these women, my teachers. Our teachers!

June’s Barretending on 6/15 will be the last on a regular monthly schedule.  That is NOT to say we will never do them.  But we will mix things up & offer them as pop-up classes instead. There is still room in the June Barretending if you’d like to book.  And that said...

Sunday, July 29th

Barre Brunch ~

10am barre class followed by
mimosas & kombucha in the studio
Book online!  ☀️

See you at the barre ~

Salt Water Flushes & TMI


I recently did an Ayurvedic salt water flush.  I didn't even know what that was until last week, but my digestion has been very out of whack & I needed to get it back on track.  I'm sharing this in the hopes that it will be helpful to some of you.  I am very in tune with my digestion, which I consider both a blessing & a curse.

I went on antibiotics about 2 months ago... a 30 day cycle.  Two weeks in, my acid reflux was rearing it's ugly head.  By the end, my stomach was inflamed & uncomfortable and I really was feeling victimized, for lack of a better word.  I work hard to keep my digestion & health purring.

Two weeks later, after chugging all the kombucha, taking probiotics & eating very Ayurvedically, almost nothing but kitchari, kimchi & sauerkraut, I was still inflamed & not back to my normal digestion.  Enter the salt water flush.

Pick a morning where you have 2 hours of downtime.  On an empty stomach, drink 32oz of warm water mixed with 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt.  Shake well... and drink as fast as possible.  I was told to shoot for 5 minutes... it took me 16.

I'm not a water drinker, so this was a big feat for me.  Per instructions, I laid back down in bed on my side and waited.  28 minutes later, I could hear liquid gurgling in my stomach.

Apparently, once the saltwater enters the small intestines, muscle contractions push it the rest of the way down.  I had the urge to go the bathroom and (here we go, TMI), it was an unusually large bowel movement.  But!  Without pain, truly with little urgency... no stomach upset, no cramping.  I was told after the first movement, I could drink coffee, so I got back in bed with coffee & my book.  I had 3 more movements in the next hour and half, each one progressively becoming more water and less waste.  I honestly felt "flushed."

It's unclear how a salt water flush affects the microbiome (the good & bad bacteria that live in your gut).  There's no evidence showing it helps or harms the biome.  This was of concern to me & I have felt perfectly fine since.

I was advised to do this no more often than once every 3 weeks.  I am in ZERO rush to do it again only because I do not want to drink all that water again (it made me a little nauseous).  But I'm also in zero rush because it worked.  My inflammation is gone & my digestion is back to my normal.  I'm shocked, actually.  And happy to have this natural approach in my toolkit for the future.

Hope this found at least one helpful home ~


The Art of the Girls’ Weekend


I think I’ve almost perfected my recipe for the perfect girls’ weekend.  I spent last weekend in NYC with a close girlfriend & Saturday was wonderful, but by end of day Sunday we were patting ourselves on the back for a job well done.

The elements:

1.  A spa fix.  I’m a connoisseur of the less than mainstream massage.  Give me a Korean Spa with zero modesty & allll the bizarre rules of behavior & I will put the orange jumpsuit on & behave like a regular with glee.  This time I hit up Salon De Tokyo & it did not disappoint.  Yes, the locker room was strangely co-ed & the sauna was the size of a bunk bed that you have to climb into.  But the massage was painfully therapeutic & I left so happy about how weird it all was.

2.  Stellar meals, but girl food. Meals the men don’t really want to eat with you.  We had brunch at in Nolita, self proclaimed “cafe, juice bar & vegetable slaughterhouse.”  Think avocado toast benedict & turmeric lattes.  Girlie, and so good.  Almost every other meal was served in a bowl (of course) including  And no girls’ weekend is complete without calling chips, guacamole & margaritas “dinner.

3.  A workout (or two).  My newest favorite thing to do on my NYC trips is an intro ballet class at Ballet Academy East  In short, go.  No experience is needed.  You do need ballet slippers, and humility.  It is all levels, from beginners to dancers in pointe shoes, there to work on technique.  There is a baby grand piano in the corner & live accompaniment.  It’s so moving.  When the whole class bows to the pianist at the end, try not tearing up. I dare you.  I leave there feeling inspired.  We also checked out

4.  A major to-do. What better than the combined strength of two women to tackle one job that nobody wants to do?  We went bra shopping.  We hit Bloomingdales & both walked with 2 new bras.  It also sparked a weekend-long debate... I wear this strapless bra almost exclusively - under everything.  She seemed to think I’m the only woman on the entire planet opting to wear a strapless bra for no practical reason... someone must be with me?!  I just hate straps!  I did find two cute bralettes.  With straps.  Training wheels.

