What Koh taught me.

I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving.  I went to Charlotte to have Thanksgiving dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, and spent a few days hanging out.  I’m actually writing now from the kitchen table in her house!

So, Thanksgiving day, I manged to not do a ton of damage – I ate a good bit, but broke up the day with a lot of walking, so I didn’t feel AS slobby as I could have, but nevertheless, I went ahead and poked around on some of the local Y sites to see what classes they were running on Black Friday.  I stumbled across a super familiar name – Koh – for Zumba, and immediately set my alarm so I could go to hear class on Friday morning.


If you sorta remember that name, it’s because I ran into Koh at DCAC, and she was the first person in the history of the world that I ever took Zumba with. I went Zumba->get licensed->teach at State->teach at camp->decide I wanted to do something with my life that involved group fitness->the Y, which I love, so as I planned to go to this class, the weight sort of started to hit me, that all of this was coming full circle.

I got to the Harris Y, about 30 minutes from Sharon’s house, about 10 minutes before class started.

First, as an aside, the Harris Y is the most monstrously huge Y I have ever seen in my life. And I’m very familiar with Siskey. But this Y had a separate building for youth programs, and the grownup side kinda seemed like a small city. But in a good way, because the guy in membership who helped me come in and get settled was absolutely as sweet as pie.

Anyhoo, I got to class, and once we got started, I felt completely in my element. Koh really likes to pump her music, so once you got into each of the songs (that she ended on a pose, mind you), it was sort of like being lost in your own fitnessy world. I smiled, clapped, and at one point when we were dancing salsa, she pulled me to the front of the room with a few folks, smack-dab in the middle, to dance, while she attended to the other side of the studio.

I left that class sweaty, happy, and ready to go for a little longer. In fact, we were able to convince her to let us repeat a Michael Buble song because we’d all enjoyed it so much and felt like we could do it better than we had the first time. So she obliged!

I think the cool thing about returning to a teacher that you went to way back is that you begin to remember how it feels to be a student, and you remember the subtle nuances that you’d like to incorporate into classes to make people feel as good as your instructor is making you .

Koh Taught (still teaches!) me:

  • Be happy.  Every movement she hits, Koh acts as if it’s the most wonderful thing she has ever done.  This spreads to the class.  Maybe it’s a complex movement.  Maybe not.  Maybe it’s really really silly and might look a little funny.  She still executes it with the best attitude ever.
  • Keep it simple.  Koh is great.  BUT, she waves her wand over the classes, and it lets you know that you don’t have to be the best dancer for this class to work its magic on you.  But just in case you do want to be the best, she communicates through really really simple movements.  Things are logical – a move for the verse, a move for the chorus, and a move for the bridge.  No real rocket science there.  But it works!  So no one feels like an idiot in class because things are SO ridiculously easy to follow!
  • It’s not about you.  I’ve phrased this 60 million different ways irl and on the blog.  And I’ll say it some more.  But there is no one on earth more entitled to a big fat head than someone like Koh, who was a master presenter for Zumba® Fitness for a long time.  Her classes are consistently packed.  She could regard it as the Koh Experience.  But instead, she has made it so that you leave the class feeling like you were the star.  She’ll dance with students.  Point out when someone is doing awesome.  Allow the veterans to lead class for a little while.  Mingle during.  And generally, make it an unspoken point to communicate that she’s here for your workout, not her own.

Of course, I totally wanted more after because I was just buzzing with excitement, but I checked the schedules of the 3 Ys around, and there’s nothing super interesting going on.  Which means I’ll have to bite it and actually pay for a class and run tomorrow instead of getting into a class at the Y.

And with all that sweating, I’m not absolutely terrified to look at a scale sideways on Monday.

How did you stay fit this Thanksgiving?

The world’s most unproductive day.

So, I am straight exhausted from Thanksgiving.  We hosted our first Thanksgiving as a married couple together, which was awesome because I got to flex my cooking muscles.  Most people assume because I eat pretty healthy and I pretty much hate to eat most things (mushrooms, potato chips, pickles, mealy tomatoes, watermelon sometimes, and the gourds), that I suck at cooking.  But when your options are either hate everything OR starve to death, you get pretty creative with cooking, which is exactly what I did.  All day on Thursday.

