How Katherine Dopulos Fell In Love With barre3 (And her Body) From Her Living Room

How Katherine Dopulos Fell In Love With barre3 (And her Body) From Her Living Room

If you’re waiting for that extra nudge to sign up for the barre3 Anywhere Challenge, this story is for you. Katherine Dopulos didn’t have a stellar track record when it came to exercise regimens, so when she signed up for our January Challenge, the most she hoped for was to finish. She shocked herself by not just finishing, but absolutely loving it—and transforming both her body and her mindset in the meantime. Read on for Katherine’s inspiring journey in her own words.

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When I signed up for the barre3 Challenge in December of 2014, I was armed with a million reasons why it wouldn’t work. I’m not coordinated. I have never taken a ballet class in my life. I have never managed to stick with a fitness regimen for more than a few weeks. I have registered for 10-mile runs and half marathons, but I have never made it to race day.

The negative talk came easily, and I figured it would win out as it always does. So while I was vaguely hopeful about the challenge, I can’t say I was optimistic.

I was wrong. Not only did I stick with the challenge all the way through to the end, but I actually enjoyed it. Was I perfect? No way. But I never once felt the need, desire, or even the possibility to give up. Unlike every running training program and restrictive diet I’d tried in the past, I just kept clicking play on a new workout.

I learned so many things during the Challenge. Here are some of the most important lessons barre3 taught me:

No matter where you are, the barre3 community is behind you. Even though I don’t live near a studio, I felt embraced by the community from the start. Whether it was connecting with others through the #barre3challenge hashtag or hearing Sadie answer my question during the live Q+A, I felt inspired and propelled through our virtual community. I also felt like my progress was important to Sadie. She replied to my tweets, posted adorable stars on my Instagrams, and her workouts, recipes, and podcasts energized me.

You don’t have to be a size 2 to be graceful. Growing up, I was surrounded by friends who were thin ballet dancers. At 5’9” and over 150 pounds since age 15, I never felt dainty. Doing ballet videos with Candace changed that. Because I was alone, I wasn’t embarrassed about pointing my toes, standing up straight, and moving my arms fluidly. I felt like I’d found a new part of myself—a part of myself that I was always dying to know but too embarrassed to reach for.

Taking a modification is not a cop out. In the past, coaches and instructors have made me feel like slowing down was a sign of weakness. Barre3 has taught me quite the opposite: It’s almost always better to modify a move if I’m struggling. Pushing through actually means sacrificing form and losing out on the balanced, intentional workout you get from barre3. Sadie’s motto of “work smarter not harder” is now my motto too.

You can do barre3 anywhere. I used to think that I had to go to the gym to get an efficient workout. Thanks to the Challenge, I now know that isn’t true. I will often close my office door at 3 p.m. and bust out a 10-minute online workout. I do sumo squats while waiting for the microwave and power leg while making dinner. I’m so excited for the barre3 Anywhere Challenge to kick off next week so I can take my practice outside and try some of Sadie’s new park bench workouts.

Quite simply, barre3 works. The benefits I have seen in just one month are incredible. Just the other day I was gesturing with my left hand and my boyfriend’s eyes shot open as he touched my upper arm. “I’ve never seen your triceps flex like that!” he said. My upper body is stronger, my abs feel engaged all the time, my legs are trimmer, and my seat feels firmer. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I can put on a sock while standing on the other foot without falling over. I find myself sitting up straighter at my desk.

But as eye-opening as these lessons were, none of them came close to the most important lesson of all: Barre3 taught me to silence my negative talk. All of those “I never” statements have been replaced by “I cans.” I’m learning to love my body how it is, not constantly hoping it will be something it’s not. I’m proud to see that lump of a muscle, even if Kate Upton doesn’t have one there. Instead of waiting for the thigh gap, I am embracing the perfectly round shape that my bum makes in my yoga pants. Feeling stronger and healthier is actually leading me away from the desire to be bony and pointing me towards the beauty of a strong body.

