Monday, February 20, 2017

I did 17 Xtend barre classes in 16 days and here's what happened...

Xtend Barre is a newer boutique fitness studio that opened last Fall in the new 3rd Ave area in Burlington. The global brand brings in elements of " Dance, ballet, Pilates, to create an adrenaline fueled workout that strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body."

Currently Xtend Barre Burlington offers a variety of classes to keep the workouts amplified and changing so members have different options to choose from.

There is the signature Xtend Barre class that features an "Elegant yet energetic combination of movements that enhance flexibility, improve balance, and challenge the core."

I love the Xtend Suspend that uses the TRX suspension straps for a great upper and body workout.

I feel accomplished after completing the Xtend Circuit 7, which is a "boot camp" / "Tabata" like high intensity class with plies and burpees all in one class.  Christina F. definitely kicks our a** but makes it fun and go by quick with her high upbeat coaching.

The newly launched Xtend Stick uses a Pilates stick/hand loops/bungee cord to add resistance and different techniques to the barre fusion class.

Since the gym opened, I got my "feet wet" and took a handful of classes last year. I wasn't a regular but just popped in when I got a chance too. In early January, Xtend Barre Burlington offered a special hot promo rate that I couldn't resist.

Xtend Barre Burlington

Saturday, December 31, 2016

First Class from Boston to Dubai via Etihad Airways and American Airlines

Vacation has officially begun! On this trip, we will be ending the year with a bang in Dubai.  After 4 nights in the United Arab Emirates, we will make a quick stopover in Doha, Qatar for half a day, fly to Thailand, take a ferry to Koh Lipe Island for a few days, take the ferry to Langkawi, Malaysia for a few more lazy beach days then finally eat our hearts out in foodie metropolis Singapore.

For lodging, we are using our Hilton points to stay at the 5 Star Conrad & Waldorf Astoria in Dubai and Intercontinental in Singapore.  We will just get a beach bungalow in the islands.

I packed "Lightly" this go around. I ALWAYS over pack and have too many electronics, dresses, shoes, makeup etc.  This time, I stuck with just one luggage and NO carryon.  My camera bag will be my personal item.

There will be a total of 8 flights and 6 of them will be First Class.  The other two are "puddle jumpers" more smaller domestic budget airlines and we will be riding with the "common folks." aka Economy Class. (guys... I was kidding, wasn't trying to be a snob!, Get a sense of humor!)

When the Mo and I first started vacationing together, we considered ourselves "backpackers".  We would lug around 40-50 pounds of bathing suits and flip flips on our back taking public buses with the locals.  Although we are still "backpackers" at heart, time has changed and we got older and "wiser." Also, we discovered how to maximize our credit card points to travel better.  (Another post on that to follow)  Since then, we've been meticulous on how we spend money and which credit cards we use to maximize points for our travel. Correction: Mo enforces all the rules, I just spend the money.

For our first two flights, we redeemed our mileage for Etihad First Class.  Etihad is the national airline of the UAE and has won many prestigious awards.

Since Etihad doesn't fly from Boston, they set us up with their partner airline, American Airlines and we flew on the A321.  This isn't a common aircraft on this route as it's usually reserved for longer transcontinental itineraries.   We parked our car at Woburn Anderson Station and took the Logan Express into Boston. 

Although we were First Class passengers, we didn't have access to the lounge. Screw you American Airlines for only allowing International First Class Passengers in your lounge! Oh well, we hung out in the food court, charged our electronics and checked emails and FB.

The flight was quick, only 45 minutes, I watched one episode of "Blackish" and had a glass of champagne.  I felt special.  Kathy Bates from Titanic and American Horror Story was on our flight. 
Check out the video here. 

*** Disclaimer** I've never made videos before, I literally downloaded the program about three hours before my JFK flight.


We had a 24 hour layover in New York and caught up with some friends and family before our trip.  I discovered an amazing bagel shop with more than 15 cream cheese flavors and ate some delish empanadas!!! soooo yummy!!

We arrived to JFK with 3 hours to spare and hung out in the new Etihad lounge.  The booze was free flowing, there were showers, and we could eat dine in the buffet or order food a la carte.  See video below.


Minutes before our planned departure time, the lounge attendants came by to advise us it was time to board the plane.  There were long lines for economy but we went to a separate line.  Once onboard, we were asked what we wanted to drink and provided with some dates and a refreshing towel. 

The flight itself was sweet! For about 13 hours, we were wined and dined.  We hung out in the "lounge", changed into PJ's provided by the airline, had a wine tasting, took a shower, ate filet mignon, TWICE, cooked by the onboard chef and slept like a baby on the lie flat seats. See the video here! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Etihad First Class Apartments from JFK to AUH

Stay tuned for more videos from Dubai showcasing the grand NYE's fireworks from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world to a waterpark adventure at the famous Atlantis, the Palms Resort in Dubai.

