If you have been to labarre recently, then you know and love Morgan Goldstein. If you haven’t… well, here’s a chance to meet the student turned instructor and one of the studio's newest leaders on the floor!
Morgan grew up in Fremont, California, however, she ventured to the east coast, attending school in upstate New York. Morgan graduated from Ithaca College, studying English and Theater, and continued her academic career in Boston where she continued to study Theater, specializing in Dramaturgy.
Finally, to close out her academia, Morgan returned home to Northern California receiving a teaching credential at UC Davis where she put it to good work for nearly a decade, teaching for Fremont and San Jose schools. It’s no surprise to anyone who has spent time with her that Morgan’s creative and imaginative soul shines on in every conversation.
“I tell stories as part of my life,” Morgan exclaims, “even my playlists have some sort of unifying theme to tell a story.” Her insightful views have been a guide for her throughout her path but so has mindfulness for her body and physical fitness. Morgan was a competitive gymnast in high school and notes emphatically that “being a gymnast is truly hard on your joints. When I moved back home, I wanted to find a place to continue my fitness journey.” While eating at a nearby restaurant (shoutout to Zona Rosa!) she noticed labarre studios along with her husband Eric and decided to give it a try!
“It was Mother’s Day, 2022 and the studio was offering free classes – it was so fun and so welcoming, and I was so concerned that it would be a bunch of snobby people who all looked the same. But it was diverse and wonderful; it was just a great place!”
Morgan continues to evangelize her experience, “So I kept going and was up to 3-5 timer a week and I was loving it. I heard that there was potentially space for more instructors and so I asked Lisa Alberino (labarre’s Owner and Founder) ‘what’s the process because I’d like to contribute as much as I can?’ and Lisa mentioned that training was starting up soon and I jumped right into training and here I am!”
That leap meant more to Morgan than just a chance to teach at the studio. The hard work paid off and joining labarre’s equipe (or staff) meant being a part of something she had witnessed first-hand as a member.
“Labarre is like home. People are warm, welcoming and genuine. Both the staff and members are excited to see new people, everyone is cheering for you, and everyone wants you to get stronger and meet your goals. That was very clear to me immediately. I remember people asking me ‘Is this your first, time? You are going to have so much fun!’ They helped me get prepared and even helped me get the right weights and get started. It was just home and as you go more and more you develop these relationships, and they are TRUE relationships. They aren’t just the people I see at the gym, but they are people who I have gone on double dates with, I’ve even had members join me on my bachelorette party! I have made true connections.” She finishes with a smile, “When I go back I am comfortable and I can be who I am and I am celebrated.”
Her classes are tough but fun! Her style of teaching is simple, and Morgan explains it in the easiest of terms, “you are going to sweat in my class, and you are going to feel muscles you may never knew you had. We are going to do hard things and we are going to meet challenges! It’s going to be a good time with fun music and that music will take us on a journey.”
As mentioned, Morgan is married, and she was recently wed to the love of her life Eric, this past summer. (Kudos to a killer makeover and tutorial from the fabulous Mercedes!
Keep reading for more context!)
When not on the floor, Morgan and Eric can be found out and about as they are self-proclaimed “Major foodies and coffee heads.” If you want to know where to get a great cup of coffee, they are a fund of knowledge in this area. They also love to travel, and hiking is in their repertoire no matter what season it is. Of course, they also love craft cocktails and so downtown San Jose hosts their favorite haunts, beginning with Paper Plane.
Their family doesn’t stop with the two of them. Parents to some furry friends, the Goldsteins added a new member to the crew! Joining their beloved kitty, “Behomoth” they also adopted a puppy this past summer. Neko makes the family an even four, and now joins the Goldsteins on their adventures!
Lastly and maybe the coolest thing to know about Morgan is that she and Eric are big “makers.”
“I knit, I spin my own yarn and you may notice that I have a big half sleeve tattoo with a sheep on it … that tells you what you need to know. Eric and I really like to make things.” That creative aspect is so key in everything that Morgan does, and you will feel it when you are around her. She exudes vitality and kindness and mentions that the studio is a place that replicates her positive energy.
