Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's not just a sport, It's a way of life...

I remember a time in my life where dance WAS my life. I began taking dance classes at the age of 6 and kept on dancing until I was 15. I started off as a regular little girl who took dance lessons once a week and performed in the yearly recital. But by 5th grade dance had become so much more to me. I auditioned for a competitive group and made it. By the time I was in 6th grade, I had dance practice Monday through Friday, beginning immediately after school and ending well after dark, and production rehearsals on Saturdays from 8:00-2:00. I literally would wear my leotard under my clothes to school and go straight to the dance studio. We always had a 30-45 minute break at dance to eat or do homework, so we usually walked across the street to Subway or sat in the lobby and watched other dances. All of this madness was only during off seasons…during competition season, which spans from March to May, all of this time was spent at the studio, but Fridays after dance we would stay for costume fittings, before jumping in the car for competition weekends which lasted from Friday nights to Sunday nights. It was a lot of hard work and we trained hard, but it was so fun and exciting. I formed some of my deepest friendships at the studio, since we all had a common interest and spent so much time together. We laughed about things others wouldn’t find funny; the Dansco brand shoes someone bought by accident, the plum eye shadow someone had instead of violet, the fake eyelashes and the glue that stuck your eyelids together, the Vaseline on our teeth. We did crazy things for competitions….waking up at 5:00am to put in fake hair, makeup, Vaseline on our teeth, make sure you’re wearing the right tights, costume, and shoes. Is your hair in a low pony for this one or a high bun? Are you wearing your body tights, or the footless ones? Do you have an extra hair net, my 800 bobby pins ripped mine! Oh no, I left my red lipstick in my other dance bag! Mom, I have to pee but I’m wearing underwear, tights, spandex, and a unitard! Do I have time to eat a granola bar before we go on next? What dance is next? I know, I know, remember to smile. Kissy faces. Do I start stage left or stage right? Did you see how many judges were out there? The stage isn’t as wide as we thought, shorten all moves! My costume ripped, my tights have a run, and I’m tired. My hair piece doesn’t match my hair anymore! Why is HE in the dressing room? Where is my mom? Is the stage marked? Where the heck do I get a stick on bra that will fit me? Ew, the smell of the E6000 used for the rhinestones and maribou is killing me! Mom, we’re gonna run out of hairspray and destroy the ozone, can you stop it!? ALL of these things and more can be heard backstage at any given competition. It sounds stressful, and it is. But it’s what bonded us girls, and sometimes guys, together. There is no greater feeling then sitting on stage during awards and getting a platinum award while your teacher and parents cry with excitement and pride. There’s no greater feeling then going out to dinner with your group after a 15+ hour day and feel like you have all of the excitement and adrenaline in the world. There is no greater feeling then running through the hotel and finding all the other dancers, when really, you should have no energy left. And as much as I hated it at the time, there is no greater feeling then going to school on Monday and hearing what everyone else did during their weekends, and when they ask you and you try to explain all the hair, makeup, dancing, adrenaline, and awards, they roll their eyes. It’s a bond. It’s a release. And there is no greater feeling. I remember going to dance some days and being so stressed about school, homework, or family, but once my feet hit the smooth, grey floor, it all went away. Nothing mattered while I was dancing. And I miss that.

So, I know I’m about to win the award for longest post EVER. And if you are still reading, you deserve an award. But here are a few “you know you’re a dancer if” things:

