Salsa on2 Week 2

I have been practicing what we learned from last week even if it was only for 5 or 10 min here and there.  So far so good.  I am having trouble hearing the clave and identify whether it’s 3/2 or 2/3 in the music still though.  Hopefully with time, this won’t be an issue eventually.

2nd week material in class:

  • Reviewed 3 2 Son clave 1&4 6 7
  • 2 3 Rumba Guaguanco clave.
  • Worked on cross body lead, right turn, copa.I like it that Alyssa focuses on where we should look at what count, how to use our hip movement to help with turns, when to shift weight, when to not committing our weight so that we would always be ready for the next move the lead is throwing at us

Someone had spent time to do this chart and for me, it’s VERY helpful so here it is.

Son and Rumba clave

 

Salsa on2 Week 1

I signed up for an 8-week salsa on2 course.  First week material is all about timing and basic body coordination.  We covered a lot.  I felt a bit overwhelmed during the class but thought to myself, if i can take away half of it then I am satisfied.  This definitely is going to be a learning process.  The below is what we had covered this week.

  1. 3 2 Son clave 1&4 6 7
  2. Tempo 123-567
  3. Contra-tempo 234-678
  4. Stepping on tempo and contra-tempo while listening to the conga
  5. Basic body coordination
  6. Right turn

La Habana, Cuba

Since I was a little girl, Havana had always been my dream destination to visit.  Don’t I have some stories to tell.  Big kudos to my traveling sister, Mira, who had made my trip a lot more pleasant and enjoyable.  She knows the town and speaks the language; she’s the best travel partner to have!!!! ☺️

Day 1:  Landed in Havana around 7:30PM on a Sunday night.  I had arranged for a taxi through my airBnB host to be safe.  An hour later, I arrived at the AirBnB house we rented and met up with Mira.  We went for late night dinner in a nearby restaurant and walked around by the capitol for some pictures.  We met a local person who took us to a club for some live music and drinks.  The place was small and HOT.  There was no AC.  After a few days in Havana, I realized that most place do not have AC inside.  So do dress light or with fabric that absorbs sweat s.a cotton.

 

BBG – Pre-Training Week 1

I decided to start my BBG program this week.  I wanted to have more definition on my abs.  I stumbled upon this program on Instagram and after some research on it, I decided to give it a try for 16 weeks of resistance training, cardio training, and stretching.  I will try to post status updates per week and progress photos every other week.

  1. Monday: Legs and Cardio
  2. Tuesday: LISS (I chose to walk for 45 mins as my LISS training)
  3. Wednesday: Arms and Abs
  4. Thursday: LISS
  5. Friday: Optional full body workout with combination of different sets from Monday and Wednesday exercises.
  6. Saturday: LISS and Stretch

Each workout is a two different circuits repeated twice.  Each circuit consists of 4 exercises to be repeated as many as I can in 7 minutes.  So all in all, it should take about an hour with a min resting between circuits including warmup/cool down exercises.

Monday:  Wow, I didn’t know what I signed up for.  I got my ass (excuse my French) handed to me.  I remember wanting to quit half way.  I remember kept looking at the timer and wondered how 7 minutes seemed to last forever.  I thought about maybe do less this time and do more next Monday.  I remember QUITTING.  But I stayed with it until the end and I survived and I am glad I did not listen to the voices in my head telling me it was okay to QUIT.  The next couple days, my legs and my ass were sore so much I barely could sit or walk comfortably.  I was miserable but also was happy as I know the exercises worked.  No pain, no gain!!!!

Wednesday:  Today was Arms and Abs day.  Well ab exercises were a piece of cake as I had been doing quite a bit of abs exercises over the year.  I couldn’t say the same for arms exercises though.  I realized I didn’t have much upper body strength.  I couldn’t finish the half push ups (on knees) on the second circuit.  My arms were shaking and sore and I almost cried trying to lift the upper half of my body with my arms during second round.  Epic failed.  I found myself resting more and longer in between exercises.  There was another person in the gym at the same time.  He probably was wondering what kind of workout I did that had me laying flat on my tummy with arms extended in front of me (most of the times).  I remember cussing like a sailor quite a bit throughout this push ups exercise.

