Photo by Paulina Splechta.

Mommy and Me for You and Me: Our Top 3 Boca Classes

Sometimes you just need to GTFO—get the family out of the house—especially when you have a little one.

My saving grace when I had a toddler? Mommy & Me classes (and wine). But seriously, I had no earthly idea how amazing a baby and toddler music class would be for my mommy morale. I made friends! I learned songs I could sing to my kid at home! I enjoyed a change of scenery! It was great.

And luckily, we have some amazing Mommy & Me options in Boca Raton. Here are my favorites.

Modern Boca Mommy & Me at Grandview Preparatory School

Modern-Boca-Mommy-&-Me-1

Photo by Michelle Olson-Rogers.

Get ready to sing, dance and move! Modern Boca Mommy & Me at Grandview Preparatory School allows children to learn and explore in a real-life educational setting. Each 45 minute #grandviewmoms class during the school year (and summer!) is specifically tailored to capture the attention of babies and toddlers. All classes are taught by the school’s early childhood faculty and offer opportunities for parents and their children to participate in yoga, dance, music and movement. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

I’m the Director of Communications and Community outreach at Grandview, and I’ve been helping promote their Mommy & Me classes. And while I do get paid to talk about how great it is, it really is great! My daughter graduated from the program and into Grandview’s preschool last year.

336 Spanish River Blvd. NW, Boca Raton

Mommy & Me Dance at Organic Movements

Photo by Paulina Splechta.

Photo by Paulina Splechta.

The Mommy & Me Dance class at Organic Movements in east Boca is not only fun for babies and toddlers, but is a challenging hour-long workout for Mom as well. Founder Ms. Courtney developed the class to introduce rhythm, musicality and movement to the youngest of Boca’s residents. In addition to stretching, core strengthening exercises and ballet movements, there is music, scarf and ribbon play. And puppets. I love the puppets!

Boca Mom Tip: Bring your baby carrier so you can wear your little one while you move in class!

2400 NW Boca Raton Blvd., Suite 12, Boca Raton 

Songs for Seeds at Creative Heart Dance Studio

songs-for-seeds-Boca-Raton-2

Photo provided by Songs for Seeds.

Musical education AND a live band? Yep, that’s what you’ll get at Songs for Seeds, a Mommy & Me import straight from New York City! This weekly interactive class encourages children, newborn to age 6, to sing, dance and play along with a three-piece band. Kids can rock out with children’s instruments as well as real drums, guitars and keyboards during the 45-minute class. Songs for Seeds even introduces instruments from around the world with teachers taking students on a global journey each week at their new location in central Boca Raton.

8212 Glades Road, Boca Raton


Visit www.modernbocamom.com for even more things to do with your little ones! And be sure to subscribe to Modern Boca Mom’s weekly e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/mbmsubscribe

Michelle Olson-Rogers, a native to Boca, is the founder of ModernBocaMom.com, a lifestyle website for the stylish & modern South Florida Mommy. Modern Boca Mom features family events, activities, classes, fitness, dining, travel, home improvement and shopping options—as well as a weekly MOMpreneur spotlight! She and her husband Andrew have one daughter, Avery.
parenting

7 Parenting Dos and Don’ts for Happy, Healthy Children

Parenting

Jennifer Bishop, a licensed mental health counselor in Boca Raton who discussed “The Price of Affluence” in our September/October 2017 issue, shares these Dos and Don’ts when it comes to parenting healthy and happy children:

DO: Make time with your child every day. Put the phone down and give your child some face-to-face attention.

DON’T: Protect kids from failure. Allow your children to make their own mistakes so they can learn from them. This will help them prepare for situations and learn to accept life’s realities, conflicts and consequences.

DO: Offer selective praise. For example. If your child received a 95 percent on a spelling test, you say, “I’m glad you worked so hard. Keep up the good work,” rather than “You are so smart!” It is better to praise for an action than for a result.

DON’T: Criticize and compare. Ignore things you don’t want to continue, and praise kids when they do things you want them to do.

