Monthly Archives: April 2011

Friday Fix: Barre Stretch with Stephanie Thompson

Happy hour is a nice way to wind down a tough week at work.  But no matter how enjoyable it is to kick back, soak in the warm spring weather on a pub patio, and catch up with friends or family, I tend to extend happy hour into late night Friday with too many beers and too much greasy food.  I’m sure I’m the only one.

Feeling guilty about my bad habit, I tried opting for a much healthier alternative:  a stretching class at local favorite, Body Language.*  Nothing like a beer, I know, but hear me out.   At this stretch class you’ll get soft piano music and Stephanie’s soothing voice giving instructions.  (No, it’s not yoga and you won’t be asked to chant.  You can laugh or cringe about your own inflexibility though.)  It’s the kind of class you can melt into after a hectic week.  Stephanie leads the class through a warm-up session and then delves into deep leg, torso, arm, and back stretches.  In true Body Language fashion, the class includes a bit of core work too.

I’m not going to gloss over the whole thing – it can actually be challenging.  It makes me realize how tight I am and while I’m trying to coax my foot to get itself up onto the bar, the thought of a traditional happy hour creeps in.  Alas, no position is held for too long and when Stephanie takes us to the next move, those sinister thoughts vanish and I finish the class feeling stretched out, relaxed, and like I got a little body maintenance work in too.

I’m still a sucker for a beer on Friday, so I follow class with a tall glass of water, a couple of beers, and a mini Babybel (or two) in my backyard talking with T and playing fetch with my dogs.  How do you wind down on Friday?

Details:  Body Language, 3301 Menaul Suite 29 right next to Cost Plus World Market, (505) 821-6580,

(*I’m not being compensated for this post, but I am a regular at Body Language.)



Run for the Zoo: 5K and 10K

I finally convinced T to sign up for a couple of races this year!  First up is the Run for the Zoo 10K on May 1st.
Goals: Back when we signed up, we thought we’d like to finish in 55 to 60 minutes. Ha! We are now sheepishly aiming for 65 mintues – see “preparation” for the explanation.
Preparation (or lack thereof): T spins 1-3x /week for 30-60 minutes. I spin and cross train about 3x /week. We’re not totally out of shape, but we’re hardly in top form. We started our training a little late, as in we started running 2 weeks before the race. Ever sign up for a race with good intentions and then not really train for it? Our first run was 30 min. at a 10:15 min/mile pace around the open space loop at USS Bullhead park. According to the loop is .98 miles.  If you can run 30 minutes you can run 60, right?  Here’s hoping we can get our act together this week!
Note:  Run for the Zoo has a 1 mile Fun Run that is perfect for little ones.  With all the people, the excitement of a start line, and supporters cheering along the route kids love it!

5K’s are more my pace.  I ran my first 5K in November for the Albuquerque Turkey Trek.  I only trained for two weeks prior to the race and my goal was to finish in 45 minutes.  Don’t laugh! (I did meet my goal.) I’m not a runner in any sense of the word.  I get bored, it’s hard and I’m always waiting for the ‘runner’s high’ that so many of you talk about.  I have yet to feel it and I have serious doubts that it exists.  Running and I don’t get along unless it’s me chasing after a soccer ball, but I have made a pledge this year to run a few 5k races.  This was one of my New Year’s Resolutions.  Not to mention, it’s something that my husband enjoys.  I figure that if he plays soccer with me year round I could at the very least run a few races with him.   I just don’t think I was made for running.  So far I have run in 2 races this year and I have hated every minute of them.  I have tried to stay motivated to do it but if another activity comes up like soccer, biking or kayaking I would rather do that.  Do any of you have any ideas for me?  It’s just so dang hard!


Easter Happenings

Easter is so much more fun with kiddos!  Having an only child is a bit challenging when it comes to holidays.  Easter being one of those, we get him out to socialize with others in our community.  On Saturday we went to the Los Ranchos Easter Egg Hunt at Hartnett Park.  We rode our bikes because the park is just down the road and I don’t have to worry about getting there early to find a parking spot.  The hunt started at 10 a.m. sharp and was over five minutes later.  5,000 eggs don’t go very far when there are hundreds of kids out on the park!  Overall, it was a good time and good practice for Easter Sunday.  Sunday we celebrated Easter with our family and my son had a great time playing with his cousins,  hunting for eggs, eating candy, and flying kites.  What a fun weekend!

