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Posts Tagged ‘zumba’

bilbl_superI’d been looking forward to trying Zumba Step for the past month, ever since I first saw the flyer for the new class at my gym.  The only problem was, they only offered classes while I was at work – 11am on Thursdays and 8am on Fridays. So having this week off, I knew I wanted to try the class out.

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I love the music and the energy of Zumba classes, and I used to have fun taking step classes back in the day, so I figured the combination of the two could be really fun…or a catastrophe.  I could see myself tripping over the step as I tried to samba to the beat.

The teacher had brought two other instructors with her so that people on each side of the room could have someone to follow along.  She told us to grab a step, and at the most, to get one riser.  I decided to stick with the step by itself for this first class.

The class was really fun.  The teacher did a great job of cueing us about the moves ahead of time.  The difference between this class and a regular Zumba class was that the step was used about half the time to add some height to some of the moves.  We did the usual step-ups and knee raises, but included swaying hips and fun arm movements.  I’m happy to say there was absolutely no tripping over the step.

I’ll definitely take the class again.  I like the challenge including the step adds, and I could definitely feel it the next day.  As the class becomes more popular, I know they’ll add more sessions in the evening and weekends.  In fact, in checking the schedule just now, I saw that they now offer a class at 8:30pm on Tuesdays, so I’ll probably incorporate it into my schedule a couple of times a month.

The thing I really loved about the class was my own personal progress from the last time I took a Zumba class.  I haven’t taken a Zumba class since surgery, and the weight I’ve lost made a major difference in what I could do this go around.  I always gave it my all in Zumba classes, even when I was at my heaviest.  The thing is, my all was keeping things no-impact: no jumping, no hopping, no bouncing. Sometimes I’d end up a beat or two behind the class because I wasn’t able to keep up with the fast pace.  This time, I was jumping, bouncing, and hopping right along with the class. In fact, I was “that girl” who was going above and beyond.  The best part was that even though I was exerting myself and really getting in a sweaty workout, I wasn’t overwhelmed or out of breath.  At one point I got major tears in my eyes when I realized just how far I’d come.

In the past, I enjoyed Zumba so much that I thought “maybe someday I’ll be able to teach Zumba,” but it was a far off dream.  On Thursday, after I felt like I’d mastered the class, I knew with certainty that I will be a Zumba instructor.  That confidence is the coolest feeling in the world.

I snapped a quick pic after class, and as you can see, I was definitely "glowing" after the class.

I snapped a quick pic after class, and as you can see, I was definitely “glowing” afterward.

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Happy Friday!  Today is my last Friday of summer vacation!  I wish I could tell you I was typing this from some amazing location, like  the beach, but alas, I’m sitting on my couch in the living room.  I did want to make sure to make today really count, since it’s the last Friday I’ll have off in quite some time.

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1.  I started out today with a Zumba class. My first time taking Zumba since surgery, and it was fantastic! The teacher was super energetic, and really fun.  I noticed that I was able to really increase my intensity with the moves like never before.  For example, in the past when the class was doing jumping kicks, I’d just keep my feet on the ground and kick.  Not today!  I was jumping and kicking right along with them.  My cha-cha-cha and my meringue probably looked a bit rusty, but I was keeping pace with the rest of the class, which just shows me another NSV – my fitness level is so much stronger than I was before surgery, and it’s only going to get better from here.  I decided today in class that once I’m able to fit into the sizes, I’m buying myself some Zumba pants to wear.

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2. Speaking of buying clothes, this week I hit another fun milestone – I’ve lost enough weight that I’m able to justify buying bras from Victoria’s Secret. For so long my band size was too large to find anything nice at VS, but now that I’m measuring a 38, there’s so much more within reach.  I treated myself to a couple of fun, sexy bras, and I can’t wait for them to arrive.

