Thursday, April 22, 2010

¿Como se dice "I'm screwed" en Español?

I really shouldn't stay on on the Internet too long. When I run out of people to stalk on Facebook (whoops busted) and my minute attention span short-circuits on this DMV manual that I've been attempting to study, I start doing silly things. In an effort to better my sh*te Spanish, I thought it might be a good idea to tell all my Spanish-speaking friends on Facebook to correspond with me solamente en español. And if that wasn't enough, I then decided to set my Facebook, Twitter and Gmail accounts to Spanish.

This is either really smart or really stupid.

But I realized a few days ago that for someone in level 4 Spanish, I am speaking and reading it mighty sh*ttily, so I have to step my game up. And it would be cool if I could get myself to converse somewhat in the language the next time I'm on Spanish soil. The last time I was in Spain, I recall getting a terrible headache from my attempts to turn away extremely persistent Madrileños who would not leave me alone. I kept having this conversation in a loop:

*Insert random Spanish pick-up line here*
Me: Lo siento pero tengo novio.
Them: ¿Donde esta tu novio?
Me: En Filipinas.
Them: ¡Vale, en Filipinas! ¡No en Madrid!

Over and over ... and over. Because I couldn't say anything more than that. Hopefully, this time around I'll be able to explain myself better. Although hopefully the attention will be welcome this time around porque esta chica soltera hoy en día. But til then, it's me and my Facebook and Twitter accounts communicating in Spanish.

Dios mío, Celine ... 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

#27: Watch the cherry blossoms bloom—CHECK!

I've been wanting to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the last three years, and today I finally went to see them. It's beyond words how beautiful the cherry esplanade is with row upon row of cherry blossom trees laden with the fluffy pink blooms.

Life threw me another lemon last night when I lost my iPhone—my second one since February! I was totally crushed about it, of course, so when I got up this morning I decided that I was going to treat myself to all the little pleasures I desired today: dimsum breakfast, an extra large cup of Starbucks cafe mocha, and an afternoon lounging under canopies of cherry blossoms. It worked pretty well. For most of the afternoon, I didn't really think about my misfortune and instead was just grateful that I was able to enjoy the cherry blossom season to the hilt. It's hard to be sulky when you're surrounded by so much beauty.

If you're in New York, I highly recommend visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as soon as possible. The cherry blossoms are at their peak right now, and the petals will start to fall soon. It's a spectacular sight that's definitely worth seeing. I'm glad I finally got to see it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Aerial Silks Class #2: You want me to do what?!

I was extremely intimidated at the thought of taking my second aerial silk class today, given how I bombed last week, but off Kate and I went anyway. Today's teacher was Josh, an extremely nice and motivating fellow who got us doing stunts we never imagined we could do. The first thing he taught us involved twisting the silks around our arms, flipping upside down, bringing down legs to the pike position, and then bringing legs straight back up the air again. Uhhh, you want me to do what? Have you met me? Do I look like I can do that? But somehow, even with a few false starts, I did do it. And before we knew it, we were doing all sorts of things upside down.

Last week, one of the students in our class who was already on her fourth class told me that the first class is really hard because you have no idea what you're doing. While some very basic things still elude me, some things started making sense this week. I'm still utter crap at climbing but a wee bit better compared to last week. And I did finally balance in this pose this week:

Getting to that position and descending from it was much easier too, now that the mechanics made a lot more sense. We also did some splits this week, which was pretty fun. I can't even remember the last time I did a split but apparently I can still do it—on silks at that!

It's too bad neither Kate or I can do class next week because it's getting to be addicting! When you see how strong and masterful the teacher and other students are, it just makes you want it for yourself. My arms and upper body have never been particularly strong. In both ballet and cheerleading, I was always the person lifted and thrown because I was light (and almost stupidly fearless) plus I was pathetically weak. So it would be nice to develop even a little bit of the strength that these teachers and performers have. 'Til we meet again, silks. 

Music That Keeps You Running

What would I do without my running music? I know there's been some controversy of late regarding  using iPods during marathons. Elite runners are usually prohibited from getting a boost from their music in marathons. And there are many marathons where toting music is simply not allowed, period. I can't even imagine making it through one mile without music, newbie that I am. Music just makes running such an enjoyable experience. 

