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Vanity by Numbers

Two mama  of the bride/groom stories from my former blog entitled “As the Bobbin Winds.”  Someday, I wil actually write a book about my alterations adventures.

Yesterday, I had a mother of the groom bring a dress over for a consult.  She had “ordered a 12” but she swore it was “more like an 11.”   However, “I’m usually a 16, but thought I could make it to at least a 14” by the time this wedding came along.  She wanted to know if putting a corset back into the dress was a) a possibility; and b) if it would look good.

I have time this week (thank you, summer!) so yes, it’s a possibility, but to be perfectly honest, any corseting below the waistline would look like she bought a dress that was too small and was trying to make do.  She agreed, and I have never been so happy to see someone head off into the sunset with her feet firmly planted in reality.

The worst client I’ve ever had was a mother of the bride who I’m sure has not been ever told no in her life.  I always find it so strange when I meet someone who is old enough to be my mother has the maturity level of someone in middle school.  Perhaps it speaks volumes about my state of mind that I equate immaturity with spoiled, but this woman seemed to encompass both traits.

“I’m a size 18 on top and a size 12 on the bottom, so I ordered a 14.”  This math does not equate.   I explained everything I could do to make it fit better, and suggested that she perhaps re-evaluate her choice.  “I’m a 12, so a 14 should certainly fit.”

So after approximately 24 hours of work,  6 (yes, that’s right, SIX as opposed to 2 – 3) appointments,  she sat in my office crying because I had ruined her dress, ruined the wedding, and ruined any chance for her to have a decent picture of her and her daughter on her wedding day. (On a redeeming note, her daughter also brought me her dress and wished me luck dealing with her mom.)

Altering clothing does not equal plastic surgery.  If you have little chicken wing folds on your armpits and you have not purchased a dress to cover that, I can’t fix it.  I can’t magically make more fabric appear.

To hell with sizes.  Buy what fits–and when in doubt, but a size larger.

Let’s live tweet an alteration!

This week, I got a call from my friends who own the bridal shop with which I work.

A bride ordered her dress in April.

The dress came in Thursday (9/4).

The wedding was (is?) today–as in she is celebrating with her family and friends RIGHT NOW.

We arranged for a noon fitting:

After a pesky 4 hours of work, I began altering the dress at 5 pm. I also decided to live tweet the alteration to keep the owners abreast of how it was going. I thought I was so smart–except that I hated stopping to take pics.

Live tweeting a rush job? Fail!


Thankfully, the alteration went SO SMOOTHLY. I got lucky–the beading was easy to tie off (so I only had to fill in a minimal amount on the end) and the bride requested that I not hem it.
Taking in the side seams, adding bra cups, re beading and adding a bustle all done in time for me to make it to the bar for the fourth quarter of the Packers v. Seahawks game. Disappointing outcome, but great to see all of my Packer fans together again.


Are you a Packers fan? Check out http://www.packerseverywhere. To find an official viewing spot in your town. It made all the difference for me when I moved out here and away from the homeland.

ANYWAY, the owner picked it up at 8 am the next morning. I’m still a little sad that I wasn’t able to be there for the final fitting, but judging from the lack of panicked text messages, I’m hoping it was awesome.

Mega Pyramid

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Hello all! It’s been a long time!

Last night’s class began with driving to the gym in sunshowers and rainbows everywhere! Look how pretty!


This was one of the best classes I’ve had in a long time, and one of my most challenging playlists. We went through a Power Interval Pyramid–after a 15 minute warmup sequence, the pyramid takes you through the next 27 minutes. On each progressively longer interval (which peak at 4 mintues), the goal is to maintain an intensity of 8 on a 1-10 difficulty scale OR keep your heartrate between 80-85% of maximum.

It is an individual measure–some people need that tension up high and push, and some take the speedy endurance route. Watch your watts (power output) on your computer if you are not wearing a heart rate monitor–it will help you gage how hard you are working, and will help you see if you ease up on that intensity at any point in time.

