Jazzercise D.C. Live Event: Part 1

Hi friends!

So, this recap is a long-time coming!  The last weekend of June was a total dream for me and I’m excited to share it all with you!  That weekend was spent in Washington D.C. for an annual event called “Jazzercise LIVE.”  It was an incredible event and definitely refreshed my feelings toward the classes that I teach and reinforced why I love doing it so much.  First, let’s give a little background into the event…

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Every year, each Jazzercise instructor receives five new sets of routines.  The songs are hand-picked and the routines are choreographed by the CEO, Judi Sheppard Missett…the founder who started everything back in 1969.  Crazy, right!?  Anyway, the routines are taped by Judi, her daughter, Shanna, and a few other instructors that make up the ‘taping team’, and are sent out in DVD form.  Each set consists of about thirty routines and they are sent out every ten weeks.  Out of the routines we receive, we can pick and choose which ones we want to learn and teach.  An important part of Jazzercise is that you can go to any center in the world and know what to expect and be familiar with where you are and what you experience.  While each instructor is different and teaches in their own way, there is a common tie between every class – and those are the routines.  Every year, one DVD is recorded at a live event that is held at a different location each time….and this year, to our surprise, it was held in Washington D.C., which is only four hours away…and totally doable for a road trip!  When they announced the location last year, myself, two other instructors, and one of our customers, purchased our tickets, booked our hotel room, and a year later, set off on the open road…which brings us to the present…

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We headed out during the late morning on Friday, June 27th.  Our one instructor, Natalie, had to teach the morning class that day so we took our time and got to D.C. around 4pm.  The event technically started at 9am for registration and shopping (!!!) but we had pre-registered and knew we would have time to shop on Saturday, as well, so we weren’t concerned about getting there early.  We got there just in time to get to our room, change into our workout clothes (like I ever wear anything else), and get down to the ballroom where the big event of the night was taking place!  At 5pm, Shanna was teaching a dance aerobics class and we could  not wait to start!

Entering the ballroom was electric.  There were people everywhere and music was blaring which made the vibe incredible.  Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what we’re a part of when we teach to the same class, at the same center, at the same times every week.  Being around all of the other instructors (and some customers) that traveled from around the globe to share in what we love was awesome.  Words really can’t describe it!  We spent an hour doing some of our favorite high-intensity routines and learning some of the new ones that were thrown in the mix!  By the end, I was a sweaty mess, which was totally expected and okay with me!

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(my bestie, Darlene, and I being pumped!)

After the class, we all took a seat and welcomed Judi (the founder) to the stage.  I was so honored to be there and listen to her share her story of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ she started Jazzercise.  She also touched on how she tries to keep Jazzercise fresh and new, which can be difficult because of the “80’s” stigma that is usually attached with the program.  She hinted that we were all in for some exciting changes during the next half of the year!  After some history and some inspirational words, she opened up a Q and A session, which was great!  She is so down-to-earth, which makes me proud to be part of such a wonderful community!  Here is a great article written by the Washington Post that touches on the legacy of Jazzercise and the points that Judi touched upon during her talk with us.

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(Judi on the left – photo courtesy of another attending instructor!)

After the session with Judi was over, the four of us headed back to our room, threw some normal clothes on (without showering, of course) and headed out to dinner.  We walked until we found a great restaurant with an outdoor patio where we shared great food, cold beers, and great conversation!  We headed back to the room and fell asleep shortly after…we had a big Saturday ahead of us and we couldn’t wait for what was in store…

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…and that shall come in Part 2 (along with a million more pictures)!

Reminiscing and smiling,
Kelly

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What I’ve Been Up To Wednesday

O.M.G.

A blog post.

How does it happen that I have allll this stuff to write about but I just can’t find time to sit down and actually put it into a post!?  It’s summer and we’ve been doing all kinds of fun things and I even went out of town for a weekend for an awesome event and haven’t even been able to share it yet!  I guess I can consider it a good thing that I have a lot of things going on that keep me busy but, really, just an hour a day for blogging would be great!  Oh well.  I’m here now and I’ll share some quick recaps of what’s been going on around here!

