Windhorse Yoga Studio

Windhorse Yoga StudioMy friend, Emily Mariani, fitness guru, personal trainer, unrelenting boot camp drill sergeant, and on top of all the she’s even a yoga instructor, recently turned me on to the wonderful world of yoga and the improvements in my mind, body, and entire outlook have been dramatic. Since she began teaching me yoga I have hardly missed a class, and have found the practice to be a perfect compliment to my fitness routine.

The yoga studio Emily teaches at is Windhorse which is located on 9th St. behind Steinmart. It is the quintessential yoga studio, complete with zen, soothing colors, flowing curtains, statues of figurines in yoga poses I will likely never achieve, and yoga mood lighting including recessed, track, candles, and a few cute, quirky lamps.

Windhorse offers a full schedule of classes for all different levels, from beginners to hard core yogis. I attend the sunrise yoga which I have found to be the perfect way to start my day. However there are afternoon, evening, and weekend classes available. The full schedule is available on their website at www.windhorseyogastudio.com. Anyone considering getting into yoga or any experienced yogis out there looking for a new class or change of venue, I urge you too try out Windhorse. You will not regret it!

Windhorse Yoga Studio
208 West 9th Street
Tyler, TX 75701-4100
(903) 592-9642

Eagle’s Bluff Country Club

Eagle's BluffEagle’s Bluff is without a doubt East Texas’ finest country club.  Located in in Bullard on the bluffs of Lake Palestine, the clubhouse, golf course, staff, and home sites are unlike anything else around.

The par 71 Championship golf course, designed by Carlton Gipson, is one of the longest in East Texas, featuring a distance of 6,977 yards from the back tees.  The course runs through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods around, and is lined by dogwoods, mature hardwoods, and azaleas.

My personal experience of the golf course is limited, as I’ve only played a couple of rounds, but what I can attest to is the fabulousness which is the clubhouse.  The grounds are beautiful, and the clubhouse itself is nothing short of magnificent.  The French Country style facility hosts formal and casual dining, player lounges, and a full service golf pro shop.   I had my wedding reception in one of the banquet rooms, and all my guests were blown away not only by the location, but by the friendly and attentive people who work at Eagle’s Bluff.  I worked with an event coordinator, and she made sure that everything was perfectly taken care of so my night would be everything I could have ever imagined.

My husband and I also enjoyed our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple last year at Eagle’s Bluff for their spectacular five course menu created especially for that occasion.  It was beyond wonderful and we both enjoyed every minute (and bite) of it.  I liked it so much that when I was put in charge of planning my company Christmas party, I immediately knew it HAD to be at Eagle’s Bluff.  Once again, all our guests loved it, and everyone had a wonderful time.  We had a private room and a special menu, and everything about it was perfect.  I’d definitely do it again next year.

In addition to the restaurant and golf course, Eagle’s Bluff also offers their members swimming, a fitness center, and tennis.  Each year they host a Fourth of July fireworks show on the course and last year they opened it up to the public and it drew quite a crowd.  For anyone planning a romantic evening, a special event, or a round of golf, Eagle’s Bluff is definitely worth a look.

Eagle’s Bluff
465 Eagles Bluff Boulevard
Bullard, TX 75757-9826
(903) 825-2999

LA Boxing

laboxingThe kickboxing classes at LA Boxing are awesome. I can hardly type today because my arms and shoulders are so sore, but that’s a good thing, right?  The class last night, taught by the best instructor EVER, Kris Hobbs, is easily one of the best classes I have ever taken.  It’s tough, oh is it ever, but just a few hours later I have already forgotten about the pain, and I am ready for more.

laboxingThe class last night started at 6:30, so we arrived a few minutes early as instructed so we would have time to grab some gloves and find an empty bag.  There was an occupant at nearly every single bag which I took as a good sign…  Obviously this is a popular class. Kris walked around to introduce himself to all the new faces before class began and took the time to learn everyone’s names.  Did I mention I like Kris?  He had us pumped up, laughing and having a good time almost the entire class.  When he mentions the term ‘muscle failure’ he is not playing around.  Major ouch.