DO: Show gratitude. Help your children show appreciation for nonmaterial things.

DON’T: Hide the negative. While it is great to share positive stories, negative ones are equally as important, because these illustrate perseverance and triumph.

DO: Prioritize your own friendships. Happy children have friends, so help your child develop his or her friendships. You can set a good example through interactions with your own friends.


Jennifer Bishop can be reached at mysouljunkie.com.

Women's Wet Room at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

Spa-tember Specials Are Here in Palm Beach and Broward Counties!

massage3

It’s still blazin’ hot in South Florida, but there are plenty of fall spa deals providing cool relief. Whether it’s September, October or November, there’s something for everyone to try during the next few months. So go ahead and book a treatment or two. Or three. We won’t judge.

SPA-TEMBER:

(September)

The Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale is offering the ultimate Spatember Package, valid throughout the entire month. This includes overnight accommodations starting at $349/night and a $99 credit toward a treatment from the Spatember menu. Gather some friends, and spend the weekend at the spa. We suggest the following:

  • Blush and Blow Dry, $85: Shampoo, conditioning and makeup touch up
  • 50- Minute Timeless Beauty Facial, $99: Professional alpha beta peel and extractions
  • 50-Minute Go With the Glow, $99: Full body massage, scalp and conditioning treatment, facial and hand/foot reviver
  • 80-Minute Renew Your Manicure/Pedicure, $99: Hand soak, foot mask and hand/foot massage

If you book two treatments, you’ll receive a complimentary glass of champagne, spa sampler gift and an enhancement on each service. Invite a friend and receive a complimentary glass of champagne, a $25 retail card and 20 percent savings on regularly priced treatments. Call 954/302-6490 for more information or to make a reservation.

Women's Wet Room at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

Women’s Wet Room at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale. Photo provided by the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale.

SPA-TOBER:

(October)

At Eau Spa in Palm Beach, spa deals start in October and run through December. We aren’t telling you what to do, but these October deals caught our eye:

  • 50-Minute Monster Mash Massage, $109: Aches and pains disappear with this body treatment
  • 50-Minute Jack-O-Lantern Facial, $109: Eliminate wrinkles and get that glowing, youthful look again
  • Trick or Treat, Fix My Feet!, $65: Refresh and smooth feet
  • Madame Tussaud’s Hand Treatment & Manicure, $45: Smooth and soften hands with paraffin wax and massage

Call 561/540-4960 for more information or to make a reservation.

Eau Spa Chessboard

Eau Spa Chessboard. Photo provided by Eau Spa.

SPA-VEMBER (November):

Head to the Seagate Hotel & Spa for their 4.5-hour “Spice It Up” package. The $436 package includes a touch of fall, i.e., pumpkin spice, in several treatments:

  • Complimentary Pumpkin Spice Martini
  • 25-Minute Body Polish 
  • 50-Minute Swedish Massage 
  • 80-Minute Pumpkin Enzyme Facial
  • 80-Minute Pumpkin Spice Manicure and Pedicure 

Treatment room at the Seagate Hotel & Spa

Treatment room at the Seagate Hotel & Spa. Photo provided by the Seagate Hotel & Spa.

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.
The lobby of Orangtheory Fitness headquarters second floor in Boca Raton.

Orangetheory Fitness Opens New Global Headquarters in Boca Raton

The lobby of Orangtheory Fitness headquarters second floor in Boca Raton.

The lobby of Orangtheory Fitness headquarters second floor in Boca Raton.

There’s a new kid on the block—er, in the Boca Raton Research Park off Broken Sound Parkway. Orangetheory Fitness, founded in 2010 by Dave Long, Ellen Latham and another partner, has roots in Fort Lauderdale. But when the 7-year-old company began rapidly expanding (in 2016, system-wide sales increased 108 percent), they knew their global headquarters needed to expand, too.

