Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dream...Love...Believe! What A Weekend!

If you've followed me the last six months or so, you know that my world has changed in immeasurable ways. From working full time, squeezing in my love of tribal bellydance, teaching, and recovering from a nightmare of an injury to taking a leap of faith to follow a dream...with an adorable, inspiring, and amazing lil dude.

Wow.

This past weekend, Reclaimed Dark Muse had it's first public outing (outside of etsy, eBay *eh*, and the comfort of my troupe).

Terrifying.

When you create something, a small part of you is on display. This is terrifying. Did I mention terrifying?

But...



And...



That smile? It says more than words. She loved it, and had to wear it for the show that evening.

My favorite piece?



My gorgeous dragonfly is now with a bellydancer I've known since I was an American Cabaret bellydancer, whom I adore.

Success can be defined in so many different ways. Money, maybe (sure, it helps. And bellydance is a very expensive love!!), but happiness and passion reflected back to you from others? Priceless...

And, I've still got more work to do.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Inspiration



Whenever I see something that inspires me, I try desperately to hold onto it. Frantically at times, I hastily jot down notes, words that will remind me of that spark that is meant to light the fire within. No matter that I may not quite understand the scribbled words or sketches that may or may not be a thing of beauty.

I even carry little books to record those fireworks before they fade away. The notebook on my bedside stand is filled with dreams and nightmares that I might never have remembered, even though I wanted to.



Sometimes, the Muse that resides near me when she feels like companionship whispers in my ear and these initial sparks morphine into something entirely different than they began.

But lately, I've learned to allow some of these feelings simmer. To become something more than I ever dreamed of if I just listened to that one little note.



Out of these sparks come dreams that become reality.

And there are more to come...





Note: All photos by Aria, and Headpiece available soon at www.etsy.com/shop/ReclaimedDarkMuse

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weekly Focus Update...On Being Sore




Funny things happen when you take for granted that you know something. Or so you think.

Take a long look at yourself, and you realize that knowing vs. knowing and doing on a consistent basis may just be two different things.

Muscle memory can only bring you so far along. Then practice makes perfect takes over.

The basics encompass so much more than just a few movements. Posture (last weeks focus) changes everything...hopefully for the better.

As I drilled (only eight minutes twice a day) the basic lower body movements (glute, oblique lifts, oblique hip slides), I tuned into what my body needed from my core to make the movement controlled and precise.

And the next day, I was sore! What?!? These are movements I'd mastered years ago, right?

But I took them for granted.

Lesson learned...take nothing for granted. Even the things you think you know.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Review...Touch of Steel By Kate Cross



Claire Brooks is seeking revenge for the only family she had left.



More often than not, I've had the distinct pleasure of disappointment when a book claims to be steampunk. My favorite was one particular novel that used the word so many times that I literally laughed out loud and finished two chapters.

But, I'm still that girl who loves a good cover, and when I caught sight of this one on my hastily planned dash through the bookstore, I had to have it. And, of course, in the grand tradition of all things me, it is the second book in the Clockwork Agents series.

So I picked up the first book, Heart of Brass.

And fell in love.

In Kate Cross' second novel in the series, she not only delivers an intriguing steampunk powered world where automatons and dirigibles power everyday life, but also a world where the women of the realm ;-) are empowering, passionate, and not satisfied to sit by and wait to be rescued.

And when Claire meets her match in Alastair, the Earl of Wolfred, there is so much steam you may need to open a window and clear the air. From opposing agencies, these two must work together to capture one of the realms biggest enemies. But, can Alastair resist his captive? And will Claire be able to do what she needs to, no matter the consequences?

The best part of this story (other than the steamy romance, of course), is how effortless the steampunk world seemed. Details were resplendent, every character adding layers of intrigue and subtlety. And who can resist chasing a bad guy with a sexy spy? Why, only another dangerous and sexy spy. The Dove may have met her match.

Rich, vibrant, and full of ingenious detail, Touch of Steel will have you longing for more Wardens of the Realm!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekly Focus...The Basics

As with any language, there are essential components you have to learn and practice to be able to communicate. To me, dance is a language. Tribal Fusion is no exception.



I like to think of the basic building blocks of more complex movements as letters...you can't spell words without them ;-), and you need words to express any story.



This week, those basics are my focus. Practicing movements such as oblique lifts, hip slides, glute squeezes (yep, booty time!!), and locks is not only a way to reconnect with your body and the dance, but also a really great core workout.

Especially combined with last week's posture learnings!



Practicing a series of glutes, slides, and lifts in merely eight minutes a day can lift technique and make your dance feel stronger, and the confidence gained is priceless...

Shimmy time...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Posture...Weekly Focus Update

Nothing feels better than a strong performance, and one of the key factors to that is posture.



Posture effects each component of your dance, starting with practice.

And practice makes perfect.

The "corsetting" technique I learned a few weeks ago made my practice feel like it never did before. My posture feels more grounded and rooted, and every movement felt brand new.

The area between my shoulder blades also became an area that I focused my on, to make my posture feel more regal and confident. Yoga poses such as plank (double bonus!), chatarunga, and even tree became early morning staples.

