Ahava Something To Tell You…Get It? {Skincare Series 1}

Okay Skincare Review Series, episode 1. How about we start with my favorite of the moment: Ahava.

Ahava LogoNot only is Ahava the Hebrew word for “love” (aww) but it is also a skincare line from Israel whose products are made from Dead Sea minerals and plants as well as other all-natural ingredients. Depending on what type of skin you have and what you want out of your skincare regimen, you can pick which line is right for you.

All products are:

  • Paraben free
  • SLS/SELS free (sulfates)
  • Allergy tested
  • Approved for sensitive skin
  • Not tested on animals
  • Produced without petroleum, harsh synthetic ingredients, or GMOs

My favorite line of products from this brand, Ahava Deadsea Plants, is heavenly. Honestly I hope heaven smells like this. If so, Lord take me now.

Our store carries all four products in the Plants line – you can distinguish them by their green lettering. Overall, the scent of the Plants line is so refreshing. It’s like…plants. Duh.

The Caressing Body Sorbet makes your skin feel so silky smooth and completely moisturized, without feeling heavy, oily, or sticky. This stuff smells so wonderful, I honestly want to eat it out of the tub. And then, when it’s on my hands, I want to eat my hands.Body Sorbet

The Firming Body Cream is similar to the sorbet, except it seems a bit thicker and smells a little less amazing. I’m unsure why that is, but I prefer the smell of the body sorbet to the body cream.Body Cream

The Dry Oil Body Mist is awesome. Apparently oils are all the rage nowadays for skincare, even for oily skin. Weird, right? I actually tested it side by side with another brand’s body oil spray on my legs. I joked with my coworker that we were going to be so oily we could just slide right home after work.Body Oil

But they aren’t like putting on baby oil where it’s just thick and goopy and makes you look slicker than the hair of a 1920s mobster. It’s a light mist that you spray on your body, gently rub so that it soaks in thoroughly, and you are left with glowing, dewy-looking skin. And it smells absolutely fantastic.

The last product, the Smoothing Body Exfoliator, does not smell the best. This would be my least favorite of the four products based on smell alone. It is not harsh or super gritty since Moroccan Argon shells serve as the exfoliators. I have not tried its actual exfoliating power since I am at work and would most likely try it on my legs. Or feet. And that would be weird to do at work. Right?Exfoliator

If you read my Hair, Skin, & Nails post (if not, do it to it my friend!) my skin is super dry and sensitive. Something else that is sensitive: my olfactory nerves. My mood will change drastically if something smells bad; like, I transform from Happy to Grumpy in a nanosecond. Although, side note, Once Upon a Time taught us that Grumpy was originally named Dreamy.

Long story short: I need intense hydration that is gentle and that smells divine and Ahava Deadsea Plants definitely provides that.

Apparently Duane Reade and Target both sell Ahava products, although they go by the name ‘Dead Sea Essentials’, are not found on their website, the packaging is much different, and the prices are much lower. This is definitely something to look into if you don’t want to splurge on the “real” stuff. I’ll admit that Ahava products are pretty pricey and not as readily available as the less expensive alternative.Dead Sea Essentials

For more information on their products, the company, or to order some shweet stuff, you can go to their website, www.ahavaus.com. Also, let me know if you’ve tried Dead Sea Essentials and what you think; I may try it out myself…

New Series: Skincare Reviews

I’ve been working at a small local pharmacy here in New York City for 3 weeks now. Along with the every day brands, we sell salon and other high-end products. We have facial cleansers, moisturizers, soaps, perfumes, candles…and we have testers for most of the products.washing face

“You mean, you get to test all those amazing products AND smell like a goddess every time that you go to work?!”

Yes. And yes.

I’ve been trying out as many of the products as I can. Shortly after arriving at work, I get a little pump of some brand and scent of hand lotion. After using the bathroom and washing my hands, I go for something different. I’ve even tried face crèmes on my hands to get a feel for their consistency, smell, and (if any) noticeable effects.

