Sarahs First Day at Happy Hour

Today was my very first class at Happy Hour Yoga.  Nancy wanted me to get my feet wet but instead, I dove head first in to a pilates reformer class.  I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about this.  I’m not one to shy away from a challenge so I made sure I was wearing my big girl pants (which let’s face it, that’s the only kind of pants that fit right now) and I drove to the studio.  When I walked up to the door, I was immediately met by some lovely ladies who welcomed me with opened arms (from 6 foot away).  Everyone was amazing and kind and I immediately felt more comfortable than nervous.  I told them that this was my first time ever doing a reformer class and they assured me that I would be just fine.  Class time, our awesome instructor Donna let us in to the studio.  She was absolutely wonderful and accommodating.  She helped me with getting situated and showed me how to change the springs on the machine and make any adjustments for different movements.  She made modifications for me since I am not only a beginner but also still healing from a back injury.  She was able to help guide me while not taking away from the rest of the class.  Reformer is a challenge in a good way.  There were some amazing stretches and plenty of core work, both of which I could benefit from.  I felt great afterwards and I’m even looking forward to being a little sore tomorrow.  All in all, I survived my first day and had a ton of fun doing it.  I might have even made a new friend or two in the process.  I did not fall off of the reformer machine and did not fart in class.  Winning!!!   
I should also mention that everyone wiped down the equipment after the class and Donna came around with disinfectant as well.  Nancy’s studio is definitely very clean!    
Don’t be afraid to try new things! 

YOGA, PILATES AND BARRE FOR SARAH! How Happy Hour can change a life…

Meet Sarah Kasenter!! Sarah is just starting a 6 month membership with Happy Hour in October!! She has agreed to follow a schedule and work out at least four times a week, doing pilates, yoga, and barre. Right now Sarah has been walking and is coming out of a back injury. She is looking forward to working out, and promises to take it easy and stop if her back begins to act up at all. There is no diet for her to follow. She’ll simply start working out at Happy Hour at least four times a week. She’ll blog about her experience, about the classes, about her progress, and we can follow along. I’m so excited to hear what she has to say. I know her blogs will be honest and entertaining!! Thanks for doing this Sarah! I’m so excited for you!


Yay me!  I just finished a cleanse!

I’ve done a few cleanses in the past and I have to say that this time around was the most difficult.  I don’t think it had anything to do with the type of cleanse I did, but because I was so out of shape when I started.  The last cleanse I did was actually more challenging in terms of the shakes and the pills I had to take.  There were so many pills to take and they left a bad taste in my mouth all day.  And the shakes were tough for me to drink.  I’m one of those people who has a hard time with certain textures.  This cleanse (Metagenix) was pretty easy to follow and the products weren’t bad at all.  The shake was easy to make and the one I chose (berry) didn’t taste too bad.  I actually started to like it after a few days.  The shakes and pills only took ten days, and for the rest of the cleanse I just ate very clean food; lots of fruits and veggies and sometimes salmon.  Rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes were in there too.  Chicken was an option, but I stuck with fish.  I never felt hungry.  I actually think I ate a little too much of the good food.

So let me go back a bit…before the cleanse.  All summer, and into fall, I totally let myself go!  I had a lot of things going on in my personal life, I moved into a new home, and I had just purchased the yoga/pilates studio.  As I look back on it now, I think I was under a lot of stress.  Whenever I’m in a difficult situation it doesn’t feel difficult to me.  But always, in hindsight, I’m like “Woah, I did that!?”  So I think I was struggling over the summer and I had a lot on my bran new plate.  Maybe I found comfort in food…I don’t know.  But I was out of control.  I was eating everything and anything;  Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Arby’s (those are some really good fries), I had a quarter pounder, and White Castle was my last meal before I started my cleanse.  Yup…jalapeno sliders.  I don’t know what started the downhill spiral, because when I bought the studio I weighed less than I had since before I had kids.  I wasn’t eating gluten and I was really watching what I ate.  I was feeling great!  By the time I started the cleanse I had gained…from my lowest weight to my weight after those sliders…twenty pounds!  And other than teaching yoga, I was doing very little exercise at all!  I felt and looked terrible.  I wrote a list of what I wanted to change with the cleanse.  Here’s that list.  I actually forgot about some of these:

  • My feet hurt
  • My shoulders hurt
  • My lower back and neck hurt
  • I feel heavy during yoga
  • I couldn’t do an arm balance that I never had trouble with
  • I have no energy
  • I feel very, very lazy
  • I’m procrastinating
  • Irritable
  • I feel large and uncomfortable
  • Clothes are tight
  • Skin coloring is bad
  • Bags under my eyes.
  • Always hungry
  • Periods are off
  • Painful ovaries
  • Terrible memory

I was really just feeling very bad.  I noticed that I simply didn’t look good at all.  I looked gray and almost sick when I looked at myself in the mirror.  I felt sick!  I was not myself and I couldn’t get back to myself.

