Friday, January 30, 2015

Let's Jump for Friday!

Innocently posing, feeling someone behind me.

"What are you doing?! You're messing up my iconic jumping photos!"

"Fine I'll let you jump with me you weirdo. But you better do it right."

"Nailed it."

Happy Friday! I know it's not technically my "Friday" since I teach on Saturday, but there's something magical about this day. Everyone around me is happier, lighter, and excited about the weekend. How could that not be infectious?

After teaching tonight, I'm headed over to a friend's house for pizza and birthday celebrations. Then tomorrow it's teaching/rehearsals from 10-8. After the studio, enchiladas and Mexican everything will be had. I cannot wait. I cannot wait. I've been really strict about my food intake this week and I'm really ready to blow it on pizza and Mexican food.

photos taken in Indiana during the Fall.
My brother-in-law was creeping. He's actually not a bad dancer.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Second Homes

I never posted these photos from Thanksgiving in Indiana. In fact, I have a huge cue of photos I just put on hold. But I love them and wanted to share them. Every trip to South Bend is magical and wonderful. I love seeing my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and niece and nephew. It's my second home and they make it special every time we visit.

But that tree.... I just can't get enough of that tree. It's pretty spectacular, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Virginia is Frozen

There's a beautiful five mile loop around Burke Lake. In the Fall, it's amass with every color that enriches your soul. In the Winter, it's half frozen and striking in its barren beauty.

Bring your boots. It's a gloopy mess after the rain. Bring your camera. It's breathtaking.

How's your neighborhood? Frozen? Barren? A beautiful, gloppy mess?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Find Your Place

photo by Chris Sardegna

I received an anonymous comment on this post about the last time we felt beautiful and my immediate thought was, "This is why we need to teach the arts in schools." 

I'm in high school, which is not always conducive to feeling beautiful, so I really enjoy exercises like this. However, the last time I felt beautiful was a few days ago, when I was playing a Chopin Nocturne on the piano. I was able to shape a phrase in a way that I had never done before, and it amazed me that something coming from my flawed self could be so perfect. That is what makes me feel beautiful.

Isn't that perfect? I'm not saying we all need to make our children play piano or pick up a paint brush, but there is a certain empowerment that comes from allowing yourself to be a part of something bigger than yourself and then finding your place in it.

Sometimes we need to create to understand our potential. Some of the most beautiful people I know are creative because they have this passion for developing their talents and have an inner confidence from achievements. You can't measure the worth of art, but perhaps that's why it's so important.

Thank you, Anonymous! You've inspired me and many others. You are beautiful.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When was the last time you felt beautiful?

Last week I wrote about a memory about beauty. I've been thinking a lot about how as we age the definition of beauty changes, or becomes more evident and poignant. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "I'm changing. This reflection is changing."

And this feeling of change doesn't always come with a reflection. Sometimes I'll be in an innocuous place, like near a tree or picking up a fallen letter, and I'll feel beautiful. I have no clue what I look like, but there's something in that moment that catches me off guard. 

So now I'm wondering: when was the last time you felt beautiful? While trying on a dress? Carrying a baby? At the end of your last run? What about that moment made you feel that way?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Unsuspecting Beauty

I have this memory I've kept with me for over twenty years. I'm walking into the kitchen and I see my mother sitting at the table. She's eating an apple and I'm awestruck. She was beautiful. Even her chewing was graceful. Somehow she made the apple look like the most delicious thing I'd ever seen in my whole five years of living.

I remember before that moment never having any interest in apples. They seemed boring and difficult to eat, but seeing her gave me a renewed interest in this suddenly beautiful red fruit.

I said, "Mommy, can I have a bite?" Of course she gave me one. And of course I ate it like a horse, sloppy and the opposite of my graceful mother.

Sometimes we catch people in these moments of pure beauty.They're doing ordinary things that somehow inspire us to live life differently. It's how a fierce businesswoman gets out of a cab, an old woman picks a flower from her garden, or a young father ties his daughter's shoe laces. They are moments that make us stop and reflect and they often speak to a part of us that has been neglected.

Perhaps that's why I love photos of dancers in the wings, tying satin ribbons or adjusting a bobby pin. Or why we love candid photos of Audrey Hepburn reading (or doing anything, really). It's something they do multiple times a day, yet they do it in a way that reminds us beauty can be anywhere.

Have you witnessed unsuspecting beauty?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life Lately

Eating: I've been trying to get back to a regular eating schedule ever since The Holiday Binge of 2014. I know people tend to overeat when they grieve, so I've been very aware of my body and listening to it a lot more. It's easy to give myself an excuse to eat comforting foods, but I know it's not going to help me.

Exercise: I have been doing Jillian Michaels' yoga DVD's along with running and biking. My abs are stronger and my bum is getting lifted, which is nothing short of a miracle. I either do two sessions of yoga or one cardio session and one yoga session combined. 

Dance: We are in our second week back after the break and it feels wonderful to be in the studio again. There's a renewed energy from the students and an excitement about our upcoming performances. I have new teaching shoes, new leotards, and new music. I'm giving my students more difficult vocabulary and I'm seeing them more focused and driven. I'm hoping we can continue this attitude until the very end because it makes teaching so much fun.

Friends: My sweet, sweet friend, Emily, owns a few sock stores in California. She sent me these socks after she heard about my mom. It was strange, because the day before I got them, I said to myself, "I will love anyone who gives me cozy socks. I can't think of a better gift." 
(You should go look at the sock store online. They have any sock you could ever want.)

Grieving: I survived my mom's funeral, as you can tell. I still cry some days. I have dreams about her and I sometimes accidentally pick up my phone to call her. But I'm okay. Losing her was my worst fear. Even as a young child, the thought of her dead gave me the greatest anxiety. So now that she's gone, what's left is sadness. No more fear, just sadness. 

Writing: I know my writing here and my novel writing has taken a back burner this past year. It's been horribly difficult to focus. But I'm here, I'm in my writing chair more often, and I'm determined to not let lost time strip away this passion.

How's your life lately?