Zumba with Mini

I met up with Mini for zumba tonight and let me tell you – I.love.this.class!! The instructor kicks some major booty. She is a great dancer and teacher. I give big kudos for great music, as well (Daddy, Marc Anthony, Drake and even some bhangra!).

It is fun to just let go and rock to the music. I am bound and determined to perfect my gyrating both clockwise (C) and counter-clockwise (A+). I think it is a great mid-week indulgence!

Whistler weekend

A gaggle of us girls headed up to Whistler this weekend to celebrate Kendra’s upcoming nuptials. We left town on Friday night, with a stop in Bellingham to dine at Casa que Pasa. We ate in the bar where they had a cool dragon painted on the ceiling and a gruesome art installation with a lot of blood and smiley faced stick figures that were ‘getting fucked’ by something.

After a long drive, we arrived to our beautiful townhome. We were within walking distance of Whistler Village, and headed out to the Longhorn for a beer before retiring for the night.

Saturday, was quite an experience. After scheduling debacle with Eco Tours Whistler, I hopped in a kayak with the intention of conquering the Golden River. Although I enjoy being out on the water, I did not have experience kayaking on a river in a boat that does not have foot pedals to steer the vessel. I knew that I lacked control but tried to stay calm and just go with the flow. Once we hit the (small) rapids on the river, I drifted to the bank and ended up going face-first into bushes and bramble. I did ok on the first few hits, but the last one took my hat. I reacted and tipped the kayak. The water was cold. The guide kept telling me to get out the water as if I could scale a river bank using tiny little tree branches to support my upward descent through the mud. I did finally make it up on the bank and was scratched up plenty by the brush while the mosquitos feasted on my fresh blood. We had a hell of a time getting all of the water out of the boat and the guide knocked my sunglasses off of my face while wrestling with the kayak. Once I was back in the boat, I was in survival mode. I lacked control and eye protection and envisioned a small tree branch poking in to my eyeballs. JJ managed to tip her boat near a clearing and I opted to get out of the water and go back to the condo. I consoled myself with several barrilitos and a friendly game of poker with Eleni and Sara.

I am able to accept the facts – I am a dancer, not a river kayaker.

After waiting about 1/2 hour to get in to Buffalo Bills, we danced and danced and danced until 2am. There were plenty of bachelor and bachelorette parties abound. Some of the bachelor men sported extravagant jester costumes (as is a ritual for Canadian stag parties) and one was wearing a very pretty white eyelit dress. I heard Enrique Iglesias’ ‘I like it’ and totally fell in love with that jam. After dancing, we stopped off for hot dogs and putin (fries in gravy with cheese curds – not up my alley).

Sunday was time to say ahhh. We went to the Scandinave Spa. You must go here if you ever trek to Whistler. I think we were there for about five hours. Some of the ladies scheduled massages. I just worked my way through the rotation of hot (steam room, sauna, hot tub), cold (quick blast in cold pool or cold shower) and relaxation (hammock!) for the entire time. It was luxurious, quiet (my friends were shushed) and offered great views. What a way for us to pamper ourselves!

Dinner at 21 Steps was a great way to cap off a fun weekend.

I headed out early this morning and am proud to say that I made it home all by myself (sans navigator). 😉

A night of hip-hop for Hsquared

I hit up the Snoop Dogg & Ice Cube concert last night with my friend Geri. It really brought back some fond memories of 1992 – being 18, rebelling against my parents and chasing after a boy who ended up being totally wrong for me. Back in 1992, I had purchased tickets (Xmas present) for then-boyfriend to go see Ice Cube with his brother. Unfortunately, said brother was not able to make the show so it turned into a date night. I remember standing in line outside of the Paramount Theatre marveling at the string of four or five cars that were continually circling the building. I wondered who they were looking for and hoped that the person was not standing next to me because I didn’t want to get shot. A group of scruffy looking dudes who were chewing on collard greens, beans and rice in styrofoam take-out containers passed up the line. Several people in line threw out vulgarities not knowing that those dudes were members of the Pharcyde and would be opening for Cube that night. After a long wait, we made it inside and got settled in to our seats. The crowd boo’ed the first act off of the stage and I felt sad for them. The Pharcyde rocked. And then the real fun began. I don’t even remember Ice Cube performing at this concert. We were seated in the middle of the main floor. At various times throughout the night, people from the right or the left of us would run screaming towards the middle as the security tried to wrestle a gun away from someone in the crowd. No joke! Cube had some thugs up on the stage and I was just waiting for those jokers to start shooting in to the crowd. It wasn’t very fun and I didn’t really connect to the music at all that night.

Last night I revisited the Paramount for a completely different experience. As with most hip-hop shows in Seattle, the crowd had a strong contingent of what I like to call ‘kids from Mercer Island’ who can belt out every lyric and pass the blunts to their friends around me. Geri and I snaked through the sea of people and made our way to good viewing spot. I think Ice Cube is a total hottie and I loved watching him perform. The crowd went a little crazy when he cued up You can do it.

Snoop Dogg was also fun to watch. He had a massive diamond studded knuckle ornament that distracted me for most of the show. I enjoyed his set because, in addition to a DJ, he also had a drummer and bass player. Both looked like they were having a lot of fun. I feed a lot off of the energy of musicians, so when they are having a good time I can’t help but smile and dance a little harder to provide ‘feedback.’

Other random observations:
  • I’ve never smoked pot, but I am pretty sure I can now discern good from bad weed. The good has an appealing sweet smell while the bad smells like dog shit.
  • After a night out, I waver between feeling deaf and hypersensitive to sound. My poor ears – I really should start wearing earplugs.

As is a normal night with Geri, we drank a little, danced a lot, laughed, crossed comments about people-watching with serious discussions and ended the night with, “we’ll do it again soon, hon.”

