Some Days You Gotta (Just) Dance!

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. #UbiChamps 

Some days you gotta dance, Live it up when you get the chance, ‘Cause when the world doesn’t make no sense, And you’re feeling just a little too tense, Gotta loosen up those chains and dance  – Dixie Chicks

Man, the Dixie Chicks got that one right. Some days you just gotta dance! There really isn’t a better way to let loose than spending a night with friends for a ‘girls night in’ dance party. It is pretty much impossible to be unhappy and dance at the same time. Sometimes you just need those nights where you cut loose and act like a kid again.

The plan was for the girls to come over around 6pm, we’d order dinner, drink a little wine, and play Just Dance 4 for a little bit. Instead, when they arrived, we opened a bottle of red and got straight to playing, if you can call dancing playing. We barely stopped for dinner; we wound up playing until 1030pm! That is over 4 hours of dancing and laughing! In Weight Watcher points, that’s about 12 points of exercise! One of the girls said, it was “surprisingly more of a workout than expected, but didn’t feel like a workout at all.”

As a kid, I quit dance class because I didn’t like performing in front of people. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped caring so much, especially when there is no way to look good while mimicking the silly dance moves in Just Dance 4. (And now there is video proof for all to see!) The first song we tested out was Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe.  In the spirit of the American Music Awards that were last weekend, I am going to host my own Just Dance 4 Awards for the Best Music Video, The Worst Music Video and the Best Group Dance.

In the spirit of the American Music Awards that were last weekend, I am going to judge Just Dance 4 based on The Best Music Video, The Worst Music Video and the Best Group Dance.

Rick Astley – Never Going to Give You Up takes home the award for The Best Music Video. The video was as entertaining to watch as it was to dance to. In the background there was a sinking Titanic, UFOs, Godzilla, robots and more. 80’s music is just so much fun to dance to. When the song was over, Katherine said, “If all the videos were like that, I’d do so much better.”

B-52’s – Rock Lobster wins The Worst Music Video Award. There was this awkward lobster-man that was just too creepy and weird.

And finally, the Best Group Dance award goes to Dirty Dancing- I’ve Had The Time of My Life. We reenacted a choreographed duet as Baby and Johnny Castle. Hopefully, it is obvious who was who in the video below. Some of the moves didn’t quite fit the rhythm but we tried to make it work. Sadly the jump catch/hug at the end was accidentally cut out. Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

Check out the highlight video from a few of the songs we had a blast dancing to: 

Top 6 bits of feedback for UbiSoft:

  1. Videos should be more like Rick’s. So much more entertaining and fun to watch.
  2. I would love to see themed games like 90’s, Boy Bands, 80’s power ballad, modern, pop, reggae, or even zumba class songs. There were just too many random, unknown or bad songs on this disc.
  3. There is a calorie counter on Just Sweat portion but that should be made available on Just Dance, too. The calorie counter was a good feature, but the workout portion wasn’t much of a workout. I also preferred the Just Dance songs and dances.
  4. Maybe include a 3 minute intro video, “As you level up, you unlock more levels of difficulty. Every 5th level, you unlock a new song”. We wanted to know what we needed to do to unlock the “Cute Badge” or any of the levels. Maybe we didn’t play long enough (4 hours isn’t enough?) but we wanted to know how to accomplish goals and we weren’t sure how. I wish I had read the wikipedia article before playing – it explained bits of the game that were confusing.
  5. DDR has different levels of difficulty for each song and JD4 should too. While some songs, like Call Me Maybe unlock another version, it was kind of confusing. All songs should be classified by Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. As you advance, the harder levels unlock. This would increase the challenge and extend the playing life and interest in the game.
  6. We found that the level of difficulty didn’t seem to correspond with the difficulty of the dance moves. Rick Astley would be a great starter and Time Warp was not hard enough to be a level 3.

