Flying Trapeze

So in the continued effort to find my ‘natural talent’ I took a flying trapeze class. Coming off of my failed cliff jump in Jamaica, I’m not quite sure why I thought I could do this any better… being afraid of heights and all. But there was a Groupon, and just as they expect, I bought it since I knew I would never do it otherwise. I was able to rope in two of my friends and we set off for our 2 hour lesson. The Trapeze School was inside Jordan’s Furniture and I had seen it a bunch of times before when I went to the IMAX theatre. It was completely different knowing that I was actually going to be doing it though and my stomach sank the minute I looked up at it from the registration desk. I figured I might chicken out. We got a brief lesson and got to practice swinging and doing the knee hang on the low bar in the practice area. Then it was time to go up and just do it. They told us that the hardest part would be jumping off of the ledge… boy were they right. My brain had the hardest time forcing my legs to jump, it was almost as if they had a mind of their own and it was saying “nope”. Once I was able to slide my legs off of the ledge in the most ungraceful fashion, it wasn’t so bad swinging and using the momentum to get my legs up into the knee hang. Took me a couple of jumps but I was getting the hang of it (except for the actual jump part where my legs were just not having any of it).

Our last two jumps involved being caught by one of the professionals. We had to use the skills we learned to make sure that our jumps and knee hangs went as smoothly and quickly as possible so that we could make the catch. It’s all about timing. If you hesitate at any point the timing will be off the you will be out of sync. This posed a problem for me since after 7 jumps I still couldn’t get my legs to jump off of the ledge when I was supposed to. Apparently the guy at the top assisting us knew this as well. When it came to my turn, he had me put my feet together and when the catcher yelled “HOP!” he pushed me off the ledge. It worked great and I was able to make the catch :)

After 2 hours and nearly 10 jumps I still wasn’t any less scared than the first jump, but I survived. Not sure if I’ll do it again though, and it is definitely NOT my natural talent… as if you can’t tell by the look on my face.

Learning to Listen to Music

So, I reached the point in my Zumba career (read: obsession) where it was time for me to create my own routine. I picked the song “Mundian To Bach Ke” remixed by Punjabi MC and if you’ve ever been to an Indian wedding you’ve heard it for sure. I’ve heard this song a million times and figured I would just be able to throw some moves to it and be done. I was seriously mistaken. Zumba is not like drunken dancing at a wedding reception or in a club, you actually need to think about the moves you are doing and how they work your body. After my failed attempt at slapping together some moves, I decided I had to listen to the song again, but this time really listen and find the beats I wanted to work with. With this particular song, I wanted to use traditional Bhangra steps kicked up a notch for a cardio workout. The first time I really listened to the song, I heard what felt like ‘The Flight of the Bumble Bee’, it was madness. But that was how I heard it and these were my notes based on that (where each number after the bracket represents a step):

After getting some input from my instructor, I was advised that I would probably lose people if I kept changing steps so quickly. So I listened to the song again (for the hundredth time) and I was able to hear the base drum beat that is in the background throughout the whole song. On advice from my instructor I just changed the steps based on a count of 8 or 16… instead of 4. I ran through it 40 more times and with some tweaks I think it’s finally done.

Lesson learned from this experience: listening to music to write a dance routine is COMPLETELY different from listening to music just to listen to it. There are so many beats you can use for your steps and choosing the wrong ones can completely throw you off. Coming from someone who knows nothing about music or dance, it was an awesomely frustrating experience and I can’t wait to do it again!

Below is the song if anyone is interested and you can catch my routine on a Friday night at Latin Beat Studio in Malden, MA.

Another Year, Another Resolution

Or seven. The first being to blog more. And bake more and spend less. We’ll see how those work out.

On an extremely happy note, school’s finally over, at least all the classes for my degree and I graduate in March. I signed up for Elementary Russian I in the spring, I’m hoping to be fluent by June :) Maybe take a trip to the motherland next year. But for 2011, I can already tell it’s going to be a jam-packed year! Going to PA for MLK weekend to see some of my favorite PSU folks, going to London and Iceland first week of February and sometime again in the Spring and going to Jamaica in June. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of traveling, money will probably run out before my energy does. Which brings me to another resolution for 2011 and that is to find another source of income. I’m hoping with a master’s degree in hand that will be a little easier.

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting on the progress of these resolutions, among other things, in the coming months!

The Lynn Food Project Petition

A local friend brought this to my attention and I wanted to help spread the word.

The Lynn Food Project needs your support. There is a small group of people who want to prevent the renewal of the Food Project’s lease. This project is great for local kids to learn about food, farming and establish a good work ethic. Plus the food grown is distributed through the local CSA. It’s worth saving.

Here is the link to the petition:

And here is a link to a local blog post on the situation:


Vibram Five Fingers at Zumba

So I’ve been taking Zumba classes for about 3 months now and I’m pretty much addicted to it. I started out with one or two classes a week and have now escalated to 5 or 6 classes a week. It is so much fun and crazy good exercise. Zumba has its own clothing line and branded merchandise, which I am not embarrassed to say that I have purchased quite a lot of… but not nearly as much as others. I am surprised that they have not created specific footwear for it. There is one pair, but they are nothing special. In fact, most of the frequent Zumba’ers wear Nike Shox, I would assume due to the high impact cardio involved. I’ve been wearing my Adidas cross trainers and just yesterday decided to try out my Vibrams. I figured they would help with my balance on some of the moves and have a more natural feel for some of the dance moves. They were definitely a different experience. I had a much better grip on the floor which was great for keeping my balance and doing squats but this was also detrimental when I needed to twist my feet and glide across the floor. Overall the Vibrams are much lighter than my Adidas sneakers and they give me a better grip on the floor while also still be comfortable when jumping and hoping. As far as having elegant dance moves, sneakers are better. I will probably keep wearing my Vibrams to see if they get better as I get used to doing Zumba with them.

