Please welcome, Shannon Pruitt, my February guest blogger. When Shannon proposed trying a Zumba class and writing about it for my blog, I knew she’d approach the task with the spirit I had in mind for my 2012 “hobbies and habits” series.

Shannon started her blog out of the need to feel less alone after her twins, Q and E, were born dangerously premature, then finding out E has special needs. In trying to find the good in all she was facing, Shannon created the blog to look for a nugget of gratitude and inspiration in each day. Since she started the blog, it has become a community of inspiration and gratitude reminding us all that although it may not be all day, some part of each day can be ‘anewfavoriteday.’

Now I’ll get out of the way so you can enjoy Shannon’s Zumba experience. (Also follow Shannon on Twitter and visit her blog!)


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

I am so delighted to be able to guest post on Nina’s blog today. I so enjoy reading her thoughts and opinions, and to have the opportunity to be here today is such a lovely gesture on her part.  Her series on “hobbies and habits” was both timely and intriguing for me, as this year, I have taken on a both a new hobby and habit, taking time for myself.

Due to the premature birth of our twins 2 1/2 years ago, and the subsequent challenges presented by my daughter’s special needs, “I” seem to the last thing on my long list of to-dos.  But not for 2012.  For 2012, one of my hobbies is me.

I am calling it my “Me-Moon Challenge,” like a honeymoon but just for me, where each month I do something that I want to do, simply because I want to do it. And in January, my undertaking was Zumba! (a new dance style that is seemingly everywhere, and you know you are legit if you have an infomercial).

Before I give you the idea that I knew anything about what I was planning to do, I should mention, that while I am a bit of a natural athlete, I am not especially gifted when it comes to dance coordination.  Thanks to Jane Fonda and aerobics in the 80s and 90s, I can follow a routine, but looking even remotely good doing it is a different story.

I should also note that I am highly competitive, but alas, grace is not something that you can compete to acquire. And to acquire gracefulness dancing is pretty much impossible. So, before walking into the Zumba class I had to resign myself to doing this for all the other reasons I wanted to try it.:

  1. It was something for me.
  2. It would be fun, right? I do like to dance even if I don’t look good doing it.
  3. I had managed to convince my friends T and L to join me. (Bwahaha!)
  4. It also aligned with my other resolutions to exercise more.
  5. At the very least, I knew I would laugh a lot.

And laugh we did.

Shannon and her  friends on the way into Zumba class for the first time

Proof that Shannon signed in. It’s official!

Shaking it during class

The overall assessment of our adventure is that it was awesome. We sweated, because it was a great work out. We laughed and smiled as we tried to follow the steps and then sort of flopped around for the parts we didn’t know.

As three competitive women, we all did something we hadn’t done before and that none of us were especially gifted at, thereby making us giggle and come out with a new sense of accomplishment.

For me, it was liberating.  I would do it again in a heartbeat and will try to do it at least once a month.   For me it was a sign of love and affection for myself, and that is one good hobby to create for 2012 and can help to make each day ‘mynewfavoriteday.’


Have you tried something new since the beginning of the year, or are you planning to? Or have you given up a bad habit? Tell us in the comments, or better yet, let me know if you want to write about it for the blog.

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at and Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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