Christmas Decorating and Traditions!

Hello beautiful internet readers!

For this Sunday’s post, I wanted to show you some of my FAVORITE Christmas ornaments, and tell you about some family traditions my family has during the holiday season! Decorating the house for Christmas is one of my ALL TIME favorite festivities to do during this time of the year. One tradition in my family is we always hosts for Christmas Eve, and for this reason, having our house festive is a necessity.

Since we always have a tree up every year that requires decorating, here are some of my favorite ornaments that hang on our tree each year.

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This ballerina my parents bought me about 4 or 5 years ago. This dancer’s limbs and head have complete articulation, so you can position her in any pose you want. This year, I decided to have her positioned in ecarte derriere because she looks so pretty! Also, this costume reminds me of Waltz of the Flowers which is from The Nutcracker, so she is definitely one of my top favorites.

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This ornament is my baby’s first Christmas ornament (from 1995), and I love this one because the little bear cub is sleeping in a tea cup! It’s super cute and sentimental to both me and my parents.

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I am almost positive this ornament was gifted to me during high school from my good friend Kelsie! Hello Kitty looks so cute all wrapped up in her red Christmas parka! I used to LOVE Hello Kitty in high school, and even though I’ve grown out of the phase, I still love her as an ornament on our tree!

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This ornament was gift to me from my boyfriend as part of my Christmas gift two years ago when we were in Disney for the holiday. He gave me a bunch of dance stuff that year, and this is the first year I remembered to put this ornament on the tree! It is super pretty and cute, and it reminds me of him so it is a fav of mine for sure!

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I honestly don’t know where this tutu on a hanger ornament came from, but I really like it! It showed up in our ornament box one season a few years ago, and I love it because it reminds me of the Dew Drop Fairy from The Nutcracker! ❤

Additionally, a family tradition of ours is we hang stockings for me and my siblings, and our pets! This year, we also added stockings for my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend, with an additional puppy stocking for our newer dog Layla! Hanging stockings is such a fun, old-fashioned tradition, and they make our fireplace look super cozy!

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These are a few of our family traditions, and a few of my favorite ornaments! I love the Christmas season so much, with all of it’s stress and fun activities!

What are some of your favorite traditions during the holiday season? Do you have any favorite ornaments?

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Summer Room Renovation!

Hi everybody!

Over the summer, I moved back home from college. My bedroom in my parent’s house was cluttered, dusty, and a bit juvenile. To be honest, there was a lot of stuff I didn’t need or want anymore. I decided to clean my room out and give it a fresh coat of paint. Then I decided I would rearrange my furniture, and declutter as much as I can! I wanted to show you all what the finished product was because it turned out so nice! The best part was that I did it all by myself! Here is what it looked like before (the day I began cleaning it out).

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As you can see, my room was literally busting at the seams with clutter and crap I didn’t use or have space for. After four whole days of cleaning, painting, and rearranging, here is the final product! Click the below photo to expand because it is a panorama!

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I still can’t believe the difference!! Since I took these photos back in June, I’ve hung a big dream catcher on the wall, a canvas my boyfriend painted me, a picture my best friend printed, and a dry erase monthly calendar. But these photos were taken before I had all of those items to hang on my walls!

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I completed this project at the end of June, and now as fall progresses, I am thinking about doing some more cleaning and sorting of the items in my room. To me it feels great to throw out or donate items I no longer use or want.

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It feels great to put some elbow grease and sweat into your living space! My room finally feels like an adult bedroom that I can live in as I begin my “adult” life (while I still live at home). What kind of projects have you done at home? Do you like your living space?

Let me know what you think of my project below!

Xoxoxo

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Staying Organized and Marketing Yourself as a Dance Professional

Hi everybody!

As you all know, I am trying to break into the dance industry as a professional performer and as a respected dance educator. I’ve been learning as I go, and it has been so hectic trying to stay organized on top of all of my responsibilities as a dancer in two companies, and a teacher at four different studios. I will share with you the ways I’ve found to be most effective in keeping my life together! ❤  These tips are focused for dancers, but are helpful for any young professionals trying to break into their own industries!

1. KEEP A BINDER, AGENDA PLANNER, & JOURNAL ON HAND ALL OF THE TIME

This one is a biggie. I cannot tell you how helpful each of these resources are. My binder separates my paperwork for all of my studios. It organizes my class rosters by day and time, separates costume pictures for recital dances, and allows me to keep track of employee agreements and contracts. Furthermore, the binder allows me to keep a portfolio of different class combinations, barre for each level of ballet I teach, and choreography. The agenda planner obviously helps me keep track of commitments, auditions, teaching, private lessons, and rehearsals.

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My journal helps me keep track of all of my ideas for my classes, for my blog, and allows me to create to-do lists. With all of your paperwork organized, you will not only thank yourself for keeping your life in order, but you will appear organized to your employers and directors, and appear as though you take your job seriously (which you should), which is a win for both parties.

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2. KEEP COPIES OF YOUR PERFORMANCE BILLS, RESUME, AND HEADSHOT

I cannot stress ENOUGH how important this is. If you don’t keep track of your performances or choreography showcases, how can you prove to future employers or directors these events actually happened? Also, keeping copies helps you create a precise CV/resume – performance bills usually have choreographer names spelled correctly, and include the name of the piece you danced in, the music, and the names of the other dancers you performed with. This information is pertinent for networking with other dance professionals and creators in the field, and pertinent for updating you’re own CV.