I’ve also staked out my favorite scented soaps and candles and (more importantly) I’ve been able to keep myself from blowing my paychecks on everything I want in the store. I think I deserve a present for my strength. Palmarosa Wild Mint candle by Caldrea, anyone?

No, Holliday, focus.

Anyways, by the end of my workdays, I have been able to test out at least 10 different skincare products. So I figured I could make a mini-series out of my experiences with them. I’m doing this with the hopes that it will help those looking at trying the products while introducing others to an entirely new line of products.

Who?

Oh and I’ve tried the whole ‘splash your face with water like they do on the commercials’ and found that it is a very impractical way to wash your face. Cheers to skincare!

Hair, Skin, & Nails >1 Month Update<

It has now been 4 weeks since I started taking the Hair, Skin, & Nails supplement, so I’m updating with my overall impressions after one month. As was mentioned in my previous post about the supplement, I am only taking 2 of the caplets when the suggested dose is 3 per day. So let’s see what (if anything) I’ve noticed…HSN biotin 2

My skin has been on and off with pimples here and there, and it still feels dry without moisturizer. I realized, however, that when I work out my skin tends to freak out. Since our 5k at the end of June I haven’t been working out as much with school and my new job. My skin was looking fine and then one day I decided to run, and by the end of that day I had two pimples starting to take form. To be fit or not to be fit?

Also, the back part of my scalp went through a couple days worth of itchiness and I was actually afraid that I had gotten lice! I bought Neutrogena T-Sal shampoo and T-Gel conditioner and (thank God!) it felt better by the next day and (again, thank you Lord) I have not had the itches since.

My hair seems a little bit more lively, but I’m not sure how much the supplement has to do with that. For one, as mentioned before, I have a different shampoo and conditioner combo – I’ve been mixing the T-Sal/Gel products (for dryness and softness) with some Brilliant Brunette (to help with the color).

Second, I picked up the “It’s a 10 miracle leave-in product” and have used that every time I wash my hair for about two weeks now.

It's a 10

Third, to promote shine, I started rinsing my hair with really cold water in the shower. So after my whole shower routine is done, when I’m all ready to get out, I torture myself by turning the water to cold and holding my head to it for about 20 seconds. I haven’t gotten any comments about my hair blinding anyone with it’s shine, so it may be all for nothing, but what the heck? If nothing else, it wakes me up in the morning.

Finally, and probably most helpful, I have cut down on using heat on my hair. I’ve only used my straightener to curl my hair maybe 6 days this month as opposed to every other day. It helps that it’s been so sticky and humid. Honestly, there’s no point in even trying to make my hair be anything but curly and frizzy when it’s so hot and humid. So I save time and my locks when I go semi-au natural.175875_10151496725246526_624190009_o (1)

So when I wash my hair with said shampoos and conditioners, I spray said leave-in product and squirt some mousse in my hair, comb with my head upside down, flip right-side up, and finger-comb/shake my waves out to my normal parted style. I then create a braid at the front of my hair using my bangs because they get the most out of control and awkward looking when left to air dry (seen above…kind of).

Against all these great improvement-inducing products and routines, I dyed my hair about 2 weeks back. I am now all brunette again (I used Natural Instincts #12 Light Golden Brown if anyone is wondering) because I wanted to blend my highlights and cover my grays. I let it go for quite awhile longer than normal, but a male coworker pointed it out one day so my self-conscious self took over and I caved. Ugh, when are they ever going to patent that cure for gray hair?Natural Instincts #12

All that said, I’m glad to report that I definitely notice my baby hairs are less pronounced and seem to be growing because they aren’t breaking due to heat tools.

My nails took a beating at the beginning of the 4 weeks because I had gotten gel nails done at a salon. After almost 2 weeks, I started picking and pulling at them and a few of my nails ended up really beat up. Because the top layer(s) were pulled off with the gel nail, I ended up buying acetone to take the remainder off. So needless to say they’re still recovering from that.