3. Wednesday evening headed to Italian Heritage Night at the SF Giants, and had a great time.  But what is sort of amazing to me is that when my friend snapped this photo of me while we were waiting for the train, I didn’t immediately feel the need to crop the photo so that it only showed my body from the waist up.  In fact, when I looked at it again yesterday, I realized just how much smaller my hips/thighs are now. Those are still (and always will be) my biggest problem area, but my body is really transforming.  It was really cool to notice it from this photo.

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4. School is about to begin, and next week I have two teacher professional development days that I’m attending, which isn’t something worth writing about, except for the fact that this year, the district bought every teacher an iPad!  I’m so excited to get mine and try it out.  I’m a huge Mac fanatic, but couldn’t see spending that much money on an iPad, when I have a  MacBookPro and an iPhone.   But since the district is giving us one, hey, I’m all for it.  The PD day is supposed to show us some interesting uses of the iPad in the classroom.  Yay for free Apple gadgets!

5. Since today is my last Friday, I want to do something fun, so I think I’m going to head to the beach with Sofi so we can both enjoy this beautiful day.

I hope you have a great day!

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1. I’m off today, and while I don’t have any real plans, I’m really enjoying having the freedom to do whatever I want to today. So far I’ve taken Sofi to the groomer’s, worked out, and started checking out all my favorite online haunts. Later I’m going to the dentist. It’s wild and crazy around here, I tell ya! But I am looking forward to catching up with a couple of friends later today.

2. On Sunday I went on the David’s Tea website and ordered three different varieties:

  1. Movie Night: it has real popped popcorn in it and is supposed to taste just like the real thing, without any calories.
  2. Cocoa Canela: this one is like Mexican chocolate, chocolate with cinnamon in it. Yum!
  3. Crème Caramel Rooibos: caramel is probably my favorite dessert flavor, so this will be a nice treat.

My thinking behind the order is that these teas, although pricey, will be the perfect after dinner sweet treat. Since I’m reducing my calories so strictly, I know I may have some cravings, and this will suit me perfectly. I’ve heard amazing things about David’s tea, and I couldn’t wait to receive it, but since it was coming from eastern Canada, I knew it would take a while to receive it. Not so! I just got my box today!!

20130208-124032.jpg I’m drinking the free sample of their coco chai as I write this, and it’s yummy!  I can’t wait to have cups (& pots) of all the others.

gone-girl-review_320 3.  I’ve just started reading Gone Girl, and although I’ve only just begun it, I’m really enjoying it.  I’ve heard so many great things about the book, and I can’t wait to see if it lives up to all the hype.  What’s on your bookshelf?

4.  I’ve been doing great with my workouts all week, but the one that I’m looking forward to the most is a love-themed Zumba class with Ani tomorrow, and you can bet I’ll be sporting either red or hot pink:

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5.  Finally, I saw this on FB this morning and loved it…

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Happy Friday!!! It’s been so long since I’ve done a “Five Things Friday” post, so let’s remedy that.

1. I’ve been working at home since Wednesday, and will continue through next Tuesday.  As a teacher, I never get to work from home, so this has been a unique experience.  I have worked from home before, while I had a summer job, but it’s somehow different this time.  I enjoy the fact that I can get up at 6:45 and be ready to work by 7:30 (I’m never ready that quickly on a normal day, since I have to shower, dress, and commute).  I also love that I can “take a break” and go workout in the morning.   The hardest part of working from home is the balance.  It’s very easy to get lost online doing things other than working, but it’s also very easy to work well past the normal work hours.  I’m not sure I’d do well with it on a regular basis, though.  I need the distinction between work and home that comes with going in to work, even though I hate having to wake up so early.  Most of all, I miss the human interaction that comes with teaching.  But, it’s definitely been a great way to begin the new year, because I’ve gotten workouts in every day, and I’m starting habits that will last all winter (and year, but let’s start with one thing at a time).

2. I joined and started using Instagram.  I’m still getting used to it, and have only posted one photo (my dinner last night), but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it quickly and start posting tons of photos.  If you’d like to follow me, I’m bellablogger.  Leave me any tips and tricks for getting the most out of Instagram in the comments.

