Friday Five {3.28.14}

1. i always listen to music when i run, and my playlists can get old. i run to a wide variety of tunes, and lately i’ve discovered something unexpected: i kiiiiinda love running to bachata music. ya know, Latin music’s slower dance tunes. weird? i think it’s a bit weird. i have this whole “envisioning myself dancing” thing going on and it totally makes me either run a bit faster or else just lose myself in the song and not think about running (both of which are appreciated). quite possibly i just have a really active imagination and have convinced myself that running and dancing need to be united somehow. maybe that could be a thing. maybe not.

i’m especially liking when this song shows up on my running playlist lately (even though i understand a total of 8 words in it), by Romeo Santos, Mr. King of bachata himself, who gave a little performance on The Bachelor this past season and Andi showed off her terrible dancing skills on stage with JP. remember that scene? i was a little jealous, i can’t lie. just not of her dancing.

romeo

2. StoryPeople. i’ve been a huge fan of Brian Andreas’s StoryPeople artwork since circa 2005, when i first discovered them in a tiny little shop in Salida, Colorado and fell completely enamored with everything about these pieces. he combines beautiful, poignant little snippets of the sweetest writings with playful, childlike artwork, and he has pieces for just about every sort of relationship or situation in life. i’m 100% certain you’ll find one — or 20 — that speak to you. and if you don’t, well…sorry that you don’t have a heart. work on that. 🙂

they make great gifts. i bought my bff and her hubby This Moment for their wedding:

“There are moments you know in an instant & even if you cannot name them for a very long time, each time my fingers brush your cheek & your eyes look into mine, it is clear there is no moment I’d rather be than here with you, making a world together.

thisMomentPrLg

i have a bunch of personal faves (and a few prints hanging on my bedroom walls). these are two of my all-time faves:

Center on Wheels
“I spent a long time trying to find my center until I looked closely one night & found it had wheels & moved easily in the slightest breeze, so now I spend less time sitting and more time sailing.”

centeronwheelsPrSm

 

Waiting for Signs
“I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.”

waitingforsignsPrSm

and there are a lot that have to do with love and romance and all that gushy stuff that i’m sure i’ll probably have to have one day when i fall in love and have room to collect and hang them all. and at that point, i’ll be able to buy a pet unicorn, too. a girl can dream.

3. i cannot buy peanut butter. it’s just an awful idea. we seem to have some unspoken understanding in my family that peanut butter cookies constitute a food group all to themselves, so even though i make super healthy cookies (pb, oatmeal, brown sugar and 1 egg), they’re consumed in such a short amount of time that it defeats the “healthy.” however, they’re pretty much the only thing i like to bake these days, so it’s sort of a catch 22. i managed to bag last night’s batch up and bring them to work today for my coworkers. that is about the only way i’ll exert a sense of self control over these things. and yes, i had them for dinner last night and breakfast today.

4. i’ve recently started drinking Americanos every now and again to switch up the regular coffee routine. holy buzz. i had one on Tuesday morning and was dizzy until 3pm. not sure if it was amazing or terrifying, but i’m planning to try it again today. life on the edge, i know.

coffee

5. this.is.so.good.

stop-waiting-for-friday

it’s far too easy to constantly be waiting for something great to happen in your life — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all, as dreams are so necessary — but how often do we get so stuck on thinking, “if only i had this job, or that talent, or if only i lived in NYC or California or Paris, or if only he liked me, or if only it was June”?

we all do this. it’s natural.

we are a culture riddled with future-planning, weekend-lusting, peer-comparing, forward-motion-itching, rarely-satisfied-with-where-we’re-at mentalities, and that can so easily lead to sucking the joy out of the beautiful moment we’re in. there’s nothing wrong with Wednesdays; with quiet nights; with the things we currently have and the people we currently love and who love us back. we should appreciate the now, or else what will we ever appreciate?

now can be magical. you just have to believe it’s so.

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best weekend with the bro (in Gotham City apparently)

happy Monday!

first of all, time out from life to acknowledge that Loft is having a ridiculous online sale right now. this is one of my fave places to buy cute and professional work clothes, so for those of us not fortunate enough to be snowboard bums/personal trainers/work-from-home artists, this is pretty exciting news, especially for a Monday morning.

and now i’m totally stoked for these blazers to arrive:

blueblazer

whiteblazer

so, this past weekend was a fab one for me, as my brother came to visit. we hit up Club Cache on Friday night for some bachata and salsa, which ended up being awesome:  packed, sweaty, good music, some pretty good dancers, and a mind-blowing surprise performance.

so, yeah, about that last one. i almost can’t believe it happened. the world’s most famous bachata couple performed at Cache…and everyone was blown away.

ataca_tanja_5_imagelarge
i think it’s safe to say that most people who dance (or really like) bachata have seen their YouTube video, which has over 60 million views and showcases some of the most amaaaazing bachata dancing i’ve ever seen. it’s one of my life goals to learn to dance like this girl…and i’ve probably seen this video 50 times in the past 4 years. it was a huge shock to Ry and i when they performed on Friday night (and definitely motivation to up our dance game!).

the rest of the weekend was spent wandering around some of my fave parts of NYC  (SoHo, the Village(s), and Nolita); a yummy Thai lunch at Room Service, which never disappoints (fun fact: this is the restaurant i’ve frequented more than any other since living here); some Saturday night ping pong at NYC’s sweet ping pong club, Spin; and some healthy doses of sibling chill time, watching movies and drinking wine.

