5 Reasons You Should Go to Todd Pilates and Barre

Since health and fitness have recently become large priorities in my life, I knew that I would need to find a fitness studio for my summer in Austin. After some extensive research, I found Todd Pilates and Barre, and bought their “Unlimited Monthly” plan without even taking a class.

This was a risky move on my part, but it paid off. The classes quickly became my favorite part of my week, and when I was at full-health, I strived to be in the studio 4-5 times a week.

Here’s my top 5 reasons for why you should try out Todd Pilates and Barre, too!

1. It’s a serious full-body workout

They claim to be a full-body workout, and they mean it. Both pilates and barre were working muscles I didn’t even know I had- after my first pilates class, I couldn’t walk normally for 48 hours because I was so sore. My body quickly adjusted to the new paces I was putting it through, and I came to love the feeling of pushing my body to the limit. I am undoubtedly much stronger at the end of these three months. Before, I could barely do 2 pushups- now I can do the full 16 in Todd’s class!

2. PIlates classes with todd

Pilates classes with THE Todd of Todd Pilates is reason enough to give it a try. He loves to keep the class high-energy, and always picks an entertaining playlist to accompany the pilates moves. We regularly use all the props (which you don’t have to buy- you can use the ones in the prop room for free!) and every time I leave, I feel like the workout I’m getting is super diverse. Also, it’s just fun to see what hair color Todd is going to have next- he switches it up often!

3. uncensored hip-hop barre with holly

Holly’s daytime barre classes are great, too, but “Uncensored Barre” at 8:15 on Mondays were my favorite nights of the week. She uses this time to play more explicit tracks, similar to what you would hear if you were out at the club. Holly really encourages having fun and dancing- it is a barre class after all! She’s also really receptive to playlist requests. It made my whole week when I heard “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame on the track list!

Bonus: Barre really does give you a dancer’s body. I don’t have long legs naturally, but they look much longer after I lengthened and leaned out the muscles!

4. it’s completely inclusive

I see the whole range of ages and fitness levels every time I come to class. In my Tuesday/Thursday morning classes, I was regularly the youngest participant, but there were more young people in classes like Uncensored Barre and on the weekend. The instructors regularly demonstrate alternative moves for people with movement restrictions. This is super helpful, because it allows everyone to keep up and get a good workout!

5. They foster self-love

I don’t know what it is about barre and pilates, but they really make you focus inward (mentally and physically) if you want to get the most out of your classes. I regularly snagged a spot by the mirror, so a lot of my time was actually spent starting at myself. I loved watching my body move and seeing new muscles appear as I stared at myself in the mirror during workouts! Being able to watch your body get stronger and leaner really fosters an intense feeling of self-love, helped along by the relentlessly supportive instructors and staff. Getting feedback or being told that I did great that day brightened my whole week!

I’m so sad to be done at Todd Pilates and Barre for the time being. If I ever end up in Austin in the future, I can guarantee I’ll be back. I’ll miss ya, TPB! Thanks for a killer summer.

-K

Staying Organized with an Agenda

Happy August 1! If you’re like me, then you know that it’s also the first official day for the new Lilly Pulitzer academic agendas, which run August – July!

Since school is right around the corner, I wanted to spend some time talking about how I stay organized using my agenda. As a full-time student/part-time blogger, my time is really important to me. Because of my meticulous agenda skills, I’m able to make the most of it!

MY AGENDA

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about what agenda I choose to use. For the past 4 years, I’ve been a Lilly Pulitzer agenda girl, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

This year, I’m using the Lilly Pulitzer Large Agenda in the print Multi Floridita.

Color-COding

Color coding is essential for me. With one glance, I can see everything on my list for the day, and where my priorities should be. I like to divide my colors up by class during the academic year. This is my color-coding system for fall 2019:

I’ve used the Paper Mate® Inkjoy ballpoint pens since I got to college, and those from the original pack are still going strong despite their heavy use. I don’t use black or brown in my agenda (the design is too bright for bland colors) and I don’t use orange. On principle.

Stickers

Stickers are the fun part! Beyond getting to make my space colorful with ballpoint pens, I also use bright stickers. I use stickers mainly on the monthly spread pages, since they’re able to give me a quick run-down of my most important events for the upcoming month.

I also try to make them related to the activity I’m scheduling- footballs for football games, music notes for band-related events, roses for sorority events, and little cameras for things I had to do as historian. For other important events without a specific set of stickers, I usually used stars!

