Monday, November 24, 2014

Hanging up her Pointe Shoes........

16 years of wearing leotards, pink tights and ballet sippers.........
and she's done.  Well, pretty much.
Yes, my Ballerina Girl is moving on.
And guess what?
She couldn't be happier.  (Now mama.......that's another story.)  LOL
To many this will come as a BIG surprise.
To others.......not so surprising.
For those of you who do not know Taylor personally, 
 let me paint a picture here........
She was always a little girly girl.........
in love with Barbies, Fairytales, Princesses and all things pink.

But even more, she loved Ballerinas.
She saw the Nutcracker when she was 3 and all she could ever
say was that someday she wanted to dance the role of Clara in the Nutcracker.
She wanted to be a Ballerina.
  (or Bannerina as she called it:)
She danced non-stop all through high school, 
often making sacrifices most teenagers
would never make.  But she loved what she was doing.
She was dedicated and focused.  
As time went on and she learned more about the world of Ballet Companies,
she asked us to let her go away for a year or so just to
see if she liked that life........
to see if she wanted to keep putting her body through
the daily grind.........
to see if she wanted to constantly compete/audition for 
even the most basic of roles.
We decided that if she was offered the chance, she could give it a try.

She accepted an offer from Joffrey Ballet to train for the year in Chicago.
She also has/had an offer on the table from Nashville Ballet II for this year.
Many people do not know any of this because she is not one to talk about herself.
We often receive questions as to what she is up to and it is awesome
to know so many care!
However, we have also heard a lot of misinformation
 about my sweet girl, which is unfortunate.
So here I am, MamaBear, setting the record straight.
Because she DESERVES that.
And in the process, I get to write one last ballet post.
(Please forgive me for all the pictures, but I couldn't resist:)
She has worked hard and lived her young life with integrity, morals and values intact.
Like everyone, she's made a few honest mistakes.
But she has been and always will be a wonderful role model for younger girls.
She has simply made a decision that she feels is best for her.
And after all, it IS her decision, right?
She still lives to make others happy.......and if you could meet her and see 
her shining light for yourself, you would all understand.
You would also understand that to see this girl unhappy is heartbreaking.
To see her smile NOT shine so bright is the saddest thing ever.
To hear that she is not enjoying the whole routine,
To hear her say that there are so many things she wants to do in life
and to hear her question why she is expected to only focus on this ONE thing
makes you realize that she has far more GIFTS to offer, in addition to
 the gift of being a beautiful ballerina.
(as her family, we knew that......... but maybe we needed a little reminder:)
This girl loves to laugh.
As I said, she loves making people happy.
Performing, in some capacity, is in her blood and still burns brightly.
She absolutely adores ballet and always will.
Even more, she adores the school and the people that helped her get so far, 
Naples Academy of Ballet.
If they ever need anything from her, she will be their biggest supporter.
She had opportunities to dance roles with Naples Ballet 
that many professionals never see if they do not reach the upper levels in a company.
She is my Soldier, Harlequin, Spanish Dancer, Snowflake, Snow Queen, Dew Drop, Sugarplum Fairy and her dream.......Clara.
She's been gracefully twirled and lifted into the air by

She has also been Swanilda......the lead in Coppelia, a Cat, Peter in Peter and the Wolf, 
Peter in Peter Pan and the 
LILAC FAIRY in Sleeping Beauty.
And even more, if I say so myself.
(Forgive me for bragging, but I'm her Mama...I'm supposed to:)
She knows what it's like to dance through the pain........
those ballerinas on their a steep price, trust me.
She has danced through nerves and wardrobe malfunctions.
The show goes on, you know.........with a SMILE:)

Because of this, she can confidently say that she has danced the roles she dreamed of
for the place that was her second home, Naples Ballet,
 and hopefully made many in the
audience smile.

Also, we will forever be grateful to and supporters of Nashville Ballet.  
Besides being in a southern, countrified cool city, the people there and the company are amazing and understand the pressures these young dancers face! 
(In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find my country girl living in Nashville someday!)