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Keeping extra copies of your headshot and resume is helpful if you have a lot of back-to-back auditions or workshops you’re attending. Sometimes workshop teachers will ask for participants’ headshots and resumes, and having extra copies readily available will only be beneficial to you and to the hiring directors! You never know who you’re going to meet!

3. MAKE BUSINESS CARDS MARKETING YOURSELF AS A PROFESSIONAL

Okay, a lot of dancers (especially emerging professionals) don’t believe they need business cards since dance is not necessarily an “office job”. However, that is actually false! Dance is a business, and a small fraternity at that. I decided earlier in the summer to make business cards for myself and for my blog/Etsy shop. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have them on hand since I was securing a lot of studio jobs and auditions.

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Low and behold, at the dance festival I performed in (see First Professional Performances – I Can’t Believe This Is Real Life), one guy from another company who performed in the show gave me his card and asked me for mine!! Luckily, I had them on hand to distribute! Again, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU WILL MEET! Whether or not these dancers are in the same dance genre as you, networking is so important, and you never know how these people could influence your career later down the line.

4. MAKE A FREE WEBSITE PORTFOLIO DOCUMENTING YOUR DANCE EXPERIENCE

The internet and WordPress are a great way to advertise yourself for free! I use WordPress.com for my blog, and for my professional dance website. Check it out at juliakathryn.dance. You can use one of the readily made templates, and customize it to your liking. You can include a copy of your resume, your dance reel, dance photography, highlight important workshops or dance experiences, and more!

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Furthermore, you can buy a web domain and link it to your free website, so when people search for your site, you have a professional domain to go with it. I bought a few domains and linked them to my free WordPress website from GoDaddy.com. This online portfolio you can link in the signature of your emails, put on your business cards and resume, and you can put it on your social media to direct followers to your professional work.

This concludes my top tips for staying organized and marketing yourself as a dance professional. All of these resources are also cost effective – my planner was $5 from Wal-Mart, the journal was a gift so it was free, the binder I already had with dividers from college, the website is free, my business cards cost about $10 for 100 of my dancer ones, and $15 for my blog ones (because they are square and printed front and back), costing me bout $25 before tax and shipping. My website domains with discounts for a year of ownership was $41 for three domains. An 8inx10in headshot print out costs about $3 from Walgreens.

I hope you enjoyed my top tips! I didn’t realize how important the business side of the dance world was until I graduated college, but these resources have helped me land a lot of jobs in the last six months!! 🙂 I hope they continue to do me well in the months ahead, as I try to break further into this industry as a young professional.

What are your favorite ways to market yourself? Have you tried any of these resources? Let me know if this was helpful!

xoxo

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Easy Cocoa Crispy Rice Cripsy Treats

Hi everyone!!

I cooked dinner and dessert for my family last night, and I wanted to make a dessert that was simple, and different than what my family usually reaches for after a meal (usually something chocolatey). I decided to take a new spin on my rice crisy treats and use cocoa crispy cereal instead of traditional rice cereal to get our chocolate fix. The recipe is the same as regular rice crispy treats:

  1.  Six cups of rice cereal
  2. 1/4 cup of butter (half stick)
  3.  A bag of mini marshmallows

I’ve made this recipe with fruity rice cereal as well, and those are just as delicious! This time, I tried to make them with cocoa crispy cereal and it hit the chocolatey spot after dinner!

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All you do is melt the butter in a skillet, and once the butter is melted, add all of the mini marshmallows and mix until they are melted. Then you remove the pan from the heat, add the cereal, mix until the cereal is coated, and press them into a pan with waxed paper. Literally, this is the easiest treat to make, and they are delicious!

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Don’t they look delicious?! If you’re looking for an easy dessert to make for after dinner, or to bring to a barbeque or party, these are super easy and yummy! Also, they are no bake, so no extra heat from an oven is filling your kitchen during the warmer summer months!

What are your favorite, easy treats to make in the summertime?

Xoxo

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Post-Rehearsal Hike – Stairway to Heaven Trail

Today after company class and rehearsal, I took a hike up to heaven 💓 By that I mean I took the Stairway to Heaven Trail (a part of the Appalachian Trail) up to “the view”, which overlooks a valley and the Appalachian mountain range. And seriously guys – it was heaven!! The sky was pure blue, and the smell of the fresh pine and earthiness of the forest was invigorating! The breeze at the top of the mountain was incredible also, and dried all of the sweat I perspired during my trek up there. Even more amazing were the hawks that flew so close – you could see the definitions between their feathers!

 

The warm sun toasted my skin and gave me happy, grounding vibes. Sometimes hiking by yourself helps you find your center more than ballet class 🙏 I rehearse out of NY state, and I pass this trail every week on my way to rehearsal. Switching up my workout routine by taking this hike instead of going to the gym was a fun change to challenge my body in a new way. It was my second time climbing this trail (I climbed it last year), and it was even more exhilarating this time around. God bless this beautiful country! 💓

What are your favorite trails to climb in your state/around the county? Do you like to hike for a workout, and have you ever hiked alone before? Let me know!

Xoxo

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