My favorite sources for stickers are:

Scheduling

It used to be hard for me to easily distinguish between things that were on my schedule and things just on my to-do list. Now, I use triangles to designate things with a certain time (ex. “Brunch w/ Lexi @ Neighborhood Jam @ 10:30”) vs things I just have to do that day (ex. “Go grocery shopping”). Here’s an example week from September of last year that shows these symbols in action! (Bonus incentive to use symbols: checking them off is so satisfying!)

Extra tips!

  • Write it down. Write everything down. I don’t care if you think you’re going to remember something- write it down anyways.
  • Make sure your agenda has your name, phone number, and email inside! I’ve never lost mine- knock on wood– but if I did, I would want someone to be able to contact me and get it returned ASAP.
  • Use a paper clip at the top of your current week so you can easily flip what to what day it is. No more scrambling to find the correct day when your professor is giving out the homework instructions!

Questions?

Is there anything I didn’t cover? I would love to answer any of your unanswered, burning questions- leave a comment down below or shoot me an email!

-K

The Oasis on Lake Travis

Some of my college friends came down to Austin this weekend to visit me, and I knew there was a lot of pressure to come up with the perfect itinerary. They only had a little less than 48 hours here, so making good use of our time was crucial. Our dinner stop, the first item on the itinerary, had to be super great to set the tone for the rest of the trip.

After some deliberation, I decided we would go to The Oasis on Lake Travis. This multi-tiered restaurant is nestled high in the hills of Austin, overlooking Lake Travis. The altitude and western-facing disposition lends itself perfectly to beautiful sunset photos as you eat dinner on one of its many outdoor patios. My friends hadn’t looked up our destination before we headed out, so they were pretty shocked by the grandeur of it all as we pulled up.

We were seated immediately, since we were willing to sit outside despite the heat. I got a classic frozen margarita, perfect for keeping me cool on the hot summer evening!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a notorious picky eater. When menus are somewhat limited, sometimes I have to get creative with my ordering. I chose fajitas, with just the fillings. My waitress was nice enough to put all the ingredients in separately to save me some money! (They ended up being less like fajitas and more like DIY soft tacos. No complaints, though. Everything was super good, especially the cheese!)

By the time we finished eating, we were able to wander around the different levels and take in the breathtaking sunset. Golden hour came in clutch for our mandatory “horns down” photo. Boomer!

As we left the Oasis, we drove back down the mountain just as the sunset was hitting its peak. Since it is pretty secluded, we were able to put our hazards on and slow down for a second to soak in the view one last time. Just as we were about to round the corner and put Lake Travis out of sight, the sun sank down behind the horizon entirely and the sky went dark. We truly timed our drive perfectly!

Overall, this is a perfect tourist destination for people visiting Austin! It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. Being able to spend time with my friends with the bonus of an incredible view made it the perfect start to our girls’ weekend!

-K

Museum of Memories

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Memories in Dallas! Museum of Memories is a quirky, nostalgic, Instagram-lover’s heaven. It’s completely inspired by scenes of the 90s and 00s, and has the playlist to match. I went with my friend Jaya and had such a fun time exploring the different rooms and being reminded of my childhood. I’m excited to share my favorite photos with y’all!

Jaya and I both loved the monochromatic dollhouse rooms. Jaya was partial to the kitchen (“I just love kitchens!” -Jaya) and we spent a good bit of time here. I loved the turquoise living room, complete with a corded telephone. They also had an all-turquoise Connect Four and chess set!

Next up, the cloud room. I had seen this one floating around Insta and was excited to see it for myself. It’s actually a lot harder to pose with clouds than you might think! They’re fluffy and glowing, so deciding the best way to photograph one was a bit of a challenge. I love the one of me hugging one! Truly a childhood dream, fulfilled. (On the way home, I couldn’t resist pointing at the clouds in the sky and remarking “we took pictures with those.” Jaya was only partially amused.)

My favorite room was the diary-inspired room! I had several diaries throughout my youth, so this was particularly nostalgic for me. I especially loved the Mean Girls reference with “That’s so fetch!” written on the pencil, although the pencil itself screamed “Clueless” to me as well.

The birthday room was also super cute! I loved the four-tier cake, complete with a plethora of birthday candles. To get some candid laughter, Jaya made sure to reference a joke from our high school days. No fake laughter required to get a super cute shot!

Since MoM is 90s/00s themed, they couldn’t have enough Mean Girls references! The monochromatic “you can’t sit with us” mural was the perfect excuse for Jaya and I to whip out our best RBF. (Are we intimidating yet?)

I’m a sucker for good Insta content, so this outing was the perfect afternoon adventure! If you’re in the Dallas area, I highly recommend giving this place a visit before it leaves at the end of the summer. All the artwork is hand-painted and is just as stunning in person! Make sure you go online to their website and buy your tickets in advance.

