Taglit Birthright Israel

My heart is full

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Filled with love for the incredible people I met

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and filled with love for Israel.

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve been back from Israel for over a week now. Part of me still adjusting to what it’s like to be back in the “real world” yet part of me feels like it’s been forever since we travelled around a country the size of New Jersey on a bus.

I’ve been contemplating this post since I got back. What do I write about my trip to Israel, an experience that’s not only difficult to explain spiritually but also a place thats difficult to talk about now, during this controversial time?

First, I will say it was incredible. From the people I met to the things we saw, the trip was absolutely amazing. If anything being there now, during this interesting time, made it a more powerful experience. We would watch the news at night and think “we are here, right now”. We saw the Iron Dome. Two of the Israeli’s we travelled with were called up for duty– they had to go back and serve in the army. Even so, I am happy I didn’t cancel my trip despite everything going on.

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One of the most powerful aspects of the trip was how much I was pushed out of my comfort zone. I am definitely not one to strike up a conversation with strangers, but on this trip 32 strangers quickly turned into mishpacha, family. At first I was really nervous about traveling alone (the majority of my friends have already gone on Birthright) but by the end of the first day it didn’t matter. Our group quickly bonded and blended and I met some amazing people. In some ways it felt reminiscent of sleep away camp where bonds form almost instantly.

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Initially 10 days sounded like an eternity– when’s the last time I took a vacation that long? I was shocked though how quickly the days went and by the end of it I wasn’t ready to go home.

A lot of people asked me if I felt safe. It’s hard to explain but I did feel safe and I’m sure other people on my trip would agree.

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Thank you Taglit Birthright and Sachlav 30-282 for a truly incredible and life-changing 10 day journey. I will be back soon.

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Next Stop: Israel

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Off to the land of (dairy-free) milk & honey, falafel and camels I go!

Follow along with my travels on twitter and instagram… and see you when I get back :)

Job Love + Israel + Lately

Hi guys! I’m still here, I promise!

I feel like I’ve got a million things to say, and yet nothing to say at the same time. It’s now been 1 months since I started working full time (WOOT WOOT!) and it’s been busier than I expected, but also more awesome than I expected at the same time. The weeks go by surprisingly fast and I’m actually kind of grateful to be inside, away from the brutal NYC summer heat all day.

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Job love: supporting our amazing CEO/ co-founder Payal at her dance company’s show.

 

Since upping my hours to full time and starting my new role as the social media and marketing manager, my own “personal” social media schtuff has been put on the back burner. I’ve definitely heard this form other bloggers that also work in social media, it can be hard to come home after writing blog posts for work all day and say “hey I’m going to blog now for myself”. I’m going on vacation (sort of) next week so lately all of my blogging willpower has been devoted to the work blog since I had to compile a lot of content in a short period of time.

I can’t complain though, I have serious job love and that love somehow continues to get bigger and bigger. It’s exciting to be managing social media things from another, larger, standpoint. While I like to think my own twitter account is mucho important in it’s own way (it’s how I got my job in the first place!), seeing the impact social media can make from a company’s perspective has been super cool.

I was out to dinner this week with two of my closest friends and were talking about hobbies and what we do after work to pass the time. I realized I haven’t had much “free” time… most nights have been spent going out to dinner with friends, trapeze-ing, working out or seeing a show of some sort. During the school year I felt so guilty doing all those things at night because there was always this lurking feeling that I should be studying, and now that that’s over I’ve been taking advantage of those free nights.

 

In other news… I’m going to Israel NEXT WEEK. When did that creep up on me? Many of you probably know about birthright (and if you’re Jewish you definitely know about birthright because your grandma will not. stop. talking. about. it). It’s basically a free trip to Israel for anyone who’s Jewish and between the ages of 18-26. Yes, it does sound too good to be true, but it’s for real! I’ve been trying to go on Birthright since I turned 18 and ultimately decided to wait until I was older so I could go on a trip with 22-26 year olds. No offense college kiddies. I applied a few times and the dates never worked out… but this time it’s really really happening and I’m really really going to Israel on Wednesday. Holy crap.