220px-Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster 3. While I was really disappointed that Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for an Oscar as best director for Argo, I am thrilled that Silver Linings Playbook has been.  I loved that movie, and I think both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence showed strong acting chops in the movie.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go see it.   On the Oscars note, I love that I’ve seen so many of the nominated films this year.  Have you seen any of them?  Which one was your favorite?

4.  Tomorrow I’m going to my first Zumba class in months, and I’m really excited!  My plantar fasciitis has gotten much better, and I’m hoping it lasts through the class.  To continue my buddy workouts, I’m going with my friend Ani, which will make it even more fun.  Plus, I can’t wait to wear my Zumba shoes!

5. Goal #8 for my 13 in 13 is to keep up with my Google Reader/blogs I read.  I’ve done fantastic on it this week, and I’m proud to say that I’ve commented on nearly every post I’ve read. To me, commenting is as important as reading them, because that way I’m offering the blogger my support, encouragement, or advice.  I’d much rather read fewer blogs but comment on most of them than the reverse.  I know how much I appreciate it when people leave me comments (thanks, guys!), and I hope my comments mean as much when I write them.

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I have one addition to the Friday 5, and since it’s been so long since I’ve done one, I think it’s ok to sneak in a 6th.

Yesterday, this arrived in the mail:

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Meghann @ LifeAfterSleeve (aka ScaleWarfare) sent me this card, and it completely made my day.  Not only is Thoreau one of my favorite philosophers/writers, but that quote is also one of my favorites.  It fits everything that’s going on with my life right now so perfectly, too.  Does this girl know me, or what?  Thanks so much, Meghann, that card absolutely made my day, and it’s got a prominent place on my fridge to remind me of my dreams, and of our friendship.

On a side note, Meghann sent me the card as one of her 52 in 2013.  The basic ideas is to write down 52 ideas of things to do, some easy, some more challenging, and put them on different slips of paper and in some sort of container.  Then, each week, she pulls out one of the sheets and completes that week’s task.  I absolutely adore this idea, and I may do it next year.  As it is, I may join in on some of her challenges this year.

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Do you call a couple of months ago when I needed some advice about which color I should buy the Bloch Lightening shoes in? I really wanted the Multi, but they’d been out of stock so long on Zappos, that I finally broke down and decided to go with another color? Well, I’m so glad that I did.

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I am LOVING the turquoise, yellow, green, and black combo!  They pair nicely with so many of the clothes I workout in, and they have just the right amount of pizzazz for Zumba shoes.

I wanted to try them out both in a class at the gym as well as at home for this review.  I can say that at first they’re really slippery, especially on my bamboo floors at home.  I felt like I was going to slide across the floor a few times that first evening.  They were better at the gym because those hard wood floors aren’t quite as smooth as mine at home.

The sole of the shoe has that unique pivot point near the ball of the foot that makes turns a breeze.  I’ve never been able to move as quickly as I have while wearing these shoes. I still may not be completely graceful (yet!), but I didn’t feel like the shoes were holding me back, as I used to wearing my Ascics or even my Reebok Flex. The right equipment makes all the difference in performance, and these shoes are no exception to that statement. I know I’m going to be a better Zumba participant now that I have the proper shoes.

These shoes are the opposite of clunky sneakers.  I love their lightness; I feel like I could dance all day in these shoes!  I’m not sure how they’d hold up for walking/running, but they’re meant as dance shoes, and that’s what I plan to do when I’m wearing them.  These are the go-to Zumba and U-Jam Fitness shoes, for sure.

I agree with the reviewers on Zappos who said that these shoes run small.  I originally bought the 8 1/2 (I normally wear an 8 in sneakers), but had to go up to a 9 for them to fit comfortably.  Now that I have the 9s though, I can say that these are really comfortable shoes, even with my recent by plantar fasciitis.

The price is great, too.  I picked them up for $66 on Zappos, and I know it’s going to be money well spent, because I’ll get a ton of use out of them.