When I paid my $15 at the beginning of the January Challenge, I thought in the back of my mind that it would be a waste of money. Since then, I have renewed my subscription, bought a barre3 ball, emailed my referral link to all my friends, and my yoga mat doesn’t move from under the TV because it’s in such frequent use. Barre3 is the first exercise program that has impacted my lifestyle, and unlike the doubting Katherine of January 5th, I know that it will continue to change my body and my life for months and years to come.
Ready to kickstart your own transformation? Join the challenge today.

A Story from Studio Owner Brenda Oakes: Beauty for Ashes

Cottage Hill

When Tulsa studio owner Brenda Oakes lost her baby boy Maddox just days before her due date, the grief rocked her to her very core. Read this exclusive reprint from Cottage Hill magazine to find out how she found the grace and strength to heal by starting a barre3 practice and eventually opening a studio in her hometown.

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When I was a kid growing up in Northern California, we used to spend time each summer in Santa Cruz. My favorite thing to do at the beach was to root my feet in the sand just at the water’s line where the shore washes in. I would stand with my eyes closed, feet firm in the sand, and arms stretched to the side and let the waves crash into my little legs. I loved to feel the power of the ocean waves push against my balance. It was a victorious feeling when I could still stand – the ocean was no match for my kid strength. On July 6th, 2005, ten years ago this summer, I met a wave that almost pulled me under forever.

I remember sitting alone in the small exam room at my obstetrician’s office listening to the peaceful white noise of the ultrasound device waiting for another digital meeting with our son, Maddox. It was two days before my due date and I was equally thrilled and nervous to be a mom for the first time. The doctor came in and rubbed the wand on my belly. Without warning, the atmosphere of the room shifted dramatically as the doctor left the room without saying a word. I remembered seeing Maddox moving and full of life at every other ultrasound, that is, until today. Today was different. He was completely still on the screen and, in my heart, I knew Maddox was gone.

The doctor came back and told me what I already knew. My baby had died. Hearing it spoken out loud was a sharp knife to my panicked heart. Before the doctor could finish her sentence, I felt this rush of fire burning through my chest and my airway started to close in like I was suffocating. The only escape from the fire of disbelief was to scream out.

The days and weeks that followed were the hardest for me. It was all a blur. I felt people around me, but I couldn’t see past my tears flooding me. I tried to fake live a life when all I wanted to do was die. The grief was defeating like violent surf crashing on me over and over. I was suffocating and couldn’t catch my breath; I couldn’t put my feet in the sand to anchor the thrashing of my soul.

The hours in the day felt like I was lifelessly drifting out to sea. Still not able to stand or fully breathe, each evening my husband would pull me back in to shore. When he would come home from work, I thought that being together would bring some sort of comfort but instead we had tension. I felt like he seemed to be over losing our baby. He just seemed to be past where I was at emotionally and I hated feeling like I was a mess he had to deal with. We were worlds apart and not connecting.

I would plead to God to take me each night before I fell asleep. Each morning, I would wake up mad because I had to face another day of this Hell I was trapped in. Another day of crashing waves, maddening waves.

Two months passed and I knew it was time to go back to work. I just wanted to leave the prison my house had become. Some days I couldn’t control the tears and other days, I felt numb, exhausted from feeling. I would take lunch in the cemetery next to Maddox’s grave. I sat in the grass and tried to imagine him there next to me. Staring at the engraved name on the headstone gave me a strange sense of comfort. This nightmare I was living in was real. Maddox was real.

One day after eating lunch in the cemetery, I got back in my car and caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror. I was so broken. I barely recognized myself. Then, the questions that changed everything started shifting around in my mind. What am I doing? How did my life end up like this? How long am I going to stay knocked down? I knew I had a choice to live a life full of a tormenting reminder of death or get back up and live. I chose to live. That day in my car, I made my choice and I was determined to make this life a legacy for Maddox.