The self-discipline, the life skills and the doors that have been opened
 for her already, because of ballet, are incredible.
The friends she has made........priceless!
Because of ballet, she has had the opportunity to live in Chicago for a year, 
in a high rise downtown apartment. (lucky:)
She has spent summers training in Alabama (Roll Tide:) with the American Ballet Theater,
Ohio with Ballet Met, Maine with Bossov Ballet,
 Boston with Boston Ballet, Chicago with Joffrey Ballet
and in various places around Florida, including Naples Ballet and her first real training grounds with Ballet Florida in W. Palm Beach.
She has danced for Opera Naples and many community events.
Taylor even spent a few years modeling ballet costumes and poses for
a local artist/art teacher.
Yes, she's already lived an interesting life.........
and it's only just beginning:)

What's next for my Sugarplum?
 (ahem.....this will always be her nickname around here:)
well, that and Taylorina Ballerina.  heeheehee
Let's just say that whatever it is, it won't be ordinary.
She has a way of finding and doing interesting things.
Within a week of being home she landed a job at Island Company
( on 3rd St in Naples.)
After only a few months, she was approached by them to train for a promotion.
However, her happy, smiling face was noticed by somone one night and she was offered
 a wonderful position with Michael Kors at Waterside shops.
(as in "project runway" Michael Kors:)
She is now working there and absolutely loves it!
(And she may be meeting Mr. Kors himself very soon, so she is SUPER excited:)
She has also had other offers but that might be considered bragging.......
and we don't do that, right?;)

She still wants to perform in some way, shape or form.
Most definitely!
Dancing, Acting or (Disney Princess maybe????)
In fact, she is teaching ballet to young girls at the Boys and Girls Club of Naples,
on behalf of her school,  Naples Academy of Ballet.
Taylorina the ballet teacher!!!
Teaching is much harder than one might think and she has a lot to learn,
but she LOVES it!
Taylor is taking online courses through the University of Central Florida.
She has something very cool in mind and is soooooooo excited about it.
(Hint:  She just may be Naples, Florida next
 Primo.........or should I say "Prima" Wedding and Event Coordinator
........with a twist;)
That's all I'll say for now!
And, that is just one of the ideas floating around here.
One thing that's for sure, this girl WILL land on her feet.
Or her TOES!   (lol.......a little ballet humor;)

Everyone in our lives has been SO supportive and encouraging
to her through the years.
 It may be her decision and her life,
but she is well aware that she has many people to thank.
So thank you!!!!!!!!!
And stay tuned.
If as they say, the best is yet to come, it should be pretty awesome:)
To all young ballerinas out there, if this is what you love, go for it!
Taylor will be your biggest cheerleader!
She loves passing on little tips she has learned along the way.
But really go for it, because that is what is needed.
Ballet has to be your LIFE, not just a small part of it.
At least at the beginning of your career.
She will never regret these years
and is happy she got the chance to go away to train.
Just because she has other plans for life and is over the whole effort to 
get noticed and all that, it doesn't mean ballet isn't a beautiful life for some.
That's probably why she wants to keep it in her life.

                            Well, I guess that's it!
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
If you're around Waterside Shops in Naples, Fl,
stop in Michael Kors store
 and say Hi to Taylor.
She gets SO excited when someone she knows comes in:)
Or look for her in ballet class.
(She's looking forward to taking class after this longer than anticipated break:)
Taylorina/'ll always be our star.
BRAVA, beautiful girl.
You did yourself proud:)  And you made all of us proud too:)
Once a ballerina, always a ballerina!

A.K.A proud mama

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Barn wood Inspiration...or Mom, This is Your Fault!

So, is this post about barnwood or am I upset with my mom?
Never fear........i'm not fighting with mamabear. new obsession is a tiny bit her fault.
And my dad's.
Yep.......that wonderful man!
You see, I really like the direction my house/decor is going.
Whites, creams, rustic woods and signs, metallic, burlap, western.
Hahahaha........yes, it's ALL going on in here:)
I think I'm rebelling against living in Florida and the HOT weather we get
9 months out of the year. 

Anyway, I realized what is missing in my house.
A barnwood accent wall!
And that is exactly what my mom has in her family room.
(Her colors are darker and warmer than mine though)
For me, in my very light house, that wall would be awesome!  
The contrast is really popular and very fresh, too.
Now if only I could get wooden beams for the ceiling.
Oh wait.......she has those too.
From old railroad ties!

I mean, just look at some of these rooms.
Accent walls, tables stairs, beams, shelves, beds........
you name it, it's happening right now!
But I have no way to do this, so I use accent pieces.
Better than nothing............
unless my mom lets me do a makeover in her room.
it wouldn't take could be AWESOME!
Okay, I'll stop.

