Weekly Gratitude: Birthday Edition

I realized I haven’t done a Weekly Gratitude in quite some time now and I have SO many things to be thankful for.  Bear with me, this list could get lengthy.

I’m thankful I have a wonderful family.  Seriously, people, my fam puts up with a lot.  When I’m moody, aggitated or tired, watch out.  Hurricane Marie will bulldoze you right over. 

Cupcake charm = birthday present from Mom & Dad. Super cute next to my giraffe and seashell.

I’m thankful for mid-morning snacks.  Fruit, nuts, quinoa (?)… whatever.  It helps me get through the first 5 hours of my day and makes me smile.

My aunt's quinoa: Roasted eggplant, peppers, onions, squash... Delicious despite the crappy picture.

I’m thankful for dance.  Towards the end of college, I was completely burnt out.  I no longer wanted to go to practice, couldn’t stand the thought of running our routines “one more time” and didn’t even enjoy the sweating aspect of it anymore.  I felt like I lost a piece of myself.  After graduation, I spent my summer with NDA, and although I loved every minute of it, I felt strangely out of place.  As the year progressed, I joined DanceWorks Boston and my outlook changed.  I found my love of dance again and with it, a love for myself again.  Even this summer with NDA feels completely different than last summer and my confidence is soaring higher than ever before.  Thank you DWB and NDA; you gave me a piece of my heart back.

DanceWorks Boston, Spring 2011
NDA circa 2009

I’m thankful for my friends.  Family friends, dance friends, home friends, school friends.  I’d be so lost without you. 

Oldie but a goodie. And go figure, even at 10 years old, my mouth was never shut.

I’m thankful for my job(s).  That I do things that I like/love, that I work with great people and that I get a paycheck to pay my school loans so my parents don’t have to sell the house.  Win.

I’m thankful for exercise.  Sweat = love.  I’m especially thankful for two of my oldest friends, Lauren and Joanna, for convincing me to take a Cross-Fitt class at the gym on Tuesday afternoon.  My inner thighs and lower back STILL hurt.

I’m thankful for Weight Watchers.  6 pounds down and eating what I love? Yes, please.

I’m thankful for my boyfriend.  Words do not express this at all.  He is the kindest person I have ever met, has a heart of gold and would do anything and everything for me.  He took me out to dinner last night, gave me a beautiful gift and even indulged my desire for (more) frozen yogurt.  The whole time I was thinking that I must be the luckiest girl in the world. 

Oh hey, Boyfriend
So good to me...
I like diamonds.

I’m thankful that tomorrow is my birthday.  I’m happy, healthy and ready for 23.

What are you thankful for today? 

Good staffer, bad blogger

I had a revelation and made a big oops: I am a good staffer and a bad blogger.

If you have been reading C&W for more than a day (if this is your first visit, WELCOME!), you know that I travel during the summer with NDA (National Dance Alliance) to teach middle school and high school dance teams at camps all over the country.

Being on staff entails many things, including early mornings, late nights, complex meetings, 2-3 sessions a day, complicated decision making and above all, lots of dancing and lots of teaching.  Being prepared is essential, being unprepared is… bad.

Last Monday, I ventured 5 hours to Long Island, NY to meet up my good friend, Duke undergrad and fellow staffer, Julianne, spent the night at her house and drove 5 more hours with her the following morning to Towson, Maryland for my first big camp of the summer.

Unlike my Kansas camp, this camp was four days long (five for the staff if you include our report day), had many more teams and a much bigger staff (6 of us total.)  I love big “resident” camps because you get to work with multiple teams in four short days and getting close to your other staff members is surprisingly easy.  I think we spend more time laughing than anything else.

Check out those jazz hands. I'm a pro.
It took us about 10 times to get this picture just right. We were too busy laughing.

Nevertheless, I have been neglecting my lovely blog and I have so many things to share with you!