Confetti eggs are best when served as a surpise! You can see they leave just the tiniest bit of confetti in your hair.  The marshmallow guns were a blast, if not a little slobbery sometimes – gross I know, but worth the fun!  (The plastic egg/prize exchange worked out wonderfully too.  What’s better than cousins and farting silly putty?)

We hope you had a beautiful weekend!  Check in tomorrow to see what we’re up to next . . .


Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: Man and Woman of the Year 2011

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year campaign has officially kicked off.  Man and Woman of the year Coordinator Judi Hines has been working really hard to make this year’s campaign a success.  Please click hereto see the candidates and learn more about our local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Man and Woman of the Year 2011

Judi Hines

I had the opportunity to talk to Judi  about what is the most challenging part about this campaign.  She said, ‘Candidate recruitment!  The ideal candidate is a local leader, well-networked, philanthropically minded, and a fearless fund raiser- this combination of characteristics combined with a person who has time to commit to a campaign are a rarity!  That being said, this year’s class of candidates are all that and then some- LLS has such a great group to celebrate this year and have had great groups involved since 2009.’

 What sort of campaigning activities are your candidates doing?  Fund raising takes so many forms, as this year’s candidates are proving.  We have volleyball tournaments, Silpada parties, retail events, Bunco nights, dog washes, and paper icon campaigns happening, to name a few.  Please visit our Facebook page, ,  for details.

 Where does the money that is raised by these candidates go?  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services.  We offer family support groups, the First Connection program, patient financial aid, and the co-pay assistance program.  We support New Mexico and El Paso and in our 2010 fiscal year, 406 patients in these areas received our assistance.

 What other events should people know about?  Our local chapter offers four different fundraising campaigns, so there is a way for everyone to get involved:  in addition to our Man & Woman of the Year campaign, which will end with a gala celebration on May 21st (see our website for details-, we offer Team in Training, School & Youth, and the Light the Night walk, which will take place on September 24th.

For more information about LLS please click on the link below.

Easter Candy Alternatives

There are so many glorious reasons to love Easter, but one problem is all that flippin’ sugar.  It’s a well known fact that on Easter a single child can consume 100 pounds of sugar.  (In my youth, it was the one day when candy and soda flowed freely; it fueled our epic orchard Easter egg hunts and hours on the trampoline afterward.)  If you don’t have an orchard and trampoline to burn off all that sugar or if you prefer fewer sugar crash-induced  trantrums and less worrying about cavities, here are some alternatives:

Exhibit One:  Confetti-Filled Eggs (a long-standing Sanchez Family tradition)
Consume many omelets for months leading up to Easter or make a dozen angel food cakes the week before (poke a button-sized hole in egg to shake out contents), rinse and dry, dye, let dry, fill halfway with confetti, tape or glue shut with tissue paper, hide said eggs, find them, crack them on unsuspecting children’s and adults’ heads alike, erupt in laughter. (Time crunched? Pick up a few dozen from Wal-Mart.)

Exhibit Two:  Reusable Plastic Eggs Exchanged for Prizes (my sister Olivia is trying this out for the first time this year so we’ll let you know how it goes)
Buy (and keep for next year) plastic eggs, hide said eggs, have children find them, set up table for children to exchange eggs for small prizes like noisy putty, slap bracelets, bouncy balls, etc., revel in self-satisfaction as kids play.  (Or type out silly “fortunes” and jokes and stuff them into the eggs.)  I say collect some of those crazy prizes and reuse them next year.  Seriously, I’d love to see any of the littlest kids remember that they already played with them.

Exhibit Three:  Marshmallow Guns (a Suarez Family tradition)
Construct marshmallow guns using PVC (look here and here), strategically distribute said guns, load with mini marshmallows, shoot each other (but careful not to poke out an eye), pretend to be mad when you’re hit, get even, then everybody laughs.