-you dance down the hallway instead of just walking.
-a new leotard makes your whole day.
-your wardrobe is filled with T-shirts from dance competitions and performances (Dance Caravan)
-you have an entire drawer devoted to your dance stuff
-"I can't, I have dance." enough said.
-when you go to get your hair cut you tell them to cut it long enough to be able to put it in a bun.
-you know a combo to every song that comes on the radio.
-when outfits are no longer called outfits or uniforms, but costumes
-you are at the studio more than you’re home.
-you own hair gel. LOTS of hair gel. and you know the smell of Freeze-it.
-you can't listen to a song at a dance or party that you've danced to at a studio, without doing the choreography you were taught
-you can practically put on false eyelashes in your sleep
-you have spent Friday nights sewing sequins onto costumes
-getting changed in a tent outside with 20 other girls is completely normal
-when gold is not the top, but platinum
-you actually enjoy waking up at 5:30 to put on pounds of make-up and drive to Supply to be at the competition an hour before it starts
-when you are sick, you don’t stay home in bed. You go to dance and watch. And being able to just watch is worse then actually being sick.
-you start your homework at 9pm…after you get back from dance.
-you spend more time with your dance family then your real family.
-you have slept at the studio before.

So here’s a shout out to Dance Express and my DEPAS Divas, Ashley Kellogg, Emily Dodd, Kendra Branch, Samantha Severt, Kayla Holland, Elizabeth Whatley, Amy Schell, Kaitlyn Musser, Stephanie Thompson, Aricka Sidbury, Patrice Bowden, Ronita Hill, Kyla Trusdale, Lisa Gattis, Janine Johnson, Morgann Griffin, Lauren Smith, and all the fabulous mommas who spend countless hours at the studio with us. AND of course Mrs. Lynn, Mr. Bill, Ms. Amy, Ms. Lavonda, Ms. Tracy, Mrs. Danielle, and everyone else!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I should have studied more freshman year...

17 years. That's how long I've been in school. I am 21 years old and 17 of those years have been spent buying notebooks and pencils in August and counting down days to summer break. Now I am counting down days to graduation. And after that there will be no more school supply shopping in August. So weird.
But anyways, in my 17 years of schooling I don't think I've ever felt as dumb as I do now. I am 21 years old and graduating from a fairly prestigious university in a few months, and yet I have no options. I have applied to nursing schools and been wait listed and I know with my GPA I won't get into any graduate schools. So after graduating high school with honors and getting accepted to a competitive, private university, I will probably end up at a community college. Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about community colleges. I just feel like I'm going backwards. Like everyone else is making progress, getting jobs, going to grad school, getting married. And I am stuck. I don't know what I want to do with my life, I don't know where I want to live, and I don't know how to even begin figuring out how to do this 'growing up' stuff.
Have you ever felt like you are moving in slow motion while the rest of the world speeds by you? I just wanna scream "STOP! PAUSE! SLOW DOWN!" But really maybe everyone else is on the right track and they are yelling at me to 'pick up the pace' or 'speed up'. I just wish I had a clue of where to start. Maybe then I wouldn't feel so dumb!

Sorry. That was my rant for the night. All done! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Our Deepest Fear..."

Many people have heard the quote that starts off "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate...", but if you are like me, you have not heard the full quote. So here is the full quote by Marianne Williamson.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens
us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
doesn't serve the world. You were born to make manifest the glory of Gof that is
within us. It's not just in some of us; It's in everyone. And as we let our own
light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we
are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates other

It is true that sometimes I do fear that I am not enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. And in reality, most of us have these lingering pesky thoughts that we often dwell on. However, I also believe that the above quote holds true. We are afraid of the power within ourselves. We feel that we do not deserve to be good enough, smart enough, and pretty enough. We do not feel that we deserve to be enough. And so we hide behind our insecurities, afraid to let our strengths shine through. Because what would happen if someone realized that we had "enough" in us and exposed our light to others?
We were each given different personalities and talents so that we could bring them all together to create something wonderful on this Earth. But if we are hiding behind our insecurities, are we really contributing all that we could to the good of others? And we have all had that moment at some point in our lives where we have wanted to do something or say something, but we were scared to make the first move. And then that one brave soul stood up and said the thing or did the thing that you were scared to do, and all the sudden you felt liberated; like you were now free to do and speak what you please. It is that one person who is not afraid to speak up, who is not afraid to be enough, that opens the doors for others to believe in themselves and change the world.