“Labarre is going to give you a holistic community. There are a lot of places where you work out and they offer good experiences, however, most of those spots end with the working out piece. Labarre extends past that. People are together, events center around the people there. There are great wellness services that wrap around the entire place. There are pieces of the studio that influenced my wedding (See how Mercedes worked with Morgan to make her even more beautiful right HERE!) and changed the way I celebrated a monumental day of my life… that is what the studio is about. Labarre is truly a community that can touch every part of your life.
Won’t you join us and meet Morgan on the studio floor? To get started, simply click HERE!
If you’ve been to labarre studios recently you have certainly been welcomed by a smiling face that also wears many hats at 1445 The Alameda.
Born in South Korea, Kellen Zunich was adopted by her lovely family that started her on a lifetime journey that brought her to the Bay Area.
Spending her younger years in Eugene Oregon, Kellen called Ohio home for a little more than a decade before she headed west to live in Santa Clara. Her parents’ career in higher education was the catalyst for the move and her mom was the Dean of the Santa Clara University Law School as well as the acting President of the University for some time.
A graduate of Santa Clara, Kellen majored in communications and has put her education to work in the marketing world as a writer, digital marketer, and more! (As a matter of fact, some of the brilliant imagery you see on our Instagram page is a byproduct of Kellen’s marketing chops!
Labarre’s location, a mere mile and a half from the beautiful Santa Clara campus happens to also be Kellen’s connect to the equipe. It was at school where Kellen learned of the studio by way of our resident rockstar, instructor Sarah Hays!
“She is one of my favorite humans. We worked together at the school of education and counseling psychology… Sarah was the mom of the office, she was wonderful, everyone was able to run to her for advice and more.” Kellen continues to shower love on one of her mentors and a studio-favorite, “She often would wear her labarre sweatshirt and noted she had to teach a class or run to the studio and so it naturally came up. I was then in touch with Lisa Alberino (labarre’s owner and founder) to do some of the photography for the open houses and with that I was able to enjoy the employee benefits and it kind of just launched from there!”
Photography and creativity were only the beginning for Kellen as she quickly decided that teaching at the studio was going to be the next step. You can often see her at the front desk when she’s not delivering shakes and quakes on the studio floor.
“This was the first time in any capacity that I have taught…I never even saw this for myself. It’s been really fun… the community itself, people are so welcoming and kind and everyone chats with each other before class. If anyone struggles in class, we make sure people know we are all in this together, it’s been quite a comfortable transition and a great morale booster.”
Kellen has brought that air of acceptance and kindness to her class… but don’t let her fool you, with smiles, comes a little pain as well! “One of my top goals is to get a chuckle out of you, I want to make people comfortable and laugh. But on top of the you will 100% drip and sweat and get a fantastic class in without a doubt every time!”
Away from the studio she’s a “Cat-Mom” (Sherlock and Watson), she loves to catch happy hours with her friends, sampling new restaurants with her crew around the Bay Area. In Hayward, CA an oasis of family resides. Kellen enjoys passing time connecting with and at times, spoiling her goddaughters. That family connection is seen in every interaction guests have with Kellen. She brings a positive and open vibe to match the one she feels every day at the studios.
“When guests walk in, they exhale, their shoulders drop, they lock their phones away, and its 45 minutes of just you, your friends, and the ability to relax and get healthy movement going. Whenever I am there, I don’t have to overthink, and that translates to a lot of the guests as well.
Greeting guests is part of Kellen’s overall work with labarre as she is not only an instructor, but also our front desk lead and plays the part of training and overseeing our new front desk staff. Kellen is our “hostess with the mostest” striving to deliver the best guest experience every time a guests walks into labarre. Her optimistic view isn’t fleeting or manufactured, its expressed in everything Kellen does. A great example is evident in her favorite saying.
“It’s a good day for a good day!” That kindness is shared in wonderful, square remembrances. You see, Kellen is one of the wordsmiths behind the sticky notes often found in peoples footwear post workouts! Although she humbly notes that she can’t take credit for the innovative way to touch hearts, she has certainly fueled the fun.
“The front desk started it while I was a guest, but after seeing some extra pieces of paper, I decided to pick it up and continue it on!”
As a part of the labarre community across the board, Kellen works hard to assure she can take her mentor, Sarah’s Friday classes, but notes “She kicks my butt! Her class is hard, but amazing!” We have taken Sarah’s classes as well and double-stamp the rating of “butt kicking.”
