Fly Boarding for 30!

31 01 2013

Howdy ho! So I know I’ve been a little delinquent on posting the past week or so, but boy, do I have a post that will make up for it!

My birthday was on Tuesday and I knew I wanted to celebrate the weekend before since Bill would be home instead of traveling. My birthday weekend was paired with a visit from Bill’s best friend from California, so we wanted to do something to celebrate my birthday and his visit. We wanted to do something big. So, we made plans to go Fly Boarding!

fly boarding

(Photo courtesy of Shawn Mullins Photography)

What is Fly Boarding?

The Flyboard® is a watersports apparatus which allows propulsion underwater and in the air. The board is connected to a jet ski, by a hose, and is propelled by the water from the jet ski intake. The nozzles under your feet put out 90% of the propulsion and allows movement by tilting your feet and tilting the Flyboard®. The nozzles on the hands put out 10% of the propulsion and are used to help stabilization much the same way as ski poles.

On Sunday, Bill, his friend Byron, Jonathan (the other half of Rootberry), Jonathan’s wife Cheri, and I headed over to Merritt Island, FL to Jump Right In Fly Boardingso we could experience the newest craze in water sports.


We arrived a little before our scheduled 2:00 flight time to the address on the website, which turned out to be a cute waterside bar and grill, The Island. We weren’t quite sure we were in the right spot until we looked out on the water and saw a man flying in the air, with water shooting from his feet! We walked through the casual restaurant to the back, where we were greeted by Stephanie, who walked us through the basics and showed us where to sign our lives away on the waiver. Soon after, we met Jay, the business owner and man who’d be directing our flights and powering the jet ski.


(Photo courtesy of Shawn Mullins Photography)

Jay was so excited for us to try Fly Boarding, and his excitement was contagious. He gave us a few more tips and tricks before it was time to roll. It was decided that I would go first, so I got on my gear and headed into the water. I opted to wear my wetsuit because the water was probably in the low 60s. Jay had a few wetsuits for guests to borrow as well.

The boots were tightened on my feet and then I was instructed to roll over onto my stomach so that I could start. Holy moley. This was the hardest/most exhausting part for me! The board weighs about 100lbs and I had the two tubes strapped to my arms. Rolling over was tough!


(Photo courtesy of Shawn Mullins Photography)

I was STRUGGLING! Finally I figured out that the secret (for me) was to curl up in a ball and fall forward, instead of rolling over on my side to get to my stomach. Phew. Once that was out of the way, I could get on with the show.

When you first start, the jets start propelling your forward on your belly, through the water. Then, when there’s enough power, you thrust your hips forward and then stand up. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is. It took me a few times before I was able to get the hang of it and get out of the water.

When you’re actually up in the air, you’ve got to find your center of gravity, by putting your weight a little forward, on the balls of your feet. Once you’re stable, you control the direction of the board with your feet. A little movement goes a long way, which I learned pretty early on.


(Photo courtesy of Shawn Mullins Photography)

Too much movement and you fall into the water. This happened to me a lot.

Check out some of my outtakes on Jonathan’s YouTube Channel:

I finally started to get the hang of it and was beginning to get comfortable on the board, when Jay told me that he could take me twice as high as I was currently flying. I said, “Let’s do it,” and Jay turned on the power. Up, up, up I went, and I screamed like a little girl!


(Photo courtesy of Shawn Mullins Photography)

Here’s the video:

When we were all done, Bill was saying how once you were up in the air, all you were doing was standing. That thought never crossed my mind. The only thing I was thinking about was OHMYGOSH I’m SO HIGH IN THE AIR! OMG OMG OMG! Despite my fears, I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. What an experience!


(Photo courtesy of Shawn Mullins Photography)

This was probably one of the most fun activities I have ever done. When I tell you this is something you MUST try, I am not kidding! Find a place that has Flyboards near you, or come down to Merritt Island and fly with Jump Right In! Jay was so friendly, and he really took the time to make sure you were having a great time. Head over to Facebook and “like” his page to stay in the loop with Jump Right In happenings.

We were lucky enough to have scored the Living Social deal, so one approximately 30 minute ride was about $90. Normally, it’s a bit pricier than that, but if you give Jay a call, I’m pretty sure he’d still honor that price.

I can certainly say that I brought in the new decade with a bang splash! What other fun adventures will 30 bring?


Krank it Up!

18 01 2013

The other day I was driving down Manhattan Ave. in south Tampa and I saw a sign for Urban Body Fusion. The “O” was a bike crank, and when I looked a little closer at the store front, I saw a sign that said “cycling studio.” I love me a good spin class, so I decided to check it out next time the weather was not so great.


Thursdays are typically swim night for Team XP, but with temperatures expected to drop into the 50s and half the team having prior obligations, swimming was not in the cards for me last night. So I did a quick Google search for Urban Body Fitness to see if they had a class I could go to, and sure enough there was one at 6:30. It was called Krankfusion®, and I purchased my spot online (love when places do this). Bonus points for the stuido: first time riders pay only $5 for a drop in, instead of the regular $15 drop in fee. I glanced at the class description, but didn’t really pay too much attention to it, since I had to quickly change and hit the road.