**I have been team teaching with my Jazzercise bestie…

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My fellow instructor, Darlene, and I have gotten pretty close over the years.  She became an instructor shortly after I did and we tend to teach most of the night classes at our center.  Out of constantly running into each other and sharing/laughing/griping/venting to each other on our way in and out, we’ve become really good friends!  Every few weeks, we teach a team class together on the weekend…the students really love it and we have a blast together!  I call it the “Kelly and Darlene Show” because it really is like a comedy show with us both up on stage together!  Oh, and we usually try to wear matching outfits.

**I’ve been trying like mad to improve my golf game…

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Golf is hard.  Like, really hard.  I am improving but I’m far from good.  Every shot requires deep thought, perfect technique, and stress.  I just try to get up and hit the ball without thinking about it…but then I start thinking too much about not thinking about it.  I know, right!?  I love it, though, and I am on a mission to be good!

**We moved our dermatology practice to a new office…

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For the last two years, we have shared an office space with another doctor.  This past Monday, we saw patients in our new office for the first time.  It was newly built and was so fresh and clean (cue the Outkast singing, “..so fresh and so clean, clean…”)!  It was a lot of work but it is finally done and we couldn’t be more excited.  And, yes, sometimes we wear mustaches to amuse ourselves.  I have the best coworkers!

**We had our foster pup, Roxie, back with us…

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If you remember, we found Roxie running along the road a couple of months ago.  We ended up finding a home for her with a friend of ours but, unfortunately, after trying to make it work for awhile, she had to contact us and let us know that she would have to give Roxie back.  Her dog, Riley, would not warm up to her and was showing aggression toward the puppy.  So, as any good foster pup parents would do, we took her back.  We had her for two days before sending her for a sleepover with our neighbors to see how their dogs would warm up to her.  The verdict??  Their pups loved her and now she has a new home just down the street from us.  There was a second (just a fleeting second) that we actually considered keeping her for ourselves.

**I’ve been eating my weight in soft-serve…

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Seriously.  It’s summer.  What else are you supposed to do!?

**We celebrated a wedding and Fourth of July…

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My friend from high school, Nicole, got married on July 4th.  A wedding on a Friday morning + a holiday made for a unique experience but fun!  Nicole’s dad passed away last September and he absolutely loved holidays…one of his favorites being the 4th of July.  She decided that having her wedding on one of his favorite days was a great way to honor him…and it was!  It was a beautiful day and one that we will never forget!  I know her dad with there to look down on her and share in her celebration.

**I spent a weekend in Washington D.C. for a Jazzercise event…

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This note deserves it’s own post, which is coming….I promise!  Every year, Jazzercise throws a big even during which there is a chance to learn new routines, participate in a routine taping, and just get together to celebrate with other instructors and students and share the fitness program that we love!  Each year, they hold it somewhere different and, this year, it was in D.C.  Since we are only about four hours away, myself, Darlene, another instructor, Natalie, and one of our students, Mara, attended.  We had a blast!!!  I will share all the details in post coming soon!

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All in all, it’s been a pretty great summer, so far.  Can you believe that it’s practically half over!?  I feel like it really hasn’t even started!

Cheers!
Kelly

Something to share:  If you are a fitness instructor, do you enjoy team teaching?  Have you gone on a vacation this summer?  Do you like soft-serve?

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Happy Birthday, Mama

Hi Everyone!

So, I have been super MIA lately…and I will explain that all in a bit in another post.  We had an extra visitor at our house over the weekend that made our lives a little busier than normal, but all is good and I’m back!

I just wanted to pop in today to wish the happiest of birthdays to my one and only mom.  She turns the big 6-0 today!  Sorry, Mom…but none of your friends read my blog.  My mom and I are incredibly close and I cannot express how thankful I am for everything she has done for me and has been for me throughout my life!