If you haven’t taken a class with Kellen, treat yourself! She is a wonderful presence at the studio and a reflective part of her incredible family. Speaking of family, you can catch Kellen’s mom in class… and shoutouts are a regular occurrence if mom is in attendance, so get on the floor and be sure to say “Hi!” to Kellen and her divine mom!
Meet Nancy Moua, the newest addition to labarre studios as we introduce IV Therapy, Regenerative Medicine, and Aesthetics to our already robust wellness team.
Nancy, who owns and operates RevIVe Therapy & Aesthetics, is driven and excited to bring her business to 1445 The Alameda for members and guests.
“It’s been a long journey.” Nancy begins to tell her story as this California native, born in Orange County and made her way to the Bay Area via the Central Valley continues on. Her passion stemmed from when she was a young girl and watched her grandfather do what he did best, heal.
After 10 years in the healthcare field, the desire to have her own practice continued but Nancy's path remained steady, always hoping she could start her business but hesitating on the path to do so. As in the case of most journeys, there was a bump in the road. Nancy fell incredibly ill during Covid. She felt that she had built up immunity over the decade of serving patients and during 2020, this proved to not be the case. Contracting Covid proved to be an excessive sickness that lasted over 3 weeks, and the symptoms were nothing more than crippling. It affected her every hour of every day and that unfortunate event would be just what she needed as it sparked an epiphany within. Nancy knew, as she rose from nearly a month of pain, that she needed to change, and she had to reinvent how she was living.
That’s when Nancy went on a naturopathic journey.
She changed the way she ate, she meditated, she demonstrated restraint, and learned to decrease stress by accepting that many things are out of her control so stressing over such things was useless. That disciplined approach led to her hesitating no more.
“As I delved deeper into health and wellness, my chronic body pain disappeared, my debilitating abdominal discomfort stopped, my skin cleared, and my autoimmune disorders were no more. It was empowering! I have absolute control of my health today! To me, my journey truly embodied the definition of Holistic. My mind, body, and spirit were all in sync. I want people to know that we truly have control of our health and the choices that we make can either heal you or harm you. I learned to be attuned with my body and I want to educate others how to do the same. Our body is so amazing, strong, and resilient that we often take it for granted. When I think back to my adolescent years, twenties, and thirties, I’m baffled by all the pain I had to endure to reach this point. As a teen, I had a doctor tell me that I got the ‘short end of the deal’ and ‘surgery would help.’ Our healthcare system isn’t focused on health but masking our ailments and making money. It’s unfortunate. This is why I’m so passionate about health and wellness. I cannot wait to help others on their path to healing and feeling their best!”
This led Nancy to become even more deeply educated on her health and the physiology of others. Nancy continued to reflect on her learnings, “From gut health, to insulin, to hormones and how blood sugar can affect us. All the services that I offer, IV hydration, Regenerative Medicine, and Aesthetics, will help to strengthen the immune system and make it more resilient to the environment we live in, decrease inflammation, and promote healing.”
And HERE is the end of her health journey and the beginning of her business, RevIVe Therapy & Aesthetics.
“This all happened so I can help others. Everything I went through was to help and heal.”
That desire to help others, as her grandfather did, is Nancy’s guiding force and her desire to do so is tangible. RevIVe’s offerings are unique and expansive, but a conversation with Nancy would be the first step and her welcoming attitude, gregariousness, and genuinely comforting approach is what makes her therapy stand out.
“I simply want to help people by providing my services. Decreasing inflammation through the therapies I offer will help with autoimmune disorders” Nancy states.
IV Therapy is great in combating inflammation and thus helping people on their way to better living. It doesn’t only stop at helping to decrease inflammation, there are options on options! Regenerative medicine is also a specialty in RevIVe’s list of services to help people achieve their wellness goals.
“I love what I do, and I care about everyone, that is why I started this business. Come see me and let’s talk about your symptoms, let’s talk about what you are challenged with and I can offer suggestions and solutions. Then we can just go from there! I think what sets me apart from other providers is I listen. I know the questions to ask. My clients come to me because they feel comfortable with me and that makes me thrilled. Offering a safe, enjoyable space with a professional touch is absolutely in the visit.”
