Groupon Recap – Halfway Through

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A few weeks back I wrote about my addiction to Groupon and LivingSocial – two websites who offer deals and packages for a discounted price (read more here). One month later I have been able to try out a few of their bargains and I am now ready to share my thoughts on these with you.

1) 10 classes with the Body Reserve

Health has been letting me down since December. Perhaps this is the reason as to why I still have 4 of those 10 classes left to complete on my list for the Body Reserve. I do have to admit, though, that those 6 classes I took have been both eye-opening and preppy.

The first one I tried out was the Power & Movement course with a great teacher who seems to have a thing for theater and dancing. Power & Movement concentrates on finding your very own balance with various exercises; sometimes this means hoisting a few weights around. It also includes dancing a couple steps at the end of the course but mostly it’s about finding your inner body balance while exercising your breathing correctly. Since I hadn’t been to the gym in forever 6 long months, this class was a great compromise for both body and mind. It wasn’t too tiring but still challenging, and I have come back since.

Next, I tried out a Zumba Toning course. Since I had experience in Zumba before, the only new thing was that weights were added when dancing to a few songs but it wasn’t too much different from a normal Zumba class. I had fun taking it, but unfortunately, as everywhere else, those classes tend to be the most crowded (lots of bumping and elbowing).

Then, I was up for a chillaxing Pilates-type-of-course… so I took Body Toning! And ended up in a Boot Camp class two times as hard as I had imagined it to be. What I originally thought Body Toning would be? Well, I figured it had to do with lying around a lot, stretching some muscles, getting to know proper breathing techniques… Definitely the wrong idea I had! As soon as the 15 minutes of warm up were over, I was certainly lying on the ground – but out of exhaustion, not relaxation! And after 100 squats and jumping frogs, I had enough but still 30 excruciating minutes left to go. Time to tone more leg and stomach muscles! At some point in time my left leg muscle gave up and I was barely able to lift my right leg. Well, we all survive the worst, even a vicious bootcamp class!

After seeing the flexibility when it comes to instructors and learning, I’m pondering whether or not I should join this gym for good. I guess the trial period has been fulfilling enough to attract a paying customer.

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2) Learning Portuguese

After knowing French and some Spanish, I was burning to learn another language and my choice fell on… Portuguese. Or rather: Brazilian Portuguese. And after two classes with ABC Language School, I have already formed an opinion: I like it! A lot! I dig it so much that I am actually considering switching up my 6-week-groupon-class to a 12-week-class, if this is possible. There aren’t too many opportunities when it comes to expanding one’s language knowledge and it’s even better if you find a great teacher who is patient and goes out of her way to come up with her own exercises (rather than referring to the standard manual all the time).

Our class is kept small – it holds anywhere between 6-8 people (it fluctuates, a person joined after the second class while another was out sick). Brazilian Portuguese differs from Standard Portuguese in the way words are pronounced and letters left unswallowed at the end of the sentence. It is therefore easier to learn and doesn’t take as much hearing practice as it would with Portugal speakers. I do have to say, even though my last Spanish course is 5 years back, it has been a tremendous challenge to master the pronunciation as it keeps getting in my way. De nada, sounds easy enough, right? You pronounce it “dchi nada” though. And then “boa noite”, which resembles the Italian version of “good night”… So it’s been rather hard to get the Spanish out of my head for the time being but it has to be done, otherwise it will be hard to master this language.
Maybe one day I will find myself in Brazil, ordering a coffee and having an animated discussion with the locals. Hey, one can always dream of their gorgeous beaches, right?!

3) “Body Language Explained” with Blake Eastman from the Nonverbal Group

Perhaps one of the most motivated instructors I have met in a long time, Blake has provided a great insight into the basics of body language. His background is simple to grasp: He has always been drawn to nonverbal communication and has taken his passion to another level after obtaining his Master’s Degree from CUNY. He is the owner and founder of the company and most likely also the only one to give presentations. The 3-hour-class started off with him asking everyone to introduce themselves. It was already interesting to see how he gave a few comments on everyone’s profession or background just to relax the crowd. He then went on discussing some basic behaviors and the mindset behind them. We were able to check out video footage of the cocktail parties he hosts in the loft (which are experimental) and analyze certain attendees and their social anxiety. It was fun to observe and now a few things make more sense to me than before. He emphasized that trusting one’s intuition is always a good way to go when it comes to reading another person’s body language.
In addition, he teaches a dating class and a lie detection course, which I am interested in taking next. You can find more under his web site here.

4) Failed Haircut

I once made the mistake of ordering a hair stylist coupon online via LivingSocial. I thought it would be nice to have my hair cut and styled before it was off to Miami (which was last weekend). However, when I called the salon, they told me that I had to make an appointment at least month ahead a time, since they were completely booked out for this offer. Who wants to wait 4 weeks when you feel you need a change NOW? I wonder what would have happened had I just walked in and requested to have my head taken care of. Sadly, I returned the coupon and ended up getting a decent haircut somewhere else. So I guess there are some pitfalls with the system but at least you have the option to return your purchase within a given time frame.

This week I will have my photo workshop with LivingSocial. I will also have to take my Self-Defense-Class at some point in time (preferably when the gym routine is over).

Until then, I will keep you updated on the rest of my experiences. What are your Groupon/LivingSocial stories? If you have some fun anecdotes, feel free to share!

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