All in all, I highly recommend these shoes.  I also recommend you buy them in person so you can try them on, or like I did, on Zappos, where you get free shipping both ways.

 

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I’m usually a really decisive person. I know what I like and I can decide on things quickly. When I knew I wanted to buy Zumba shoes, I wanted to get the highly acclaimed Bloch Lightenings in Multi…

I love that the background is black and that these would literally go with everything and anything.

I even ordered them in my normal size (8), but when they arrived, they were so tight that I couldn’t even get them on my foot. The nice thing about Zappos is that returns are simple, and I got credited to my account right away.  But I still needed shoes.  I went back and read the reviews on Zappos, and found that most people had ordered a size up.  I tried to get them in a 9, but they were sold out.  That was more than a month ago, and I’m still waiting.  I’m just too impatient to wait any longer, and rather than go to a retailer I don’t trust, I decided to go back to Zappos and see what they have.

Two choices in the Bloch Lightening (which really are supposed to be the best shoes for Zumba), pink or lime.  I don’t hate either, but I’m not in love with either.  I’m sort of {meh} about both.  And since we’re talking about workout shoes, not shoes for the red carpet, it’s time to just make a decision.

So, here’s where I need your input.  Which do I choose?  Lime?  Pink?  Help me decide, please.

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I really want to get these shoes squared away, because as soon as the weather turns cooler, making outdoor exercising a thing of the past, I’m going to be taking Zumba 2-3 times a week.

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Update 9/2:  As luck would have it, neither of these shoes were available on Zappos in the size I needed.  Since I had the store credit for the other returned shoes, I needed to find something there that would work.  Yesterday at Zumba I asked the instructor what she recommended (she had on the lime & purple ones, above), and she said that she has many different pairs of Blochs, in all different styles/colors.  She loves them for Zumba/dance classes, and she said that lots of other Zumba teachers do, too.  So, I went on Zappos this morning  searching for other Bloch styles, and I found these:

Bloch Apex in Marine

I love that they have a black background (as opposed to white, like both styles above), and that they were in my size!  I think the turquoise and yellow makes them fun and funky – all the things I was looking for in a Zumba shoe.  And after looking at them really closely, I really don’t see any difference between these and the Lightenings.  So, I think these are going to be a great choice.

Thanks again for everyone who voted – I really appreciate the input.

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20120714-084746.jpgI think I really am becoming a fitness superhero! I’m thinking of joining a local community center so I can take more fitness classes. In addition to my normal membership at 24 Hour Fitness and my 1-month pass at the yoga studio, mind you.

It all started when my favorite Zumba instructor ever, Lollo, recently commented on one of my first posts about Zumba. In her comment, she mentioned that she’s teaching at a local community center that’s less than a mile from my house. So I looked up their schedule and was amazed by the classes they offered!

1. Spin Yogi (30 min spin, 60 min yoga) – Lollo teaches!
2. Mat Pilates (for beginners) – Lollo teaches!
3. Zumba – Lollo teaches!
4. BellyDance (24 hour doesn’t have this anymore)
5. Hot Hula (this sounds so fun!!!)

They offer lots more, but those are the ones I’d definitely go to. Well, I’m not quite ready for Spinning Yogi, but I can get there.

The cost is $29.99/mo, and I don’t have to sign a contract. They’re actually offering 3 months for $75, which saves $15, so I may go with that one. Considering that I only pay $99/year ($8.25/mo) for 24 Hour, I think I can fit this in my budget, at least for July, August, and September. I have nothing but time on my hands until August 15, and since these classes are offered in the evening, I can absolutely fit them in when school starts back up. I could easily spend $25-30 on something a lot less healthy.

So I’m going to go in on Monday and sign up!

Who am I? A girl determined to have fun with fitness while reaching her goals.

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It has been far too long since I’ve made (and stuck to) a true workout plan.  Since I have these next two weeks off from work, I definitely wanted to get myself back on track in that area.  Plus, after two weeks of solid workouts, I’ll be in a nice routine.  That way, I can begin the new year (and go back to work) with a nice little system set up. More on this week’s workouts in a minute.