The nice thing about the Just Dance series is that it really is a great way to loosen up those chains, laugh with friends and even get in a workout. Even though we are in our upper 20’s, we were pleasantly surprised at how entertained we were. While we all agreed, we probably would not invite friends over just to play the game, we would definitely include it in a game night shindig or a good “ladies date” as a free alternative to taking a barre or yoga class with a friend. We also agreed this would make a great holiday gift for friends or family. The game is available for purchase at Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com and many other retailers too.

Which video highlight did you like the most? Have you played? Which was your favorite song to dance to?

** Ubichamps provided me with the game and opinions are my own.

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Drinks, Dinner and Dragons

In college, I had my share of Thursday nights where I would go out as if it were the Saturday, because lets face it, not having to go to class on Fridays, was pretty much amazing. But there were also many Thursday nights where I would stay in.  Sure, now I go out for happy hours, dinners with friends, and the occasional activity, but as I have gotten older, those Thursday night crazy adventures have dwindled down to just about slim to none (except during softball season for work, those stories to come later…).  So when the opportunity arose to get drinks with a friend and go to a concert last minute, I decided to embrace being spontaneous.

Drinks
Earlier in the week, I was given a gift card to The Signature Room.  I thought it would be fun to grab some (overpriced but free, thanks to the gift card) drinks with a very dear friend.  In case you aren’t familiar, the Lounge is on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building and it overlooks the entire city. It is known for its expensive drinks and breathtaking views. At least the views are free.  We both ordered a Peach Martini and watched the sunset. Doesn’t it look like the sun is an enormous explosion over the horizon? The photo on the right is a view from inside looking out at the lake from the 95th floor.

Dinner
I do not think I’ll be having sushi for a while. We had an hour to kill before the concert started so we walked around and of course the only place without a long wait was a sushi restaurant. Now, usually that wouldn’t make me think twice, except I already had it twice this week. Oh well. At least it was a sushi restaurant I hadn’t tried before. Bonus points for trying something new. We had a dragon roll, sweet potato roll and of course, spicy tuna. Nom! Nom! Nom! When we’re together, there are always lots of laughs.

Dragons
Earlier this afternoon, I received a Facebook invite for a show tonight featuring this local band called I Fight Dragons.  I have been a longtime fan, so I called my friend up, told her about it, and we decide it would be fun if we went after drinks to hear some live music. As I said in a previous post nothing beats a live concert.  The music of IFD combines pop/rock songs and electronic sounds using Nintendo game systems. That’s right, an old school Nintendo NES rock band! How clever and unique!  And they actually have the game controllers set up and play on stage. The group recently signed with Atlantic Records and have been working on their new album called ‘Cool Is Just a Number’ for about a year now. Three of the members are from my home town (actually one from a neighboring town) and are some of the nicest and down-to-earth guys around.  Packy, one of the guitarists/vocalists, who actually reminds me of John Lennon,  is one of the most talented guitar players. *Flashback time*  I vividly remember this one talent show in elementary school where he played the drums so passionately and intensely that his glasses flew off of his face in the middle of a set.  He finished the song without being able to see.  (FYI – He had the Harry Potter glasses many years before the books were ever even written.) We all knew at that moment, he was destined to go places with that talent.

Tonights show was so much fun and had a really good turn out.  I even ran into some old friends I haven’t seen in a while, so that was great to catch up with them. The music is awesome and you can tell they are having fun on stage. The crowd was chanting IFD, IFD, IFD. The two story venue was small but a great place to see a band play. I am in awe at how talented these guys are.  It makes me wish I could play the drums or guitar.  Too bad I’m tone deaf, have no rhythm and I can’t sing to save my life. I think there is something to be said for guys who can play instruments and sing.  When we were younger, if you played in the school band, your peers thought you were dorky.  Now if you play in a band, people think you are sexy. (If you are reading this, and you are in a school band – good for you! Keep it up!Do not give in to peer pressure or take your peers seriously. Someday your talents will be appreciated! )

Here are some songs from I Fight Dragons. Money / Welcome to the Breakdown / The Faster The Treadmill.  Check out their website, and if they come to your city, I highly recommend you go to their show. Mark my words, I have faith they will make it to the top.

