Category Archives: Health

Happy New Year: The Polar Bear Swim

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I figured the best way to kick off the new calendar year, hobby style, would be to head out to Coney Island for the annual Polar Bear Swim. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more nervous about polar bear swimming than I was about sky diving. If followers might remember, I admitted to being terrified of the ocean in my surfing post a couple months back. While I overcame my fear that day, I suddenly felt an anxiety about jumping into waters that were no more than 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

In fact, I had nearly talked myself out of it as I paced back and forth across my apartment. “You can’t back out. It’s the first day of the new year.  You can’t back out. This is a game changer” In reality, it probably wasn’t, as I have a couple other hobbies also planned for later in the week, but I’d heard the encouraging phrase enough in television and film that it seemed appropriate–and it in fact was, as it got me out the door and into the cold.

“It’s not THAT bad out,” I tried to tell myself and I made my way to the subway. “At least it’s the warmest day of the week?” I giggled, and began to talk to myself again, “Oh Libs, it’s cold, get over it. You’ll be in your batman gear–and it’ll be fun…frigid…but fun.”

The good news is, I wasn’t doing the Polar Bear Swim alone. A producer that I have worked with in the past–who I also consider a good friend–had promised her son, Lucas, that he could do the Polar Bear Swim with me, after he came along to watch and help video my shark dive back in October. And I knew in the back of my head that he was much more excited about this than I was–so it was another encouraging reason to get my butt down to Coney Island and all my other body parts in the water.

I arrived at Stillwell Ave. around 12:15PM–just in time to meet up with my friend, her son, Lucas, and the rest of their family. While Lucas got dressed, his dad turned to me and told me how proud he was of me for what I had done this year. He then told me that Lucas had said he wanted to be like me and go on adventures. I couldn’t help but to smile. It was one of the greatest compliments I had received this year. It was in that moment that I began to let my anxiety about the cold water dissolve.

—That is until of course we were all on the beach slowly de-layering in unison with over a thousand of other individuals. “Brrrrrrrr.” I could feel even the lowest blowing winds running through my batman boxer briefs and cape.

I laughed out loud to myself. “What would Batman do?”

Suddenly, people started running past us. And then a burst of energy rushed through Lucas and myself as we both began to run toward the water. Before I even had a chance to look back, the cold water struck my ankles and my calves and my thighs and finally my waist.

“Holy crap, Holy crap, Holy Crap, Holy Crap-It’s cold.” I tried to censor my language around the 8 year old as I shivered through a number of virgin swears.

And then after about twenty seconds, I proclaimed that I was “All set,” and began running back toward the shore.

My brave companion followed, but the Atlantic Ocean beckoned to him and he made his way back out two more times before finally calling it a day. I watched as his dad continued to video with a giant smile on his face. I could see the pride in each of the family member’s faces as my polar bear teammate wrapped himself up in a towel. It warmed my heart–enough to take the focus off my endless shivers.

After changing into some warm clothes, Lucas turned to me and said, “Can we do more adventures this year?”

“Why…yes…yes we can, as long as your mom and dad say yes” I responded. And then I thought to myself, ‘And…as long as it doesn’t involve jumping into the ocean when it’s below 70 degrees outside, sans wet suit.’

His mom then told me that Lucas would be doing the shark tank at the aquarium, as I had done, for his 12th birthday. That’s about three years away, but there’s nothing wrong with planning hobbies in advance–at least in my opinion.

Cheers to another year!

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Special Thanks:
Abby, Jason, Lucas, & Natasha
Happy New Year!
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All that matters is that you jump: Trapeze

“All that matters is that you jump.”

One of my trapeze instructors whispers this to me as I am suddenly about to swing off a platform that feels as though it is miles from the ground.

I take a deep breath, bend my knees and then leap-I leap for my fears of heights- for my fears of falling- I leap for my friends – for proving that my last turbulent experience dealing with heights hasn’t held me back- and I leap for myself. And I soar- like a bird. I feel the air rush past my face. I hear for my commands from below. Legs up. See my hands. Let go. Look for Brooklyn. Enjoy the ride. And boy was I enjoying the the ride.

