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Fitness, Health

Mint Studios Pilates

July 29, 2014

So although I am not completely new to Pilates on the mat, I was completely new to Pilates reformer up until a few months ago. Some of you may remember when I talked about Mint Studios and their spring open house, and how much I LOVED my first ever Pilates reformer experience.

review of Mint Studios Pilates in San Francisco, the best pilates studio

review of Mint Studios Pilates in San Francisco, the best pilates studio

I was kindly invited to try a longer Pilates reformer session at Mint Studios recently (which meant sore everything the day after haha) and this time round I bumped into the gorgeous owner of Mint Studios, Elaine Hayes. Elaine was kind enough to agree to an interview, which I thought would be a fun way to introduce all of you lovely people to the brains behind the studio.

owner of Mint Studios Pilates Elaine Hayes

 Hi Elaine! Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi, I’m Elaine Hayes and I’m the owner and founder of Mint Studios. I was born in California but grew up in Brazil as a child and also lived in England until I was 15. I came to live in the San Francisco bay area where I went to college at Berkeley. It was at Berkeley that I met my now husband Michael. We now live in the SOMA area with our four legged baby, Zoey.

What sparked your interest for Pilates?

I grew up dancing ballet and when I was in high school, my dance teacher introduced us to Pilates as part of our conditioning. I quickly noticed the benefits of Pilates: I could jump higher, stretch a little further, my core was stronger, and the aches and pains that come with lots of ballet were incredibly reduced. It wasn’t until after graduating from college and embarking on a whole different career path that I decided that Pilates was what I really wanted to pursue.

Where did the inspiration for Mint Studios come from?

I had been teaching in San Francisco for a few years and started to realize there was no single studio that offered everything I wanted. This city needed a space where you could be in a beautiful, positive environment and take classes that consistently challenge you with a fun and energetic flair. I wanted the studio to make you feel like you had stepped into a spa rather than a normal gym.

What makes Mint Studios stand out from other Pilates studios?

Mint Studios offers a new kind of Pilates, Barre and Yoga: a no-nonsense approach to working out that gives you results in the most direct and efficient way. Our classes are creative, effective, and fun and our studio is beautifully designed. At Mint, you can rest assured that you are going to see results and quickly if you stick with it.

review of Mint Studios Pilates in San Francisco, the best pilates studio

What does a typical day in the life of Elaine Hayes look like?

I usually wake at 6am and am off to bed around 11pm. I teach classes from 6:30am to 1pm then back again from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. During my break I love to grab lunch or even a quick spot of retail therapy!

What does your current workout routine look like?

Finding time for a workout can be tough with my schedule! I do teach Booty Barre and Mat Pilates quite a few times a week so I do get a workout while teaching, which is a bonus. I then try to find 30 minutes between clients to kick my own butt! I also love going for a run along the Embarcadero and walking my dog Zoey.

 Favorite healthy restaurant or smoothie/juice bar in the Bay Area?

For cleanses, CAN CAN Cleanse is hands down my absolute favorite. The cleanses are so doable and you really feel supported throughout the experience especially when the founder, Teresa sends you daily motivation. My favorite healthy lunch spot is Judahlicious, a vegan and organic café in the Outer Sunset. It’s a bit of a trek but so worth it!

What are your thoughts on quick fixes and fad diets?

I personally don’t think they work. A healthy life is all about everything in moderation. Exercise daily and eat well and you will see results. “Quick Fixes” might show a result at first, but it is not long term. Once you stop, all your bad habits come back. I like to think of it as more of a lifestyle than a diet.

What can we expect from Mint Studios in the future?

My plan is to be able to expand Mint Studios into a few locations around the Bay Area. We are just about to celebrate our One Year Anniversary in August, so you never know where you might see a new Mint Studios pop up! 

review of Mint Studios Pilates in San Francisco, the best pilates studio

Elaine (owner of Mint Studios Pilates) and Lisa (one of the fabulous instructors at Mint Studios Pilates)

I cannot wait to go back and do some more classes at Mint Studios Pilates! Luckily for me, they have a 15% discount for students which is a great help.

review of Mint Studios Pilates in San Francisco, the best pilates studio

Ooh, I have some exciting news – Mint Studios Pilates will soon be celebrating their 1 year anniversary on August 21st and will be throwing a party for the occasion! There will be a complimentary Booty Barre class, Can Can cleanse juice tasting, a Lorna Jane trunk show (LOVE LORNA JANE) and more! This event is not to be missed so save the date.

I hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully you will try out some classes at Mint Studios Pilates soon 🙂

Honestly yours,
Alice xxx

Sunday Summary

Salt Lake City

July 6, 2014

I have officially been on holiday for a week now, and I am now in Salt Lake City, Utah! This is my first mini ‘holiday’ since going back to Thailand last summer, and it feels great to be somewhere new.

