compliments are nice

jadeoak.com

Isn’t it amazing how a compliment can just brighten your whole day? A couple weeks ago at ballet class, a girl who was probably around 15 approached me after class and said “Do you go here? You’re so good!” I take classes at a college in Pittsburgh that has a lot of dancers and performing arts students. So this wasn’t just a compliment this was a wonderful double whammy compliment of telling me I look young enough to be in college and that I’m not a horrible dancer. I told her, “Umm no… I’m 32. I’ve been out of college for a long time but thank you!”

I realize that high school girls have no idea what age people look but this compliment totally made my day. I tend to not take compliments easily and make a sarcastic or self-deprecating comment. But I accepted this compliment and let it brighten my day. (Plus I told her that she looks great too and ballet takes lots of practice.)

This short little encounter reminded me of two important things I need to remember more often:

1. Compliments are nice. They have the power to make us feel so good. I love that feeling so I want to give that to others too. I can be standoffish but I’m trying to be more outgoing with my compliments to others – my loved ones, friends, co-workers and total strangers. Ever have a girl in the bathroom tell you that she loves your bag? Or a boss tells you that your work is great? Or your husband tells you that your pork tenderloin is the best? (That last one is a little specific ha.) Well, any of those compliments feel great so we all need to spread the love! (Which is one thing I love about blogging – for the most part, we bloggers love to build each other up!)

2. It’s good to accept compliments graciously. As I said, I can brush off compliments or make a joke. But that’s not helpful to either me or the other person. It’s best to just say “Thanks – that’s so nice of you! You’re right – I am pretty damn wonderful!” Maybe cut out that last part, but you get what I’m saying.

So my challenge to you this week – compliment people! Make it a point to say something nice to a stranger and brighten his/her day. It’ll make you both feel better.

K, cheesy post over. My regularly scheduled sarcasm will be back soon I promise.

life in motion by misty copeland review

life in motion

I just read Misty Copeland’s book, Life in Motion. If you don’t already know, Misty is the first black soloist at the prestigious American Ballet Theater in 20 years. I knew a little about Misty’s background but it was great to read more about her life.

Misty grew up in a lower class family with 5 siblings. Her mother remarried 4 times and moved the kids around a lot. At one point, the family was even living in a motel room with the kids sleeping on the floor. During all this turmoil, at age 13, Misty discovered ballet classes at the local Boys and Girls Club. She found great mentors who helped her with great opportunities. It takes most dancers years and years to starting dancing en pointe (in pointe or toe shoes), but Misty starting pointe just a few months after beginning ballet.

It was so inspiring to read a story of this underprivileged girl who sorta accidentally discovered that she was a ballet prodigy. The story is amazing on all these levels, but the fact that Misty broke all the molds of the typical white-washed ballet world is another feat in itself. Plus, after she was hired by ABT, her body changed from the typical long lean ballerina lines into a curvier, bustier and more muscular type. Despite her not fitting the mold of professional dancers (both with her skin color and her body type), she has been super successful. She’s also taken ballet mainstream by appearing on tour with Prince and in ads for Diet Dr Pepper and Under Armour. Oh and guest judging on my fave show So You Think You Can Dance. I don’t know if that’s “mainstream” but it was awesome.

As you may or may not know, I started dancing ballet when I was 24 years old, which is obviously super late in life. It’s a hobby for me, so that’s ok, but I definitely initially felt intimidated. It was something I always wanted to try so I kept going to class and fell in love with it. Knowing how crazy difficult it is gives me even more love for it and appreciation for dancers like Misty who are amazing at it. If you’re a ballet lover, you’ll love this book. Or if you just like stories of people overcoming their circumstances, I would recommend this book. It’s a fast read and will leave you feeling inspired!