I listen for my commands again– Legs down, and “up,” which in trapeze lingo means… Drop.

“Awesome,” I proclaim and I get giddy about trying it again.

Trapeze was one of the greatest activities I’ve tried this year. Joined by good friends, I knew that this was the best way to kick off a Saturday morning. And not only was it fun–but it taught me a great lesson as well.

“All that matters it that you jump.”

The words continue to echo.

A metaphor flashes before my eyes.

Every day asks us to jump- to make a choice.

We can either stand still or make a change. It may not literally mean a jump from the sky- but it could rather be as simple as a phone call to an old friend, or family member we’ve lost touch with. It could be taking a new job–or having the courage to ask for a raise at your current one.

In the end, all that matters is having the courage to jump.

Amy

Lindsay

 Rena

 Christine

Special Thanks
Brent Hankins

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Trapeze School New York
TSNY
http://www.trapezeschool.com

It’s All About the Rebound: Stunt Trampoline Jumping

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A trampoline can teach someone a lot about life. I didn’t know that, of course, until I made my way back to the Hollywood Stunt Center, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn this past weekend for my lesson. What’s great about a trampoline is that it teaches you the true nature of a fall–of getting back up–and the even more successful rebound (Of course I will be taking an urban rebounding class this fall!)

During many moments in life, I often feel like my feet have been swept out from right underneath me, even when they are still, right there beneath me–fully in contact with the pavement. Too often I forget to feel my feet on the ground, and the pounding of my heart against my chest–even when it’s the first lesson I learned this year in acting class.

It wasn’t until my legs and feet literally came out from underneath me, at this lesson–that I realized how important their strength in holding me up–and pushing me, really significantly matters–and has always mattered.

After several falls–regaining my balance, flexing my muscles, I found myself jumping–not only successfully–but even higher–the way I imagine the success I may find in life. It’s all about the rebound from the fall–all about the rebound. Jump up–Jump up and get around.

Special Thanks

Brent Hankins

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Hollywood Stunts
www.hollywoodstunts.com

Not So Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Hobby Hoarder Goes Rock Climbing

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“Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb!”
-Miley Cyrus

Life is a series of pushes forward–and steps back. It involves making decisions–choosing paths–and putting one foot in front of the other. It requires you to use your physical and mental self to maneuver above, below, and around obstacles. It asks you to take risks–and not to look back. It strikes you with emotional and physical cuts and bruises and above all it forces you to lead your life–and sometimes even, choose the path less traveled in the end.

Life–it’s a lot like rock climbing–or maybe I should say–Rock climbing is a lot like life–always asking you to look at where you should put your hand or your foot next; wondering if you are going to slip and fall–but knowing that someone is at the bottom to catch you (much like knowing we have friends and family to catch us as well). Rock climbing involves mentally deciding to go left–right–up–or even a few steps back to re-analyze where you really want to go. It requires you to mentally–and physically maneuver above, below, and around boulders (life’s bigger problems). Rock climbing asks your body to sacrifice itself at times, like life, for cuts and bruises in order to work through struggles. And of course rock climbing forces you, like life, to take risks–to lead your life–and sometimes even, choose the path less traveled in the end.

       -Photo Courtesy of Northeast Mountain Guiding

       -Photo Courtesy of Northeast Mountain Guiding

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Northeast Mountain Guiding
www.northeastmountainguiding.com

The Hobby Hoarder Goes on a Quest to Become Robin Hood: Archery

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I have a vague memory of being a young girl and picking up a small bow and arrow at a Girl Scout Camp. I have absolutely no recollection of shooting the weapon–or hitting a bullseye. If I would have hit a target dead on, I am sure people would still be listening to my bragging. So as far as I am concerned, and as far as my memory serves me–my attempt at archery never happened.

