Congratulations to the Principal!!!

Today has been a great day in the world of dance. Misty Copeland has been named principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater.

I was able to meet Misty at my dance studio last year. She is so cool! I remember her telling us about all of the hard work and challenges of being a soloist. When she came to our studio, she was the third African-American soloist in the history of the American Ballet Theater. She also talked about her goal of being a principal dancer.  And now, she is the first African-American principal dancer in the 75 year history of the American Ballet Theater!  You can read about our meeting here. I also wrote about my dream to be like Misty one day here. Is it obvious I like her? Well I do. She’s one of my biggest inspirations. Ballet is the constant pursuit of perfection and Misty inspires me to strive to get better everyday….

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Here is one of the famous commercials she has done….

And yes, I still have her autographed books…Life in Motion Signautres

This Ain’t My Grandma’s Popcorn or Granola for that Matter

Today I’m going to continue blogging about the healthy snacks I recently bought…….

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Popcorn
According to the Encyclopedia Popcornica, people have been eating popcorn for more than 4,000 years. That’s a long time. Since then, people have eaten popcorn and used it for decorations. The Aztecs used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods. In the United States families use popcorn to decorate Christmas trees.  Each year Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn. So is it healthy? That depends on what kind you eat. There are so many varieties to choose from: air popped, kettle, stove top, bagged, boxed and of course microwave. I’m sure I might be missing a variety or two.

Skinny Pop Bagged Popcorn
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Skinny Pop is low fat, gluten free, non GMO, nothing artificial, and has less than 50 calories per cup.  There are four flavors: original, black pepper, naturally sweet, and white cheddar. I really like the white cheddar.

Skinny Girl Microwave Popcorn
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Skinny Girl Popcorn was created by Bethany Frankel (she’s on one of those real housewives shows) in a partnership with Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn company. There are two microwave flavors: Butter & Sea Salt and Lime & Sea Salt. It’s amazing that the microwave popcorn has less total fat (6 grams in 6 cups) than the bagged popcorn (18 grams of total fat in 7 cups). But the amount of sodium in the microwave popcorn is 400 mg compared to 180 mg in the bagged popcorn. I’ve only tasted the Butter & Sea Salt flavor.  I don’t like the Skinny Girl as much as the Skinny Pop.  

Veggie Snacks
I also bought Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws and Chips. Both varieties of Garden Veggies contain 30% less fat than most potato chips. I love, love, love the veggie straws. I’m not really a big potato chip person like my brother is. I gave him some veggie chips to try and he thought they were ok. I left the room, and when I got back I discovered he had eaten half the bag! Like I said, he’ll eat any kind of chip and like them.

Granola
Granola is generally composed of whole grains such as rolled oats and puffed rice, nuts, and honey. It was invented in the early 20th century. According to Statista, granola bar brand sales in the United States top more than 1 billion dollars. That’s alot of bars!

KIND Granola Bars
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KIND snacks website message is “There’s healthy. There’s tasty. Then there’s healthy and tasty. At KIND®, we believe you deserve both—we call it our brAND philosophy.” So I gave the vanilla blueberry bars a try. They were really, really good. On top of that, they are gluten free, non GMO, and only contain ingredients you can pronounce. I explored their site and found more than 20 varieties of bars. Kellogg’s and Quaker both have bars. Either are great for a grab and go snack. But I’ll be honest, I prefer the KIND bars. I’m going to try more flavors.

Cracker Jack’D Snack Mix
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The other day, my grandma asked what was I eating. I told her it was a new Cracker Jack’D snack mix. She asked “where’s the box, where’s the prize?” I was confused. Then she told me that back in her day, the only Cracker Jack’s they had were caramel covered popcorn with peanuts and it came in a box with a prize.  I told her they still sell that, but now they also have healthy snacks. I prefer the double chocolate flavored Cracker Jack’D. It has 7 grams of protein per serving, which helps with energy before a long dance class. Well, these are all my snacks so far. Since I’m always ready to try new ones, send me a comment about your favorite healthy snack. I’d like to try it.

Healthy Snacking My Way

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A while back, I blogged about the Graze Boxes that my mom and I order.  Today I’m going to talk about healthy snacking my way. There are so many options when it comes to healthy snacking.  I took a picture of my latest purchases.  As a dancer, I want to eat in the healthiest way possible without sacrificing flavor.  For me, learning to do so has been a journey. I love sweets and candy and often find them hard to resist!  I’m still eating from graze boxes, but I’m also looking for better variety.  There are so many choices and a lot of athletes have their favorites.  My sister’s boyfriend plays a lot of soccer. He recently bought me some pistachio trail mix, sweet potato tortilla chips, baked vegetable crisps and coconut water.  He loves coconut water and he said it gives him a change from regular energy drinks.  The coconut water tasted ok, but I didn’t love it.  The pistachio trail mix was pretty good and I liked the sweet potato chips. They had good flavor.

