#Krauszberg Malibu Beach Wedding Recap

It’s been more than two months since my wedding and I finally feel like I have some time to breathe. Between wedding planning and the honeymoon, my full time job, and other things, life has been busy. Now that it’s summer and life is a bit less hectic, it’s the perfect time to share the first post in my wedding related blog series. But as luck would have it, when you wait two months to write about your wedding, it can get a little tough to retell the story. How can you sum up something so amazing into a post without leaving anything out or being overly gagtastic? It’s hard, but here’s what I came up with.

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Ronnie and I got married in on the beach in Malibu, California on April 23, 2017. Why Malibu? Well, other than the fact that we wanted to make half of our friends and family travel 3,000 miles to see how much they love us, Malibu has special meaning to both myself and Ronnie.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Ronnie spent some of his best rebellious teenage years hanging out on the Malibu beaches. To him, it’s a place that helped shape him into the rockstar that he is today. My history with the ‘Bu is more recent—the first few months of our relationship was long distance—I lived in Boston and was living in Los Angeles. On one trip out to LA in 2015, Ronnie took me to watch the sun set over the beach in Malibu. It was one of those unintentional romantic moments that stuck in my mind. So when Ronnie suggested Malibu as a potential wedding location, I was sold.
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I’ll go into the whole cross-country wedding planning fun in another post but we chose to get married at The Sunset Restaurant on Malibu’s Zuma Beach. An adorable historic beach bungalow turned restaurant and event venue, The Sunset was the perfect venue for our low-key beach wedding and reception.

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Like any bride to be, I had been weather stalking Malibu for weeks leading up to our wedding. Part of the reason we chose California (versus somewhere close to where we live in Boston) was because of the perfect weather. But between picking our venue in September and the wedding day in April, Southern California had it’s rainiest winter on record. Every wedding planning trip we took out to LA it rained, leaving me nervous that my beach wedding dreams would end in a soggy mess. Thankfully the weather gods were on our side and we woke up to warm weather and bright sunshine on the day of our wedding. Good thing because our backup plan was beach or bust.

Getting Ready

Since many of our guests were coming in from out of town, we blocked rooms in two nearby hotels in Agoura Hills—Hampton Inn and the Sheraton Agoura Hills. Both hotels had experience working with The Sunset Restaurant, which made this long-distance bride feel much more comfortable. My parents booked us the bridal suite at the Sheraton, which was perfect for organizing all of our last minute wedding stuff and for getting ready with my three bridesmaids.

Our wedding day started earlier than I would have liked, but that’s the price you pay for beauty. We had to be ready for hair and makeup at 10:30am, which gave me just enough time to write my vows that morning (oops!) and eat some breakfast with my groom-to-be (another oops!). Ronnie and I spent the night before our wedding in separate hotel rooms in the same hotel, but we broke the whole “not seeing each other before the wedding” tradition when we ran into each other at breakfast. Eating breakfast together wasn’t planned but it was so comforting to have a little bit of our morning routine together before the craziness of the day started.

At exactly 10:30am, our makeup and hair artists from Page Beauty arrived with trunk loads of hair and makeup equipment for myself, my mom, my bridesmaids, and our flower girl. With champagne in our glasses and good music playing, they got to work, making everyone just a bit more beautiful than they naturally are. By 3pm, we were airbrushed, eyelashed, and hairsprayed to perfection. Although I’d done trials with both of the artists, I was blown away by how amazing they made us look—they’re magicians, seriously.

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Throughout the day, I was fairly calm; giggling and singing along to the music like it was just another day, except for the fact that my photographer, Marianne Wilson, was there. It wasn’t until I was getting the finishing touches on my makeup that it hit me—I was sitting in the chair getting my makeup done FOR MY WEDDING. The accessories that I had laid out for the photographer—vows, shoes, and custom Lovepop invitation—were all for today.

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Like a bolt of lightening, all of the excitement and nerves bubbled up to the surface. Not bad nerves, but the ones that you get when you realize that the thing you’ve been so excited for has finally arrived. This was happening, TODAY, and it was time to get ready.

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I tried my best to remain as calm as possible, but at that point I was too amped up. Through excited “squees!” and conversations with myself, my mom and bridesmaids helped me into my dress and shoes and secured my veil.