If you end up going, I would love to see your shots! Tag me or hashtag #selfiesandootds so I can see your take on the fun themes.

-K

The Aussie Grind

I’ve never had the chance to go to Australia, but I got to taste a little bit of it this weekend at The Aussie Grind in Frisco! My dad and I are always looking for new quirky breakfast spots to try, so when we found out about a new Australian-style brunch place that had just opened near our house, we knew we needed to check it out.

My dad and I both like coffee, so we decided to try a flat white– a style of coffee that originated in Australia. Since The Aussie Grind is authentically Australian (the owners moved to Texas from Australia in 2018), we knew that this was the perfect place to put flat white coffee to the test.

Verdict: it was so tasty! The presentation was beautiful and it tasted good, too. Since I’m used to sweet coffee, I made it about halfway through before adding sugar packets in. (Oops!)

I soon found out that Australian food is similar to American food, but with a twist. Being who I am, I decided to get the Avo Smash– a proclaimed “staple” on their menu. I thought it was super interesting that they served the avocado toast on sourdough bread. I’m used to eating my avocado toast on plain white bread, so the sourdough definitely elevated it a bit. I might have to get some sourdough at Trader Joe’s once I get back to Austin and try to make Avo Smash at home! Also, I’m not sure what they did to those scrambled eggs, but they were amazing– seriously some of the best eggs I’ve ever had.

By the time we left, I was riding a super strong caffeine/sugar high from that flat white coffee. The Aussie Grind has tons of other interesting options on their menu, so I want to come back next time I’m in town and see what else they have to offer! I tried my dad’s Breakfast Gnocchi, and that was top-tier as well. The Hotcakes intrigue me, but might be best saved for a day when dessert-for-breakfast sounds appealing (it’s pancakes served with cotton candy and vanilla ice cream!)

If you’re in the Frisco area looking for a fresh take on American brunch food, I highly recommend The Aussie Grind. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, though, so plan to go early!

-K

Simple Changes for Healthier Eating

If you’re a 20-something college student like me, healthy eating probably isn’t always your number one priority. Which is totally fair- at this stage in life there’s a lot of things that are easy to prioritize over something like your diet. But healthy eating is so important, especially in your 20s, because it sets the foundation for the eating habits and the relationship you’ll have with food for the rest of your life.

I’ve talked about counting calories and my personal fitness journey on the blog before. Today, I’m going to be sharing the tips and tricks I’ve discovered along my health and fitness journey that help me eat cleaner. I’m no health expert nor extreme fitness guru; I’m just someone who has learned some things along the way and want to share my advice with you. Let’s get started!

Simple changes you can make for healthier eating

1. When In Doubt, Leave It Out

This means that if you’re making a meal and could possibly get away with leaving out a less-than-nutritious ingredient, do. For me, this was cheese. I used to put cheese on everything, especially in my pasta and on my avocado toast. Recently, I’ve started eating some of my most frequented meals without my beloved parmesan and feta- and you know what? It still tasted great. (Disclaimer: I definitely still eat cheese. I just have made it a habit to leave it out whenever possible.)

2. You Don’t Have To Eat The Serving Size

This one really changed the game for me. I’ve always been the person to eat at or above the serving size- especially for things like pasta dishes or bags of chips. My favorite meal to make at home- one I will actually swear by- is the avocado toast I mentioned earlier. The serving size for the loaf of bread I use came out to about three slices per meal, so that’s what I ate. Never thought much of it, until one day I realized that the part of the meal that is so fulfilling (the avocado and whatever I put on it) could really all fit on just two pieces of toast. That sliced my calories- and my bread intake- by a third! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can really add up.

3. Fruit. Lots of Fruit.

If fruititarians were a thing, I’d be one. I eat a lot of fruit, especially recently. My favorite thing to do with any meal is to cut up a big bowl of fruit, specifically 10 strawberries, 20 grapes, and a cup of watermelon. (Pictured above!) I try to eat this with every lunch and dinner I eat at home, A) because I love fruit, and B) it helps fill me up for only 150 calories extra. Add my regular entrée of avocado toast or pasta on top of that, and I’m looking at around a 400-450 calorie meal that keeps me full for hours. Thanks, fruit!

4. Find a Low-Calorie Dessert You Genuinely Love

Your sweet tooth doesn’t always have to be satisfied by a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream at the end of the night. For me, something that changed the game was finding low-calorie dessert options that curbed my sugar cravings put didn’t put me at a 600 calorie surplus by the end of the day. Fruit is sweet, but it just isn’t the same, so my go-to dessert items are Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses (usually 2, 40 calories total), or Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues (I cut myself down to 1 a day, 22 calories each).