Okay, so Thanksgiving was all well and good, but immediately following, Austin and I drove up to Philly for a funeral, and because the death occurred so suddenly, we drove up and back to Philly in a day, not something  I’d recommend.   As a total side-note, as an avid runner and marathoner, I can honestly say that my legs hurt worse sitting in the car all day than they did running 30 miles in the desert last month.

So that said, I went into work for a little while on Sunday night after we got back, to clean out my inbox and work out and get some blood flowing down in my legs, and I formulated a plan to come into work, guns blazing on Monday morning, ready to rock.

Are These The 43 Funniest GIFs Of All Time?Yeah no.

I sent approximately 1.5 emails before the internet at work starting cutting out.  So naturally, I decided to go for a run in hopes that the internet would magically be restored by the time I got back.

No such luck.

I wandered around the branch.  I looked sadly at my iPhone.  I worked out some more.  I contemplated lifting weights.  Decided against it.  Ate some lunch for a while.  Thought about why Nick Jonas’ new single was so good.

I’m still not sure why it’s so good. Why he sounds black. Why he’s so cute. Why he’s playing with my emotions.

And by 4pm, when the internet finally decided it was going to come back on, I had like 1/2 of what I wanted to get done, done.

I ended up having to stay at work hours later than I planned to.

And still.  The most unproductive day ever.

Ah well. How was your Monday?

Four facts survey.

Thanksgiving was pretty bananas, first and foremost.  When I woke up yesterday morning, I started cooking, and did not stop until my parents arrived around 1:30.  I started freaking out that I didn’t make enough food…

Thanksgiving Dinner…that fear was unfounded, as I ate Thanksgiving Dinner for a second for lunch after I popped by work today.

But moving right along….

This thing has been making its rounds around the interwebs, and before I miss that train, here it is!  Four fun facts about me!  (A little disclaimer – I’m supposed to tag folks in these, and I always feel really weird about doing that – please just feel free to steal this and do it.)

4 Fun Facts

Four names that people call me other than my real name

  1. Cher
  2. Pickle <-my husband calls me that
  3. Poop <-also a name my husband has for me
  4. Sure-rhesé.  This was how my name has been pronounced by doctors as they’ve come into the room before.

Four jobs I’ve had

  1. Bakery staff at Whole Foods
  2. Barista at Whole Foods
  3. Fit Specialist at Fleet Feet Raleigh
  4. Now, Group Fitness Director at the Y.

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

  1. Sex and the City
  2. Knocked Up
  3. Pretty Woman
  4. This is 40

Four books I’d recommend

  1. The Help
  2. The Nanny Diaries
  3. Most Talkative (Andy Cohen’s Book)
  4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Four places I’ve lived

  1. Brooklyn, NY
  2. Pocono Valley, Pennsylvania
  3. Charlotte, NC
  4. Raleigh NC

Four places I’ve visited

  1. Vegas
  2. New York City
  3. LA
  4. The Bahamas <-One day, I will tell you the story of how I ended up there, and how absolutely heinous that experience was.  I will absolutely never set foot on a cruise ship again.

Four places I’d rather be right now

  1. On the beach somewhere warm.
  2. Eating food outside in LA maybe.
  3. Going for a hike/run thing.
  4. Greece.

Four things I don’t eat

  1. Mealy tomatoes
  2. The gourds.  Pumpkins, squash, zucchini.
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Beef/chicken ->Veg

Four of my favorite foods

  1. Coffee
  2. A burrito bowl type item
  3. Cheese Pizza
  4. Malted Chocolate Balls from Whole Foods

Four TV shows I watch

  1. The View
  2. Real Housewives of Atlanta
  3. Watch What Happens Live
  4. Keeping up with the Kardashians

Four things I’m looking forward to this year (I’m looking at this like 2015)

  1. Warm weather to come back
  2. Saving more money
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh
  4. My house finally coming together and being decorated.

Four things I’m always saying

  1. I’m hungry.
  2. I’m going for a run.
  3. Can we turn up the heat in here, I’m cold!
  4. A-r-m-o-u-r. (Evidently folks have a lot of trouble spelling my maiden name).

So feel free to steal away and share some random things about yourself!