But before I do,
look at some of these wall hangings made from barnwood.
LOVE them!
United states barnwood cut out source: All things thrifty
"purpose" sign, upper left corner: lissalaneous thoughts

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 Tips for a Perfectly Made Bed!

I love the way hotel beds are made.
Sometimes they may not be the color or style I love,
but the overall effect is so neat and crisp.
So when I stumbled across these tips from ABC.COM,
I combined them with a few I knew from my nursing days
and had to pass them on.
Here are the five steps for turning your ho-hum bed into one worthy of a five-star hotel........
1.   Keep it White. Or, as white as you can.  
Every bedding store sells beautiful, colorful bedding. 
And while that's fine, if you truly want your bed to resemble that of a hotel, you need to keep it white. Think about it:  Every fancy hotel you've been to has more likely
 than not had all, or mostly, white bedding. The good news is that by using white bedding,
 you may not need to buy anything new, 
at least when it comes to pillowcases and sheets. You may have them around the house. 
 Just get them out of storage and wash/bleach for a crisp whiteness. 
 Hotels typically use a sheet – not a blanket or duvet – as the top layer of bedding. 
But, if you want to add a pop of color or a personal touch, add a coverlet to the bottom of the bed or a few colorful pillows.

2.  Layer it Like a "Bed Sandwich".
 First comes the bottom, fitted sheet.
 Next, the top sheet. If you'll be using another top sheet as the top layer, leave some extra at the top of this sheet to fold over the layer that comes in between. That's the down or down alternative comforter. This is worth buying if you don't have one; it gives your bed a fluffy quality.  You can use a duvet cover or another top sheet as the top layer.
Bonus: If you already have a featherbed, add it as the bottom layer. If not, consider buying one, they come in a range of prices.  
(This also comes minus the feathers if you prefer.....I do.)
So far we have a featherbed, a fitted sheet, a top sheet, a down comforter, a second top sheet and a coverlet at the bottom for that pop of color.

3.  Pillow Protectors!   Inexpensive and durable, pillow protectors should go on every one of yours. They not only extend the life of your pillow by protecting it from the oils on our heads that can stain over time, but they give pillows a smooth look under your pillowcases.
You may need a few more pillows for your bed makeover......ones that will hold their shape more than anything.  Pillows you put your head on should lay flat, and all decorative pillows should "stand up," according to one expert.  You may end up with about 8 pillows by the time you are done but that is a personal choice.

4.  Tuck, Tuck, Tuck!!!  Take a look at the bed the next time you check into a hotel. Not only are the corners of the bed garments tucked in, but so is everything else, right down to the edges of the pillow cases. No loose ends translates to a tailored, polished look so common at luxury hotels. (P.S. In nursing school we learned to "miter" the corners. It gives a super neat appearance.)

5. Iron your sheets.  
Okay...this is NOT my idea.  Yuck.  Ironing.   
 They say you only need to iron the top layer of bedding.
Hotel maids in 5 star resorts iron it on the bed instead of struggling with a big top sheet or duvet on an ironing board, and that definitely makes it easier. 
Use starch to make the bed look crisp.

That's it!  
Now I won't be doing all this but you may be the one to try:)
Me.......I love a perfectly rumpled, slept in bed!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Style 101.......25 Top Tips!

So here I go again, passing on style tips that
I could use myself!  Oh well...let's figure this out together:)
~Wear scoop or v-neck tops to frame the face and "open you up"; few of us look our best in crew neck.  
~Wear blouses with camisoles, and leave the first 2 to 3 buttons open to reveal a small triangle of skin.  Popping your collar a tiny bit (keyword: tiny) frames your face and elongates your neck
~If you want to wear a turtleneck and can pull it off, go for it.  But avoid mock turtlenecks…..they tend to shorten your neck
~If you are very petite, stay away from large cowl necks or too many ruffles that overwhelm you
~Length of tops is important.  Not too short (you need enough to "scrunch" around your hips, reinforcing a smaller waistline); not too long (you don't need to frame the bum)
~Avoid baby doll tops unless you are in fact a baby doll or you are pregnant
~Avoid pockets on your tops…….specifically pockets that are very small or very large