Choosing to live looks pretty on paper. It sounds good and triumphant. However, the real journey to heal from all that had happened was not easy or pretty. My faith in God gave me the strength to slowly pick up the pieces of my broken heart. As I began to piece myself back together, my desire to become a mother again grew stronger. Ten weeks after Maddox’s death, I found myself sitting on the same kind of paper-lined table where it had all begun, listening to the peaceful white sound of the ultrasound while my husband Kris stood by my side. As we waited with hands clenched and hopeful hearts, the “swosh-echo, swosh- echo” sound coming from the screen confirmed what we desperately prayed for: life, again.

On the one – year anniversary of Maddox’s birthday, I rocked our baby girl Emory in his chair in his nursery, which was now painted pink. Emory didn’t replace Maddox but her heart beating against mine was the most wonderful reminder that death did not win. The grief waves crashing against my chest were now subtle tides of pain outmatched with surges of love. I could feel her life beating on my heart and it was the most wonderful reminder that death did not defeat me.

We were living and growing as a family. A couple years later, the faint whisper again said, “If you want another baby, I will protect you.” With this promise, Kris and I decided to risk it all and have another baby. Sometimes a promise from God can be misunderstood as something that will be easy (at least to me). My third pregnancy was a battle in every sense of the word. The promise was delivered 11 weeks earlier than planned in the form of a 3-pound baby girl named Isla. Both of our girls are living, breathing reminders of just how far we have come. To this day, when I look into the eyes of Emory, I see healing and when I look into the eyes of Isla, I see joy! My heart was full and my soul was soaring but there was one area of my life that was still a wreck.

Like a severe cut to the flesh that scars the skin, grief scarred my physical body. My joints were stiff from holding on to stress and anxiety. I felt weak, brittle, insecure, and lacking in physical grace compared to the grace in my soul. With the big brown eyes of my little girls watching my every move, I knew it was time for me to put the same effort into healing my body that I had put into healing my heart. My heart was full and my soul was soaring but my body was still shipwrecked from all the loss.

I wanted a strong body that I could be proud of, one that moved with grace. I wanted my daughters to see me working hard to achieve a goal I set without a fear of failure. So I went online and started hunting for a game plan. I found an online workout called barre3 and decided to try it in the safety of my home. This blonde, bright light introduced herself on my television screen as Sadie Lincoln and, although she challenged every muscle I had and a few I didn’t know existed, I wanted to make a point to meet up with Sadie in the comfort of my own home each and every day.

Barre3 was just what my body needed. The exercises are a hybrid mix of yoga, Pilates, and ballet-inspired movements. Over time, I noticed the rigidity and tension in my joints started to release. I was getting stronger and I felt the best I had felt in a long time. All my fears, failures, shame, and regret had been transformed from the inside and now finally on the outside as well.

Months had passed and each day I was diligent to meet up with Sadie and her friends. Even though we had never met, the barre3 instructors on the screen seemed to be my friends now; they encouraged me, challenged me, and strengthened me. It was a digital community, but it was a community. I wanted more. I couldn’t shake this feeling that barre3 was about to become more than the online workout I did in the comfort of my own home.

What I didn’t expect to find when I set out to heal my body from grief was a new passion and calling to help other people do the same. In July of 2014, my incredible business partner, Andrea Mason, and I opened a barre3 studio of our own in Tulsa, OK. Today I am a barre3 instructor and am giving my community what barre3 gave me at home – physical healing.

Because barre3 provided my physically healing from the loss of Maddox, I was thrilled with our partnership with a beautiful organization called Every Mother Counts. Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns after she herself had a life-threatening complication after delivery of her daughter. She knew she needed to do something to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all moms and all babies. Every Mother Counts helps provide education, transportation, and supplies all over the world to mothers in need. To think I would have any role in helping other moms safely bring their babies to this world still brings tears to my eyes.