As most of my close friends already know, my boyfriend got accepted into the bioengineering PhD program at the University of Utah which therefore meant that he was going to move to Salt Lake City. I decided to tag along for the car trip and to stay with him in the city for a few weeks before going back to work and starting up classes again. The drive took us through Northern California (through Sacramento and Lake Tahoe area), across Nevada (the most amount of empty I have ever seen in my life), and then through the Utah salt flats. It was pretty rough though; my boyfriend drove the u-haul and I drove his car. It was a 10 hour drive overall (although we stayed overnight at a town called Elko in Nevada at the 7 hour mark) and I just cannot believe I did such a long drive, by myself effectively!

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Driving through California – so pretty

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Nevada during the afternoon

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 Nevada before sunset – same view several hundred miles later lol, but prettier now

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Border of Nevada and Utah, finally!

Thoughts so far? IT’S SO HOT! Far hotter than the Bay Area, but about the same temperature as California’s central valley but quite a bit drier. I literally HAD to buy sunscreen because I was getting sunburnt from spending half an hour in the sun!! But hey, at least I finally get to tan, something which was so not going to happen in San Francisco. We went to a fun 4th of July celebration in Sugarhouse park and saw some beautiful fireworks.

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I have been blown away so far by the range of cuisine available in Salt Lake City. I was kind of expecting 1 Thai and Chinese place to be honest haha. We have tried a few restaurants so far and they have all been really good. Red Iguana was an amazing Mexican restaurant with a whole range of mole’s, and Skewered Thai did a pretty good job of serving up relatively authentic and tasty Thai food. OMG and they have Rubio’s, yaaay!

I also didn’t realize this before  but Salt Lake City has a really big focus on health and fitness, so happy!! We went to a farmer’s market in downtown Salt Lake City and it was honestly better than any farmer’s market I have been too in California. Although my one criticism would be that there wasn’t a big range of vegetables. There are tons of gyms, yoga and pilates studio’s around the city, and 3 Whole Foods!! There are also a few Lululemon’s here and so I attended one of their free yoga Sunday classes (which was awesome).

I think these next few weeks will be really fun and full of me exploring the city and doing fun and fit-related activities. Hopefully I can avoid holiday weight-gain 🙂

Have any of you ever been to Salt Lake City? Or do any of you live here? I would love some tips or suggestions on what to see or do!

Honestly yours,
Alice xxx

Fitness, Health

Mint Studios Spring Open House

April 29, 2014

So I mentioned in last week’s Sunday Summary that I wanted to write a post on the spring open house that I attended at Mint Studios because my brief little summary of it did not do it justice!

Let’s start with this – what is Mint Studios?

Mint Studios offers yoga, barre and pilate’s classes including pilate’s reformer. If you guys do not know what pilate’s reformer, please go and try it right now .. at Mint Studios!! I got to experience pilate’s reformer for the first time during Mint Studios spring open house as they were offering several complimentary classes throughout the evening. My class specifically was called the cardio sport pilates reformer class and it was so fun and upbeat! I have always wanted to try a pilates reformer class, especially after reading about how several Victoria’s Secret models do it regularly 🙂

The actual reformer machine itself is a bit strange to use, especially when you are new and have no idea what you are doing, but it is easy to get the hang of. The pilates reformer machine kind of looks like a bed, with a flat platform called the carriage which moves up and down on wheels within the frame of the machine. The carriage is attached on one end to a set of springs which provide varying levels of resistance (so it can be used for all levels!) and on the other end is a footbar. The machine also contains straps with handles which can be pulled with your legs or arms.


 Image from

The teacher for this class that night was called Lisa and she was great; she made sure to check everyone’s form and to see how they were feeling in general. I was really surprised at how much it worked my core, especially because I thought I had quite a strong core to begin with. I woke up the next day and literally couldn’t stop touching my stomach as it felt really nice and flat, it was a bit ridiculous. I felt as if it had made my core muscles pop, had made them ‘wake up’ for lack of a better metaphor. I would love to try the other pilate’s classes and come back for a full session as the complimentary class I took was only 30 minutes long – but long enough to make me know that I loved the workout.

In addition to this fabulous and hard core (pun intended) workout class, there were several San Francisco local vendors present too. Project Juice in particular caught my eye because Brandon, Project Juice’s community wellness manager and health coach, was there and handing out samples of the juices they make. Although I do not regularly buy juices, I certainly note their nutritional value and enjoy drinking them on occasion for a healthy pick me up. My two favorites in particular were the D-Tox juice and the Mint-Chip Shake. When I tried the d-tox juice I was honestly expecting a rather bitter and unpleasant taste but on the contrary, it was really refreshing and sweet! And I think the mint-chip kind of speaks for itself .. it tastes like a mint chocolate chip shake but is much healthier 🙂

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Got to sample these lovely juices!!

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Ensoma Spa were also there offering complimentary brow waxes (which I missed out on due to a dinner date, boo) and there were free protein bars from Premier Protein. I took home the mint chocolate protein bar (obsessed with this flavor combo) and it was delicious, although it perhaps was not as ‘wholesome’ a protein bar as some others. But still pretty tasty honestly.

I am so glad I found out about Mint Studios spring open house! I love finding out about health & fitness events, and hope to attend more in the future. I had a very fun night and I hope some of you try out their classes soon. If you do, let me know which ones you did!

Honestly yours,