Their new address, 6000 Broken Sound Parkway N.W., is the perfect fit for Orangetheory and more than 100 employees. But the 36,000 square foot headquarters isn’t a typical office. The first floor is dedicated to a “wellness space,” Joe Mazella, an employee, says. This includes: two sleeping pods, a massage room, a meditation space, a physical therapy room, an infrared sauna, a polar plunge tub and a flotation tank. There’s also a studio. And, if the permits are approved, Mazella says OTF could open up the wellness space to the public, aka. you. Who wouldn’t want that?

The second floor hosts cubicles, a walk/run track, two kitchens and a room with a pool table and ping pong. Everything is designed to help people work better and faster. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the new HQ in photos.

Part of the studio bathed in orange light at headquarters.

Part of the studio bathed in orange light at headquarters.

The physical therapy room at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters in Boca Raton.

The physical therapy room at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters in Boca Raton.

Art wall in the wellness space at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters.

Art wall in the wellness space at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters.

A meeting room in the wellness space at Orangetheory headquarters in Boca Raton.

A meeting room in the wellness space at Orangetheory headquarters in Boca Raton.

A sleeping pod in the new wellness space at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters in Boca Raton.

A sleeping pod in the new wellness space at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters in Boca Raton.

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.
mayweather vs. mcgregor

Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight Signals Shifting Preferences in South Florida

Written by Ian Hest

The tall, cavernous walls echo with every strike. In this gym, the roar of the crowd is only deafening inside the mind of the two fighting. A single voice is all that’s really heard.

“Watch your feet. Step. Step.” the voice calls, a calming presence in a chaotic situation.

“Switch!”

That word, in this moment, could not be more appropriate.

The man behind the voice is Din Thomas, former fighter and world-renowned coach at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, where the next generation of fighter is being groomed.

Din Thomas at his gym, American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

Din Thomas training at American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

But they’re not doing so in a boxing ring. They’re in an octagon. And there are no ropes, only caged wiring.

“Here you’re getting thrown right in. And if you make it you did it on your own,” Thomas says, reflecting on the exciting possibilities that so many of his fighters share in. “And then if you excel, you’re a helluva fighter. That’s just the way it is.”

In many ways, Thomas, a black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu and veteran of 36 professional fights, and his ATT gym exemplifies the switch in popularity from boxing to mixed martial arts over the past four decades. And while the fundamentals of boxing thread their way into MMA, making it a valuable tool they still coach, this gym trains some of the best MMA fighters in the world.

That rise in popularity, beginning in the late ‘90s, and coinciding simultaneously with a declining interest in boxing, has created a new wave of combat sports fans.

That progression will be fully on display Saturday, when, for the first time on a big stage, the two sports will literally go head to head, as MMA superstar Conor McGregor fights undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather in a 12-round boxing bout.

It’s a seminal moment in the history of combat sports, which has a long and illustrious history in South Florida.

Beginning in the 1950s, boxers from around the world flocked to Miami, specifically Miami Beach’s 5th Street Gym. Names like Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, George Foreman, and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis, who’s son Dyah is now the head boxing coach at American Top Team, would train there, making South Florida the soul of the sport.

American Top Team gym is known for its MMA fighters. Photo by Ian Hest.

American Top Team gym is known for its MMA fighters. Photo by Ian Hest.

“Back then it was the best {boxers} fighting the best,” Dyah says. “If the public demanded a fight, then usually you got to see that fight. But now it’s been a little more strategic, more business minded.”

Davis still coaches boxing, but many of his students are using his expertise to improve in MMA.

In 1992, the 5th Street Gym closed. A year later, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, launched a fighting promotion combining elements of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Judo, and other martial arts, and the term “MMA” was formed. By 2001, American Top Team would open, and along with other influential gyms in the area, South Florida would turn from a boxing paradise to an MMA mecca. By the time 5th Street Gym reopened in 2009, MMA had cemented itself into the South Florida sports pop culture.

“South Florida has become a hotspot for MMA,” Thomas says. “I believe it’s become the best place in the world for it.”

