Dancing Queen: Dance Class Treat

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

We are closing out another year of dance class and that calls for a celebration! I’m always trying to brainstorm ideas for a class treat that isn’t just a piece of candy. I know that some schools request a non-food treat and that can be tricky for parents too!

With the help of my almost 4-year-old, we picked out these princess crowns from Amazon that come with a small wand and ring. I put the want and ring into a bag and tied them to the crown with a bow and card.

BTW - is TGFA a thing? Can it be? TGFA = Thank god for Amazon!

For the card, I wanted something clever that tied the item into dance class - so low and behold, I give you - DANCING QUEEN! Lol. I purchased the crown clip art from Etsy. Paper Sphinx is my go-to for clip art!

Anyways, this was an easy, cute, item for those end of year dance class favors!
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What I’m Doing While Not Blogging Part 3: Reading

Friday, June 07, 2019

Reading more wasn’t a “resolution’ that I made, but in January I started taking advantage of our awesome local library more. They have a great selection and I just can't purchase anymore books. I read them once and then they collect dust. Exception = Harry Potter. I will forever own those.

Thinking about how I use my screen time, most of it is devoted to reading. Reading news or magazine articles. Reading blogs. So as a way to put down the screen a bit, I started reading more books.

So what have I been reading…

All We Ever Wanted - Surprisingly I haven’t read more Emily Griffin books. This might have been my first one. Loved it. The book focuses on the mom of a high school boy and deals with topics parents face today thanks to cell phones. Also, the relationship between the husband and wife. Quick, good read. Recommend it.

The Library Book - Very interesting, true story, about how the Los Angeles Public Library burnt down. Sadly, this book was a new release and due back to my local library pretty quick, so I didn’t get to finish it. It was a bit of a slower read for me. I can’t totally recommend it.

Little Fires Everywhere - Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington started filming this adaptation, so I had to read it before Hulu show comes out! Loved it. The book is set in the Shaker Heights suburbs of Cleveland. The author, Celeste Ng, actually spent some years living in Pittsburgh, so there are some local references! It’s the story of an artist mom and her high school daughter that move around a lot and end up in Shaker Heights. The story focuses on the relationship between the future Reese and Kerry characters and their children. It’s good. Read it. Now.

My Oxford Year - A somewhat self-explanatory title lol. This book is about a woman that spends a year studying at Oxford while still contributing to a political campaign in the states. It’s more love story vs, politics. Actually, politics plays a very minor role in the story. Anyways, while studying, she meets a guy. Will she stay in Oxford or go back to the US? You’ll need to read. Loved it. I want more. I want this to be a movie. I was actually surprised how much I liked this!

What Alice Forgot - This story is by Liane Moriarty, who wrote Big Little Lies - which I read when Lennon was born and pretty much forget the story. I blame sleep deprivation! I think the HBO show is confusing me too because it’s strayed so far from the book. Back to What Alice Forgot. I loved this story. Some parts were a little slow and it started to remind me of All We Ever Wanted in weird ways, BUT this is a story of Alice - who was working out, fell off a cycle bike and hit her head. She wakes up and can’t remember the last 10 years of her life. She and her husband are separated, her sister doesn’t like her much and she has three kids she can’t remember. The story then goes back in time to help Alice remember what she “forgot.”

Victoria - I remember discovering this author, Daisy Goodwin, from some article headline that said “If you miss Downton Abbey, read/watch this” and Victoria was on that list. It’s likely because it was made into a PBS series - which I watched after reading this book! That’s a long way of saying - if you are into Downtown Abbey, old school royalty with some fact/fiction/love, this book is for you! The first season of the PBS series followed the book pretty close and I loved it! I wish there were more books for the other seasons because I started to get lost. This was one of the first books I read this year and went on a Daisy Goodwin kick - following it up with The Fortune Hunter. Loved that too. I want more! 

I think that about covers it! I’m looking forward to knocking down some more books this summer! If you read something good that I should add, let me know!
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What I’m Doing While Not Blogging Part 2: Crafting

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

When my daughter was a baby, we started doing a Mother’s Day craft together for her grandma’s and great-grandma’s. Keeping the tradition alive, this year we made succulent vases!

I picked up a 4-pack of these ceramic vases, gave the kid some acrylic paints (i’m crazy) and let her have at it without much instruction (i.e. don’t get paint on my table). 

She chose to paint each vase 1 color. Once they dried from the multiple coats of paint the kid used, we added some flair. I used a hot glue gun to add the gems, but the kid picked them and told me where to glue! 

I found the mini succulents at Home Depot!

I added a little homemade Q&A card with each gift and voila! A homemade Mother’s Day gift!

We started crafting for the "pun-niest" party that I've ever hosted - my daughter's 4th birthday! I can't wait to share with you the details!
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What I'm Doing While Not Blogging: Part 1 - Exercise.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Hello? Is this thing on?