Kim & the "Mo"

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Awesomeness at Mill City BBQ and Brew

Lowell has lots of international eateries but yet to have a TRUE southern joint serving amazing slow cooked barbecue specialties.  Sure, the Village Smokehouse was a big deal when it first opened its doors many years ago but the food quality sure went downhill once their main focus became the college crowd nightlife.

The Mo and I heard about Mill City BBQ and Brew a few month ago but finally made our way there with Dom and Dary.  We entered through the back where there is a cute patio area with pub style stools and small counter for drinks.  The restaurant used to be the old "Trainview", once our old stomping grounds MANY years ago.

Friday, September 16, 2016

FIRST CLASS - $16,000 flight on World's Best Airline

First Class on Cathay Pacific 777-300ER (extended range) is probably one of the coolest things I've done in my life. The airline has won consecutive awards for "World's Best Airline" by Skytrax, based on a survey of 19 million passengers from around the world.

To achieve our incredible journey, credit goes to my husband, the Mo, who does all the research on which credit cards to open and I do the fun part...just rack them up!

For the trip from PNH (Phnom Penh Cambodia) to BOS (Boston, MA USA), it cost 67,500 American airline miles.  American Airlines and Cathay Pacific are Oneworld alliance and travelers get to redeem their points on airlines within the group.

The current going rate for anywhere in "Asia 2" to continental United States is now 110,000 miles ONE WAY , almost DOUBLE what we spent.  If we were to pay cash, the one way flight would costs more than $16,000 PER PERSON.

I was very apprehensive of the booking.  Cathay Pacific only releases one first class seat per flight to be booked in advance.  As the date approaches, additional tickets may become available, but there are no guarantees.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I did a 5K every week for 10 weeks and here's what happened

Hi! My name is Kim

I started my journey to "Running" back in January 2016 where I was actually only walking. I wrote a blog post about my First 5K in the Good Times Spring Series and I must have jinxed myself because I later injured myself for a couple months (the injury wasn't even running related), Nonetheless, I didn't complete all 10 races in the Spring Series. I returned to the Summer series with a goal to complete all 10 races! 

Here's what I learned.... 

Image via Ted Tyler / Jim Rhoades

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Colombian cuisine at Asados Dona Flor

While we were still on our adventurous streak, the Mo and I went to Asados Dona Flor on High Street for lunch.  The area used to be my old neighborhood, back when I was 5 years old living on Chestnut Street. We would knock on strangers doors to buy frozen "limbe" and I have fond memories of walking to the store with my grandma and buying things with her sandwich bag full of coins.  This is also the time of my life where my older brother thought it would be comical to tie a rope around my neck and herd me on the street like as if I were a cow.

Although the restaurant doesn't have a website, the Colombian restaurant opened its doors about 8 years ago.  The exterior looks a bit shabby but once you walk in the restaurant, it boasts a great Hispanic cultural ambiance.

Wonderful Brazilian bites at Romeo & Juliet Cafe

Usual, I'm the one that picks where we go for our weekend meals but today, the Mo suggested we try Romeo & Juliet, a Brazilian eatery that he discovered on Yelp.  I was a bit apprehensive at first but I gave him the benefit of the doubt without having a chance to read the reviews.

We arrived at what seemed like an abandoned restaurant in a "rougher" area of Lowell on a side street between the transitional housing center (homeless shelter) and the infamous Appleton Street.  The small restaurant had a private parking lot on the side of the building.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Spicy Chinese delicacies at Sichuan Gourmet Burlington

Cheng Du Spicy Dumpling $6.95
I LOVED Mr. Chan's so it was bittersweet to see Sichuan Gourmet  moving into the location of where my beloved Mr. Chan's Asian Bistro used to be.  There were times where I would frequent the prior Chinese restaurant three times a week! (Yes, my weight reflects it)  Despite the restaurant being gone, I am a fan of Sichuan Gourmet. I've dined at their Billerica many times and a huge fan of their authentic Sichuan cuisine.

My coworkers and I went on a Wednesday at noon and the place was already jammed pack.  There was a wait for a table, I couldn't believe it! The restaurant had only been open for a short period of time but word has already got out.

Girl's Night out at Del Frisco's Grille - Burlington, MA

The girls and I decided to hit up Del'Frisco's Grille in Burlington, MA for Restaurant Week Summer 2016.  It was a nice cool summer day so we opted for patio seating, overlooking the parking lot.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Brunch at Tavern in the Square Lowell

There's a new place to imbibe in bacon bloody mary's and mimosas in Lowell. Tavern in the Square recently added another location at the Crosspoint towers, the new home to Kronos.  We've always been a fan of the Burlington location for Sunday brunch and decided to give the latest addition a try.

Sunday brunch buffet is offered between 10 AM and 1 PM for $19.99/adult and $9.99/child (not sure what age).  We arrived at 11:30 AM and the place was already buzzing.  There were ample seats inside as well as on the outdoor patio.  Since it was a hot summer day, we opted for the AC indoors.