I like starting off with Lykke Li's "Dance Dance Dance", which has a nice rhythm to run to but soft and wispy vocals that gently ease me into my run. "Pump It" by the Black Eyed Peas, meanwhile, is the go-to song to start picking up the pace and intensity. When my energy starts to flag, "Uprising" by Muse never fails to give me a jolt. "Human" by The Killers keeps me cruising all the way to the final leg of the run. There's nothing quite like hearing "Beautiful Day" by U2 go on just when I'm hitting the final stretch of my run in the reservoir, and I bask in the warm sunlight, the New York skyline, the trees heavy with cherry blossoms, and the ducks swooping down into the water. And for my early evening runs that end just when dusk falls and the skyline starts to light up, the "City of Blinding Lights" inevitably makes me run a few extra meters until the last notes fade.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Care to share the songs that give you a rush when you run?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guess who's yogi of the month?!

Thank you to the lovely Mishel Herrera at The Bikram Yoga 30-Day Challenge for featuring me as the Yogi of the Month! I still recall looking at her website in awe a year ago. As a fledgling Bikram practicioner, the idea of the 30-Day Bikram Challenge just blew my mind. Who knew that I would one day end up completing the challenge and actually appear on her site! It is such an honor and I am truly grateful. To read the feature in full, please click here.

Mishel has been following 30 Before 30, as well, and I am hoping to one day see a list from her too! If not, we kindred spirits will surely meet one day ... perhaps to learn how to surf on some exotic island?


Flight to Ibiza—Booked!

I can almost smell the salt in the air, feel the foam on my fingertips, and taste the bubbly in my mouth! Come September, it'll be over a week of this and more:

I, for one, cannot wait!!!

Photographed by Céline F.

30 Before 30 is SUPER!

The 30 Before 30 Project was featured last Saturday on the Super! section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the major daily newspapers in my motherland, the Philippines. I was a faithful reader of Super! when I was still living in Manila because my family subscribed to this newspaper. It is an incredible honor for me that my lil ole blog graced its pages (page 1 and 2 of the Super! section, at that!). Granted, I did just tell a country of 90,348,437 people that some of my current life goals are to sunbathe topless in Europe and learn how to pole dance, but whatever. You only live to embarrass yourself once!

To read the article in full, click here. And below, some lovely images that the Super! team provided me of the layouts on the actual broadsheet. Click on the images for a larger view.

A big thank you to Pam Pastor and the Super! team for the amazing feature!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Morning Run

I almost lost the battle with the blanket this morning. I wasn't tired or anything, just extremely cozy. But I pulled myself out of bed for a chilly 8am run through the park, and after running 3.25 miles, I rewarded myself with a walk under the cherry blossom trees. Absolutely breathtaking.

I wish the cherry blossom season would last forever!

Working That Pole

I've been holding on to a couple of Groupons for pole dancing lessons that I'm extremely excited to take next month with my friends Kate and Céline. I harbor no illusions about pole dancing. I know it's gonna be hard. I've seen the bruises on legs of performers, and have been told by plenty of people that it really hurts when you're just learning. But I'm determined to learn at any cost! Well, that's not entirely true ... the one time I was in a strip club (I swear I ended up there accidentally, I followed a group through an unmarked door and voilá! I went from being in a club to a strip club), I had a conversation with one of the girls and asked her if it was hard to pole dance. She told me, "It's not that hard. You can try it out if you want. You just have to take off your top!" Ummm ... nothanks.

I'd rather take the academic approach. So once Céline has recovered from her broken foot, and Kate and I have learned a few tricks on aerial silks, it's on to the next challenge. In the meantime, here are two amazing performances from the 2009 French Pole Dancing Competition. I love the contrast between these two performances. The winner, Laurence Hilsum, put forth a performance that was fluid and artistic, much like watching contemporary ballet or modern circus. The other performer, Doris, did a bit of a raunchier take. But when she starts getting into the crazy twists and lifts, you'll be blown away by her athleticism and skill.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Learning the Art of Aerial Silks

It's a good thing I'm pretty delusional because otherwise, I would never go out and try anything. I have an overinflated sense of what I'm capable of, I have to admit. But if not for that, I wouldn't have experienced half of the things I have so I think of it as a blessing heavily disguised as a curse. Take today's first attempt at learning aerial silks. Normal people would watch Pink hanging upside down in the air from a piece of fabric in concert and in the Grammy's, say "wow that's amazing," and move on. This delusional person here *points to self* sees that and thinks, "Oh cool! I bet I could do that too."

Well. There's a reason why aerial silks are normally seen in Cirque du Soleil, darling. It's because its not that easy.