I’ve mentioned before that I have pages and pages and binders and binders of unpublished blog ideas. If only there was more time and resources!

I have a few blog posts up my sleeve for this week in a series I’m going to call - “What I’m Doing When I’m Not Blogging…” I wish I had something more creative. I’m open to suggestions.

Let’s start with the first thing I’m probably doing when not blogging. Well, that’s not true. I’m probably “Mom-ing.” That is a verb, right?

The other thing I’m probably doing my shock you. I’m working out.

I used to totally roll my eyes when I saw people sharing their workout on social media. Like everyone really needed to see that you ran 5 miles this morning while I was still in my pjs. Cool, bro.

Now, I’m a somewhat changed woman. I finally found a workout class that I’m super happy to share a screenshot of my “performance” with my husband and sister once I’m done - with a funny gif of someone falling off a bike.

A bike because, I’m officially obsessed with cycle class.

Before I begin, let me say that I’m not someone that doesn’t like working out. My first job when I was 14-years-old was working the front desk at a gym. I also had a membership, a workout plan from a trainer and occasionally took aerobics classes (yep, I said aerobics).

I’ve always tried to remain active - to balance my love of wine and chocolate - but as you get older and work long hours at a desk, and try to keep tiny humans alive, it gets harder. Throw in an unexpected heart condition that I learned about in 2015, it certainly made my workout plan a little different (everything is okay - I just have some limits!).

Back to Cycle.

In the summer of 2017, a cycle studio became one of my public relations clients. This “forced” me into taking two classes. Then, they opened a studio by my house and I’ve been going on the regular.

If you’ve never participated in a spin class, read on. If you have, you can continue to read, but this may be boring.

I had taken a spin class at a gym before, but nothing like this! The difference is CycleBar is a boutique studio - spin classes is all they offer!

At this studio, you submit your shoe size when you register and they supply spin shoes. It’s kinda like bowling. Yes, it freaked me out a little at first, but you need to wear them because you can clip into the bike pedals. Trust me, you need to do this!

When you book your class, you book your bike. It’s important that you check in and sit at your assigned bike. That’s how you get your results. More on that later.

Most classes are 45 minutes, but they do offer 60 minute classes. Each class typically has a 10-ish minute warm up and a little cool down at the end. For most of the 45 minutes, you are pedaling along to different songs and exercises on a bike. No, you aren’t sitting in the saddle the whole time (that’s what we in the biz call the seat).

The “bar” in CycleBar comes from the two weighted bars at the front of each bike (you can kinda see them on this awful pic below the handlebar). I wish I told you that I found an exercise class where you sip rose and burn calories, but not here folks. This “bar” is all about those arm muscles. During one song, the instructor leads you through an arm workout - typically it’s like 5 straight minutes too. 

I’m not a CycleStar by any means, but after each 45 min. class, I typically burn around 600 calories. During one fluke class, I managed to burn 1,025 and I have the screenshot to prove it. 

Oh yeah, about those stats. They are delivered to your inbox after each class and some mysterious math that has to do with your height, weight, RMPs on the bike and resistance. They also email you your CLASS RANKING. So you know where you finish among your fellow riders. 

When I first started classes, I’d ALWAYS finish last. But in the words of my favorite music artist of the moment, Drake - “Started from the bottom now I’m here!” Here = third to last lol. 

If you made it this far and never tried cycle, I’d totally recommend it! I’m personally pretty shocked how much I enjoy it. I’m not bored, 45 minutes is totally doable, my studio offers a lot of different class times, the instructors are great and make awesome playlists and you feel great after your ride. The fact that they send you scores also makes you want to go back and do better - it’s highly motivating! 

I could go on and on, but I'm going to end this and think about my next workout. Kidding. Kind of.

If you go: 
  • Don’t forget socks. Also, the room is always super cold in the beginning, so it's totally normal to wear layers! 
  • Bring a water bottle. No need to fill it - they have fancy water machines. They supply a towel. 
  • Make your ride, YOUR ride. If you want to sit down and pedal the whole time, you do that.
  • Wait for a sale to buy rides - it can be a little pricey. Do the math to figure out the most cost effective price per class for your schedule. 
  • Scope out the room for fans. Book a bike near the fan! 
  • I wear slide sandals with socks. Yep. But it makes putting my shoes on quick and easy!
  • Don’t expect to lose a lot of weight. I’ve been cycling 2-3 time a week and I know my clothes fit a little better, but I’m not seeing the numbers move on the scale. I hear this is common, but there is muscle forming somewhere! While dropping some LBS would be nice, I’m in this for the “healthy lifestyle’ thing ; )
One day, my instructor said something that stuck with me. For some people, the hardest part of the workout is making it through the door. I've completed 54 classes without a "buddy" and I know it can be intimidating to try things on your own. You can also have a million excuses for hitting that cancel button. Consider trying it one time to see if you like it! 
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