Now, McGregor vs. Mayweather is set to change the landscape again. It’s a challenge of two worlds colliding: these over-the-top characters are bringing a renewed attention to one sport, and a continued evolution to the other.

Even still, most experts don’t expect a very competitive fight due to Mayweather’s legendary 49-0 professional boxing record, and McGregor’s novice status in boxing.

Tale of the Tape for Mayweather vs. McGregor.

“I mean, anybody with two hands has a chance,” Davis says. “ But there’s nothing new that Conor [McGregor] could show [Floyd Mayweather] that he hasn’t seen and won’t be able to overcome.”

But the result is not why this matters. Rather, that same progressive history, a paradigm shift, provides a spotlight that many everyday fans haven’t seen before.

It’s another win-win for MMA.

“There’s already this underlying notion that if it’s a ‘real’ fight, Conor wins,” Thomas says, the implication being “real” equals more ways to hit your opponent other than punching.

That implication, however, depends on public perception. If McGregor loses, well, he’s supposed to. If he wins, it’s proof positive of the sport’s established pedestal in the genre.

MMA belts from professional fighters who train at American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

MMA belts from professional fighters who train at American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

But regardless, the attention, and the money that comes along with this fight will grow.

And in an age where hype and promotion matter more, the spectacle to be seen will be worth more than the price of admission.

Thomas says that in this age of social media and instant gratification, the thrill of a three-minute MMA fight will resonate more with younger fans than drawn-out boxing matches.

Davis and Thomas believe that while this historic fight is the first in the public sphere where boxing and MMA square off, it certainly won’t be the last.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if out of this, the UFC creates their own promotional company for boxing,” Davis says.

“I think that something they’ve been talking about,” Thomas added, “and I wouldn’t doubt it.”


 

Mayweather vs. McGregor airs at 9 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 26. The fight airs on Showtime pay-per-view for $100 as well as live online streaming


 

Ian Hest is a Boca Raton native who has been a journalist around the country for the past 7 years. He is a University of Miami graduate and spent 2 years as a sports anchor and reporter on WPTV News Channel 5 and Fox 29. He has also worked for ESPN radio, and has covered the FIFA World Cup, NCAA Tournament, College Football Playoff, and many other high profile sporting events.

Catered Fit's panko crusted buffalo chicken meal. Photo provided by Catered Fit.

SoFla-Based Meal Delivery Company Catered Fit’s Paleo Meals Top PBC Orders

Catered Fit's panko crusted buffalo chicken meal. Photo provided by Catered Fit.

Catered Fit’s panko crusted buffalo chicken meal. Photo provided by Catered Fit.

Earlier this year, I had my house tented for termites—and that’s a whole lot of fun, especially with multiple pets. We checked into a local hotel room that was more like a one-bedroom apartment, complete with kitchen. I noticed a stack of boxes at the check-in counter that had been delivered by a prepared meal company. Read more

Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, and edited food copy among other jobs, including blogging about wine (The Swirl Girls). Her husband is writer and author Scott Eyman. They live in West Palm Beach with an assortment of cats and dogs.
Floating in a sensory deprivation pod. Photo by Dylan Calm.

What It’s Like to Float in a Tank With No Light or Sound for 90 Minutes

Floating in a sensory deprivation pod. Photo by Dylan Calm.

Floating in a floatation pod. Benefits include relaxation, reduced stress, decreased muscular pain and more. Photo by Dylan Calm.

“When people get out of the float, they’re really raw,” Destiny Beck said.

What she meant is that after 90 minutes of floating in an isolation tank, where your feeling of physical existence is nearly wiped away, you can feel new, exposed or emotional when you get out.

The experience, aftermath and benefits are as different as the people floating, she said.

Beck is the co-owner, with her husband, Matt, of Float8 Wellness Lounge, opening in Deerfield Beach on Aug. 22.