5.  A lot of relaxing.  Wewere in the city, so our typical hours on the beach with books were not going to get logged.  But we sunbathed in Central Park & people watched.  We were home both nights at 8pm watching a movie.  We walked and we talked.  10.2 then 10.3 miles, respectively (yes, we tracked ourselves).  We went to see Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty.  And while it’s definitely a comedy & does not have the strongest message I thought it might, it was hysterical.  Feels so good to laugh hard with a good friend

May Challenge, Aloha


There’s a rumor going around that Spring (and maybe Summer?) are going to find their way to WNY sometime soon.  Our goal is to help get you ready.  May challenge.

When: May 1-31

How:  Attend TEN classes in the full month of May & take home a tighter warm weather booty (yes, please!)... and our latest swag.

I fell in love with Aloha Collection travel pouches when my sister gave me one filled with goodies for our 40th birthday.  They are the perfect size to throw in your bag & are waterproof to hold that wet bikini, post-workout gear, toiletries, etc. I love using mine as a beach or pool clutch / accessory as again, #waterproof.

You can check out their adorable line at - I ordered a wide assortment of the small pouches for the Challenge.  They’ll also be available for sale in the studio for $28.

* 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.

See you at the barre ~


Barre Studio On-Demand, Additional Videos!


Love The Barre Studio On-Demand but craving more variety?  You’re in luck.

In addition to the two full length Barre Studio classes, the video series now includes these individual sets at no extra charge:

Glutes in Attitude
Side Facing Glutes
Barre Facing Tucks
Barre Sit
Knee Turns in 2nd Position
Barre Pushups
Calves in Coupe

Use these sets to create your own custom class or to target specific muscles.  All sets can be done without the use of a ballet barre but instead using a hip-height stable surface such as a countertop.

Existing members?  You’ll now see these in your On-Demand feed.

New members?  Click the link below to purchase.

Those Books in the Corner


One of my intentions for this year was to read more.  And I already typically read 3-4 books a month.  But I truly find the more I read, the more calm & content I am.

My phone overstimulates me & I’m know I’m not alone here.  My newest trick is to leave it charging downstairs on silent when I’m done for the day.  On a good morning, I come down, grab my coffee, check my phone for “barre emergencies” then head back upstairs to read in bed before I start my day.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the mornings this goes flawlessly.

I’m sure some of you have noticed the little library slowly growing in the corner cubby.  I signed the studio up for the Book Of The Month club.  Each month, two new hard backs are arriving in the studio.  Please grab them, read them, return them, swap them for a new one.  The teachers & I have been passing them back & forth & it’s just so good for the soul (and the brain).

See you at the barre ~

Final Week & Other Ramblings


Today starts the final week of the “Spring” Challenge, ending next Wed, March 28th.  Waitlists have been really moving, but if you find yourself short a class or worried, please respond back to this email & let me help book you.  #whatimherefor

Hands down favorite find of the week?  The Forever 35 podcast.  I have become something of a beauty product addict of late & this podcast is two of your soon to be best friends talking self care shop.  Everything from serums to juicing, whole 30 to closet purging.  These two speak my language & they are freaking funny to boot.  I seriously continue to drive unnecessarily to keep hanging out with them, which is, yes, ridiculous.

I’m loving Grace & Frankie, a show I mentioned in a previous email.  Jane Fonda plays 70-ish Grace & is stunning.  Amazing style & yes, you can tell she’s had some “help,” but she looks age appropriately incredible.  I went shopping last weekend & caught myself trying on button down blouses & flowy cashmere cardigans, only to realize I was trying to emulate her.  Perhaps 30 years too soon, but still.  #goals

You all know I’m a planner.  So is my sister Shannon;  it’s a big part of why we work so well together.  We’ve recently been talking 2019 as retreat locations get booked a good year in advance.  And we’ve decided... this’ll be our final year in the Finger Lakes.  It’s time to mix up our shared offering.  In the meantime, 4 spots remain in our June 1-3 retreat & we’d love to have you join us.

See you at the barre ~


“Spring” Challenge Updates


Today starts week 3 of the “Spring” Challenge.  Two more weeks to go to get your ten classes in through March 28th.

We’ve had 6 of you finish & it looks as though another 60+ will do so.  Pretty incredible as last Spring 42 completed!

What’s that saying, summer bodies are made in the winter... is that why it’s still snowing?

Final challenge overflows have been added:

Wed, March 21 @ 7:30pm
Sat, March 24 @ 10am
Sun, March 25 @ 8am

Book / rebook as needed!
~ Melissa

“Spring” Challenge Starts Thursday!


It’s almost that time!

The “Spring” Challenge starts Thursday!

When: March 1-28

How:  Attend TEN classes in FOUR weeks and take home a tighter spring break booty.

Also take home a beautiful mantraband to both reward & continue to motivate you ($35 retail).  Available in gold & rose gold in a wide selection of mantras.  First to finish, first to choose.

* 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.

* Overflow classes will continue to be added as needed.  Popular class times can fill during challenges, so book ahead if you prefer & do not fear the waitlist!