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pretty fabulous weekend with my bestest friend, from start to finish.

we discovered a new-to-us wine that we both really liked: Chateau St. Michelle’s (dry) riesling. this was delicious: super light and peachy, and so, so drinkable. i’ve steered clear of rieslings in the past because i’m really not a sweet wine girl, but this one was awesome. i’ll definitely be adding this to the regular rotation.

chateau-ste.-michelle-dry-riesling

workouts: i hit the gym every single day last week, so i took Saturday off and got my exercise walking around alllll day (in the 56 degree weather we had…what?!) with Ry, and then i went last night after Ry left for an hour of cardio (ran 2 miles and then did the elliptical) to finish off the week on the right foot. (welp, and to burn off some of the wine, froyo and tortilla chips we inhaled.)

my week (and a day) in workouts:

  • Monday: boot camp (kettlebells, TRX, strength circuits with a group of 4)
  • Tuesday: 4-mile treadmill run, 20 mins of abs
  • Wednesday: 6.5-mile treadmill run
  • Thursday: my own hour-long session of interval strength training/circuits (kettlebells, weighted row machine, ball-wall squats, and a whole mess of burpees and pushups and lunges and other plyometrics…fun stuff)
  • Friday: 5.5-mile treadmill run and some abs
  • Saturday: rest day
  • Sunday: 30 mins on the “advanced ellipticals” with all the moving parts; 2-mile run, then incline walking on a treadmill; 5-minute planks

i was also fortunate enough to catch a cameo appearance at Mid-City gym last night, as this guy sauntered in, did a couple of laps around the small gym, apparently found everything to his liking, and sauntered right back out to fight crime in NYC.

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in case you can’t tell from my motion shots of him stomping around, that is, in fact, Batman. in full, serious costume, inspecting every corner of the gym. i’ve heard so many stories about this guy (who apparently comes from New Jersey into the city every day) parading around NYC “fighting crime” as though he were actually Batman. welp, i finally saw him, and i can attest — dude means business. cape and all.

hope you guys had wonderful weekends as well, full of people and activities you love!

Questions:
Best part of your weekend?
Siblings? are you close?
Ever seen a superhero (or someone equally interestingly nutty) in real life?

xo

ain’t no shoes like dancing shoes

fun fact: my mom was a classically trained ballerina. she grew up in NYC and attended the School for the Performing Arts — you know, of the movie Fame fame? and then she danced with Ballet Russe for a while as well. yep, she was that good. i so wish i’d gotten to see her dance at the height of her ballerina-days.

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so, imagine her chagrin when she excitedly tried to get her little toddler daughter into ballet, only to be met with a disgusted response of “who would ever want to wear those frilly tutus and spin around?”

thus began my childhood of softball, soccer, gymnastics and swimming, with ne’er a dance shoe to be found.

i regret that bratty, tomboy response every day of my adult life. i mean, who knows what might have happened if i’d let her tuck me into a tutu and ship me off to ballet lessons? maybe i’d be twirling Juliets and Coppelias out of my bleeding toes these days.

okay, so maybe not. but a girl can dream.

even though i failed to pick up the ballet legacy, my brother and i were lucky enough to have dancing rhythm infused into our blood, and in 2009, we finally found our way of putting it to good use:

Latin dancing.

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yup, that’s right — i moonlight as a wanna-be salsera. ya know, in my free time. because i have a lot of that.

i’m not quite sure if it was the Latin bug that bit me when i went to the DR in 2007, or if it was my mesmerized obsession with Shakira’s hips (seriously, whattttt), but i absolutely fell in love with salsa and bachata after the very first lesson. Albany actually has a pretty decent little Latin dance scene, and prior to moving to NYC, i was dancing at least once or twice a week — and it was pretty much the highlight of my life at that point. i absolutely loved it.

let’s start with the shoes. i mean, seriously — what girl doesn’t want to learn to salsa just so she can justify buying a pair (or two — i mean, who can choose between silver or gold?) of these sexy, sparkly things?

goldsalsa

one of my favorite things about the salsa scene is how welcoming and wonderful the people are. it didn’t take long before Ryan and i were recognizable as the brother-sister newbies who were super eager to learn and had no problem laughing at themselves. the group has a truly genuine sense of community and is quick to make everyone feel at home, all united by the same two loves: dance and sparkly shoes.

when i first moved to NYC i was determined to stick with salsa and improve my beginner status by taking advantage of the plethora of studios here, and i did take lessons for a while at a pretty decent place right on my street. unfortunately, as life got busier and i added another grad program onto my full-time job, running and social life, dance got edged out. i still plan to get back into Friday night bachata at Club Cache, which is always a good time. but for now, i’m slowly easing back into it on my trips upstate.

i went back to a Capital Region Salsa Social this past Saturday night with my brother, and it was every bit as much fun as i remembered. i wish i’d taken pictures to document this event, but i was too busy salsa-ing and bachata-ing and seriously wishing i’d never stopped.

so now i have a goal for 2014: get back into this salsa scene. because there’s nothing like doing something you love and having it be something that totally challenges you at the same time. i firmly believe in being a lifelong learner and constantly stretching yourself to add new experiences to your life, and this is something that totally pushes me out of my comfort zone and puts me on cloud 9.

even when i’m stepping on people’s feet.
Question: What’s something you’re dying to learn, or re-learn, or add into your life?