Tag Archives: viva z

Feeling Extravagant

spoil yourself

This morning we woke up to beautiful weather.  FINALLY!  70 degrees out there and blue skies all around us.  It just feels luxurious!  A good day to spoil myself!  I started my day with a Barre class and a cardio sparring class.  Ballet and boxing!  So different and so much fun!  I usually get to one or two classes on Saturdays and I love it!  This morning, I even challenged myself to try something out of my comfort zone in class, a pike handstand ON the barre.  A few months ago, I would have never even imagined I’d be able to do something like that and today I did it!

I left class and headed into town for some pampering before we go away on our trip next week.  I started out at the local salon to see if I could make an appointment for next week with my favorite estetician for some waxing “maintenance”… which I sadly let fall to the wayside this winter.  Lucky me, she had a cancellation and I went right in! Plus, I still had a gift certificate from Christmas that I hadn’t used!

Then, I headed across the street for a pedicure to clean up my feet and get them ready for for flip-flop weather.  Not only did I get a great pedicure, but I was also treated to an amazing foot and leg massage and felt like I was being pampered!  I have had reflexology once before and I felt like I was getting it again.  It completely relaxed me.  Ahhhh.

I decided to splurge on lunch for Dave and me.  Both kids were at baseball, DJ umpiring, and Drew at practice before his game.  A great sushi lunch deal, so I picked a few favorites and brought it home.  We ate together in the living room just the two of us.  I took a nice long shower and we were off to Drew’s baseball game.  FINALLY  baseball was on.  We have been waiting for so long.  We sat there watching in the warmth of the sun which we have missed so much.  The game was tied and went into two extra innings.  Drew played catcher for 6 of those innings.  Sadly, it ended in a loss for them, but getting back out there felt so good not just for the players but for their fans.

Now, we are home.  Getting ready to go to a party for a soccer friend of Dave’s.  I have not done a stitch of school work today.  Haven’t even checked my school email yet.  I am relaxed and feeling great.  Spring really does bring out the best mood in people.

As I have been sitting here writing about all that I did today to spoil myself, I realize there are probably plenty of women who get to do this everyday.  To them I say, “Lucky you” but for me, I think it makes me feel more grateful for those days I do get like this.  They may be few and far between, but when they come around, they are awesome.

Giving Back

giving back

Growing up and never leaving the community you grew up in, may not be for everyone but for me, it was what I always wanted.  Other than leaving to go to college in Washington, DC for four years, and a spending a few years right after we were married in a townhouse ten minutes away from here, I have remained in Maplewood, New Jersey.  My hometown.  Married to my high-school sweetheart, we knew this was the place for us to raise our own family.

I am sure it is the same in every small town, but one of the things I love most about my community is how so many small businesses still remain and are thriving here.  There are no big chain stores or restaurants. Many of the businesses are privately owned and run by local families.

I try to support the small businesses in my community to keep the local economy strong.  My dad owns one of these local businesses, which makes me even more passionate about it.  One thing that I love most about living here, is how so many of theses businesses give back to the community.  Through the annual Memorial Day Duck Race and school auctions where merchants donate prizes and services to the Street Fairs and Girls’ Nights Out – the list could go on and on.

This week  it has been “Restaurant Week” in town.

Local restaurants aresupporting Rent Party Pantry, Inc. in its efforts to fight hunger locally so come on out that week and sample the quality, variety and hospitality of Maplewood’s restaurants and food purveyors for less AND help fight hunger on the local level.  

This tied in perfectly with a fundraiser at another one of my favorite businesses, Viva Z.  On the last Friday of every month, the owner holds a dance party.  All classes are free but you are asked to make a donation to the local charity she has chosen for the month.  Last month, it was for the local fire department.  Last night, was a collection for the local food pantry.

Maplewood Karate, encourages its students to give back as well.  Students earn blue charity stripes on their belt for donating food which is also donated to the local food pantry.

There is a saying, “It takes a village,” and Maplewood really proves that is true.  Things like this are happening all of the time here, demonstrating how important community is and how valuable it is to give back.  I think it is part of the charm that draws people to our town.  It certainly makes me want to stay!

A RAK for me!

booker t washington

For Lent this year, I decided that I was going to do a Random Act of Kindness everyday for the entire Lenten period.  It is day 14 and I am still on track!   I have been trying to be anonymous when I do some of them – leaving little treats at work, for coworkers, so I am not sure of the reaction they are getting, but my hope is that it brightens the day of the person who receives it.

I have also brought some sweets and treats to friends.  Two of them were teachers at Viva Z, where I take classes.  Tonight, they took me completely by surprise when they gave me a bouquet of beautiful roses before class.  They told me it was a random act of kindness for me!  It made me feel so special.  That is my hope when I am giving out my own RAK everyday.  I hope that the person who gets one from me, knows that someone was thinking of them and that it makes them feel good and inspires them to do something kind for someone else in return.

This is the idea behind the project Roberta, (our school librarian) and I had when we began our Pay It Forward Program at school.  The kindness is already spreading!  There is a lot of excitement among the students and the parents seem to be responding positively.  It is so exciting watching the kindness grow!

Stocking the Shelves

reason to help

Tonight, I took Drew and we went over to St. Joseph’s food pantry to help shelve some of the food that we brought over from The 100th Day Food Drive my school held two weeks ago.  In total our school had collected about 150 bags of food. Half of it went to St. Joe’s, so with 75 bags of food just from Tuscan School, plus all the other donations that were there, a lot needed to be done.  I wanted to bring Drew along.  He was a big help in getting the program started at Tuscan School.  When he was in second grade, he won a “Littlest Volunteer Award.”  He received $50 to use towards his project.  In his essay for the contest, he had written that he would buy bins to hold the food that was collected by all of the classes.  Together, he and I went to Target, bought large bins and distributed them to the classrooms in the school.  We used them for a few years until they dwindled down and the bags became easier for transporting.

Mr. and Mrs. Blaesser, parents of very good friends of ours, help to keep the St. Joe’s food pantry running smoothly.  They were so grateful for the food and when we dropped it off, we asked if they needed help on sorting night, (tonight.)  They said they could never predict how many people would be able to come to sort so they said they would be happy to have us help.  It was a big night for volunteers.  At least 25 people must have shown up to help out.  Volunteers of all ages were there to help.  Such a nice thing to see.

The shelves were nearly empty when we arrived.  By the time all of the food was sorted, the shelves were filled.  What a sight!  Thursday night, all that food gets bagged up for families to pick up on Saturday.  A large amount of it gets delivered to home-bound seniors.   I am sure that despite the amount that was there tonight, after Thursday, there will be very little once again.   There is such a dire need for food and every little bit helps.

For the rest of the month, the studio where I have been taking classes, Viva Z, is holding a food drive.  They will donate all items collected to the food pantry as well.  Collecting and donating food is not hard to do and it is so needed.  I am sure there is a food pantry somewhere near you that would be grateful to receive anything that you are able to donate.  Spread the word and give what you can.

pano food drive photo 1 bags of food