Nutcracker Week – Performance Essentials!

Hello beautiful readers of the internet!

As promised, here is the third installment of my Nutcracker performance posts! Today, I am sharing with you my favorite products (old and new) for this season’s performances. I use these products not just for ballet productions, but also for contemporary and modern productions, in addition to class and rehearsal!

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Of course, I had to feature my FAVORITE pointe shoes by Bloch – the Sonata (SO1030). These pointe shoes fit my feet like a glove and stay on so well! The Bloch Elastorib I sewed onto them helps ease tension on my Achilles (read about them here: Bloch Sonata Pointe Shoes and Elastoribbon!). All around, these pointe shoes are the best! In addition to my favorite pointe shoes, I wanted to display my favorite and never failing gel toe pads. The Eurotard Feather Lites are so comfortable. They cushion and protect my toes, while never taking up too much room in the box of the shoe. I highly recommend these if you are looking for a thin, light toe protection option.

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I picked up a new pair of seamed tights for this weekend’s performances. I decided on Body Wrappers Seamed Transition Tights in the color light pink after the woman at the dance store recommended a few brands to me. They are not mesh, however, they are the perfect shade of pink, and the waistband is wide and soft-knit. For this reason, the tights don’t cut into my sides, and I am very happy with my choice.

I purchased Capezio 2.5 inch thick u-pins to keep my bun secure and on my head! I’ve been using the thicker u-pins from Goody, but they are still not strong enough to hold my curly hair in place. Hopefully the Capezio ones work well for my hair!

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I needed new ballet shoes, so of course I re-purchased my SoDanca SD16s! They are the COMFIEST ballet slipper ever (read more about them here: National Dance Day & National Lipstick Day!). Anyway, I also picked up the beautiful champagne colored pointe shoe bag all of these products are resting on! I’ve been wanting a pointe shoe bag for some time now because I keep all of my dance shoes in a trundle box in the trunk of my car, and this bag will help me keep my shoes and toe pads together with my ballet slippers so I don’t have to dig around my trunk when I am running into rehearsal or teaching.

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More important than what I have to wear with my costume is what I have to wear under it! I wanted to show you all a supportive dance bra I’ve used for a few years now. The bra shown is Capezio brand, and although there is no underwire, it is full coverage. I wear this bra under the nude leotard (I forget what brand it is!), and my chest is almost fully supported. The woman at the store gave me new straps for the nude leotard for free, and I am thankful she did so because the thicker straps make the leotard secure.

All of the products mentioned above are HIGHLY recommended. I have found these products to be repeat buys, to be durable, and to be long-lasting. I am so excited for my shows this weekend I can’t take it! What are your performance essentials? Let me know!

Happy Holidays! xoxo

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Nutcracker Week – History of the Nutcracker

Hello ladies and gents!

Today I wanted to give a short but sweer history of the Nutcracker ballet! As you’ve probably seen or read, this week includes my Nutcracker performances and since I am so excited for them, I wanted to write posts based off of this theme.

Anyway, if you didn’t know this already, the story of the Nutcracker was originally written in 1816 by a German writer named E.T.A. Hoffmann. The story was originally titled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and was  a darker, creepier tale then the one embodied on stage during the ballet. By the 1850s, a man named Alexander Dumas revised the original Nutcracker tale, and cheered it up to be a happier, more magical story.

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The cheerier version of the story is what inspired Marius Petipa to choreograph the first Nutcracker ballet in 1892 (he also choreographed La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty). When Petipa became sick while setting the piece, he handed over the choreographic resonsibilities to Lev Ivanov. Petipa and Ivanov partnered with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who composed the score for the show. The musical score was a large part of the ballet’s original success.

The ballet didn’t make it to the U.S.A. until 1940 when the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo toured to America and brought the Nutcracker with them. By 1954, George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet choreographed the Nutcracker on his company and first performed it in February of that year. Balanchine is credited as being the first choregographer to recognize the holiday appeal of the Nutcracker ballet, and in 1955, the New York City Ballet performed the Nutcracker in December. Since then, the Nutcracker has been a holiday classic for dance and ballet companies everywhere.

It is crazy to think the Nutcracker was originally written in the beginning of the 1800s, and now in 2017 companies are still performing this work countless times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t think E.T.A. Hoffmann ever expected his creepy story to EVER gain as much popularity as it has, but it is incredible how this century old story is brought to life every year to celebrate Christmas! It is such a deep part of American holiday culture, and it all began with a story written 201 years ago!

I hope you enjoyed this piece of dance history, and tune in for more of my Nutcracker related posts! Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

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Nutcracker Week – Sugar Plum Fun Palette Review

Hi everyone! It is OFFICIALLY Nutcracker season, and since my Nutcracker performances are this week, expect some dance-related posts! I am so excited to be dancing in my Nutcracker, and I cannot wait to take photos in my costumes and share some Nutcracker history with all of you! Nonetheless, I figured I would start this week by sharing my review of my Sugar Plum Fun palette from TooFaced and HSN.

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If you have no idea what this set is, please refer to my first post (TooFaced SugarPlum Fairy Makeup Set) to get an idea of what this set is and where to buy it. I was so excited for this set, and I am sure y’all are wondering if it lived up to the hype. This set included the Sugar Plum Fun palette, a full-sized 24-hour Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer, a full-sized Better than Sex Mascara, and a full-size Lip Creme in the shade Sugar Fairy.