Exhibit Four:  Camouflage Plastic Eggs!
That’s right, they are camouflaged to look  like rocks, grass, and other natural surroundings.  This is the perfect remedy for making the hunt a little harder if your children are getting older.   This year my son is into Legos, so we have filled them with Lego figurines,  dollar bills and left over change.  I try not to buy candy because Grandma and Grandpa give him his fill of it and our Dentist (my brother in law won’t be to happy with me).  These are also very durable and re-usable.  This is the second year we will have used them.

What candy alternatives do you use?

Happy Easter!



Looking for another day to use your children’s Easter baskets?  I have found some community events around town that offer some fun Easter happenings on Saturday, April 23.  

Rio Rancho Egg hunt (Free)

Where: Haynes Park, 2006 Grande Blvd., across form Intel on 528.
When: 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 2

Community Easter Egg Hunt Rio Rancho (Proceeds benefit victims of domestic violence.)
When: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, April 23
Where: King Park in Northern Meadows, 3601 King Blvd. NE, Rio Rancho
What: Food, games, bouncers, the Easter bunny and an egg hunt.

Lobo Letterman Easter Egg hunt (Free)
The UNM Student Lettermen will have their annual Easter egg hunt at the campus duckpond.
When: 9 a.m. Saturday, April 23
Where: UNM Duck Pond

Los Ranchos Egg Hunt (Free) 

When:  10 a.m.  Saturday, April 23

Where:  Hartnett Park (The corner of Rio Grande and Chavez Road)

Recycled Art = Fun, Fun, Fun

On Saturday we ventured over to the Open Space off Coors between Paseo Del Norte and Montano for the third annual Recycled Art Fair.  There were plenty of cars upon our arrival and not to mention a few of you rode your bikes.

The surroundings were gorgeous and the people were friendly just like I had anticipated.  There was plenty of recycled art to be found here.  There were paintings that had been painted on kitchen cabinets, found canvas, plywood and other found objects.

 There were interesting solar lights  and fun whimsical metal dragon flies, insects and birds.  The beautiful handmade furniture pieces made from reclaimed wood were amongst my favorite.  This event was very kid friendly, with a lot of activities for children to make their own recycled art pieces.

Wildlife Tree Trunk Carving

There were also demonstrations about composting and recycling.  It was very educational and I think there was a little something for everyone at  the art fair.  The Open Space building is fairly new and the atmosphere overlooks pastures and the Bosque.  If you haven’t been there yet go and take a look.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!


Happy Hour: Kayaking

Here’s the quick and dirty for last Wednesday night:
Kayak Happy Hour = Exercise = Endorphins = Happy People

People were happy just thinking about getting in the water

After 2 hours of sloshing around in a kayak in a pool with 20 others doing the same, I was on cloud nine.

Kelly Gossett navigating the waters like a shark

Kelly Gossett of  New Mexico Kayak Instruction, Inc.  hosts a kayaking party of sorts every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month where newbies and experienced kayakers alike let loose in a huge pool and practice their moves or splash around in the game of the night.  All are welcome at the Happy Hour kayaking session put on by NMKI at Los Altos Pool and NMKI will provide the equipment.  It’s $8 if you have your own gear and $13 if you need them to provide it for you – a bargain if you ask me.  (You just have to let him know 24 hours in advance if you need equipment.)

all in a night at Kayak HH

I’ve been in a kayak about twice in the last 10 years so this was still kind of new to me.  Sway actually owns a tandem kayak so I’d say she had the edge in the experience department here.  Either way, both of us thoroughly enjoyed the night.  Bonus for people with crappy knees – it’s exercise without heavy impact on the knee joints!

jockeying for position

By the way, my single lady friends, there were more than a few seemingly unattached, fit, and friendly male participants at this unconventional happy hour . . .


Free: Open Space Recycled Art Fair

3rd Annual Open Space Recycled Art Fair

I don’t know about you, but I am so fond of recycled art.  I love the creativity and ‘green’ spirit that follows it.  In an effort to be green (and get some excercise in that morning) Rebecca and I will be riding our bikes to the Open Space Recycled Art Fair this weekend with our families.  It’ll be great to see how creative people can be, while supporting our local open space.  The surroundings are georgeous, the people are friendly, and being outside is good for your soul.