Megan Renfree came to the studio and gave a lecture on stress levels and cortisol and I had my cortisol checked.  My levels were off…opposite of what they should be.  My cortisol was very low in the morning and high at night.  Megan went through my results with me and set me up on supplements.  She also gave me a workout plan and some ideas to detox.  She helped me plan the cleanse and told me how it works.  I was going to eat NO gluten, no sugar, no dairy, no eggs, no corn, no soy, no caffeine and no alcohol.  That sounded impossible, but I was very excited to get started, because I knew I would feel better.  I had done cleanses before and felt great and I was really ready to start feeling great again.  So I started on October 24th and I was going to go until Thanksgiving!!

Well, I started, and I felt awful.  I had headaches and was so, so tired.  I was falling asleep all day long for the first few days.  The headache was weird.  It was a pain in the top, back of my head.  It didn’t feel right and it lasted for days.  I had had headaches in the past from cleanses, but not like this one.  It was there for maybe four days.  I wanted coffee every day…tea wasn’t cutting it.  But I stuck with it.  At about day five the headache was gone and I was less tired.  At about day 10…after the CLEANSE (the pills and shakes) was over, I started to drink some wine again.  After 20 days I drank coffee.  Just a little, and some days I skipped it.  I didn’t want it like I had wanted it before.  I just missed the morning cup.  I didn’t use cream…no dairy.  I had it black and tried it with some almond milk.  Black was fine.  I saved a lot of money at Starbucks, and a month later, I still don’t drink as much as I used to.  I rarely finish my morning cup.  I’m really glad I was able to go as long as I did.  I got it out of my system for a while.  I knew coffee wasn’t going to be something that I gave up forever.  I enjoy a cup in the morning, and I’m not giving that up.  So I didn’t make it through a month with no alcohol or caffeine, but I was proud that I went as long as I did.

Although I felt pretty bad in the very beginning, I would not let myself give up.  Another strange thing happened; after a few days on the cleanse, I actually started to feel sad!  I never feel like that!  I don’t!  Ever!  But I did…I felt really sad.  I held back tears all day and cried at the tiniest things.  It was very strange to me, but I was feeling depressed, and I hated it.  But I figured my body was detoxing EVERYTHING…even emotions.  I had been going through a lot and I guess it all had to come out.  So I just waited and let it happen.  I remember the sadness subsiding after coffee came back…not BECAUSE coffee came back, but it was around that time.  And coffee came back at twenty days, so it took that long to start to feel better.  And now I don’t feel it anymore.  I have never been depressed during a cleanse, and I don’t think that’s something that happens often to people.  But this time it did and I’m glad I went through it and kept going and came out on the other side.

Once the cleanse is over, you’re allowed to bring back one food group at a time for three days to see if you have any negative reaction to that food.  I thought it would be dairy, because I love cheese, but the day the cleanse ended (Thanksgiving) I brought back corn because I wanted chips and guacamole!  I was tired of eating quac with a spoon.  It didn’t really affect me badly, but I did gain a few pounds after bringing back corn.  I really haven’t brought anything else back yet.  I feel too good to start eating the things I gave up.  I love how I’m eating.  I feel much better in my clothes.  I didn’t have any candy on Halloween, or stuffing on Thanksgiving.  I haven’t had sugar or soy or gluten, etc.  I eat fish and rice and the best protein shakes ever!

Let me tell you about those!  I use Arbonne protein powder and it’s awesome!  (I do not sell Arbonne…never have.)  I usually blend the chocolate powder, with a banana, some peanut butter, almond milk and some ice.  It’s my favorite.  I have another one that tastes like a caramel frappacino.  If you do the cleanse I’ll share the recipe.  It’s so, so good!  I will stick with the shakes from now on.  I love them!  I’m just finishing one now.