Float8 has three pods and one special float suite, a giant walk-in tub with walls to the ceiling. Each gleaming white pod, space-y sleek, is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and water. The water is roughly the same temperature as the surface of your skin, 93 degrees. The salt allows you to float effortlessly, and the temperature, Destiny says, is meant to prevent you from feeling where your body touches the water. Each session lasts 90 minutes, a long time (or not) when it’s just you and your thoughts in there. When you step into the tank, you close the lid and turn off the light and just… exist. No light. No sound. Just you.

A pod at Float8. Photo by Jason Koerner Photography.

A pod at Float8. Photo by Jason Koerner Photography.

My experience wasn’t particularly profound or life changing. I didn’t have a spiritual awakening or for feel like I was floating in outer space. But I did feel that rawness Destiny was talking about. While I was floating, there wasn’t any outside stimulus to distract me or detract me from myself.

Laying there naked, feeling the slimy salt water coat my skin, I began to notice that my thoughts carried a common theme. I was worrying about all kinds of things—about work, about what people thought of me, about my parents, even about what I was going to eat after. Once I noticed that worry and anxiety took up most of my thoughts, I was able to say, “Don’t worry.” I accepted the thoughts and eventually pushed them away.

At one point I sort of dozed off in a half-wake, half-dream state (it’s nearly impossible to drown in the tank. You’re floating so easily, it’s almost like laying on a bed.), and my mind just wandered. I didn’t have to analyze my thoughts. After that, I was in a more relaxed mood, and by the time ethereal music flooded the pod and the green light clicked on—my cue to get out—I felt good. 

After my float, I relaxed in the lounge and drank tea while writing about my experience.

After my float, I relaxed in the lounge and drank tea while writing about my experience.

 

I spoke with partners Brian Lester and Barbara Alfonco on the phone a couple hours later, after they had both floated for the first time. There were striking parallels between our experiences.

Lester, who said he’d been waiting a whopping 17 years to try floating, Alfonco and I all went into the pod with no expectations.

“I feel like when we expect things, then it’s not what we get,” Alfonco said.

We all also noted that our bodies felt good after, and back pain and other muscular pain went away. That’s likely a result of the Epsom soak, which is one reason athletes like Tom Brady and Steph Curry float.

When Lester got out of the tank, he said he felt very emotional, “like I was being born again,” he said. Maybe it was that out-of-this world music (amplified by the way sound carries underwater), he pondered. “I almost felt like crying. It was really peaceful.”

They both purchased packages so they can continue floating.

Each pod contains 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. Destiny said that even more of these bags goes into just one tank.

Each pod contains 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. Destiny said that even more of these bags goes into just one tank.

Floatation therapy, sensory deprivation chambers or isolation tanks aren’t new. Comedian Joe Rogan is probably one of the most outspoken public figures on the benefits of this practice, and Matt and Destiny learned about it by listening to his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience. Watch him talk about floating here.

They’ve been into floating ever since, and their passion led them to open the first multi-tank float center in South Florida. The studio has a meditation room/library, lounge area with organic teas and snacks, and bathrooms with lotion, q-tips and other post-soak necessaries. Local artwork by Jason Koerner, Kazilla and others is on rotation, and books, a journal and coloring books help you relax and reset after the float.

Float8 opens on Aug. 22 with a grand opening party the night before from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Click here to RSVP. To see prices and more information about floating, visit float8ion.com.

When I got into my stiflingly hot car and drove along the congested streets after the float, I felt happy. I even laughed when I got stuck behind a senior driving 20 MPH on a 45 MPH road.

I didn’t attain enlightenment during my float. Didn’t experience nirvana. Just a few hours where the stress of the world couldn’t touch me.

Shayna is the Web Editor of Boca Magazine. She is a 20-something sorta-recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. Most of her time is spent fawning over cats and kittens; cooking food at home for her family; and observing Florida’s greatest asset: nature.
Ryan Owens, who was a Navy SEAL. He will be honored at The Ryan Owens Beach Run Memorial on

Deerfield Beach Run to Honor Fallen SEAL Ryan Owens

Ryan Owens, who was a Navy SEAL. He will be honored at The Ryan Owens Beach Run Memorial on

Ryan Owens, who was a Navy SEAL. He will be honored at The Ryan Owens Memorial Run on Nov. 4.