How incredible this journey has been, and no matter the difficulty behind me or even ahead of me, it has created a hunger for more opportunities to help others. Today, I am humbled by what God has done in my life. Does the pain of losing Maddox still take my breath away? Of course it does! Was losing Maddox the worst thing that has happened to me? It was the hardest. But today I can say it was the best thing that happened to me because I now have a deeper capacity to love and serve others who also need healing. Beauty for ashes.

Writer, Brenda Oakes
Photograph of Brenda Oakes by Abby Rose Henry
Published in Cottage Hill
Learn more at www.cottagehillmag.com

barre3 Approved Memorial Day Dishes

Memorial Day Dishes

With Memorial Day just days away, it’s time to figure out your menu plan for those Memorial Day BBQs, picnics and potlucks. For inspiration, we gathered a list of killer barre3-approved recipes from some of our favorite blogs.

This colorful Mixed Quinoa Salad with Roasted Summer Veggies from The Yellow Table is full of addictive roasted vegetables. (Substitute chickpeas for the pine nuts to provide more protein.) Bonus: It tastes great warm or at room temperature so travels well to Memorial Day get-togethers.

Need a side dish for an afternoon picnic? You’re going to want to bring this Purple Power Salad from My New Roots. The Moroccan-inspired flavors offer a great twist on typical cabbage salad – and it feeds a crowd! Enjoy it with your favorite grilled protein for a well-rounded meal.

A good homemade hummus recipe like this Roasted Garlic Hummus from A House in the Hills is worth its weight in gold. Plus it’s a great option to snack on at a BBQ with crunchy raw veggies. (You’ll see why we take the time to prep this dip the moment you taste it.)

Got burgers on the brain? Then you’ll love these vegetarian-friendly Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers from Food52. They’re as good served solo as they are topped with a spoonful of whole-milk yogurt.

If you need another alternative burger for your BBQ, whip up Dishing Up the Dirt’s satisfying Chickpea Mushroom Burgers. Served with gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps, these burgers pack a ton of flavor in each patty – and you don’t even have to fire up the grill to make them.

We can’t wait to try these Deviled Eggs from the brilliant recipe journal 101 Cookbooks. They use protein-rich Greek yogurt, not mayonnaise, in the filling and plenty of fresh herbs to punch up the flavor. We bet they’ll be a zesty complement to your favorite side salads.

Not Without Salt’s stunning White Bean Salad with Peas and Mint might be the most gorgeous bean salad we’ve ever seen. It’s filling enough to be a main dish but works as a side as well.

For a new take on that old favorite, potato salad, make Cannelle et Vanille’s light Potato Salad with Avocado, Radishes and Mustard Croutons. Radishes and gluten-free croutons give the salad a great crunch factor, while avocados provide healthy fat. We like to serve it over a bed of mixed greens for added fiber and nutrition.

The simplicity of the barre3 Spinach, Pecan + Apple Salad makes it one of our most popular recipes. Toss it together to get some greens in on the side of your Memorial Day main course.

If you’re going to be on the go this holiday, you’ll need a healthy snack to take with you. We’re loving these adorable Cherry Ginger Cacao Granola Bites from The Year in Food.

For dessert, Local Haven’s bite-size Raw Brownie Bites hit the spot. And this deeply chocolatey treat takes less than 10 minutes to make!

What healthy dishes will you make this Memorial Day? Let us know which recipes make it to your table in the comments below.

Almond Power Cookies

Almond Power Cookies

We met nutritionist Meghan Telpner at the Toronto studio opening last year and immediately connected with her humorous, down-to-earth approach to healthy living. Today Meghan has graciously agreed to share her crave-worthy recipe for Almond Power Cookies from her book, UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health. They’re sweet, chewy, and they include a balance of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. They’re also so simple to make. Here’s how:

Makes: 12 cookies

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
  2. 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  3. 1/3 cup shredded dried coconut
  4. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  5. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  6. 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  7. 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  8. pinch of sea salt

 

Directions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. 2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. 3. Take about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and then flatten on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. 4. Bake until aromatic and slightly browned at the edges, about 20 minutes.
  5. 5. Transfer to cooling rack. They will crisp up as they cool.