And, wow, did I become sore! But, as I incorporated these new details into my practice, I noticed how much better I felt about my dance. Especially the next day, I could feel a new strength in my body.

Focus accomplished...

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Review...Taking A Shot By Jaci Burton




Hockey is a sport I get into. Tall men, a sexy accent here and there, and the games are fast paced (and a twenty minute period usually takes close to twenty minutes real time!). The lockout mad this girl a bit sad this year. As I pouted, I would see this cover here and there, but after being disappointed by other "hockey" novels I was book-shy.

But...





Fast paced, almost impossible to put down, and with hockey action so believable you'll want to bang on the glass in your favorite team's fan wear, Jaci Burton weaves a sport background romance so well and full of chemistry that you may just become a fan yourself. Jenna is spunky and loyal to her family, and surrounded by sports in a way that she can no longer appreciate any game or player.

Or so she thinks.

Ty is mesmerized by the sassy bar owner at Riley's, and wants to get to know more...

I loved how the characters in this story had dimension, from Jenna and Ty, to her family, and even Ty's Ice teammates. In fact, I'm so intrigued that I may just have to check out the other books in this series (and I'm so not a football or baseball kind of girl!).

The steam and sizzle don't disappoint, and you just might find yourself looking at things in your life in a different way. And perhaps gaining a little courage to follow your dreams.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Secrets Of A Tribal Bellydancer

I'm going to let you in on a secret.

Not that I'm ashamed of this...quite the contrary, I proudly share this little gem quite often.

As a bellydancer, any performance, workshop, or practice usually involves a high amount of shimmies and/or spinning. Which means anything we wear has a high possibility of leaving bellydance bread crumbs behind.

Even more terrifying? Wardrobe malfunctions.

My secret? Well, beyond the stitching and hand sewing...I use this little gem:





Not only do I love it as double insurance that my various costume and headpieces stay exactly as they are meant to be, I have it in my dance kit as a just in case back up.

You never know when a shimmy is going to leave something behind. Me? I prefer to be mysterious, and leave very little beyond memories behind.

And every girl has her secrets...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekly Challenge One...Posture

The hardest thing to accept, and not let yourself get down, is that though you may feel strong and beautiful, sometimes, your dance doesn't look as fabulous as it feels.

 
A strong performance hinges on so many things, and like all things practice makes perfect.  Feeling strong, in the moment, and nailing each movement...and then, you see the replay.

Ugh.  Did I really leave my hand flopping around like that?  And that hip drop combo?  Am I slouching?

You have a choice.  Feel sorry for yourself, or PRACTICE.  The basics have to be a fundamental part of your practice, but sometimes we focus on the other bells and whistles that they get forgotten.

Each week, I am focusing on an area of my practice that I feel needs tweaking.  (After seeing a few replays, more than one!)

The first focus?  Posture.  This is the most fundamental and important part of any bellydance practice. 

Feet, knees, hips, pelvis, spine, shoulders, neck, chin.  These are the words I teach my students as a check in while they are drilling and learning, both in class and at home.

I have also "learned" a new technique from a great teacher and friend of mine that "corsets" your core area.  The muscle that wraps around from the lower back to from supports your entire upper body, When it is weak (either from concentrating on your abs though crunches that work only the front muscles or general misuse), we feel that ache in our lower backs.  But, by pulling in this muscle and like a corset to support your upper body, you can strengthen your core not only for your dance, but everyday life.  The muscle engages when you are in plank, though not everyone is aware of it and uses it as such.  There are also Pilate's/yoga exercises such as boat with your abs "corseted" (think of an actual corset cinching in your waist all around, but only tight enough to feel supported and not out of breath).  You can increase the difficulty by "flointing" your toes.  point your fee/toes, but flex and spread your toes with a lot of energy.  WOWSA.

This technique is now added to my posture mantra, because this support actually made me feel taller, stronger, and aware of my movement.  So, feet, knees, hips, pelvis, spin, corset the core, shoulders, neck, chin.

Be back with an update!

Weekly Focus Check In...Posture

That title might be misleading. I know I seriously just posted, but I so badly want to check my new app out that I couldn't resist.

Plus, my yoga practice this morning blew my mind when I focused on the concept of "corsetting" my core.
Since my ankle injury, I've struggled with balance. Which, in turn, made my posture even more important.

Imagine my inner joy exploding when, suddenly, tree pose wasn't a sad display of totally uncontrolled wobbly silliness!!!

Happy shimmies, pops, and locks y'all!!!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Musings...

"Art if the lie that enables us to realize the truth."



Pablo Picasso
 
 
 
 
Note: Reclaimed Bindi Box, available here.


Blog Revamp and All That Jazz!

I've decided this neglected blog needs a revamp.  Quite honestly, with my little guy, I barely (and regrettably) have little time to read as many books as I used to.  In fact, my poor Kindle has literally been dead (battery wise) for over two weeks.
I still get one or two in, but not enough in my eyes to be able to make this a book only blog.
What will I do?  Why, incorporate (officially) my adventures in tribal fusion bellydance, teaching, and my Reclaimed Dark Muse creations.
Review requests are still welcome, of course.
I hope you will join me on my journey!
Now, I'm off to continue my Blogger rearrange/revamp/make pretty time...