I haven’t felt nauseous or anything while taking the supplement, but I’ve been taking them with breakfast and dinner, so I think that helps. I have about 3 weeks left of these pills and I’m not sure whether I want to continue with the regimen or not. If I do, I will definitely look into getting a different brand/pill because these are large and horrid tasting when they don’t go down the first four tries because of their being large. Since I take 12 pills a day for my Crohn’s, I’d rather not continue to add two more huge pills to the equation.

I will update either when I finish the supplements and change over to a new kind or in another month. Or when my hair is thick and luscious enough to do a super sexy hair flip.

Until then, I’ll just keep looking like this:White Chicks

Cheers to healthy mind and body. And humor.

A Sleep Aid Review…After 4 Hours Of Sleep

I am currently running on about 4 hours of sleep.

And this is a review of the Slumberland Snacks Sleep Squares.

So get ready.

I received a sample of these sleep squares in my June Conscious Box. I wrote about my Conscious Box experience in a post you can find here.

Reading some reviews, apparently people swear by these things. I don’t have a sleep disorder, so I have never really taken sleep aids or anything like that, prescription or otherwise. I’m a pretty light sleeper, so I wake up (and then stay awake) pretty easily. I took an anti-anxiety pill for a bit last year, but the anxiety was due to my Crohn’s, which was not diagnosed until a bit later. And when I’m stressed, it can take a toll on my sleep patterns. But nothing as bad as last night…

So these sleep squares are said to be “deliciously simple treats that help you get a better night’s rest.” The sample I received contained two squares, and since they are supposedly very healthy (100% natural, sugar and gluten free, etc.) they actually have an expiration date. Mine were due to expire in 2 weeks, and since I have to work and go to school the next 4 days, I figured last night would be good a time as any to test them out. Be prepared, get a good night’s sleep to tackle these next few days. Right?

The directions suggest taking the sleep square(s) about 30 minutes before you plan to fall asleep, so I took one at 12 midnight. It didn’t taste bad (they come in many flavors, but mine were just plain chocolate) and I made sure to chew completely before swallowing, as was directed.

After about 30 minutes, I had been dozing on and off, but when I would come back to consciousness, it felt as though my heart was racing. I had that really anxious feeling like when you’re nervous or feel like you’re forgetting something. Or when you doze in public and realize it only after you jolt awake in an embarrassing way. Why was I feeling like this?

I did my homework.

I didn’t have to be up early.

I hadn’t eaten in over 4 hours.

I hadn’t had any tiffs with friends or anyone, causing me to stress.

Heck, I had even done some extra independent studying of Statistics AND worked out at the gym!

What gives?!

So around 12:45, I took the second square, drank some water, and climbed back into bed. This second one would do the trick, it had to. I just needed that extra push.

I read the box, making sure that these squares were actually to help you sleep and not give you energy. It does mention that you should discontinue use if you have feelings of anxiety and insomnia (check and check), along with a heap load of other negative reactions.

And then, around 5:30 a.m., having been awake the entire night, I got out of bed and jumped around my room to try to release a bunch of the pent up energy, ate a banana, and noted that the sun was starting to come up. Wonderful.

I climbed back into bed (by now I had already had a few meltdowns…”everyone else is asleep, what is wrong with me?!”), read for a bit, and around 6 a.m., I was finally able to kick that anxious, super-awake feeling enough to catch some zzzs. And then I woke up at 9:30 and laid there until my alarm went off at 10.

I’m sure this is how I’ll look coming home after work tonight. Needless to say, I personally do not recommend these things.

Hair, Skin & Nails (oh my!)

I’ve decided to try taking the Hair, Skin, and Nails supplement by Spring Valley in hopes that I will become a smokin’ hot, glowing supermodel with long, luscious locks to my tush. Alliteration aside, I guess I would settle with stronger hair with less fallout, stronger nails with less breakage, and maybe a bit of a glowy complexion. That sounds a bit more realistic.