 

To access more satisfying recipes curated by Sadie and her team of chefs, subscribe to barre3 Online.

barre3 Book Club: Sadie’s Mom’s Take on The Good Mother Myth

barre3 Book Club: Sadie’s Mom’s Take on The Good Mother Myth

Our friends at Every Mother Counts inspired our team to read The Good Mother Myth by Avital Norman Nathman, and we’re so glad we did. Today, we’re thrilled to have Sadie’s mom Sonja sharing her thoughts on the book. Read on for Sonja’s perspective.

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I am in total awe of young mothers these days, juggling full-time careers, families, housework, homework, and kids activities—not to mention their own health and fitness—and trying to do it all right. As a culture, we have put some incredibly high and unrealistic expectations on parents, from staying up on the latest health trends and preparing healthy meals after a long day of work, to volunteering at school, baking cupcakes, or cheering on their kids at their soccer games on the weekends.

By today’s standards, I think I would have failed the “good mother” test. For me, the most important thing for a mother (or grandmother) is to slow down, see your kids for who they are, love them unconditionally, seek to understand them, and listen to their needs—not always easy to do in our fast-paced world.

It’s been awhile since I was a full-time mom, but The Good Mother Myth resonated with me. I loved the essay about the group of women friends who took their kids on regular vacations together, letting all the rules of good parenting go for a little while. The kids played, and so did the moms. They took turns being on parenting duty, and the kids got to be parented by different moms. This story reminded me of the way I raised Sadie, when I shared parenting with my closest friends, creating an extended family that continues to this day.

I also appreciated the essay about a woman who made the conscious choice to have only one child, a choice I made, too. Sadie got the benefit of having my close friends’ kids, who were like siblings or cousins—and to this day are as close as any family. The author comes to terms with her decision in spite of people’s expectations and warnings that her life would be incomplete without more children. While bigger families are the trend these days, it’s not the only way.

It seems that every generation has its own version of the good mother myth. In the ’50s, when I was a child, most moms were full-time homemakers and highly attentive to the kids and the home front. When I became a parent in the ‘70s, things were a lot more free-spirited, and we experimented with different forms of parenting. For a time, when I was a single working mom, I shared a home with a close girlfriend and her daughter, so we didn’t have to do it all alone. Today, it seems women are trying to do both—hold down full-time jobs and be the perfect homemaker—an unrealistic expectation.

The good news is, you don’t have to be perfect to be a good mother—the “good-enough mother” will do. Besides, perfection is unattainable, and it will drive you crazy. No matter how you choose to be a mother, take care of yourself as well as your kids. Make time to do the things that fulfill you. A happy mom is a good mom.

If any of this resonates with you, I recommend reading this book. Seek out other mothers who share your values, and help each other out. Share kids. Share stories. It’s okay to let the kids be a little wild once in a while. And for that matter, be a little wild yourself.

Studio Owner Spotlight: Karie Johnson

Studio Owner Spotlight: Karie Johnson

Karie Johnson is passionate about everything she does, whether it’s running barre3 North Scottsdale or raising her two girls. Read on to get to know Karie. Here she is in her words.

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I’ve always been into yoga and hiking, with a little bit of pilates and tennis sprinkled in here and there. Once I got married and became a mom, I still tried to be as active as I could. But between working as an elementary school teacher, raising two girls and being a wife, workouts became few and far between. If it was a choice between spending time with my family or running off to the gym, I was going to choose my family.