~To balance the hips, choose a boot cut pant, narrow through the hip and thigh, slightly flared from the knee down.  This cut reinforces an hourglass shape.  (However, if you want to downplay too much hourglass, do the opposite)
~Skinny pants create an inverted triangle.  Wear only if the area you want to emphasize is your best area.
* * * *Pants that are cuffed pull the eye down and shorten the legs. Pleated pants add bulk around your stomach
~Cargo pants add bulk to the worst possible spots - your hips and thighs.  Avoid these like the plague.   (Hey….I’d give anything to wear a cute pair but no supermodels here so we avoid them:)
~Capris shorten the legs and widen the ankles. Choose a length more akin to a peddle pusher that hits right at the ankle (think Audrey Hepburn)  
~Skirts look best at or just above the knee.  Choose a pencil if you are comfortable with your waistline.  A-line and gored skirts are great for pear and apple shapes
~Wear long skirts (as in below the calf) with boots and make sure they're cut on the bias so they don't look frumpy

~Supposedly, shoes with pointy toes, cut-away arches and those cut low at the toe are the most.  flattering because they extend the long vertical line of your legs (I disagree…they look like wearable boats!)  
~Avoid chunky heels, t-straps and ankle straps as they visually cut off the leg. (Only if this is a concern)
~Throw away all your man clogs.  
~Choose well-made shoes in good materials - you are taking care of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back if you do
~No matter the color of dress/skirt you are wearing, nude pumps are the most flattering and elongating.  Watch Miss America sometime.  

~Pair black with other neutrals (as opposed to primary colors) - white, camel, grey, brown, etc. for a more sophisticated look.  Pair with bright primaries if you have the coloring.
~Pair primary colors (pink, blue, green, yellow, etc.) with white or off-white for a fresher look
~As for khaki pants and shorts - this is the color of school uniforms and camp counselors, and restaurant hosts.  If the shoe fits……. hehehe
~Pattern is tricky.  Look at the best dressed women - they most often dress in solids and add interest with their accessories.  I know trends sometimes show patterns but proceed with caution.  They are tricky…….
~Choose statement jewelry instead of a bunch of teensy pieces. 

* * * *Most of all, wear what you love in the color you love, regardless of the "latest" trends.  Trust your instincts.  You need to be comfortable, happy and functional.  These are just SUGGESTIONS...not law:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crazy for Cinnamon...Cinnamon Cookies, Cinnamon Drinks, Cinnamon Beauty........

Hey there,
Nothing says Fall like Cinnamon.......and Apples.......and Pumpkins!
But for today it's all about Cinnamon.
Let's get to it........
Cinnamon Bun Pops!!!
Nothing too difficult here...just cook mini cinnamon rolls on a stick
 and have the frosting or glaze available to dip the pops in.
Delicious AND Cute!
 Don't feel like cooking?
How about a yummy Cinnamon......or "Cinnabon" Room Spray?
I don't know.......this would make me realllllly hungry:)
Okay, How about a Cinnamon Vanilla Shake?
Oh, I had a recipe to share but it was so complicated.......
all you need to do is mix milk, vanilla ice cream and cinnamon
 in a blender and VOILA!)
(Add Pumpkin for a Pumpkin Shake!
Hmmmmmm.........what next.
Well, Cinnamon Roll Caramel Popcorn, that's what!
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
8 cups popcorn
Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon and salt. Without stirring, bring to a boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda.
In a large bowl, combine popcorn and brown sugar mixture until evenly coated.
Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Place into oven and bake for 45 minutes, stirring in 15 minute intervals. 
Let cool completely before serving.

Next up.......Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies
Click here for the link: Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookie

More Yum.......Cinnamon Roll Cookie Bars!
Cinnamon Roll Cookie Bars
1 (15.25 oz) box Vanilla Cake Mix
1 (4 serving) box Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
Cinnamon Sugar to garnish
3 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°
Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
In large bowl combine all ingredients for the bars. Stir until there are no lumps.
Spread into prepared baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes until edges are golden.
Let cool completely before frosting.
In mixing bowl beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Spread on cooled bars.
If desired sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top for garnish
Cut into squares when ready to serve.

Well, if you like to eat it, why not wear it? lol

And here is a great link for some Vanilla Pumpkin Cinnamon Scrub:

These Cinnamon Roll Candles are truly IRRESISTIBLE
And you can find them at : The Irresistible Cookie Jar Candle Co.

And last but not least,
Cinnabon Candy Canes, just in time for the Holidays!!!
Well, there you have it!
Enough Cinnamon for you?
Hope y'all enjoyed this!

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