So, I feel so much better.  My feet don’t hurt at all.  I actually forgot that was a problem until I just looked back at my list.  I would limp when I got out of bed every morning because my feet ached.  I don’t anymore at all!  My lower back stopped aching, unless I stand for a very long time, which comes from my weak core. I need more pilates for that.  But whenever I stop eating gluten my lower back no longer hurts.  I think my coloring is finally starting to get better.  I don’t look nearly as bad as I was looking about a month ago…I was really getting concerned.  I seriously looked sick.  I have lost over ten pounds and I’m going to keep going.  I have three pounds to lose until my body is back to where it likes to be.  I don’t crave food or feel like eating all the time like I was.  I’m sleeping good.  It’s easier to get up.  I have much more energy and I’m not nearly as lazy as I was.  I don’t struggle to get things done…I WANT to get things done.  I’m not going to go back to what I was doing.  I’m sticking with the healthy eating and am actually really enjoying it.

Here’s what I would do differently if I started the cleanse again.  I would take more saunas.  Megan told me to, and I only did three times.  I’d go much more often than that.  I’d work out more.  Like I said, I was feeling so crummy at first…tired and headachey and sad…I just didn’t do it.  I did some…but not enough.  I’m going to start doing pilates more now, and I’m going to get out of my studio and do yoga in a place that’s not my own.  I need to clear my head and not think about studio things while I’m doing yoga.  If I went back and started again, I would eat a little less than what I was eating.  I know I ate bigger portions than I should have at first.  I did very well at drinking more water at first.  I have slacked on that and I need to get back to it.  I know my skin would look better if I did, and I’d stop getting cramps during yoga.  So there are things I’d do differently, but I am proud of how I did either way.  I was not perfect, and I didn’t expect to be.  I did my best and my best worked.

So, I’d like to help everyone try it.  Only if you’re willing of course.  If you’re at a point where you’re tired of feeling poorly and you want positive changes in your body and mind, then it’s time to give it a try.  Don’t expect perfection, just do your best.  Megan will be at Happy Hour on Thursday night, December 13th.  From 6:30 to 7:30 pm I’ll lead you through a slow yoga class.  And from 7:30 to 8:30 pm Megan Renfree will explain the benefits of detoxing.  A group of us at the studio will do the cleanse together starting in January, after the holidays.  We will have a 20 day challenge at the studio as well in January.  If you make it to 20 classes in January, you’ll get a Happy Hour sweatshirt and a heart full of pride!  Julie Bevel at Fox Valley Spa is offering everyone in the cleanse a very generous discount on her amazing infrared sauna.  So think about it.  If you’d like to feel better and look better, join us for our Happy Hour cleanse.  You can totally do this!  And I promise, you will be so HAPPY you did.  Sign up for the workshop on the 13th if you’re interested.  Megan can answer all of your questions at that time.  Let’s support each other and work at feeling better.  We’ll share recipes and ideas and workouts.  I’m very excited about this and I hope to see many of you there!

sign up for detox seminar

why LET GO

Let Go yoga is one of my favorite classes at the studio.  I love everything about it…I love the way the studio feels during a Let Go class, I love teaching it, I love what people have to say when it’s over, and I love that’s it’s FREE to people who NEED it.  Our Let Go class is yin yoga, with an extra boost of relaxation.  It’s yin yoga on qualudes.  Yes, I said “qualudes”…that’s what us old people used to call “downers.”  The “Qualude Dude” used to walk the streets of Dundee back in the 80’s…some chill guy who just roamed around town, not givin a …

IMG_7511Anyway:  Let Go yoga is perfect for everyone.  Everyone!  Whether you run marathons, or haven’t worked out in years.  Whether you’re a construction worker, a golfer, a couch potato, or you’re at a desk all day long.  Whether you’re as healthy as an ox, or you’re suffering from a physical or mental ailment.  It helps EVERYONE.

You’ll feel immediately relaxed, just walking in the room.  We have thick cushions specifically for Let Go.  The warm room is filled with candles and soft lighting, soft music plays, you’re given a blanket and blocks and our famous “smelly towels”…towels spritzed with lavender to help relax you more.  You don’t need to bring anything at all.  We provide it for you…even water.  You’re welcome to bring your own props and your own mat if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary.  Just come in comfy clothing, or bring some with you to change into before class.

