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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hungry Dancer: craving spring

Spring may officially be here, but Pittsburgh seems to have missed the memo.

My view on Monday morning.
I'm craving fresher, lighter meals, but I also find myself still wanting food that warms the bones.

Green beans. Strawberries. Peas. Asparagus. Rhubarb. These are my objects of desire as I peruse the market these days.

I found a recipe that was just right. Spring lentil stew stocked with spring veggies. I eliminated the tenderloin, wanting a li'l vegetarian fare this time around. Sub the chicken stock with veggie to make it 100% vegan.

It warmed the bones and satisfied the veggie crave. Spring lentil soup for the win.

What recipes are you dishing up to ease the awkward transition between winter and spring?

Happy eating!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nowruz Mobarak! {Happy Persian New Year!}

It's more than the first day of spring, y'all... It's the Persian New Year!

I'm sharing a video that does an awesome job explaining the traditions involved in the holiday. Enjoy!

Nowruz Mobarak, my friends!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dance auditions: don't think, do {part 2}

Manic Monday thwarted my posting schedule once again, hence why part two of my story is late.
But you know how we roll here at Better late than never...

I was a little nervous walking into the studio, of course, especially since the other dancers were greeting each other with seasoned familiarity. But wouldn't you know it, before I could even begin to feel sorry for myself that I was the odd woman out, one of the girls bounced over to me, said "Hi!", and when I reached out my hand to shake hello, she enveloped me in a hug instead.

Yes. I was with my people.

We stretched, we filled out registration forms, and we took our places on the marley. And we danced.

So, how did I do? Did I get my leg up to my head? I know you all lost sleep over this over the weekend... ;)

My leg did not get to my head (working on it). I stumbled here and there, I forgot bits and pieces of combinations, and good gravy my laterals (Horton technique, anyone?) are out of practice. But you know what?? I deem the audition one big, fat success.

Here's why.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was very concerned about being too old and too out of practice. I have convinced myself over the last year or so that maybe the four-plus years at CSU were it for me, that my pursuit of dance was a fun but temporary season, nothing I was going to really do anything with, and now it was time to move on. I was sad every time this crossed my mind, but that's been my train of thought as of late.

Thank God that runaway train was derailed.

After the audition, the August Wilson Dance Ensemble held their company rehearsal, and they invited us to stay and watch. Sitting in that dark theater was the cherry on top. Watching those talented dancers work through their rehearsal process, watching the director work with them, asking them to give more of themselves, to move beyond the room we were in... Oh my heavens. Just yes.

It was just what I needed to reconfirm that yes, this is where I belong. My time on the marley is not quite over.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Dance auditions: don't think, do {part 1}

I've been quiet on social media all week because I get all weird and superstitious about things like this. But I have been dying to tell you all about my Friday plan: a dance audition!

So there's this company based out of Chicago called Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, whom I love. I attended their Summer Dance Intensive in 2009, and I haven't been able to let them go since I left the Windy City that summer. Back then, I entertained thoughts of packing up my life in Colorado and moving to Chi-town to pursue dance with this crew, but as time and life went on, it just didn't happen. I always regretted that a little. Now I follow their whereabouts and doings all over the interwebs, admiring them from afar.

As you might expect, I'm on their email list. Last Saturday I was standing in the kitchen with my husband, scrolling through email on my phone. There was one from Deeply Rooted about upcoming auditions for this summer's intensive. I didn't think much of it, knowing I {probably} can't go because of work, intending to delete the email after a quick glance... until I saw that the first city on the list was Pittsburgh!

My initial reaction was "Deeply Rooted is coming, I need to go!", quickly followed by "But wait..." and a list of reasons why I shouldn't: I'm not prepared for an audition. My technique is rusty. I can't get my leg up to my head. I don't have a head shot. I haven't taken a modern dance class for over a year. Everyone else will be at least 10 years younger than me. I'm old. Blah blah blah...

My husband raised his eyebrow at me while I rattled off excuses, finally interrupting me. "You should do it."

I stared at him for a second. And then something inside me sparked. "I'm going."


And we quickly began formulating a game plan. I had five days. Dance class. The gym. Floor barre at home. Massage a la the Hubs. All with the intent to prep smart not hard... killing myself, making myself too sore and tired by today would not have been the help I needed.

On Monday, I called the Deeply Rooted office to ask questions, mainly to find out if the audition was open to all levels and - ahem - ages. Tuesday I called back to register. This morning I hopped the bus that took me downtown. I walked into the August Wilson Center and said, "Hi, my name is Jessi..."

