Everyday Cosplay: Black Swan

It’s no secret how much I love ballet, and the movie Black Swan is probably one of my favorite  ballet/horror mashups. It also may be the only ballet/horror out there…

Regardless, I love the movie, and the ballet the perform in the film, Swan Lake–though they have similarities, remember, Black Swan and Swan Lake are different thingsis one of my favorite ballets. Seriously. Listen to the outstanding score to Swan Lake, or watch this amazing pas de deux from the ballet:

Amazingly beautiful, right? I love with the fact that they brought my favorite ballet together with horror, one of my favorite genres, but even more than that, the tutus worn by the ballerinas in the film’s production of Swan Lake are just gorgeous. I couldn’t help but create an everyday cosplay look that was inspired by Natalie Portman as the Black Swan (in the ballet Swan Lake, her actual name is Odile).

Of course this look only covers the fashion part of becoming the Black Swan. If you want to really channel the Portman Black Swan look by starting to grow feathers, getting highly bloodshot eyes, and having a very complicated relationship with your doppelganger/yourself, you’ll have to do that on your own time.

That said, here’s the look:

Everyday Black Swan

Have you seen Black Swan? What did you think of it? What are some of your favorite horror movies with unique twists? Let me know in the comments!

Superfit Hero Leggings: Basically the Best Things Ever

I love, love, love ballet. The only rough part about ballet is that sometimes the costumes and practice gear can be a bit nuts. If you remember my infamous unitard from my Batman pointe dance:

Batman and Ballet

batman ballet

Finding some reliable, comfy, AND flattering ballet gear can be pretty challenging–especially when you’re a curvier girl like myself. As awesome as a black and blue unitard is…it doesn’t really flatter the figure. But then, I heard about Superfit Hero Leggings.

superfit hero

Workout gear made for women of all sizes, with a touch of superhero? Um, yes please. These leggings are the best things I have ever worn: seriously. These leggings are not only completely adorable, but they are also super flattering to your figure. Even better, the material is SO SOFT, but it is super durable. Ever worn a pair of leggings or yoga pants and realized your leggings kinda become a bit see-through on the butt when you bend over? SUPER awkward, right? These leggings definitely don’t do that. Plus, the waistband can be either worn high to eliminate muffin top, or you can fold it down for the hip-hugger look. Either way, it works, looks, and fits amazingly. These leggings kept up with me for my entire ballet class, and I felt covered and supported the entire time (it’s made with supplex fabric, which essentially means they are magical and wonderful).

photo 5

I really loved the design of the yoga pants. The logo on the front of the pants totally made me feel like a yoga pants-wearing, pointe-doing superhero. Whether you’re working out, dancing, or just chilling in your living room, Superfit Hero‘s leggings are basically the best things to wear, and I’d be totally cool with only wearing Superfit Hero leggings for the rest of my days. Want a pair for yourself? You can pre-order yourself a pair now! Go do it now–you totally won’t regret it.

What is your favorite workout/sitting around gear? Let me know in the comments! 

Ballet Break: When Comics and Ballet Collide

Every now and then I talk about ballet around here. I’ve been taking ballet classes for about two and a half years now, and it’s my favorite thing in the entire world. Taking ballet classes and dancing in pointe shoes was one of those dreams that I secretly had for years, and I didn’t finally chase that dream until I was 25. It’s been such an awesome experience, watching my body do things I never dreamed I could do, and seeing myself become stronger and–shockingly–even a bit graceful. However, I don’t talk about my ballet endeavors a lot around mine blog simply because it just doesn’t really have anything to do with the majority of Distracted Blogger. This weekend was a bit different. Why? Because this weekend, my love of comics and superheroes collided directly with my love of ballet. Specifically, Batman and ballet.

I mean, when you think Batman, you totally think ballet and dancing. Who doesn’t, amirite?

batman dances

Get it, Batman!

This weekend, using the musical stylings of The Piano Guys, my pointe class performed a dance as Batman–well, Bat-People might be more appropriate (mainly because there were several of us, we aren’t men, and our costumes were more Batman inspired than actual Batman outfits). See what I mean:

Batman and Ballet

Regardless of the accuracy of our costumes, the dance was essentially a fight between the Bat-People and Harley Quinn. It was a weird marriage of two things I love, but I can’t lie, it was kind of fantastic. Of course, the “fight” was definitely more like this…

west side story

…than, you know, this:

batman fight

Yes, rather than brawn and brute force, we were protecting Gotham with pique turns and arabesques, as any vigilante would.