I got there a little early because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and I was greeted with a smiling face. Dana Urban, the owner and the evening’s instructor welcomed me to her place and told me what her studio was all about.


Her studio is is not your typical spin studio. All of her classes include kranking on a krankcycle. Basically, a krankcycle is the upper body version of a bicycle. Instead of spinning the gears with your legs, you spin with your arms.


Tonight’s class was Krankfusion, an hour long class where half the time is spent on the spin bike, and the other half is spent on the krankcycle- a great way for newbies like me to ease into the whole kranking thing! I chatted with Dana for a few more minutes before a few other class members arrived.

The class was small, only 6 of us including the instructor, which was totally fine with me because Dana took the time to explain how to set up the krankcycle, and what kinds of movements we would be doing. However, I’m sure if the class was full, Dana would have taken just as much time to ensure I was comfortable. This business is her pride and joy-it was her 40th birthday present to herself to open up the studio! And she is 10,000% invested in it and it is so very clear!


Loved this mirror on the wall!

When we were all set up, Dana dimmed the lights, turned up the music, and we got started on the spin portion of our workout. I’m a big fan of spinning-I love riding to loud, upbeat dance music. I’m a big believer that the music makes or breaks a spin class. Dana played a good variety of music which kept me happy, especially when we put on the heavy gears. My only problem was that it was a little hard to hear her when she told us to add some resistance, but that’s pretty typical in a spin class.

About 25 minutes into the workout, it was time to switch to the krankcycle. It has a resistance knob, just like a spin bike, so I found my “sweet spot” and followed along as we did various movements- opposite arms (like your legs are on a bike), both arms spinning at the same time, one arm at a time, spinning away from my body, spinning towards my body, standing up, sitting down, and one leg back. The whole time you are engaging your core, and halfway through the first song, my arms and abs were feeling it!

It was a little challenging to get into the rhythm of the kranking, especially when I was doing “splits” (arms at 180°). But I had a great time and I definitely worked my arms in a way I hadn’t in a very long time. We finished up with some more core work and some stretching before saying goodbye.

I really enjoyed the class, and would definitely return. Everything was clean, the bikes were well maintained, and I loved the vibe of the studio. I thought Dana was a great instructor, and she clearly cares about her clients. If you’re interested in checking it out, she’s got a great deal going on until Saturday: a 5 class package, normally $60 is 50% off for newbies! Sign me up!


And yes, that is her pink spin bike. She actually won it at a spinning conference! Bonus points for a pink bike and that Dana is motivated enough to get some professional development!

Question of the day: Have you ever been Kranking?

How to Make Spring Rolls

16 01 2013

When I lived in DC, one of my favorite restaurants was Cafe Asia. Pretty much every time I went there I would order their summer rolls: Fresh rolls with shrimp, lettuce, rice noodles, mint leaves & cilantro. They were served with a peanut sauce that was the perfect pair. Now, every time I’m at a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, I look for fresh rolls or spring rolls on the menu. 🙂


(old photo from Eating Club, Stuff it!)

I had never attempted to make them at home because I was always a little intimidated by the rice paper. I kinda put it on the same level as filo dough: thin, fragile, and difficult to work with. I decided to face my “fear” and try to make them this week, and I learned that they’re actually quite easy (and fun!) to make. And you can mix and match ’em, filling them with whatever you want!



So, without further ado, here’s how to make spring rolls!

First, make sure you’ve got the right kind of wrapper for your spring rolls. They should be rice paper wrappers. I almost purchased egg roll wrappers by accident! Here’s the kind I got:


(found in the “ethnic” aisle at Whole Foods)

Then, I prep your fillings. Cut your veggies, boil the vermicelli noodles, cook your shrimp, etc. You’ll want to have all of this done before you start assembling the rolls. There’s no time to cut up the cukes in the middle of it all!

I wanted to make a vegetarian version, so I cut up a cucumber, an avocado, some cilantro, and some tofu. I also cheated and bought pre-shredded carrots, and a bag of spinach.

veggies for spring rolls

You’ll also want to turn on some water to get hot- warmer than luke warm but definitely not boiling.

Figure out your work space. You’ll need a shallow dish that is big enough to fit the wrappers in, and that should be placed next to where you will be filling and rolling your rolls. And of course, all of your fillings should be easy to reach from your work station.

When everything is prepped, it is time to get to work!


Fill a shallow dish with about 1/2″ of the hot water. Place the rice paper wrapper in the water for about 20 seconds, or until it becomes pliable. You’ll want to make sure it is nice and soft before you pull it out of the water. When you take it out of the water, don’t just grab the top of the wrapper, but rather use two hands at about 10 and 2 (like driving a car, right?) and spread your fingers some to keep the paper from sticking to itself.
Hold the wrapper above the water for a few seconds to let the water drain, and then lay it down as flat as you can on your work surface.

Now it’s time for the fun part! Stuff the roll with whatever toppings you want! Lay the toppings about 2 inches or so from the side of the wrapper closest to you.


Fold the side closest to you over all of the toppings, and then pull in the two sides, as you roll it up! Repeat as necessary. 🙂


I served mine with Mama Pea’s Peanut Mmm Sauce, and it went perfectly!


So, if you were ever wanted to try making some spring rolls at home, go out there and do it!