This weekend, July 15th - 16th you can come connect directly with Nancy and ask the questions that are tailored to your needs. Our open house at the Studio will allow you to see RevIVe’s new space housed at the historic 1445 The Alameda. For more information and learn more about RevIVe Therapy & Aesthetics, email Nancy here or visit RevIVe’s site!
Confession: I’m afraid of makeup. I know, I know. I have two degrees in theatre and went through a major goth phase in high school; how can I be afraid of makeup? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m afraid of regular makeup. If it’s not caked-on to counteract stage lights or provide an outward expression of the darkness of my (teenage) soul, then I’m utterly lost.
As a result, my adult, everyday makeup routine consists of a tiny bit of eyeliner and some mascara. Sure, I’ve spent hours scrolling through Instagram, fascinated by the magic of contouring and intricacies of eyeshadow application, but I never believed I could do this myself.
Then, I got engaged.
I knew from my performing days I needed to wear makeup so that my features would be clear on camera, but my wedding was tiny - 14 people total - and in another state. Finding a makeup artist and using them without a trial seemed stressful, and, frankly, unnecessary. Still, I clearly needed some sort of help, so I turned to the place that I knew always had my back: Labarre Studios.
I knew that Mercedes, the esthetician at Labarre, did great work. She had given me a lash lift before and the results were beyond my expectations. The next time I saw her, I asked about makeup lessons and booked an appointment. Then I went to Ulta and bought every single product the salespeople recommended (#EasilyInfluenced).
When the day of my appointment came, I was almost vibrating from nerves. What if I couldn’t figure out a technique? What if Mercedes thought I was hopeless? These fears were unfounded. Mercedes took me through applying a full face of makeup step by step; as she made up the right side of my face, she explained everything she was doing and mentioned some extra tips and alternate techniques that I could use. She was patient, encouraging, and reassuring. With each step, once Mercedes completed her demonstration, I tried to copy her work on the left side of my face. When the lesson was done, I was blown away by how good I looked. My fiancé couldn’t even tell which side of my face was my work and which was Mercedes’!
The first test of my new skills came about a month later, at my bridal shower/bachelorette. I thought this could be a good test of how well I remembered the steps and the techniques. My best friend sat in my bathroom as I did my makeup. “I think this is why the kids call it ‘beating your face,’” she joked as I used a sponge to blend my foundation. I took a quick selfie and sent it to Mercedes, who immediately texted back that I had done a great job.
My makeup not only lasted a full day of celebration, but also – to my surprise – was the subject of many compliments. My friends and family, well aware of my general makeup avoidance, were shocked. “Where did you learn to do this?!” they asked.
On the day of my wedding, I was calm. Thanks to Mercedes’ lesson and ongoing support, I knew that my makeup would look great. After I put on my dress, I took a moment alone to look at myself. Reflected in the mirror, I saw exactly what I had dreamed of for my wedding day: me, but polished. I felt beautiful. I felt confident. I felt like Mercedes, along with the entire Labarre community, was there in spirit, celebrating this moment with me. Labarre is not just where I work out; it’s where I am at home. It is this potential to touch every part of our lives that makes Labarre so special.
Labarre is a very special place for me. It has shaped me physically, in ways I never thought possible. I went from a student in the underground days, to an instructor shortly thereafter, and now serve as the Wellness Development Coordinator and Master Trainer. I used to teach doubles and triples when I could. It was thrilling to be in class or in front of the class; both brought me joy.
I get that joy in everything I do at the studio, no task too big or small, but in the past year, I have struggled more with my Lupus and Fibromyalgia, even though I’ve lived with both for many years. They seem to be taking a bigger toll on my body when one of them decides to flare up, reminding me of all they are capable of doing to my muscles and joints, to the strange brain fog that can descend strangely and lingers, only to leave just as quickly. These diseases take a toll on my body, often in ways no one can see, and that I don’t like to talk about, except with my closest loved ones. But here is why I share this with you: because even when my body is rebelling against me, when I am teaching or taking a barre or HIIT class, I can still move my body, giving me a sense of control when everything is misfiring inside. Even on particularly bad days, I can still make it to, and through, class. I’m thinking of this in particular today, when my body seems determined to take over and remind me of my limitations— I didn’t grab the heaviest weights, and I had to dial back my energy, but I did it. And I can’t wait to go back again tomorrow morning and the morning after that to move, however much I can, so that my body knows I’m still in charge.