I have been writing about it a lot lately, but for some reason as soon as I get overwhelmed, the first thing to go is my workout plan.  And it shouldn’t.  If anything, I should hit the gym more.  Because nothing helps me de-stress like a good workout.  It helps me clear my mind, release any frustrations, and feel so much better about myself (and maybe even the stressful situation).

The main thing is to make it a priority, even in the midst of a busy schedule with lots of other responsibilities.  I was talking about this with my sister last night and with her help, I’ve decided that I have to change up my “plans” during the winter, when the days are so short.  The main issue is getting home from work in enough time to take Sofi for a walk while it’s still light outside (because it’s still dark when I leave for work).  I have to also factor in getting more daily grading done. Because this year has been really tough on me in that area.  Having 3 honors classes (and the workload associated with them) is killing me, and by the time I get home I’m so mentally exhausted from the day, that the last thing I want to do is grade essays.  Which gets me behind, which stresses me out, and so on.  So, here’s what I’ve come up with.  It’s a very realistic, workable plan that will allow me to get everything I need to done and not feel like I’m letting any one area of my life slip.

  • On my “early” days:
    • 12:10-2pm: grading/planning
    • 2:30-3:30 gym time – elliptical or the bike for 45 minutes
    • 3:45-4:15 (or so) – walk Sofi
  • On my “late” days:
    • 2:25-3:00 (or so) – grading/planning
    • 3:30-4pm: walk Sofi
    • 4pm-5pm: workout DVDs/Wii
  • Saturday:
    • 10am: Zumba
    • 11:30-1pm: Clean the house
    • 2pm: Walk Sofi
  • Sunday:
    • “Rest” day
    • Walk Sofi
    • Grocery shop
    • Meal plan

My sister made me put in a set rest day, because as she pointed out, if I don’t, it’s way too easy for me to fall into the bad habit of just saying, “oh, I’m tired, today will be my rest day.”  And then continuing to do that for 3-4 days.

You’ll notice that the plan doesn’t have any of the classes that I love taking.  That’s because the ones that I can go to are in the evenings, and when I’m tired from working all week, and it’s dark outside, I am more than likely not going to be motivated enough to go out into the cold night and go to them.  If I decide to hit a class every now and then,  great, but I wanted to make a plan that would be very realistic for the way that I know my life is.

Since I won’t be going to my favorite classes on a regular basis, I want to make sure to fit them in these next two weeks, so here’s what I’ve come up with:

Monday, 12/19: 5:30pm – Zumba
Tuesday, 12/20: 10am – Yoga
Wednesday, 12/21: 6:30pm – Aqua Aerobics
Thursday, 12/22: 9am – Workout DVD/Wii  at home
Friday, 12/23: 10am – Yoga
Saturday, 12/24: 10am – Zumba

Monday, 12/26: 5:30pm – Workout DVD/Wii  at home
Tuesday, 12/27: 10am – Yoga
Wednesday, 12/28: 6:30pm – Aqua Aerobics
Thursday, 12/29: 9am – Workout DVD/Wii  at home
Friday, 12/30: 10am – Yoga
Saturday, 12/31: 10am – Zumba (w/Kim!)

I haven’t taken yoga at the gym before, but the teacher at 10am on Tuesdays/Fridays is my favorite Zumba teacher, and I’m sure she’ll make yoga just as fun.  She’s really good at giving directions and showing the moves, and that will be helpful in yoga, too. I’ve really enjoyed the bikram and yin yoga class I’ve taken at the studio, and since 24 Hour Fitness offers this yoga class as part of my membership, I might as well take advantage of it.  Yoga is a great de-stressor, and after the last month, I need all the help I can get in that area.  Look for a post about my thoughts on this yoga class later in the week.

This schedule works around plans that I’ve already made with friend, and I’ll make sure to work any new plans around this schedule. It’s just that important, and I want to look at my exercise time as MY time; a way for me to treat myself well and take care of myself.