Thanksgiving Recap

My days/time are all off because of the way Thanksgiving falls just in the middle of the week, so today, you beautiful folks will get a post on a Saturday, which hasn’t happened in quite some time.

Anyhoo, so I had my first Thanksgiving as a:

  1. Homeowner.
  2. Married woman.
  3. Person who cooks all the food.
  4. Person who cleans for people to come over.

…And it was pretty cool.

Thanksgiving 1
The fam gathering around the island to pray and stuff…
Thanksgiving 4
I was feeling like my face wasn’t looking brilliant – very minimal makeup, so I don’t have a lot of pictures of my actual face from that morning. I think all the cooking made me feel like my skin was sorta eh.
Thanksgiving 2
We couldn’t get Chester off the table. Meh.

Thanksgivng 5So I woke up early on Thursday morning after we’d done some Wednesday evening shopping, and immediately got to cooking.  And I cooked and cooked and cooked.  On the menu?

  1. Mashed potatoes
  2. Corn
  3. Stuffing
  4. Hash Brown Casserole
  5. Creamed Spinach (I wasn’t a huge fan of this dish)
  6. White Veggie Lasagna
  7. Southern Made Biscuits

And my parents and sisters brought..

  1. A Bundt
  2. Pumpkin Pie
  3. Turkey and a Ham (I wasn’t too down with prepping the meat)
  4. Green Bean Casserole
  5. Mac and Cheese

I was terrified at some point that we wouldn’t have enough food, but at this count, I’ve just finished my third plate and I’m growing weary under the pressure of trying to finish these leftovers.  I’m a max, one to two-day leftover kinda girl – this is killing me.  I also don’t eat a ton as Thanksgiving sort of requires you to do so I’m sorta dying here.

So my entire Thanksgiving consisted of cooking, hosting family, and cleaning up later that night.  My workout that I’d sort of planned didn’t happen, my long walk didn’t happen.  Heck, I barely even got dessert.  But I have a lot, a TON to be thankful for.

What was your Thanksgiving like? 


If you shop on Thanksgiving, I’m judging you.

This will be my only post/rant on the issue, and then I will drop it and we’ll move along and all be friends.

On Thanksgiving, i will be doing two things.

  1. Going for a run so I can enjoy indulging without much guilt.
  2. Cooking.
  3. Enjoying dinner with my family.

So that was three things, but you get what I’m saying.  Nowhere above did I say I was going to go to Best Buy, Target, or Macy’s to stock up on some crappy deal, when I really need to be saving my coins (my car just decided it needed about $600 worth of help, so I really can’t be spending money all willy-nilly anyhow).  And the reason for this is that, after working in retail, Whole Foods and Fleet Feet, there is no way on God’s green earth that I’d get up from my dinner table, run out, and make someone else’s life really mis on that day.

Let me explain something to you about working retail during the holidays.  I truly didn’t experience this as much with the customers from Fleet Feet, however, the Whole Foods schedule, and the customers made me resent them and resent the holidays, a feeling I hated having.  I felt myself starting to hate holiday themed food, answering people’s dumbass questions regarding some weird food we have never carried, and hating people themselves, especially those who took out their holiday-induced stress on us.

Here’s an example.  One Thanksgiving-Eve, a woman called the bakery and screamed at me because she hadn’t realized that the Yule Logs were like chocolate inside when she bought them.  First off, I don’t care.  If that is your worst worry at the holidays, consider yourself lucky.  There is poverty, hunger, genocide, and racism in the world to scratch the surface – none of which take a break on the holidays.  And furthermore, it is not my fault that you didn’t realize that the yule logs were chocolate inside.  Now, if she were actually nice to be, I might actually feel inclined to fix her problem or offer her something of her choosing in the vanilla family, however, she was unkind, and therefore, I didn’t feel too pressed to correct her issue.  Especially, ESPECIALLY given that she seemed to have no concern that while I listened to her yule log lamentations, my family was wondering where I was, and getting started on all the cooking without me.

But I digress.

You can try and slice and dice it any way you want to…

-Those people volunteer to work. (And really, the way it works is that the folks that want to work volunteer first, and then your manager fills the rest of the holes with other folks who may not particularly care to work.)