A 4-mile beach run (usually carrying gear and wearing combat boots) is typical of what Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens would have done with his brother, John Owens, of Deerfield Beach, when Ryan trained to become a Navy SEAL.

The brothers would indeed serve the U.S. as part of the elite Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Forces (SEALs) program. John, who is deployed now, was five years older than Ryan.

At age 36, on Jan. 29, 2017, Ryan was in Yemen with SEAL Team 6. He died of wounds he endured during a nighttime raid. It was Ryan’s 12th deployment as a SEAL, and his 18th year in the U.S. Navy.

To honor and celebrate his brother’s life, John started The Ryan Owens Memorial Run.

Money raised from the run will go to build a memorial for Ryan in Lauderdale by the Sea, said Holly Owens, John’s wife and Ryan’s sister-in-law. The cost to run or walk the 4-mile timed beach course is $40 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and younger who can participate in a 1-mile run. The run commences with opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, at 149 SE 21st Ave. in Deerfield Beach.

This is the first year of The Ryan Owens Memorial Run. The City of Deerfield Beach has agreed to co-sponsor what will become an annual race. And while proceeds from the 2017 event will go to Ryan’s memorial, future races will help pay for other memorials and benefit families of fallen Navy SEALs, Holly says.

Ryan, who grew up in Coral Springs, was larger than life, she says.

“He was and is a superhero. Everything [he and John] did was extreme in life,” Holly says. “The family is very competitive and has always raced together. I think that is why John decided to do this and thought it was the best way to go about remembering Ryan and honoring and celebrating him every year.”

John and Ryan Owens.

John and Ryan Owens.

Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, Ryan qualified to wear many medals, including a Silver Star w/Combat “V” Navy.

The Owens family is planning more than just the run. All registered runners can enjoy a free after-party in the beach parking lot, complete with food trucks, a beer garden and live music.

Later that evening, there will be a dinner and silent auction at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, 2425 Maya Palm Drive, Boca Raton. Tickets for the dinner and auction, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, are $140 until Sept. 1; then they increase in price to $150.

To sign up for the race or dinner or learn more about Ryan and his legacy, go to https://nakedwarriorproject.com/.

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on wordscomealive.com.
boca birthday

How to Have the Most Fun, Hardcore Boca Birthday Party Ever

My new kind of Boca birthday celebration

I taught my first Pound class to my friends at my 35th birthday part. Photo courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

I taught my first Pound class to my friends at my 35th birthday party. Photo courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

Aren’t you and/or your partner getting tired of going to the same birthday dinner over and over again? My waistline and my wallet are pretty much over it.

Kids birthday parties are one thing (and take up enough of my valuable weekend time, am I right?). But I’m really starting to feel strongly that I don’t need to go overboard every year celebrating the big “36” or “43” (no offense) on a busy Friday or Saturday night. I know I might sound overly cranky, but family time is precious these days!

Champagne and cupcakes after our workout! Photo courtesy of Sweet Moments Photography.

Champagne and cupcakes after our workout! Photo courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

That’s why for the past three years, I’ve subbed in a rockin’ workout class for my birthday celebration in lieu of an expensive and time-consuming dinner. And I serve champagne and cupcakes afterwards … which are essentially guilt-free indulgences since we just worked out.

My celebratory workout of choice? Pound. Rockout. Workout. Pound is a 45 minute, full body cardio and strength class that utilizes Ripstix, a weighted set of drumsticks. It’s inspired by the infectious and energizing fun of playing the drums.

MBMPound_0029

Connie Mullen and me. Photo courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

I typically hold my birthday class at Organic Movements in east Boca Raton under the instruction of Connie Mullen Fitness. She’s fantastic and even inspired me to get my own teaching certification this past spring. And I taught my first-ever Pound class on my 35th birthday this year! I figured it would be a great mid-30’s exercise (pun intended) in stepping out of my comfort zone. And it went great!