Our kickboxing class lasted 45 minutes and combined cardio with boxing moves and lots of push-ups and some pretty intense ab work at the end.  The different styles of push-ups were especially hard, but I actually managed to do one or two clap push-ups. My favorite part was taking out all my pent up frustration on that bag.  It’s highly therapeutic. I think I especially mastered the knee jab maneuver.

laboxingI am definitely going to take more classes at LA Boxing.  In addition to the kickboxing classes, they also offer real boxing, MMA, wrestling, Judo, and Jui Jitsu classes. There is also some standard exercise equipment like a wall of free weights, a couple of treadmills, and weight benches.  I think I will stick to the kickboxing for now, but maybe I’ll come back on Thursday when the kickboxing class focuses on legs instead of arms…  Mine are going to be sore for awhile.


LA Boxing
7924 S Broadway Ave # 700
Tyler, TX 75703-5243
(903) 509-4269

Cowboys Stadium

cowboysstadiumSince more than just a few of my fellow Tylerites may be interested in making the trip to see the legendary Cowboys Stadium in all its glory, I am reviewing outside of East Texas in an effort to confirm or dispel some of the myths accompanying Jerry Jones’ new palace.  I hope you find it helpful.

This past summer I found myself faced with the task of coming up with the perfect first anniversary gift for my husband.  I racked my brain for days and days and finally I was struck with an idea for the perfect gift….  Cowboys tickets in the new stadium.  This idea was especially good, I thought, because it met the traditional guidelines that the first anniversary gift should be paper.  So, after much internal debating and back and forth and so on, I finally decided on (with much help from my football-informed friends) the October 25th duel between the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons.

Now, back to dispelling myths.  Let’s start with parking.  The tales I had heard about parking at or even near the stadium were almost enough to be a deal breaker for me.  I heard rumors that parking was going for anywhere from $75 to $150 for parking a mile away!  I am happy to report, that this is one rumor you can completely dismiss.  It may be true that parking is this much in certain areas, but affordable parking is available – if not plentiful – just a short walk from the stadium.  We were cruising in on Collins wondering which way to go.  My husband pointed to a glimpse of a satellite tower far, far away, just barely visible on the horizon.  There, he claimed, was the $50 parking section.  If we drove there now and walked straight back to the stadium, we should be there just in time to catch the end of the halftime show.  Um, no thanks.  We decided to push our luck and keep going toward the stadium when all of a sudden we saw it.  Parking for $35.  The stadium is not only within walking distance, it is visible, and practically right there!  I wish I could remember the name of the place…  My memory fails me.  But, I can tell you that it was a small, privately owned parking lot just down the road from the stadium, and the parking was only $35.00 If you just had to be closer, the next block up parking was going for $50.  Myth dispelled.

Next, let me tell you about my impressions approaching and entering Cowboys Stadium.  Walking up to the stadium was incredible.  I wanted to hang out with the tailgaters more than I wanted to go inside!  Now, forgive me if this is common knowledge, but I had never seen anything like it.  Motorized cooler scooters, vans equipped with flat screens and surround sound, grills that attach to your trucks, people dressed up in costumes, I could go on and on.  It was SO cool.  Too bad we had to go inside. Once I was able to pry my eyes away from the tailgaters and all their fun setups did I take a moment to actually look at the building itself.  I don’t really like using the word building for it because it is so much more.  It is really a feat of architecture and engineering.  Oh, and it looks like a giant spaceship with crab legs.

millerliteFinally we made it inside after seeing 1. two people trying to get in with fake tickets, and 2. a man trying to enter with a concealed weapon.  Walking in to this stadium was unlike walking into any other stadium I had ever entered. It had a very ‘open air’ feel to it.  Meaning, you walk in, and the opening for the field is right there.  No dark corridors with entrances for sections and levels spaced periodically around the field like most arenas.  We oohed and ahhed for a few minutes at the sheer size of the place, watched the Miller Lite Rhythm and Blues dancers as we made our way up to our section, and stopped on a staircase for a moment to check out the abundance of empty box suites.  Why couldn’t we go in there?  Oh well, we continued to make our way up to the upper reserved section where our seats were all the while commenting on how new and clean everything was.