I got my first sponsor!  I received and e-mail the other day from a woman with a darling company in the UK (yep.. I reach that far apparently!) called Bags of Love and asked if I would like to place the link to her “Personalized Aprons” on the sidebar of my blog.  Well, of course I would!  I even figured out how to make a pretty button for the link so click on over and check it out for yourself.  I will be doing a product review for her in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned.

I have an obsession with frozen yogurt.  I mean, we knew this already but this past trip to New York/Maryland gave me the excuse to ask Julianne, “So you’re from New York and New York has frozen yogurt.  Can we go, please please pleaseeeee?”  I ended up getting froyo four times in the past week: Red Mango, 16 Handles Too (a kiosk of sorts inside of a mall), Yogoya and 16 Handles (the real one!)  Would you like to see what they looked like?

The journey through a frozen-yogurt-packed week:

Red Mango right near Jules' house. I wish I had one.

Frozen yogurt overload.  I’m so jealous of my NYC friends (especially Christine and Ali) for having this at their disposal whenever they want it.

Which brings me to a small update about how my Weight Watchers endeavors are going.  I am now 3 weeks in and down 6 pounds.  I am beginning to see a difference already and it’s really motivating me to eat well and work out.  I hope to see a bit of an increase as the weeks progress but for now, I’m happy and I’ll take it!

Oh and as a staff, we went to see Harry Potter 7.2 on Saturday night.  I proceeded to cry through the entire movie.  It was just that good.  If you haven’t yet seen it, go.  Right now.  You won’t be sorry.

Towson Rock Star Staff

  What’s coming up!!

Today: Normal work day, gym sesh, cooking dinner for the first time in FOREVER.

Wednesday: Normal work day, longer gym sesh, then boyfriend is taking me out to dinner and for some surprises for my upcoming birthday. So excited! He’s a master of surprises, even though he has a total snoop of a girlfriend.

Thursday: Normal work day, gym (or maybe some hot yoga?), repacking my giant suitcase for 2 back-t0-back camps.

Friday: Normal work day, gym, maybe festivities with the fam, bed early.. and oh yeah, my 23rd birthday.

Saturday: 8am flight toLouisville,Kentucky!!

That flight will be followed by 5 days in Louisville and 4 days in New York for two seperate resident camps.  And the last day of July?  DanceWorks Boston auditions!!!  See “Hello World” on that schedule? Yep, that’s me.

So tell me friends… what is your favorite frozen yogurt and where can I find it??

Seneca, Kansas: The Tip of the NDA Iceberg

Hi Friends!

I’m sorry I’ve been a bit MIA this past week.   As you could see from my July schedule, I spent my Independence Day traveling to Seneca, Kansas.  I had never been to Kansas before and I assumed it would be lots of fields and rolling plains and corn.

I was right.

Mmm... corn

But you know what they have in Kansas that they don’t have in Massachusetts (besides corn pickers, weird watering devices and horrifying highways where the only way you can pass is by driving in the opposite lane…) ?


Yes, my friends, frozen yogurt at it’s finest.  The fro-yo phenomenon is just barely reaching Boston, which is unfortunate.  While Pinkberry is pretty awesome, there are other chains that allow you to pour your own fro-yo into a cup (and there are a ton more flavors), load on whatever toppings you want and pay for it by the ounce.  It’s spectacular.  Such chains popping up around the country include 16 Handles, Red Mango and of course, Orange Leaf.

So after my fellow NDA staffer and Idaho native, Kira, and I drove an hour from Seneca to Manhattan (also known as “The Little Apple”), found Orange Leaf and indulged in the frozen treat.  Oh yeah – did I mention it was 100 degrees the entire time we were there and the high school gym we were dancing in wasn’t air-conditioned? So, yeah, frozen yogurt was a must at that point.

I settled for a low-fat swirl of brownie batter and chocolate chip cookie flavors topped with a ton of fresh strawberries and a few cookie dough bits.  I was in heaven.

C'mon Boston.. work with me here.