I felt really conflicted by that—one was always at the expense of the other. I knew that working out was important and that taking time for myself actually would have made me a better mom. But the expectations we place on ourselves as women are so high—I had an idea of what the perfect mother should be in my head, but I couldn’t keep up with it in real life.

Then my friend Jackie Edlund (who owns barre3 Henderson), told me about barre3 Online and encouraged me to try 28 to Great. It was such a good option for me—now I could squeeze workouts in when my girls were napping or at play dates. I also really fell in love with the online community and all the warmth and support that I felt through the screen. I knew I needed this in my life and wanted to bring this amazing, supportive community to Scottsdale. Long story short, a year and a half later, barre3 North Scottsdale opened.

I’ve learned a lot since then. My team has taught me that I can’t do it all and that it’s okay to rely on others. My clients have shown me how to be present in the moment. We all have bad days, but these incredible women and men just leave their problems at the door and put all their energy into having a great workout. It always inspires me to do the same.

At home, I have to give props to my husband Adam because he’s the chef of the family, while I’m in charge of chopping and dishes. We usually make three to four barre3 recipes a week. I love the Sweet Potato Turkey Chili, and my 10-year-old daughter just inhaled the Ahi Tuna Summer Salad.

With summer coming up, we’ll be traveling a lot, but I still try to keep things healthy for my family. That means having nourishing snacks on hand like fruit or almonds, and making smart choices at restaurants. (Although if we do slip a little, I’m a big advocate of avoiding the shame spiral!)

We always try to find a barre3 studio in whatever town we’re in, and if there isn’t one nearby, I’ll bust out a few workouts on my laptop. My husband is an airline pilot, so he also does tons of online workouts when he’s traveling.

One of the things I appreciate most about barre3 is the balance it has brought to my life. It seems like a never-ending quest, but I’m learning how to balance work with exercise and being a wife and mother. I’m more able to focus on what really matters, like putting the phone down and spending quality time with my family. I’m also a better role model for my girls. Thanks to barre3, I’m showing them that a mom can be strong and active and have an exciting career she truly enjoys. For me, that’s the very best part of the job.

Beyond the Barre: Honor Your Truth

Beyond the Barre: Honor Your Truth

As barre3 Director of Training, Lisa Schale-Drake is used to taking charge and having people rely on her. But when she got pregnant with twins, she found herself in the unfamiliar position of needing to rely on others. Read on to find out how Lisa learned to honor her truth, and why it’s the best thing that ever happened to her.

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When I got pregnant, I expected the storybook version of mommyhood. I’d have a cute belly, I’d work out right up until the day I went into labor, I’d give birth to an adorable baby, and I’d bounce back to my pre-pregnancy body within six weeks. After all, that’s the narrative we’re fed by the media—why should mine be any different?

Then I found out I was having twins, and the storybook slammed shut. I gained 20 pounds in the first trimester—only a fraction of which was actual baby weight. By the second trimester I was measuring as big as women normally do in their third trimester. By the third trimester, I tested positive for pre-eclampsia and had to go on bed rest, banishing all hope of exercising up until my due date.

Not having control over my body was a foreign feeling to me—and a huge blow. But as tough as the pregnancy was, post-pregnancy was where I was truly tested—both physically and mentally.

After giving birth to my twins, I assumed I was fit enough to jump right back into my workouts. Even though I’d cautioned countless new moms against going all-in too soon, I ignored my own advice and went full throttle. I realized my mistake when I tried to do plank on the floor during my first class post-pregnancy. Ouch. Like many new moms, I had abdominal separation, so a floor plank was not in the cards for me. I moved up to the bar and did a standing plank, and that’s when I found the connection I needed.

As humbling as it was, I reassessed my approach to class. Instead of going turbo, I dialed back and worked on the basics. When the instructor offered layers, I didn’t add them. Amazingly—and ironically—my body started coming back much more quickly when I didn’t push myself too hard. By going simpler, I got stronger.