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Pre-Ceremony

Before I knew it, the shuttles had arrived at the hotel to drive the ladies of the wedding to the beach. Ronnie and his side of the wedding party would arrive a few minutes after. The drive from the hotel was long and windy, through the beautiful Malibu Hills, which built up the anticipation even more. After what felt like an hour but was really only 20 minutes, we arrived at the venue. Both the ceremony site and the reception room were already set up when we arrived, making the reality of the day really sink in.

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In addition to it’s proximity to the beach and awesome food, what drew us to The Sunset Restaurant was the aesthetic. The reception room is white and airy, providing the perfect setting for a beach wedding. There’s also an outdoor patio flanked by an ivy-covered trellis wall on one side and hot pink bougainvillea plants on the other, which filled our plant-loving hearts with joy. Working with a light and beachy color palette, we chose soft accent colors that complemented the dove grey bridesmaids dresses and teals of our wedding invitation—blush accents for the flowers and soft watercolors for the table numbers, place cards, and wedding cake.

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First Look

I wasn’t sure what to expect for our first look and am SO GLAD that our photographers captured the moment because it was priceless. When picking out dresses, I opted for a slim silhouette that made me feel beautiful. Keeping in mind our beach ceremony and my figure, I chose a dress with a deep-V in the front and a plunging back unlike any dress I’d seen before. I knew that Ronnie would love the dress, but our first look photos show that he really loved it.

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Note the gaze in these photos-ha!

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To mix things up, we chose to do our first look outside on the patio rather than on the beach. This turned out to be a wise choice, as we would quickly find out how breezy the beach was. The living walls of ivy and succulents provided the perfect complementary backdrop for our first look, formal photos, and some silly ones too.

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Ceremony

When choosing a dress that would be perfect for the beach, I also picked out a long veil that I thought would be good for the occasion. I envisioned standing next to Ronnie with my veil fluttering behind me in the breeze like an underdressed angel of some sort. Oh, man was I wrong. So, so, wrong.

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Walking down the aisle with my parents, I quickly realized that I was out of my element in terms of bridal preparedness. Caught by the infamous Malibu wind that no one mentioned to me, my veil took off, twisting and jolting through the air like a spastic puppy on a leash.

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Gorgeous as it was, my veil proved to be more of a slapstick comedy prop than a bridal accessory.  Thanks to the wind, my veil took on a life force like no other (as did the glass of wine, our officiant’s notes, our vows, and my hair).

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While some of the photos make our ceremony look serene, in reality it was a comedic scene of hair whipping and veil flying chaos. Special thanks to my mom who spent the entire ceremony holding my veil and to our guests who laughed with us through the wind.

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Flying veil aside, the ceremony was beautiful and heartfelt. Ronnie’s longtime family friend officiated, which was so meaningful and special to us.

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Our ceremony ended with us being pronounced husband and wife then tripping on the aisle runner and almost face planting in front of our family and friends.

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As our guests enjoyed food and cocktails, Ronnie and I snuck in some shots on the lifeguard tower where he and his friends used to loiter as teens then hurried back to catch the tail end of our cocktail hour.

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Reception

Giddy with happiness and out of breath from walking on the sand in 3 inch heels, we arrived back to The Sunset Restaurant in time for a quick glass of champagne and two bites of food, force-fed to us by our day of coordinator, and our grand entrance into the reception.

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Our grand entrance song was the cheesy but amazing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White but Ronnie and I had a big debate in the final stages of wedding planning as to the bridal party entrance songs. We waited so long to decide on songs that we even had our Uber driver weigh in as he drove us to the airport to fly out to Los Angeles.

Much to his chagrin, Ronnie’s suggestion of “Who Let the Dogs Out” was vetoed in favor of Maroon 5’s “Sugar” for our parents and bridal party. Once introduced, we danced our first dance to “All I Need” by Awolnation. Not your typical first dance song by any stretch of the imagination, but it worked for us.

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When we interviewed DJs for our wedding, we requested one simple thing—throw us an awesome party. To me, there’s nothing worse than going to a wedding and seeing an empty dance floor. More times than not, I’ve been that random wedding guest who grabs grandma, pervy uncle Steve, or a wayward groomsman to boogie down and get some bodies on the dance floor. Thankfully that wasn’t an issue at our wedding and Dominic at Who’s That DJ delivered non-stop dancing for hours. er-r-339

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There was even a conga line. I’m still not 100% how it started but certain things you just don’t question.