Cafe Cuzco in Ballard

My girlfriend Claudia was in town this weekend and crashed at my place last night. She loves cofecito con leche and I didn’t have any milk or cream in my fridge, so I suggested that we check out Cafe Cuzco in Ballard.

I drove by the cafe a couple of weeks ago and the word Cuzco caught my eye. I couldn’t find too much about the cafe on the net, but I did find some yelp.com entries that indicated both coffee and food are served in this joint.

The menu is relatively small and features authentic Peruvian eats (ceviche, tamales, potato dish, empanadas, alfajores, some sort of fancy sauce that I can’t remember) as well panini press sandwiches. We decided to order lattes and alfajores (yummy butter cookies with dulce de leche filling sprinkled with powdered sugar). Claudia also ordered some tamales, empanadas and papas with the special sauce to take home for dinner.

The cafe has a cute setup – there are four small tables and one larger table that was occupied by a men’s bible study group. The tables are adorned with artisan Peruvian placemats that add some color to the mostly wood decor. Claudia and I plopped down on the black leather couch near the large TV mounted on the wall that was tuned in to European soccer.

This is definitely a mom-and-pop style cafe. The owners were very friendly and the coffee was excellent. I think this might be a new study hangout for me.

My name is Heidi, and I like to party

Goodbye 35!

I had a great year filled with fun and follies. I am excited to turn 36. I love birthdays and i love celebrating!! In fact, y’all better get used to it because I will be celebrating every year until I can celebrate no more.

This year I decided to keep it low-key – no big evite-worthy events or dinners. I’m just going to hit up the MMA studio and then grab a bite at La Isla. Of course, I will imbibe in a glass of barrilito to usher in the goodness of the new year.

The excitement has been building all week. I live for the anticipation of a fresh start, new beginnings, plans coming into fruition, wisdom, fun, play, activity, love. I’m looking forward to some firsts (first time on vacation with my bro since childhood, first time to Asia, who knows what else) as well as continuing strong tradition with friends. I also can’t wait to be reuniting with my muse, Puerto Rico. This is going to be my year!

Querido Chile

I imagine that, over time, I will expose some of my weird and wild obsessions on this blog. One of my healthiest obsessions is my fascination with Chile. I fell for Chile after reading a number of Isabel Allende books. I love the way that she describes the geography and makes the backdrop as important as the characters in the story. It seems like a magical place to me – majestic mountains, beautiful beaches and arid desert all ripe for exploring. Chile tops my list of places to visit before I die and I am planning a three-week adventure for 2011.

When I think of Chile it inspires feelings of loving someone from afar. My heart beats a little bit faster when I come across a travel article on the internet or catch a Chilean fruit advertisement on TV. Somehow, I stumbled upon the Amazing Race a couple of weeks ago and my eyes were glued to the screen because the competition commenced on the coast in Valparaiso and moved on to Puerto Varas, a charming little German-town in the Lake District. I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, motivated and inspired because I know that my first date with Chile is not too far off.

All that being said, you could imagine my heartache when I came across a random post on Facebook on Saturday morning about prayers for Chile. I immediately googled and found that there was a massive earthquake and tsunami – 8.8 on the richter is no joke! I saw some tragic pictures and cannot even imagine what it is like to lose loved ones, shelter or the ability to meet basic needs due to natural disaster.

I pray that mis hermanos Chilenos can find some peace as they establish the rituals of their new normal and begin to recover from this catastrophe. Tonight, I am looking for ways to send help (I’m not totally convinced that I should donate to Red Cross, although historically that is where I give). In 2011, I will do my part by spending a little dinero.

Querido Chile, mi corazon esta contigo…

Oh Sheila!!

I hit the town with the ladies last night. It was an honest-to-god date night with Brenda and Alice that included both dinner and a show.

We met up at the Icon Grill in downtown Seattle. I don’t hang out downtown very much, so it was a nice treat. Brenda and Alice are always great company. We determined that married and single ladies who mingle have a lot of fun (no, we are not depressed all of the time :P). We kicked off the meal with a little chicken-fried calamari which was delish. I ordered the fried chicken salad, which was also good, but I think it was a little bit too much fried food for me.

I had a couple of glasses of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells cabernet sauvignon. As the server was taking orders for our second round, Alice turned to me…

Alice: How is that cab? Is it dry??
Me: uh, duh, duh, duh…

I have two basic categories for wine which are good and bad (I guess I could also use drinkable and vinegar). This wine was good. I might even go as far as saying it was delightful, but I just can’t really distinguish the body/style of a glass of wine. Does that make me a lush?

After dinner, we strolled over to Jazz Alley to see the Pete Escovedo Orchestra. Now, if you’ve never heard of Pete Escovedo, I can assure you that you are not alone. I had no idea who he was prior to making my reservation for this show. Regardless, the show was packed. Why? Pete Escovedo tours with his daughter Sheila E, who used to play with the artist-formerly-known-as-Prince back in the 80s.

My reflections about this show:

* We sat close to the stage, but on stage left so we really had the best view of Sheila E, the bass player and the wind instrument guy. Sheila E totally rocked! As in, she hit those drums like she was backing up Metallica. The woman is strong! I loved that she had a wide grin on her face as she played and ‘dialoged’ with the energy of the crowd. She also looks damn fine for a 52-year-old woman.

* After the show, we were chatting about Juan Escovedo, another Pete Escovedo progeny who plays congas. What is it like to live in your sister’s shadow? The crowd would clap after his solos but it would completely erupt when Sheila E was in the mix. We all felt a little bit sorry for him.

Overall, it was a really fun show. I love to kick it with my girls. I love to wear dresses. Just another Saturday night in the life of Girl*wander.