30 Before 30: Second Installment of the Dirty Thirty Bucket List

Alright ladies and gents, after a six month hiatus and WordPress losing my post, I think it is time that I post the next ten things I want to do or achieve before I hit the big 3-0. Check out my update to see how I am doing on the first ten bucket list to-do items.

Let’s start right where I left off.

11. Learn a foreign language. I’m starting this round off big with a tremendous aspiration. In high school I took courses in both Spanish and French, but ultimately did not go far with either. The longest actual conversation I had in a language other than English was to tell the maid in a hotel that she didn’t need to finish cleaning our room because I needed to take a shower. Pretty sure I butchered my pronunciation. Has anyone had success with Rosetta Stone?

12. Pamper myself once a month. This will be an ongoing goal, of course, and I will try my best to stick to it. Ry so kindly bought me a spa day for my birthday and it was an amazing afternoon of indulgence. I don’t have to do an entire day each month. Heck, I can’t afford to do a whole day each month, but a little something would be nice. Especially since my massage therapist told me my neck and back are “all sorts of messed up” after my serious case of whiplash.

13. Watch the sunset on a beach. This was in my original post that, so sadly, was misplaced, but has since been achieved. Ry and I went on a glorious vacation to St. Thomas last week and had a prime view of the sunset from our beach side dinner one night. There isn’t anything more beautiful.

I mean, just look at that view.

14. Eat at a 5 Star restaurant. I can’t even express how much I love food. This would be the ultimate date (and probably break the bank).

15. See a show on Broadway. I have seen plenty of off-Broadway shows. I have been to NYC a ton of times. How have I not seen a show in the city by now?!

16. Find my inner yogi. I recently took a couple of hot yoga classes and, after getting past the early “I might pass out” feeling, couldn’t believe how refreshed and at peace I felt. I bought a new Manduka mat to get myself started.

17. Get a raise. I wish this one didn’t sound so impossible. I have taken on even more responsibility at work, but still with no compensation. I know I work for a non-profit, but I need to grow a pair of balls and demand that my work receive an appropriate value.

18. Pay off my credit cards and keep them paid off. The eternal battle. It seems I have carried a balance on one of my cards for the last five years. I would like to be more financially solid and paying off my debt is one of the first steps.

19. Go to an awesome festival. Ry and I went to Lollapalooza in Chicago almost three years ago and it was one of the coolest experiences ever. Another music fest like Coachella or SXSW or maybe a badass world-renowned beer fest would be so amazing.

20. Travel alone. Go somewhere all alone, turn off my phone, find myself. Not that I’m lost or need to do some soul searching, but I think people now-a-days, including myself, don’t know how to just be. Where should I go?

I’m developing a pretty lofty list here! Do you have a bucket list? Or suggestions to add to mine?

– C

Pole Fitness vs. Exotic Pole Dancing. A Biased Opinion.

In light of last week’s open house at Lorraine Michaels Dance Centre, I felt the need to express my opinion on the two pole dancing classes offered at the studio. Keep in mind that I am highly biased because I take Heather’s class and it is the perfect fit for me. I stress for me because everyone is looking for something different in a class.

I have never taken the Thursday night classes offered by another instructor and was looking forward to the open house so I could see how hers differed. They were scheduled to perform and I was very curious! I sat down at the front of the dimly lit room with no expectations.

Dressed in black clothing, the women took their respective places by the four  poles and two chairs set up. I was surprised to notice the instructor standing by a chair in the performance area occupied by a man (not many men are typically seen around pole class). As the rock music played, I was transfixed and somewhat appalled. It took a serious effort to keep my mouth from gaping open in surprise. The instructor was giving a legitimate lap dance to this man in the chair (who I am assuming was her husband?) and the whole room had transformed into a strip club, luckily no removal of clothing was happening. A painful 8 minutes of discomfort was about all I could handle when watching this performance. I could feel the awkwardness in the air coming off of the other viewers who had just come from watching a beautiful waltz performance in the other studio. That sealed it, the other class was definitely not for me.

I would like to thank my instructor, Heather, for making the women in her class feel empowered, sexy, and strong without teaching us to grope ourselves or slide our hands provocatively up and down the pole. I feel like I am taking an aerial art class, not How to Be a Stripper 101. Had I gone to this other class the first time, I would have left before it was over and never returned. Instead, I found a great new hobby that works out all of my muscles and makes me feel more confident.

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That’s me doing my “I’m tired” version of a flag. Do you have any experiences with pole dancing? I would love to hear them!