Gluten Free Chips and Crisps

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So the crisps, chips and trail mix I tried are all gluten free. So what does gluten free mean? Protein gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. People with Celiac Disease can’t eat gluten. More than two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications from Celiac Disease.  Although I’m not allergic to gluten, these snacks are very healthy. Pistachio Trail Mix is  from 180snacks; Sweet Potato chips are from Food Should Taste Good; and Baked Vegetable Crisps are from Good Natured Selects.

Greek Yogurt

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Greek yogurt is one of the biggest health food sellers in the United States.  According to the website Statista, Greek yogurt sales have increased from 4% of the US market in 2008 to more than 52% of the US Market in 2014. Greek yogurt is different from traditional yogurt because it’s been strained to remove most of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar. This gives the Greek yogurt its thick consistency. So compared to regular yogurt, Greek has more protein and less sugar.   So I bought two popular brands of Greek yogurt, Chobani and Oikos.  I tried both Greek yogurt brands with fruit already in them (pineapple and peach).  They were pretty good. Then I bought plain yogurt made by each brand.  Whether it be Chobani or Oikos, eating the plain yogurt is definitely an acquired taste.  So I decided to add some honey to help with the taste.  It sweetened it a bit. I’m going to try adding my own fruit to the plain yogurt as well. Since I love mango, I’ll start there!

Fruit

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Sometimes, fresh fruit and dried fruit is an easy snack that I like to grab on the go.  Apples, plums, and of course my favorite mango are easy to clean and eat. Until next time, I’ll talk about popcorn and granola bars.

Sew I Keep Sewing

Today I am sewing the ribbon on my pointe shoes. I didn’t realize how long it would take! My grandmother offered to sew the ribbons but I said I have to learn how to do it myself.   I did some more research about pointe shoes and learned a few more things….. Some dancers go through new pointe shoes almost every time they dance! Of course this happens when dancers are performing or dancing for hours.  Some dance companies spend thousands of dollars buying pointe shoes and the really big companies have staff that custom sew pointe shoes for their dancers. Pointe shoes are very delicate and made of silk and other materials. According to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the tip of a pointe shoe is a rigid box made of densely packed layers of fabric, cardboard and/or paper hardened by glue.  Just think, all my weight on just that? That’s why my teacher had me buy cushions and lambs wool to protect my toes!

As I said before pointe shoes have to fit as tightly as possible, while still being comfortable.  According to Pointeperfect.com, “pointe fitting is serious business” and I believe it! I urge you to go explore the site created by Lindsay. It has a lot of useful information.  I got the graphic below from her site.

Believe it or not, pointe shoe fit can have a true impact on the future of a pointe student. Are you in your best shoe?

As I stated earlier, I spent time sewing on the ribbon.

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It took longer than expected, but I did it! I also used a thimble. It made pushing the needle thru the shoe easier.
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I have to take them to class on Monday so my teacher can help with the final step, cutting the ribbon and lacing them up. But in the meantime, I slipped them on, like when you try on your new clothes before you wear them out …….

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And Sew It Begins

I have been in ballet at my new studio for about a year. Like I said, I am going to stop calling it my new studio because it’s not new any more. But what is new is now I have pointe shoes! I am super excited to begin dancing in pointe shoes. If you look at my Pinterest page you’ll see some really great pointe shoes like this one or this one. There are lots of websites, blogs and you tube videos on the internet about how to sew pointe shoes. Some of the tutorials are very detailed and some are not. My teacher helped me pick the area of my shoes that I am supposed to sew, but it’s up to me to get the ribbon and elastic in place.

I did some research and found that in 1681, women began to dance ballet. The modern pointe shoe is attributed to a Russian Prima Ballerina from the 20th century named Anna Pavlova. Ballerina was once a rank given only to the most exceptional female soloists. In opera, the informal equivalent is diva, which means a distinguished singer. There are two types of ballerinas, prima ballerina assoluta and prima ballerina.  To be recognized as a prima ballerina assoluta is a rare honor and it is reserved for exceptional dancers. The title is so rare that since 1894, there have only been 12 dancers named prima ballerina assoluta!  The second highest title given to dancers is the prima ballerina. There have been about 132 women named as prima ballerinas.  I will talk more about ballerinas in a future blog.  Now, on to the sewing……….

The Materials

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A needle, thread, elastic, ribbon, lambs wool and cushions.

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Cut the ribbon and elastic.

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Sew the elastic into the back of the shoes.

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You have to sew the elastic on both sides of each shoe.

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 Now the shoes are ready for the ribbon…..

Well, it took me longer than I thought it would! My teacher said with practice I will be able to sew both shoes with elastic and ribbon in less than 30 minutes.  Tomorrow, I’ll sew the ribbon and tell you more interesting facts about pointe shoes!