Some motivational drinking vessels. Photos courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

Some motivational drinking vessels. Photos courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

We rocked out at 6 p.m., toasted with champagne and cake at 6:45 p.m., and were home to our husbands and children by 8:30 p.m. on a Monday evening. It was the perfect Boca birthday celebration in my book.

If you want to rock out and hold your own “Pound and Pour” fitness party for a birthday or bachelorette like I did, be sure to check out ConnieMullenFitness.com for more information.

Me and my girlfriends pre-party-workout. Photo courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.

Me and my girlfriends pre-party-workout. Photo courtesy of Sweet Memories Photography.


Visit www.modernbocamom.com for even more fun celebration ideas! And be sure to subscribe to Modern Boca Mom’s weekly e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/mbmsubscribe.

Michelle Olson-Rogers, a native to Boca, is the founder of ModernBocaMom.com, a lifestyle website for the stylish & modern South Florida Mommy. Modern Boca Mom features family events, activities, classes, fitness, dining, travel, home improvement and shopping options—as well as a weekly MOMpreneur spotlight! She and her husband Andrew have one daughter, Avery.
The Sea Emperor Wreck, AKA "Aqua Zoo." Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

5 South Florida Diving Spots Worth Taking the Plunge

Whether snorkeling or scuba diving is second nature or a brand-new hobby, there are plenty of sites across South Florida for everyone—and a chance to explore life beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s our summer dive list to get you started.

Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park

Divers under Blue Heron Bridge. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

Divers under Blue Heron Bridge. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

Voted “Best Shore Dive in the USA,” this snorkel spot on the Intracoastal Waterway in Lake Worth is prime snorkeling real estate to see batfish, frogfish, octopus, pipefish, seahorses and sea turtles, to name a few. It’s ideal for new divers, snorkelers and photographers because of its shallow depth between 5 and 20 feet. Grab a pair of goggles, a set of fins and a snorkel, and take in the sights.

Breakers Reef

A whale shark swims with a school of fish at Breakers Reef. Photo by Dennis Whitestone.

A whale shark swims with a school of fish at Breakers Reef. Photo by Dennis Whitestone.

Named after the Breakers Hotel, this West Palm Beach site is great for Open Water-certified divers, with depths of 50 to 65 feet. The east side of the dive is deeper, and divers who want to lobster or spearfish are allowed to do so. In the spring and summer, keep an eye out for green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles.

Lady Luck Wreck

The Lady Luck Wreck in Pompano Beach. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

The Lady Luck Wreck in Pompano Beach. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

This casino-themed shipwreck in Pompano Beach gives divers the chance to explore 16 rooms, the captain’s deck, engine room, galley and surroundings. Look for the statue of the mermaid cocktail waitress, the faux casino in the main deck and other details, which were designed by Pompano artist Dennis MacDonald. Nikole Heath of Force-E in Boca Raton says this is one of the most popular dives in the area and is between 80 and 130 feet deep.

San Remo Reef

San Remo Reef is about 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

San Remo Reef is about 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

For a change of pace, try night diving or drift diving at San Remo Reef. The caves and overhangs make for great scenery and are home to octopus, squid and tropical fish. This reef is only 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet, and the depth ranges from 45 to 65 feet.

Sea Emperor Wreck

The Sea Emperor Wreck, AKA "Aqua Zoo." Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

The Sea Emperor Wreck, AKA “Aqua Zoo.” Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

Also known as the “Aqua Zoo,” the Sea Emperor in Boca Raton is the perfect place to spot moray eels, stingrays and nurse sharks. The barge is upside down and contains 1,600 tons of drainage culverts at a depth of 70 feet. A second dive site, the United Caribbean wreck, is only 300 feet south of the “Aqua Zoo” and is easily accessible—just follow the coral trail.


This story comes from our July/August 2017 issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.