UPDATE: So I ended up trying out the Five Fingers for a regular Zumba class, well actually a double header. The first hour was fine except for the toe tapping bits. Halfway through the second hour my legs were starting to give out and both of my big toes were hurting. Either I wasn’t doing it right, or dancing is not a good idea with these shoes. I’ll probably just stick to the Zumba Tone classes for now.

Casa Molina Lynn, MA

My new favorite (and frequent) go-to place for a delicious, inexpensive dinner is Casa Molina on Lewis Street. I started going there a few months ago and have recently been getting dinner there at least twice a week. I was referred there by the same co-worker who told me to check out Jamaica’s Flavor, so I knew he wouldn’t steer me wrong. My first order was for delivery and I noticed right off the bat the friendliness of the staff. The person I spoke to on the phone was genuinely nice and pleasant, he repeated my order to me, gave me the total and a time estimate, all without having to ask. The food arrived to my door in the same time frame as any other delivery in the area but what surprised me the most was the freshness of the food. My tacos were made, including the crispy shells, right when I ordered them. They give you the option of American (lettuce, tomato, cheese) or Mexican (onion and cilantro) style with the tacos. So far, I have tried the chicken burrito, chorizo and chicken crispy tacos and the al pastor enchiladas.

I have become addicted to the chorizo crispy tacos, Mexican style with chicken being a very close second. You can get an order of 3 tacos for $4 or a 3 taco plate (with rice and beans) for $6. The enchiladas are my back-up for when I need a break from tacos. There are 4 enchiladas in an order for about $4 and even though they are listed under the appetizer section, they are definitely a meal on their own. You can get any of their menu items with any of the meats they offer.

I also finally tried the banana chimichanga. I may be biased because I would eat any kind of dessert just as long as it had a high sugar content, but this dish was delicious. It’s a whole banana wrapped in a sweet tortilla and deep fried. Of course anything deep fried is just plain awesome, but add ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and cinnamon to it and you’ve got a meal! Definitely a must try. I wanted to add pictures to this post but I seem to eat my food in its entirety before I even have a chance to whip out my camera.

I had the pleasure of meeting Douglas Molina on one of my many visits to pick up my order. As the owner he is always there, making the food, putting together the orders, serving people who are eating in all while genuinely hoping that you are enjoying your meal. He is extremely friendly to everyone I have seen him speak to and is an overall hard working and dedicated business owner.

If you in or around Lynn, definitely make your way over to Lewis street and check out Casa Molina. I found out today that Douglas will have a website up soon and I will update this post with pictures and a link to the site.

Karli Jewelers in Downtown Crossing, Boston

My engagement ring was a full size too big for my finger which was totally a bad measuring job on my part. Apparently, since it is an eternity band (diamonds all around it) every jeweler and everywhere I read online said resizing could not be done. So I paid $100 and had 2 sizer balls soldered on the inside bottom of the band which made the band fit a little tighter on my finger. It wasn’t really noticeable, but it got kind of annoying because I knew the gap was there. Well 2 years later it was finally time to get married and I got my matching wedding band in the size that was right for my finger. Too bad when you put both rings side by side the size difference, even with the sizer balls, was very noticeable and it was very annoying since I could feel the size difference between the two rings. My co-worker suggested that I visit Kev at Karli Jewelers. He said he goes to Karli for everything and that Kev is a master jeweler and can pretty much make anything out of metal and stone. So I figured it was at least worth a call. Over the phone Kev said that if it was channel set, which it is, he could do it. I was a bit surprised. So I stopped by his store, which is situated among many other jewelers in Downtown Crossing, and showed him the ring. He said that he would have to do it with a laser as not to ruin any of the diamonds and that he would make a small slice, take out 2 stones and piece it back together. I was a bit nervous, but I trusted my co-worker and I was desperate to have the ring be the right size.

Kev charged me $120 and it was beyond worth it. I got the ring back 3 days later, perfectly clean and flawless. I spent 10 minutes staring at it trying to find where he cut the band, I still don’t see it. It fit me perfectly and it matches the size of my wedding band. He really is a master at his craft and I would definitely go back to Karli Jewelers. His showroom is clean and bright and his jewelery is beautiful and unique. Definitely go check it out!

Cupcake Camp Boston!

For those of you in the Boston area and who have a sweet-tooth, come on by to the first ever Cupcake Camp Boston! It will take place Thursday April 15th at 7:00pm at PA’s Lounge in Somerville, MA. Come by to enjoy cupcakes from well-known bakeries around Boston as well as homemade ones from cupcakes lovers… like me!

Click here for more information and to register. Click here for the main Cupcake Camp site.

What better way to celebrate (or console yourself) on tax day! Hope to see you there!