Weekend Reading

February 27, 2015

This week has been stressful for a number of reasons, but thankfully it went by quickly!

Today marks a week until my birthday and two weeks until spring break, so I'm glad that I have some exciting things to look forward to to get me through these stressful mid-semester weeks.

Here's what caught my eye this week:

{ via Time }

1. What Are 5 Books That Can Change Your Life? I'm always looking for an inspiring, good read. This article provides a list of some books that change your life in small ways.

{ via The Guardian }

2. How Dancers Learn Their Steps This article is written by New York City Ballet dancer Jennifer Ringer and sheds light on how dancers memorize the choreography to multiple dances. I thought it was fun to hear from the perspective from such an accomplished dancer! I definitely agree with her in that the key to remembering the steps is connecting them with the music.

{ via USA Today }

3. #AskHerMore Campaign Inspires Gender Equality Reese Witherspoon and other actresses attending the Oscars participated in a campaign encouraging reporters to go beyond the trivial questions of who designed their clothing on the red carpet. I thought this was a cool campaign and a great way to shed light on ending gender stereotypes. This article has more information on the widespread impact of the campaign. (Also loved Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech highlighting wage inequality!)

4. SMP Living I love spending an hour scrolling through Style Me Pretty Living every once in awhile. They have inspiring posts and beautiful photographs -- I had a few favorites from their site this week! Loving this workspace they shared (so colorful and bright!), this feature on all-natural cleaning ingredients, and this fun party idea -- a bagel bar!

{ via YouTube }

5. Christina Aguilera's Musical Impressions My sister sent me this video of Christina Aguilera on Jimmy Fallon. She does several impressions of other singers and it's spot on! So funny.

Have a good weekend!

Best Workouts for Dancers

February 26, 2015

As a dancer, I find a lot of value in "cross-training," as in doing different types of exercise that focus on similar aspects as dance does. Some workouts are particularly well-suited for dancers and they can help enhance the skills taught in traditional dance training.

Here are some of my favorite workouts, which are beneficial for dancers and non-dancers!

Pilates My former dance teacher was also a Pilates instructor and was a huge advocate of cross-conditioning with the Pilates method. Many major dancers have used Pilates to supplement their ballet training.

  • What it adds to your technique: Core strength and overall stability. All dancers know the importance of strong abdominal muscles. They are particularly important in posture and balance. Pilates has some of the best core-strengthening movements, such as the 100s.

Barre class I take a great Pilates Barre class when I'm at home. Although it is based around a ballet barre, I found it's quite different from a traditional ballet class, but still emphasizes many of the same muscles.
  • What it adds to your technique: Barre classes can vary, but the one that I take emphasizes strengthening of the core and legs (particularly the glutes). We use the glutes frequently in ballet for balance and strength, and I've found a huge difference in my ability to balance after taking this barre class.

Yoga I found a really nice yoga studio downtown this year and I've been trying the classes. I'd never taken yoga before but it does come pretty naturally with ballet experience, although it definitely is still a challenge. I don't always love yoga class while I'm in the middle of it, but I always feel great afterwards!
  • What it adds to your technique: The biggest thing I find with yoga is that it helps me with breathing. During ballet classes, it's easy to forget to breathe. I find that the focus on breathing during yoga class often carries over to ballet class as well. Yoga is also great for releasing muscles that are held so tightly in ballet so I think it's good for stretching out the joints.

I've also done the at-home New York City Ballet Workout which I love. It isn't a traditional ballet workout as it's intended to be completed at home without a barre. It's a great workout and you can do the full thing or small segments at a time. I think this is a fun option for those that aren't ballet dancers but are interested in learning some technique -- my mom likes to do it with me!

I would love to try out Ballet Beautiful workouts, created by the amazing Mary Helen Bowers, formerly of the New York City Ballet. I follow Mary Helen on Instagram and I love what she's doing to bring attention to ballet (she frequently trains celebrities and Victoria's Secret models!).


Favorite Instagrammers

February 24, 2015

Instagram is probably my favorite social media platform. I love looking at beautiful pictures and following along with people's lives and travels. 

Today I decided to share some of my favorite accounts.

@LemonStripes Julia Dzafic's feed is always bright, clean, and colorful. I especially love seeing pictures of her beautiful home -- her interior design style is amazing! I'm also an avid reader of her blog.

@BessPearson Another blogger whose Instagram I love is Bess Pearson of Belles in Bows. She takes amazing photos of anything from food to outfits to scenery and often accompanies them with witty captions.

@WorldWanderlust I mentioned loving this Instagram account in Friday's post -- it is definitely one of my favorites! Brooke Saward, the travel blogger behind World of Wanderlust, travels around the world solo and goes to the most incredible destinations. Her pictures are amazing!

@RosieLondoner Rosie, the blogger behind The Londoner (one of my favorite reads), has a great feed full of mouthwatering food photos, beautiful London spots, and stylish looks.

@ThePinkDiary This Instagrammer has mastered taking photos of artfully-laid out items. There is something so satisfying about her clean, bright feed! A good account to follow if you're looking for some Instagram inspiration.

@NewEnglandLiving I'm so glad I came across this account a few months ago. It consists of beautiful photos of New England homes, streets, and scenery and really captures this region's classic beauty.

