At the beginning of this month I had the most amazing opportunity to travel to the SoulCycle Southern California studios with my mentor and close friend. I’ve been taking time to be a real human, off of the internet, and heres why:
Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. We live our lives hoping that whatever we are doing is going to take us to the next level. One of the first things I ever learned from Monique Berarducci, was to embrace the unexpected and live spontaneously. This whole concept has helped better my life and overall happiness.
My tour through Southern California was part of my overall plan to complete all the studios in the country. I never thought to apply the same perspective that I did to life, to this crazy project of mine.
Unfortunately I suffer from ailments I can’t control, as much as I would like to. I have reached a point where I need to take a step back, reevaluate, and realize that I am putting myself in danger if I continue.
SoulCycle has helped me build myself up, make myself stronger, and overcome challenges, so much so that I tend to think I can do it all. As reluctant as I am, I am tapping out of the remainder of my Southern California tour and saving it for later.
I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone who made SoulCycle LA part 1, so incredibly amazing and I look forward to finishing up the rest later this year.
** Keep an eye out for my posts later this week**
New Years Day, Monique Berarducci (SoulCycle Instructor extraordinaire from NYC) and I will be making our way to the streets of LA. For a trip that will include completing all thirteen Southern California SoulCycle studios and other various shenanigans, I’ve put together a snapshot of what I will always have with me.
Take Monique’s class in West Hollywood! The schedule listed below.
Monday, January 2nd: 10:30am/5:30pm
Tuesday, January 3rd: 7:00am/6:30pm
Survival Kit Contents:
Travel Essentials: 111 Places in Los Angeles that you Must Not Miss by Laurel Moglen & Julia Posey
Favorite Outfit to Sweat In: Any Lululemon bra paired with a SoulCycle Tank. Find some of my favorites here
Necessary Accessories: Wildfox sunglasses, Peace Love World socks, and no crease hair ties
Sneaks: Classic Stan Smith Adidas Sneakers
Song: Still Falling For You (Jonas Blue Remix) By Ellie Goulding
The traditional template I follow with each new soul destination is to write out each day and provide an in depth discussion of each instructor—this trip I wanted to do something a little different. To me, Boston showed me a different side of the SoulCycle community; it showed me that it could bring people together who aren’t necessarily part of the “pack”.
I was lucky to have one of my closest and dearest friends, Lauren, accompany me on my trip to Boston. She had ridden only once before and I was the bully that booked her front and center. No one has ever picked up rhythm faster than this girl and I had not a single doubt in my mind that she couldn’t handle it. Lauren was an absolute rockstar and I was not one bit surprised.
During our travels we rode at Back Bay with James L, Chestnut Hill with Sal, and Beacon Hill with Sara. We had an absolute blast in each class. My foodie friend Laur picked the best spots for us to dine and she hit the nail on the head. We stuffed our faces with doughnuts, crème puffs, cannoli’s, PIZZA, and whatever else we could get our hands on. This trip we got to stay with my oldest sister’s closest friend, Alexa, who is essentially my third sister. We shared so, so many laughs and I was excited to spend time with her.
This trip separated me from my usual soul community, but it was so exciting to show my friends a slice of my world. The word slice… it’s bringing me back to the pizza again (it was so good, go to OTTO in Newburyport if you’re ever hungry in MA). The video above is just another slice into my world ;).
Courtesy of Giphy
In a hotel room without windows to the outside, wake-up was rough. Sharing a hotel room with my dad is definitely a comedy routine. Very thankful there are two TVs, one designated to political coverage and one for Food Network—if you know my dad, you know how much he loves his Chopped! (Totally joking, I am a hard-core Food Network addict). Anyhoo, we eventually got our butts moving out the door and to the Mount Vernon studio!
Natalia is the SWEETEST. She was quick to greet me with a huge hug at the beginning of class. During the class, the bike on the right of me was empty, so Natalia would ride there from time to time—I loved that. It was so easy to absorb her energy and spread it around to all the riders. That, to me, is one of the most important traits an instructor can have.
One of my favorite parts of class is when Natalia had us transitioning from second to third position and lessening the counts every round. My core was on fire. I loved all the choreography she instructed us to do. Natalia brought a refreshing and unique style to class.
After we left the Mount Vernon studio, my dad and I took to the streets and did a little sight seeing. We walked the National Mall and I saw all the monuments for the first time since I was really young. It was cool to see it all again!
Bethesda is only a short drive away from the DC studios, so it was a no brainer to group them all together. Although it was just my dad and I in the car, my mom was just as excited back in New York. As a University of Maryland Alum, my mom had planned for us to meet up with her college roommates and all ride together. It was so fun riding seeing them and having a community so far from home.
It couldn’t be clearer how loved Wayne is. His class was packed with smiles and enthusiasm. The room emanated a feeling that made you feel as if you were in the right place and there was nowhere else you had to be.
By the end of class and getting to know the Bethesda staff and Wayne (who were all so amazing!), dad and I were POOPED. We retreated to the hotel, recharged, and gained motivation to get up and head out to dinner.
