Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Simple Body

I'm starting a journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
My goal is a fitter, trimmer, leaner, healthier, and more vibrant body, mind, and spirit.


I will explain more about the program/approach I will be taking.
I will also be...
-making weekly exercise and food logs
-tracking my weight
-recording my body measurements 
-recording my emotional and physiological progress

I have wrestled with my body weight and body image my entire life. To better express my thoughts and my situation I should explain a bit about my personal experience.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Movement Monday

Eek, it's been awhile. 
I'm having a blog identity crisis; 
meaning, do I keep two blogs, 
or do I turn my family blog into my personal blog?  

For now I'll keep this going I think.

Any thoughts?
Does anyone even read this thing?


Movement for today: 

Royal Ballet

Concerto - Second Movement;
Choreography - Sir K. MacMillan;
Music - Shostakovic

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Parade of Homes #1

My sister-in-law Kristie invited me to go with her to the Parade of Homes yesterday. 
Needless to say I was thrilled to go!

Here are a few pictures from my favorite home.
I'm pretty much obsessed with the decor and feel of this home.

(Hatfield Homes)


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Technique of Artistry

*Disclaimer: This may or may not be a plug for ballet! 

Let's begin by going back 18 years... 

A young girl, about 8 years old, walks into her first official ballet technique class. Wearing pink tights, soft pink shoes, and a crisp black leotard she is filled with anticipation. She is excited about this new class. She knows she is about to begin the training to become a dancer. This little girl has seen the older dancers and everything they can do. She knows it will take many years to train her muscles and her mind to be able to do the things the older dancers can do. 

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, and year after year, this little girl continues to work hard. She goes to class every day. She works as hard as she can. She learns patience. She learns to be still and obey a teacher. Sometimes she cries a lot. It isn't always fun. Sometimes her body hurts. Some days are so hard and she wants to quit. Some days are wonderful and filled with love for dance. 

Even on those hard days the little girl knows that she loves to dance. She loves being able to move to music, and to express the feelings she has through movement. When she isn't at dance class she is thinking about dancing. She feels something wonderful when she is dancing.

Eventually this little girl has grown up, and eventually this not-so-little-girl-anymore has trained her body to do everything that is asked of her. She can jump high, she can hold her leg where she wants it, she has control over gravity, she can turn, she can leap, she can put steps together with a moments notice, she can replicate movements quickly...but, can she really dance?!

Dancing, of course, is more than technique. Having good technique doesn't always mean you are a good dancer. It doesn't always mean you are passionate and expressive. It doesn't mean you are artistic and creative. 

However, does it help? 

Let's ask and answer a few questions.

1. What is technique?

Technique, simple defined, is a "way of accomplishing." Technique is the set of skills, for any discipline, that allows someone to accomplish something. As it is often put, technique is like a set of tools that you would use to do something. It's like the hammer that lets you flatten a nail, or the curling iron that lets you curl your hair. Without the hammer, or the curling iron, it is much harder to flatten a nail or curl hair. 

2. What is artistry?

I looked up the words artistic and artistry on dictionary.com, and this is what I found. 1) showing skill or excellence in execution, and 2) artistic workmanship, effect, or quality. Can we suggest, then, that artistry is a qualitative element of dance; something that comes as a result of something else?

On a side-note, I believe artistry is different than creativity. A dancer may consider themselves artistic, but not necessarily creative. I'll ask some questions about this at the end of the post.

3. How do technique and artistry work together?

Let's think about the little girl, who grew up, and developed great technique. She has passion for dance. She loves dance. She has trained her body for years and years so that she can dance. Her technical skill has become a tool for her to be artistic. It will now allow her to, more effectively, express the love and passion she has for dance. 

4. Does having strong technique allow a dancer to be more artistic? 

I believe technique and artistry work hand in hand. If you think of technique as the means to the (artistic) end, then having strong technique will only help you get there. Say, for example, you want to build a house. The finished house is the artistic, expressive, end. If you only have a simple screwdriver and one piece of wood it will most likely be impossible to build that house. Obviously I believe there are exceptions to this, as I have seen a great many artistic dancers who may not have the strongest technique. My belief is simply that strong technique will help artistry. 