I have heard so many girls (mostly on YouTube) who buy Prenatal vitamins in hopes that their hair/skin/nails will improve. I mean, we all hear about how pregnant women’s skin glows and how their hair and nails grow like dandelions on Miracle-gro. But honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with hormones. So instead, I’ll try this collagen support vitamin and hope for the best!HSN biotin 2

So I’ll start by giving you an idea of what I’m dealing with right now so that an update can hopefully show improvements.

A little about me: I’m a very dry person. And no, I’m not talking about my humor.

My hair is really dry, so it frizzes if I don’t put some sort of product in it. I usually use a mousse because my hair is curly but fine, so I don’t want anything too heavy to weigh it down or make it flat but I need some sort of control. I color my hair quite often because I was blessed with graying hair at the age of 16 (Proverbs 16:31 – crown of glory, holler) so that adds to the dryness.

At the moment, my hair is about 2 inches past my collarbone and is not very thick (density-wise, not diameter); I have fine hair, but quite a bit of it. I also have a ton of baby hairs around my face, so I’m hoping this whips them into shape. I also have been trying to cut down on using heat on my hair, so hopefully that will help as well. It stinks that heat makes it look so much better! #firstworldproblems anyone? Anyways, see picture (left) for current hair condition.lunch-copy

My skin is always dry unless it’s really hot and humid (causing me to sweat profusely) so I am constantly reaching for lotion. I have had bouts of eczema on and off since high school, so I try to be very conscientious of applying lotion when my skin feels dry. My face suffers hormonal breakouts around my T-zone (typically once a month, if ya know what I mean) and is sensitive, so finding gentle but effective cleansers and moisturizers is difficult.

My nails have taken a beating over the past year; I was diagnosed with Crohns disease in October, and my malnutrition showed in my nails. I had pits and ridges on every nail and was unable to grow them very long because they were pretty brittle. Since I have returned to normal eating habits, they have gotten better, although I still have some ridges and waves.

So that is the condition of my hair, skin, and nails right now. In terms of the supplement, the serving size is 3 caplets per day, to be taken with meals.  So far I have been taking them for three days, although I have only taken two caplets each day instead of the suggested three.  They are kind of large and are kind of smelly, but I’ve taken larger pills, so it’s no big deal. I’ve heard that it should take 2-3 months before full benefits are seen but I will update any changes I see after the month mark.HSN biotin pills

I looked up a bunch of reviews, from YouTube to Amazon (you can read through them here), and here’s what I found:

Good experiences

  • Many reviewers on Amazon and YouTube claim that their hair and nails grew longer and stronger after only a couple weeks. Also, skin was less oily and more glowy with fewer breakouts.

Bad experiences

  • I read a bunch of reviews where bad skin breakouts occurred; apparently the collagen found in these kinds of supplements is broken down through hydrolysis, so it is recommended by many to drink plenty of water while taking it.
  • Others complained of nausea caused by the pills; it is important to take any supplements with food. Your stomach will be producing acid to break up the food and supplement instead of the lone supplement sitting and rotting the lining of your stomach and/or causing nausea.

Unfortunately I was unable to find any proper research on these sorts of supplements, so this will be a self-study. I shall update after one month. Ready. Set. Sports Illustrated cover, here I come.

Conscious (un)Box(ing)

I have seen a lot of YouTube videos (remember my secret obsession? Read about it here) about monthly subscription boxes. Companies send subscribers a box of products depending on what type of company they are; for example, some send out only beauty items, others are full of products for your pets. Usually the person is being sponsored, so they received their box for free, and were asked by the company to unbox the package and do a haul/review.

