... dance, fitness, food, health, life...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Will Smith explains how I feel

I'm at my BFF's house babysitting, as she and her hubby enjoy a date night out and I make a bit of extra cash for Chicago. I like to read her magazines while I'm here because they're ones I don't subscribe to - Real Simple, People Style Watch, Self - but tonight her hubby's Men's Health grabbed my attention.

Initially it was Ewan McGregor on the cover who caught my attention. Yes, he's cute, but I was curious about what the article with him was about. As I flipped through looking for the article, a different article distracted me and I stopped. It was about model turned rapper/actor Tyrese Gibson and how he turned his life around after gaining weight and becoming unhealthy. At the end, he quotes Will Smith, who was one of his positive mentors.

"You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm gonna die. It's really that simple."

YES. Change the treadmill to the dance studio and you have me. As an "older student" coming to the dance world with no more than social and street dance under my belt, I have to work hard for what I want. I mean HARD. What I'm doing is not easy, physically, mentally or emotionally. I'm trying to learn what most of the girls have done since they were very young. Training a 28-year-old (when I started this adventure) body to do these things is quite a task. I understood this going into it, so I'm not complaining, just stating the reality.

My point is, I feel that because most of them have spent the majority of their lives dancing ballet, modern, jazz, etc., they take for granted what we learn and do in classes, rehearsals, auditions. They take for granted what they can do with little effort (or so it seems). It is as if they do it on autopilot because its all they know. Is the passionate conviction there for them? I'm not always convinced, and some days I'm very doubtful. Some days I want to point blank ask each girl, "WHY are you here? Really. Why?" I know why I'm there. Everyday, as I work to get my body to stretch just a little farther, to turn my legs out just a few more degrees, to point my feet just a few more centimeters, I know. I'm conscious, I'm present, I see the goal in the distance.

So yes, ladies, you may have more skill, more talent, more beauty, and you may have youth on your side, but I must and will show up in that studio and dance, or risk dying inside. What about you? Quitting is not an option. What about you?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Geeking out, Jessi style

Nothing cures this sore, hungry dancer post-rehearsal than some grub, ice and ibuprofen, and science shows about animals and nature. Yes, this is my style of geeking out.

First was Monster Quest on the History channel. Tonight the MQ team was hunting for a huge shark in the Sea of Cortez that the locals claim are eating sea lions and taking bites out of whales. The monster has been dubbed the "black devil" by local fisherman. The question shark scientists are seeking to answer is if the prehistoric big daddy shark of them all, Megadolon, is actually extinct or still roaming the deepest parts of the sea that are rarely explored.

[OMG, did you know that the Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam in the South Pacific is so big that Mt. Everest can fit in there?!?!? Hot diggity!!!!]

Anyway, all the MQ crew found, however, was a ginormous whale shark, which are not carnivorous. So the sea lion and whale-biting monster is still at large in the Sea of Cortez.

Then I jumped over to Animal Planet to watch Planet Earth. They were showing scenes I've seen before: elephants trekking across the African Savannah in search of water, and battling with lions over a small water hole on the way to the oasis. The elephants rule the school during the day, but come nightfall, the tables turn and the big cats take the stage. One old elephant gets taken down by a pack of hungry lioness'.

There were new scenes, too... caves and the freaky creatures that inhabit them. I'm talking HUGE caves. Caves crazy ass people base jump into... as in free fall with a parachute for the sheer thrill. Two words for these folks: crazy mofos. Caves freak me out. I'd dive with sharks (in a cage) any day over going down into those caves. One (which I can't remember the name of) was deep enough to fit the Empire State Building inside! *Shudder*... um, no thanks!

AND! There's a show called Whale Wars on Animal Planet that I never knew about until tonight... the season premiere was advertised, complete with anti-whaling boats battling a Japanese whale ship. Omg it was pretty intense, and I totally want to see this show!

[*Sigh*] Okay, okay, I guess I should spare you all anymore geeking out... for now. I should start thinking about bed now that I'm full of dinner and my hamstring is nice and cold and drugged up (strained it at hip hop tonight).

Thanks for joining me on my animal-and-nature geek-a-thon! LOL :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday morning breakfast

I've been craving pancakes all week. Saturday mornings are perfect pancake days. I tossed some fresh blueberries and raspberries, as well as a dash of almond extract, into the batter. Washed down with some French press coffee... Mmmm, so good!

Now I can start my day.

[Apologies for the tiny picture size and shoddy quality - I took these with my cell phone, so artsy pics are hard to get!]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday fluff

Oh Friday, how do I love thee?

In the spirit of Friday's gettin'-ready-to-kick-back spirit, here is a fluffy post: a survey asking a set of random questions. I usually see these in email, but Fawn posted one on her blog the other days, and when I saw here, I thought it would be perfect for Friday. I don't know why, but I do get a kick out of these survey things.