Regardless of how realistic and brutal the “fighting” was, the dance was still marvelously fun. I had a fantastic time getting to channel the Dark Knight while dancing about in pointe shoes. Ballet has helped me overcome so many fears and insecurities, so it felt pretty fantastic to bring in a superhero to my ballet-verse. We got to dance with a Gotham backdrop behind us, and some of the other students from our studio held up POW! and BANG! signs during our “fight” with Harley.

I was quite shocked at how much more comfortable I felt in my pointe shoes, and how strong I felt. Seeing how much I have improved since I first started ballet and pointe work in particular truly made me feel like I was worthy of the title of Batman–or, at least, Bat-person.

batman ballet

A few of the Bat-People, minus our Harley Quinn.

I love how superheroes and comics can influence people who aren’t even a part of the comics/cinematic universes of those characters, and the different and creative ways people can incorporate masked heroes into places they normally don’t belong–like in ballet. If anything, this weekend proved how metal ballet can truly be, and even though we strive to look like graceful swans in our pointe shoes, ballerinas–even the awkward ones like yours truly–can rock a unitard and sparkly mask and kick some super-villain ass.

Have you found comics in unexpected places? What are some weird mashups of culture you’ve experienced lately? What things are you doing in your spare time that are challenging and weirdly fulfilling? Let’s talk about all of it in the comments!

Ballet Break: Happy 15th Birthday, Center Stage

It’s no secret that I love the movie Center Stage.

That movie is a 00’s masterpiece of cheese, ballet, and a pre-Uhura, pre-Gamora Zoe Saldana.

zoe saldanaBecause of it’s pure early 00’s awesomeness, I decided to celebrate this flick to commemorate the movie’s birthday week (it’s turning 15–geez I’m old). Here are some of the reasons Center Stage will always be center stage of my heart.

lame

Whatever…

  • Center Stage was one of the first things–other than seeing a production of Nutcracker as a kid–that introduced me to classical ballet.
  • Center Stage started my fascination with pointe.
  • The movie also showed me it’s okay to be brave and take a dance class where you know absolutely no one–and even if the style of dance isn’t what you normally participate in. Like this ridiculous dance class:
  • It also showed me that dance is a super diverse art form, and it’s all beautiful. And sometimes, you just have to bring a motorcycle onstage at a fancy ballet performance. Seriously, there is nothing better in the universe than the Center Stage finale dance. That red tutu? Those fouette turns? The motorcycle? So. Much. Yes.

So a big merde and a happy birthday to Center Stage. You were cheesy and are terribly dated, but you will never not be wonderful.

Ballet Break: Ballet and Pointe FAQ

I’ve been dancing in pointe shoes for just over a year now. Whenever I tell people that I take ballet–and, more specifically, that I dance in pointe shoes–I always get bombarded with questions. What kind of shoe do you wear? Doesn’t it hurt? How does it work? I’m in now way a professional dancer, and I’m never going to be. I’m also still firmly planted in the land of being a ballet beginner, so a more seasoned dancer might have different answers to these questions. Still, ballet and pointe is so enigmatic to people who don’t participate in it, so I thought I’d do a ballet and pointe FAQ for today’s ballet break.

ballet_developee

Does it hurt to dance in pointe shoes?

Well, you’re dancing on the tips of your toes, so…yes.

pointe_chene turn

Of course, it is a different “kind” of pain, and like anything, you get used to it. For me, I usually feel pain from the tightness of the shoe and the intense muscle work that is required to get up on my toes. My toes, feet, and legs are usually sore after class, though that varies depending on how intense class  was. Generally–though there are exceptions to everything–the only pain you want to watch out for is a sharp pain.

What kind of pointe shoe do you wear?