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This past Saturday, Lee and I threw a surprise party for my mom at Ligonier Country Inn, which is the venue where we got married last year.  It’s one of our favorite places to go and they do an absolutely wonderful job with any type of function, whether it is a wedding of 300 or a private party of 20 (which ours was!).  I told my mom that we had reservations just for the four of us (me, Lee, my mom, and dad) for dinner which would be followed by live music around their pool area.  Yes, they do have live music around their pool area on the weekends, but it’s on Fridays, not Saturdays…but she didn’t have to know that!

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I invited our family and her closest friends and neighbors to celebrate and I am pleased to say that she was totally surprised!!  She had absolutely no idea that there was anything going on other than the small dinner for four.  Her face when she walked in was priceless!  Success!  We enjoyed a dinner that included fruit, vegetables, and cheese for apps and chicken, parsley potatoes, carrots, and green beans for dinner.  We, then, concluded with birthday cake and ice cream.  Of course!

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The evening was absolutely wonderful and my mom had a great time celebrating with those that mean the most to her.  That’s all that mattered to her!

Today is her real birthday…so Happy 60th, Mom!  Here’s to many, many, more!

Love and Good Wishes,
Kelly

Something to share:  Have you ever planned a surprise party or had one thrown for you?

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Thursday Thoughts

Hi Friends!  Happy Thursday!

Today is my Friday so it’s a pretty good day!  Eight hours and two Jazzercise classes stand between me and a long weekend.  This is actually the first of three long weekends that I have in a row.  I have no idea how that shaped up to be my schedule, but I’ll take it!  Today, I’m just here to ramble and share some thoughts for this hot and summery Thursday.

**Thunderstorms have been an every day occurrence around here.

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This picture was taken from our kitchen at work…and I think I take a picture like this almost every afternoon.  I guess you can really say it’s summer when the humidity is always 100% and storms pop up in minutes!

**I cannot stop eating this hummus.

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Cilantro Lime.  Seriously, best flavor ever.  I could put cilantro in and on everything I eat and would be totally content with my life.  However, that would be kind of ridiculous so I’ll just try to squeeze it in here and there.  This hummus…one of my favorite ways to indulge in my obsession!

**Getting new workout gear is the best!

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A coworker of mine ordered some workout tanks from Old Navy and didn’t like the way they fit when they finally were delivered.  She was heading to the store to return them after work but asked me if I wanted to check them out before she did. They were perfect…exactly my size and my preferred style!  I picked up three new workout tanks without even stepping foot online or in a store.  What a great way to shop!

**We have been enjoying farm-fresh eggs.

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One of our neighbors is house-sitting for a friend of hers and she happens to also have chickens that she has to take care of.  She has been collecting eggs and sharing them with us and the rest of our neighbors and we are so appreciative!  Fresh food is the best…you know exactly where it’s coming from and it’s right from the source!

**Seriously…how cute is my grandpap?

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My pap turned 91 this past Monday.  This hat was our gift to him.  One of Lee’s colleagues went to Georgia this year to attend the Master’s golf tournament and Lee asked him to get a hat for my grandfather.  We were so excited when he brought it home and we couldn’t wait to pass it along to my pap!  I took this pic to send to Lee because he was working during his birthday party…like I said when I posted this pic on Instagram…my pap is one pretty amazing person.

Alright, guys!  I’m off!  I’m sure I’m currently swamped at work but I just have to remember…it’s technically TGIF around here!

Happy Almost Weekend!
Kelly

Something to share: Any interesting thoughts currently running through your head?  What is your favorite fresh summer food?

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Shrimp and Veggie Penne Skillet

I really didn’t know what to name this dish.  I cycled through a million different names.

I couldn’t narrow it down.  There’s pasta, there’s some veggies, there’s some beans, and there’s some shrimp.  I couldn’t make a small name without leaving a main ingredient out but if I added everything that was in the dish, the name would be a mile long and sound ridiculous.