Let's watch a few short videos to see how strong technique increases the artistry of these dancers:




Beautiful, yes?

Simply put, I believe there is a technique to being artistic. Obviously, as I mentioned earlier, there are exceptions to most rules. Some dancers have flawless technique yet they are not artistic. Some dancers are very artistic but do not have a solid technical base. However, I still believe that developing strong technique will help a dancer to find clearer artistic expression.


Do you think strong technique helps increase artistic expression? 

Do you think strong technique helps or hurts creativity? 

Why or why not?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dancing Daydreams

Sometimes, when I'm particularly aching to dance,
I find myself choreographing in my head to every song I hear.
If only it was as easy as thinking the movement and seeing it translated instantly. 
That would be awesome. 

Today a few of the songs that're creating dancing in my head are these. 









Monday, May 16, 2011

Movement Monday: The Nap Time Dance Project

Hello All,

It's Movement Monday! Check out THE NAP TIME DANCE PROJECT! Elizabeth and I were up first this season, and we'd love your feedback!

Happy Monday!

-Rachel

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Dance

As I mentioned in THIS POST, I am hoping to be a part of the Nap Time Dance Project
Check it out. The idea is brilliant! 

This is the video I submitted for the application.

Who says you have to have a studio to choreograph and dance?!.

The editing is rough, but the program we have is just the basic one that came with our camera. It's not perfect, by any means, and there are a few things I wish I could change.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In the Mood

For some background info, first read
THIS POST 

Here are three mood-boards that I created in hopes of getting some inspiration. 
You'll notice that the colors are similar to our current room. 
There are two reasons for this.

1) We have to work with what we have, and since we have a tiny apartment we want every room to follow a similar color scheme. Thus the consistent presence of blues, greens, and reds.

2) We really like these colors. We originally wanted to try something totally different, but when we really thought about it we realized that we love these colors. And that's a good enough reason to stick with them. We want the room to match our personal style, and rich, bold color is definitely our style. 

I'm leaning towards #1 and #3 because I love red and because I've been wanting to bring in more yellow,
but #2 would definitely give us the most change. 
Note: I only put in things that we will change. 
Also, the background color would be the color of an accent wall.

MOOD-BOARD #1
Accenting Red and Turquoise, bringing in yellow

MOOD-BOARD #2
Accenting Orange and Teal, a bit more neutral

MOOD-BOARD #3
Accenting Golden Yellow and Red


Which one is your favorite? 
Any other suggestions? 

I have way too much...

....time on my hands. And, as a result, I've been itching for a re-design of our living room space. I really do love our place, but I'm ready for a change, and ready to dive into some projects. Since my job this summer is to be a full-time mom, I have been thinking of some "budget friendly" ways I can get creative and create an updated look without spending a fortune. I also have to remind myself that this isn't our permanent home, and that the ultimate goal right now is saving for a house of our own. 

So, here are a few ideas that I have that will hopefully give some inexpensive change to that space. 

1. Sofa Slipcovers
  • I've gone back and forth between wanting to recovering our sofas and just wanting to buy new slipcovers. Unfortunately buying durable material in a fabric that I love has proven to cost a lot more than the average $200 for some basic slipcovers; not to mention the time and energy it would take covering the sofas.
2. Pillow Covers
  • We have a nice set of down pillows that are worth saving. Unfortunately the current covers on them are tearing and shredding at the corners. My goal is to find some inexpensive fabric, an easy pattern, and some time to make some new pillows. 
3. Spray Paint
  • There's nothing like a new coat of paint to change and freshen things up. We have a darling side table that is in desperate need of paint. 
  • I also have 2 or 3 lamps that I'd love to give new life to. 
4. Wing chair Reupholstery/Slipcover
  • I really, really want to give reupholstering our thrift store wing chair a try. I've been watching videos and looking up tutorials to see if it even seems possible. So far it looks like a huge project, but definitely possible. The key will be to see if I can find a fabric that will work. 
  • Slipcovering is obviously easier, but not really the look I want. Since we're going to slipcover our sofas it would be nice not to have a slipcovered chair as well. Plus, the options and fabrics for wing chair slipcovers are much less desirable than those for sofas/loveseats. 
5. Art Work 
  • I'd love some bright, fresh, artwork in our living room. Right now almost every frame in there is black, and our pictures have very little color or pizazz. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my newly-wed self not to buy everything in black. Black gets old, really fast. 
So there you have it. My game-plan for our summer living room makeover. Obviously doing this on a budget means a lot of DIY projects, as well as using what we already have, and sticking to colors that are already dominant throughout our home. 

