My Vegan Life | Gardein Mandarin Chick’n Bowl

I thought that Asian inspired dishes would be my ultimate craving when I went vegan, but one of the reasons why I don’t miss meat at all is because of the wonderful alternatives provided by animal friendly companies like Gardein! The first time I purchased meat alternatives was a teriyaki stir fry, but when I saw this orange chick’n I knew I had to give it a try, and was not disappointed. It’s honestly BETTER than actual chicken (as I’m finding with many recipes)! I could seriously eat this every day! Here’s what I did:

1/2 packet Gardein Mandarin Orange Chick’n and 1/2 included sauce. I cooked it in a stir fry pan for the recommended time, while simultaneously cooking white rice and steaming broccoli. When the Chick’n was about done I added some chopped green peppers and red onion to the stir fry and the sauce. I put the rice in a dish, then added the stir fry pan contents and the broccoli.

I can’t wait to cook this one for my boyfriend, I know for sure he will love it!

This post was not sponsored by any products mentioned and everything was purchased with my own money. (But I mean, I’m happy be sponsored if Gardein is listening 🙃).

Happy Eating!

Alicia

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My Vegan Life | Summer Salad and Refresher

In January I completed the Blogilates 28 day reset and started my journey to weight loss and health. I have since lost 20 lbs, and while I still have more to go, I feel great and have also turned my diet to vegan shortly after completing the challenge. The hardest things to give up for me were fish, eggs and the amazing sweet and sour chicken from our local Chinese restaurant. I was never one for beef, and there are so many great alternatives out there that it is really easy not to miss meat. Even better, my boyfriend adopted the vegan life last year so it’s so easy to go out for date nights with someone who gets it! Eating at family party’s (my family loves to grill) has also been fairly easy. I usually just eat the sides (potatoes, corn on the cob, pasta salad, and veggies) but if I know I’m going to a cookout I will bring my own veggie burger or make a vegan dish for us to eat.

I have since discovered so many delicious recipes that I figured I’d start sharing them here along with dance since it all goes so well together.

Today’s recipe is a lovely tofu salad!

I started by grilling some tofu while preparing the veggies. Kale and spinach as a salad base, cucumber, tomato, red onion, black olives, chickpeas, green pepper and half an avocado. Olive oil, pink salt and pepper as dressing. Mix in the tofu and you’re set for a yummy lunch!

I also had a large mason jar of cold water, with fresh mint leaves from the garden and a squeezed lemon slice!

Next post I’ll update on how my summer dance and workout have been going!

Happy eating!

Alicia

NYC Trip | Lincoln Center | Bloch Store and Downton Abbey Exhibition!

Monday I went to New York City (a nice few hour train ride for us) mainly to see the Downton Abbey Exhibit, but since we were in the neighborhood I decided to make some ballet stops too!

We left from Rhode Island pretty early in the morning, taking a 7:45 train and getting to Penn Station around 10:30. Our Downton Abbey tickets weren’t until 2 so we took the subway to Lincoln Center and I finally got to take some picture in front of the famous fountain!

And of course in front of the theater sign where there was conveniently a “barre”

Next up was the Bloch store right across the street! Let me tell you how I have dreamed of coming to this store and standing in that beautiful window to be fit for shoes! I’ve been wanting to try several of the new stretch shoes, having had pretty good success with the Eurostretch, and they even had some models that aren’t on their website.

After some trial and error, and a very patient and awesome fitter, I decided (it was a tough one between 2) on the Synthesis in a 7XX. I have to get used to the smaller platform of the tapered shoe, but they look sleek and lovely and I can’t wait to finish sewing them and to break them in!

The shoes that came in close second (which I still may order and try!) were the Superelative, which I’m wearing 2 photos up.

My Aunt gifted my my shoes for my upcoming birthday, and bought herself a new sweater for class, so we both got pretty blush bags! She’s taking her first class tonight as we speak, and I can’t wait to hear about it!

Next we were off to a quick lunch before the show, and went to a healthy place next to the exhibition called Fresh&Co, which was delicious! I had a turkey sandwich with cranberries, since I was starting my 28 day cleanse the next day and will be omitting gluten and bread (that’s another blog)!