5. Eat at Home.

Make going out to eat a social thing only. If you can eat at home, do. As I’ve been living in Austin, I find it almost impossible to go out to eat alone. I would much rather go home and spend my time cutting up the nice fruits and veggies I bought and make a healthy meal for myself in my own home. I love going out to eat, don’t get me wrong- there’s something about a good brunch that I can’t make myself- but I reserve it for when I’m going out to eat with family or friends.

OVerall

Do what feels right for you. Adjusting to a healthier diet was an important change for me, and I’ve found that it was 100% worth it. I don’t feel sluggish anymore, I no longer need a nap to make it through the afternoon, my skin has cleared up- the list goes on. But listen to your body and your needs! Everyone is different, and that means everyone’s dietary needs are different. If you have any technical or personal questions about your diet beyond what Google or I could answer, I urge you to contact your doctor or a dietician to find a nutrition plan that’s right for you.

-K

The Erin Condren Flagship Store

I’m an agenda girl at heart. Being able to plan out my days and clearly see all my to-dos in one place is what basically keeps me from bursting into flames, especially during the school year. So when I found out that the Erin Condren flagship store is located in Austin, I knew I had to pay it a visit! I’m a Lilly Pulitzer agenda fan, personally, but I was still excited to go visit a store thats sole mission is selling agendas and helping people get their life in order.

When I first arrived at The Domain, I was surprised at how easy it was to find the Erin Condren location. It’s at the corner of an intersection, so its beautiful, colorful mural isn’t easy to miss.

For me, stepping inside a planner store was like stepping into my own personal heaven. Colorful and chic, I felt inspired just being in that space. You can see almost everything from the front entrance, so that’s where I stayed for a while, taking it all in.

Like I said, I’m not an Erin Condren agenda-user, but I was still interested in checking out the products and seeing agenda layouts different from the one I primarily use. Something I like about Erin Condren’s philosophy is how customizable everything is. In-store and online, customers can choose the layout, cover, and coil that speak the most to them. I think the ability you have to make your agenda completely unique to you is pretty cool!

Beyond the actual agendas, the flagship store also had agenda accessories galore. I was immediately drawn in by the pens. It seemed like they had pens in every color and style imaginable! If I’m ever needing a specific shade for my color-coding needs, I know where I’ll head first, because this place has them all.

As if the pens weren’t enough, they also have an entire wall dedicated exclusively to agenda accessories. From sticky notes, to stickers, to stamps, they really thought of it all. If I’m being honest, I didn’t stay and study this section too hard, solely because I knew I would leave with oodles of accessories and a hurt bank account if I did.

This store seriously has it all. While I can’t personally vouch for the agendas themselves, I can recommend that if you need any agenda accessories, this is the place to be. Especially if you’re into a bright, colorful aesthetic!

Do you have a favorite agenda brand? I love scoping out new layouts and styles of agendas, so if you have a brand that you live by, let me know!

-K

JuiceLand

I’ve never really been much of a smoothie person. Other people in my life have loved them and sworn by them- my sister is a big fan of classic strawberry-banana smoothies and my dad can’t live without his green veggie mix. But I never really had the urge to buy one or try a new one- until I started seeing JuiceLands all over town during my summer in Austin.

Their Barton Springs location piqued my interest first. (Coincidentally, this is also their flagship store.) I see it when I drive home from work that way, and it always looked busy. I was intrigued, and looked them up. Turns out, there was a JuiceLand location only 2 minutes away from my barre and pilates studio. Score!

After class on Thursday, I decided to stop in. For what it’s worth, smoothies are supposed to be pretty healthy (at least compared to something like a milkshake,) so I didn’t feel guilty treating myself after an especially grueling pilates class.

As some of you know, I’m a creature of habit and very rarely branch out and try different foods. I decided to challenge that, and order something I wouldn’t usually try (but still looked tasty.) Enter: the Raspberry Hooray! Made with pineapple, banana, and raspberry, it wasn’t too far from the norm for my conservative palate, but was still different enough for me to be proud of my adventurous spirit.

Spoiler alert: It was so good. I slurped it down in under 5 minutes, and felt completely refreshed. With the small clocking in at only 293 calories, it made me feel good, too.

JuiceLand has around 25 locations in Austin, and 3 each in the Dallas and Houston areas. Can they come to Norman next, please? I’m feeling like I might get addicted to these this summer.