Here's one last look at our current living room

Goodbye old living room,
Hello summer projects!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movement Monday

Monday again? Man, I really need to think of other things to post. 

Having recently joined the world of full-time, stay-at-home moms, I have discovered how full-time being a mom really is. Baby K is ALL OVER THE PLACE, and I find myself running after him to make sure he doesn't get into places he's not supposed to be. 

Why do babies automatically head straight for the places you don't want them to go? 

So, for today's movement post, I thought I'd post two to remind me how lucky I was to be able to take a technique class every day. I sure do miss those times. 



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Project

A friend of mine has started a dance project. I am hoping to get involved too. 
Without saying too much, this is what's been on my mind:

"Don't count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count."
-Anonymous

Vague? Perhaps. That's okay. I'll tell more, and show more soon.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fixed

I finally figured out why the blog wasn't showing that I had new posts. 
So, for all five of you who actually read this blog, the live-feed should be working now.
Yeah!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Movement

This piece, from SYTYCD, is incredibly moving. 
The dancers are great, and the choreography is excellent. 

video

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Lesson Learned



As a member of the ballet faculty at BYU, I have recently been part of a discussion about the dance dress code. At BYU there is quite a different dress standard for dancers than you will find most anywhere else. It is expected that BYU students will maintain a general standard of modest dress and cleanliness. 

For anyone unfamiliar with BYU, or with the dance program, you can learn more HERE and HERE

Anyway, as a student it was very hard for me to understand the guidelines. The term "modesty" is quite subjective. What is modesty? Who determines exactly what is modest and what is not? Is modestly only about what we put on our body? Are we always modest when we are covered? 

With all of these questions going through my mind I decided that I needed to share some of my thoughts. Even now, as a faculty member, I still don't completely understand the reasons behind some of the dress code. However, I have learned the following valuable lesson.

(I wrote this as a contribution in a collaborative discussion.)

_____________________________________________________________
For some reason I feel like I need to share something I have learned recently, perhaps because there are probably some students who feel the same way as I have felt. 

I will be the first to admit that I have always had difficulty understanding the reasons for some parts of the dance dress code. It has always bothered me that gymnasts don't wear tights, cheerleaders wear short shorts, and many other BYU athletes are able to wear things that BYU dancers are not allowed.  Why can gymnasts dance in only a leotard, or why can cheerleaders wear really short shorts and dance within 15 feet of the crowd, or why can track athletes run around campus in very short shorts? Why is there such a huge discrepancy? If it is so immodest to show our legs then why are these athletes and cheerleaders able to do so (with much greater numbers of attendees than our dance patrons)?

The questions are endless....

I have finally come to the realization that perhaps I simply don't need to know. Even if it doesn't make sense, being obedient doesn't always mean that we understand the why or the why not. When we signed the honor code we agreed to live by the guidelines we were given. We had a choice in the matter. We can question, complain, and fight against it all we want, and we may still never understand. But I know that when we are obedient we are blessed. Our character and our integrity is greatly strengthened when we choose to be obedient. 

I have no doubt that there are students who feel this way, and I think this issue is much, much more than an issue of what is "modest" or "immodest." I believe modesty is so much more than physical dress. It is so much more than showing an extra 1/2" of shoulder, or an extra 4" of the back, or whether or not halter tops and spaghetti straps are too revealing. Being modest is a mindset; it has everything to do with the desires of our hearts, and with the intentions of our actions.