Now off to Downton! I fangirled almost as much as when I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I just love the clothing of this era! I even wore my hat from the time!

I have to say, since going I’ve been shopping on ModCloth and Unique Vintage all day for some modern flapper looks, and have looked at going to a roaring 20s lawn party!

I think I could pull off the look of both Edwardian fashion and 20s!

We started in the “downstairs” area, because the exhibit was set up like the house. This was the kitchen, servants area, and where the staff would dine and do much of their work. My moms favorite was all of the cooking appliances and ways of preparing food, since she’s basically a modern Mrs. Pattmore!

Seriously, that table is like something out of a wedding! A Downton wedding sounds good to me!

Since I already love dressing vintage (more of a 50s look) I think some Deco/ 20’s inspires clothes might be making an appearance in my wardrobe! I mean, those dresses! Plus who doesn’t like a good hat! Time to find a 20’s party to go to!

I think it made me want to re-watch the series again, and hope for a Downton movie!

(Harry Potter fans like myself will get it!)

The day was fun and exhausting. I need to make it a point to get to NYC more often, to shop and take classes. Until next time!

Practice Makes….Better

So I’ve (proudly!) been back to consistent ballet classes for 8 months straight! This has to be a personal record, and since no financially devastating events have happened to make classes unaffordable like has happened in the past, I’ve definitely seen progress. While I have been dancing since I was 22 (9 years) as an adult, until the past 4 years ago I was very inconsistent so progress, especially on pointe, would leave me back at square one frequently. My first year of college I was able to take multiple classes a week at the Boston Ballet which was a few minutes away from school and ballet/ contemporary and pointe at The Studio: A Dance Center for adults whenever I could.

I’ve always been that person to forget combos, and have to follow someone, which is probably still true if I took more intermediate classes (which I will do once I’m out of busy photography season) but right now I’m happy in my awesome beginner class where I’m feeling like I am progressing and re-learning the basics I never learned when I started because the studio I attended was more focused on performance. I still fear I will never be good at petit allegro, but it’s getting better!

I’ve always been told practice makes perfect. With being an artist, dancer, gymnast and learning an instrument, it is always practice! But I’ve come to determine that practice will NEVER make perfect. Why? Because perfection, and striving for perceived perfection, is unrealistic and will drive you completely mad reaching for something that is unlikely to be achieved!

Instead, I aim for better. Even if it is just one little thing I do better than at my previous class….a longer balance, better turn, remembering the combo…BETTER is better than driving myself mad over unrealistic goals. I still have that dream of being on stage someday, but for now I’ll just be over here working hard on my strength and getting back to 3 classes a week to improve!

AliciaAlicia_wm-27Alicia_wm-33Alicia_wm-67(thankfully I’m also a better photographer than when I did these as well!)

Hope is the Anthem of my Soul | Adult Ballet Blog | National Suicide Awareness Week

Suicide Awareness Week confession: I’ve struggled with depression, hopelessness, and feeling like I am never enough for most of my life. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s that I could admit to myself that I had a mental illness. I’ve felt like most people would be better off if I’m not here, and I know how easy it is to slip into the darkness that is our own minds. I’ve failed so many times at jobs, and felt like I don’t fit in anywhere, even in the industries I love and want to make a career in. As I sit here and write this I am in tears because yet again I have disappointed people that I care abouts opinions and the familiar feeling of hopelessness is taking over. I work full time and am growing a photography business, and basically just made a fool of myself in front of prominent vendors for working full time and not editing fast enough. It makes me feel like I should throw in the towel because I will never be able to edit a full session in 2 weeks. Today I felt guilty for going to class and not staying home to edit. I was told I was unprofessional because I told someone my timeline for editing was because I worked full time as well as growing my business. Now I’m sitting here downing wine and feeling guilty for writing this blog.