– C

Hump Day Reflections and Recipes

Tons on my mind today, so I’m going to try and make this somewhat organized. If you’ve ever seen my desk at work you know this is a difficult task for me. I like to call it organized chaos. I know where everything is, but I don’t recommend anyone else trying to find things. Without further rambling, here goes:

  1. BILLS, BILLS, BILLS (and not the football kind): Writing checks has become a daily occurrence since buying the house. Does this give anyone else anxiety?!? It seems I’m writing away each paycheck before I even receive it. I know, I know everyone worries about money and I count my blessings that Ry and I were even able to buy a house. That’s the American Dream, right? Well, this dream is really freaking expensive. Sometimes I wonder if we were better off in our apartment paying a whole lot less money each month or if I should find a more lucrative job. My paychecks come from a nonprofit… need I say more?
  2. Puppy Love?: Ryan has been begging me to get a dog since the second we moved into the house. I pleaded with him to at least wait until Spring when we could see our grass again. No such luck. SheWhoHasNotBeenNamed is a husky mix and will arrive this Friday night from her foster home in South Carolina. What the Hell are we getting into??

    She's gonna be a BIG girl.

    She’s gonna be a BIG girl.

  3. Self Reflection on an Angsty Teen: I recently dug up my old LiveJournal password and read all entries circa 2004-2005 and had a pretty great laugh at myself. I thought everyone either hated me or was a dirty skank. No joke; I used the word “skank” in probably 50% of my posts. This is highly amusing to me because I can’t remember the last time I actually used that word in real life. Probably around 2005. Maybe my next post will feature some original works from my teenage years. I bet you’d get a kick out of them.
  4. Pole Fitness: This week Mel and I will be graduating from our beginners’ class and transitioning to a mixed-level group. We’re both feeling a little nervous about it and hope we aren’t that much worse than the other girls. We are also supposed to bring a song around 3 minutes in length that we can put moves together to in order to make pole a cardio workout as well as strength. I have NO idea what song I want. I’m thinking something by Metric, Lykke Li, or Lana Del Rey. It has to be something that makes me want to move. Only two more days to figure it out. Gahhh!
  5. The Foodie Life: Lately I have been pretty bored with my go-to recipes and my dad made this fantastic butternut squash last week when I was visiting. I liked it so much I couldn’t wait to go grocery shopping Monday to pick up some ingredients. I made a huge batch, as per usual since I don’t know how to cook for two, and can’t wait to have some with lunch tomorrow! Next up, the recipe and some pictures that will make you drool. Disclaimer: since I don’t measure a damn thing when I cook, all quantities are estimated.

Cranberry Cinnamon Butternut Squash

  • 1 butternut squash halved, gutted, and cubed
  • 3 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss butternut squash cubes in oil then add dry ingredients and cranberries. Roast in the oven 45-50 minutes or until desired tenderness. Voila! We had ours with smoked pork chops. Deeeelicious!!

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What’s on your mind this hump day?

– C

Get Fit, Get Sexy, Pole Dance!

Over the years I have tried countless ways to exercise, but, inevitably, I get bored and quit. I always manage to come up with some excuse- I can’t afford a gym membership, no one will go with me, it’s too cold out to run, etc. Really, if I’m completely honest with myself, I’m just gosh darn bored.

So back in September my friend Mel and I decided to buy a groupon for a Pole Fitness class at Lorraine-Michaels Dance Centre. After forgetting several times and putting it off for months, we finally sucked it up and went to our first class in late December.

Puppy pole dancing. Could it get any cuter?

Puppy pole dancing. Could it get any cuter?

Our instructor prefaced the session by saying she has never nor will ever be a stripper and has only performed in the studio. Then how good could she…. Holy crap she’s spinning upside down on the pole. Yup, thoroughly impressed.

She asks us to begin walking around the pole. You have to understand how awkward I am. I don’t have a sexy bone in my body. I am a tall, gangly white chick who moves like one. There is no sexiness when I shake my booty, only a fit of giggles because I’m uncomfortable. This class is a HUGE step outside my comfort zone.

Once we got to some more technical moves I had a fantastic time! I was so excited about my new moves and great workout that I told a whole bunch of friends and family. Who knew it would be such a huge deal?!

Seriously!

Seriously!

One of my sisters commented, “Well, I can’t say as I’m proud.” Someone else advised me not to share my new hobby.

WELL GUESS WHAT, WORLD!! POLE FITNESS IS AWESOME! Probably one of the best workouts I have ever gotten. Watching me walk up and down stairs at work after my first class was comical. And don’t get me started on trying to sit down on the toilet. Quads? Whats are those?

Pole Fitness has so many benefits!

Pole Fitness has so many benefits!

Each week I find new muscles that I never knew I had and can hold my body weight against gravity a little bit longer. The BF swears I can’t possibly make progress only working out once a week, but there are definite lumps in my biceps where there used to be nada. Regardless, I’m having a fabulous time each week and look forward to my Wednesday nights with Mel.

Check out one of my favorite pole videos and go sign up for class at Lorraine-Michaels Dance Centre with Heather 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFPqqtIuNKQ

– C