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You may or may not remember me mentioning that I was going to take a belly dancing class in the fall.  My friend JJ saw a Groupon that could be used to take 6 belly dancing classes, so we signed up.  (P.S. – If you aren’t a Groupon user, you need to get on board stat – that Website is amazing and has led to me try new things I may have never even considered in the past).   We were sort of slack about getting our act together and actually deciding on a class and signing up.  Low and behold, December had arrived and we hadn’t signed up and our Groupon looked like it might expire.  Luckily it was extended through January, so we finally signed up.  I am so glad we did because it’s so much fun!

We are taking beginner classes at Nazeem Allayl (to my Atlanta readers – if you are interested in belly dancing, go here!), and I feel like I am learning so much!  I can actually do the moves pretty well once we learn them, if I do say so myself.  With continued practice, I could actually look pretty slick!

The funny thing about taking the class is that I didn’t think the moves would come to me so easily since I had no experience with belly dancing in the past.  Sure I could hip shimmy (your hips/butt look like they are vibrating because you move your legs so fast), but I was clueless about the rest of the moves.  Yeah, from time to time they are hard, and I often leave class super sore, but it’s so much fun.  And it’s a great workout because you are constantly moving and doing moves for whole songs at a time, so it’s a total win-win!

Every move you do starts from belly dance stance, which is you standing with your knees bent (like you are about to sit in a chair), chest out, pelvis rolled in, and your arms out in a soft W-shape.  After a while, your thighs and arms start to burn like crazy, but at least you know you are working something.  So far we have learned a lot of different hip lifts, drops, and shimmies.  Next week we’ll learn the maneuvers that use only your stomach and abs.  I’m really wondering how hard this is going to be…

I have three classes left and am seriously considering continuing with another six classes after these are done.  You work a lot of different muscles (ones that I don’t use on a normal basis), get your heart rate up, and you laugh and have a great time while learning cool dance moves.  If you are looking for something fun or different to add to your workout routine, I totally recommend trying belly dancing.

Besides, who doesn’t like to wear a pretty, jingly hip sash?  🙂

My next adventure will be a Zumba class with JD.  Thanks again Groupon!

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I guess I’m not doing so great with posting regularly in 2011.  Life and work have been a little hectic, and now I’ve come down with a case of sinusitis from hell.  All last week I felt it coming on, but was able to keep it at bay…until Friday.  I woke up that morning with a runny nose and ended up spending most of the day sniffling and sneezing.  Figures that I would get sick right at the start of the weekend, especially because we were supposed to go see Girl Talk with our friends.  I tried my best to rally through, but in the end the pounding bass was too much for my sinus headache, so I had to head out a little early.  The concert was cool, I just wish I’d felt better.

By Saturday, I was a hot snotty mess.  I was so congested that my head was pounding, my eyes looked puffy, and even my teeth hurt.  That meant that I spent the remainder of the weekend (and Monday and today) glued to the couch, popping pills and blowing my nose like it was my new hobby.  On Friday night, T and our friend Hippie watched this crazy documentary about the White family from West Virginia on Netflix.  T was so obsessed with it, that we reinstated our Netflix account just so we could watch it.  And thus began my sickly movie marathon.

We began with The Wild and Wonderful Whites.  This is the true story of the infamous White family of West Virginia.  They are known for living on the other side of the law and are often doing drugs, stealing, murdering, and dancing (yes, dancing).  It’s an interesting look into small town life in West Virginia that revolves around the coal mining industry.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.  It’s so far out there at times, you won’t be able to lift your chin off of your chest, trust me.   Plus the names of the family members alone will have you cracking up.

Next we watched Shutter Island. This is the story of an up-and-coming US Marshall sent to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient who is also a murderer.  I don’t know about you, but I love a good suspenseful thriller.  This movie had it all.  Definitely a great movie to watch when you feel like being inquisitive. I am really starting to like Leonardo DiCaprio in these darker films.  I think it helps make him seem less pretty and rougher around the edges.

Later on Sunday night, we watched Inglourious Basterds, the story of a rag-tag bunch of Jewish-American soldiers who are single-handedly trying to wipe out the Nazis and Hitler.  I was a little leery about watching this movie at first because I was worried that it would be all blood, guts and war.  That was a heavy part of the film, but at the same time it was a clever and funny tale of revenge.  Plus a lot of the film was in French and German, giving me a chance to practice my languages.  It’s gritty and I had to turn my head away at times, but really was quite a good film. I would recommend it, but you may want to watch it with a guy, so you can hide your face on his shoulder during the gross parts.