Getting intense workouts in consistently is the final piece (and what has proven to be the most difficult aspect) of what it will take for me to lose the weight toward my goal(s).

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Last night I want to my Friday evening Zumba class, and I wanted to give my thoughts about how the Reebok RealFlex sneakers worked for that type of exercise.

At first it was a bit difficult getting used to not having a shoe keeping me confined, like my other sneakers used to.  I sort of felt like my foot was going to fall out of the shoe, at first.  But once I tightened the laces to give myself the mental confidence that the shoes were staying put, I actually really enjoyed wearing these sneakers for Zumba.  Not only was it easier to keep up with the fast footwork because the shoes are lighter, but it felt more like the type of shoes I would dance in.  Ok, so not really.  Normally I would dance in a cute sandal, but these shoes were much, much closer to that in terms of being light and airy feeling. Overall, it took a bit of getting used to, but I ended up really liking the RealFlex for Zumba.

And for walking?  I LOVE these shoes.  They are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn.  I feel like I’m walking on little clouds.  No numbness at all.  Today will be a bit more of a test, since my mom and I are going walking – probably about 2 miles or so.  But I am very confident that the shoes will be as great at a longer distance (not that 2 miles is a long distance, but longer than I’ve walked in them so far).

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I love Zumba, because the music is hot, I get to work on my natural rhythm, and I burn an insane amount of calories in the class, all while having fun.

I’d been going to a Saturday morning Zumba class with Lollo that I loved, but I haven’t gone to that one in awhile, for a few reasons – Medifast (too few calories for that intense workout), LC cancelled her club membership (no partner in crime), and the club is being remodeled (it opens again tomorrow!). I went to one class the week before last where the instructor was on speed, and then I decided to try a new class last night at 6pm, because I figured it couldn’t be any faster/harder than that one was.

Zumba on a Friday night at 6pm had to be either really fun or really lame, right? Either there would be a fun crowd of people or it would be like crickets because everyone with a life was out with other plans. Am I ever glad that I gave it a try and found the former to be true!

I knew it was going to be an interesting class when I saw the neon bricks and stage.

And say what you will about the bricks, cuz I was thinking it ;), but the stage itself was great because I could see the instructor no matter how tall the person in front of me was.  The room itself was huge, too, which was a big surprise because this club is actually one of the oldest I’ve been to and I wasn’t expecting much.  It’s got the best group exercise class room of any of the clubs I’ve been to.

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Getting ready to take the class. I'm getting so tan!

I also really loved the mix of people who were taking the class.  All ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. That big, African American guy was so light on his feet and really new the dance steps, so I spent most of the class following him.  I thought he’d been dragged there by his girlfriend, but I think he might’ve been the one to bring her, judging from how good he was.

Joe Valdarrama, Zumba instructor extraordinaire!

When you really get down to it, the instructor is what makes the difference between a class you look forward to and one you can’t wait to finish.  Joe’s class is fun and lively, just like him.  One of the regulars in the class said that he’s got over 3000 FB friends, and I can see why.  He pumps the music up loud and never says a word, but is able to model the moves better than most instructors I’ve taken.

The class is fast paced, but not ridiculously so.  The moves are very club-y, which was fun; I got to bring back some of my ghetto-fabulous dance moves from back in the day.  (Not that I was ever ghetto; I just dance that way, LOL).  I am sure that once I take the class a few more times I’ll have the moves down pat.  The music was fun – everything from Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” to the latest Reggaeton hit, and everything in between.  Plus, it seemed like Joe was just back from a Zumba conference, and had a bunch of new music, which means he keeps things fresh.

So while I’ll always love Lollo’s Saturday morning class, and I know I’ll attend it from time to time, I think I found my new Date Night activity, at least until I have a better offer.  And who knows, if I keep going to a Zumba a  couple of times a week, maybe I’ll eventually fit into the cool Zumba-branded clothes.

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