Kira and I also got to try out a cute little restaurant close to our motel on the last night of our stay.  I had the Champagne Chicken Salad which included mixed greens, grilled chicken, strawberries, dates and spiced pecans with a champagne vinagrette that I got on the side.  It was delicious and definitely filled me up.  If you ever visit Seneca, Kansas, I highly recommend “The Willows”.

The Willows in Seneca, KS. Go here.
I love salad.

The camp itself was great and the perfect way to kick off my NDA summer.  The team was fun, enthusiastic and they picked up the 5 routines we gave them really well.  I was even a little sad to leave after spending three days with them.

Kira, me and the Centralia High School Dance Team

 Coming home wasn’t as fun.  It involved a 3-hour detoured car ride back to the airport, a long delayed layover in Chicago and a 3am bed time, but eventually I got home, hit my bed hard and slept for the majority of the next day.

So what’s next?  According to my schedule, I have normal work today, a gym date with boyfriend and some packing to do before I hit the road to Long Island, NY tomorrow.  Five hours to Smithtown, a sleepover with one of my best NDA friends and an additional 5 hour drive to Towson, Maryland on Wednesday for 5 days of Resident camp fun (and maybe a late night showing of Harry Potter? I think so.)

Although I didn’t get much have any service while in Kansas, I believe I will have more connection in Maryland.  Hopefully I can update the blog as I go but there is a good chance I will be so entralled with Level 3 Kick, I might not have much time on my hands.

What’s going on in your life this week?  Any big plans?  Do you travel a lot during the summer or do you prefer to relax at home?

The Month of July & Some Mid-Year Goals

Hello July!! I’m so excited you are here; you are my favorite month and not just because of my birthday.

Here’s what’s going on in Marie’s July:

July 3rd: Annual epic 4th of July celebration on the South Shore. YES.
July 4th: Independence Day.  Happy Birthday America! I’ll be celebrating on a plane and then going to bed early.
July 5th-7th: First NDA camp of the summer in Kansas!
July 9th: Dance2Save benefit with DanceWorks Boston. SexyBack style.
July 12th: Road trip to Long Island/sleepover with one of my best NDA friends.
July 13th: Drive to Towson, Maryland with said NDA best friend.
July 14th-17th: NDA Towson camp (2nd year on this one baby)
July 20th: Birthday celebrations with Boyfriend (he won’t tell me a freakin’ thing)
July 22nd: My 23rd Birthday… gah.
July 23rd-27th: NDA Louisville camp (helloo Kentucky, I’m back!)
July 27th-30th: NDA Adelphi camp (I didn’t make a mistake.. they do overlap)
July 31st: DanceWorks Boston dance auditions!

Whew!!!  What a month.  I’ll be away 21 of the 31 days and dancing through all of them.  I love my job.  Thank you NDA for making the summer more fun!  And DWB friends, I apologize in advance for being practically crippled at auditions.

As for these mid-year goals, I realized that I didn’t do a 2011 goals post like so many other bloggers.  After reading Ali and Emily’s mid-year check-ins, I figured it’s better late than never to set some goals.  At least I’ll have something to check-in for when December rolls around.

2011 Mid-Year Goals:

  • Work (at least) 8 NDA summer camps.
  • Run 2 more 5Ks.
  • Host a blog giveaway.
  • Stick to Weight Watchers (not playing a numbers game here. Work out, eat right, follow the points, be healthy and let the body do what it will.
  • Rock the first semester of my grad program at Boston University (all A’s would be sweet but we like B+s too)
  • Try 1 new recipe a week.
  • Dance in 4 DanceWorks Boston fall pieces.
  • Train for and run a 10K.
  • Take hot yoga regularly.

Those seem pretty good if I do say so myself.  This summer is one of the busiest I’ve ever had but 2011 is flying people, and I can’t wait to see how I do by the start of 2012!

I wanna know… how are your goals coming this year? What goals do you still need to work on? Any new ones in mind for the last 6 months of the year?