So, as the quote says...who are you to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Well really, who are you not to be?


Monday, March 21, 2011

Natural Beauty

So I have tried a bajillion different face washes, shampoos, and other beauty products, and goodness knows there are a TON to choose from. But I've still never found one brand or product that I have absolutely loved. (Although, Pantene Pro-V's Beautiful Lengths shampoo & conditioner was awesome, it is discontinued.) So in the spirit of finding a product that works, saving some money, and going green, here are a few recipes for some natural products.

1. Baking Soda Hair Rinse
Most people have baking soda somewhere in their house, which makes this recipe awesomely convenient. The baking soda helps to clarify your hair and remove excess build up, leaving it healthy and shiny!
-2 tblspoons of baking soda
-3 cups of water
Put the baking soda into 3 cups of water and mix gently. After shampooing, apply the baking soda/water mixture, rinse, and condition as normal.

2. Asprin-Honey Face Mask
This paste softens skin, reduces redness, cleanses pores, and shrinks those pesky pimples!
-6 apsrin tablets
-1/2 tblspoon of applecider vinegar
-1 & 1/2 tblspoons of honey
Disolve the apsrin tablets in the apple cider vinegar for about 3 minutes and then add the honey. Gently scrub onto face and leave the mask on for about 15 minutes. The mask will not harden all the way, but will turn into a sticky paste. Rinse completely with warm water after 15 minutes!

3. Coconut Oil Eye Makeup Remover
This is SUPER easy and has a few great results. Not only does it dissolve mascara in a second, but it leaves skin around your eyes super moisturized!
-coconut oil
Yup, that's it! All you need is coconut oil. Put a little bit on a cotton swab and dab it around your eye makeup!

4. Homemade Flouride-free Toothpaste
This fabulous homemade recipe requires a little bit more effort, but is SO worth it. Flouride has been shown to cause a few health problems, so not only is this concoction super safe, but it tastes yummy too!
-3 tblspoons of coconut oil
-2 tblspoons of baking soda
-25 drops of peppermint essential oil
-1 packet of stevia
-2 tsps of vegetable glycerin
Put the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl together and mix with a fork. Once these ingredients are mashed, add the peppermint oil, stevia, and vegetable glycerin and blend until it's a toothpaste consistency. It's safe and good for your teeth and gums!

So there you go, friends. Some natural, healthy, and relatively cheap beauty soultions. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dad, Dad, Daddy, Dad, Daddy...

Many things made me think of this topic today. First off, I have a random Twitter follower who has messaged me "Happy Father's Day" 5 times today. I researched, and apparently it actually is Father's Day in Spain, so thank you, random Spanish follower friend, and Happy Father's Day to you too? And second of all, I spent a wonderful day downtown, hanging out with MY dad today!

I don't know how many people can honestly say that one of their absolute favorite people to hang out with is their dad...but I can. I know it sounds cheesy and very cliche, but it's true. My dad is super laid back, in fact I can only think of 2 times that he has been legit mad at me. Once was when I didn't change the channel fast enough and once was cause I called my mom a bad word. The first time was just man-PMS or something, and the second time was totally deserved. But dad has such a good sense of humor and has somehow found that perfect balance between being my friend and being my parent. We do lots of fun little things together, so I decided to compose a little list. So here's a list of some of my favorite things to do with my dad:

-eat ice cream while watching Celebrity Fit Club

-play Monopoly

-go to the bookstore

-play xbox

-go minigolfing

-ride bikes

-walk around downtown

-exchange celebrity gossip

-cannonball into the pool while he's floating and reading (RIP pool)

-hide doodoo flowers in each others pillow cases

-camp out the night before Easter

-roast mallows

AND as if we need further proof that my dad is the best, he is the one who taught me to drive, while my poor mother practically made a dent in my glovebox from trying to use the nonexistent passenger seat breaks. AND my dad went to every single one of my dance competitions and recitals for 8 years. He got up at 7am to watch a million dances, when I was only usually in 4 or 5, and stayed at the competition until after awards were over between 9 and 10pm.