I wear Gaynor Minden pointe shoes. I’ve danced in both their supple and extraflex shanks (the shank is the bottom of the pointe shoe), and I like them both.

gaynor minden

What I love about Gaynors is, first of all, how long they last. My friends who wear a more “traditional” pointe shoe buy shoes for 70-80 bucks, and they last 2-3 months. My Gaynors are a bit more expensive (around 100 bucks), but my last pair lasted me about nine months. Gaynors are also made a bit differently than a traditional pointe shoe, so I find it a lot more supportive of my feet.

Cool, so can do that trick Rose does in Titanic

You mean this?

titanic rose toesI cannot. I’m also willing to bet a great deal of ballet dancers out there can’t either. Just because you can dance in pointe shoes, you are not automatically able to do this. A pointe shoe is pretty supportive of your foot, so when you go up over your box, your shoe is doing a great deal of the work alongside of you. Rose’s trick is kinda pointlessly dangerous, really.

Okay, so I guess I don’t understand pointe shoes then. 

I totally get that. When I was training for pointe, I had to flat out ask my teacher to bring in a pair so I could see what they heck they were. Gaynor Minden does a pretty good job of breaking down the ins and outs of a pointe shoe on their website, but you can also watch these videos, too.


Why do dancers destroy their shoes before they dance in them? 

You mean like the in Center Stage?

Well, not every dancer does this. For instance, I don’t, but that is largely because I wear Gaynors. When dancers tear up their shoes like that, it is because they are trying to break the shoe in (get the shank to bend more easily, get the box to be a bit softer and mold to your foot a bit more). A Gaynor Minden pointe shoe is made so it doesn’t have to go through a “breaking in” process before it fits nicely. My first pair of pointe shoes were a more traditional shoe, but I was told to not do any of this shoe destroying. While a seasoned dancer who wears traditional shoes might break their shoes in like this to get the fit “just right”, as a beginner–and someone who isn’t dancing 8 hours a day in a company that pays for my new shoes–destroying my shoes like that would just mean that my shoes would wear out more quickly, and, as a beginner, I could even break the shoe in such a way that I end up breaking myself. However, there are still plenty of professional dancers that have their own unique ways of breaking in their shoes. Here are some ballerinas from the Australian Ballet talking about how they prep their shoes:

And here is Allison DeBona (with the help of Rex Lajos-Tilton) from Ballet West talking about how she preps her pointe shoes:

I’m not in ballet class, but I want to do pointe work! I mean, with the internet I can do it myself, right? 

no

Sure, you can find foot and ankle exercises to get your strength up, like this one from Allison DeBona.


However, you can hurt yourself so easily in pointe shoes–especially if you have no ballet experience–so you really, really shouldn’t begin a pointe shoe endeavor without an instructor.

So…are your toes nasty, dancer toes? 

Ah, yes, the infamous ballet dancer feet. Pointe work is hard on the body, and you can’t do crap like this…

ballet_jumping on box

…without some collateral damage. Namely, your feet. I’ll be honest, since I’ve only been at this for a year, my toes aren’t too bad. I do get blisters, and the moment directly after taking my pointe shoe off my toes are kinda weird looking. However, I haven’t been at this long enough to have those gnarly ballet dancer feet. I do have bruises under my toenails, but I hide that with nail polish. Interestingly enough, most dancers look at their nasty feet like a badge of honor, because it is a visual representation of how hard they are working.

What are some other questions you have about ballet and pointe work? Have you ever done ballet or danced in pointe shoes? Let me know in the comments! 

Ballet Break: My Fave Ballet Movies

I’ve been taking ballet for over two years now, and I’ve been dancing en pointe (aka: destroying my feet in the most beautiful, metal way possible) for just shy of a year.

Posing in my first pointe shoes at my first pointe shoe fitting.

Posing in my first pointe shoes at my first pointe shoe fitting.

Last year I talked a bit about my plans to bring some ballet stuff onto the blog in 2015, and I’m officially kicking it off with my first Ballet Break–a new, monthly post that will center around something ballet-related, be it my own ballet adventures or something related (or loosely related) to ballet. This week, I’m talking about my favorite ballet-infused movies. I will readily admit that most dance movies can really flirt with that line between “craptastic” and “just crap”, but I love ’em. Good or bad, I think they’re great. So here are some of my faves, some of them are craptastic, some of them are genuinely amazing, all of them get me excited about ballet.