4044368431_ac2542711bI bought the tickets online at Stub Hub and I found the seating diagram on Stub Hub’s website to be slightly deceiving, but it was ok.  As I am sure most everyone has heard, there is a huge screen in the middle of the field.  HUGE screen.  I’m talking 72′ x 160′ LED screen right in the middle of the field.  Try keeping your eyes off of it – it’s impossible. More disappointing than the location of the seats was the accessibility to the seats.  Once I got in my chair I stayed put for the entire game because I was too terrified that if I got up the slightest stumble could send me bouncing and rolling down row after row of fans, only to land sheepishly in the middle of the field, or worse (or better?) right at the feet of Miles Austin.  Also, once someone decided to get up, there is a collective groan from all members of the row who now have to stand up and scoot way back to make room for their exit and return.  Trust me, aisle seats are worth the extra $$$.

farmersmarketLet’s talk food.  I saw lots of yummy things to eat here, and sampled a couple of things myself.  There was actually a farmer’s market stand where there were grapes, apples, bananas, and many other types of fresh and healthy snacks for sale.  I got some grapes and snacked on them throughout the game.  Later, my husband got a Philly cheesesteak that was a gooey, messy, delicious delight. From what I could tell, the only beer they have here is Miller Lite, but I could be mistaken.  For the food and the bathrooms there were no lines at all.

I found the game very enjoyable to watch.  I am not a huge football fan, but even I couldn’t deny there was something special about witnessing this event with my own eyes.  So what if I think the cheerleaders are more entertaining than the football?  The Cowboys ended up beating the Falcons 37 to 21. We left just a couple of minutes early, but just like before, there were no lines, and there was a steady and constant flow of people making their way out of the stadium.  As we made our way back to the car we noticed the Arlington police had blocked all traffic coming towards the stadium so exiting traffic could flow out smoothly.  We were able to pull right out of our parking spot and head down the road back to I-20.

For those of you worried about long lines, dirty bathrooms, expensive parking and bad food fear not.  The Cowboys Stadium has overcome, if not conquered, these annoyances which plague so many other stadiums, arenas, and large venues.  Do not, however, let the size of this place fool you into thinking that you will be able to move freely in and out of your seat as the rows are extremely narrow.  Despite that one drawback (well, that and only serving Miller Lite) I’d still say this is something everyone should experience at least once.  Check it out for yourselves and let us know what you think.

Cowboys Stadium
925 North Collins Street
Arlington, TX 76011
(817) 892-4161

Wired Zipline Challenge Course

Wired Zip Line Challenge CourseWhen invited to come check out the Wired Zip Line Course in Canton, we happily obliged.   I had never zip lined before, and neither had my sister nor husband, though we all agreed we wanted to try it out.  We decided to come out on a Sunday, and the weather was absolutely beautiful – 70s and sunny.  A good day to go zip lining, for sure.

The course is easy to find, but it was First Monday so the traffic was terrible.  To get there, just take Hwy 64 west to Canton, take a right on Hwy 19, and it’s on the right.  You can see the zip lines and towers from the highway.  The course is situated on a beautiful piece of property.  We were asked to fill out a brief info sheet, then were introduced to our guides and harnessed up.  In addition to our harnesses, we also were given helmets and thick, padded gloves to wear.