On Monday, while I was home from work, I watched Alice in Wonderland.  It’s the story of a young adult Alice returning to the world of her dreams where she has to help end the Queen of Hearts’ reign of terror.  It was definitely bright, colorful and fun, while at the same time slightly dark and twisted.  It’s more of a grown up version of the story but still contained a lot of the elements you may remember from other versions you saw as a child.  Johnny Depp made a wonderful Mad Hatter, but I did have difficulty understanding him from time to time.  It could have been his accent or the fact that my ears were clogged.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!

I also watched An Education on Monday.  I’d heard great things about it, so when I saw it was available instantly, I thought why not.  This film tells the story of a teenage London girl in the 1960s who is smart, beautiful and talented but is bored of her middle class life.  Her father is pushing her hard so she will get accepted into Oxford so she can have a better life than he did.  Everything changes when she meets David, who is twice her age and charming, and wants to show Jenny there is more to life than studying.  Their friendship eventually evolves into much more, potentially changing the path that Jenny has planned to follow for years.  This movie was much different than I expected it to be, but it really sucked me in.  Being from Europe, I always love movies that highlight the culture and countries there.  It’s also a coming-of-age love story that we can all relate to in ways.  This is a good rainy day watch.

Since I was still out sick today, I watched The Runaways, which is the story of the first all female rock group of the 1970s featuring Joan Jett and Cherie Curie.  It’s a nitty, gritty look into how a group of talented teens embark on the journey of their lives while trying to make it big in the industry, all while surviving the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle around them.  Let me just say, I loved the crazy clothes and make up, and of course the hard-rocking music.  It was an interesting look into what these girls had to go through to “make it,” especially since they weren’t even 20 and were basically traveling around unsupervised.  It was definitely one of the better Kirsten Stewart films I’ve seen – she looses her deer-in-the-headlights look and really embraces the bad ass role of Joan Jett.  This is definitely a great watch when you want to channel your inner punk rocker.

Lastly, I watched Up.  I can’t believe I waited so long to watch this movie – I loved it!  But I do have to say that I was crying like a baby throughout.  When I wasn’t sobbing (no fun when you are sick), I was laughing like crazy, so that was a plus.  It’s funny that it’s a children’s movie because the themes are definitely so adult – love, following your dreams.  If you haven’t watched it yet, go out there and do it now!  I guarantee that you will love it!

So, that’s all for my movie-watching for now.  I may try to get one more in tonight, but that will depend on how long it takes us to straighten up the house.  We haven’t really done much since I’ve been sick for the last 5 days…

**Oh, and to let you know, my sister, Little S has started blogging.  I’m excited that my blogging ways (even though they have been a bit slack) have rubbed off on her.  She is still in the beginning stages and doesn’t have many posts up yet, but I thought you lovelies could help welcome her to the blogosphere.**

So, Atlanta and the state of Georgia (along with much of the Southeast) have been pummeled by a major snow storm that has been topped off with a nice glaze of freezing rain.  The city and state have shut down, literally.  I was looking at a list of closings, and there were more than 900 schools, businesses, and churches closed today.  A large chunk of them will be closed tomorrow.  (I am still waiting with bated breath for my boss to share the great news with us that the office will be closed.  I’m not sure what she is waiting for, all major businesses and school systems are closed.  The state government is telling people to stay home.  I live at the top of a large hill that was an ice luge earlier today; I’m not risking myself or my car to go to work tomorrow.)

Laugh all you will my northern friends, but the south is not equipped to handle this.  We don’t have the equipment to handle the snow, and you add ice into the mix and we are just fucked.  People who were stupid enough to try to drive today either ended up in an accident or had to abandon their cars on the side of the road because they couldn’t get enough traction to go anywhere.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed being snowed in at my house with T and my kitties, cooking and eating good food, and enjoying the icy winter wonderland waiting outside our windows.  The extra time off is a major plus too!

