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GRACE: The Best of 2011

Happy New Year, Jets fans. Thinking back to my life last year at this time, when being an NFL cheerleader was a mere pipe dream, I am grateful to have been so blessed in 2011. There have been so many wonderful moments, experiences and discoveries, and you, Jets fans, have been integral in making my rookie season as a Flight Crew Cheerleader so memorable. Thank you all for supporting the Flight Crew and being the most spirited fan base in the NFL!

As mentioned in my Flight Crew bio, New Year's Day is my favorite holiday because it symbolizes rebirth and reflection. As such, I've listed some of my "favorites" of 2011 to share with you:

Moments and Experiences

Best Jets away game moment — Chest bump between Santonio Holmes and Rex Ryan at the Bills game on Nov. 6. Not sure if Rex has the requisite vertical to play in the NBA, but I do appreciate the Gang Green energy!

Best Jets home game memory —Plaxico Burress' three touchdowns against the Chargers on Oct. 23 in a huge breakout game and a great come-from-behind win.

Best Flight Crew game memory — Tossup between (1) revealing our new touchdown airplane celebration at the Chiefs game on Dec. 11 and (2) performing our holiday halftime routine at the Christmas Eve game against the Giants.

Favorite Rex Ryan quote this season — "I want to be the team that people talk about, that they are interested in, and you do that by winning. And that's who I want to be, and I want to be the best team in the National Football League." — Dec. 20.

Favorite Flight Crew appearance — Marty Lyons, former Jets defensive tackle, founded the Marty Lyons Foundation, which helps fulfill the special wishes of children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. A group of Flight Crew Cheerleaders were invited to the organization's annual holiday event, and we had a wonderful time meeting and dancing with the children!

Best career moments — 2011 marked my first year as a Jets Flight Crew Cheerleader, but it was also my first full year as a practicing corporate attorney. This year my favorite professional moments were (1) receiving my first "deal toy" after closing an M&A transaction, and (2) having my legal commentary on international criminal law published in a case anthology.

Favorite weekend trip — Cape Cod, MA. Even though it's deep in Patriots territory, Cape Cod is the perfect quick getaway for families or couples. It has gorgeous, clean beaches (with seals everywhere) and a quaint New England atmosphere. Be prepared to chow down on steamers and lobster tails!

Favorite way to beat the winter blues —Skiing at Sugarbush, VT. This year, Sugarbush resort offered a deal "For20s," so winter sports enthusiasts in their 20s can purchase a season pass for $399. I'm not one to pass up a bargain, so if you don't find me in New York, you can catch me on the slopes at Sugarbush. (And you certainly will catch me — I have yet to master the bunny slopes.)

Favorite Halloween costume — My 5-year-old niece, Olivia, as a Jets Cheerleader, representing the team all the way from San Francisco. She still managed to collect a giant bag of candy in Niners land (a tribute to how adorable she is)!

Food and Entertainment

Best food discovery — Ethiopian food in NYC. After leaving DC, which is known for incredible Ethiopian cuisine, I thought I was destined to never taste the sour tang of injera bread again — until I found "Queen of Sheba" in Hell's Kitchen! At any Ethiopian restaurant, I recommend tibs wot (hot beef stew sauce) and ater kik alicha (split peas with onion, garlic and olive oil).

Best treats — Pretzel croissant at City Bakery, tres leches at Doughnut Plant, chocolate chip walnut cookie at Levain Bakery, poppy seed strudel at Poseidon Greek Bakery, Lucky Charms treats at Little Cupcake Bakeshop, warm Guanaja chocolate coulant at Daniel.

Favorite restaurant — Rouge Tomate. This Michelin-star restaurant proves that "healthy" can still be gourmet and flavorful. The menu changes seasonally, but I highly recommend the fish and octopus dishes.

Best date ideas — Although I enjoy the occasional dinner-and-a-movie date combo, I prefer the more active dates, such as attending a trapeze class (Trapeze School New York), shooting range (Westside Pistol), comedy show (Upright Citizens Brigade), wine class (Otto, NY Vintners), ice skating at Wollman Rink, or visiting museums (the Guggenheim currently has a great Maurizio Cattelan exhibition).

Favorite TV show — *Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Squad Season 6 *on CMT. I love reality shows that display talent and skill, and for those curious about professional cheerleading, you definitely get an insight into how grueling yet exciting this experience is!

Favorite group fitness activity — Zumba classes. Don't get discouraged if a 70-year-old grandmother is dancing in circles around you. This is a great form of exercise for those who love to shake and shimmy and need a bit of motivation to get in their cardio.

What an eventful year it has been, Jets fans! Hope you all had a rewarding 2011, and best wishes for a happy, healthy 2012. Remember to take the time to reflect on the past year, but leave any regrets and disappointments behind and start 2012 with a positive attitude, open mind and warm heart! Anything can happen in a year!

Best regards,


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