So, without further ado, 50 random questions to learn 50 random things about me...

1.You have ten dollars and need to buy snacks at a gas station, what do you buy?
Vitamin water for hydration, a bag of some kind of chips, trail mix (gotta have protein), and some kind of chewy candy: licorice, gum drops, Hot Tamales, Skittles, you name it.

2. If you were reincarnated as a sea creature, what would you want to be?
A whale... they seem so peaceful, and there's something timeless and wise about them. Or maybe a shark, for some sass. I have a fascination with sharks - I want to dive with them (in a cage, of course) someday!

3. Who is your favorite redhead?
Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club.

4. What do you order when you are at IHOP?
Pancakes! Um, hello, it's the "House of Pancakes"!

5. Last book you read?
Ummm... I'll go with a book for school - "Drawing and Rendering for the Theater", used for my Theater Design final.

6. Describe your mood.
Sleepy and still working on my mug of coffee, but happy the weekend is here.

7. Describe the last time you were injured?
Fractured my left wrist playing soccer two years ago when some dude tripped me from behind. Not cool.

8. Of all your friends, who would you want to be stuck in a well with?
My homey Lylie since we'd be distracted from our predicament by all the laughing and dorking around we'd be doing.

9. Rock concert or symphony?
Depends on the band or the composer.

10. What is the wallpaper of your cell phone?
A picture I took of daffodils at the library three years ago. They're colorful and bright and remind me of the happiness of spring.

11. Favorite soda
No soda - sparkling nectar from heaven, Grapefruit Izze!

12. What type of shirt are you wearing?
Plain white t-shirt, nothing exciting.

13. If you could only use one form of transportation what would it be?
The "beam-me-up-Scotty" thing they use in StarTrek - quick and efficient and no traffic! Hey Trekkies out there, what is that called??

14. Most recent movie you have watched in theaters?
Planet Earth... but there are a TON I want to go see that are out right now... Star Trek, Angels & Demons, The Soloist... and OMG, Harry Potter is coming in July!!! I love summer movies!

15. Name an actor/actress/singer you have had the hots for.
Currently, Taye Diggs and Justin Timberlake... mmmm, nothin' like a little chocolate and vanilla... what????

16. What is your favorite kind of cake?
Red velvet with cream cheese icing... although I will take cherry pie over cake any day.

17. What did you have for dinner last night?
I pan-seared me a chicken breast, then simmered a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and minced garlic for a few, then threw those on top of some penne pasta. Delish and all ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry!

18. Look to your left, what do you see?
A poster of Frankie Manning and his dance partner in 1941, autographed by Frankie himself. RIP, Frankie.

19. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Emphatic YES. It's actually a pet peeve of mine when people don't, haha!

20. Favorite toy as a child?
Good grief, that depends on what stage of kid-hood I was in at the time... dolls, Barbies, My Little Ponies, my easel, my bike, Legos... I just loved to play.

21. Do you buy your own groceries?
Well I hope so, since I am 30...

22. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
Oh, I don't doubt it. We all do it.

23. When’s the last time you had gummy worms?
I can't remember.

24. What’s your favorite fruit?
Cherries... no, berries... no, grapefruit... no, pomegranate... I don't know. I love fruit.

25. Do you have a picture of yourself doing a cartwheel?
If so, then my mom has it somewhere in the abyss known as her "picture box", lol.

26. Do you like running long distances?
Yes, running is great stress relief. I've been jonesin' to start running again, but I need new shoes, but I don't have the money for new shoes right now, so....

27. Have you ever eaten snow?
Oh yeah, all the time as a kid.

28. What color are your bedsheets?
Navy and white.

29. What's your favorite flower?
Gerbera daisies, hands down.

30. Do you do ballet?
Why, yes I do!

31. Do you listen to classical music?
Not as much as I used to... used to listen to it a ton in middle and high school... I was an orchestra geek.

32. What is the first TV theme song that pops in your head?
Nothing comes up at the moment, but I woke up with Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" in my head.

33. Do you watch SpongeBob?
Um, no thanks.

34. What temperature is it outside right now?
Mid-50s, overcast and cool. Rain expected today.

35. Do people consider you smart?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say yes.

36. How many piercings do you have?
Four - two in each ear.

37. Are you signed on AIM?

38. Have you ever tried gluing your fingers together?

39. How do you feel about your family?
I'm cool with my immediate family, but it's a different story with the extended fam.