Unfortunately for us normal folk (at least us poor college kids), we actually have to pay for these items that are less than necessary. And some of these subscriptions can get upwards of $50! No way Jose. Luckily enough, I had signed up for weekly emails from a company called Conscious Box because one of the aforementioned YouTubers had hosted a giveaway through the company and signing up was one of the rules.Conscious Box

Usually I just delete these emails because I think that I can use $20 per month on more important things. However, I received one that advertised a free box with the use of the provided promotion code. Now, when I say free, I mean I did not have to pay the flat $20; I did still have to pay $7.95 for shipping and handling. Either way, I jumped on that offer and signed up to receive a box in June.

Now the cool thing about Conscious Box is they are dedicated to providing subscribers with body and earth conscious products ranging from beauty to food to household (You can read their Mission here). They have 3 options: Classic, Vegan, and Gluten Free. So you can choose which type of box you would like to receive and they ship a box of goodies to your door every month. If you are either unhappy or don’t want to continue receiving products, you can simply pause your subscription (Check out their How It Works page here).closeup open box

So anyways, on to my June Conscious Box. As you can see above, the packaging is so neat and cute. The box was surprisingly heavy when I picked it up and was completely full of products, unlike most orders where there is more styrofoam or bubble wrap than actual product. There is also a card inside that lists all of the products and descriptions.[hr]

Chicken Poop lip balm – Although this is not made from poop, I dislike the smell immensely. I think it is the lavender – it is just too overwhelming, especially since my lips are directly under my nose. Like everyone else’s…chicken-poop

[hr]Son For Men Organic, Vegan, Non-GMO Soothe – I am tempted to use this after I shave. No, I don’t shave my face. I am just a little hesitant because I prefer to smell guys, not smell like one. Maybe I’ll have Tom try it and get back to you.son for men

[hr]Bottle Bright Water Bottle Cleaner – This is such an awesome idea! I was actually just talking to my friend about what a hassle it is trying to clean water bottles. I will definitely be trying this out.

bottle bright cleaner

[hr]Sea Foam Face and Body Lotion – This lotion is unscented, and even though I like scented lotions, they are good for those of us with sensitive skin. The sample size is great for traveling, so I will be testing this out for sure.

lotion

[hr]Nature’s Baby Organics Bubble Bath – The smell is nice and fruity – the scent is Tangy Tangerine. I do not have a tub to try this out with but hopefully someday I will get the chance to use it.

bubble bath

[hr]ACTZ Glycerin Soap – This soap claims to save lives…except it is shaped like a cupcake and I might want to eat it! So cute! And it’s in the scent “Shower Candy and Desserts”, so it smells divine.

cupcake soap

[hr]Lotus Moon Hibiscus Flower Facial Moisturizer – I plan on trying this out tonight after I wash my face. It smells nice – kind of fresh and clean. It says it is meant for all skin types and is vegan, gluten-free, non-gmo (that’s Genetically Modified Organism), and 82% organic. So please don’t break me out. kthxbai.

lotus moon lotion

[hr]Slumberland Sleep Squares – These are super intriguing – chocolate squares that help you sleep? And they’re only 15 calories a pop?! This package contains 2 squares, so this is potentially two nights’ worth of chocolate-filled, dreamy, restful nights.

sleep squares

[hr]Organic Flavrz Drink Mixes – I’m not a huge fan of flavored water, so I was kind of disappointed to find 4 of these packets. My philosophy: either give me plain water or give me something with tons of sugar; none of this halfway stuff. I tried one of the berry ‘Revive’ mixes tonight with a bottle of water and it was okay.

flavrz drink mix

[hr]Sneakz Organic Nutrition Milkshake – The name is kind of lame – it refers to adding veggies into your child’s lunchbox without them realizing. You sneaky mom! Unless of course they can read. Then you’re screwed. I’m excited to give it a go. And I can read.

sneakz chocolate milk

[hr]Alt Peanut Butter Cookie Fruit and Nut Bar – You had me at peanut butter. And then cookie. This sucker is gluten free, dairy free, non-gmo, kosher, and vegan. Hopefully we can add delicious to that list.

alt bar

[hr]Skout Bars – These have an even longer list of fancy things: organic, vegan, gluten free, non-gmo, dairy & soy free, naturally occurring protein, fiber, and vitamins, and no refined sugar or fillers. Whew. I tried the cherry vanilla one for a snack today and it was really good!

skout bar

Also included is a $50 gift card for Naked Wines, so that is absolutely amazing! Overall, I am really satisfied with my $7.95 purchase; this was a great box to receive because it was packed with so much great stuff. I don’t even think I would have minded if I had paid the full price for this box. I will definitely consider subscribing for another month!