T and I were both off today, so we made the most of it and went out a few times to enjoy the snow.  We got snowed in in New York when we were there for Christmas, but it was too powdery to do anything with and the winds were gusting at 20+ miles an hour, making the 20s feel like teens.  Here it wasn’t too horrible.  It was brisk (but not NY brisk) and a little icy rainy, but we tromped around the neighborhood for a while.  Then we decided to make a snowman.

Since the snow had already begun to ice over, it was too difficult to make a large snowman.  Instead, we opted to make a mini one, along with a snowcat to keep him company.  I had so much fun!  I felt like I was a little kid again.  When we were done, we headed inside to make some chili and warm up.

Later in the day, we went sledding.  Since we were unprepared for the conditions, we didn’t have a sled.  So we had to improvise.  First we tried a garbage can lid, which didn’t work at all.  We were pretty bummed, until we saw a mom with her kids, sledding on a cookie sheet.  Luckily we had two really large ones, so we took the less nicer of the two and hit the slopes (or the iced-over street).  Here we were, late 20-somethings, laughing and giggling like kids.  The only other sledders were young kids who were being watched by their parents.  It was so much fun!  It’s days like today that make me really miss living in snowy places (even though I know if we were up north, we’d have been at work today).  I can’t wait to bust out the cookie sheet again tomorrow!

Here are some fun pictures from our Snowcation in Hotlanta!

 

Mini snowman and snowcat

The snowfall Sunday night

Fado checking out the snow this morning

T, after his cookie sheet luge

Me with our "sled," rocking the Eskimo look

 

And to round this bad boy out, here are a couple of  “sledding” videos:

 

I know that I was quite the slacker with blogging during 2010.  I’m not sure what was up with me, but I just wasn’t being inspired to write as much as I had in the past.  This year, I really want to be better about blogging on a more regular basis, i.e. at least once a week if not more.  I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy scrolling back through old posts to see what happened and reminiscing about the good times.

So, without further ado, here is my 2010 in review!

What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

I went whitewater rafting, took an aerial acrobatics class, went on a Snuggie pub crawl, spent a romantic weekend in a B&B with T, and  saw a number of comedy shows (Chelsea Handler, Heather McDonald, Conan O’Brien, and Daniel Tosh.

On less positive notes, I got my first speeding ticket and got mauled by multiple jelly fish on our beach vacation, which resulted in me having to get a tetanus and steroid shot.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

No, I am horrible at resolutions.  I always choose the same things – stop smoking, workout more, save more money.  This year, I will behave, be healthier, and build up my bank account.   I already haven’t smoke since the early hours of Jan. 2. I think that’s a good start.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

None of my immediate friends did, but plenty of  acquaintances did.  Everywhere I looked, it seemed like someone was having a baby or announcing a pregnancy. 

Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no.

What countries did you visit?.

Sadly, none.  We didn’t get out of the U.S of A this year.  I’m hoping in 2011 we’ll expand our travels a little more.

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

More money in our savings account, a bigger house, maybe a cute new car.

What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 22 – the date Little S and JT got engaged. 

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I obtained some great publicity clips for my clients, including lots of TV spots.  I didn’t break anything playing softball.

What was your biggest failure?

Being lazy and not sticking to a workout routine.  Not getting a raise at work (not my fault, but still…) 

Did you suffer any illness or injury?

No major illnesses or injuries, but I did cut my finger pretty badly before my birthday.

What was the best thing you bought?

I can’t say I made any out of the ordinary, super special purchases in 2010.  We bought a Wii.  Our beach vacation was nice, despite all the pitfalls.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

No one in particular, but the people who go above and beyond to help and care for others, without expecting anything from anyone else.  Those people should be celebrated more.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Trashy celebrities that get money for doing nothing and being pure trash (Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan).  Shady politicians who don’t care for the greater good of the people (Sarah Palin).

Where did most of your money go?

T’s Lasik surgery, car repairs (there were a lot of them this year), taxes, going out with friends for drinks or dinner.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going whitewater rafting, Little S and JT getting engaged, the Christmas weekend blizzard in NY, our New Year’s Eve cabin weekend.

What song will always remind you of 2010?

Thievery Corporation – Shadows Of Ourselves Lyrics.  T and I saw them in concert and they were amazing.  Plus this song offers good advice.

Je n’ai pas le temps de perdre la tête
Pour nous sauver de nous-même

(I don’t have time to lose my head to save us from ourselves.)

Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) happier or sadder– the same

(b) thinner or fatter – the same, maybe a little fatter

(c) richer or poorer? – about the same

What do you wish you’d done more of?

I tried new activities this year, but I wish I’d gone to more festivals and branched out to try new restaurants.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Veg around on my days off, sleep super late, stay up all night (even though it’s fun while it’s happening).

How did you spend Christmas?

We had Christmas with my family on Dec. 18-19.  We ate duck and cornish game hens, drank lots of wine, and opened a ton of presents.

On actual Christmas, we were in NY with T’s family.  We opened presents and had dinner with his family,  grammy, uncle and uncle’s girlfriend.  Then we went to his aunt’s annual Christmas night party for drinks and laughs with the family.  Then we got snowed in the next day, resulting in lots of vegging in front of the TV, Wii playing, eating and drinking.

Did you fall in love in 2010?

No, I’m already in love.

What was your favorite TV program?

The same olds – Law & Order SVU, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Outsourced, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Intervention, No Reservations….

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I’m a pretty easy going person, so I haven’t hated anyone in a while.

What was the best book you read?

I really liked the Time Traveler’s Wife.  I blew through it and was hooked from the first few pages.  A Reliable Wife was also really good.  I enjoyed The Help, but it had a slow start.  Chelsea Handler’s books are great easy reads and always had me cracking up.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Seeing Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack and Chromeo live were amazing and made me love their music even more.

My end of 2010 addictions were:

FLORENCE & THE MACHINE – Dog Days Are Over

MUMFORD & SONS – Little Lion Man

MUSE – Undisclosed Desires

SHAWN MULLINS – LIGHT YOU UP

BROKEN BELLS – The High Road

RAY LAMONTAGNE – Beg Steal or Borrow

SARA BAREILLES – King of Anything

I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of at the moment.

What did you want and get?

I received some amazing gifts this year: Awesome rain boots, pretty cognac colored boots, shoe rack, new winter white pea coat, Donkey Kong Country Revisited for Wii, a cute octopus necklace, a Chi straightener, fuzzy sheep fur and suede boots, cute scarves, a trip to Asheville, and tickets to Cirque du Soleil.

What did you want and not get?

I kept asking for this cute owl ring for my birthday and Christmas, but it was impossible to find.  Sadness.  I also wanted a seltzer maker, but didn’t get that either.

I also wanted to sell our condo and buy a house, but that wasn’t successful.  That’s what 2011 is for!

A raise.

What was your favorite film of this year?

I really liked Black Swan a lot.  It was so twisted and eerie, but so well-made.  I totally recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

I’m blanking on other movies I really liked at the moment.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 28 on my last birthday, and of course turned it into quite the extravaganza.  I did one night with family and close friends where we went out to a nice dinner, T and I spent a weekend in Asheville, I did a group birthday outing with November birthday friends, and we went to see Ovo with the family.  It was a great and memorable birthday! 

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Getting a raise or if that isn’t an option, additional weeks of vacation.  I work hard at what I do and have had a successful publicity year for all four of my clients.  It would be nice to receive some type of reward for my efforts.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Warm weather – sundress, skirts, tanks, jeans, and flops or sandles

Cold weather – sweaters, jeans, jeggings, leggings, tall boots, flannel, and scarves

What kept you sane?

My family, friends, cats, booze, vegging on the couch

What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

My 2010 crush was definitely Alexander Skarsgård from True Blood. (Hello hot stuff!)

What political issue stirred you the most?

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  We are a country that pledges equality and freedom for all, but often times we don’t follow through.  It’s good to see people trying to change the narrow mindedness that has plagued so many people for so long.

Who did you miss?

My friends who don’t live in Georgia and I rarely see.  T’s family because they are awesome.

Who was the best new person you met?

Hmm, I can’t think of anyone at the moment.  I pretty much like everyone, as long as they aren’t assholes.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Don’t let stupid people or stupid things ruffle your feathers.  If you are strong and confident, you can overcome any drama that comes your way.  Don’t let the Man hold you down.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Who cares if you disagree?/You are not me/Who made you king of anything?/So you dare tell me who to be?/Who died and made you king of anything?  – Sara Bareilles,  King Of Anything

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