The point of this is I want you to know you’re not alone, what you are feeling, others are feeling too. Sure I feel like crap and am crying into my wine, but I know I’m a great photographer and clients who have my timeline expectations and are ok with it are the people for me (shameless self promotion: http://www.aliciaannphoto.com) Hope is the anthem of my soul, and I hope that one day I can accomplish my dreams and be able to be good enough to fit in this industry that seems to take and never give.
National Suicide Awareness Week: https://twloha.com/

xx,

Alicia 

Sick week 

Last week was the last week of summer session, and of corse I came down with a terrible head cold on Tuesday and wasn’t better for my class on Thursday. I was so dissapointed because for the past 4 weeks we’ve been working on a very challenging pirouette combo that has been slowly but surely getting better! I didn’t have class this week because of the holiday and my class is changing to Monday, so I’m excited for next week.


Lonely shoes last Thursday…

I’m also excited for more Fall dance opportunities because one of my favorite retired principals from the company where I take class will be teaching on Wednesday nights at a different location and doing an adult pointe class as well. 

I also started being much more aware of what I am eating. I’ve cut alcohol and excess sugar such as desserts and my daily trip to the snack machine at work. Besides the extreme need to lose 25-30 pounds, I’ve also had an ovarian cyst for 2 years that is becoming more and more painful. Since I have no insurance and would have to quit my career as a graphic designer and take some crummy retail job to get insurance, I can’t get any care whatsoever. I need an ultrasound to see if there are more cysts or it’s become larger, and possibly surgery to remove it since it’s been much more painful and pushing on nerves in my back. Hoping my job will make me permanent so that I can get proper insurance and finally get it looked at again. If anyone has any natural remedies I’d much rather go that route!!

I better to do some strength work and stretch!!

xx,

Alicia

Pointe Shoe Chronicals | Adult Ballet Blog

To a dancer, the tools of the trade are especially focused on the feet and legs. Finding the perfect fitting shoe can be an endless struggle! I’ve had a hard time finding flat shoes that fit well and don’t cause a bump under the ball of the foot, and just when I think I’ve found the perfect pointe shoe, my feet seem to change and my shoe stops working for me. I’ve literally spend HOURS in the dance stores trying on shoe after shoe from every name out there. Having larger feet also doesn’t help because many shoes aren’t stocked in my size. So far my favorites have been Suffolk Solo and Stellar, Gaynor Minden, Bloch Balance European Strong and Bloch Eurostretch, which I just stared wearing. The Balance European was my go to shoe for years, but my last pair just didn’t seem supportive anymore in the regular shank, the strong shank seems to be doing ok. I went to the dance store a while back in hopes of trying the Bloch Eurostretch, and after trying them I ended up buying a Grishko Miracle, which ended up not working for my wide feet and desire for a large platform. As soon as my feet would swell, they would become obviously too small and narrow. Otherwise they were extremely comefortable and flat so I was sad that they couldn’t work for me. I’ve been dancing in a mix of a Suffolk Stellar and Bloch Balance euro for the past few years. My latest pair of the Bloch seemed so unsupportive by the 3rd class wearing them, and I felt they were allowing me to sickle and have to work extra hard not to. The strong shank worked much better so if I buy them again, strong will be the way to go! 


Thinking of how comefortable the Bloch Eurostretch was (that I didn’t buy 🙄) I ordered them online since our local stores lot their contract with Bloch and don’t carry them anymore, and sewed them last week. At first try I had a hard time getting over the box and felt held back on them, but determined to break them in and give it a go I sewed them and did some basic barre at home. After a few of these sessions (the instructions say just do barre to break them in, no de-shanking or beating them up) I think I am hooked. They felt to so good I even wore them to class tonight, and I’m always scared to wear a new shoe to class, because if it doesn’t work out there’s people to watch me fail. I’m the only person on pointe in my class so I always feel a little pressure to not be the one to make an ass of themselves! Since starting class on pointe again regularly, I feel a lot of strength (and maybe a little confidence) returning! Now if only I could get those one foot relevés up a little better I would be happy!

Anyway, right now I feel these could be my current shoe. I still have my Stellars in my bag, but I love the support and stretch of these Bloch Eurostretch! What are your favorite pointe shoes?

XX

Alicia

Here are a few photos from class tonight!