Dance Academy 

This one is technically an Australian television show, not a movie, but I still love it. This show falls squarely in the “craptastic” camp, as only 15% of the show is dance-focused, the other 75% of the show is campy, teen soap opera goodness. However campy and craptastic the show might be, I can’t help but love it. Besides, the dancing–which they don’t only stick to classical ballet–is usually genuinely great.

Ballerina

Ballerina is a documentary that focuses on various Russian ballerinas like Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova, and Uliana Lopatkina (pictured above). This is a genuinely amazing documentary. Russian ballerinas basically begin working on their craft from early childhood, and Ballerina does a great job of featuring the intense work that each of the dancers go through to perfect their craft.

Save the Last Dance

This movie perfectly encapsulates the early 2000s. The fashion, the music, it’s all just amazing. More than that, the love story is incredibly adorable. This movie also brings in other dance styles (mainly hip hop), not just classical ballet. If you try to tell me that, back in the day, you didn’t try to learn any one of the dances featured in this movie, I’d know you’re lying.

Black Swan

Black Swan brings together dance and horror in a truly brilliant way. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis do an awesome job in this film, and even though there were controversies over how much dancing Portman actually did in the movie (#TeamNatalie), it’s clear that the actors busted their butts to play ballerinas well. Black Swan is a bit of a brain-bender, and it is genuinely freaky at time. It’s also genuinely disgusting in parts (like the scene with the hang nail…or the feathers…or her toenail–I’m not gonna link out to those, you can Google that ish yourself). A film that is a mashup of gross/cerebral horror with an infusion of ballet is certainly a win in my book.

Center Stage

I’m sorry. You haven’t seen Center Stage? I’m gonna have to ask you to drop everything and go watch this movie RIGHT. NOW. This movie is completely and utterly ridiculous. The story is so incredibly campy. The acting is–for the most part, anyway–pretty sub-par. But OH. MY. WORD. This movie is craptastic, dance-flick gold. For instance, that final dance number (embedded below for your viewing pleasure)? The motorcycle, the red outfit, and that endless chain of fouetté turns make the finale pretty memorable. Regardless of the camp, this is a fun dance movie, with some truly talented dancers adding spice to the screen. Bonus? Center Stage features a pre-Gamora Zoe Saldana in it as well.

Do you like dance movies? What are some of your faves? Let me know in the comments!

5 Fandom Friday: Blog Goals for 2015

fandom.5.friday

Things have been scarce around here, and I am so sorry about that. With work, my studio’s production of The Nutcracker, and starting my first official month as a writer for Cinema Blend, I’ve had next to no free time. However, things are finally starting to re-calibrate for me, so things will get back to normal here on mine blog. So I thought this week’s Fandom 5 was the PERFECT post to usher me back into the world of normalcy. This week’s list is all about blogging goals and resolutions for the new year. Here are mine:

1. Schedule and plan posts better. For a while there, I was pretty good about keeping a schedule and planning my posts ahead of time. grinch scheduleHowever, that just kind of randomly died out with a whimper. In 2015, I really want to be intentional about visualizing what I want the coming month to look like at Distracted Blogger, and planning/scheduling posts to meet that vision.

2. Promote more. Y’all know I hate this, but if I want to grow my readership and the DB community, I need to be better at promoting. During my season of good scheduling, I feel like I was doing a much better job at pulling in readers…

cumberbatch wink

…but once the scheduling fell to the wayside, so did the promotion. In the coming year, I really want to focus and plan ways to find more readers to add to the existing bunch of awesome and amazing readers that are already here!

3. Engage in online communities better. I’m a part of an awesome Google+ group called Female Geek Bloggers, and it’s really helped me find some other awesome, fun geek blogs. I need to do a much better job of reading and commenting on those blogs, engaging in the FGB group more, and just generally reaching out and engaging with other bloggers in the geekosphere. I’m so very introverted, both in real life and online…

awkward

..which means I have to be really intentional when it comes to engaging with other humans. I plan to use 2015 to really plug in to the geek blog community. Besides, I genuinely like the women who populate the Female Geek Bloggers group, so I’d like to virtually hang out with them more.