Warm up    Blurred Lines By Robin Thicke
Locked out of Heaven by Bruno Mars
Standing run with a half turn up every 20 seconds
I Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas

Sprint on Chorus
                        Wake me up by Avicii
Jumps          Raise your Glass by Pink

1 minutes on, 30 seconds off 
2 minutes on, 60 seconds off 
3 minutes on, 90 seconds off 
4 minutes on, 120 seconds off 
4 minutes on, 120 seconds off 
3 minutes on, 90 seconds off 
2 minutes on, 60 seconds off 
1 minute on, pedal it out to the end of the song

Interval Playlist:
Girlfriend by Avril Levigne
Crank it up by David Guetta and Akon
Timber by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha
Turn Around (5,4,3,2,1) by Flo Rida
Hey Boy, Hey Girl by the Chemical Brothers
Feel this Moment by Pitbull featuring Christian Agulera
We Found Love by Rhianna
Be in Love Tonight by Toyconnor

Tension high, half turn down every 20 sec.
Apologize by One Republic
Cool down         Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen

Total playlist time: 1 hour of fun! Enjoy!

Rest Day? What’s that?

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Boot camp on Sunday, run with my girls on Monday, Spinning with the sister on law on Tuesday, subbing/teaching spin Wednesday through Saturday, and start the cycle over on Sunday.

I guess this is what happens when you focus 85% of your social calendar around gym time. But I’m happy to know I’m spending my vacation doing so many of the things I love.

I got to teach at a new club this week-beautiful, right?


Now off to find a cup of coffee and a foam roller!

Let’s Talk Podcasts

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What is the one thing all my workouts/sewing/adventures have in common? My love of listening to podcasts.

I can’t do music when I work–the desire to flip to the next song is so strong. Give me a good story, game, or information? I’m yours for hours.

Here are some of my favorites (all available on iTunes).

1. Good Job Brain (


Do you like pub trivia (or as autocorrect insists, pup trivia?) This podcast is an awesome collection of cocktail facts and fun trivia. It is my current favorite–I have listened to every episode available, and love when the magic blue circle lets me know when I have a new one waiting. I’m actually sad I was not aware of this podcast during its Kickstarter days–I would have loved to be an original backer.

2. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (The NPR news quiz)
Clearly, I like trivia. I also like smart celebrities.

Carl Kasell is my favorite:


3. The Suze Orman Show

I love a good Suze Smackdown, and I have learned so much from listening. Roth IRA FTW!

4. Chicken Thistle Farm Coop Cast

The husband and i both love this podcast. We have learned a lot from their stories on the farm, and have gotten a lot of great tips on raising our garden and chickens. i love how they are very dedicated to living pasture to plate.

Also, The post on Heromine the pig giving birth was absolutely riveting.

5. The Mötley Fool

Lots of great investing tips and market talk. It makes following the stock market/investing feel so much less intimidating.

Other favorites:
Storytelling: This American Life (stories from modern America, constructed around a weekly theme); The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (rebroadcasts of the radio show from the 1950s–including commercials!!); To The Best Of Our Knowledge (stories from modern America);Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (another rebroadcast of a 1940s/50s radio detective series)

NPR: Planet Money, Playback, Sunday Puzzle, Car Talk, pop Culture Happy Hour, and many more

Quick and Dirty Tips: Money Girl, Legal Lad, the House Call Doctor and Get Fit Guy are favorites; Modern Manners Guy amuses me with his impolite judgements of others impoliteness)

Smart Passive Income

I have yet to find a fitness podcast I really love.

This is the audio that keeps my fly wheel spinning, my feet smacking the ground for just one more mile, and the hula hoe weeding one more bed.


Do you have any favorites/recommendations? Let me know!!


So. Much. Squealing.

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The girl who came for her dress last night squealed. Squeaked. Jumped up and down. Cried.

Knowing my work can make someone THAT happy is so gratifying.

I’ll post a pic of her in it when I do the final fitting in May (yes, May. This one is on the ball .)

We went out for a celebratory bike ride afterwards. Check out who got to ride up front!


This is fresh from the bike shop–she loved it!

Five Miles Never Felt So Good

Today was my first run with my group in three weeks. THREE WEEKS!!!

It felt amazing.

Great start to one hell of a t do list today:
-work (dress rehearsal, teach, meet with job candidates, finalize/mail in our grant, and talk someone off the ledge, I’m sure)
–call to confirm spin training
–walk my darling puppy
–finish alterations on 2 wedding dresses, including this one (I’m adding straps):

–attempt sweeping the floor, which will say grass free for .3 seconds. Thanks, puppy.

So here we go! Fingers crossed it’s a good one!

Ashleigh Lawrence

Ashleigh Lawrence - Personal Trainer and Strength Coach

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