That’s the physical shape (and save) Labarre has given me. But just as important (if not more so) is the emotional way Labarre has shaped me. It has given me a “happy space” for the past 5 years. If you’ve been in the studio, you know what I’m talking about. There is an energy, a brightness that welcomes you the minute you walk through the doors. You know you are there for your wellbeing, you know are welcomed, and you know that you are among friends.
Labarre helps me be creative and silly and joyful by being with “my people”. Everyone who walks into the studio is one of “my people”. If you are reading this, you are “my people”, and I’m so grateful for you. Labarre shaped me, but it’s also saved me. It keeps those little voices in my head quiet. You know the ones: Your thighs look a little dimply. Your belly seems a little big. Those voices that get even louder when you don’t feel well, and your body doesn’t want to work for you the way it used to or the way it “should”. Those dumb voices that you know aren’t real but sometimes just pop up when you least expect them and decided to rent some space for a while.
I struggled for years to love my body. I was a dieter, a compulsive exerciser, emotional eater, and my weight reflected my emotional states throughout my early adult years. I didn’t even begin to start making peace with my body until I was nearly 36 years old. Even now, nearly ten years later, those dumb voices still rise up. They’ve been loud recently, even though they aren’t saying anything truthful. When my physical body rebels, those voices jump in too. But in the midst of hearing those voices, I walk into Labarre and I see “my people” and my people see me. We share our 45 minutes or 60 minutes with each other, offering loving kindness, grace, and encouragement to one another. The voices get quiet after that, for a while, and I am centered. I can see and feel my muscles doing what I want them to do, and I am peaceful. I can feel my strength, and I feel confident. I know that the voices will be evicted soon, and my body will find its way back to balance, even if it takes a while. And through it all, I will have Labarre.
Photo work and imagery provided by Adam Hays Photography
To our valued Members and Guests:
I wanted to wait until Thanksgiving had past and we were steaming towards December so I could express my gratitude outside of the convenience of a holiday. Let’s face it… everyday should be a day to give thanks and I wanted to make time to focus on being grateful to those who have rallied to keep the labarre community thriving in even the most difficult of times and circumstances.
Life is a blessing, and we can be reminded of this on a daily basis, somedays… multiple times! Making time to be truly thankful is real. We all live busy lives and the hustle and bustle of this world seemingly intensifies this time of the year.
“Thankfulness is the
quickest path to joy.”
Fun fact for the day; expressing gratitude can lower your blood pressure, keep one from getting sick all while helping relationships to grow.
Making time to be thankful can change your outlook on life and here at labarre studios we are on a mission to cultivate an attitude of gratitude!
Here’s our gratitude for YOU!
Thank you for showing up for classes in-person and virtually.
Thank you for choosing a workout in our video library.
Thank you for purchasing merchandise and booking appointments with our wellness providers.
Thank you for referring your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances to our studio.
Because of this, we are gifting EVERY member and passholder one FREE guest pass to share the gift of fitness and wellness. A gift to share our love for fitness and wellness with our loyal community. So go ahead and pay it forward to anyone you feel needs a little wellness in their day.
Share the Love, and from me, my equipe here at labarre and the Alberino family, Thank you for being you.
~ Lisa Alberino, Owner & Founder
It’s hard to believe that it has been over a year since I became a certified barre instructor at labarre studios in San Jose, CA. I was invited by Lisa Alberino (Founder and Owner of the Studio) shortly after my instructor certification to write a blog post about my journey from a labarre guest to becoming a certified Instructor.
Today I am sharing my story about how labarre saved me during one of the most difficult times in my life.
Like so many others, COVID-19 made me pivot in 2020. I was getting ready to open a new apartment complex of nearly 600 units. I was focusing on my overall wellness, and just trying to survive and stay healthy during those truly uncertain times.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2021, when someone very close to me started struggling with their mental health and addiction. Simply put, this was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to face. On the outside, I was keeping myself together, however, as I reflect on this, I now realize I had a great deal of fear, anxiety, and sadness. I remember coming to the studio in order to prepare to teach class or even times when I was a participant in class and just feeling like I wouldn’t be able to pull through the work. When the session wrapped up, I felt this sense of ease and peace and I took this as a reminder that I was stronger than I thought and I was going to be okay regardless of what the end result was. We have a popular saying in the studio,’You are stronger than you know’ and this was a truth that took me many years to accept.
