Thursday, December 29, 2011

As previously mentioned, I came up with a brilliant idea the other night. Nessa was showing me the websites of her friends who have developed very sophisticated and successful workout techniques. Some of the videos showed 100 people in a class all punching and kicking before moving on to working with swords. Swords. Seriously. I'm all for a practical self-defense workout that adds to fitness, but who walks around with a sword?

I've had ideas for self-defense classes before, namely, "Kick Ya In The Face" which is just an hour of kicking your leg in the air as high as you can while shouting, "I'llllll kick ya in the face!" But Nessa said her friend's sword classes are so successful that she's flown around the world to teach.

This got me thinking. Obviously, the air of danger is appealing to these sword workout people. And I know from years of experience that walking around carrying heavy things is not only good cardio, but your arms end up looking pretty cut too. (Carrying groceries, laundry, or a 12pk of beer was always my excuse for not working out.) So naturally, my thought was to combine the two: Walk around carrying something heavy (a watermelon) and have the threat of an attack at any time. I call it Watermelon Killer.
Get familiar with the name, because it's going to be as ubiquitous as Pilates.

Here's how it works: You sign up for Watermelon Killer and are given a fresh watermelon each week. You never meet your trainer but one is assigned to follow you and chase you from time to time wearing a ski mask, a Scream mask, or clown costume. A lot of people say they would only run if chased and the Watermelon Killer training technique puts that to the test. Even if you go weeks without being confronted, you're still carrying a watermelon everywhere you go. It's win win.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The New Fitness Craze.

I wouldn't describe myself as fit. When I cancelled my gym membership in Boston last year the representative asked me why I wanted to discontinue and I said, "Because I've never actually been there. I don't even know the address. If you asked me right now where you're located, I honestly couldn't tell you."

Also, I'm a little (cough) clumsy. Whenever I do ab workouts my ears tend to hurt for a few days. I once punched myself in the face doing the fast circular Tae-Bo arm move too close to my head. And I literally just learned that it's called Zumba and not Zubaz. I have to say, I was pretty disappointed to find out that my favorite childhood pants hadn't made a miraculous comeback.

But with all that said, I LOVE to high-five, I love to laugh, and I love social situations where my sweating isn't a problem. Luckily, my little sister's new business provides a venue for all of that.
Her company, SIN Workouts, (Strength in Numbers) stresses that fitness should be the most positive part of your day. Seriously people, I'm not just saying this because I'm her sister. As someone who does NOT enjoy working out, I'm totally inspired. Taking a spinning class with her is like going to a crazy fun party where everyone is wicked hot and dances on stationary bikes. (Note: Don't dance on the bike. You're clipped in and will fall off while still remaining attached to the bike. That happened to my friend once...)

Vanessa is very fit. It's her lifestyle, it's her day job, and now, her business. She's involved with so many diverse training techniques and has narrowed down the best workouts, classes, and instructors in NYC. Serving as a Better Body Concierge, she hooks people up with tailor-made fitness schedules that are, above all things, insanely fun.

If you live in NYC and want to get together with Ness or a group of SIN clients for a workout to see what I'm talking about, shoot her a line: or follow SIN Workouts on Twitter.
Nessa cracks me up and her tweets are pretty hilarious.!/SINWorkouts

I've been brainstorming ideas for her on my own and last night came up with what I think will be the next HUGE thing in fitness. I won't share it now, because this post is about Nessa and SIN, and I don't want to steal their thunder. But for real. My concept is like the best idea I've ever had in my entire life. Stay tuned...

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Thing Ever.

My Christmas wish is that everyone in the world gets to have someone in their life like Mrs. Koutras. She taught me and my sisters in pre-school and has been an incredible part of our family ever since. She's hilarious, energetic, positive, loving, and the most supportive person I know. We all feel so lucky to have her in our corner. When I had my book launch in Brockport, she spent an entire day decorating the farm market. Who does that?!

She's my mom's bestie and the two of them get into more ridiculous situations than anyone I know. My mother actually giggles when retelling their stories.

Anyway, she's totally loved. And here's one reason why:

This morning, Mrs. K showed up to my parents' house with a coffee and corn muffin for each of them and asked them to follow her out to her car. With the driver's side door open, she blasted the stereo and played the song she had cued up, "You've Got A Friend." Standing there, stunned for a moment, my parents started to laugh before the three of them linked arms, started swaying, and sang together at the top of their lungs. "Winter, spring, summer, or faaaaalll..." In the the 6:45 in the morning.

My mom described it as the best Christmas gift she's ever received.

Mrs. Koutras is a freaking legend. Love her to death.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Holiday Link.

This is old, but seasonal.

I think an update is in order. I didn't think it was possible, but my moves have actually improved since this was originally posted. While out dancing last week someone asked me, "What are you doing?"
If that's not an indicator that I'm breaking the dance mold, I don't know what is.

Perhaps a new holiday video coming soon, or a dance tutorial. We'll see.

Monday, December 19, 2011

War Horse.

During a recent visit, I was able to attend Meredith's holiday work party for the second year in a row. I was much less nervous this year, but everyone knows that the heartbeat of a holiday party is small talk, and small talk has never been my forte. If someone taught a class called, "Small Plates, Small Talk: How to appear engaged and interesting while eating passed hors d'oeuvres" I'd take it twice.

I feel like I've learned enough about the mental health field to make a few solid "processing" jokes, but after that I'm pretty lost. While Meredith was deep in conversation with a man wearing a beret (I knew I had nothing to add to that discussion), I started chatting with someone I didn't know by commenting on the pistachios in the cannolis. It played like really early Seinfeld to a person who clearly never enjoyed Seinfeld.

Later, when Mer came over to ask if we had met I said in all seriousness, "Yes, we talked about her cannolis."

It was my own personal, "I carried a watermelon" moment.

But I think this was my finest exchange of the night:

Meredith: Jess, Alex is a vet.
Me: Oh, wow! That's amazing. Thank you so much for your service.
Alex: Um... you're welcome.
(awkward silence)
Meredith: Jess, she's a veterinarian.
Me: Right. Well, thank you for your service to puppies.

If I had any sense at all, I would have let it lie there. Instead, I nodded thoughtfully and said, "So, cats in the military. Tell me more."

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Steve Martin Original.

This was the voicemail my father left for my little sister on her birthday. He sang all of it.

Happy Birthday to you,
We wish you were here too,
But you're not so we're going... to eat all your cake your absence...
Mmmm that cake is good, here have some of this slice, no it's OK, she's not coming.

He never forgets a birthday so if you'd like to receive a Steve Martin Original voicemail on your special day, I can arrange that.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Check It!

Open-Eyed Sneeze makes its first list!
Woo, and might I add, hoo!
See it here, in all its list glory

Thanks to Sean at Chamber Four for the shout-outs and support!