Let Go is simply IMG_9462a class of stretching.  There is very little, and usually NO physical exertion at all.  We find our way into a relaxed pose and hold it for minutes at a time.  And each pose is a meditation.  We find stillness in the body and stillness in the mind.  It’s a break from thought… a mini vacation from your hectic life.  Everyone should stretch, every day!  If you ask me, the benefits of stretching far outweigh the benefits of working out!   Did you know, simply being stressed out can cause weight gain?  It’s true.  Once in a yoga class taught by Johnny Kest he explained to us that three groups of people were given three different activities to follow.  Two were physically challenging, and one was yin yoga.  He explained that, after some time, the yin yoga group lost the most weight because they learned to de-stress, and in turn, ate less and lost weight!  I don’t think people realize the value of stretching.

The number one reason I hear people use for NOT doing yoga is “I’m not flexible.”  Yes, I believe you.  You’re not.  But that’s WHY you come to yoga!  That is arguably the number one physical reasons to go to a yoga class!  Remember in high school, when you had to take that stretching test?  You put your feet on the box and then you’d fold forward with one hand stacked on the other hand, and you’d see which number you could reach?  ‘Member that one?  Well I do!  And I couldn’t even touch the blasted piece of wood!  I couldn’t touch my toes until about a year after starting yoga.  I was the most unflexible person in the world.  I should have called Guinness and gotten in the book!  Now, BECAUSE of yoga, I can touch my toes!  And you will be able to too!  You were not born with extra short hamstrings like I claimed to be.  You just need to stretch!


I’ve made Let Go FREE at Happy Hour to people who are currently undergoing cancer treatment.  Yup…free!  That’s how strongly I believe in this class.  Some people just NEED to be there!  I know it helps calm a worried mind and heal a hurting body.  There is no doubt in my mind, it’s good for you.  If there are some poses that you can’t do because they’re painful for your body (maybe from surgery or a port), skip that pose.  Just lay there…breath.  Give yourself a break and some quiet space to rest.  If you did nothing the entire hour but lay on your mat, you’d benefit.  If you’re going through radiation or chemotherapy sign up for the class and type CANCERSUCKS as the promo code, and you’re in for free.  If you know someone who could use this, bring them.  Do this with them.  We have someone at the studio who started coming because of the free Let Go class.  She’s cancer free now (so happy!) and still comes to the studio every day.  I know she’d love to talk to you if you’re debating whether or not to come.  Send me an email at and I’ll connect you with her.


We also offer Let Go More…it’s Let Go on the reformer.  It’s stretchier then Let Go.  You have the springs of the reformer giving you a little extra pull, but still allowing you to relax.  This one isn’t offered for free, because it’s a little more intense.  Let Go is a great place to start, and Let Go More is a step up a notch.  Both are wonderful.

So in our Let Go classes we let go of all physical tension in our bodies in order to stretch the connective tissue and fascia.  We let go of all that chatter in our minds by focusing on breathing.  And you have an opportunity in every class to let go of something else.  What is it that YOU hold onto in your life that’s holding you back from being as happy as you can be?  Worry, fear, anger, guilt, control, self doubt?  You’re given the time to start to release that at Happy Hour.  Maybe on your first visit you let go of some regret for two minutes.  Maybe the next time it’s three minutes.  Maybe you learn to start to let it go a little bit every day, on your own.  Every day you let it go a little more, until you learn to let it all go for good.  It feels good to “let that shit go”…put it down…walk away from it.  You don’t need it anymore…let go.

So check out our schedule and chose one of our Let Go classes.  We offer it in the afternoons, and in the evenings.  Your first class at Happy Hour is always free.  We would love for you to come at LET GO with us.


Your Happy Place

Come to the studio!  Just come and check it out!  You know, your first visit is free!  You can come and try and not spend a penny.  I think you’ll like the “vibe”…and I know you’ll like the teachers.  They’re the best…talented and friendly and welcoming.  There is so much to choose from.  Pilates, reformers, tower, yoga, Xtend Barre, orbit, TRX, ball, POP pilates, and more!  Stop in and see us.  Check the website for classes and schedules.  We look very forward to seeing you.  Come enjoy your Happy Hour!