Let me share how my life has changed since 2021. When I decided to become a barre instructor, I knew that I wanted to be of service and inspire others along their wellness journey. In the last year, with the unwavering support of my labarre team, countless hours of therapy, and a heck of a lot of reading, I am slowly finding “Trinidad’ again. I never stopped loving myself and who I was, but I was so consumed with my loved ones’ addiction and making sure they were ok that, while trying to control their life, I forgot to put the love and effort into my own.
In the last year of teaching, I have developed more confidence and challenged myself to be more creative. The last few months have also taught me to be gentler and kinder, specifically to myself, and remember that I am doing my best and that's all I can ask of me. If I am lucky enough to have had you in one of my classes, you might have heard me say “set your intention.” I believe that when we live with intention and purpose in our life (or even for 45-minutes!), it allows us to be present and focused on what we are doing now versus 4 hours from now, 24 hours, or even a year later. I still get anxiety, fear, and stress but not at the levels that I used to experience in the past. When those moments bubble up, I ask myself “How do you want feel? What do you want to give? And what do you want to receive?”
My loved one is doing better and getting the help they need in their recovery. Personally, I am happy to report that I am doing great as 2022 comes to a close. I recently received a promotion at work, and I have a career that I truly enjoy. I have a beautiful nephew/godson who is turning one and that adds extra joy in my days. I am in the best health and shape of my life, honoring my body’s imperfections, and most importantly I am learning to love myself one day at a time.
Thank you labarre studios for creating a space that invites community and support!
See you at The Barre!
I realized I am coming up on my 5 year anniversary mark for my membership at Labarre and have been so inspired by the blog posts of fellow members in the community, that I thought I would share my own story. I don’t even like writing, so that tells you a little bit of what Labarre means to me.
When I was pregnant with my son, Eugene, I noticed this cool looking studio in our new neighborhood that I knew I wanted to check out, the moment I got cleared to work out post partum. I had tried barre a few times in the past and wasn’t completely sold but something about this studio was welcoming and warm plus they offered child care. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
Literally the day Eugene turned 8 weeks old and I was cleared to exercise, we were at Labarre Studios! I needed this for my mind, body and soul. First time parenting was hard for me. I was struggling with nursing and pumping full time, feeling all of the emotions as my body attempted to regroup and stabilize and while I enjoyed and acknowledged I was privileged to be at home, on paid leave, I really missed conversations with adults. I was talking to our dog, Bishop, a lot, and he does not make a great conversationalist.
My first class, with Sara Rosa (labarre's studio manager & founding instructor) kicked my ass in every way and I loved it. I remember wondering how the hell am I supposed to balance my behind on this unstable ball and not break a body part? There was a lot of jiggling. There still is. I was impressed with the child care attendant. She had six kids back there with her and Eugene was the youngest by far and it was all good. Throughout the years, sometimes Eugene wasn’t so “good” and I say it with quotation marks because let’s face it, he is a kid and kids act out but the child care staff always were caring and accommodating. I always stayed and got my workout and self care time in.
Labarre is so much more than just a place to sweat. It is a second home. I loved walking there (now I have to drive as we moved), and knowing I was doing something for myself, amongst other people who were showing up for themselves and each other as well.
In 2018, I got a scary new diagnosis related to my heart. I always knew I had irregular heart rhythms since college, and being a nurse, I was pretty well versed in what it meant and what my limitations were. This was different because this was structural and it gave me some anxiety as I read my cardiologist’s message. He was actually overseas when he messaged me so I was even more concerned (also appreciative). I have this vivid memory because I was on my way to Labarre for an esthetician appointment with Lorena and I happened to check my phone right before. As Lorena and I started to make small talk, I started to cry, because I was scared and not sure what this diagnosis meant, not only for me but also my son. She was so sweet and endearing. I am sure it wasn’t the Brazilian wax she had in mind.