After recently seeing the Hunger Games, a fire ignited within me to go try out archery. Fortunately, within days of wanting to head to the range, a Google Offer went up, and my friends and I were setting up a lesson for half off the normal price. #Winning.

Dressed in a Robin Hood outfit, I stepped to the line, I loaded the arrow, I pulled back, and I released. Bulllllls-eye….Wait no, I think the correct term is Bull S***. With the exception of shooting from a close range, I had no such luck. And for all you Hunger Games geeks: This means the odds were never in my favor–But at least I looked good in the hat.

The costume is from: Abarcadabra NYC
http://abracadabranyc.com

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And here’s a little throwback to Robin Hood: “Men in Tights”:

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Queens Archery
170-20 39th Ave.
Flushing, NY

The Hobby Hoarder Gets Jazzy with It: Jazz/Modern/Contemporary Dance

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All Choreography in video: © Joi Anissa Favor. All Rights Reserved.

Every time I try a new physical activity, I wonder how I was ever a Division 1 Varsity athlete. Between my lack of strength, my inability to follow choreographed dance steps, and my flexibility deficiency, one would think I never played sports in my life–let alone went to college for them.

As a young girl, I took ballet, but never danced my way into any other classes. I left the studio to play baseball with the boys. Over time, I continued to add more and more sports to my list including soccer, basketball, tennis, softball, and field hockey. How I even survived playing sports astounds me. Sophomore year of high school I broke both hands (not at the same time) during my spring softball season, and during field hockey camp right before college I went flying through a goal cage head first. So it doesn’t surprise me that last night I had trouble figuring out how to put my right foot over my left foot and vis versa.

As I looked at the other women in the class, I noted that I was clearly the outcast in my athletic shorts and t–while they sported leotards. Note: Add leotard to the budget. I sweated profusely through the stretching and core work, struggled through the early warm-up dance moves (in which I moved so slowly, I could be called a geriatric patient) and thought to myself–don’t leave–don’t leave: This isn’t like zumba where there’s fifty other people to hide behind. You gotta commit to this Libs…COMMIT!

And so I did.

And not before long, I was gathering the steps, following Joi, our instructor, and moving–semi-smoothly across the floor. Shaking my booty, and getting all groovy–all while singing the Will Smith tune in my head with my own words:

“Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na Getting Jazzzzzzzy with it.”

By the end, I told the girls that I was just hustling them–and that I was truly a professional 😉

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Williamsburg Movement & Arts Center
347 Grand Street
Brooklyn New York

Check out my Coach and Dance Partners
Joi Anissa Favor; Lindsey Springer; Nicky Giuland 

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The Hobby Hoarder is the 10 Billion Dollar Libby: Boxing

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I didn’t set out, schedule, or predict that I would end up at a boxing lesson for the hobby of the week, this week, but I did. In fact, I should have been at a West-African dance class at the Alvin Ailey Center that I had put on my calendar two weeks earlier. I am not sure how I got to the boxing gym. I had called my mother hours earlier to say it was a beautiful day outside and that I wanted to change my hobby from West-African dance to something outdoorsy. She suggested being a “naturalist.” Apparently, I decided to act naturally on my current feelings because four hours later, I was sitting in a boxing gym, texting my best friend to say, “What the hell am I doing–do you think they’ll make me jump rope–and will I get hit in the face…I am a crier.”

I realized that frustrations that had built up from the evening prior, and the day of, had sent me to the boxing gym to release tension–in a safe way. I didn’t want to hit a person–I just wanted to punch my problems away.  I mean it… I wear yellow sunglasses, damnitt–I am NOT a violent person.

Besides, for self-defense–it’s not so bad to know how to throw a punch–or block your face.


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While on my back-to-back quest to discover how to defend myself, I realized that I was really just disguising another quest…to become Hilary Swank movie characters–I’ll be flying a plane on May 20–to take care of her role in Amelia.

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Church Street Boxing Gym
25 Park Place
Manhattan, NY

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