My hope is that we can ultimately express to our students the blessings that will undoubtedly come to them by simply being obedient.
_________________________________________________________


*More to come on "what is modesty?"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some SimpleSpacing

The last few days I've been doing some SimpleSpacing in our little home. 
Very few things in life make me as peaceful, happy, and grateful 
as having a clean, organized, simplified home. 

For those of you who are new readers, the term "SimpleSpaces" was developed by my mother, who wrote a book about simplifying life and spaces. The principles in the book have already changed my life (I've been observing and living the principles as I've grown up and learned from my mom), and I have no doubt they have and will continue to change others' lives. 
________________________________________________________________
Space 1: 
Bedroom Bookcases/Nightstands

Problem:
Clutter. 
We had too many books and not enough room for the things we needed easy access to. Since bedroom #2 is a nursery, our office has been moved to our bedroom. This move has significantly limited the amount of space we have for personal files, folders, notebooks, journals, etc. 

Solution:
My mom so generously gave us a bookcase to put in the living room, which would make it possible to move many of the books from our room into the living room. Yay! 

Before:

After:

__________________________________________________________________

Space 2:
Living Room

Problem:
Need more storage. 

Solution:
By painting and using the large bookcase and moving some things around we were able to greatly increase the amount of storage space in the living room. We moved most all of our books out of our bedroom, and were also able to display a few more decorations. 

Before:

After:

________________________________________________________________

Space 3:
Office/Desk

Problem:
Needed a system for files and papers.

Solution:
My parents were also so generous in giving us a small file cabinet that just happened to work perfectly with our desk. We were able to move almost everything out of Baby's room and into our office/bedroom. Our printer had also been in Baby's closet for nearly a year, and we were finally able to move it closer.
 Thank you mom!

Before:

After:

___________________________________________________________

Space 4:
Kitchen/Eating area for Baby

Problem:
Not enough storage space

Solution:
Baskets, baskets, baskets

Before:
(Christmas-time)

After:
(more space for food, utensils, food mill, etc)


For more information about SimpleSpaces please email me or leave a comment below 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tossed Tuesday

On  Tuesdays I teach a contemporary class and a ballet class. For some reason I felt like changing things up a bit (perhaps from coming across an old "Wacky Wednesday" book at my mom's last night).

What better way to change things up than to do a genre switch?

__________________________________________________


Experiment I: 

Contemporary class. 
Bare feet. Black tights. Hair loose.
"Get some socks or shoes on, we're doing ballet today!"
Ballet barre. Some ballet center. Watch Baryshnikov.

Study Results I:
Generally, contemporary dancers are great movers. 
They are able to make mind body connections quickly.
 Need more muscle tone and definition in the legs and feet.
Need more clarity and dynamic energy.
____________________________________________________

Experiment II:

Ballet class.
Pink tights. Bun heads. Ballet shoes.
"Take your shoes off, we're doing a contemporary class!"
Contemporary class with ballet elements.

Study Results II:
Good use of feet and extension. 
Generally difficult to feel grounded and weighted.
Very uncomfortable and awkward doing new movements style.
These dancers need more "cross-training" and strength. 

___________________________________________________

I think it was good for both classes to try different styles today. The contemporary class does ballet barre twice a week, but there is rarely enough room at barre and we don't usually have marley floors. In general, the contemporary class had an easier time learning ballet exercises, while the ballet class had a more difficult time learning the contemporary movement. 

Final Results:
 It's nice being spontaneous every now and then

Time

Having a little baby has made me more aware of time passing. It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming our sweet boy into our family. Now he's nearly 7 months old and changing every day. At night, before he goes to sleep, I hold him and look at his little hands and little face. I know I'll miss these days when they are gone. 

Time is so interesting. Without it there would be no progression, no growth, no change. At the same time, the passing of time often causes regret, sentimentality, and sadness of things that have passed by. Time also creates opportunity for renewal, refocusing, and recommitting to do better, be better, and serve more. 