4. Update the blog’s look. I don’t know what I want specifically, but I’m always trying to see what I can find to make the site look more slick and more professional.

tina belcher hair

While I don’t think I’ll ever have the perfect page, I want my site to continue to grow and evolve, both content-wise and in how it looks. Last year I got the awesome Kerry from Kerry’s Nerdy Habitat to design me some logos and banners for the site, and that really added a touch of awesome. So I’m really going to have to get creative if I want to top Kerry’s amazing work on my site!

5. Add more of me into my blog. I write a lot of news stuff and opinion stuff, and I like writing that. However, I’d like to find a way to infuse a bit of me into the blog as well. I’m not sure what exactly that will look like, or what I’m even trying for here. I don’t want this to turn into my own personal diary of a blog by any means. However, I’ve often wanted to talk a bit about stuff I geek out about apart from your traditional geekery. Namely, I’ve wanted to talk about my ballet endeavors around here, but I haven’t really found the best way. In 2015, I’d like to figure out some sort of a monthly or every-other-monthly “ballet break” of a post. I don’t know what it will look like, but I think it could be cool. I do tend to talk about ballet more on my Twitter and Instagram (like my pic below from this year’s Nutcracker). So if nothing else, I’ll at least have some ballet stuff there.

Finally have a (mostly) finished costume for my pointe piece!!! Love it! #Nutcracker #ballet

A photo posted by Kendall Ashley (@kendallashley_0128) on Dec 12, 2014 at 7:57pm PST

Bonus Point: Add in some nerd-crafting. I have like five different projects that I want to accomplish, If I can get myself on any sort of a crafting schedule, I would really like to have a nerd-crafting section around here. We’ll see though…

What are some of your New Year’s resolutions, blogging-focused or otherwise? What are some things you’d like to see here on the blog? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, be sure to check out my other Fandom 5 posts, and see what other bloggers are resolving by following the hashtag, #Fandom5.

5 Fandom Friday: 5 Things I Want Santa to Bring Me

fandom.5.friday

You guys, it’s getting so close to Christmas! This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year. I am all about Christmas music, Christmas lights, cold weather, and warm drinks. So I am super excited that this week’s Fandom 5 post is all about Christmas, specifically, what we want for Christmas this year. Now, I’ve already done a list for Project-Nerd of geeky things I want for Christmas, so this is my list of those random, unclassifiable things that have popped up on my Christmas list this year.

Pointe Shoes

I’ve gotten to the stage in my ballet training where I just ask for pointe shoes at every single gift-giving opportunity. Pointe shoes are kind of startlingly expensive, and they don’t last a heck of a long time either. I wear a brand of pointe shoes called Gaynor Minden. They get some flak from traditionalists since they are made of plastic and not paste, but I love my Gaynors. I love them so much because they not only last at least twice as long as traditional pointe shoes, which makes my wallet a happy camper.

Arrow Industrial Bar

I recently got an industrial. The piercing is still super new, so I can’t change the bar yet, but I’m already eyeing cute bars for when I can change it out. I am in love this arrow bar.

Rune Ring

I’ve been seeing a lot of rune rings on Etsy like this one. I think they are so unique looking. Some of there are hella expensive, but they are just so adorable. I’d love to get my hands on one (or ten).

Nail Polish

I’ve been playing around with nail art lately, so any cool, unique nail polish is always a welcomed gift.

Candles

The quickest way into my heart is to buy me a candle. I’m obsessed, especially with Bath and Body Works Winter and Leaves candles. Seriously, I love those guys, and they always make my home smell so very cozy.

What random items do you have on your Christmas list? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to check out the other Fandom 5 posts by following the hashtag, #Fandom5.

 

 

5 Fandom Friday: My 5 Must-Have Smartphone Apps

fandom.5.friday

 

This week’s Fandom 5 is all about the 5 smartphone apps I cannot live without. Before I start, let me just say that I am an iPhone user, so I’m gonna hyperlink to all of the apps I mention, but know the links will take you to the iTunes App store. However, with the exception of one, I’m pretty sure every app I’ll mention can be bought for Android. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Without further ado, on to my list…

1. Call of Duty: World at War, Zombies

Okay, so this is technically a game, but I bought it in the app store so it totally counts. It’s no secret that I love zombies and video games. This was one of the first games that plunged me into the world of zombie gaming, so I’ll always have a special place in my heart for COD Zombies. Besides the obvious fact of there are zombies, so it is clearly amazing, COD Zombies for iPhone is a must-have on my phone because it is my preferred method of passing the time in waiting rooms or busy restaurant lobbies. I actually prefer to pass the time playing this game rather than aimlessly scrolling through a Facebook timeline. The only downside is that the game is a bit pricey (or maybe I’m just cheap), and you have to pay for new maps. However, I’ve had this app for years, and I never get bored of it, so I think it was worth the purchase. If you prefer the Black Ops zombie maps, you can buy that, too.