Friday: due to travel I had decided to skip today. 🙁

***Click here to find out more about BBG program***

St. Thomas

We entered the port at Crown Bay Marina, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas from 10AM to 7PM. Once we docked, we decided to head into the city to do some early shopping before we explored St. John, our primary destination. From the marina, we caught a taxi into downtown for $7 per person to check out some of their upscale jewelry stores. St. Thomas is known not only for its beautiful, turquoise color beaches, and water sports activities such as snorkeling and sport-fishing, it is also a mecca for high-end jewelry shopping scene in the entire Caribbean. Who doesn’t like duty free shopping and no sales tax? The shopping area in town is also the historic district. Some of the stores are worth visiting just for the old architecture. Also there are bars and restaurants to fill the void. The stores in Crown Bay are satellites of the stores in downtown. Sadly the bad economy hit St. Thomas and some of the more popular stores closed by the port so that’s why we opted for downtown shopping. This picture was taken at dusk as we were leaving for St. Maarten.

Crown Bay Marina
Crown Bay Marina

Nassau, Bahamas

View from our cruise ship at 7AM local. This is my 2nd time here at Nassau, Bahamas. If you prefer a clean beach and a quiet time then British Colonial hotel’s private beach is your best kept secret and it is only a short walking distance from the dock. They charge each person $48 USD for all day pass but you’ll get $40 USD credit to use toward food and drinks there so it is totally worth it. Basically you get to use their private pool and beach for $8 USD and avoid all the cruise crowds. I didn’t have time to go into town to the The Fish Fry’s restaurant for some real good conch salad so I settled for one at a random bar on the way back to the ship. I ended up having to gulp it down at the security checkpoint as it turned out we are not allowed to bring food back onto the ship. No ifs and buts. They will not make any exceptions!!! Trust me I tried.

Port Of Nassau, Bahamas
Port Of Nassau, Bahamas

Allure of the Seas – Pre-cruise Tips and Recommendations

We ubered to Port Everglades 2 hours prior to our official checkin time.  Cost of uber was $5 and we tipped the driver another $5 because he complained about sitting in port traffic and could have been out driving.  I am sure that was his tactic and we fell right into it.  Suckers!!!!

The security at the port is very tight.  It is like crossing into a U.S border.  There are cops and security guards everywhere.

Pre-Cruise tips and recommendations below:

  1. If you need to fly into Fort Lauderdale, fly in the night before.  There have been incidents where people’s flights were delayed and they ended up missing the cruise and had to find another way to catch up with the cruise at the next port.  Who wants to start a vacation with that kind of stress?
  2. Do go to the port early.  It is crowded and chaotic there.
  3. Do bring some small changes to tip the luggage people.  The included prepaid tip on the ship has nothing to do with these luggage crew.  Our luggages were brought on board very quickly after we had checked in.  Not sure why some online posts say it might take all day for the luggage to deliver to the room.  Maybe for another cruise but it wasn’t the case here for us.
  4. They are NOT as strict with checking liquor brought on board as they claim to be.  Each room is allowed 2 bottles of champagne or wine.  We bought 2 bottles of wine and a creamy expresso macchiato liquor bottle.  We were told that liquor isn’t allowed and could be confiscated.  Well, we decided to take our chances on the liquor bottle.  I hid it in my checked in luggage and guess what, it was still in my luggage when it was delivered.  Yay! No need to use Listerine bottle and food coloring to hide any liquor.  No one inspected how many bottles of wine we had carried with us either when we went through the security line boarding the ship.  I think we each could have brought on 2 bottle of wines and would still be okay.  In any case, I would not recommend to abuse this laid back system though.  We probably were just lucky.
  5. Do make reservations to shows and dinner ahead.  Ahead means as soon as you book your cruise, start picking out shows and make reservations to the 2 formal dinners as soon as possible.  It was quite a task to try to book/schedule all the shows around dinner time.  All shows were sold out quite quickly.
  6. We booked our excursions ahead as well.  People had said it’s cheaper to book excursions on the islands with the locals but we chose not to have to worry about that as our time on the island is limited.
Allure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas

Review – Embassy Suites by Hilton – Fort Lauderdale

We decided to travel to Fort Lauderdale the day before our cruise to protect ourselves from any flight delays or cancelations.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton not only because it is close to Port Everglades but also within walking distance to all the restaurants and shops.

Uber transferred us from airport to hotel at a reasonable $7. Taxi and airport shuttles were too costly options we didn’t consider.

Overall, the hotel was sufficient .  However, I would probably not return for various reasons below.

Cons:

  1. Steep price.  I honestly think $220/night is outrageous.  We did get a living room with a desk and a couch but that was a useless space for us.
  2. The front desk person was rude.  We had requested for an ocean facing room at the time of booking (which was about a month prior) and were told that we would get the room.  Showed up and got a pool facing view.  When we tried to explain to the front desk person about our request, she told us nothing else was available in a sarcastic voice.  Found out I would not be able to get the Hilton Honors points for this stay and would also have to pay for wifi since we booked via Expedia.  The point is that the front desk person made me feel like booking via Expedia was a mistake and I could sense her unwelcoming attitude.
  3. Noise.  I could hear my neighbors talking on the balcony and could feel the door slamming shut every few mins.

Pros:

  1. Close to Port Everglades for cruise departing.
  2. Walking distance to restaurants and shops.  We walked to the wine store and stocked up for the cruise.
  3. Happy hour with free drinks and light snacks.
  4. Former First Lady Hillary Clinton was at the hotel for a campaigning event.
  5. Free continental breakfast.

 

 

 

Aloe Vera Hair Mask

I have been trying aloe vera hair mask for the past month.  In the last couple of years, I have been using natural home made products whenever possible.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do still use drug store/department store products.  I am not an all-organic extremist, yet. 🙂

Aloe vera has a lot of health benefits.  A search on Google on aloe vera benefits will yield tons of results so I am not going to repeat them here.  I will concentrate on the hair growth benefits as that is what I have been testing on my hair.  Aloe vera is full of natural vitamins and enzymes that can directly promote healthy hair.  I started this mask to see if my hair will grow faster.  I usually cut one leaf directly from the plant and slice off the white teeth on both sides of the leaf.  After the white teeth have been removed, slice the leaf into two halves right in the middle of the gel part then rub the gel directly into scalp.  Massage the scalp for 30 min and leave it be for another hour before wash it off.

I will do an update in a couple months.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a before picture when I started this process.  🙁

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

Day 1 – Back to Yoga

Summer is here FINALLY!  Bye bye winter!  Hello to pool season!

In the last month or so, I have been really motivated to get my six-pack abs back.  However, I am not a hard-core-hitting-the-gym-every-day person.  My outlet is dancing.  I want to be more flexible with my joints so I can get better at body isolation/movements for Salsa and Bachata dancing.  This is the main reason I have decided to start doing yoga again.

After a looooong 4.5 years hiatus from yoga, I went to a yoga class at the Lorna Jane’s store in West Village in Dallas.  Oh boy, how inflexible I am now.  We did Vinyasa Yoga.  The room was kept at 75F but it felt like 100F.  I was dripping sweat all over the mat.  Ew! I really need to sanitize the mat next time after (and before) I use it.

I like the class; and best of all, it is free.  I plan on coming on a regular basis and be really better at this (again).

If you haven’t heard of Lorna Jane activewear and sportswear then you are missing out.  Her yoga/workout clothes are as good, if not better, than Lululemon.  The quality is incredible.  Check out for yourself.

Lorna Jane’s West Village