5 Minute Gel Manicure: A Review

My friend (and fellow blogger) Courtney decided to give a gel manicure a go. We have both heard so much about these manicures and how long they last, that we wanted in. We did not go to a salon (ain’t nobody got time or money for that! Well, we don’t at least) but instead we picked up this nifty kit from Walmart.

Nutra Nail 5 minute gel polish kit

For just about $10, Nutra Nail Gel Perfect 5 Minute Gel-Color Manicure supposedly gives you a gel manicure without fancy lights or other equipment. Unlike other kits like Sally Hansen, you must purchase the light for at least $60 in order to get the manicure, not to mention buying any subsequent colors you want.

Gel Activator and Polish

The Nutra Nail kit (we picked the shade “True Romance”, a soft, rosy pink color) comes with the Activator, Gel Polish, and Brush Cleaner – everything you need to get your gel manicure. The packaging claims the following:

  • Sets rock solid in 5 minutes
  • Lasting patent leather shine
  • No UV/LED light needed
  • Ding-free protection

**We do want to note that we did not prep our nails as suggested, so we have taken that into consideration for our review. We didn’t have files or nail polish remover to prep with, but neither of us had polish on before doing this. Our hands/nails were clean and we did not have lotion on…as you can tell by our dry hands!**

Courtney first coatCourtney went first, and her first reaction was in regards to the smell. Upon opening and applying the gel color she stated, “This is potent – my eyes are watering!” She realized that she should go slower and be more careful so that the gel activator and color polish do not get on the skin because it hardens and sticks to everything. Within a couple of minutes, she said she was impressed because her fingernails felt hard.

first-coat 2pics

After my first coat, I observed much of the same. Towards the end of the first hand, the color became kind of stringy and the brush hardened. I honestly believe that the “activator” is just a glorified term for “nail glue” – it smells and dries much like nail glue. The first coat is very sheer – this may depend upon the color you choose.

Holliday first coat

We also both were annoyed at how terrible our right hands turned out; the most plausible reason is because we are less coordinated with our left hands, therefore it takes longer to polish them and so the polish dries before we get through each nail.

comparison 2pics

We both noted the annoying number of steps in order to complete each step of the manicure. The directions give you a simplified as well as a more in-depth (with tips) version of the directions. We constantly forgot to switch the gel color and brush cleaner brushes, a necessary step in order to keep the brush from hardening with the combination of activator and color polish. It was cool watching the color just kind of clump and fall off the brush inside the cleaner bottle.cleaning brushes

The second coat definitely got rid of a lot of the streakiness; they looked fine from far away, although close inspection revealed many flaws. Courtney noted, “If you put too much activator on, it will pool and that’s where all the gel polish will want to go. You have to find a balance.” We both ended up going for a third coat which simply built the color up and continued to cover streaks. Courtney asked me to apply her third coat and she was happy with how it turned out.

second coat 2pics

So our overall first impressions were not too bad. We only ended up using half of the activator and polish after both of us applying 3 coats, so there is plenty of product. It was interesting the next morning seeing how all the color had settled in the bottom of the brush cleaner bottle.

cleaner bottle next day

We planned to do a 2 week update post because that is usually the time frame that gel manicures are supposed to last. However, mine lasted less than 24 hours. We completed these manicures on Friday evening around 10:30. By about noon the next day, I already had some big chips (see picture). Later that evening around dinnertime, I had even more chips and after texting Courtney about this she responded that she had the same problem.