-These folks make a TON of money in this season. (No on is getting rich on a retail salary.  If they’re making time-and-a-half, that is absolutely wonderful, but a really temporary fix for the anger and resentment that builds up towards folks around the holidays.)

-If they don’t like it, why are they working retail.  (Now, I know jobs are extremely easy to come by ::cough::, however, sometimes folks don’t have a whole lot of choice.  Or sometimes, they actually LIKE their retail situation during months that aren’t November and December.  However, that doesn’t mean they want to get screamed at about your yule logs on Thanksgiving Day.)

…But the fact stands.  You don’t need to shop on Thanksgiving.  And I’m judging you if you choose to do so.

Ya missed me? This post is so jam-packed with goodies, I can’t even stand it!

I took a few days off from writing, and it drove me peanuts.   But I logged the events of Thanksgiving break in my head so I could keep everyone filled in on the events, which were events a-plenty.

Wednesday, before the holiday, I skipped the run (I know, shame on me,) because I went in for an endoscopy after work to figure out what was going on with my stomach, which you’ll remember has been acting really nuts since my bout with a stomach bug in September.  It was an upper endoscopy, so as far as prep, it just required that I fasted for a bunch of hours.  Rude.

I went in, stripped down to a sexy gown, and they started me on an IV.  The whole process was fairly non-dramatic.  I was wheeled into a room, laid on my side, given oxygen and the process began.  First the Lidocaine to numb my veins, and then the Propofol, and next thing I knew, I was out.  I woke up a really short time later – apparently, while I was under and they tried to shove the camera down my esophagus, I started flailing, pulled my IV out, and they had to pull me out of my sleep to reset the IV.  It was no big deal, and next thing I knew, I was out, and Austin was ready to take me home.  But not before in a haze, I told the nurse that “I looooove him,” and “did you know we were getting married?”

The final verdict? Gastritis.  The lining of my stomach was inflamed and has kicked acid up into my esophagus, which was burnt up too.  The morning of Greensboro, nerves and something I ate the day before probably aggravated my already-raw stomach, causing me to throw up.  Which burnt my esophagus even more.  Yumz. They did a biospy and I should know what’s causing it and what I need to do in the next 10 days or so.  I’ll keep you posted.


Thanksgiving Day.  It was awesome.  I woke up, went for a slow and steady 4 miler (I’m streaking til New Years Day), cleaned up my house, and headed down to my parents’ for the holiday.  I cooked, and it was so lovely to spend the time with my family.  That evening, I was able to trick my brother into watching Pitch Perfect with me.  Score.

BroFriday morning, me and little Derek suited up for a run – and I will be gosh darned – the kid can run!  He’s a cross country star, and 18, so truthfully, the run consisted of me chasing him around Waxhaw, NC, which he regarded more as a casual jog.  My hamstrings were mad at me afterward, and I will definitely have to utilize him more for those speed workouts.

DressWe went wedding dress shopping.  That is all I can say, and this is all I will show you because I’m keeping dress negotiations top secret.  But my mom and I had a blast shopping for dresses.  She did try to negotiate a tiara and a set of silky gloves out of me, but I’m not budging, much to her chagrin.

CarAnd in the single greatest moment of the holiday, possibly of the year, my brother offered to drive us to Harris Teeter to buy my dad seltzer, and we needed to, since I drink up all his seltzer every time I go home.  Anyhoo, my brother drives a Benz.


Well, it’s an ’87, and when he started it, he had to pump the gas like a madman before we could get moving.  Then, when we arrived to the Teet, we had to leave it running while we ran inside.  Hood.


And finally, I finished out the weekend by enjoying a dinner where I spent my 16th birthday, Kristopher’s in Matthews, NC, with Austin, the husband-to-be, and Derek, my brother.  It was so fun, so delicious, and an excellent way to wrap up the weekend.

Thanksgiving was awesome.  It was a lovely visit, and I finished out the weekend by running, running a little more, and working at the running store, which always puts a smile on my face.

How was your Thanksgiving Holiday?

Shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t do it.

Christmas Eve 2011, I was working at Whole Foods Market, in the bakery.  It was nearing 6 pm, and the store was doing what was called a “soft closing,” where you sorta close, but you let anyone who comes screeching up in the parking lot come in, for fear that they will write you a bad review on Yelp.

