Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Looking back at 2013: Blogging about Money January 8, 2014

Filed under: General Blogging,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 9:45 pm
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Happy New Year!  I had some big things happen this past year, and I’m looking forward to some even bigger things this year!

I’ve been posting my yearly changes in assets and debts for the past few years now.  You can check out my money reviews for 2012, 2011, and 2010.  How much did my assets and debts change this past year?  Check it out:

Assets:

  • Liquid assets (checking and savings accounts):  +$25,825
  • Retirement (401(k), Roth IRA, Rollover IRA):  +$36,845
  • Car (edmunds.com private sale value): -$2,916 (I’ve been including this in networth for the past 5 years.  Recently lowered the “condition” I’m considering it, since it’s been beat up a bit over the years).

Debts:

  • Student Loans: Reduced  payoff balance by $3,989 (I wasn’t aggressive with my payoff like I thought I would be)
  • Credit cards: I pay them off every month, but if I want to be exact, I have $185 less to pay off as of the same time last year.

Change in net worth since last year:  +$63,558. Looking good.

This is probably the last year I can easily do these comparisons, since I’m getting married this year!  Some of that cash in savings will be put to good use, but not too much!  Plus, we’ll probably be taking the approach of “yours, mine, ours” with money, so tracking everything will be a little more difficult.

WordPress put together a review of my blogging for 2013.  Turns out I only published 22 posts.  I guess no one can accuse me of posting too often!  My blogging this year covered a few different topics.  There was, of course, personal finance.  And as with last year, I had a decent share of posts about fitness.  I also threw in a few general updates about things happening in my life.

I started the Graduate’s Guide to Being a Grownup series, but it sort of fizzled out after just one post on retirement plans.  I promise to get that back up and running in 2014, and definitely want to hear what you’d like me to write about.

I reviewed Helaine Olen’s book, Pound Foolish about the dark side of the Personal Finance industry.

I also wondered if my Roth IRA conversion was a bad idea, and took another look at health insurance options.

I’ll post separately a wrap up and review of my fitness posts and activities for 2013.

In the meantime, let me know:  How did your 2013 end up?  Are you excited for everything happening in 2014?

 

Getting the Pure Barre experience March 10, 2013

Filed under: Boston,Fitness — Stephanie @ 10:46 pm
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Disclaimer:  I was invited to this class for free through Blog and Tweet Boston, a group that organizes events for local Bostonian bloggers/tweeters.  The expectation was that after we all met up for this class, we would write about our experience.  So, this is what I’m doing…right now!  All the opinions are my own.

Last Saturday (a little over a week ago) I met up with a bunch of Boston-area fitness bloggers at Pure Barre Boston.  It’s on Newbury Street right near Mass Ave.  Pretty close to where the J.P. Licks used to be.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I assumed everyone would be a pro at this sort of thing, since they’re all legit fitness bloggers.  You know, compared to me, the personal finance blogger who also blogs about fitness, Boston, and STEM.  But I still was excited to try it out!

A fun part of the meetup was putting faces to twitter handles.  Maureen and I discovered we were already following each other online!  And there were quite a few other great people there that I already followed (on twitter).

For the class, they had an instructor, Fiona, plus a few other experienced individuals  (including the owner) around as extra models to follow (and to guide us if we’re not doing the workouts quite right).

The facility definitely had a zen feel to it,  with sparse color and lots of windows to let in natural light.  It was very crisp and clean.  The studio itself had two walls of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and one wall with windows.  There was a ballet barre on every wall.  There was a cool chandelier and maybe some skylights if I recall correctly.  The floor was carpeted for a cushioned workout.  Like I said, very zen.  I think I could live there 😛

Okay, now for the workout itself.  There was fast-paced music with a good beat throughout the entire class that we were to keep in time with.  The style of the barre method was to focus on specific body parts, doing exercises to strengthen certain muscles one at a time.  Pretty much every exercise involved multiple repetitions of very small changes, moving the body or appendage just an inch or so in and out of position.  Or as it’s described on the Pure Barre website, “small, isometric movements”.  Which sounds way better than what I said.

As they mention on that Technique page as well, there are multiple components to the class:  Warmup (which was mostly arm work), Thigh Work (I felt like my legs were burning up during this part), Seat work (tone that butt!), and Abs Work.  And of course some stretching after each component.  The Thigh and Seat exercises were the most intense; they were fast paced and really forced me to keep using muscles that I wanted to stop using.  The nice part of the Abs exercises is that they easily transition into a cooldown of sorts, lying on the ground and then doing some final stretches.

For the entire class, there is a focus on posture and proper form, and also “tucking” your hips in.  Which to me felt kind of like I was doing hip thrusts.  The goal is to roll your hips forward and up.  We did a lot of repetitive tucking during the class.

There were a few aspects of yoga (with certain stretches and positions), but not as much ballet as I had expected.   I think we stood at 1st, 4th, or 5th position for some of the exercises, and we stood at a barre for some of them, and we had to keep good posture.  But no leaping or dancing really.  Don’t worry, then, if you don’t know ballet (or yoga, or any other activities, for that matter).  It’s a little confusing for beginners, but easy to pick up what’s going on.  Especially when the instructor helps you.   It was a tough class.  But it was really neat to try out and I definitely got a workout.  Plus it was super cool to meet fellow Boston bloggers and try something new.

Would I recommend it?  Would I go again?

Well, you know me.  I’m always concerned about money.  So, pricing:  A single class at the Boston location is $23.  Or you can buy multiple classes up front at a discount (you know, like any bulk purchase), which brings the cost down by a few dollars per class.  They also offer monthly memberships for unlimited classes (though you need to sign up for each class individually, and I don’t know how fast the classes fill up).  The most appealing (to me) of course is their New Client Special, which is $100 for unlimited classes for one month.  Though, knowing me, I’d try to go as often as possible to get my money’s worth!  Which could be a little crazy.

The other issue (for me at least) would be on how to get there.  It’s steps away from the Hynes Convention Center T stop, which is super convenient for Boston commuters.  But not so convenient for me living way out in Medford.  So getting there, either by taking a long walk/bus/T ride would not be ideal.  Or trying to find (and pay for) parking in Boston.  Still, if you can get there easily, it would work.  There are other locations outside of Boston, but I don’t know if that would be any easier.

As for the program itself, I have a feeling I would probably see really good results if I started going on a regular basis.  It was hard work while I was there, but I was surprised not to be aching from it at all the next day.  Does that mean I was doing something wrong, or something right?

If I found an easier way to get to the class, I’d probably buy the $100 intro package.  And then take a bunch of classes.  Like a crazy person.

Have any of you tried out Pure Barre?  Or any other barre-related classes?  Do you like the technique?  Do you have any more questions for me about my experience?

(Oh, as a note, you can check out some other people’s reviews.  They all had cameras/smart phones, so they took pictures, if you’re hoping to get a better idea of the place.  Style Method (her last picture has me with my back to the camera in my blue shirt), Fabulous Life of a Natural Disaster, Boston Rookie (I’m in a few of her pictures, too :P, and you can see that chandelier I mentioned), A Girl’s Gotta Balance, Healthy Chicks, Kissing Frogs, Urban Guide to Life.  Did I miss any?)

 

 
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