SO, thanks Dad, for being the coolest dad around! I love you!

Also, my dad told me today that he reads my blog, so HI dad :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

"So, what do you wanna do with your life?"

For the past semester or two, my peers have all been freaking out about graduation and the lingering question "what am I going to do with my life??" Meanwhile, I have sat back and been pretty calm. (*I am NOT a calm person. I am a very anxious and overly planned person, so this recent sense of peace and calm has been strange).

Then it happened: 10:35pm on March 14, 2011. Let the freakout begin. I don't know what happened or why it just hit me, but I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. Graduation is in 65 days and I am clueless. I have a few ideas of some things I would like to do, but no idea how to put these plans into action. I think the thing that scares me most is that I am an adult. I guess. And unfortunately my desires don't line up with my reality. I would love to be able to have time to figure out what I am doing. A time (other than while taking 5 classes and trying to graduate) to sit and really plan. I would also really really really prefer to not move back home with my parents, long-term, after graduation. Sadly though, if I am busy trying to figure out my life and don't have a job, that means I won't have money to get an apartment either.

I know everyone has their own path and technically it's okay to take time to figure out what you wanna do, but in today's society, or maybe just Elon culture, there is SUCH pressure to find out what you wanna do with the rest of your life and start working towards that the day after graduation. I just wanna scream "I DON'T KNOW! I DON'T KNOW!"...So next time someone asks me what I'm doing after graduation (which is asked at least twice daily), I may reduce to a blubbering pile of tears. I apologize in advance.

Hopefully this crazy pressure/stress/panic will pass soon and I can stop feeling like I'm drowning in thoughts of an unplanned future!

Carrie Bradshaw from SATC says it best: "When you're young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun, then you grow up and learn to be cautious; you could break a bone, or a heart. You look before you leap, and sometimes you don't leap at all because there's not always someone to catch you. And in life, there's no safety net. When did it stop be fun and start being scary?"


I LOVE to draw. I wish I had more free time to just sit in my bed with my music on and just sketch away. There is something so relaxing about creating something, knowing you can erase your mistakes. But the best part is that sometimes the mistakes are what end up making the drawing. So I decided to share with you some of my favorite drawings that I have done:

Bird Growing Up

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book List

So, with spring break coming up, I will finally (hopefully) have time to catch up on some pleasure reading. I LOVE a good book. I love getting caught up in a story and a character and becoming so attached that when the book is over, you aren't quite sure what to do with yourself. I wish I could list all of my favorite books for you, but that would take entirely too much space. So here are a few of my favorites. I highly recommend them!

1. House Rules - by Jodi Picoult
2. The Things We Do For Love - by Kristin Hannah
3. Firefly Lane - also by Kristin Hannah
4. Granny Dan - by Danielle Steel
5. Little Women - by Louisa May Alcott
6. The Secret Life of Bees - by Sue Monk Kidd
7. The Same Sweet Girls - by Cassandra King
8. Me & Emma - by Elizabeth Flock
9. After the Leaves Fall - by Nicole Baart
10. Maybe A Mircale - by Brian Strauss
11. Bufflehead Sisters - by Patricia DeLois
12. Best Friends Forever - by Jennifer Weiner
13. Nineteen Minutes -by Jodi Picoult
14. The Tenth Circle - by Jodi Picoult
15. The Weight of Silence- by Heather Goudenkauf
16. Handle With Care - another Jodi Picoult
17. The Art of Racing in the Rain- by Garth Stein
18. A Walk to Remember - by Nicholas Sparks (the book is WAY better than the movie)
19. Out of the Dust - by Karen Hesse
20. The Phanton Tollbooth - by Norton Juster
21. Speak- by Laurie Halls Anderson
22. Where the Red Fern Grows - by Wilson Rawls
23. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - by Elizabeth George Speare
24. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry- by Mildred Taylor
25. The Pinballs - by Betsy Byars

and some honorable mentions include : Number the Stars (Lois Lowry) & Gentle Ben (Walt Morey)

Happy reading :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Awesome Videos!

