Safari Dazzling

While thinking of a blog title, I came across the note that my youngest sister once wrote to me that said: "U stink in bold. Tomorrow you will feel like a bloated giraffe. U r so safari dazzling." I went with it. Plus "safari dazzling" sounds better than "bloated giraffe."

The rest are musings on: trying to make the most of life / living near NYC; my love of food; wanderlust & the occasional trips that satisfy it; working in public health; my journey as a Zumba instructor. Will also feature: my peeps (my numero uno, Vince; our dog, penny; family & friends) and misc. gems of the internet. Thanks for reading!
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TBT - summer 2008, in front of my old work building, before I started my first job out of college. 

Flash forward to the present, where I’m approaching 6 years at the same organization. Our little team of three is currently working on a grant application that’s due in 19 days! If all goes well, we’ll get re-funded by the CDC for a 5 year grant cycle. If not, well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and I’m not sure where I’ll be a year, or even 6 months, from now, but I’m certainly grateful for the learning experiences and for the lifelong friendships I’ve made these past several years.

I recently returned to teaching Zumba on Tuesdays at noon. That in itself was wonderful, but I was equally excited to get back to taking slow flow yoga that immediately follows my class (taught by the awesome Emily of Omily Yoga). I love the sweet mix of cardio with the calming, stretchy goodness of yoga.

Anyway, toward the end of class, Emily had us practice hanumanasana (or just hanuman), aka a split. Back when I used to do gymnastics, splits were the bane of my existence because it seemed like no matter how much I practiced, I could never fully get into the pose. I remember practicing in my living room - I’d start by kicking up into a handstand and then using the momentum of my legs coming down to get into a split as much as possible (that was not at all a safe method). Once or twice I did manage to hold a split for…a split second. I never got it when I did cheerleading or dance troupe. After high school I had no real need to be able to do one so I stopped trying. 

This isn’t the point where I’m going to say that I have finally mastered the split. I don’t think I’m ever going to. But while practicing hanuman today (safely, with the support of blocks), I had a sense of…peace, I guess you could say, that I hadn’t experienced before. Maybe because I was focused on maintaining an even breath, and not straining to push myself down. Maybe because stretching my psoas muscles feels really good now that I’m older, particularly after Zumba or after sitting all day at a desk. Maybe because there was no longer any pressure to do the damn thing. It’s kind of weird to have such a moment of peace and clarity while doing something like a split, but for me it was the highlight of today’s class. I’m going to make a goal of practicing hanuman twice a week, or at least on the days when I teach. Who knows, maybe now that it isn’t an end goal, the split may come more easily.

*this title is overly dramatic but I was originally going to use splits-ville, so…yea.

FINALLY tried hot chocolate from #CityBakery - everything I dreamed it would be.

A-Z of Dance

This video makes me all sorts of happy. 

#Nationalsiblingday #matchingpajamasarethebest

This afternoon I got a text from the director of BellaVita, the studio where I teach Zumba, asking if I could do a Zumba demo at a screening of the movie Cuban Fury, a new comedy about salsa dancing. Certainly not on my list of things I thought I’d be doing tonight, but I said sure why not and met up with the BellaVita crew right after work. We did the demo in the space between the front row seats and the screen. I was super nervous beforehand but managed to stay composed while I was giving my intro. I said corny things like thanks for watching, err, well, I guess you don’t have a choice but thanks anyway. After I asked who had ever done Zumba, about a third of the audience raised their hands, so I said then why aren’t you up here volunteering to dance with me?! …then two people actually got up to join us! I chose to do the song “I Love Salsa" by N’Klabe, naturally.

The demo itself was a little awkward, partially because the music wasn’t that loud. It was hard to keep a high energy level when people are just watching and eating popcorn. But the audience cheered, two people started dancing in the aisle (I woooo'd at them), several people took photos and videos (eek), and it was fun overall. A few people nodded while I gave info about my classes afterward, as if they might actually be interested! Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the movie, though it does look pretty funny and stars Nick Frost, Rashida Jones and Chris O'Dowd…and I saw Nick Frost in the hallway on my way out! (he was doing a Q&A afterward)

It would be SO AWESOME if even a handful of people came to class because of the demo!