It turns out, I needed to have a pacemaker/ defibrillator inserted for preventative measures. While I was ok with this plan, I wasn’t crazy about having a procedure as my last one(at a different hospital) wasn’t ideal. I remember asking Lisa Alberino (labarre's owner/founder) about pausing my membership since I couldn’t work out for some time after the procedure and again, the tears started coming, right at the front desk. Lisa came around and held my hand and reassured me that everything will be alright and they will be there for me when I can return. It made me feel so much better. Fun fact, I randomly learned another member also has a pacemaker as we were randomly discussing moves we had to modify. Again, the community welcomes you.
When COVID hit, I remember being at Labarre and Lisa having a calm presence at class, letting us know we were all in it together. Labarre really did everything they could to continue offering services to the community and I appreciated it because we needed to connect. I remember the barre happy hour zoom classes and the soccer field classes when part of the fun was making sure you didn’t get hit by a ball. Labarre was and is super committed to its members.
I also felt supported by Labarre during the violent crimes in the US against black people. Labarre didn’t stay quiet. I really respected it. They put out a message and commitment, which they hold true to. I noticed other local businesses chose to remain silent and they lost my business.
Above all, the time I felt I needed labarre the most was when my brother in law passed away last summer. DJ was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 26 and needless to say, it shook our family to the core. I leaned into my Labarre community for help. Lorena, the esthetician, actually became our part time nanny during COVID and she graciously stepped in, to help with our son Eugene, so we could make plans. Lisa reached out to me right away to offer her condolences and services as well. I felt truly supported by this group of women.
A day or two after his death, I took Claudia’s class virtually, just to try to clear my mind. It was mostly me laying on the floor and crying. It still felt cathartic and needed to happen.
Instructors always say random things throughout class and sometimes it invokes such an emotion in me because it is exactly what I needed to hear- it’s like therapy.
DJ, as well as several of my family members and friends, have been to Labarre with me and I am grateful I have this memory of us, enjoying something together as I can share a piece of my community with them.
If you are curious about classes or services at Labarre, do it! You will enjoy it and become a new member of a wonderful community; maybe I will see you there.
Born and raised in San Jose, Mercedes knows the Bay Area well. This hometown native will now be opening shop at 1445 The Alameda inside of labarre studios and is thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of the community she calls home.
Please give a warm welcome to Mercedes Dandrea as she is now the in-house esthetician in the studio and will be located on the first floor in the ROZ vault.
Always a fan of beautification of others, Mercedes’ calling came early. “Even as a little kid I loved make people feeling good about themselves. When my older brother would babysit me, he was always a trooper and I would play beauty salon with him (although it didn’t necessarily make him feel good, he was helping to spark Mercedes’ passion in her craft.). He was really cool and allowed me to be creative in that way.” She laughs.
After understanding that her career could be tailored to fit her love, she went to school in 2007 to pave her way to become a licensed esthetician. Her adoration grew for the beauty industry and Mercedes insightfully honed her business skills by managing several premium beauty salons in the Bay and surrounding areas over the course of the past decade.
Having a daughter (10 year old Siena) changed the course of Mercedes’ path and her thought process as well. The freedom of being her own boss allowed her to chase the dream as well as reinforce her strengths as an esthetician.
With her business now opening in labarre, the expectations remain the same and they are simple and direct. “I feel like I am personable, and I like to make people feel comfortable. People can get uncomfortable as some of these procedures are intimate and it takes some time. I like to create a warming, welcoming environment first and foremost. I want people to feel safe and comfortable.”
Mercedes’s continues, “I like to tailor my services specifically to my clients. I want people to get the most out of their appointment. I know that people have often walked out thinking ‘this is great! It was like a therapy session as well!’ and that’s what I am going for.
For a decade and a half, Mercedes has been tackling her mission of making people feel their best. When she came across labarre studios thanks to our friends at On The Alameda she saw that the studios and founder and owner, Lisa Alberino, was looking to vastly improve on the esthetician offerings. That was when everything clicked and it weas meant to be. So much so that it reunited Mercedes with her old roommate in a sense. The gorgeous and iconic mural that adorns the wall in the historic building (which was restored brilliantly in 2017) was painted by none other than world-famous artist, David Choe… who also happened to be a former roomy of Mercedes!