My Dad and I began our trip this morning on a train from New York to Union Station. Our first stop after getting settled was to Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken… because why wouldn’t you stuff your face with deliciousness before a SoulCycle class? I soon learned why at KC’s 6:30 class at the West End studio.
What a wonderful way to begin our DC adventures, KC was dynamite. Her class was a huge dance party with pumping music; I forgot that I was working out. KC was bursting with passion for her role as an instructor; she filled the room with the happiest energy. As my dad would say, “good workout, good music, good time.”
Once class was over, my dad and I got to spend some time with KC and the rest of the West End staff. Everyone could not have been nicer. We took plenty of photos, chatted it up, and I even debuted on KC’s Snapchat— haaaay. Thank you, KC and the entire West End studio for a fantastic DC welcome!
So we were off, back to the hotel— ready for room service and a good nights sleep! We have a big weekend ahead of us.
# DAD JOKE OF THE DAY:
West End Staff: Anyone in the men’s bathroom?
Dad: SOUL man
… because he was the only one in there
It’s not a glamorous lifestyle hopping from studio to studio; beauty sleep doesn’t prove to exist and you would agree if you saw my dad and I Saturday morning. We struggled to wake-up in our windowless hotel room and once we finally were, first stop were doughnuts in Georgetown. Doughnuts were my only motivation.
The disappointment was too real
Imagine the excitement you have towards eating what has been advertised as one of the best doughnuts, the buildup from the twenty-minute walk to the bakery as your mouth waters with anticipation. Now imagine running to the doors of that very bakery, opening them wide open, and the employee behind the counter looking at you skeptically exclaiming, “I’m sorry, we haven’t received the dough for today yet.” Pure disappointment. I keep writing, “maybe I’m over exaggerating,” and keep deleting it because if someone tells you you’re in for a great doughnut and they donut deliver, then disappointment is inevitable.
The only thing that could cheer me up would be the one thing that I value as much as doughnuts, a great SoulCycle class, and unlike the bakery, Chris Pepe delivered. A soul survivor on a Saturday morning is usually how my family kicks off the weekend, so Dad and I were representing at the Georgetown studio. The class went by SUPER fast. The music in his playlist made the class synchronized, not just on the correct foot, but also with expressions of happiness and determination. It was a room united in a desire to give it your all.
For our recovery, aka lunch, we found ourselves devouring large plates of food at Marvin’s Tavern. Once I got to the state where my dad could roll me out the door, we set out for the 14th Street studio.
This week has been so fun, how else would my dad want to spend Father’s Day weekend than with his favorite daughter (sorry Syd and Carly). Together we rode five classes in three days, and our last ride was nothing short of exciting.
Rachel brought a particular lightness to the room; her energy was refreshing. Back in June, Rachel was just beginning her journey as an instructor; her infectious enthusiasm packed the room. I can only speak for myself and say how much I loved a class, but it was pretty obvious that the rest of the riders in the front row were having a blast.
What an exciting weekend. I can officially say my dad has hit my level of craziness. Our last few hours in DC were spent a little quieter than usual, too exhausted to speak or too much food in our mouths. Eat in Eat Pray Cycle was emphasized on this trip, so much so that my dad has nicknamed me the bottomless pit. A nickname I am proud of—bring on the doughnuts.
At the beginning of June, I took a day trip to Short Hills, New Jersey. My two friends, Cari and Morgan, joined me for the day and my sister Sydney met us at the studio. We began our morning with a class taught by Nick S.
Nick’s energy was contagious. His playlist consisted of the catchiest pop songs, and everyone was able to jam out together. It was a giant, Sunday morning dance party. Nick knows how to hype a room. My sister and I couldn’t help but keep smiling at each other throughout the ride because we were having a blast. My friend Cari and I rode next to each other in synchronized fashion and could pick Morgan out with the help of the mirror. It was so nice to still have a sense of my home studio community in a different SoulCycle region. The class went by incredibly fast. After, I spoke with Nick, and he couldn’t be nicer. It was a great way to spend the morning.
We said goodbye to Syd, and Cari, Morgan and I hit the road and took on Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg is a Brooklyn Flea Food Market that hosts the trendiest food vendors of NY. Naturally, I hit the pizza tents and devoured the doughnuts from Dough. The food was fantastic.
Instructor: Rachael Brooke
Walking to the Castro studio, everything is painted rainbow– it’s amazing. When you walk into the gorgeous studio, you are greeted with a rainbow Polaroid wall– it is also amazing. There is so much pride in this community; everyone is united. Unity was a huge factor in the Castro SoulCycle community; everybody loved everybody.
Rachael was a firecracker. Her class was everything and more, such a fun way to end my NoCal soul tour. The choreography was so entertaining; there were a lot of sequences. Rachael kept reversing the order, which made it even more fun and light-hearted.
Something that hit home with me the most was when I interviewed Rachael, and she spoke about every rider having the ability to complete class once they get on the bike. This is a mantra I live by, and practice/preach every day. If I can book myself a bike, and get on it, it doesn’t matter if my legs decide to buckle or my joints have their usual freak out, I’m clipped in, and there is no stopping me.