40. Do you have an iPod?
Can't live without it.

41. What time do you go to bed?
11ish is about when I turn into a pumpkin.

42. What CD is currently in your CD player?
What's a CD?? iTunes!!

43. What movies do you know every line to?
The Goonies, The Breakfast Club, The Sandlot, Breakfast at Tiffany's...

44. What is your favorite salad dressing?
Balsamic vinaigrette.

45. What did you get for Christmas this year?
Oh, various small things. My family doesn't go nuts at Christmas, and that's fine.

46. What family member/friend lives the farthest from you?
I think K wins, kickin' it in Beantown.

47. Do you like hugs?
Yes. From friends and people I like, but not creepers.

48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
Wednesday at work when I realized I goofed and my boss wasn't so cool with it.

49. What is the way people most often mispronounce any part of your name?
My name is pretty straightforward, but people never spell Jessi right... its Jesse, or Jessie, or Jessy... imbeciles (j/k!)

50. Last person you hugged?
My friend Matteo.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SYTYCD Post-Script


I laughed. I rolled my eyes. I got tears. I shook my head in disbelief. I got the chills. I LUV this show.

One of the audition cities they featured tonight was Denver - D-town represent, y'all! I thought I recognized a couple people, but it was so fast and I could be delusional.

And I just might die... they are starting a new FALL SEASON of SYTYCD!!! They're holding auditions next week, starting in Boston. Omg, I get my fix past August...

(Joshua, my dance crush and winner of last season)

It's the day of the show, y'all!

Finally home after another stressful day at work. The oops that I mentioned in yesterday's post is over and done, but the bigger thing it was related to got dragged out into today. It all came down to office drama and politics, and being the lowest on the food chain, I got dragged into it. Um, hello, I'm just the student hourly employee, I don't make the decisions, so don't ask me because I don't know. It started right as I got in this morning - great start to my day, thanks.

But now I'm home. And I'll de-stress with a little one-woman dance party. The best prescription for me to blow off steam is to get the blood flowing, so I'll crank the tunes and get down with my bad self, solo-style... sorry neighbors...

And THEN!!!

Drum roll, please...

It will be time for the season premiere of my FAVE show, So You Think You Can Dance... I'm hella excited! I've waited for... well, since last summer! I hope this season is as good as the last. I don't consider myself a big TV watcher. The shows that most people follow I know by name and general premise (American Idol, Biggest Loser, Lost, The Bachelor, etc.), but that's about it... SYTYCD is the show I totally get into, waaaaaaaay more than Grey's Anatomy. If I miss a Grey's episode, eh, I'll watch it online over the weekend. No way with SYTYCD... if I have to miss I will tape it old-school, VCR style (you know it!) and stay up late to watch it. Tired at work the next day? Tired, schmired. I can't miss!

SYTYCD = yet another reason why I luuuuuuv summer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Don't worry, I haven't lost my job.

[Although I did make an oops at work today, upsetting my boss - talk about a stressful afternoon, ugh.]

I'm perusing Craigslist for a part time job for the month I'll be in Chicago. All my dance classes will be in the evenings, so a part time job during the day is possible - AND necessary.

I hate job hunting. I don't think I'm very good at it, especially at exhausting all the resources out there, as well as marketing myself (I start playing the self-doubting game). And searching for employment in a city I'm not familiar with is daunting. I know people do this all the time, but I don't so I'm not feeling the most confident.

And I haven't even begun the search for a place to stay. UGH.

I'm also stressed and overwhelmed with making all the pieces fall into place... and of course, money is at the root of it all. I have tuition covered, but there are so many other things to think about... can I find a part time job here before leaving? where will I stay in Chicago? how will I afford it? can I really find a month-long part time job? am I going to be able to afford a plane ticket? what about food? and clothes, damn I need dance gear... I need to keep training and conditioning so I'm in shape when I get there, so how can I afford dance classes between now and then with all else I need to find money for? ... and on and on and on...

It all makes me want to throw up a little. And cry.

I can do this, I know I can do this... but god, the stress in doing it...

Me, summed up by a Quaker commercial

This commercial cracks me up because it is SO me... I crash when I'm hungry, so I relate to those kids needing the Quaker wind-up "key" to move again.

Yes, small things amuse me!

Monday, May 18, 2009

And summer begins...

Now I know that its not technically summer yet, as in the season dictated by the calendar, but as a student the end of the school year always marks the beginning of summer. So my summer has begun!

And what will my summer entail, you ask?

Well, like all my summers, my work hours go up to full time so I get to play the Working Girl role. As much as I'd LUUUUV to go to the pool daily, drive myself all over Colorado for some hiking adventures, get weekly mani/pedis, whisk myself away on vacations abroad (sailing in the Mediterranean? safari in Africa? diving with the sharks in Australia? someday, someday...) or shop til I drop to my little heart's content, this girl's gotta work. Like most people.