I decided to pick off any that I could because my nails looked terrible with so many chips. Needless to say, I ended up picking every last bit off of my nails. Maybe we would have gotten better results if we had prepped our nails beforehand, but either way it was super disappointing.

next day

Pros:

  • Dried and hardened within 5 minutes, as it claims
  • Very shiny, as it claims
  • You get a lot of product – we only ended up using about half of everything for 3 coats each
  • Price

Cons:

  • Streaks were very difficult to avoid
  • Must be fast but precise
  • Number of steps and things to remember (for example, swapping the brushes after each hand)
  • Smell
  • Chipped within 12 hours

Did you try these and have better luck? Have you tried other brands that worked better? Let us know in the comments below!

Join a meetup!

The assignment for this week in my Social Media and Learning class was to sign up for meetup.com, join some groups, and attend a meetup. Based on interests and hobbies, aspirations, and even potential business purposes, you can find all sorts of groups of people looking for and interested in similar things. It’s huge for techies and you could even find “Mr/Ms Right” at singles meetups.

Image

The website is based out of NYC, so there are tons of groups based here, but you can find groups virtually anywhere. From the meetup.com wikipedia page, I found this interesting:

The attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, was pivotal to the formation of this social network. Meetup co-founder Scott Heiferman publicly stated that the manner in which people in New York came together in the aftermath of that traumatic event inspired him to use the Internet to make it easier for people to connect with strangers in their community.

I needed to find a meetup within the next week or so, so this limited my possibilities seeing as many groups I was interested in (math, teachers, etc) meet a few times per month. So then I expanded my search and looked at groups that focus on fitness and health. There were a ton of soccer (football, for all you foreigners) meetups – mostly pickup games in which at least intermediate skills were encouraged…

Apologies but this isn’t a group for people who are learning how to play, please only sign up and come along if you can play to a decent standard.

(AKA “you better know what you’re doing or you’ll ruin it for everyone”). That’s from an actual pickup group. Hmpf.

And then I stumbled on a group that not only had games as meetups, but also offered lessons for all skill levels. I mean, I played for my school in seventh grade, but I would not say I was good. So I signed up for the basic coed lesson meetup, and I was pumped. Nervous. But pumped.

The lesson was this morning and for $15 I was hoping to meet people with a similar skill level as me (little to none, mind you), be active for 75 minutes (burn off the 2.5 pieces of pizza from dinner last night), and have fun.Hudson River Pier 25 NYC

Now, the lesson was in the morning…

…On Pier 25 which overlooks the Hudson River….

…In March….

…So it was cold.

But it was so much fun. Everyone was so friendly; we were all there for the same reason, mostly to improve our skills and maybe make a hobby out of playing pickup games. Our ages ranged from 20ish to 60ish, the ratio of females to males was pretty even, and there was no equipment necessary – no shin guards or cleats.

Frank, the instructor, was so helpful; he understood our mediocre skills, but pushed us to become smarter players and learn skills properly rather than simply kicking a ball away from us toward a goal. You can check out his website, Soccer Beyond, to get private lessons or even purchase his book!Frank Soccer Beyond

We scrimmaged for the first half hour or so and I was intimidated at first; throwing us to the wolves without teaching us skills? But it was a great warmup and, again, great skills were not required. Frank encouraged us to learn everyone’s names; we were to call their name before we passed the ball to them, or to let them know we were open for a pass. It was definitely a great team building experience.

We learned basic skills – dribbling and “faking”…is it called “faking” in soccer? I mean, I always see this move (roll the ball back with your toe and then kick it behind and to the opposite side?) but I don’t know the technical term. Anyway, we then finished up with another scrimmage. It was great.

I definitely recommend anyone looking for a great workout and fun with others to join a group on meetup.com and attend a meetup. No super duper skills necessary! I think that’s the best part; the point of the site is to encourage people to find others with similar interests. You can even start your own groups! You never know who else shares your interests, no matter how strange they may be.