But my struggle went beyond just physical limitations. I had bought into the image of a supermom—the amazing woman who loves being a mother, always looks put-together when she leaves the house, works full-time, and makes it all look completely effortless—but I couldn’t have felt farther from this. My babies were colicky, and I was beyond sleep-deprived. Just leaving the house was an enormous feat—to say nothing of leaving the house looking put together. I remember going to work meetings and trying to hold it together but feeling like I would break down in tears at any second. I couldn’t do it all, and that made me feel guilty and angry with myself. I felt robbed of the narrative I had been promised, and I was miserable.

Finally, my husband sat down with me and told me that the way I was living wasn’t sustainable. That was my wake-up call. He rarely pushes, so I knew that if he felt like he had to say this, something was wrong. I wasn’t serving anyone—least of all myself—and something had to change.

Just like when I tried to do plank on the floor and realized it was too much too soon, I swallowed my pride and let go of expectations. I allowed my friends and family help me with the babies. I let my team at work support me in a way I never had before. I gave up on trying to live up to the media ideal of a mom and accepted my own version instead. In other words, I embraced one of the of the most important tenets of barre3: I honored my truth.

That shift made all the difference for me. Instead of beating myself up for not being able to do it all, I began to appreciate what I can do. I can take 15 minutes every night to walk the dog alone. I can do a barre3 class for 60 minutes and focus on just me. If I only get 10 minutes a day of quality time with my kids and the rest of our time together is utter chaos, that’s OK. It’s ironic: We strive for perfection because we think it will make us happy, but it was only when I let go of it that I began to find joy again.

Through this entire journey, barre3 was my saving grace. When I was pregnant, it was the one workout I could modify as I got bigger. When I couldn’t work out, I relied on the barre3 nutrition philosophy so I could at least eat healthily. After having my babies, the strong barre3 community buoyed me—both at work and in the studio.

Now that I’m past my transition, I feel so grateful to be able to give back to the community that has given so much to me. And thanks to my journey, I’m able to do that with an extra dose of empathy. I’ve been the turbo woman who could go full throttle, and I’ve been the new mom who can’t feel her core. Being able to relate to both ends of the spectrum means that I can do what barre3 did for me: help them find their truth and honor it.

barre3 Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2015

barre3 Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2015

The barre3 Mother’s Day Gift Guide is here! Read on to see what items made this year’s list.

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1. VP of Sales + Marketing Amy Leclerc can see her mom rocking this colorful MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote. We love MZ Wallace because the bags are super functional with tons of go-anywhere features.

2. Communications Manager Kait Hurley’s workout buddy is her mom—they take class together a few days a week. She recommends gifting your mama our 3-month online kit so she can be your workout buddy too. It includes everything your mom needs to kickstart a strong barre3 practice at home and on the go.

3. We followed Christy Turlington Burns to see how the Apple Watch helped her prepare for the London Marathon. Many of the moms in our office have this on their wish list—we especially like the fun colors of the watch sport.

4. Corporate Studios Operations Manager Candace Ofcacek is getting her mom a subscription to Darling Magazine. We love Darling Mag because it features real women (no retouching!) and celebrates beauty in an honest, attainable way.

5. Director of Operations Jenni Johnson is hoping to get this Essential Bracelet from Pluma Jewelry. Pluma is based out of Columbus, OH and is a go-to for Columbus studio owners Courtney Gerlach and Whitney Carpenter.

6. This Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream is founder Sadie Lincoln’s favorite. Not only does it smooth skin tone and feature built-in sun protection, it makes your face glow. An added bonus: they use locally sourced organic ingredients that are free of pesticides and harmful chemicals.

7. These colorful deco-print Paloma Tree Bookends are a great way to showcase mom’s favorite books. We found them on Blake Lively’s lifestyle site Preserve, which is loaded with giftable treasures.

8. We’re slightly obsessed with cool mom blogger Love Taza. Recently, we found this great print in her online shop. We love her reminder to enjoy the little things.

