What is your PulsePDX story?
Growing up and into my 20s I was always that person who could eat an entire tub of ice cream and a full-size bag of Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles in one sitting (which I often did) and not gain a pound. Then I turned 30. The magic of youth wore off and I needed to start exercising. Problem is, I absolutely hated all forms of it (including the ones that everyone is supposed to love—like hiking—I know!).
So I did the easiest thing I could think of. I bought a pair of cheap gym shirts from Goodwill and some sneakers with my friend’s Adidas employee discount and I started running. It wasn’t long before I got shin splints, which was so annoying because it was like, “Dude, Life, I’m trying my hardest here!!” But now I see that it was pretty much one of the best things that could have ever happened to me, because…
I had to find another form of exercise. Gyms are not for me. I’ve never stepped foot in one and had zero desire to. Plus the idea of workout classes and workout culture just makes me feel so icky, like I’m in High School again and someone didn’t send me the coolness memo.
Then I remembered this secret thing that I loved, that I even forgot about because the opportunity rarely presented itself: dancing.
“I’m pretty sure dance workouts are a thing,” I thought.
I Googled “dance workouts portland.”
PulsePDX popped up and it was the “no mirrors” and “dance-club vibe” rhetoric that spoke to me. It didn’t sound worky-outy at all. Like I don’t have to try and be a cool workout girl, I could just hide in the darkness and dance. I work a day job at a wine bar/retail wine shop and I spend all day being “on” for people, so this idea of being in my own little “meditative-dance-zone” was very appealing to me.
I tried out a handful of classes for a week or two and loved them all, but it was Quinlan’s dance fitness class (RIP) that got me absolutely obsessed. That sealed the deal.
I spent a month or so carefully managing my weekly 4-class/week pass until my (very supportive and amazing) boyfriend convinced me to become an unlimited member. He said something along the lines of, “If there is literally only one thing that you have to invest in it’s your physical and mental health; plus the fact that you also love it so much—not everyone has that.”
And mental health, he was right!
Around that same time, my boyfriend and I started a business together and then, conveniently (not!) anxiety and depression found their way out of the woodwork and into both our lives and my life became a complicated balancing act of all of the above.
What started out as a way to counteract my aging metabolism became a million times more than that. My Pulse classes became my therapy, my meditation and the one or two (even three) hours a day when I could escape my mind and find freedom in my body.
It’s a known fact among anyone close to me that I need my Pulse classes and, therefore, my life pretty much completely revolves around them. For example, I apologized to my best friend for saying “no” to a margarita with her the other day because I would have had to miss Zumba and she texted back: “Never feel bad! Zumba makes you whole!” So there ya go.
What do you do when you aren’t dancing with us?
The business my boyfriend and I founded and which takes up more of my time and energy than I’d like to admit—but which does have its sweet moments!—is a wine education company called Sunday School Wine. We provide fun and accessible wine education to curious wine lovers of all levels of knowledge.
Since 2017 we’ve done everything from pop-up classes at bars and restaurants to corporate classes and private parties to Zoom classes, wine tours, a podcast, an online membership platform and, our personal fave, an annual (minus Covid years) everything-but-Pinot-Noir festival in wine country called Alt Wine Fest.
And in the other slivers of time that I’m not dancing, working on our business, or working one of my other freelance gigs (copywriting and social media management/coaching), you can find me in the kitchen. I have an extreme fondness for my very fully stocked spice cabinet with spices from around the world.
I use these as inspiration to research dishes and cook meals that wouldn’t have otherwise entered into my brainspace. Then, when I can make it to one of Portland’s international markets, I’ll meander around and collect more spices (and other ingredients) that might be unfamiliar to me and the cycle goes on. I guess it’s my way of traveling and learning about other cultures through cooking and eating.
I did go a bit overboard on buying every single type of dal from an Indian market last year and, despite having periodic Dal Months, I’m still trying to get through the mung beans and pigeon peas. If anyone has any recipe suggestions, I’ll try anything! (Extra bonus if it’s not even dal!!)