-K

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

This past weekend, my dad came to visit me in Austin and we spent all day Saturday eating good food and doing the quintessential Austin activities. (If you missed the Father’s Day recap, click here to read all about it!) One of our outings (and quite frankly, one of my favorite parts of the day) was dinner on South Congress at Hopdoddy Burger Bar. I enjoyed my experience there so much that I didn’t think it deserved to be thrown in with the rest of the Father’s Day roundup, and instead deserved its own review. So, let’s get right into it!

Hopdoddy came as a recommendation from my aunt. Beyond knowing that it was a gourmet burger place, I didn’t have many more expectations other than what she told me. She gave me two pieces advice before we went:

  1. The ordering system is a little different, but you’ll figure it out quick.
  2. Go before 5:30, or make sure you don’t come hungry, because after 5:30 the line will be out the door and wrapped around the building.

This was a lot of hype for a burger joint, but we listened to her advice and went around 5:00. When we arrived, the line was (luckily) inside, and we got to peruse the menu in the comfort of their AC. I also found out what she meant about the ordering system being different than an average restaurant: they don’t take your order until there is a table available for you. My guess is that this is to ensure that everyone has a place to sit when their food comes out shortly after ordering. All their tables are numbered and marked with signs that say “Reserved for Customers Waiting in Line.” When a table is available, they take your order, assign you a table number, and then you can go sit down. I can see how this system ends with a line stretching around the building, as they probably could take orders much faster than people could eat their food.

Speaking of the food, I got garlic parmesan truffle fries! Anything truffle is my weakness, so when I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to have it. It’s meant to be shared as an appetizer, but I decided to forego a burger and eat the fries as a main course.

My dad and I also decided to split a shake! I almost never get shakes when I go out to eat (I just don’t think the calories are worth it,) but I decided to #treatmyself that day. I’m glad I did, because the s’mores shake my dad and I had was incredible. It could be that I just hadn’t had a milkshake in a hot second that made it taste so dang good, but my dad is somewhat of a milkshake connoisseur and even he said it was awesome. It mostly tasted like chocolate, but the marshmallow was just the extra flavor it needed to send it over the edge. 10/10, would definitely recommend to a friend.

Overall, Hopdoddy is definitely a fun South Congress destination! There’s a parking garage right next door, so that’s very useful since downtown is notorious for a lack of parking. Just make sure you go early, because otherwise you’ll be stuck out in the elements as you wait for the early birds to finish their meals!

-K

How I Celebrated Father’s Day 2019

My dad came to Austin yesterday to visit me. I was so excited, because that meant that I would actually get to (basically) spend Father’s Day with my dad. (The day before still counts, right?) I wasn’t going to visit home for two more weeks, so this was nice because I got to spend time with him earlier than anticipated!

My dad left Frisco super early in the morning, and ended up getting to Austin around 11. I hadn’t eaten yet, so brunch was super appealing. Per the recommendations of my coworkers and aunt, we decided on Kerbey Lane. My cinnamon-swirl pancakes were excellent (can you believe that they consider those half-sized?) and my dad let me share some of his breakfast potatoes. I left very full and very satisfied.

Once I had a substantial food baby from our great brunch, clearly only logical next step was to put a bathing suit and go paddle boarding. We took our stand-up paddle boards out on Lady Bird Lake for an hour, and that was more than enough time. We had a great time, but it was hot, we both got a little sunburnt, and were more than ready for the next stop on our list.

Up next: Barton Springs Pool! The water is a constant 68-70 degrees, so we were both ready to dive in after our toasty paddle board session. But be warned: while 68-70 degrees isn’t that bad in air temperature, it’s pretty dang chilly in water. I definitely got some swim team flashbacks after my jump into the frosty water.

After our (somewhat brief) swim, we laid out in the shade for a while! I liked people watching because Austin has so many interesting characters, especially at a landmark like Barton Springs. My dad, worn out from paddle boarding, took a short snooze.

When we were done at Barton Springs, we headed back home to shower and get ready to go out to dinner. We went to Hopdoddy, per the recommendation of my aunt, and it was really good! I’m going to post a full restaurant review soon (stay tuned!), so for now I’ll leave you with this picture of my truffle fries and shake.

Since we were back on SoCo, we decided to wander around and visit some more places I hadn’t seen when I was out with my friends last weekend. My favorite was the costume store Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, while my dad liked the various cowboy hat and boots stores.

It was only a day trip for him, so he headed back home after we explored South Congress for a little while. I’m so glad I got to spend time with him, and hope he’ll come back again before the summer ends!

(I know he reads my blog, even though he never says anything, so if you’re reading this Dad, happy Father’s Day and I love you! )

-K