Of course the packaging is to die for with the foiled writing and the beautiful fairy design! Upon opening the package, I was met with the palette and the three full-sized extras! I took out the palette and immediately looked at the back to the cute description on the back of the palette. Click the images to enlarge them and read what it says.

Inside of the palette I found the beautiful decor around the large mirror (which is amazing!). Then there are four quadrants of different eyeshadows that are curated to be worn together! The colors are pretty neutral minus a few glitters and the dark plum color. I swatched all of the colors below without using the 24-hour Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer that came with the set. I was disappointed that a lot of the pretty matte shades are so powdery that without a primer they are almost not noticeable to the eye. The first image includes the top two rows, and the second image includes the last two.

Most of these eyeshadows are better applied wet and with a great eyeshadow primer or base on. I have found my favorite shades to be Metal Petal, Tutus and Tiaras, and Magic Fairy. They are the ones I reach for the most, and they give a better color payoff then some of the other shades. The 24-hour Eyeshadow Primer is good, but it doesn’t work as well as I hoped. I’ve found drug store eyeshadow primers to work just as well, if not better, than this one. But I will end up using the whole product because I am always using eyeshadow primer.

The matte lip creme in Sugar Fairy has to be the biggest disappointment in this set. I know with gift sets companies like to keep the color scheme neutral, however, this set is Nutcracker themed. And in the Nutcracker, there is no “Sugar Fairy”, the character is the “Sugar PLUM Fairy”. This formula for the lipstick does not sit well with the texture of my lips. Instead of applying smooth, it applies patchy and doesn’t make one cohesive color. It is also so creamy it smudges super easily. I wish they included a PLUM shade in a matte or semi-matte finish because it would make more sense with the set theme (**cough cough SUGAR PLUM cough cough**), and because the darker color is better for winter. This color is nice, but for something this light, the formula falls apart on my actual mouth. I am going to try to apply this lipstick using different lip primers and techniques and see if anything else works. But straight on the mouth, this lipstick is not great.

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As a whole, I would give this set a 3 out of 5 star rating (0 being the worst and 5 being the best). It is ok for a gift set, and for the price (I paid their special doorbuster price of $49 plus free shipping) it is definitely worth buying and checking out for yourself. Some of the shadows require a bit finessing to get them to apply evenly and smooth, and the lipstick may work better with your lip texture than it does with mine.

Nonetheless, if you’re a sucker for packaging and you love dance/ballet/theNutcracker you will be over-joyed to receive this set. It is so fun, and is very festive for the holiday season. This set is also a wonderful gift idea for the beauty-lover in your life, or for someone who is just starting to play with makeup and eyeshadow who wants a neutral set to experiment with. I will continue to play with it, and definitely use it for my Nutcracker performances this weekend! ❤ I will be posting looks and Nutcracker photos on my Instagram, so make sure to follow me @julias_leaps_of_faith!

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth review and have fun playing with your holiday makeup!

Until next time, Happy Nutcracker season!

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TooFaced SugarPlum Fairy Makeup Set

OMG YOU GUYS! THIS IS THE BEST HOLIDAY PALETTE RELEASE EVER!!!

As we all know, each year TooFaced comes out with a gift set that is their special gift set for the holiday season! Most years the gift sets are available to buy via Home Shopping Network (HSN) and specialty suppliers like Ulta and Sephora. Well this year – TooFaced created the cutest holiday gift set that is specific only to HSN! On the release day, November 2nd, I flipped on the HSN to see what the TooFaced special deal was. And the deal of the day happened to be the TooFaced holiday set!

This year, the set is inspired by the Nutcracker!! Specifically, the Sugar Plum Fairy! This set includes the Sugar Plum Fun palette, which has shades with names inspired by the ballet/land of sweets! Not only does it include this special edition and ADORABLE palette, it includes 3 full-sized extras! Here’s what you get!

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  1.  Sugar Plum Fun Eyeshadow Palette
  2. Full-size Better than Sex Mascara
  3.  Full-size 24-hour Shadow Insurance Eyelid Primer
  4.  Full-size La Creme Color Drenched Lipstick – Sugar Fairy (warm peachy nude)

Because the 2nd was it’s launch day with HSN, the price was $49 with FREE SHIPPING!! The deal was so amazing, and because I am dancing in my first Nutcracker ever this year, I decided to buy it for myself to celebrate all of my hard work! The day of the launch, HSN also had a 4 payment flex-pay option to pay $12.25 a month for four months for the set. So with tax and the flex pay, I spent about $15 and change to get this home to me so I can play with it! I AM SO EXCITED TO GET THIS IN THE MAIL THIS WEEK!

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I cannot forget to mention the adorable packaging! The gift box and palette have this adorable Supar Plum Fairy ballerina on it, and inside the mirror is bordered by a stage curtain, a Nutcracker, and another fairy.  Tell me your inner dance child is not screaming!! The shades look perfect for everyday wear, and it will be nice to have a neutral palette to work with since most palettes I own have really warm red and orange color schemes.

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After the launch day, this set increased in price to $60, and is still available for purchase! The HSN website says that this set is worth over $115, so $60 for everything you get is still an amazing deal! Again, this is an HSN exclusive, so you can only order it on HSN.com! If you want to purchase it, you can do so at this www.hsn.com/products/too-faced-hsn-exclusive-sugar-plum-fun-makeup. (This is not an affiliate link!).

I really hope you all can get your hands on this amazing holiday exclusive like me! If you also ordered it please let me know so we can obssess over it together!

Did you order this palette? Are you going to? What is on your holiday makeup wishlist?

xoxo Happy Nutcracker Season!! ❤

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