My RI Life: Barre To Bar With Amy Desmarais
Amy Desmarais is one of the instructors at Pure Barre who keep me going back - She's always friendly and, equally as important, her classes have a great energy. What I didn't realize (until later) though was that Amy is also working toward a degree in exercise physiology and during the Spring/Summer, she bartends at one of the coolest places to see or be seen in Rhode Island - the Rooftop Bar at the Providence G. This is her fabulous (and busy!) 'RI Life'.
Barre to bar has been my motto for the past two years now. I am a fitness and food junkie! Teaching bar classes during the day (at Pure Barre) while bartending at night: Something about being able to create an experience for someone else to enjoy has always been my motivator.
I signed up at my local gym when I was 15 years old, and my passion just grew from there. There's nothing I won't try when it comes to fitness and I always look for different ways to challenge myself. I found Pure Barre a few years ago, and I can honesty say there isn't anything that challenges me more. The mental focus of the class itself, (it) pushes you to places you're usually afraid to go to, but eventually (you) find the strength to get there. It's a "shake" and "burn" like no other!
Restaurants And Food
Working in the restaurant business for over 10 years, it is hard for me to go out to eat without being a critic, but there are some places I find myself always returning to. Sometimes it’s because I really like a menu item, but most of the time it’s because of how the staff members and employees treat their guests. With such competition in the city, kindness and customer service, over food quality, for me, plays a huge part in who keeps my business.
Coffee Shops: Brewed Awakenings in Cranston or Johnston is usually my “go-to” for coffee. However, a Coffee Connection opened up in north providence and has an awesome (very large) menu filled with everything from espresso protein smoothies to grape leaves. The staff there is very accommodating and will make you almost anything!
Breakfast: Brunch is my favorite meal of the day (Isn’t it everyone’s?!?). My favorite spot to sneak brunch in is the Duck and Bunny on Wickenden Street in Providence. If the chandeliers and cozy fireplace don’t win you over, their breakfast crepes will. I always go with their Eggs Benedict (or Bunny-Duck, as they call it), it's fabulous!
Lunch: I’m usually a grab-and-go kinda girl when it comes to lunch. If I don’t make my own lunch, I like to stop at Wildflour Vegan Bakery on the East Side, or The Grange on Broadway for a green smoothie. Wildflour has these hemp protein bars with shredded coconut, chocolate chips and cinnamon in them, and I am addicted!
Date Night/ Special Occasion Dining: On the rare occasion I dress up to go out to dinner, I do have a few places I prefer. Gracie’s in Providence is the perfect spot to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or just to enjoy excellent French/American cuisine. From the stars on the wine glasses, to the homemade cookies the valet leaves in your car, they have detail down to a science! I also love Cav in Providence, Mills Tavern (great oyster selection), and Broadway Bistro.
Dining: Providence has so many places to dine these days, it is SO hard to choose somewhere to go! The Providence G downtown is a one-stop- shop when it comes to dining. The G Pub (located in the basement) offers a long list of craft beers, and pub food done right! It’s also a great place to hang, sing some karaoke or play pool. Upstairs on the first level, you will find Garde de la Mer, a new French fine dining restaurant that has, in my opinion, one of the prettiest bars in the state. I suggest starting off your experience with fresh oysters and sautéed squid, and ending with an espresso martini and homemade crème brule.
Summer is back and that means the Rooftop Bar at the Providence G is also opening back up! If you missed your chance to sneak up there last summer, you will want to make sure it’s on your list of places to visit. The Rooftop is the perfect stop to get some sunshine while sipping on cucumber martini or blueberry mojito. I suggest ordering the margarita pizza (made in the open wood-fire oven) and the shrimp cocktail (always large and fresh).
Health And Fitness
Amy's Tips For Getting And Staying Fit:
1. Never Skip Meals
I make sure I carry food with me at all times, that way I don't go into starvation-binge mode at the end of the day! Some easy go-to snacks: nuts, fruit, hummus and veggies.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Most people confuse hunger with thirst and aren't getting enough water in. (I mean, there's water in coffee right?!) I like to carry a big water bottle around with me as a reminder to drink up!
3. Be Patient, Consistent, And Don't Stress
There is no such thing as a quick fix. If you want something, work hard for it and be patient, you'll get there.
4. Get Moving
Whether it be taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, or parking farther away from a store entrance, every bit counts. Try adding a walk or jog in the morning when you first wake up to get your blood flowing. Not only will it energize you right up, but it will turn you into a calorie burning machine all day!
5. Don't Beat Yourself Up
Everyone is allowed to have bad days, it happens. Remind yourself that one bad day is not going to ruin all your hard work and start the next day with a positive, refreshed mindset.
For more from Amy, click here for her Instagram.
Ciao For Now,
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Amy Desmarais