 

2. Tumblr

I am obsessed with Tumblr (if you’re on Tumblr, you should follow me!). There is so much time-wasting goodness on this site, and I just cannot get enough of it. Tumblr has everything you need from gifs, video clips, images, fan art, fan fiction, every fandom ever, to ANYTHING ELSE you can dream up. While I occasionally get on Tumblr on an actual computer, I am usually on the site via my iPhone app. It’s another one of my go-to apps when I am waiting on something or someone out in public. If you ever see me out in public, trying to stifle nearly uncontrollable laughter as I look at my phone, chances are I’m on Tumblr. This app is also free. While that’s pretty standard for the app of a free social media website, free stuff always receives a few extra points in my book.

 

3. Magic: The Gathering Life Counter

I love playing Magic: The Gathering, but I am not a fan of keeping score with a twenty-sided die. I also find myself to be accident-prone enough that I almost always bump any sort of manual score-keeping device. So I was pretty stoked to hear that MTG had about 400 different options of life-counter apps (seriously, there are tons, look for yourself), and most if not all of them are free. The app I use even has a “dice roll” at the start of any session to tell you who goes first. This thing is a life-saver, and highly recommended.

something different

Here are two apps that are kind of random, but I still cannot live without them.

4. Duolingo

This app–another freebie btw–is one of my all-time favorites. It’s essentially a language-learning app–that is completely free. I can’t speak to how it helps someone pick up a language from scratch (though I do want to try a totally new language on Duolingo), but it has been a huge help as I try to recover the French I learned in high school and college. The app allows you to set goals for how much time you want to spend working on your language, and it will send you reminders during the day if you haven’t met your goal for the day. I love this app, but it isn’t something I use in waiting rooms and restaurant lobbies, as the app tests you on your pronunciation of words as well as spelling and reading. You might be more confident than me, but I’m too self conscious to randomly say, “Le chat noir” out loud, in public.

5. Ballet Class

I don’t talk a lot about ballet here, but I do take ballet 2-3 times a week. I got my first paire of pointe shoes in March, and I’m currently in the middle of rehearsals for my studio’s Urban Nutcracker production. Anyway, because of this, I’m sort of obsessed and like to practice as much as I can at home. Before I was ready to plunk down money on an actual CD of ballet class music (which I did eventually, this ballet class album by Robert Long is the one I bought), I got this app. It’s free (and, as far as I can tell, not available for Android), and it offers simple music for various ballet exercises. You can purchase additional songs if you choose, but there are enough simple tunes (that you can speed up or slow down) to get you through basic barre and adage exercises. I absolutely love it.

What apps can you not live without? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to check out my other 5 Fandom Friday posts. Check out other Fandom 5 posts from other bloggers by following the hashtag, #Fandom5. 

A Recap of 2013!

I have been trying to figure out the best way to recap this year in a blog form to no avail.  I saw this yearly recap on Rage Against the Minivan, who nabbed this recap from All & Sundry’s blog. I think this is an awesome way to recap the year, and I’m all about lists, so here goes! 

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

In January of 2013, I started taking ballet! I could never have imagined how much I would love ballet. I’m working towards pointe (estimated date of arrival: March 2014), and in December I danced ONSTAGE in the Waltz of the Flowers in front of REAL PEOPLE in my studio’s Urban Nutcracker production.

waltz of the flowers

Me in the tutu that I wore IN FRONT OF A REAL AUDIENCE. I am loving ballet, and I am gaining confidence that I have never had before. I cannot wait to see how I progress in 2014!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I have a continuous “resolution” to lose weight, which I did kept. I’ll post later about my resolutions for 2014.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

You know, I don’t think so… Hmm…

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?

