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Spicing Up The Gym—Plus A Giveaway!

2015 June 20
by Becky

**this giveaway is now closed, congratulations Tori!**

Swimsuit season isn’t around the corner, it’s here. I’ve been swimsuit shopping (and wanted to kill myself) and have made a few trips to the pool, pasty white legs hiding under desperate, twice daily applications of Jergens Natural Glow. My new post-pregnancy veins screaming in my ear, “People can see us now!!!”, those last ten pounds of baby weight hanging on for dear life.
Oh, how I hate/love this part of summer.

So when my friend Carrie, who’s also dumping baby weight like wildfire, told me about doing Pilates on a surf board, I had to know more.


I’ve tried the stand-up paddle board thing and know how freaking hard it is, how could anyone think it’s possible to DO something while balancing up there? Well that’s exactly what Core3 in Brentwood is simulating, no ocean required. And man, it feels like the real thing. Carrie loves these workouts so much, she put together a little “party” (if you can EVER call working out a party) to show a few of her girlfriends what the heck she’s been raving about. I RSVP’d immediately. Then I panicked the night of the party, wondering if I could possibly do this class.

Turns out, I could!



We all did great! We planked and downward-dogged, and squatted…pretty much everything you’d do in a hard-core fitness class, just on a surf board wobbling above a stability-ball-type surface. At first, I was near falling off at every move. After a few tries at each move though, things go easier. Well, not easier, just a little more stable. Nothing was easy. Owner and instructor Cari Benz Allen was tough but motivating, encouraging us to keep trying, walking through the room to correct form or give tips. At one point, Cari handed out “paddles”, complete with water splashing sounds, and we dug through imaginary water to work our obliques. Ouch.

Changing things up so often kept my mind off the pain, but trust me, there was pain. After 35 minutes, my body was on fire. But I did it! And it was really fun. And I’d do it again.

Prior to riding some “waves”, we did 25 minutes on the RealRyder bikes, something I was REALLY interested in since I love love love to spin. The only workout for which I get excited is an hour on a bike, being yelled at while listening to blaring music, and the RealRyder adds a whole new level to an already high-energy, crazy-hard class. The bikes are mounted on these squishy stands that turn your core on overdrive to stay centered. Cari would yell “Turn Right!” and we’d all lean to the right, bodies going diagonal, everyone at some point letting out a yelp in fear we’d topple (no one did). And when we stood up to run? OMG the bikes went nuts, it took major core work to get a smooth ride.


So there’s several class styles offered at Core3. You can just board or just bike, you can “Peddle and Paddle”, you can do more of a cardio workout on the board, or you can go all out and do some TRX…on the board. Like TRX isn’t brutal enough on it’s own. Add in a moving platform to make it harder!

My biceps are aching just at the thought.

Major bonus? Core3 offers childcare! You just sign up using their snazzy scheduling system online and pop your tot in the cute little play room, babysitter equipped. The online system ensures your spot…no arriving to find the class full (THE WORST!).

Speaking of kids, every now and then Core3 features a kids surf class. Ethan’s dying to do it. Here’s a pic of Carrie’s little dude paddling out to a big wave.


So if you are looking for a way to change up your work out routine, this is it. I do SO much better in a class setting. I work harder and know I won’t let myself skip anything or stop early. Plus there’s a kind of pressure when you’ve signed up and paid for a class, it’s enough to get my butt to the gym.

Owner Cari was gracious enough to offer three FREE classes to one of my St. Louis based readers! This should be interesting since readership of this blog is all over the place (that’s right, I can SEE where you are reading this…insert evil laugh), so here are the details.


Core3 is giving THREE free classes to ONE lucky reader. The winner can take any classes offered by Core3…good luck choosing!

To enter, please:

  • Visit Core3, then come back here and tell me which class you want to take.
  • Additional Entry: “Like” Preparing for Peanut on Facebook.
  • Additional Entry: “Like” Core3 on Facebook.
  • Open to St. Louis Metro residents only (that includes you Illinois-side peeps!)

We will announce the winner Friday, June 26!
(Winner will be notified by email)

And if you can’t wait another second, visit Core3 to find a workout class today. I promise, with these classes you’ll be ready to don a swimsuit and chase your kids around the pool with confidence.

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Finally Family Photos

2015 June 16
by Becky

Family photos.

Seriously, for someone who has a camera practically glued to my eyeball 24/7, I get waaaaay too anxious about getting professional photos.


I’ve found the longer I have to think about them, the worse I am. So when my friend and neighbor JJ Lane of Be Lovely Photography announced a mini session day, I jumped on it. Finn was already SIX months and we’d yet to get an real family photo, one that was actually in focus and not taken by me with a faulty remote and tripod.


JJ planned the sessions at Lafayette Square Park, one of the most beautiful parks in St. Louis City, so I was actually really excited…until it was time to pick clothes. Ugh the dreaded dressing of the family. My method: make Mom happy then dress everyone else. Kids look cute in everything and husbands are easy.

No matter how worked up I get myself, I never regret booking a photographer. I cherish every picture, hoping our kids will someday too.



We woke that morning to find the radar filled with rain (big surprise…it rains every day). We could have postponed but that would have meant more time to thing about it so we just crossed our fingers and hoped for a break. Our wish was sort of granted. If you don’t count mist.


I love that JJ captured our real personalities, we never felt fake or forced while she was shooting. Finn was a gigantic ham, enormous smiles for every click. If allowed, Ethan would have turned the day into his own personal modeling session…he loves the camera on HIS terms. And we bribed him. A lot. 


FinnKiss KidsDuo

These two. Seriously. They have the same little squinty eyes when they smile.

Once dressed and on site, we had so much fun with JJ. She is amazing with kids—just had her third—and so calmly encouraging. She made my worries disappear, made us all feel like ourselves. She got the perfect mix of posed family shots and looks at every day life.



I wasn’t ready for these. I didn’t feel like myself yet, baby weight still clinging in too many areas. But waiting isn’t an option when these kids are growing so fast. I love how they turned out and am so glad we made it work. A mini session, around thirty minutes, is key for dealing with antsy kids. And that park…OMG. In full bloom with baby ducks and geese waddling around everywhere, it was as close to a magical fairy-land as real life gets.

So it’s done! Another year of family photos in the can. Contact JJ if you want some too.


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