So there's that. Not terribly exciting, but definitely the normal routine. And I'll fit in the occasional pool day, hike, shopping trip, and at-home mani/pedi, so have no fear. I will have some fun this summer.

But. Wait. There is something not normally part of my summer schedule that will definitely be fun and adventurous - I'm going to Chicago in July!!

About a week and a half ago I found out about my acceptance into a dance intensive program with Deeply Rooted Dance in Chicago. And I am VERY excited indeed!

The scoop: Deeply Rooted were the guest artists at CSU last spring (2008) and taught a master class for us. I immediately took to the company - their movement, their aesthetic, their personable approach. They told us about their summer intensive and I wanted so badly to go last summer, but it was not enough time for me to get the money together. So I told myself that I would definitely go this summer. Okay, so I started saving money and early this year I contacted the company to get the ball rolling. We were in touch for awhile, discussing how I would audition for them (go to Chicago? send in a DVD?). Then life happened - I got busy with school, I had to dip into my savings to pay bills and eat, you know the drill - and we lost touch. I had sent a couple follow up emails, but didn't want to be a pest, so I backed off. I waited and waited to hear from them, but nothing. The end of April rolled around and I started thinking that it might not happen after all. This bummed me out and I got discouraged, so I started resigning myself to the fact that there would be no Chicago again this summer. And I started convincing myself that it was okay and not a total bust, for there are summer intensives in Colorado that I could attend. [I'm rolling my eyes at myself right now.]

Then my BFF and I met for a long-overdue girls night out. The conversation came around to my dancing adventures and I told her my sob story, but she would have none of it. She told me that if this is something I really, really want in my heart, then I will find a way to make it happen. If that means I get a second, part-time job and eat ramen and pb&j daily, then so be it. She told me that giving up would mean that I would spend yet another summer just working full time and taking the occasional class at a local studio, but going after Chicago could mean a huge resume boost and dance oppurtunity. I knew all of this in my heart, and it was EXACTLY the kick in the ass I needed to snap me out of my woe-is-me-I'm-not-going-to-Chicago stupor.

That was a Friday night. Sunday night I sent them an email asking if it was too late to sign up. Monday afternoon I got an email back saying that I did just miss the registration deadline, BUT, if I mailed them an audition video, my resume and a letter of intent within seven days, they would keep registration open for me. Game on! [This was the email that propelled my week to mach-ten a couple weeks ago, mentioned here.]

I called up BFF, told her the scoop and we dove right into a game plan. Tuesday night she taped me doing a solo and afterwards her hubby got it on a DVD for me (I'm not very tech-savvy). Wednesday morning I whipped out my resume and letter, and that afternoon I forked over $22 and sent it off to Chicago via FedEx overnight. Whew! And then I settled in expecting to wait a week or so before hearing back.


That Thursday afternoon at work, just after lunch, I received an email from DRP telling me "Congratulations on your acceptance to DRP's Summer Intensive"!!! I almost fell out of my chair with surprise and had to restrain myself from running down the hallway screaming. Hell yes!!!!!

SO. I'm going to Chicago in July [insert HUGE grin here]. Thanks to my BFF's tough love speech and my propensity to work great under pressure, I get to spend part of my summer training and networking with an awesome dance company in Chi-town!!!!

God, I love summer!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Strawberry blended, please

I just finished my last final - costume sketches for my theater design class, which I'm quite proud of, by the way - and I will leave to go turn it in once I post this baby.

My back kills, my hand is cramped and lifeless [who'da thought typing and writing and drawing for hours on end would be so hard on my bod?? I'll take my dance classes, thankyouverymuch] and I'm crashing HARD as I come down from adrenaline-ville... but who cares, 'cause I'M DONE WITH FINALS and SUMMER HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN!!!

Bring on the margs!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program...

... for this brief Finals Week update...

Ballet written exam? Check.

10-page dance history research paper? 12 pages, check.

Brain-power dinner? Salmon, spinach, whole-grain toast, check.

Dance history final exam studying? About to begin.

Water for a caffeinated beverage? Boiling.

Theater design final project? Don't think about this yet, one thing at a time Jess...

Dreams about sipping a frozen strawberry marg while sitting on a sunny patio? All. Day. Long.

**...Le Sigh...**

Monday, May 4, 2009

Zero to Sixty to Mach Ten

I'm in the home stretch of the semester.

This week is the last week of classes. Next week are finals. Per the status quo in the dance department, our finals begin this week. My first was this morning.

Monday arrived and I went from zero to sixty. As scheduled.

Then, upon receiving an email this afternoon my week suddenly shifted into hyperdrive. I have much more to do this week than originally anticipated. Such is life. And more on this later.

I will most likely be MIA this week as I scramble to get things done, assisted by caffeine, chocolate and motivating tunes on the iPod.

See you all on the other side...