Burn at the Barre

I decided to not blog every day while on vacation because that’s just crazy-ness. So instead I’ve asked a few friends to chime in for me. I’ll make this short and sweet. Jill, blogs over at Bluegrass Belle and I’m excited to have her on my blog today! Please take a visit at her website. She’s one of my daily-reads (or whenever she updates, heh heh!)


Hey there, Spiffykerms readers! I’m Jill, from Lexington, Kentucky, and I blog over at Bluegrass Belle. While I wish I could tell you I have a certain topic or “focus,” you’d quickly figure out that isn’t the case, ha! (I intentionally chose this picture of myself because a friend told me I looked skinny…ha!)

Anyway – I’ve been reading Nancy’s blog for quite a few years now and one of the things I’ve always admired is how active she is! Well, now I understand why that is easy for her – it’s because she does something she likes! Last January, I too started doing something I liked…Barre Amped!

Never heard of Barre Amped? Well neither had I, really, until I started doing it! From the website: “BarreAmped is an intensive body shaping experience designed to produce reliable results, no matter the client. The method is influenced by classical and modern dance (though it is not a dance class) and utilizes a barre to achieve optimal positioning. The precision-oriented technique focuses mainly on small, isolated movements within deeply held and challenging postures. BarreAmped is proven to increase metabolism, burn fat, and lengthen tight muscles. With commitment to the technique, you get recognizable results exactly where you want them.”

Okay, well, that sounds great and all, but does it work? Honestly, before I did it I had a hard time thinking that it would. You never use more than a 3 lb. weight and it’s not like you’re running miles or anything. The first time I took a class, I didn’t even take a bottle of water!!!! (It was an accident, but oh, how quickly I learned…)

(This hottie is Leigh-Ann, one of my BarreAmped instructors and the studio owner. Not too shabby!)

I’ll say this – when I started doing Barre Amped, my size 6 pants were starting to become snug. That has definitely changed! My stomach is flatter and more toned, I have muscle definition in my legs that wasn’t there before, and I feel tremendously better.

BarreAmped has also allowed me to feel comfortable in LEGGINGS. People, I hadn’t worn leggings since elementary school! And skinny jeans? I actually LIKE them now.

In addition to being a total body workout, BarreAmped allows me to zone out for an hour and focus on me. Usually, at the gym, I’d be on the treadmill or elliptical…and the whole time my mind would be racing. Honest to Pete, I would often wish I had a notepad to make notes to myself of all the things I would think about that I needed to do (at work, at home, etc.) That is enough to make you dread working out right there! At BarreAmped, not the case. The entire 60 minutes, I’m focused on the instruction and cues from the teacher, as well as my body and position.

So, you may be wondering about the title of the post, Burn at the Barre. Well, if you don’t feel the burn and your muscles aren’t shaking, you’re not doing it right. Or else you are tremendously in shape and I hate you. But let’s assume that isn’t the case ;) A huge goal in BarreAmped is to make your muscles shake and burn. I can handle the shaking a lot better than the burning. Let’s take a look at one of the positions that burns the crap out of my legs AND makes me shake…Leigh-Ann is below in seated chair, with heels in releve (rell-uh-vay).

(Can I just add that Leigh-Ann taught BarreAmped classes all the way up to 40 weeks pregnant?! I’m not kidding when I say I took a class with her one night and she had her baby girl THE NEXT DAY. She is amazing.)

The other HUGE burn for me comes when we do what is known as the “Waterski.” Check out the picture and you’ll easily see why. I hate waterski, but I love it. It burns like the dickens, but I know it is working. I can feel it!

If you don’t have Barre Amped in your area (check this link for locations), there are a number of other barre classes you can try. I can’t speak to what they’re like because I’ve never done them, however, those I know of are: Pure Barre, Bar Method, and Physique57.

Still none of those available? Check out this at-home workout, compliments of Shape magazine: Embrace Your Inner Ballerina

Or, you can visit My Barre 3 and try out some online classes. My friend Emily did this for awhile, when she was faced with a really hectic schedule and couldn’t make it to class! She enjoyed it!

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give barre a try! If nothing else – you heard this from someone who has actually tried it and seen results…not just some super fit instructor! I always wanted to hear from someone firsthand but a) never knew anyone who did it and b) never had the courage to ask many questions. I’m about 10 lbs. lighter than when I started, and loving every minute of class. Just don’t forget your towel and water bottle ;)

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Holiday Decorations

I “met” Aleeza by finding her beauty videos on YouTube. She’s not too far away from me, as she’s located in Toronto. I usually live vicariously through her expensive taste and haul videos. Love them. Aleeza was also doing Project 10 Pan and reminded me that I should do it too. You can check her channel out, and she also blogs and is on twitter. Aleeza must know that I’m incredibly into Nutcrackers this year — check out her favorite decorations below! Love that she personalized the little tree with my name, awww!!


  One of my favourite things about the holidays is decorating the tree. I love shopping for new ornaments, especially at Crate and Barrel. There are always new ones every year (and also some classics).


1. Metal Bow Ornaments
Normally, you would find these on a gift box but they look even better on the tree.

 2. Wooly Winter Sport Penguin Ornaments
Who doesn’t love penguins? Especially after the Happy Feet movie. These fun-loving penguins are enjoying some of the fun activities of Winter.

 3. Tree Ornaments
I love the spirals of sparkling gold wire. The swirling shapes decorated with glitter and beads double as a placecard holder. It’s perfect for the table or the tree.

 4. Nutcracker Ornaments
The Nutcracker is the epitome of holiday entertainment. Seeing these stalwart wood soldiers painted in candy-striped color schemes make me nostalgic for Christmas.

 5. Silver Frame Ornaments
These mini keepsake frames come in several shapes. You can hang photos from the tree or set it upright with easel back. These also make great gifts.

6. Snowmen with Snow Ornaments
Glass snowmen bundled up in festive winter hats and tinsel scarves, which also double as a snow globe.

What ornaments are gracing your trees?



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Coconut Wild Cherry Christmas Cookies

Hope everyone enjoyed opening their gifts yesterday, for those who celebrated! Julie is my second poster lined up and this is her second guest post for me which I’m so thankful for! Plus, I envy her hair. Julie did a tutorial on how she curls the ends of her hair with a straightener and it comes out looking so put together on her. I’ve tried countless times and it just doesn’t work on me.  I always love that hair style she’s sporting. You can also find Julie over on twitter!!


Hello Spiffy Kerms fans! My name is Julie and I am the face behind the blog Peanut Butter Fingers which follows my life as I try to work out regularly, eat (mostly) healthy and navigate life as a newlywed living in a brand new town.

With the holiday season in full swing, I thought it might be fun to share a festive cookie recipe with you guys while Nancy is livin’ it up and enjoying her Christmas vacation!

Since I am all about super-simple recipes, this particular recipe is beyond easy and only requires five ingredients.

The best part (besides the taste)? They sound pretty darn impressive.

Coconut Wild Cherry Christmas Cookies

Spiffy, huh? (<– Like that one, Nancy? ;) )

Let’s get baking, shall we?

Coconut Wild Cherry Christmas Cookies


  • 1 box coconut cake mix
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • Sugar for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl and mix until everything is well blended.
  3. Stir cherries into mix.
  4. Pour sugar into a small bowl.
  5. Roll cookie dough into balls and roll around in bowl of sugar until they are coated in a thin layer of sugar.
  6. Place dough balls on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  7. Cool and enjoy.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and if you make the cookies, I hope they’re a hit!

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