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Eventually the time came to cut our wedding cake. Not a fan of fondant or wedding cakes in general, Katie from KT Cakes helped me design a blue funfetti cake with vanilla buttercream frosting in blue watercolors. It tasted like a 5 year old’s birthday cake, but a thousand times better, and was hands down the best wedding cake I’ve ever had. My only regret is that we didn’t have more leftovers.

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Our wedding day was everything I could have imagined, and more. Ronnie and I planned a fun and spirited wedding, full of friends and family who surrounded us with their love and support. If our wedding day is any indication of the life we intend to build together, I’ll be the happiest woman for the rest of my life.

er-bg-097 All photos by Marianne Wilson Photography.

Winter Day Trip to Rockport & Gloucester

Last spring I made a conscious effort to create a list of day trips that I wanted to take in the summer. Focusing on beaches and seafood, my fiancé and I hit our fair share of towns along Boston’s North Shore, including Crane Beach in Ipswich and Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. The quaint seaside towns of Rockport and Gloucester were on my list of places to go, but due to time constraints, we never went. So, on a freezing winter Sunday, I did the reasonable thing and suggested that we take an off-season day trip.

Winter Day Trip to Rockport, Massachusetts

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Knowing that there would be significantly less traffic than in the summer, we hopped in the car and made the drive up to Rockport in record time. In just less than an hour we found ourselves at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula in the heart of Rockport.

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Since it’s right on the Atlantic Ocean, Rockport is more of a warm weather town. Summers are bustling with locals and tourists alike, seeking a quintessential New England experience. Rockport is 100% New England—from the fishing boats in the harbor and the rocky shoreline, to the stretch of stores in converted lobster shacks on Bearskin Neck.

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That being said, the winter in Rockport is a much different story. Much of the seaside town was closed for the off-season, but we were happy to walk around and enjoy the gorgeous views.

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The day was gorgeous—one of those blindingly sunny days with a cerulean blue sky. As any New Englander knows, it’s also the type of weather that makes cold days feel even colder. The 30 degree day felt more like 13 thanks to the wind, so we knew our trip to Rockport would not be an all day affair.

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We walked around town and Bearskin Neck taking in the seaside sights. We managed to find a few open stores to browse through, including Tuck’s Candy, where I picked up some penny candy and saltwater taffy. Unfortunately due to the season, pickings for food were slim. Craving seafood and chowder, we drove to nearby Gloucester, less than 5 miles south of Rockport.

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Lunch and a Brewery in Gloucester, Massachusetts

I had heard good things about Latitude 43 in Gloucester so we made a quick OpenTable reservation (I’m a sucker for any app with loyalty points) and within minutes we were snuggled in a warm table overlooking the harbor. Oyster addicts, we started with a dozen from Duxbury, Massachusetts. While some oysters leave you hungry, Duxbury oysters do not. They’re are large, meaty, and deliciously briny and paired well with  a glass of Rosé.

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We followed the oysters with a cup of New England Clam Chowder, fitting for a cold winter day, and split the local fish and chips. The haddock in the fish and chips is locally caught fried to perfection. Fresh and oh so delicate, I threw table manners to the blustering wind and ate the dish with my hands! Call me uncouth, but I believe there’s no better compliment to a chef than having someone devour a meal like an animal—thankfully I don’t think anyone saw me do it!

Following an amazing meal at Latitude 43, we popped over to Cape Ann Brewing Company next door. The Gloucester-based brewery, known for its signature Fisherman’s Brew amber lager, has a restaurant and tap room at the brewery. The beers were delicious—we split a flight of six and relaxed in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the harbor.

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Warmed up with food and drink, we eventually hit the road back to Boston, promising ourselves to go back to visit Rockport and Gloucester in the summer. Have you been to either of these towns? What are your favorite things to do there?

Introducing LabGrab™ by Silk Therapeutics—Clean Silk Skincare

One of my favorite things about blogging is the ability to use my voice to promote small businesses that I believe in, and today I’m excited to share a new product line from one of my favorite small businesses—LabGrab™ by Silk Therapeutics. My skin has been in love with the clean, silk-based skincare for over a year, so when Silk Therapeutics reached out to me to help announce LabGrab, I was happy to collaborate.