“I just LOVE the building and when I heard that Lisa restored the mural I was amazed”, Mercedes says with a smile. “Back in the day we (David and Mercedes) were connected by our love for creativity. I created and designed jewelry and the artists connection and some friends in the photography world were our common bond.”
That connection is a sign that Mercedes is where she belongs, making her dream come true and furthering an already successful career in the beauty business. Her take on why a client would want to try her offerings is exactly why Lisa united with Mercedes’ to be the studios on-site esthetician. “I feel like estheticians are hidden gems. The good ones all have a unique style and energy. If you are looking for someone easy going, professional but also extremely thorough, I am the girl! I pride myself in my work and make sure that my client is leaving satisfied in what they are paying for. I am a picky client as well and if I were to walk into my room I would expect it to be immaculately clean and have pride in this spot. Other clients should see how much I love my space and career.”
We are thrilled to have Mercedes in the building, and she will begin the week of October 16th. Be sure to give her a follow on Instagram @mercedesmakeupandbrows and keep an eye on all labarre channels for more information on Mercedes offerings!
How LaBarre Saved My Life….okay, that sounds a bit dramatic, but when LaBarre’s owner, Lisa Alberino posted her story, it reminded me how LaBarre came into my life at the perfect time and helped me heal.
My name is Heidi Parrish. I moved into the Rose Garden area in the Fall of 2016. I was moving from the Santa Cruz mountains where I had lived for the previous 3 years. Two of those years was with my husband of almost 30 years and one of those years was just me and my dog. I was excited about relocating down the hill to the Rose Garden for the walk-ability factor and closer to civilization. I was in search of a community, as well as, being more accessible to my friends.
The year 2015 was not good to me. In February of that year I lost my father, age 88, whom I was extremely close to. He was my champion and hero. Although his passing was expected, I missed him deeply, but did not let myself truly grieve because I needed to be there for my mom. My sister and I promised our dad we would take over her care, which meant flying to Boise as often as I could. We thought she would for sure die of a broken heart since my parents had been together since they were 17.
Fast forward 8 months later when my husband has a sudden fatal heart attack. And just like that I was a widow, and alone, at the young age of 56. We have 3 sons who were in their 20’s at the time – so all my strength went into comforting them and letting them know I would be ok. The rest of 2015 and most of 2016 my time was spent taking care of business, mine own and my parents which included not only selling my mountain home, but handling the sale of my parent’s beloved lake property.
When I moved in October of 2016, my mother was still physically with us (she hadn’t been herself for years due to dementia/Alzheimer’s). She and I could still connect through music and just looking at each other. Two years to the month after losing my father, my mom decided she was ready to be with him. So, by the time LaBarre opened in July of 2017, I had lost both my parents and my husband over a 2 ½ year period. The 3 people that truly knew me. I carried that grief deep inside me as I did my best to move forward with my life.
In the years leading up to my move, my level of exercise was yoga 1 day a week and a lot of walking. I had heard from a neighbor that a barre studio was going into the Italian Bank location and I was looking forward to trying it out especially since it was walking distance from my home. I had tried barre before, and although I liked that type of exercise, the previous studios left me unexcited to return. About a month after LaBarre opened, I tried the one-week trial and at the end of that week, I became a Founder Member.
I remember my first class, Amber was the instructor and I was in the back next to Jackie, another LaBarre instructor. We were on the floor, probably something ab related, and I notice I had a death grip on the mat. It was tough but I survived. During the early days of LaBarre, all classes were 60 minutes which left time for cool down stretching and savasana. During savasana, one of the early instructors would play this song about angels that always brought tears to my eyes. Tears that needed to be shed. Slowly with every class I took, as my body became stronger, I started to feel more positive and happiness again.
I began to heal the hole left in my heart and soul. Now 5 years later, with the encouragement of Lisa, Sara and the LaBarre community, I am still at it. I have never done any type of single exercise consistently for 5 years before. Through LaBarre I have met some wonderful people. Many I now consider my friends, in fact one of my closest friends I met at LaBarre. I have had the privilege of watching some of my fellow workout mates become amazing instructors. At LaBarre it was not only the class instructors, but also the service technicians who have helped me feel whole again.
Although I am still single, I no longer feel alone or lonely. For this I have several people to thank most importantly my dog, my sons and my growing family. I also thank Lisa, Sara and the LaBarre community.