Podcast Addiction


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


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


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 ...


 ✔️ 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!

See you soon at the barre ~

On Joy


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 ~


October in the Studio


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 ~


Benefits of Barre


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.  💕

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


Mind Body Connection:

Lengthening & Leaning:

Core Strengthening:

It’s Stormy & I Love It


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 ~


Sunday 5:30pm Overflows


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,

Post Italy Musings


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.


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 ~