Bloggers Head to SoulCycle CNH

I’ve been dying to give SoulCycle a try, a studio dedicated to..you guessed it..spinning! So, when I heard it was coming to Chestnut Hill, at a location right across from where I work, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to give it a go! This past Sunday I joined about 15 others bloggers on one heck of a sweaty spinning journey. SoulCycle I found out is about spinning, dancing, partying, and doing it all together, as a community. Their theory is that through inspirational instructors, candlelight, heat, and upbeat music, riders can “let loose, clear their heads and empower themselves.” In only 45 minutes you get a kick-ass workout that incorporates strength training and core work all within the confines of a small spin studio. But, if you can find a way to connect with the music and the class, you can expect to feel transformed.

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When I first arrived, I was greeted by a jolly fellow, who provided me with the proper pair of shoes for the ride (I would need to clip in) as well as lead me to my designated locker. Right away I noticed the bright yellow colors and positive vibe of the studio. Even on this rainy day, you felt happy coming to a place like this. It had a spa-like design to it!

SoulCycle was gracious and offered us first-timer’s no charge for the shoes or water.. But, subsequent classes will cost you roughly $30-$35. Whoah! After getting settled in I went over to my bike to try to get set-up. I’ve done spinning a bunch of times before but never at a spin-only studio so I’ve never had to really strap in before. Luckily, after awkwardly failing to strap in properly, a helpful employee assisted me with the settings and clip in. I was ready to go!

As we began, I couldn’t help but notice how hot the room was! It was like a hot yoga class but for spinning! Nonetheless, I adjusted and was able to settle into my ride. Our class was super energetic as was the instructor, the music was pumping, and I could really feel the energy and enthusiasm radiating from the class. It definitely gave off that club-like atmosphere with the music being a tad too loud for my liking (I suppose why they keep ear plugs at the front desk).

When we got to the strength training portion, my weights were way too light and I felt like I didn’t benefit at all from it. I was scared to unclip because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back in and the instructor wasn’t exactly helpful with others who had to clip in and out. So, that was frustrating and I wish there an option to keep a few different pound weights at the bike, but I suppose next time I will just grab heavier. I also didn’t really feel the core exercises we did but perhaps it is a form thing.

Nonetheless, the cardio workout I got from this was pretty awesome, despite being sore from the previous week’s workouts at my gym. I left sweat, tired, and hungry, but refreshed at the same time. It felt good to sweat out the weekend’s toxins and I can definitely see how people get hooked. The energy of the classes can really be addicting!

Post-workout we were greeted by employees from Sail Loft and Athleta who provided us with complementary drinks and discounts. Unfortunately, the last thing I wanted to do was shop after being so gross and sweaty! Sorry- Sail Loft- next time!

Overall, SoulCycle provides a challenging but not impossible ride. The workout was pretty simple, effective, but I honestly didn’t feel like I my heart was ever going to explode like it does in Crossfit. I have a hard time speaking to it though as I have never tried Pursuit or Flywheel so I feel as if I don’t have much to compare it to. I have heard that you can track your progress at Flywheel, as well as compete against others and/or yourself, which is a pretty neat option! Regardless, I had such a fun time pedaling away with new bloggers and old and would certainly come back!

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Thanks Boston Bloggers for this opportunity as well as SoulCycle, Sail Loft, and Athleta!

Question: Have you tried SoulCycle and/or Flywheel? Thoughts?

I received this complementary class to review for my blog and as part of the BostonBloggers. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

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Soon Spoon Pop up w/ PHaDe Food Labs

There is something so stimulating about fresh seasonal fare hitting your nostrils and tastebuds on a rainy night, huddled in a warm apartment, amidst laughter and conversation. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spent my Saturday night, surrounded by 6 other bloggers and one rather famous “twitter-er” (if that’s what they are called). The occasion? A pop-up dinner hosted by a new Start-up referred to as Soon Spoon. Soon Spoon connects foodies with local fine-dining restaurants in Boston and helps YOU obtain a last minute reservation. If you sign up, you will receive a notification as reservations become available by either email, twitter, or text. Hmm– notifications about opportunities to dine last minute at Boston’s most-booked restaurants? Yup- count me in!

Farmstead Table, Puritan & Co, Tupelo, Stir, Menton, Clio, and Uni are just a few of the restaurants Soon Spoon has partnered with
for reasons such as, they are highly creative, small, and special. These restaurants focus on hospitality above all as well as focus on detail and seasonal ingredients to provide their customers with the best dining experience. You certainly won’t find Legal or Morton’s on their list ( not that they aren’t special too, but you know what I mean.)

People who frequently book with Soon Spoon will have the opportunity to receive points as a reward that they can use to attend pop-up dinners- which are completely free! However, cancel a reservation? Bye-bye points!

So, I was invited to attend one of their pop-up dinners, catered by PHaDe Food Labs who served us 6 courses with 6 wine pairings. What’s not to love about that? Plus, the food was spectacular! We arrived around 6:30pm for assorted amuse bouches and wine.  Dinner was served at 7pm, with the first course featuring an Arugula + Beet + Goat cheese salad- a perfect pairing of flavors, textures, and colors. The menu had been thought over for days, tweaked, and finally cooked and served to perfection. Each meal was intricately designed and artistic, such that it pleased both the eyes and palate. Our second dish was a Nantucket Bay Scallop “Sea and Sand” dish that was my absolute favorite. It was my second experience with gastronomical cooking, which includes cooking with modern tools and manipulating ingredients so that they are presented outside of their usual form. This dish in particular included a sea “foam,” and brown butter powder as the sand. It was spectacular and incredibly unique.

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Next came out the Maccheroni and Lamb Ragu with Cacao nibs. A perfect balance of sweet and savory, soft and crunchy. What I loved most about the chefs were that they paid particular attention to colors on the plate as well as flavor combinations. I especially enjoyed the 2011 Barbera/Croatina – Cordani La Magia, that accompanied this dish.

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Slices of tenderloin sat over a blue cheese puree for our fifth course, paired with smoky asparagus and topped with tidbits of sea salt. This was paired with a 2012 Merlot/Cabernet Calluna from California.

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Lastly, what meal would be complete without dessert? Caramelized banana + Miso Chocolate and something known as “shroombread,” rounded this meal out. Although everyone but me couldn’t seem to get enough of the dessert, it was a little to savory for my tastebuds and I found a heavy mushroom flavor coming through. Nonetheless, I appreciated the synergy of the sweet and savory dish and overall the entire experience was one I will never forget. I can’t give enough credit to Soon Spoon for their innovative idea, generosity, and the chefs at Phade who cooked such a lovely meal for us all.You can book PHaDe for a private event in your home using Kitchensurfing  and follow them on Twitter.

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On our way out, as if we weren’t already treated like royalty, we all received a parting gift of chocolates wrapped in a petite brown box and sealed with a pink ribbon. Inside were the most delectable truffles provided by Chocolee and handcrafted by Lee herself.

Between the cozy brownstone apartment, foodie enthusiasts, endless glasses of wine, generous hosts, and a few incredible chefs, I had one of the most enriching experiences of my life. One that cannot be understood unless experienced for oneself. So, if you want in on this secret feeling provided by such an experience, I suggest you sign up for Soon Spoon because you can expect many more dinners like this one! You can also follow them on twitter! Here’s to spontaneous dining!