I peered over the counter, wearing my antlers as a pretend signal of good tidings, when really, I wanted to murder everyone who was shopping, including a woman on the cell phone, who was leisurely strolling through the aisles.  Like it wasn’t 6pm on Christmas Eve, like simply because I was being paid an hourly wage, that I didn’t deserve to get to go to Midnight Mass with my family, sleep in, and wake up leisurely to open presents with my family.

Instead, around 6pm on Christmas 2011, I was hauling a clear bag full of old bread and bagels to the dumpster in the ran, and shivering in a chefs coat while last-minute Christmas shoppers milled about.  Close to 7, I finally filled up on gas, and I’d made it to my parents’ house by 10:30 pm. On Christmas Eve.  My parents were already asleep, and I only had a few hours the following day with my siblings before I had to head back for my shift in the coffee bar.

If you shop on Thanksgiving Day, you are a jerk.  Plain and simple, I’m not sorry to say.  I have had the unfortunate opportunity to have to work on holidays, on holiday eves, and on the day after holidays and it always sucks.  Each time I had to show up at my parents’ home at an ungodly hour, or each time I left while my siblings were still sleeping or spending time with relatives, I began to resent my work, and swore that I would quit my job the next day.  I never did, I needed the money while I looked for full-time work in my field, but it made me resent my job and truly hate people more than I care to admit, temporarily.  The “hate” feeling returned with each holiday I had to celebrate by doling out lattes to stressed party hosts.  And I really do dislike it when I feel so angry towards others – it’s not at all healthy.

“Well if you don’t like it, just make sure you ask for that day off! Target said on TV it’s only the employees who really want to work that day/night.”

First off all, no one, even the person who lives only with his or her cats,  wants to bundle up so they can stand on their feet all night and serve you.  It’s barely fun on a regular day, and super unfun on a chilly holiday.  And that’s not exactly how it works.  When I worked bakery retail, and in the coffee bar at Whole Foods, and the same went for when I worked in a restaurant for my stint in graduate school, you’d get your choice of which holiday you want off.  If you get the days around Thanksgiving off, you won’t get days around Christmas off.  Maybe you’ll get the days at New Years.  It’s all a trade.  But the choice is only which holiday you’ll work.

Please, please, please, before you leave your plates on the counter and run out on Thanksgiving night, think about the folks who are having to leave their families to ring you out.  Not only did they have to leave their families, they hate you, and they’re hoping that you slip and break that flat screened television you dragged them out to purchase.  The employee break room is intermittently filled with folks snacking on lame, stale holiday treats that management put out for them as an attempt to boost morale, but guess what?  It isn’t working, and they’re seeing red with every e-reader you buy.

So regardless of what some of these retailers choose to do, don’t make it worth their while – avoid shopping on Thanksgiving and let them know that our families are a little more important to us than cheap electronics.  That’s what shopping online is for, anyways.

Thanks overload.

On Friday, I told you guys I was thankful for my brother.  Still am.  Kid is taking his SATs Saturday, so send him your good vibes, PS.

Saturday, I stepped outside of my house, and it literally smelled like a Yankee Candle, “Autumn Sunrise” or something.  I stood and sniffed the air for a few seconds before I had to be over at the stinky gym.  Scents just weren’t the same.  I am so thankful for beautiful weather here in NC in the fall.

On Sunday, I was extra grateful for that extra hour – it allowed me to wake up a little earlier, pour myself a mimosa, and go cheer on some friends in the City of Oaks Marathon – a move that would prove to be deadly, as, for some ungodly reason, I’m considering another one.  If I tell you guys I’m running another one before our wedding, slap the shit out of me.  I don’t have time to be running 20 miles on Sunday mornings right now.  Halfs (halves, idk!) are fine, fulls are off-limits.  Unless I get a really good deal on Rock n’ Roll Raleigh.  Ugh. What is wrong with me?

Today, I’m so grateful that I was able to lace up a pair of shoes and head out the door before work for a quick run.  It means that when I’m done with work, I’m DONE, and I get to go home and enjoy my evening, without the pressure of a looming workout standing between me and dinner.  It’s wonderful to get your assignments done before they’re actually due, huh?