Friday, July 31, 2015

Home of the Circus Trees: Gilroy Gardens

We are happy to announce our partnership with US Family Guide a site dedicated to family fun  and to kick off our partnership we will soon be visiting a local theme park: Gilroy Gardens and sharing our experience there with you. 

Nestled in the mountains of Gilroy you will find Gilroy Gardens Home of the Circus Trees. It is California's only horticulture-themed amusement park. Ideal for families and garden lovers. It features over 40 rides, beautiful gardens and of course circus trees. There are coasters, carousels, a monarch butterfly garden, paddleboat and hot-air balloon simulated ride. There is also an amphitheater where you can see Super WHY live and they also have a water oasis for you to cool down.

Would you like to save $20 OFF Weekday (Monday-Friday) General Admission to Gilroy Gardens? Simply use this exclusive coupon:

Can't wait to have a day full of fun at Gilroy Gardens, I hope you visit it too! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Let's BollyX!

Sometimes life takes over and you just have to surrender, you have to do what it takes to keep you calm and collected through a little caos, because as the saying goes "this too shall pass".
On the very last day of  February we flew out of Costa Rica back home to California to start a new chapter in our life. Moving was the easy part, finding a new preschool with availability for our son, our new home, buy big ticket items wasn't. This lead me to being tired and overwhelmed with the long list of decisions waiting to be made each day and I felt that was enough for me to handle while continuing to be there for my family, so exercising wasn't my priority and neither was watching what we ate.
Finally, settled into our new life in June I began looking for ways get back on track with our usual exercise and healthier lifestyle. We began with baby steps, because we were recovering from all the commotion.  

That is when I received an email inviting me to try a class of BollyX, I began researching all I could on it. From what it is to watching videos about what it looks like. Immediately I began feeling excited, because I love to dance  and I love exercising without feeling like I actually am. BollyX was co-founded by Shahil Patel, Mayuri Bhandari and Minal Mehta in June 2013 and taught their first class in Boston.
I realize now by seeing how excited I was to exercise, that it would've kept me a little more calm, because exercising relaxes and makes me happy. In addition I feel so accomplished when I do exercise and my energy levels last me throughout the day without needing a break. 

The class was being taught by Tamara a fun, energetic and always smiling BollyX certified instructor. We began with warming up to Bollywood inspired music, Tamara noticed a familiar and new faces in her class and made us all feel welcomed. She greeted us and gave us a run down of the movements and most importantly she reminded us to have fun!
Something I had forgotten about exercising is that it has to be fun and BollyX delivered so much fun. I confess that there were moment that I wanted to break out in salsa movements, but quickly would go back to moving and stretching my arms. BollyXFitness gave us all a great workout, during class I could feel my limbs stretch, my abdomen work and my biceps were burning.
The movements are easy to follow and of course Tamara would notice if we were having some sort of challenge keeping up, this is when she would smile at us and remind us that we got it and we are doing fantastic.
During the class we were also given the alternate to jumping or other movements that were challenging us.

The class is broken down to 3 different parts: warm up, high energy and cool down. In the middle of the hour we were at our peak level and I had forgotten I was in a class, I honestly felt I was at a celebration and got caught up in the moves. The 10 minutes before cool down were the most amazing in the class, we were divided into 2 groups for a "dance off" each group would get their chance to dance to the beat of the music and the other would respond with the same moves and it was amazing. The energy and vibes felt in the class at that moment can only be described as pure joy.
During the cool down I could feel the sweat dripping from my arms and face, while exercising I tend not to look at my calories burned and this time was no exception but as soon as I arrived at my car to go back home I checked it and there it was 505 calories burned in an hour of fun.
Of course when class ended I approached Tamara to thank her for the fantastic workout and great start to my day. She encouraged me to go back and I certainly can't wait to continue and enroll after today, I'm already following them on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on everything BollyX.
BollyX is taught in several cities: New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, Richmond, Westwood, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Atlanta and more coming soon and they have over 300 certified instructors and are adding more! They currently have 6 regional trainers -among them is Tamara-, that expand from coast to coast. You can visit their website to find a class near you.  