Our guides were Cody, Clay, and Mike, and Lori was our instructor who taught us how to brake and some other zip lining maneuvers.  I’ll admit, I was getting pretty nervous during the training portion.  They hook you up on a short line to practice breaking.  It’s pretty simple – you keep both hands clasped over the pulley on top of the line, then when the guide signals to start breaking by putting his hand on his head, you take your right (or left) hand and place it on the line behind the pulley.  The friction slows you down to a stop.  Still, I was worried that I would get in the air and forget the signal, or put the wrong hand on the line, or who knows what other way I may be capable of screwing up these seemingly simple instructions. Luckily, my three practice attempts were successful, as were my sister’s and husband’s, so we were off to conquer the course.

Wired Zip Line Challenge CourseDuring our training session, Lori warned us that the hardest part was just making it up the first set of stairs to the first line.  She was right.  This staircase is a seemingly endless, steep, spiral stairway.  It seemed to take ages to get to the top, and the tight spiral of the staircase combined with my nerves was making me feel a little overwhelmed.  I made it to the top only to see my sister struggling about half way up the stairs.  I could see it was getting to her, too.  However, with a few words of encouragement from our awesome guides, she overcame her fears (for the moment at least) and joined us on the platform.  Cody and Clay hooked to the line and zipped across to the next platform where they would wait for us to arrive.  My husband volunteered to go first, so Mike clipped up his harness, and sent him on his way.  Every moment you are waiting on a tower to zip you are clipped on to the tower so you can never fall over.  It is 100% obvious how much the people at Wired value safety, and even more remarkable how well they are able to maintain their standards of safety while also making sure everyone had a great time.  I was up next, so I got clipped on to the line, and began my first zip ever.  It was awesome!  Cody was waiting for me at the other side, and when I started approaching the tower he gave me the signal to start breaking.  I remembered what to do and sailed in smoothly to the platform.  Now it was my sister’s turn.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, she was on her way!  She came down the line screaming (screams of joy, of course), and arrived with a smile on her face, though it was a slightly shaky smile.

Wired Zip Line Challenge CourseAlthough I knew what zip lining was, I had never before considered the logistics of it.  The actual time zip lining is just a small portion of the whole time you spend on the course.  Only one person zips at a time, then once you arrive at the destination platform you are unhooked from the line and hooked to the platform before the next person can zip.  Then, the second and third platforms had ladders and bridges to get you up to the next line.  Before you can ascend the ladder or bridge you have to be safely harnessed in, in case someone were to fall.  This ends up taking quite a bit of time, but I honestly had just as much fun waiting on the platforms as I did while flying through the air.  Just standing on the platforms (the tallest one is 95 feet high) and taking in the beautiful view was amazing.  I especially liked the view of the pond from the 2nd tower where we watched turtles swim for a while.

In total, the course has four lines, totaling around 3,500 feet.  Each day, before the course opens, the guides do a practice run to check course conditions.  The speed and direction of the wind determines which line will be the fastest.  For us, the fastest line was 2nd, with riders getting up to 40 mph.  The third line travels over the marshy area of the property, and the fourth line is short and sweet (they call it the bunny slope), taking you back down to the ground.

Wired Zip Line Challenge CourseWired has the longest zip lines in the whole state of Texas, and their course is constructed entirely out of steel, instead of the telephone poles or trees used by most other courses.

We had a wonderful afternoon at Wired, and we all agreed we would love to go back.  The actual zipping was fun, but it was the great people there who really made it for us.  We do not have enough wonderful things to say about our guides.  They were awesome, they kept us laughing and entertained (and safely harnessed in) the whole afternoon.  We arrived at Wired at one in the afternoon, and it was close to three by the time we left.  Though I have no other zipping experience to compare this to, I highly recommend anyone interested in zip lining in East Texas to check out this course.  It’s not just for adults – kids age 10 and up are welcome, and I think it would make a great family experience.  Drop-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended.  More information is available on Wired’s website – www.ziptheusa.com.

Wired Zipline Challenge Course
796 N Trade Days Blvd
Canton, TX 75103
(903) 567-2681