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So, Shrimp and Veggie Penne Skillet it is.

I know beans aren’t technically a veggie but we are going to pretend that they are today.
Okay?  Okay.
That’s the fun thing about stuff around here…sometimes it’s made up.  Today is one of those days.

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You know what else is fun?  Using limited dishes when you have to make a dinner on the fly.  I try to do that a lot on these little pages.  This recipe uses a pot to boil water and make pasta and a skillet into which you throw everything else.  Easy Peasy.

And, while we’re talking about fun.  Let’s talk about the fact that the picky guy I live with actually said that fresh broccoli smells good while it’s steaming and that he actually has been eating small pieces of it here and there and doesn’t mind it.  He also ate the wilted spinach that I threw in the dish.  Seriously.  Where am I and who is this man in my house?  There was a full moon this weekend so maybe the effects of that are still lingering between these walls?  Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

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Shrimp and Veggie Penne Skillet

Ingredients:

1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta

2 cups fresh broccoli florets

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern white beans

15-20 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined

1 cup chicken broth (I use water + Better Than Bouillon)

juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

In a large pot, prepare pasta according to package directions.  During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli florets to boiling pasta water.  Drain along with pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, in large skillet heated over medium-high heat, add EVOO and garlic and sauté for one minute.  Add spinach and sauté in oil and garlic until wilted.  Add Great Northern beans, shrimp, and previously cooked broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes or until warmed.  Add chicken broth and juice of lemon and cover.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until broth is at a low boil and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Add penne pasta to skillet and stir until thoroughly mixed with shrimp and veggie mixture and coated with broth.  Allow pasta to simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth is thickened and dish is completely warmed through.

Yield:  6 servings

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Stay tuned for the things my husband won’t eat next week.  I mean, I guess the effects of this full moon can only last so long, right?

Enjoy!
Kelly

Something to share:  What is your favorite green vegetable?  I love broccoli but I think I would have to say fresh green beans are my #1!

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Celebrating Pap

Happy Monday morning!!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

This past weekend we celebrated not only Father’s Day but, also, my grandfather’s 91st birthday.  His birthday is today but, no matter when it falls, we celebrate on Sunday when we get together for Father’s Day.

My pap has been a huge part of my life since the day I was born.  I’m very close to my grandparents and spent a lot of my childhood there.  Since my pap retired soon after I was born and my mom worked a full-time job, he was always the one to come to school functions during the day or pick me up if I was sick.  He was and still is pretty much the most amazing man I know!

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So…here’s to more years with my wonderful grandfather!  He is as youthful as ever and I hope to only have half his energy when I get older.

Happy Birthday, Pap!!
Thank you for always being the glue in our family!

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It Takes Someone Special

I truly believe anyone can be called a ‘father’ but it takes someone special to be a ‘dad’…

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My step-dad has been in my life since I was three years old and has been amazing every step of the way. I cannot express how grateful I am to have him in my life!

Thanks, Dad!
Happy Father’s Day!

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Weekends of Summer

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So, I know that summer is not officially here, yet, but once Memorial Day weekend rolls around, I consider summer to be in full force!  Although we had some pretty mean storms roll through yesterday, the weekend was beautiful and full of all kinds of fun summer activities! Friday Friday … Keep Reading….

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Four-Cheese Lasagna for Two

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Lasagna is one of those things that really never looks pretty when you try to photograph it. It’s cheesy.  It’s messy.  It’s goopy.  It’s hard to style. Regardless of all of those above things, it’s delicious and I don’t care how it looks…as long as it’s getting into my belly.  … Keep Reading….

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One Year Anniversary Weekend

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This past weekend was perfect.  I celebrated one year of marriage with the love of my life and enjoyed every minute!  Here’s a little photo recap of the weekend… We spent four wonderful days on the golf course (well, wonderful in the sense that I was having fun with the … Keep Reading….

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