*Thank you BollyX for inviting me to try a class near me.*

Monday, June 22, 2015

Swimming is the FUNnest Sport!

Before walking, before crawling, my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons. Back in the late 70s it wasn't very common to have babies learn to swim, however in the spring/summer of 2006 it was very common to join a mommy & baby class at the local recreational center for sim lessons. That's when my now almost 10 year old began getting inside a pool. 

"What could a baby learn about swimming?" you ask, they are taught to not fear the water in fact to enjoy it. Swimming is always taught in a fun way, from a very young age you learn that water is fun, you can dive or jump in, you can swim a few laps or just float and relax. 

Growing up and as an adult swimming has become part of my life, summers are always spent having fun in the water and being I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure both my physicians suggested I swim at least 3 times a week to help my blood circulation and get a more complete workout that would also relax me. 

While living in Costa Rica we had the opportunity of swimming daily, the weather was perfect for it and both my kids were in swim lessons year round. The day we didn't make it to the pool, they would ask all day when they would get back to swimming as they love it.

In honor of Father's Day we were invited to a special event with Swim Today, at this event we had the opportunity of listening to inspirational stories and great memories shared from Rowdy Gaines (3 time Olympic Gold medalist), Dick Franklin (father to 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin), Pat Dwyer (father to Olympic Gold Medalist Connor Dwyer) and local swim dad Joseph Kim (his 10 year old son is preparing to swim in the Olympics in the future). They also shared some great facts about swimming, here is what they said that I personally liked:

Dick Franklin shared a quote from Missy's coach that is my new favorite: "Swimming is about FUNdamentals -and the first three letters are FUN!" 

Rowdy Gaines reminded us that "you can do any sport you want, just make sure you are having fun at what you do", he also mentioned that "swimmers aren't involved in the sport for the money, they do it because they love it". 

When asked what tips they could give to parents with children in sports, Dick Franklin gave the perfect response which is also a great reminder: "Try not to be an overreaching parent". 

Another favorite was when Pat Dwyer said: "the beauty of swimming is that it's you VS you!". 

These were great messages to take with us, I truly appreciate their wisdom and how open they were to sharing how much fun they've had supporting their children in their own journey. Afterwards,  Rowdy Gaines shared great swim tips in the pool with the attending children, among them was my daughter.

I'm happy to report that today during swim class her coach mentioned she had improved over the weekend. Her head position improved, helping her swim faster and smoother.

Some of the many benefits of swimming are: 
  • Every child participates, it is an inclusive sports. No benchwarmers. 
  • As I mentioned before my physicians suggested I swim, there is a low risk of injury and it is a total body fitness (swimming burns 650 calories per hour).
  • All you need is a swimsuit, googles and swim cap and you're ready to go!
  • Swimming is a FUN sport that everyone can do, it's perfect for any age. Once you learn to swim, you can enjoy it always.
After the event, as my daughter and I walked to our car we were greeted by Missy's mother D.A. Franklin. She remembered us from the event and asked my daughter if she had fun while swimming with Rowdy. We chatted briefly and I asked her what tips she had for mothers like myself that want their kids to follow their favorite sport, her response was great:  "always take them to practice, meets with the best disposition, never complain about it and schedule lots of playdates with families that share the same interest. You can always chose swim meets that are a drive away, pack up the boardgames and enjoy some family quality time back in the hotel". That is great advice D.A., we will sure remember it always.

When I first received the invitation to the event, I went to SwimToday's website and read as more details about them. As a parent I love what they stand for and everything I found out, did you know that swimmers have rated the sport at the top in fun, teamwork, confidence-building, health and fitness. I remember watching the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Team sharing how much fun they were having, just search for  "Call me Maybe" by the U.S. Swim Team on YouTube and you'll catch Missy dancing and lip-synching with her teammates. That's just how much fun they were having!

If you're interested in more information regarding swimming lessons or in finding a swim club, please visit, Swim Today they will help you locate the nearest instructor or swim club in your area.