Some of the activities include:

  • Recycled art vendors
  • Demonstrations and workshops
  • Juried recycled art exhibit
  • Live music
  • Food

Where is this happening?  Open Space Visitor Center.   6500 Coors Blvd NW between Montaño and Paseo del Norte at the end of Bosque Meadows Rd.
When?  April 16th and 17th.
It starts at 10 a.m.  See you there!

Spring fun in Corrales

on the way to the tour

The inaugural Corrales Bike and Wine Tour went on wind or shine and we were there to experience and support it.  It was just a little windy to say the least, but it was fun for all.    The tour started out with a trek to Acequia Winery.  The hill up to the winery was a little intimidating but we made it up to the top in the lowest gear our bikes would go.

Acequia Winery

The wines at Acequia Winery quenched our palettes along with some bruchetta that complimented it well.  The ride down the hill to the next winery was much more enjoyable.

The view form Corrales Winery

Our second stop was Corrales Winery.   The wines were great and the view of the Sandia Mountains were spectacular considering the weather.  I can only imagine what it looks like on a clear day.  They are also the only solar-powered winery in the State.

Mark Matheson

Finally, our last stop was Matheson Winery, where we were greeted by the owner.  He was very personable to talk to,  the wines were delicious and the wine bar was chic. Overall this event was a lot of fun despite the 60 mph wind gusts.   Our six-mile bike ride quickly turned into ten, but I am not complaining.  I had good company and a little vino always makes everything better!


Biking to Work

a sign that I'm on the right path

I work about 3.5 miles from my house.  It’s downhill to work and uphill on the return trip.  Now that the weather is warming up, I plan to bike to work at least once per week.  It takes about 3-5 minutes longer than driving – so I shouldn’t have any excuses . . .

But I do.  Sort of.  I admit to being a little nervous sometimes with the cars whizzing by.  I don’t really look forward to my heart rate reaching 175 BPM just to get up a 3/4 mile-long hill.  But for me, what new activity doesn’t cause a little anxiety at first?  Like working out at a new gym or starting a new job, I think it will become second nature after a little practice.  Luckily for me, my route includes a bike boulevard and this sweet tree-lined street, where some fellow cyclists will give you a nod:

By biking I’ll stealthily get more exercise which of course leads to all sorts of great things.  As a bonus, I get to see things a bit differently from the top of a bike.  For example, the PNM building has a nice waterfall, there’re lots of cool murals downtown (and all around ABQ, which you can view by quadrant), and I love checking out the pretty gardens along my route.

This can’t really be about saving money for me.  Here is my quick calculation assuming my vehicle gets 17 mpg city and gas is about $3.45/gallon:
$3.45÷17 mpg = $0.203/mile  –>  7 miles (RT) x $0.203 = $1.42 /RT to work
I drive home for lunch about 3x week, which I would not do if I biked (I’d have to brownbag it to save any money).  So, it’s $11.36/week just to go to work ($1.42 x (5+3)).  Biking 5 days/wk, 40 wks/year is $454.40 in gas.  (Please tell me if my math is off, but be kind.)  Depending on your perspective, this is nominal considering the hassle which is why cost-savings cannot be my only reason for doing this.

My gear is nothing fancy, just the basics:

  • Some kind of hybrid bicycle purchased from Costco in 2006 – if I make this a habit maybe I can justify buying myself this one in chartreuse;
  • A helmet – placed carefully so as to not totally screw up my hair;
  • A neon green vest for visibility – not fashionable, but fully functional; and
  • A Camel Pak – not really for water but for storing my purse and maybe a change of clothes or shoes.

Last year Fixed and Free tuned up my bike and I think it’s still in good working order.  This year they filled up my tires gratis.  Before embarking, don’t forget to brush up on the City of Albuquerque’s Rules of the Road (where you can also map your route using streets with bike lanes).  (Another good resource:

So, cheers my fellow cycling commuters!  Here’s to freeing up traffic and getting some exercise!  Any full-time or part-time bicycling commuters out there?