Part 2 coming Monday!
Find out how I did, if I got my leg to my head, and if I held my own with the 20-year olds... :)

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Link-up love

Today the Influence Network is hosting a little link-up party, and I'm here to join right in! The purpose is to share a little bit about ourselves to help build community and friendships here on the tangle that is the superweb.

I will share:
3 things about myself
1 thing the Influence Network has taught me
A favorite pic of me

Giddy up.

Age really is just a number

Almost six years ago, I decided that I was going to finally pursue a passion that I had always wanted to pursue, but never really had the means or the moxie. Summer 2007, I had the moxie. I marched myself to the Dance Department at Colorado State University and declared a Dance Major. All the dancing I had done up to that point was social, "street" style dances... Lindy Hop, swing, salsa, hip hop, and a little West African... but no ballet, no modern, no technical training. I was 27 years old. Some people thought I was crazy, but I had to see where I could go with it, and if I failed, at least I could say I tried. But I didn't fail. Am I headed to American Ballet Theatre or Alvin Ailey? No. But I know that I am doing exactly what I should be doing. This is what inspired the name of my blog :)

A native Rocky Mountain girl living in the Steel City

I packed up and moved from Colorado to Pittsburgh, PA, about seven months ago, for my husband's Ph.D. program. To dispel a couple of myths about Colorado that I've run into out here, no, we don't ski everyday or live in cabins in the woods (although both are fun!) nor are we covered in 3 feet of snow all the time. Ha, it's funny the things I get asked! I've actually seen more snow in Pittsburgh than in several combined winters back home. Colorado is dry. And crazy beautiful. People are happy who live there. The Weather Channel says so. But us Coloradoans already knew that :)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

I was diagnosed with this autoimmune disease last year. It's been a tough emotional journey coming to terms with my body suddenly deciding to rebel against itself, and I'm not quite there yet, but it's a process. A quick explanation: the disease attacks primarily the joints, but it can also affect other body systems. I won't go into detail now, but it's a big pain in the butt (no pun intended... no joint in my butt, that I'm aware of, ha!). I finally have a doc here in the 'Burgh, so the pain is being managed and we're taking care of business. My RA is what's inspiring my desire to explore eating clean and other whole eating ideas out there. I discuss on the blog in my Hungry Dancer posts on Tuesdays.

As far as what I've learned from the Influence Network... It may sound silly, but the IN has given me permission to just be me. That I don't have to compete for the prettiest blog, the most profound story, the most popular DIY project, or a smile on my face 24/7... but that I can just be me, nothing more, and I still have a story to tell and that it means something.

And fave pictures! Yes, plural. I'm bending the rules, of course.

Dance. Colorado. The mountains. Doing something crazy. Love, love, love. (circa 2010)

How can I not love this pic?! Our wedding day, August 12, 2012. The day before we moved to Pittsburgh. See? Crazy.


Want to learn more about the Influence Network? Go here. And stop by the blog to meet a bunch of other great gals!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Hungry Dancer program...

... for some needed laughs.

I was in the middle of composing a rather impassioned diatribe about all of my woes and failures (i.e. the office candy jar) with this eating clean business, only to realize that my wacko hormones, with this cold/minor flu/mystery virus as wingman, have taken over my body, mind and soul. Let's just let those thoughts simmer and come back when all systems are back to normal, shall we?

In the meantime, please enjoy a few laugh-out-loud PMS memes.

Life is too short not to laugh at that which curses us ladies every month. Who's with me?!

Back to our regular Hungry Dancer programming next week...

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Rays of sunshine

The sun came out today.

It was still cold. I still needed to bundle up to brace myself against the wind's bite. It is amazing, though, the difference that bright, golden ball of light makes in my outlook.

Winter is gray out here, y'all. I'm sure you native easterners are rolling your eyes at me right now, but I didn't know just how *gray*, gray meant when everyone told me how gloomy it gets out here through winter. Last week a coworker enlightened me that the 'Burgh is the second gray-est city in the nation in winter. Well, that's an interesting factoid for this native Rocky Mountain gal.

Today was definitely a Monday. Sore throat, feeling icky, but pushing through at the office. Aunt Flo paid a surprise visit. Arrived at a doc appointment only to not have said doc appointment because I didn't have the necessary paperwork. I just wanted to head home and crawl back into bed.

Then, on the bus ride home, I was admiring how much brighter the world looked, thinking that I myself felt lighter, and I realized why - the sun was shining!

Grateful for the sunshine today.

What rays of sunshine did you experience today?