Last night turned out to be pretty enjoyable. Vince’s coworkers were all very sweet, and we had dinner at the New World Mall, which is supposedly NY’s largest indoor Asian mall (around the corner from the last stop on the 7 train). The bustling, and somewhat overwhelming, food court has so many stands to choose from. I ended up getting beef ramen made with hand pulled noodles, though unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the place. They gave a super large serving, and the fresh noodles were really good. The dumplings were also a hit, and one of Vince’s coworkers got a Szechuan style fried noodle dish that I’d love to try next time. Afterward, we hit up the grocery store and I picked up some Yan Yan, a chocolate snack I used to always get at the Filipino store as a kid. It’s definitely worth visiting at least once if you enjoy Asian cuisines (also doing a little research would have been helpful beforehand).

…when all I wanted to do was lounge in my pajamas while eating pistachio ice cream and watching Parks & Rec but instead am meeting up with Vince and his coworkers because in a momentary lapse of judgement I agreed to trek to Flushing to go to some huge mall for Chinese food.



Remember when Honey Maid released that “wholesome families” ad, featuring same-sex couples, parents with tattoos, biracial couples, and other general awesomeness? Conservatives were pissed. So Honey Maid did them one better and released another video, addressing the hateful and homophobic comments head-on. And now I’m crying. (via the Huffington Post)

I love this. It makes me want graham crackers. And I hate graham crackers.

warms the heart

(via sotheresthat)


"I’m a pathologist, which means that I run the lab, and I’m continually shocked by all the unnecessary lab work that comes my way. Doctors have to find something wrong with you, because preventative measures aren’t sexy. They know that you’re more likely to appreciate them if they tell you something’s wrong, than if they tell you to stop drinking 40 oz sodas."

Even though the weather thankfully improved, it was chilly and rainy this morning and I was craving hot chocolate like whoa. I came very close to swinging by Doughnut Plant for their Valrhona hot chocolate, my latest obsession. We went there after I wrote this post, so I have to officially add that to my favorites list. It’s not very thick but the chocolate is damn good. There’s a location in Chelsea that’s 5 minutes away from where I teach Zumba, so it’s the perfect place to cancel out my workout with that and their blackout cake donut. 

Anywho…I remembered that I splurged on a huge bar of Valrhona chocolate at Whole Foods last week, specifically to try to recreate the Doughnut Plant’s version. And so I did, with just milk and a whole heck of a lot of chopped chocolate. It goes really well with Ghirardelli dark chocolate bars (hazelnut and caramel).

So the point of this post is that chocolate really does make the world a better place. 

We ordered a comfort cone from Amazon but it won’t come until tomorrow night. So in the meantime we got her this funny one that makes her look like she’s wearing a life preserver. It seems more “comfortable” than her stupid plastic cone, and she’s more mobile than before. Though the saga continues because she hasn’t gone to the bathroom since coming home from the vet yesterday.

Aaaand down goes Arizona, who I had winning it all. Icing on the cake on this shitty day.

Our poor penny has had a really rough day :(

She started off with a (much needed) appointment at the groomers. She absolutely hates getting a haircut, and is usually a little skittish afterward. Vince had trouble getting her to walk home because it was raining and she hates that too. Once they got back, she did her usual dive bomb onto our doormat to wipe off the water from the rain, and then dive bombed the couch some more. And then I freaked cause I noticed that there was blood on the couch cover where she had been wriggling around. I picked her up, thinking it might have been coming from her paws. Then we realized it was coming from her right eye! So Vince immediately took her to the animal infirmary, with 10 minutes to spare before it closed.

The vet said it was from a cut in her lower eyelid. We think it’s possibly from diving face first into the doormat, since it’s made of semi rough material, and because Vince didn’t notice any blood on the walk back from the groomer. But they also said that she has an ulcer in the same eye! So I guess it’s good that we had to take her in (silver lining?). The doctor gave us gel eye drops to help treat it, and poor girl has to wear a cone so that she doesn’t paw at her cut. They told us to bring her back on Monday, and they’re going to consider suturing it if it hasn’t healed more.

Unfortunately, she bumped her cone into the stairs leading to our apartment really hard and it really terrified her. Now she’s afraid to walk forward, or move at all for that matter, and gets around, if she must, by walking backward (which admittedly is a little funny). Penny did perk up a bit when we offered her green pepper as a treat (her fave). More recently, she growled a little when she heard strangers in the hallway, so those we’re good signs of her normal self, ha. We feel so sorry that she’s miserable, but hopefully on Monday we’ll get a positive update on the ulcer and she can get rid of the cone.

I find stuff like this fascinating!