Magic City Jedi

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As a new mom, I’m always looking for new ways to exercise and work on my fitness. Right now, I’m attending a spinning class every weekend but it’s really far (but so affordable!). That’s why I was so happy when I found out that Miami had its own Jedi Academy (amongst other reasons, of course). South Florida doesn’t tend to be very fandom-friendly, so I was floored. The owners of Magic City Jedi, Alfred and Santiago, are a total joy and wanted to make sure that they brought quality combat techniques to Miami’s chapter after training with San Francisco’s Golden Gate Knights. The classes are more choreography-based, so they teach you the moves you loved to watch on screen. There is also a little Hatha Yoga incorporated since there is a definite overlap with those teachings of The Force.

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I had the opportunity to take a class along with my chapter of Geek Girl Brunch last month and I can say that it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We initially started the class with a quick (but peaceful) meditation and then got to start learning moves with a foam saber. This way, everything was as safe as possible while we got used to maneuvering with our peers. The masters level students were also in attendance to help us, and we would often split into partners where they would instruct us 1:1. It was beyond amazing, and surprisingly empowering. When I would flow through the 6 moves in succession successfully, it was such a rush!

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The Barre Code: Miami

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As you all know, I’m on my fitness journey to lose the baby weight gained during my pregnancy. I managed to tack on 41 lbs during those 9 months, and although I’ve managed to lose 27 of those pounds, I’m hitting the hardest wall to climb. The closer I get to my pre-baby weight, the harder it is to shed those pesky pounds. I have to be more strict with my diet (which I hate), and of course, exercise more. That’s why I jumped at the chance to try out Miami’s newest Barre class, The Barre Code, thanks to The Blogger Union.

I used to dance ballet, and was really passionate about it. I even wanted to pursue it professionally at one point! It wasn’t until I hit high school and thought I was “over it,” that I quit. It’s one of the few regrets I have, so the opportunity to stand at a barre again was way too tempting. Granted, I think I totally underestimated the level of butt-kicking I would experience at a Barre class. I haven’t taken a fitness class led by an instructor in years, much less to this degree. Guys, it’s 3 days since my class at the time I’m writing this post and I still can’t walk properly, sit down without holding on to something, and I can’t even think of bending down. This was some serious stuff. But it was amazing!

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The Barre Code has a beautiful and zen-inducing space in Biscayne that includes a gorgeous (and spacious) LED-lit studio, lockers, and even post-workout freshening stations. It is so inviting and relaxing in there, plus staff is a complete joy. Our instructor, Jo, was amazing. She is the kind of instructor that I enjoy when I’m taking a class – supportive, encouraging and energetic. I personally cannot stand attending fitness classes where you are being shouted at and made to feel inferior – I go to these classes not only to workout, but also to disconnect from the daily stress of my life. Jo was the complete opposite. She was constantly praising our abilities and how hard we were working. The encouragement only made me want to push myself harder (even though it was really, really tough for this out of shape mama).

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World Autism Awareness Day

Quite a few someones actually….

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, but what we need more than anything is acceptance. When telling people what I do and the population I work with, I am often greeted with sympathetic expressions, generally paired with an ignorant statement, such as “Oh those poor children. They can barely do anything.” I’m not calling out friends, family and acquaintances as being ignorant, just not informed about these amazing children and all they are capable of doing. And I see it all the time. Ultimately, it is not their fault.

Unfortunately, what is being presented to people via the media is to blame. Our culture is inundated by propaganda stating that children have been kidnapped by autism or robbed of their lives. It makes it seem like these children are lost, never to be found. This cannot be farther from the truth. Every single day I am blown away by all the children I work with, and their abilities to grow and learn. It may not be in the traditional way their peers do, but they are more than capable of achieving goals just as their peers.

This is not a death sentence, and I think that is what I would like people to understand more than anything on a day like today. These are very special children that deserve love, acceptance and opportunity. We are the ones robbing them of that, not autism.

If you are not familiar with autism, educate yourself here.

One Day in Orlando

Some may call us crazy, but we fell in love with a vintage desk at 1618 Something Different last weekend while at MegaCon in Orlando. This is something that we are severely lacking in Miami, so I definitely wanted to experience it since I’d much rather have something special and unique in our home than what everyone picks up at Crate & Barrel, IKEA or West Elm. We hear that we have similar (?) antique shopping here in South Florida, but I have yet to see or believe it. If you know of such places, please leave me some suggestions in the comments!

Either way, we decided to make it a one-day adventure. We’d wake up early, drive up, pick up our desk and then spend the rest of the day exploring as much as possible before starting our trek back home. A really amazing bartender we met at The Imperial in Washburn Imports during our last visit gave us a list of must-do’s, so we pulled it out and started choosing. We ultimately selected East End Market, and I am SO glad we did.

East End Market reminded me of something you would find on the west coast – think the Ferry Building in San Francisco – only bite-sized. A bunch of quality, locally sourced products all in one adorable little space. Fresh herbs could be found out front with picnic benches sprawled for customers to enjoy the beautiful Florida sunshine. A number one highlight for me was my completely gluten-free & vegan lunch from Skyebird. I had this great taco salad (with mushrooms as a meat substitute) and delicious tropical kale juice in an adorable mason jar.

For people with food allergies like myself, knowing that you can eat safely (and deliciously) means so, so much. The fact that Miami is so far behind the game makes me very upset, and has literally left me feeling like I cannot go out to enjoy a meal with my husband or friends. Take note, Miami. You have a very long way to go. Again, if you have any suggestions for great places that I may have missed here in the Magic City, please let me know!

Even though I only featured one of the shops, check out all the rest of East End Market’s merchants here.
I can’t wait to visit again the next time I am in Otown!

Creative 5K’s Coming to Town

Although I’m not one of those girls that gets excited about going to the gym or working out (can’t I just stay in bed sipping on a mimosa?), I love the slew of creative 5K’s that are popping up all over the place lately! I think it’s not only a great way to get active, but also a unique way to spend time with friends and do something a little different. Although “different” may be easy to find elsewhere, it is definitely lacking in Miami so I am very glad to see some of these quirky races coming to our neck of the woods.

Here are just a few that are coming our way;

1. 5K Foam Fest || 2. Color Me Rad 5K || 3. Pretty Muddy || 4. Dirty Girl Mud Race

Would you participate in a fun 5K?
I think I’m going to attempt the Color Me Rad race in February! Any takers?