@AndreaDabene This photographer captures the most beautiful scenery. I recently found this account and was so inspired just scrolling through it.

@GrayMalin Gray Malin is a photographer who takes the most vibrant and colorful photos. I would love to have one of his prints in my home one day!

You can follow along with my Instagram here!


Weekend Reading

February 20, 2015

Since I was on a short trip for Monday and Tuesday and missed those classes, this week seems to have flown by! I have lots of homework this weekend, but some fun things as well! I have tickets to the Saturday night hockey game and am also getting new pointe shoes... hopefully I'll find some I like.

Here's what caught my eye this week:

{ via The Everygirl }

1. 5 Reasons You're Not Seeing the Health Results You Want I always like The Everygirl's health articles. I feel like they're well-informed and don't propagate so many common health myths. This article had some important things to think about health-wise. Avoiding added sugar is an especially difficult thing for me and my sweet tooth!

2. World of Wanderlust on Instagram I've been following Brooke Saward, the girl behind World of Wanderlust, for awhile now and her trips and travels keep getting more interesting! If you're not familiar, Brooke is a twenty something who has been traveling the world solo for over a year now. Right now, she's in Oman and it looks amazing. I love following along on her Instagram, she takes such good photos that will evoke serious wanderlust!

{ via YouTube }

3. Sam Smith/Ed Sheeran Mashup This is an incredible mashup of Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One" and Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud." I've been listening to both these artists a lot lately and would never have thought these two songs would blend together so beautifully!

{ via YouTube }

4. Speed Dating Prank This is a really fun video in which a woman goes on a few blind dates with several unassuming guys, takes them out in her car, and shocks them by using her professional stunt-driving skills. The guys' reactions are priceless, especially because they originally doubt her driving ability!


Maryland/Virginia Trip Recap

February 18, 2015

I just returned from a quick family trip to Maryland and Virginia. My mom, dad, sister, and I headed down for the funeral of a close family friend of ours. Although it was a somber occasion, we still enjoyed ourselves! Today, I thought I'd share a quick recap of some of the things we did.

We stayed at the a nice resort right on the Choptank River. Even though it was cold and clearly the resort's off-season, there was still quite a few people there and lots going on. It was a fun place to stay and I'd love to see it in the summer!

Soon after we arrived, my sister and I got a bite to eat and had to get the crab dip. When in Maryland...

We also strolled around the beautiful property for a little bit.

On Sunday, we had a delicious breakfast and then my dad and I walked around for a little bit.

Everything was covered in ice, including the river, and it was so cold.

We headed to the funeral service that afternoon. It was sad to say goodbye, but ultimately a really nice celebration of our family friend's life.

By sunset, I was ready to get warm in our hotel room. My sister and I watched The Bachelor and eventually went to sleep.

On, Monday, we all drove to Virginia to see some of our extended family. We have two cousins that live in the area with their families. My sister and I love kids and babies so we were so excited to meet the families!

In total, there were four little girls that we met. They were adorable and so fun to play with and get to know their little personalities. I'm so happy to have been able to connect with some family and meet the littlest family members!

After some delays, we finally caught our flight back to snowy New England on Tuesday.


Spring Style Wishlist

February 16, 2015

Like everyone else's, my mind is on spring. Although New England got another blizzard this weekend, I spent some time browsing the new arrivals at some of my favorite stores and put together some of the things that caught my eye...

I find myself gravitating toward lots of blue for spring. I think it makes a great transitional color from the dark shades of the winter to the nautical styles of spring and summer.

1. LLBean Signature Washed Fisherman Sweater The Fisherman sweater has gained popularity lately in the traditional cream color, but I think this washed navy is gorgeous. Since it's cotton, it's a great sweater for throwing on as the weather warms up but there's still a chill in the air.

2. Old Navy Paisley Hi-Lo Top I always buy more printed tops in the warmer months that are easy to throw on and make an outfit instantly. I love the colors and pattern of this top and think it would look great with blue or white denim.

3. J.Crew Factory Merino Mesh-Sleeve Sweater I think this sweater is a great transitional piece. Up here in New England, we have several more weeks of sweater weather, but the light colors (I love the mint and the grey) and the breathable mesh sleeves of this sweater make it perfect for spring.

4. Old Navy Striped Tee Navy and white stripes are a nautical pattern and are perfect for summer. I would love this top paired with a stack of silver jewelry and white jeans.

5. Loren Hope Large Sarra Cuff Loren Hope cuffs are some of my dream pieces. I think they look amazing stacked with other bracelets and watches and would love to invest in one at some point.

6. Nordstrom Fit and Flare Dress Nordstrom has so pretty dresses right now! I wish I had some formal events this spring and summer that I could wear one too, but I think it's always a good idea to pick out one or two to have on hand if something comes up. This dress comes in so many bright colors and is a universally flattering fit.

7. Kendra Scott Susanna Link Bracelet My favorite piece of jewelry to shop for are bracelets. I love wearing layers of bracelets on my arm and think this would be a perfect addition (also loving this one).

8. Lands' End CashTouch Blackwatch Plaid Scarf This may be more of a winter piece, but I'll definitely still need scarves for layering in the coming weeks and would love to add a blackwatch plaid one to my collection.


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