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For those unacquainted, Silk Therapeutics is a local Massachusetts skincare company founded by two friends and silk scientists on a mission to produce clean skincare that works to improve your skin. With a surprising lack of regulation in the skincare industry, Silk Therapeutics set out to create products that offer the benefits of liquid silk, while being free from harsh chemicals like phthalates, parabens, and fragrances—making Silk Therapeutics the cleanest performance-based skincare on the market today. All of the Silk Therapeutics products are non-GMO and made with pure natural silk that’s cruelty free and never tested on animals.

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As you might expect, developing, testing, and producing a line of products made with pure liquid silk can be pricey. But with any concentrated formula, a little goes a long way—one jar of my favorite Silk Renewing Peel lasts me about six months. That being said, the team at Silk Therapeutics found that they were spending a lot of time and money developing multiple product formulas for which, ultimately only one was chosen to go to market. This left batches of extra products just sitting in their lab.

Rather than let extra product go to waste, Silk Therapeutics’ General Manager Rachel Dow suggested to “grab them from the lab” so that others could try them at a more affordable price. And so, the affordable limited-edition LabGrab™ product line was born. Focusing on passing the cost savings over to customers, Silk Therapeutics opted for simple glass bottles and locally-sourced recyclable packaging for the LabGrab line of products.

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The inaugural LabGrab line includes five limited-edition products: LabGrab Gel Exfoliator, LabGrab Facial Cleanser, LabGrab Fine Lines Serum, LabGrab Serum – Hydrate/Radiance, LabGrab Cream – Eye Renewal. I had the opportunity to try out the LabGrab Fine Lines Serum and can confidently say that it’s amazing.

The concentrated formula made with antioxidants helps reduce the appearance of fine lines while firming and brightening the skin. Comprised of only liquid silk and 7 additional ingredients (Water, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sodium Hyaluronate, Soluble Fibroin (Silk), Populus Tremuloides (Aspen) Bark Extract, Sodium Anisate, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, and Neroli Essential Oil), one drop of the serum is all you need for optimal results.

Since I started using the LabGrab Serum, the fine lines I started to develop (thanks to my 30s) are less noticeable and my skin, despite fighting the flu last week, looks brighter. The formula glides on smoothly and feels good alone or under moisturizer. It must be working because just yesterday, one of my coworkers complimented my skin!

I’m so excited about the launch of LabGrab™ by Silk Therapeutics and encourage you to try it for yourself! The limited-edition LabGrab product line launches today on HSN—check it out!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Silk Therapeutics, but all opinions and brand enthusiasm are my own.

Rose Gin Gimlet Recipe

I love a good cocktail—wine and beer will never disappoint, but there’s something extra fun about cocktails. Over the past year, I’ve been whipping up more cocktails at home, so when Nautical Gin asked me to participate in a blogger cocktail contest, I had to say yes.

I recently discovered Nautical Gin and have fallen in love with the brand. Nautical Gin is well-balanced with 10 botanicals and a hint of sea salt—yes, sea salt! This little ingredient provides a unique subtle flavor that sets Nautical Gin apart from other gin brands.

As any cocktail lover knows, subtle flavors pair well together, so I chose to make a delicate Rose Gin Gimlet for my submission. This cocktail combines Nautical Gin with homemade rosewater to create a delicious gimlet that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, or any day of the year.
rose gin gimlet recipe

Rose Gin Gimlet

Ingredients:
2 oz Nautical Gin
1 oz St. Germain
1 oz rosewater
1/4 cup dried rose petals
1/2 cup hot filtered water
1 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
2 cups ice
Directions for Rosewater*:
Pour 1/2 cup hot water over 1/4 cup of dried rose petals in sealable jar.
Let sit for 10-15 minutes or until cool.
Strain out rose petals.
Keep rosewater in sealed jar for up to one week.

Directions for Cocktail:
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add 2 oz Nautical Gin, 1 oz St. Germain, 1 oz rose water, 1 oz simple syrup, and 1/2 oz lime juice to cocktail shaker.
Shake well and pour into cocktail glass.
Garnish with dried rose petals and enjoy!