Sometimes the best nights aren’t planned. Here is to having an awesome, spontaneous night on a random Thursday.   Do you go out often on Thursday nights (post college)? Do you know of any bands that are undiscovered or not household names that you love? Please share the music love!

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Love, Caryn



So What If I Can Be Easily Amused?

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I sometimes find pleasure is the silliest things. Yes, I admit I can be easily amused. Here is a website I came across that kept me entertained for a bit.  Sometimes it is fun to forget all that is going on in the world and be like a five year old for just a few minutes.


My name as an anagram is “NERVY CLAY” or with middle names: “VERY LYNCH BEAT”

My boyfriend Jason’s is awesome: “JOVIALNESS AND IDOL”
My mom Laurie: “REALLY, I’VE UREA”
My sister Stacy: “ENVY CLEAN STAY”
My dad Edward: “VELVETY NEW DREADS”
(The anagrams include their middle name, but for their privacy and safety I am not publicising that information.)


Yes it is pretty mindless and they make no sense, but amusing? Yes!  Please comment and share what you get from your name! Anagram your name here. 


ENJOY!!


Love, Caryn

Silly Fads From Our Childhood

>When we were kids, we all wanted to fit in with the cool kids.  No matter what the popular toy or “it” thing of that year was, if they had it, we wanted it too.  It became mass hysteria and group obsessions. Parents paid big money so their kids would have the latest toy. As we’ve grown up, we have learned that everything goes in cycles and fads don’t last, not even The Popular Kids stay popular forever. Recently, I was feeling nostalgic about my childhood and all the goofy fads that have come and gone over the years.

Here is what I came up with:
·      Pet Rock – Really? How was this ever entertaining? Yes, this was before my time, but how did the inventor become a millionaire from this? Why didn’t I think of that?
·     Pogs -Slammer! I remember there would be groups of kids scattered throughout the blacktop sitting in circles playing at recess. Some schools banned this because it was considered a form of gambling by “keeping your opponents winnings”.  
·      Beanie Babies – How could small stuffed animals be retired and worth so much? Why someone paid me $500 for my collection, I will never understand
·      Slap Bracelets – Tell me if you ever saw one today, you wouldn’t smile and instantly try to slap it on? And then say Ouch!
·      Tamagachis – I liked this virtual pet for about week or so until I got tired of waking up in the middle of the night or hearing it beep in the middle of class because it wanted to play or eat. The best was when the thing would leave animated presents behind when I didn’t care for it fast enough. Eventually, I think I took my own Tamagachis batteries out.
·      Silly Bandz (Is this still going on?) I was given a spoon last summer but even though I was told it was a spoon, I was still confused as to what was so cool about it. Not sure why this one caught on.
·      Tickle Me Elmo  – Mother’s went CRAZY at holiday time for these. Do you remember the madness? This was even my friend’s Bat-Mitzvah t-shirt theme.
·      Furby –  aka cute little gremlin looking toys – The gimmick here was that they could learn to talk and repeat what you said. They never seemed to work quite right but they did talk at the most unexpected times, like while you were sleeping.
·      Hypercolor Clothing – You know, the sweatshirts that changed color when you blew hot air on them? This fad lasted about as long the sweatshirts did after going through the wash and dry cycle once or twice.
·      Game Boy Not so much a fad, but early Nintendo technology. The only gaming system I was allowed to own. 
·      Pokemon Trading Cards– a competitive trading and collecting game. I never played this one but I do remember this joke from when I was a kid: Q: Why don’t you want a Pokemon around while you’re taking a shower? Answer: Because he might Pikachu! Hey, I didn’t make it up. Don’t blame the cheesiness on me.
Looking back at all the goofy things that have come and gone, why did we want to do what the cool kids were doing again?
  
What did fads do you remember playing with when you were little? Do you remember any other fads that I may have forgotten? Please share them!