Hey yall! Hope everyone had a great weekend.
I just wanted to share 2 videos I came across this weekend. They are both amazing and brought tears to my eyes.

This first one is Lady GaGa and the adorable little 10 year old girl who covered Born This Way. If you haven't seen the original video, go to youtube and type in 'Maria covers Born This Way.' Anyways, apparently Lady GaGa invited little Maria to come to her concert and sing with her up on stage. I admire this about Lady GaGa for a few reasons:
1. I think Lady GaGa's message in this song is absolutely wonderful. I would start quoting lyrics but I would have to just quote the whole song pretty much. But the message this song gives across is to be comfortable with who you are because that's the way God made you. Yes, I think GaGa is a little crazy at times, but if this is something that people of all ages are listening to, I can be okay with that.
2. How awesome for Lady GaGa to recognize this little girl's talent and heart and bring her up on stage. I can't even imagine how much that meant to little Maria. I love when celebrities and people of influence are so kind to the people supporting them!
So, here is the link to the video of them singing together:

And the next video I found is a sweet little boy singing a cover of "Just the Way You Are" and dedicating it to his little sister, who has Down Syndrome. Cute overload! Seriously, the lyrics to this song alone are enough to make me teary eyed, but when a little boy sings these words about his precious special needs sister, all hell breaks loose and I completely lose it! So here it is:

Enjoy :)
and continue to pray for sweet Aiden, as he has surgery to remove his port today!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Prayers for Aiden!

Hey friends,

This will be a brief post. I just wanted to ask that you pray, send good vibes, wish...whatever you do...for my little friend Aiden. He is 8 years old and has already been through so much. He is a liver transplant recipient and also has dysautonomia (a condition which I also have)! He is such a brave and sweet boy who is very sick right now. Currently, he is in the hospital with a line infection in his port, which is literally very close to his heart. Having bacteria in such a large amount near your heart is very dangerous, not to mention that Aiden is already immunocompromised due to his liver problems. He is a sweet boy who deserves to be happy. And believe me, with Aiden it doesn't take very much to make him happy. For as much as he has been through in his 8 years, he is an extremely resilient child and is one of the most encouraging and optimistic people I know. So please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as the days go on. I would appreciate it, and I know his family would as well.


P.S. -If you would like to stay updated on Aiden's health, I am posting a link to his CaringBridge page, which his mom updates quite frequently.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I'm Listening To...

So, as I have mentioned before, I have an extreme love for music. I love discovering new artists and music and rediscover old music. So, I decided to share some of my favorites of right now:
In no particular order:
-anything by Florence and the Machine...girl can sing
- "I Won't Give Up" by Jana Kramer. You don't have to be a One Tree Hill fan to appreciate this artist and her amazing talent!
- pretty much anything by Carole King, although right now I'm loving "It's Too Late" and "I Feel the Earth Move"
- seriously anything by Ray LaMontagne. I think the man could literally recite the dictionary and it would be magical.
- throwback to Carly Simon. reminds me of my dad, plus the girl has some awesome songs
- "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj. seriously, this is completely not my personality, but the song is so dang catchy.
- "Unlike Me" by Kate Havnevik. or pretty much anything by her.
- "Lovefool" by the Cardigans. I used to love this song. After Jana Kramer got it stuck in my head for about a week, I remembered how much I loved it.
- "Born This Way" by Lady GaGa. great message. plus, she's pretty much a genius.
- "I Do" by Susie Suh. Her voice gives me goosebumps.
- anything by Adele. If her and Ray LaMontagne got together and had babies, they would potentially be angels. for real.

So, that's what's on my current playlist. Well, that and about 50 other songs. Let me know if you have any suggestions! I am always looking for new music.