Have you read Misty’s book? Thoughts? Or what have you been reading lately?

sweating for the wedding

workout

Holy crap my wedding is about 4 months away. Among the millions of things I need to do, one thing is to be in the best shape possible. Now I know I’m not overweight or anything, but I just want to look my very best. So here are a few things I’ve been doing lately, in case any of you are also “sweating for the wedding” or just trying to get into good summer shape.

Ballet

I’m continuing with my ballet classes 1-2 times per week. The classes are 90 minutes and a good mix of cardio and toning. It gives me a good sweat and is a great workout. I used to also take separate classes in pointe shoes, but instead I am just taking my regular classes in pointe shoes to get more bang for my buck. Classes aren’t cheap so saving some money is a good thing and my muscles are extra sore afterwards.

Cardio

I’m trying to diversify my workouts so I’ve been adding in some more cardio lately. 1-2 days a week I do the typical HIIT workouts (intervals) on the elliptical for about 20 minutes. Then 1-2 days a week, I have been trying to do longer consistent cardio workouts of 30-40 minutes. It’s kinda boring, but it’s a good way to change up my workouts.

Weights

I used to belong to the most amazing all women’s gym in college. It was called “New Attitudes” which is such a hilarious name. I was 20 and was the youngest and fittest person there, since it was mainly for older women who didn’t want to be at a gym with grunting dudes. But the best part about that gym was that when you started, a worker walked you through all the weight machines and made up a workout schedule for you – which machines, number of reps and size of the weights. Since starting on weight machines can be intimidating, it was a great start to me using weights since I was clueless. In the 2 years I went there, I was in the best shape and lost over 10 lbs of beer belly weight. Good stuff.

Anyways, so back in the day, I learned the importance of weight training. I’ve been lazy with weight lifting in the meantime. However, this year I’ve returned to the weight machines and am loving it. Sometimes women worry about weight training making them bulk up, but I can attest that I’ve only seen the opposite when I do weight training. I’m not a big person, so doing some weight training helps keep me lean and toned. If you’re questioning whether weight training will help you, just start right now and you won’t be disappointed.

Stretching

I do lots of stretching in ballet class, but I try to do it with my gym workouts at well. I also love the Ballet Beautiful workouts (which are ballet-inspired workouts for people who don’t do ballet) by former ballerina Mary Helen Bowers. She advocates doing stretches in between each move to help keep your muscles long and lean. Obviously ballerinas have long lines so I trust her advice. So make sure you’re stretching too.

Anyone else working on their fitness this summer? Any tips of what else I can be working on? Also any plans for the long weekend? We’re going to an out of town wedding for my friend from law school, which should be really fun. Hope that everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

how to do a ballerina bun

I never got into the sock bun trend because they just look too perfect. I prefer a more classic but kinda messy bun. I do my hair in a bun for my ballet classes, so I don’t have to worry about hair flying all over the place. But I also like the bun for whenever I’m having a lazy hair day. So here is how to do a ballerina bun!

ballerina bun - jadeoak.com

First up – all you need is a ponytail holder and some bobby pins. I have several different sizes here. You can use any size, but I think the bigger ones or the “U” shaped ones work best for buns.

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First put your hair in a ponytail – however high you want your bun to be. I usually like a higher bun. Sleeping pug optional. Next you will wrap your hair into a swirly bun shape like below.

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Next get out your bobby pins. With one hand, hold your bun in place while you use the bobby pin to poke through some hair from your bun and then turn the pin back towards your head to secure basically under where your ponytail holder is. You can see what I mean in the photo below. Go around your bun until all hair is secure. I usually use about 5-6 total bobby pins for my buns and they are very secure.

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IMG_4956 IMG_4958 IMG_4965And that’s it – you now have a classic ballerina bun! In the above photo you can see how the bobby pins are securing the bun to my head. If you want a messier bun, you can pull out a few pieces. For a neater bun, just use more bobby pins to secure any stray hairs. This is a great way to secure your hair when you’re working out, but it’s also a great weekend look too.

What’s your favorite easy hairstyle? Are you a fan of the classic bun?

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