* You can also use 1 oz of purchased rosewater

That’s it! The result is a light pink, slightly tart, delicate gimlet that smells like a bouquet of roses. The dried rose petal garnish floats perfectly for a beautiful display.
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You can enjoy this delicately refreshing Rose Gin Gimlet anytime, but it’s especially perfect for Valentine’s Day. Who will you make this cocktail for?

Note: Nautical Gin provided the ingredients for this cocktail; all opinions are my own.

New Year, New You: Flywheel Boston Review

When it comes to working out in Boston, it seems like there are endless options—everywhere you turn, there’s a new studio popping up. For many people, the availability of choices can be almost paralyzing, so it helps when there’s a studio that offers more than just one type of fitness class. Flywheel Boston is a studio in Back Bay that offers both group cycling and barre style classes in Boston.

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I recently had the chance to try out a month of Flywheel classes in collaboration with Flywheel Sports, and fell in love with the studio. As a former Spinning instructor, I’m very critical of group cycling classes. Striving to set themselves above the rest, too many studios teach unsafe moves that have no place on a stationary bike. I’m happy to report that Flywheel not only passed muster in my book, but it won me over as well.

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Flywheel’s signature Fly45 ride is 45-minutes of interval-based cardio paired with one song of upper body strength training on the bike. For those looking for an endurance workout, FlyBeats is a 45-minute ride that keeps you moving to the beat of the music on your recovery days. Both classes provide a full body workout in a reasonable amount of time.

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Photo courtesy of Flywheel

My favorite thing about the Flywheel classes is that you won’t find any crazy moves in the stadium style room. No handlebar pushups, no crunching your core from side to side, and no rapid-fire tap backs. While these things might not mean much to the novice rider, this is magic to the ears of anyone whose ever almost (or actually) busted their face on or nearly fallen off of a bike while riding at another studio that incorporates bike acrobatics.

flywheel appWeighted bars are used for an effective upper body workout that keeps your body stable on the bike. If that sounds scary to you, I promise it’s not. The arm workout is a welcome reprieve from an intense class. Keeping up with the class is easy to do, thanks to a TechPack attached to the bike that helps monitor RPMs, Torq (aka resistance), and Current & Total Power.

New riders are encouraged to challenge themselves while riding at their own pace. Riders with a competitive side will love the optional Torq Board, which displays the top ten male and female riders, throughout the class. Individual results of each Flywheel class are tracked and displayed in the Flywheel app, making it easy to keep tabs on your progress.

FlyBarre

On the days that you’re looking to give your booty a break from the bike, there’s FlyBarre, a total body sculpting class. The 45-minute classes combine light weight training, dance, and core exercises in an easy to follow group class. FlyBarre focuses on creating strong and lean muscles and is a perfect complement to a cycling class. There are several FlyBarre classes including a 60-minute option, FlyBarre Sport for high-intensity bursts of cardio, and FlyBarre Arms & Abs, the signature FlyBarre class with a focus on these areas of the body.

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As someone who suffers from tight hips and intermittent sciatica, both of which are aggravated by the folded position of a cycling class, I appreciated the chance to stretch and strengthen my body in the FlyBarre classes. A failure at Zumba, I was hesitant to try out FlyBarre due to the dance element, but was pleased to discover that the few choreographed moves were easy to keep up with.

Flywheel Amenities

One of the best things about Flywheel is the amenities that are available. Towels, lockers, and showers are free to use at the Back Bay location. Mats and bikes are assigned so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot if your train is delayed and can book your spot next to a friend if you’re working out together. Cycling shoes that clip into the Flywheel bikes are provided to give every rider the best possible workout. Not listed on their website, the Flywheel Back Bay location has jars of extra hair elastics and ear plugs, both of which are a nice touch.

Flywheel and FlyBarre Instructors

Anyone who has attended a group fitness class knows that it’s the instructor that makes or breaks the class. At both Flywheel and FlyBarre, the instructors were energetic, motivational, funny, and encouraging. Each instructor brings something different to their class, making every workout consistent in intensity, yet dynamic in spirit.

One of my favorite things about the instructors is that they make an effort to remember you. They’ll introduce themselves to you at your first class and recognize you in subsequent classes, making every person who walks through the doors of Flywheel feel like part of a community. If you’re looking for a way to get into shape this year at a welcoming studio, sign up for your first class for just $15 at Flywheel Boston in Back Bay.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary month of Flywheel classes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.