Today, Kate and I trekked over to the Trapeze School of New York for our first aerial silk lesson. So glad we decided to take a morning class because the walk to W 30th St between 10th and 11th Avenues is pretty dodgy. I would fear for my iPhone if I was going there at night. The school is inside a massive tent and the first thing I saw upon coming in were people swinging around on the trapeze (By the way, I don't know if you noticed but I initially had "try the trapeze" on my list, thinking aerial silks was a form of trapeze. But I later learned that it's a whole other acrobatic act so I changed it). After I stopped gawking at the people flying about, I saw the aerial silk apparatus:

Somehow, seeing it right in front of my face was much more impressive than watching it on, say YouTube. Once I was actually minutes away from doing it, it started to hit me that ummm, this might be harder than I thought! And then the class began. The teacher taught us how to wrap the silk cloth around the foot and thereafter climb up the rope as high as possible with no harness whatsoever. At that point, a voice in my head just said, "You idiot. What the hell made you think you can do this? You have zero upper body strength."

And sure enough, I struggled. In a class of four, I was the runt. The one the teacher looks at and tells, "Ok then, try doing more pull-ups at the gym" before moving on. Kate was a natural! She used to be a gymnast, and pulled herself not just up the silks but into straddles and such quite effortlessly. I suggested she keep doing this and eventually get a night job as an aerial silk artist. I was only half-joking because she really did look like a pro!

I managed to get in a few cool looking pictures but largely, I was a failure! I was exhausted after pulling myself up 3 times to climb the silks and almost got silk burn on my hands sliding down too quickly. The most complicated thing I learned today was "man in the moon," and it just felt impossible at times to flip my body up and around using my arm and back strength. It's tough to explain but to give you a rough idea, the move involves twisting yourself from here ...

... to here!

The final pose in the move is what Kate's doing in the second picture above. I didn't quite make it there but I got in a smile for the camera. My foot was kinda killing me at this point, but I am a ham if nothing else.

I'm also a glutton for punishment so despite my poor showing today, Kate and I are going back for more! We agreed that I can't tick this one off my list until I can actually do some significant tricks on aerial silks, so you'll be seeing more of these pictures in my blog. Hopefully I'll be less of a loser in the next class.

Now to rest my arms which feel like they're about to fall off ...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Some inspiration to get you off your ass

I love lazy weekends. I think I was in bed for about 12 hours, had a big breakfast of french toast and strawberries, and my biggest accomplishment so far has been getting my laundry done (the dryer's 6 steps from my bed so it wasn't that difficult). Running buddies have been saying that it's tough to get motivated to get out today cos it's kinda chilly out. Far nicer to stay home tucked under a blanket ... But if you want to get motivated to go out and get sweaty, check out this blast from the past of a video. It's Britney Spears, b!tch, back before she shaved her head, got addicted to Cheetos, and flashed her vajayjay to the world. I just watched the video of "I'm a Slave 4 You" and am now raring to put on my running shoes and get toned. 

You already know what happens when you get off the program and start communing with Cheetos. You've seen it. Now get off the couch.

You're welcome.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I really wanted this to work ...

... but the Apple/Nike lovechild failed me. I've tried to calibrate my Nike + sensor and flip it every which way, to no avail. It would've been such a cool toy to run with if it actually measured the distances I've run properly. I really liked the interface on the Nike website and how it keeps track of your workouts. But it keeps recording my runs inaccurately, so there's no point keeping it. While it did goad me into running 4.5 miles on my first run, now that I've wised up it's just frustrating. I had such a cute sensor holder too! It looked adorable on my Asics kicks. Darn. 

I'm using iMapmyrun now instead, a free iPhone application that tracks my run using GPS. It's pretty accurate but you can't exit the application and go into, say, your iPod because then it stops recording your run. Which can be troublesome when I decide that "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" isn't cutting it right now, and I need a push from "Uprising" by Muse.

I went to the Nike store today to return the sensor. I think it's really smart of them to give you a 20% discount that you can spend within the next 2 hours after returning something. But even smart companies have their low points. Like my disappointing sensor, and this WTF commercial over here ...


Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Krispy Pata Running Club

Maybe it wasn't the best idea to name our running group Krispy Pata. For the non-Filipinos, this is what Krispy Pata looks like:

That, my friends, is deep fried pork's leg, with crunchy, fat-laced skin and tender, juicy meat. When you decide to name your running group after that, guess what happens? Today we ran two rounds of the reservoir in 34 minutes.

And then we had this for dinner at Peking Duck House:

Whoops. Oh well, great motivation to do another Krispy Pata session on Saturday (the running part, not eating ourselves into a food come, hopefully).

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