Hubster and I journeyed to Nassau in the Bahamas! To say it was lovely and gorgeous would be an understatement.

bahamas

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A little more direction. I wrote about entering a season of calm, but that calmness has turned into straight-up boredom. In 2014, I hope Hubster and I start to get a clearer vision of where we are headed in our future.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t know if I have exact dates. I mean, apart from April 25 (because it’s not too cold and not too hot–all you need is a light jacket). But I will always remember our trip to Nassau and dancing onstage for the first time since toddler-hood. Both of those were beautiful experiences.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Ballet, for sure. I have always wanted to get back into ballet, but I always stopped myself because I thought I was too uncoordinated and too fat. 2013 was the year I decided to stop waiting for some foggy, unclear date of being “good enough” to start ballet, and I just jumped in, fearful and fat. It was the greatest decision I could have made.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Failing to trust, and failing to let go of worry.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I have viral-induced asthma, so I get 3-5 Epic Colds a year. I also got a stomach flu that decided the best time to manifest itself was in the movie theater as Hubster and I went to watch White House Down (or was it Olympus Has Fallen??? I don’t remember, the one with Gerard Butler).

However, my weirdest injury would have to be losing my left big toenail in Nassau. In a series of random events, my toenail caught the back of Hubster’s flip-flop as we were walking around our resort. It caught the nail just right, and a few days later the nail fell off. I’ll tell you what, though. Using the sea as a giant saltwater rinse was far more enjoyable than sitting awkwardly with my toe in a bowl of saltwater on my bathroom floor.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I succumbed to a First World Problem of losing iMessage when I traded in my iPhone for a Samsung, and I traded that Samsung back in for an iPhone 5c. In a series of shrewd business moves, I ended up getting the phone for nothing, and I got a big fat Best Buy gift card. I also have iMessage back. Clearly my priorities are in order here.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Gas and groceries. Lame.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I haven’t said ballet yet, right? But seriously, I have been so very stoked about ballet. It has been amazing. I have also been able to do some guest posting on the new blog for the Convergent imprint, and that has been very exciting as well.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

2013 was the year I became hopelessly addicted to stupid pop songs, so stuff like Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball”, Selena Gomez’s “Slow Down” and “Come and Get It”, or Lady Gaga’s “Applause”. Seriously, stupid pop songs are the best thing to listen to after a crappy day of work or as you are preparing for one.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? About the same.
– thinner or fatter? A few pounds thinner, but not without great effort.
– richer or poorer? About the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading and writing. I was happily busy in 2013, and that meant a bit less time for quiet reading and writing.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Brainless TV watching or brainless social media surfing. Those are just wasted moments of my life.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas here with Hubster’s famiy. Then my parents flew into town after that, so we spent the next few days with my family.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

It is a tie between Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Supernatural, New Girl, Sherlock, Orphan Black, and How I Met Your Mother. I’ve also recently discovered Girls, which I love, but I don’t have consistent access to HBO (I only have it when Comcast offers me free 6 month trials, and then I lose it).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I read Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, and I loved it. I’ve really fallen in love with Neil Gaiman‘s books. I don’t know how I got away with not reading him before now. Non-fiction religion-wise, my two faves were Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist and Addie Zierman’s When We Were on Fire. I am certain I am forgetting others I’ve read and loved, though…

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Like I said before, I had a weird “stupid pop song” phase this year. However, there were also such staples as Mumford and Sons, Hanson, The White Stripes, Fun, Ed Sheerhan, to name a few.

22. What was your favorite film of the year?

I don’t think I can pick one. Some of my faves were We’re the Millers, This Is the End, Star Trek: Into Darkness, World War Z, Catching Fire, The World’s End, Gravity, Thor 2, and Ironman 3…so if that doesn’t paint a clear picture of my mental state, I don’t know what will.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 25 in January. I think I went out with Hubster, but probably not much beyond that. I’m not big into parties.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Taking chances, namely, ballet.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

I’m not a super flashy dresser, but I played around with more colors. For instance, I’m currently wearing a pair of maroon pants that I bought last year. 2013 was the year of colored pants.

26. What kept you sane?

Friends. Family. Chai tea. Books. Ballet.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Don’t wait to try something new.