 

And I’m currently sipping on this. IMG_4662
It’s beastly hot out right now and I was dripping with sweat after walking from a meeting in Soho back home to the Village (I know, it’s not even a long walk…) While I enjoy juices from time to time, the smoothies at Jus have a special place in my heart because they are cool and refreshing. Current favorite combo: spinach, pineapple and banana. Tastes like heaven on a hot day.

Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone :)

4 New-To-Me Classes

Core Fusion Extreme @ Exhale Spa Flatiron

Not only was I excited to hear Exhale was opening up a studio not too far away from my apartment, but I was also ridiculously pumped to try their newest class “Core Fusion Extreme”. I will admit, going into the class I thought “pshhh how extreme can this be” and let me tell you, it lived up to the name.

The class is comprised of 5 stations with 2 exercises at each station. During a circuit you go through those two exercises twice before moving onto the next station (ya follow?). The exercises were a mixture of cardio moves and strength training– box jumps, tricep dips, TRX rows, thrusters, funky plank variations, and more.

Exhale may be known for it’s slow burn barre classes, but like I said this class lived up to it’s name and got me sweating. I may or may not have signed up for another class at another studio that day as well… and deeply regretted this decision afterwards.

My biggest complaint was that the entire class was just the circuit. We went through the stations twice meaning each exercise was done 4 times. Overall the class still offered a fantastic workout and I think Exhale is on to something good.

 

Tone House

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I can’t remember the last time a class was as hyped up for me as Tone House was. Anytime someone from work took a class there they came back looking like they got hit by a bus. This is really only a slight exaggeration, and I swear everyone talked about how hard it was. Keep in mind I work with people who love going to fitness classes as much as I do…

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I was legit scared before this class since apparently it’s the hardest class in Manhattan. The ominous music that played as we waited for my 7AM class to start sure didn’t help either (okay maybe that’s what they were going for…).

Is it the hardest class in Manhattan? Maybe. Or at least the warmup is. Owner Alonzo had us jumping over these mini hurdles in every plane of motion imaginable. I like to think I’m decently fit but this warmup made me suck wind like I was doing the mile run in high school all over again. The person behind me ended up cutting in front of me in the middle of the warmup, that  kind of bruised my ego.

The actual class wasn’t as challenging as  the warm up. Yes, we did get to use those super cool bungee cords shown above. We also used the TRX Rip trainer which I haven’t touched since I took the rip trainer certification course over a year ago.

What made the workout doable was Alonzo’s encouraging demeanor. His class might be terrifying but he’s incredibly sweet. It’s billed as a class for athletes and that’s absolutely accurate.

When a friend asked me about class after I described it as humbling and that’s just what it was.

 

Barione @ Bari

A class that has you dancing, jumping on a trampoline, and using bungee cords? Count me in. Barione is the prerequisite class you have to take at Bari Studio before trying out their other classes. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a prerequisite class and am happy to say it still packs a burn (and quite the sweat) while giving you a nice taste of what Bari has to offer.

I particularly loved the sweaty cardio dance warm up comprised of super simple dance steps strung together and repeated and of course loved jumping on the trampolines later in class.

 

Throwback Fitness

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Why did it take me so long to finally workout with the Throwback Fitness guys? I met Ryan and Brian earlier this spring at a work event and fell in love with Throwback Fitness before I even took a class. The class is a mixture of a team workout and high school phys ed nostalgia complete with nerf guns and a dodgeball game. But of course there was a fitness twist to all the games.

The first half was a partner workout, while one partner rowed the other partner worked through a few strength movements before switching. Each pair was competing with the other pairs to row the most meters. I’m vaguely convinced that being short is a major disadvantage on the rowing machine…

Part two was dodgeball. In order to grab a dodgeball you had to perform a series of exercises– and if you got pegged you had to do push ups to get back in the game.

Truth, the only time I ever skipped class in high school was this one time senior year when I didn’t want play dodgeball in gym. Of course I ran into my teacher later that day and she asked where I was… I told her the truth and her response was “Oh I understand, I hate dodgeball too”. And I still got a perfect grade that semester- Bam.

Any who, I enjoyed this version of dodgeball a lot more that I did during my high school days.

My first thought after class was oh my god I need to bring my brother and boyfriend here, they would LOVE it. It’s a pretty awesome workout with a fun flair to it. Bonus points: The guys send a personalized email after class thanking you for coming. How’s that for customer service?

 

When’s the last time you took a new fitness class?