I am really into Mindy Gledhill's music. 
Lately, I especially love this song:




Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Life is too good

*Originally posted HERE

Lately I've been thinking about how much time I spend on the computer. I'll be the first to (although ashamedly) admit that I have gmail, facebook, and blogger logged in and opened nearly all day when I'm home. It is a horrible addiction that I am determined to change. I'm tired of living a cyber life. I'm tired of always comparing my life with others.' I'm tired of reading about peoples' thoughts, rather than creating and thinking about my own. I'm tired of staring at a screen. I'm tired of letting precious minutes and hours pass by; time that I could be spending with my son. I'm tired of feeling like I have to compare my life to the "Mormon Mommy Bloggers."I'm tired of not progressing spiritually, physically, mentally. I'm tired of being stuck in a rut. 

Something has clicked. 
Things are going to change, whether I like it or not. 

Facebook is great. It really is. It is a great tool for me to use to stay connected with friends and family who are not close, and whom I rarely see or talk to. I love staying updated on friends' lives, love, babies, weddings, events. I love posting pictures and getting responses. I like asking questions and getting answers. I like being connected with friends.

On that note, I find it ironic that the more connected I am on facebook, the more disconnected I am in my real life. I want to have real friends. I want to get out and visit and talk to people and be a real friend. I hardly ever do things with my friends. With a few wonderful exceptions, I don't have real friends. I don't have people who call me up to visit, to chat, to go on walks, to have baby play dates.  

I know I am to blame. I am living a cyber life. I've had my fair share of "pity me" moments in my life, and I've learned very quickly that I am the only one who can make myself change. I have to be a real friend in order to have real friends. I'm ready to be a real, live, friend. 

I have listened to many inspired leaders talk about this very subject.
 I finally feel ready to make a change. 

On a slightly different note:

Do you ever find yourself jealous of others' lives? Maybe jealous isn't the right word... Well, whatever the word, I have really been wanting to learn. I want to learn to make things. I want to learn to cook (and learn to like it). I want to learn to crochet. I want to be a really great homemaker. I want to be witty. I want to be creative. I want to be a great writer. I want to be original. 

I often read peoples blogs and think, "I wish I could do that," or "how do they have time to do that," or "I wish I were as crafty as she is," blah blah blah....

I know I could do all of those things if I really wanted to. I know I would have plenty of time to do them if I'd get off the computer. I can be creative if I want to be. 

There's been a lot of hype about the Mormon Mommy Bloggers lately. The only one I've kept up with is Nienie. And I will be the first to admit that she is incredible. Her story is so inspiring. Sometimes I secretly wish I could have as great of an influence as she has had. Sometimes I make myself feel like blogging is a competition. I find myself too concerned with comments and the stats. I want people to read my blog. I want people to like it. I want them to like me. I'm silly, yes, I know. 

Sorry this post is scattered. I have too many thoughts at once and I don't know how to organize them. 

Let's make this Simple:

1. I spend too much time on the computer

2. I want to accomplish more every day. I want to cook, create, sew, read, write, andbe. 

3. I want to be a real friend, and I want real friends. 
I want to talk, visit, socialize, and do things with other people. 

4. Blogging is not a competition. Stats don't matter. Who am I trying to impress anyway?


Life is too good to let it pass by unnoticed. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 5

Day 5- Picture(s) of somewhere you've been


I've been blessed to visit some incredible places in my life; 
Russia, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Holland...
all of them because of ballet. 

However, since those were the days before I had a digital camera, 
all of my travel photos are in hard-copy format. 


So for now here are a few of my favorite places in the States.


Bald Head Island, North Carolina


Raleigh, North Carolina 


Amarillo, Texas

Portland, Oregon

More to come...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 4

Day 4-A habit that you wish you didn't have


This one's easy....

my worst habit is getting on the computer 
and wasting time when I should be doing a million other things. 
Facebook, Blogger, Gmail and I have a love-hate relationship these days.