 

Is there an item on this list that you’re hoping to give or receive? Tell us in the comments below.

 

An Interview with Sarah Dubbeldam of Darling Magazine

An Interview with Sarah Dubbeldam of Darling Magazine

We love Darling Magazine because they promote healthy body image in women (no retouching—ever!) while celebrating beauty in a real, attainable way. We recently sat down with founder Sarah Dubbeldam to learn more about Darling’s mission and to discover what motivated her to start the magazine in the first place. Her insights into beauty, self-affirmation and leadership are so inspiring: read on to get the full story.

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1. When did you decide that you wanted to launch Darling Magazine? What pushed you to go for it?

After college, my friend Kelli and I started talking about how there was a real lack of women’s magazines that promoted deeper conversation, healthy body image, and an attainable lifestyle. We were going through real-life problems and knew we weren’t the only women out there feeling the same thing, so it was from that first conversation back in 2006 that Darling was born. We felt pushed to go for it because it was something strong on our hearts and consciences—we knew that someone had to start the conversation and if we didn’t, it might not happen.

2. Why have you openly committed to not altering images of women in your magazine?

We feel that the skyrocketing negative stats on women and depression, anxiety and poor body image is due to seeing, over and over, “perfect” images that have been altered. It creates an unattainable standard for women and we feel that needs to change. So we have committed to never touching a woman’s body or skin at all digitally—leaving all those pesky pimples and wrinkles, hoping to redefine beauty as something that doesn’t always have to be perfect, but instead, just original and genuine.

3. Where do you get your inspiration? I’d love to know what brands you look up to and how you get your creative juices going.

I get my inspiration from a lot of European magazines—ones that are for women, or with an emphasis on design and photography. I also feel inspired by traveling and reading old books from classic authors such as Scott Fitzgerald. When I’m forced to imagine another time, space and reality, it gives me hope for creating a new reality within women’s media.

4. What do you think are qualities a good leader possesses? What’s your leadership style?

One, a strong vision and the ability to communicate it over and over in creative ways to inspire others to join you. Two, a humble confidence; there is nothing worse than an arrogant leader—when you look to serve and empower your team, it yields better results. Three, optimism no matter what’s happening—this is especially needed when you’re the leader of a start-up! My leadership style is focused on empowering others in their areas of strength and trying not to micromanage. I like to be friends with the people I work with, while still fostering a healthy respect for one another and a professional posture.

5. If women could take away one thing from reading Darling, what would that be?

That they have an original beauty, a unique personality and a special reason for being on this earth.

6. What’s your advice to women who are struggling with self-acceptance, low self-esteem, and/or body image issues?

My best advice is to really monitor the outside things you are taking in. When we fill our minds and hearts with images of perfection or messages of unattainable lifestyles (like Instagram) we can get discouraged. I also feel it’s important to read smart books and throw out trashy magazines—especially those glorifying the mistakes of others (celebrity mags)—these don’t edify our minds or give us interesting things to talk about, which is often a source of insecurity for women. And finally, learn to affirm your body (every detail of it) apart from comparison. There is a quote that says: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I couldn’t agree more!

7. Do you have a workout routine? If so, how do you fit exercise into your busy schedule?

I do! Sometimes I do barre3 Online and other days I go to a gym near my house in Glendale called AAY. It has excellent, well-rounded workouts with trainers that monitor you. I love it!

8. As an Oregonian myself, I was excited to hear that you’re an Oregonian too. Has the local culture impacted you and the way you run your company?

I love Oregon! Oregonians are so kind, humble and friendly. They are opinionated (especially about environmentalism) but somehow find a way to have a respectful voice. I feel that growing up in a small town (Sisters, OR) helped me create a very personable, “family” feel with our staff at Darling. I never take myself too seriously and believe that fun and laughter is a necessary part of business.

Check out Darling online at darlingmagazine.org.